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OHIO READY FOR CONFLICT.
vania were redeemed, and its patriotism, fidelity, and prowess were attested, let the records of the generous gifts of men and money to the cause, and the sufferings of the people of that State, testify.
Next west of Pennsylvania lay OHIO, with two millions three hundred thousand inhabitants. It was first settled chiefly by New Englanders, and was a part of the great Northwestern Territory, which was solemnly consecrated to free-labor by the Congress of the old Confederation, in 1787.' It was a vast agricultural State, filled with industrious and energetic inhabitants, who loved freedom, and revered the National Government as a great blessing in the world. Their chief magistrate, at the beginning of the troubles, was William Dennison, Jr., who was an opponent of the Slave system, and loyal to the Government and the Constitution.
The Legislature of Ohio met on the 7th of January, 1861. In his message, the Governor explained his refusal to surrender alleged fugitive slaves on the requisition of the authorities of Kentucky and Tennessee; denied the right of secession; affirmed the loyalty of his State; suggested the repeal of the obnoxious features of the Fugitive Slave Law, as the most effective method for procuring the repeal of Personal Liberty Acts; and called for a repeal of the laws of Southern States which interfered with the constitutional rights of the citizens of the Free-labor States. "Determined to do no wrong," he said, "we will not contentedly submit to wrong."
Five days afterward, the Legislature passed a series of reso- January 12, lutions in which they denounced the secession movements, and promised, for the people of Ohio, their firm support of the National Government, in its efforts to maintain its just authority. Two days later, they reaffirmed this resolution, and pledged "the entire January 14. power and resources of the State for a strict maintenance of the Constitution and laws by the General Government, by whomsoever administered." This position the people of Ohio held throughout the war with marvelous steadfastness, in spite of the wicked machinations of traitors among themselves, who were friends of the conspirators and their cause.
Adjoining Ohio, on the west, lay INDIANA, another great and growing State carved out of the Northwestern Territory, with over one million three hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, and real and personal estate valued at about five hundred and thirty millions of dollars. There was burning in the hearts of the people of that State the most intense loyalty to the Union, but there was no occasion for its special revealment until the attack on Fort Sumter, in April, 1861, when it blazed out terribly for the enemies of the Republic. The sons of its soil were found on every battle
I See The Journal of Congress, July 13, 1787, Folwell's edition, xii. 58.
ACTION OF INDIANA AND MICHIGAN.
field during the first year and a half of the war, and the people were grandly faithful to the end, as our record will show.
North of Ohio and Indiana, on a vast peninsula, whose shores are washed by magnificent inland seas, lies MICHIGAN, with a population of almost eight hundred thousand. Its Legislature met at the beginning of January, when the retiring Governor, Moses Wisner, in a message to that body, denounced the President of the United States as a partisan, and the Democratic party as the cause of the discontent, alarm, and hatred in the South, because of its misrepresentations of the principles and intentions of the Republican party. He declared the Personal Liberty Act of that State, and other measures inimical to the Fugitive Slave Law, to be right, and the exponents of the sentiments of the people. "Let them stand," he said; "this is no time for timid and vacillating counsels, while the cry of treason is ringing in our ears." The new Governor, Austin Blair, who was January 3. inaugurated the next day,' took substantially the same ground; argued that secession was disintegration, and that the Republic was a compact Nation, and not a League of States. He recommended the Legislature to make the loyalty and patriotism of the people of Michigan apparent to the country; whereupon, that body passed some resolutions, pledging to the National Government all the military power and material resources of the State. They expressed an unwillingness to offer compromises and concessions to traitors, and refused to send delegates to the Peace Congress, or to repeal the Personal Liberty Act. The best blood of Michigan flowed freely in the war, and the people nobly sustained the Government in the struggle for the life of the Republic.
• February 2.
