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SPEECHES OF JOHNSON AND CLEMENS.
peace or war. He spoke guardedly, and yet not enigmatically. He skillfully analyzed the treasonable movements of the Oligarchy, exposed the falsehood of their pretenses, the real springs of their ambition and their crime, and pleaded with powerful argumentation for affiliation and union. He declared his adherence to the Union in its integrity and with all its parts, with his friends, with his party, with his State, with his country, or without either, as they might determine; in every event, whether of peace or war, with every consequence of honor or of dishonor, of life or of death. He concluded by saying:-"I shall cheerfully lend to the Government my best support in whatever prudent, yet energetic efforts it shall make to preserve the public peace, and to maintain and preserve the Union, advising only that it practice, as far as possible, the utmost moderation, forbearance, and conciliation."
The speeches of Toombs, Hunter, and Seward were key-notes to all that succeeded on the great topic of the hour. There were others of eminent ability, and worthy of careful preservation in the annals of the great Civil
War, as exponents of the conflicting views entertained concerning the Government, its character, and its power.' Several of these were from representatives of Slave-labor States, and were extremely loyal. Foremost among them was that of Andrew Johnson, Senator from Tennessee, now" President of the Republic-a man who had come up from among the common people, planted himself firmly on the foundation of human rights and popular prerogatives, and performed valorous service against the pretensions and claims of the imperious Oligarchy. "I will not give up this Government,"
he said, "that is now called an experiment, which some are prepared to abandon for a constitutional monarchy. No! I intend to stand by it, and I entreat every man throughout the nation who is a patriot, and who has seen
1 Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, Benjamin F. Wade, and others in the Senate; and John Sherman, Charles Francis Adams, Thomas Corwin, and others in the House of Representatives, made powerful speeches against Mr. Crittenden's propositions, and in favor of universal freedom. One of the most remarkable passages in the great debate was the speech of Sherrard Clemens, of Western Virginia, who took such decided ground against the pretensions of the Oligarchy, that its representatives in Congress called him a traitor. With the most biting scorn, he thus referred to the conspirators in Congress :-"Patriotisin has become a starveling birdling, clinging with unfledged wings around the nest of twigs where it was born. A statesman now must not only
"Narrow his mind,
And to party give up what was meant for mankind,'
but he must become as submissive as a blind horse in a bark-mill to every perverted opinion which sits, whip in hand, on the revolving shaft at the end of which he is harnessed, and meekly travels. To be considered a diamond of the first water, he must stand in the Senate House of his country [like Toombs and his fellowtraitors], and, in the face of a forbearing people, glory in being a traitor and a rebel. He must solemnly proclaim the death of the nation to which he had sworn allegiance, and, with the grave stolidity of an undertaker, invite its citizens to their own funeral. He must dwarf and provincialize his patriotism to the State on whose local passions he thrives, to the county where he practices court, or to the city where he flaunts in all the meretricious dignity of the Doge of Venice. He can take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, but he
and is compelled to admit the success of this great experiment, to come forward, not in heat, not in fanaticism, not in haste, not in precipitancy, but in deliberation, in full view of all that is before us, in the spirit of brotherly love and fraternal affection, and rally round the altar of our common country, and lay the Constitution upon it as our last libation, and swear by our God, by all that is sacred and holy, that the Constitution shall be saved and the Union preserved." From this lofty attitude of patriotism he never stooped a line during the fierce struggle that ensued.
BAKER'S ESTIMATE OF THE UNION.
⚫ January 12.
Senator Baker, of Oregon, who attested his devotion to his country by giving his life in its defense on the battle-field a few months later, made a most eloquent appeal for the preservation of October 21, the Union. He and others had been powerfully moved by the treasonable speech of Toombs. He drew a graphic picture of the terrible effects that might be expected from secession-nationality destroyed, and on its ruins several weak republics established, without power to carry on any of the magnificent schemes in hand for the development of the resources of the continent. He spoke of the continual incentives to war between the separated States, and the contempt into which all would fall in the estimation of the world. "With standing armies consuming the substance of our people on the land," he said, "and our Navy and our postal steamers withdrawn from the ocean, who will protect, or respect, or who will even know by name our petty confederacies? The American man-ofwar is a noble spectacle. I have seen it enter an ancient port in the Mediterranean. All the world wondered at it and talked about it. Salvos of artillery, from forts and shipping in the harbor, saluted its flag. Princes and princesses and merchants paid it homage, and all the people blessed it, as a harbinger of hope for their own ultimate freedom. I imagine now the same noble vessel again entering the same haven. The flag of thirty-three stars and thirteen stripes has been hauled down, and in its place a signal is run up which flaunts the device of a lone star or a palmetto-tree. Men ask, 'Who is the stranger that thus steals into our waters?' The answer, contemptuously given, is, 'She comes from one of the obscure republics of North America-let her pass on.'”
