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of slavery, -if that is Republican doctrine, then I am no Republican." He still further revealed the important, or at least the apprehended, bearing which the subject and the final decision of the question would exert upon the border slave-States. "When I discussed," he added, "the political topics of the day before the slaveholders of Maryland during the last canvass," for the purpose, as he explained, of meeting the arguments of Yancey, Rhett, Toombs, and others, "I charged those men with having propagated slander against the Republican party when they charged us with a disposition to invade their rights or interfere with their domestic institutions. I ask those gentlemen who have stood with me upon that question, whether they are willing, by their votes, to fix that charge. upon our party, and thereby strengthen the arms of our enemies." He contended, too, that, as their servants, the least that they could do was to submit the question to the people, "to take this proposition to their masters and submit it to them for their approval or rejection."
Mr. Stanton presented another view. He referred to the changed condition of affairs resulting from the secession of seven or eight States. If they should maintain their independence, then he contended that "if the remaining seven slaveholding States remain in this confederacy they are entitled to additional guaranties." Saying that there were then seven slaveholding States and nineteen free States, he proceeded: "In ten years more Delaware will be, for all practical purposes, a free State. That would make twenty free States and six slaveholding States. In a few years more you will have five more free States organized out of the Territories. You will then have the requisite three-fourths to change the Constitution, and to confer on the Federal government and on Congress the power to interfere with slavery in the States. Now, I hold that that power ought never to be vested in Congress, no matter if there were but, one slaveholding State. . . . . I am in earnest in this business, and am sincere when I state that I do not desire to interfere with slavery in the States. I apprehend that my colleagues are equally so. I apprehend that they do not desire to interfere with slavery in the States.
But will they guarantee that their successors, ten or twenty years hence, will not be? Will they answer for the progress of public opinion in the free States, and for the position which they may assume some years hence? I say that these slave States, if they intend to remain in the Federal Union, have a right to demand this guaranty, and so far as my vote is concerned, they shall have it." He strengthened his claim by saying that it was proposed by the distinguished Senator from New York [Mr. Seward], and adopted by the committee of thirteen, and voted for in that committee by Collamer, Doolittle, Grimes, Seward, and Wade, who were all of the Republican members of the committee; and voted against by Hunter and Toombs. He closed by moving the previous question. He was requested to withdraw it by Mr. Lovejoy, who complained of the unfairness of "having two speeches made on the same side, and none on the other"; but he was inexorable, and the vote was ordered.
In a previous chapter the course of Charles Francis Adams was referred to as an illustration of the different views which men equally honest entertained of duty and of what a wise policy required. In the minority report he made as a member of the committee of thirty-three, he had urged as a reason of his convictions that it was of "no use to propose as an adjustment that which has no prospect of being received as such by the other party," and that, therefore, he had "changed his course and declined to recommend the very measures which he in good faith had offered." He introduced his speech, already referred to in another connection, with these words, expressive of the gravity of the occasion and its demand for sacrifice :
"In this hour of inexpressible import to the fate of unborn millions, I would that I could clear from my eyes the film of all human passions, to see the truth and right in their naked, living reality, and with their aid to rise to the grandeur of the opportunity to do good to my fellow-men. There have been occasions when the fitting words, uttered in the true place, have helped to right the scale when wavering towards the ruin of a nation. At no time have they been more necessary than
now; at no place more requisite than here. The most magnificent example of self-government known to history is in imminent danger of suffering an abrupt mutilation, by reason of the precipitate violence of a few desperate men. I purpose to discuss briefly, and I trust with proper calmness, the cause and the effect of this proceeding, as well as the duty that it entails upon us."