• January 2,
ILLINOIS, the home of the President elect, and more populous than its neighbor, Indiana, the number of its inhabitants being over one million seven hundred thousand, had a loyal Governor at the beginning of 1861, in the person of Richard Yates. The Legislature of the State assembled at Springfield, on the 7th of January. The Governor's message was temperate and patriotic; and he summed up what he believed to be the sentiment of the people of his State, in the words of General Jackson's toast,' thirty years
1 John C. Calhoun, and other conspirators against the Republic, inaugurated the first act in the great drama of treason, in the spring of 1830, in the form of the assertion that a "Sovereign State may nullify or disobey an Act of the National Congress." As Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
DECLARATIONS OF ILLINOIS AND WISCONSIN.
before:-"Our Federal Union: it must be preserved." Little was done at that time, excepting the appointment of delegates to the Peace Congress; but throughout the war, Governor Yates and the people of Illinois performed a glorious part.
Northward of Illinois, WISCONSIN was spread out, between Lakes Michigan and Superior and the Mississippi River, with a population of nearly eight hundred thousand. Its voters were Republicans by full twenty thousand majority. Its Governor, Alexander W. Randall, was thoroughly loyal. In his message to the Legislature, which convened at Madison on the 10th of January, he spoke of the doctrine of State Supremacy as a fallacy, and said: "The signs of the times indicate, in my opinion, that there may arise a contingency in the condition of the Government, under which it may become necessary to respond to the call of the National Government for men and means to sustain the integrity of the Union, and thwart the designs of men engaged in an organized treason." The Legislature was ready to respond to these words by acts, but no occasion seemed to call for them at that time, and nothing was done until after the attack on Fort Sumter. Then the people of Wisconsin gave men and money freely to the great cause of American Nationality.
Westward of the Mississippi River, and stretching away northward along its course from the borders of Missouri, were the young and vigorous States of Iowa and it Minnesota; and across the continent, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, was California. The hearts of the people of these States beat responsive to Union sentiments whenever uttered. Iowa had nearly seven hundred thousand inhabitants. Its Governor, Samuel J. Kirkwood, was thoroughly loyal, and spared no exertions in raising troops for the defense of the State against lawless insurgents that might come up from Missouri, and in aid of the National Gov ernment, when the President called for them. "In this emergency," the Governor said, "Iowa must not, and does not, occupy a doubtful position. For the Union, as our fathers formed it, and for the Government they framed so wisely and so well, the
ALEXANDER W. RANDALL
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD.
of 1795, which seemed to favor the doctrine of nullification, they resolved to plant their standard of incipient revolt under the auspices of his great name. A dinner was prepared at Washington City, on the birthday of Jefferson, professedly to honor his memory. It was the work of Calhoun and others. President Jackson and
people of Iowa are ready to pledge every fighting man in the State, and every dollar of her money and credit." That pledge was nobly redeemed. One-tenth of the entire population of the State, or seventy thousand men, went to the field!
PLEDGES OF IOWA AND MINNESOTA.
The people of Minnesota were equally faithful to the old flag. Alexander Ramsay was Governor. The Legisla
ture that assembled on the 26th of January passed a series of loyal resolutions, declaring the Constitution as it was to be sufficient for the whole Union; denouncing secession as revolution; condemning in severest terms the treasonable acts at Charleston, saying, that when one or more States appear in military array against the Government, it could discover no other honorable or patriotic resource than to test, by land and sea, "the full strength of the Federal authority under our National flag." It gave assurance of an earnest desire for peace with and good-will toward the people of the South; thanked General Scott for his patriotic efforts, and declared that the people of Minnesota would never consent to the obstruction of the free navigation of the Mississippi River; "from its source to its mouth, by any power hostile to the Federal Government."
By a careful observation of the aspect of public sentiment in the various States of the Union at the period when a new Administration was about to assume the conduct of national affairs, as delineated in brief outline in this chapter, the reader will perceive that the great majority of the people were thoroughly loyal to the National Government, and desired peace upon any honorable terms. At the same time, it cannot be denied that there was a large class of politicians who, misrepresenting the greater portion of their partisans, seemed incapable of rising above the selfish considerations of party domination. With amazing sycophancy, they hastened to assure the Slave power of their sympathy and subserviency. At home, in speeches, through the public press, and sometimes through the pulpit, they clamored loudly for concessions to its most extravagant demands, and begged the sturdy patriots of the Free-labor States, who loved freedom more than power, to bend the knee of abject submission to the arrogant Oligarchy rather than raise a resisting hand to save the Republic from destruction. They talked oracularly of that phantom, the "coercion of a sovereign State," and denounced every
his Cabinet were invited to attend. There was a numerous company. The doctrine of Nullification had lately been put forth as an orthodox dogma of the Democratic creed, and the movements of Calhoun and his political friends were looked upon with suspicion. At this dinner. it was soon apparent that the object was, not to honor Jefferson's memory, but to commence treasonable work with the sanction of his name and deeds. Jackson perceived this plainly, and offered as a toast, "Our Federal Union: it must be preserved." Calhoun immediately arose and offered the following:-"The Union: next to Liberty, the most dear; may we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States, and distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union." "The proceedings of that day," said Mr. Benton, who was present, "revealed to the public mind the fact of an actual design tending to dissolve the Union." See Benton's Thirty Years View, i. 148.