The plan of this work does not contemplate the recording of Congressional debates in detail; so we will proceed to notice, in few words, the result of the great discussion on pacification. It was continued from time to
can enter with honor into a conspiracy to overthrow it. He is ready to laugh in your face when you tell him, that before he was 'muling and puking in his nurse's arms,' there lived an obscure person by the name of George Washington, and who, before he died, became eminent, by perpetuating the immortal joke of advising the people of the United States that it is of infinite moment that we should properly estimate the immense value of our National Union, that we should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; that we should watch for its preservation with jealous anxiety, discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can, in any event, be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.""
With greater bitterness Mr. Clemens denounced the Abolitionists, and quoted from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, in which they advocated a dissolution of the Union. *All hail disunion!" cried Phillips, in one of these. "Sacrifice every thing for the Union? God forbid ! Sacrifice every thing to keep South Carolina in it? Rather build a bridge of gold and pay her toll over it. Let her march off with banners and trumpets, and we will speed the parting guest. Let her not stand upon the order of her going, but go at once. Give her the forts and arsenals and sub-treasuries, and lend her jewels of silver and gold, and Egypt will rejoice that she has departed."-Congressional Globe, 1860, 61. Appendix, pages 108, 104.
CONSPIRATORS LEAVING CONGRESS.
time until the last days of the session, when many of the conspirators had left Congress and gone home.
On the 2d of March, two days before the close of the session, Mason of Virginia called up the Crittenden resolutions in the Senate, when Clarke's substitute was reconsidered and rejected, for the purpose of obtaining a direct vote on the original proposition. After a long debate, continuing until late in the "small hours" of Sunday morning," the Crittenden Compromise was finally rejected by a vote of twenty against nineteen. It might have been carried had the conspirators retained their seats. The question was then taken in the Senate on a resolution of the House of Representatives, to amend the Constitution so as to prohibit forever any amendment of that instrument interfering with slavery in any State. This resolution was adopted.
• March 8, 1861.
In the atmosphere of to-day, made clear by the tempest of war, we perceive that this result was most auspicious. We may now see clearly the peril to which the nation would have been subjected had that Compromise, or kindred propositions for perpetuating and nationalizing slavery, been adopted. Had the Constitution been amended in accordance with the propositions of the patriotic but short-sighted Crittenden, the Republic would have been bound in the fetters of one of the most relentless and degrading despotisms that ever disgraced the annals of mankind.
On the 12th of January, the conspirators commenced withdrawing from Congress. On that day the Representatives of the State of Mississippi sent in a communication to the Speaker, saying they had been informed of the secession of their State, and that, while they regretted the occasion for that action, they approved the measure. Two days afterward, Albert G. Brown, one of the Senators from Mississippi, withdrew from active participation in the business of the Senate. His colleague, Jefferson Davis, did not take his leave, on account of sickness, until the 21st, when he made a parting speech. He declared his devotion to the doctrine of State Supremacy to be so zealous, that if he believed his State had no just cause for leaving the Union, he should feel bound by its action to follow its destiny. He thought it had just cause for withdrawing, and declared that he had counseled the people (in other words, the politicians) of that State to do as they had done. He drew a distinction between nullification and secession, and asserted, in the face of history and common sense, that Calhoun advocated nullification in order to save the Union! With the most transparent sophistry he then argued in favor of the right of secession, and against the prevailing idea, that when the preamble of the Declaration of Independence asserts that "all men are created equal," it means all without distinction of race or country. Then, with a wicked perversion of the plainest teachings of history, he said: "When you deny to us the right to withdraw from a
1 See page 221.
2 The vote was as follows:
AYES.-Messrs. Bayard, Bright, Bigler, Crittenden, Douglas, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, I ane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Sebastian, Thompson, Wigfall-19.
NOES-Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Chandler, Clarke, Dixon. Doolittle, Durkie, Fessenden, Foote, Foster, Grimes, Harlan, King, Morrill, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, Wilson-20.
WITHDRAWAL OF CLAY AND IVERSON.
government which threatens to be destructive of our rights, we but tread in the path of our fathers when we proclaim our independence, and take the hazard." In direct conflict with truth, and with the most shameless hypocrisy, which his subsequent conduct revealed, he declared that the step was taken by himself and his State not for any selfish purpose, but "from the high and solemn motive of defending and protecting the rights we have inherited, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit unshorn to our children." He concluded with an expression of a hope that peaceful relations between the two sections might be maintained, and declared that he left the Senate without any animosity toward a single member personally. "I carry with me," he said, "no hostile remembrance. Whatever offense I have given which has not been redressed, or for which satisfaction has not been demanded, I have, Senators, at this hour of our parting, to offer you my apology for any pain which, in the heat of discussion, I have inflicted. . . . Having made this announcement, which the occasion seemed to me to require, it only remains for me to bid you a final adieu." Davis then left the Senate Chamber, and immediately entered more openly upon his treasonable work, in which he had been engaged for many years.
