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At this critical moment President Buchanan showed himself deplorably weak. In his annual message of 1860 he maintained that "a State had no constitutional right to secede and that the Federal government had no constitutional power to prevent secession." Of his attitude Seward said: "It shows conclusively that it is the duty of a President to execute the laws-unless somebody opposes him; and that no State has a right to go out of the Unionunless it wants to." When the secession movement began he had words of blame only for the Abolitionists. "The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States," he said, "has at length produced its natural effects."

The truth is, his whole prejudices were with the South. The polish of the Southern gentlemen attracted him; that he was President was due to their influences, and he was never horrified by the evils of slavery. He was surrounded by ardent proslavery men, and John B. Floyd, his Secretary of War, was doing everything in his power to weaken the North and strengthen the South. Troops were scattered throughout the country, and the navy was for the most part on foreign stations. It would have been a difficult task, but an energetic President, even as late as 1860, might have averted the war that was to cost his country nearly a million lives.

There is this, however, to be said on his behalf: the Republicans had a majority in the Senate, and from that august body he received no assistance either in maintaining peace or in executing the laws of his country. But it is to be feared he played deliberately into the hands of his Southern friends. If Senator Keilt can be believed, he was at one with


"South Carolina," Keilt said in December, 1860, "cannot take one step backwards now without receiving the curses of posterity. South Carolina, single and alone, is bound to go out of this accursed Union. Mr. Buchanan is pledged to secession, and I mean to hold him to it."

These words had every appearance of truth. He continued to denounce the Northern agitators. He had been warned by General Winfield Scott of the necessity of reinforcing the Federal garrisons in the South, but he paid no heed to the warnings, and when in December South Carolina did finally secede, he opposed it in no way, save that he refused to receive the commissioners sent to him from the seceding State. The rebel flag was now floating to the breeze in Charleston; Major Anderson had withdrawn the garrisons from Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, and remained there inactive while the Southerners threw up strong batteries and held him in a state of siege. Federal property was appropriated, the steamer "Star of the West" bringing supplies to Fort Sumter was fired upon, but Mr. Buchanan sat silent in the White House. His Ministers were leaving him, some had deliberately gone over to the rebels, but the best he could do towards maintaining peace was to send a secret message to the secessionists begging them to stay their hand until the end of his administration. It is true he still hoped for peace, and by his action on the Crittenden Compromise showed that he believed the difficulties between the North and the South might yet be averted by constitutional means. However, if his action throughout this critical period is calmly viewed, the words of John Sherman will not seem too severe: "The Constitution provided

against every probable vacancy in the office of president; but did not provide for utter imbecility."

All this time the Confederates were planting batteries and making extensive preparations for war, while the inactivity of the President tied the hands. of his officials. He believed he was adhering to the Constitution, however, and refused to receive the commissioners who came to Washington from the Confederate government which was meeting at Montgomery, Alabama, under the Presidency of Jefferson Davis.

No man ever was more rejoiced than was President Buchanan when his term of office closed, and he left to his successor the hardest task ever given to a ruler, more difficult even than the one which fell to the lot of Washington. His last public appearance was on March 4, 1861, when he rode to the Capitol with the President-elect, Abraham Lincoln. There was an ominous silence in the crowd on that day, and everywhere, lining the streets and the housetops and windows, were people who wondered what the morrow would bring forth.

What a contrast the two men presented: the one cultured, polished, noble in appearance, with much of the Old World refinement and the Old World prejudice still clinging to him; the other ungainly, awkward, trained in the rough life of the frontier, a genuine product of the New World. Slavery was the last remnant of the Old World that clung to the new; it required such a man as Lincoln, a child of this continent, to give it its death blow.

Buchanan now passed off the stage. He retired to Wheatlands to rest for the remainder of his days. He felt the war keenly, and in a feeble way spoke on behalf of the Union. With the words, " O Lord,

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God Almighty, as Thou wilt!" he died on June 1, 1868. Thus passed away the pure-minded, noble-hearted gentleman who was "never heard to express an ignoble sentiment" or seen "do an act that could diminish the respect and reverence of those living daily with him. He was undoubtedly the weakest of all the Presidents of the United States, but he had been tried as no other President was tried, save Washington and Lincoln; they stood the test but he was found wanting.

It would seem that each century of a country's history can produce but one man capable of grappling with a great crisis; Washington, in the eighteenth century, was to firmly base his young country, Lincoln was to save it from wreck in the nineteenth: both situations needed men of blood and iron; the plausible manners of a courtier such as Buchanan was were a poor substitute for these essentials in a great ruler.



(TWO ADMINISTRATIONS, 1861-1865, 1865.)

IN 1860, the United States was sorely in need of a strong man. The most important nation in the world (for is not the United States the hope of the world) needed reconstructing. For eighty years the country had been drifting towards the rocks which the Constitution had not provided against; for eighty years the sins of the fathers who had fostered for gain the abomination of slavery were preparing to visit the children to the third and fourth generation. Chaos was necessary, it would seem, before a new state of things, with new principles, new moral fibre in the rulers, could be built up. While many minds would of necessity aid in this great work it demanded one man of commanding genius, of unswerving integrity, of indomitable steadfastness of purpose to firmly base on the chaos made by war the noblest nation yet reared by humanity.

Literally sprung from the soil, a product of the backwoods,-by unremitting industry, by ever keeping his heart right, Abraham Lincoln was to rank with Simon de Montfort, Cromwell, Richelieu, Washington, Bismarck and D'Israeli. In a way he was greater than any one of these for he possessed the

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