EVIL INFLUENCE OF POLITICIANS.
public expression of a determination to uphold the National authority by force of arms, if necessary, as puerile, unmeaning, and mischievous. Hundreds of letters, some of them written by men who had been honored by high social and official positions, were borne by the mails southward, in which it was asserted, again and again, that the people of the Free-labor States would never allow the Government to make war upon a "seceding State;" and when the conspirators struck the first deadly blow at the life of the nation, they did so with the assurance that their political friends in the North would keep the sword of the Republic immovably in its scabbard, until the black crime should be consummated.' They were mistaken.
1 An ex-President of the United States wrote to the man who afterward became chief leader of the conspirators, saying: "Without discussing the question of right-of abstract power to secede--I have never believed that actual disruption of the Union can occur without blood; and if, through the madness of Northern Abolitionists, that dire calamity must come, the fighting will not be along Mason and Dixon's line, merely. It will be within our own borders, in our own streets, between the two classes of citizens to whom I have referred. Those who defy law and scout constitutional obligations will, if we ever reach the arbitrament of arms, find occupation enough at home."-Extract of a Letter from Franklin Pierce to Jefferson Davis, January 6, 1860.
After the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession was adopted, an ex-Governor of Illinois wrote to the same man, saying: "I am, in heart and soul, for the South, as they are right in the principles and possess the Constitution. If the public mind will bear it, the seat of Government, the Government itself, and the Army and Navy, ought to remain with the South and the Constitution. I have been promulgating the above sentiment, although it is rather revolutionary. A Provisional Government should be established at Washington to receive the power of the outgoing President, and for the President elect to take the oath of office out of Slave Territory.... If the Slave States would unite and form a convention, they might have the power to coerce the North into terms to amend the Constitution so as to protect Slavery more effectually."-Extract of a Letter from John Reynolds, of Belleville, Illinois, to Jefferson Davis and ex-Governor William Smith, of Virginia, dated December 28, 1860.
Many influential public journals in the Free-labor States advocated the right of secession and the wrong of "coercion." One of these, more widely read and more frequently quoted in the South than any other, as the exponent of public opinion in the North, said :-" For far less than this [the election of Mr. Lincoln] our fathers seceded from Great Britain; and they left revolution organized in every State, to act whenever it is demanded by public opinion. The confederation is held together only by public opinion. Each State is organized as a complete government, holding the purse and wielding the sword, possessing the right to break the tie of the confederation as a nation might break a treaty, and to repel coercion as a nation might repel invasion."-New York Herald, November 9, 1860.
At a large political meeting in Philadelphia, on the 16th of January, 1861, one of the resolutions declared:"We are utterly opposed to any such compulsion as is demanded by a portion of the Republican party; and the Democratic party of the North will, by all constitutional means, and with its moral and political influence, oppose any such extreme policy, or a fratricidal war thus to be inaugurated." On the 22d of February, a political State Convention was held at Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, when the members said, in a resolution:-"We will, by all proper and legitimate means, oppose, discountenance, and prevent any attempt on the part of the Republicans in power to make any armed aggressions upon the Southern States, especially so long as laws contravening their rights shall remain unrepealed on the Statute-books of Northern States, and so long as the just demands of the South shall continue to be unrecognized by the Republican majorities in these States, and unsecured by proper amendatory explanations of the Constitution." Such utterances in the great State of Pennsylvania, and similar ones elsewhere, by the chosen representatives of a powerful party in convention assembled, encouraged the conspirators in a belief that there would be no war made upon them, and for that reason they were defiant everywhere and on all occasions.