On the same day when Davis left the Senate, the representatives of Alabama and Florida in that House formally withdrew. Yulee and Mallory, the Florida Senators, spoke in temperate language; but Clement C. Clay, Jr., of Alabama, one of the most malignant foes of the Republic, and who was a secret plotter in Canada, during the war, of high crimes against the people of the United States, signalized his withdrawal by a harangue marked by the intensest venom. He commenced his speech by the utterance of what he knew to be untrue, by saying:"I rise to announce, for my colleague and myself, that the people of Alabama have adopted an Ordinance of Separation, and that they are all in favor of withdrawing from the Union. I wish it to be understood that this is the act of the people of Alabama." He then uttered a tirade of abuse against the people of the Freelabor States, and closed by saying: "As a true and loyal citizen of Alabama, approving of her action, acknowledging entire allegiance, and feeling that I am absolved by her act from all my obligations to support the Constitution of the United States, I withdraw from this body, intending to return to the bosom of my mother, and share her fate and maintain her fortunes." His whitehaired colleague, Fitzpatrick, indorsed his sentiments, and both withdrew.
A week later, Senator Iverson, of Georgia, having received a copy of the Ordinance of Secession from the Convention of the politicians of his State, formally withdrew, when he took the occasion to say, in contemplation of war:-"You may possibly overrun
See an account of the opposition of the people to secession, on page 178.
• January 28, 1861.
us, desolate our fields, burn our dwellings, lay our cities in ruins, murder our people, and reduce us to beggary, but you cannot subdue or subjugate us to your Government or your will. Your conquest, if you gain one, will cost you a hundred thousand lives, and more than a hundred million dollars. Nay, more, it will take a standing army of a hundred thousand men and millions of money, annually, to keep us in subjection. You may whip us, but we will not stay whipped. We will rise again and again to vindicate our right to liberty, and to throw off your oppressive and cursedyoke, and never cease the mortal strife until our whole white race is extinguished, and our fair land given over to desolation. You may have ships of war, and we may have none. You may blockade our ports and lock up our commerce. We can live, if need be, without commerce. But when you shut out our cotton from the looms of Europe, we shall see whether other nations will not have something to say and something to do on that subject. Cotton is King! and it will find means to raise your blockade and disperse your ships."
Iverson prudently kept himself away from all personal danger during the war that ensued; and in less than a year he saw his overrated monarch dethroned, and heard the cry of the great distress of his own people. His truculent colleague, Toombs, had already, as we have seen, gone home to work the machinery by which the people of Georgia were unwillingly placed in an attitude of rebellion. Toombs had also been bringing one of his Northern admirers in subserviency to his feet, in this wise:-Early in January, it became known to the Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police of New York, who were not under the control of the Mayor, that large quantities of arms, purchased of Northern manufacturers and merchants, were going southward. It was resolved to put a stop to traffic that would evidently prove injurious to the Government, and late in the January 22, month nearly forty boxes of arms, consigned to parties in 1861. Georgia and Alabama, and placed on board the steamer Mon
SEIZURE OF ARMS IN NEW YORK..
⚫ January 24.
ticello, bound for Savannah, were seized by the New York police. The fact was immediately telegraphed to Governor Brown, at Milledgeville. Toombs was there, and took the matter into his own hands. He b telegraphed as follows to the Mayor of New York;-“Is it true that arms, intended for, and consigned to the State of Georgia, have been seized by public authorities in New York? Your answer is important to us and New York. Answer at once."
This insolent demand of a private citizen-one who had lately boasted, in his place in the National Senate, that he was a rebel and a traitor (and who, no one doubted, wanted these very arms for treasonable purposes), was obsequiously complied with. The Mayor (Fernando Wood) expressed his regret, but disclaimed for the city of New York any "responsibility for the outrage," as he called it. "As Mayor," he said, "I have no authority over the police. If I had the power, I should summarily punish the authors of this illegal and unjustifiable seizure of private property."
Toombs determined to retaliate. The Governor, who seems to have been a plastic servant of this conspirator, had asked the Legislature for power to retaliate, should there be an occasion, but his request had not been granted. Toombs advised him to act without law, and he did so. By his order, ships