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Inaugural.

Precipitate Action Unwarrantable.

A Government at Last.

“If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time: but no good object can be frustrated by it.

“ Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either.

If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there is still no single reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulties.

"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Gov. ernment will not assail you.

“You can have no conflict witbout being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the Government; while I shall have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect, and defend' it.

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

“ The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

One point was established, at least, by this inaugural, whatever uncertainties might cluster about it—we had, at last, a Government. No Buchanan ruled the hour. Loyal men of every shade breathed more freely. At the same time, the whole drift was toward securing, if possible, an honorable reconciliation. If, after this lucid, temperate statement of

The New Cabinet.

Confederate Commissioners.

Stephens's Speech.

the plans and purposes of the new Administration, the blow must fall, which all wished to avoid, it was encouraging to feel as every one who heard Mr. Lincoln on that eventful day must have felt that a man was at the helm who had firm faith that the organic law, so far from providing for the dissolution of the Union, bad vitality and force within itself sufficient to defend the nation against dangers from within as well as from without.

The announcement of the President's cabinet, likewisecomposed, as it was, of the ablest men in his own party, the majority of whom had been deemed worthy of presentation as candidates for the high office which he held—imparted confidence to all who wished well to the country. The able pen of the Secretary of State was at once called into requisition to communicate, through the newly appointed ministers abroad, the true state of affairs to the European powers. As speedily as possible the Departments were purged of disloyal officials, although the deceptions and subterfuges which constituted a goodly portion of the stock in trade of the rebellion rendered this a work of more time than was satisfactory to many.

The Davis dynasty, at Montgomery, having, on the 9th of March, passed an act to organize a Confederate army, two persons-one from Alabama and the other from Georgiaannounced themselves, three days later, as “Confederate Commissioners," accredited for the purpose of negotiating a treaty. The President declined to recognize these “ Commissioners,” who were referred to a copy of his inaugural enclosed for a full statement of his views.

On the 21st of March, Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, Vice-President of the Montgomery traitors, up to that time regarded as one of the most moderate—as he certainly was one of the ablest-of the conspirators, in a speech at Savannah, silenced all questionings as to the intent of himself and co-workers.

He said on that occasion :

Early Statesmen Wrong.

The Confederate Constitution.

Slavery the Foundation.

"The new Constitution (that adopted at Montgomery) has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African slavery as it exists among us -the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this as the rock upon which the old Union would split. He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas, entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen, at the time of the formation of the old Constitution, were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with ; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away.

"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas. Its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new Government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I can not permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief stone of the corner' in our new edifice."

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On the 13th of April, the President was waited upon by a committee from a Convention of the State of Virginia, which Convention was discussing the question whether to go with

Virginia Committee.

President's Reply.

Refurs to Inaugural.

che States already in rebellion, or to remain in the Union, for the sake of furthering the ends of the rebels. The object of the visit, and its result, may be determined from Mr. Lincoln's response :

“GENTLEMEN :-As a committee of the Virginia Convention, now in session, you present me a preamble and resolution, in these words :

“WHEREAS, In the opinion of this Convention, the uncertainty which prevails in the public mind as to the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue towards the seceded States is extremely injurious to the industrial and commercial interests of the country, tends to keep up an excitement which is unfavorable to the adjustment of the pending difficulties, and threatens a disturbance of the public peace; therefore,

" Resolved, That a committee of three delegates be appointed to wait on the President of the United States, present to him this preamble, and respectfully ask him to communicate to this Convention the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue in regard to the Confederate States.'

“In answer, I have to say, that having, at the beginning of my official term, expressed my intended policy as plainly as I was able, it is with deep regret and mortification I now learn there is great and injurious uncertainty in the public mind as to what that policy is, and what course I intend to pursue. Not having as yet seen occasion to change, it is now my purpose to pursue the course marked out in the inaugural address. I commend a careful consideration of the whole document as the best expression I can give to my purposes. As I then and therein said, I now repeat, 'The power confided in me, will be used to hold, occupy, and possess property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what is necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force

Attack on Sumter.

United States Mails.

Sumter's Fall.

against or among the people anywhere. By the words 'property and places belonging to the Government,' I chiefly allude to the military posts and property which were in possession of the government when it came into my hands. But if, as now appears to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to drive the United States authority from these places, an unprovoked assault has been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall hold myself at liberty to repossess it, if I can, like places which had been seized before the Government was devolved upon me, and in any event I shall, to the best of my ability, repel force by force. In case it proves true that Fort Sumter has been assaulted, as is reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the United States mails to be withdrawn from all the States wbich claim to have seceded, believing that the commencement of actual war against the Government justifies and possibly demands it. I scarcely need to say that I consider the military forts and property, situated within the States which claim to have seceded, as yet belonging to the Government of the United States, as much as they did before the supposed secession. Whatever else I may do for the purpose, I shall not attempt to collect the duties and imposts by any armed invasion of any part of the country-pot meaning by this, however, that I may

not land a force deemed necessary to relieve a fort upon the border of the country. From the fact that I have quoted a part of the inaugural address, it must not be inferred that I repudiate any other part, the whole of which I reaffirm, except so far as what I now say of the mails may be regarded as a modification."

Fort Sumter fell on the day following the reception of these commissioners, after every effort, consistent with the means at the disposal of the government, had been inade to prevent what then seemed a catastrophe. This action could bear but one interpretation. A reconciliation of difficulties was utterly impracticable. An appeal had been made to the sword.

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