Similar expressions of intense anxiety and alarm, and the pressing need of something to avert, if possible, the threatened catastrophe, ran through the debate of both houses. In the Senate Mr. Crittenden had thus expressed his deep convictions and earnest desire: "With that I am satisfied. It is enough for the dreadful occasion. It is the dreadful occasion that I want to get rid of. Rid me of this, rid the nation of this, and I am willing to take my chance for the future, and meet the perils of every day that may come. Now is the appointed time upon which our destiny depends. Now is the emergency and exigency upon us. Let us provide for them. Save ourselves now, and trust to posterity and that Providence which has so long and so benignly guided this nation, to keep us from the further difficulties which in our national career may be in our way." Such feelings and such convictions in such men not only indicate the stress and strain brought to bear upon them, but suggest moderation in the criticisms and censures of measures, they felt constrained to recommend and support, which may be indulged in by those who, at a safer distance, in cooler moods, and with greater light, can more deliberately and dispassionately give them examination.
There were, however, those who, though they equally appreciated the gravity of the occasion and the need of help, felt that deliverance could not wisely or safely be sought in further compromise, at least in compromise that ignored the claims of moral obligation, and set aside as if of no account the primal rights of man. Their argument was somewhat compendiously stated by Mr. Beale of New York :
"Sir, I am opposed to any and all compromises,
"1. Because they are to be extorted from us by threats of dissolution of the Union in case we refuse. I desire to see the
strength of this government tested, and to know whether the Union is a Federal rope of sand, to be washed away by every wave of passion, or an indissoluble government.'
"2. Because they will fail to accomplish the reintegration of the Union.
"Six States have already seceded, and will not be parties to the transaction or bound by it; and one, if not more, has avowed her determination never to come back, even upon the principle of reconstruction; and several of them are represented in a convention to form a Southern Confederacy, and have formed such a confederacy.
"3. Because the Republican party is not now in power, and should not submit to any terms as a condition-precedent to obtaining it.
"Our candidate has been constitutionally elected; entertains no principles hostile to the interests of any one of the States. We are resolved to inaugurate him in the same constitutional manner. In the words of the distinguished Senator elect from Ohio,' inauguration first, adjustment afterward.'
"4. Because the sentiment of nine tenths of the Republi cans of the free States is opposed to compromise of principle. I speak not of the commercial circles where the opinion of Mr. Webster prevails, that 'governments were instituted to protect property,' no matter of what kind; but of the intelligent masses of the free country, where, upon the mountain-sides, in the valleys, and along the rivers of the North, no shackle rings, no unpaid labor degrades, but where to work is to be ennobled, and where the god of Freedom baptizes the foreheads of his sons with the dew of toil."
ORGANIZATION OF SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY.
Work among the people. - South Carolina. — Convention. — Secession Ordinance adopted and signed. — Address and declaration. Alleged causes.
ernor's Proclamation and Cabinet. - Mississippi convention and ordinance. River blockade. . Florida. Alabama. Severe struggle. Toombs. -Adverse vote. -Johnson, Hill, Stephens. Strong Union speech. -Secession carried. Louisiana. Meeting at Montgomery. - States represented. Howell Cobb. - Committee on provisional government. - Report. -Proffered loan. - Choice of President and Vice-President. Committee on permanent constitution. — Confederate flag. Provisions of constitution. Action concerning forts, arsenals, and navy-yards. Charleston " Mercury." -Provision for an army and navy. · - Jefferson Davis. - Speeches and inaugural address. - Cabinet. - Speech of Alexander H. Stephens.
HITHERTO the work of secession had been mainly among a comparatively few of the leading citizens of the slaveholding States. Others, it was seen, prominent in Church and State must be converted to the theory and policy of disunion before the people at large could be persuaded to lend their necessary co-operation and support. This then became the next necessity, and the conspirators entered upon the work, referred to and outlined in a previous chapter, with an earnest and determined purpose.
The South Carolina convention met on the 17th of December, 1860, at Columbia. General D. F. Jamison was chosen president. During the evening session commissioners from Alabama and Mississippi were introduced. They addressed the body in favor of immediate secession, and a resolution was unanimously carried favoring that decisive act. The next day a telegram was received from the governor of Alabama counselling the convention to listen to no proposition of compromise or delay.
On the 20th an ordinance of secession was reported by Mr.