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he was there not to speak "timorous words of peace, but to kindle the spirit of manly, determined war." He said, the national banners "leaning from ten thousand windows in your city to-day proclaim your affection and reverence for the Union." "There are," he added, "worse things than fear, than doubt, than dread and danger and blood. Dishonor is worse. Perpetual anarchy is worse. States forever commingling and forever severing is worse." He had known the President from boyhood, and he indorsed his declaration that "there are wrongs to be redressed already long enough endured." "They are wrongs," he said, "against our ensign; they are wrongs against our Union; they are wrongs against our Constitution; they are wrongs against human hope and human freedom." Professor O. M. Mitchell, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of West Point, a man of large scientific attainments, then a resident of Ohio, avowed his allegiance to be to the government of the United States. He had brothers and kindred in the South whom he loved, but they must set aside rebels and traitors when they condemned, cursed, trampled under foot, and trailed in the dust the banner of the country. We must smite, he said, in "God's name, and will smite." Reminding the meeting that the men of the South would fight with determination and power, and that there was to be no child's play, he called upon every man to take his life in his hand; avowing his readiness, in the ranks or out of the ranks, to sacrifice his life on the altar of his country. He did enter those ranks, became a general, and died in his country's defence.
Public meetings were largely attended in the other cities and towns of all the free States. Caleb Cushing, who had presided at the Charleston Democratic convention in 1860, and at the seceders' convention at Baltimore, addressed a public meeting at Newburyport, Massachusetts. He declared that he would yield to no man in faithfulness to the Union; that he stood prepared, if occasion should call for it, to testify his sense of public duty "by entering the field again at the command of the Commonwealth or of the Union." The aged General Wool, who had manifested during the winter intense
anxiety for the defence of the country, said, on the 16th of April, to his fellow-citizens of Troy, that the spirit of the age forbade the destruction of the government by rebels to advance the "schemes of political ambition and to extend the area of slavery." He pledged his heart and hand, and was ready to devote his life to the work of preserving the Union. On the 24th of April, the venerable General Cass, who had left Buchanan's Cabinet, dissatisfied and almost despairing of his country, declared to the people of Detroit that it was the duty of all zealously to support the government." He who is not for his country," he said, "is against it. There is no neutral position to be occupied." On the 1st of May, at a public reception given him at Chicago, Mr. Douglas said: "There are only two sides to this question. Every man must be for the United States or against it. There can be no neutrals in this war; only patriots or traitors." So believing, he expressed it as his "conviction before his God, that it was the duty of every American citizen to rally around the flag of his country."
Patriotic utterances like these animated and cheered patri otic hearts; Republican presses and statesmen gratefully ac knowledged and commended those Democratic presses and statesmen that avowed such unfaltering devotion to their country. They felt, though Sumter had fallen, that it was, in the words of the New York "Tribune," "a consolation to know that in losing it we have gained a united people; that, though Sumter was lost, the country is safe."
There were, however, even in that hour of extreme peril, conservative and Democratic leaders and presses that were either silent or that went to the verge of treason in their criticisms and denunciation of the action of the administra tion. They declared that the South could never be subjugated by the North; that the President, by invoking the names of Union and the Constitution, could not deceive the country; that every Democrat should fold his arms, indeed, that "he is no Democrat who will enter the army or volunteer to aid in the diabolical policy of civil war." But these utterances, outside of a few localities, received the stern condemnation of the people of every political faith in the loyal States.
The refusal of the governors of the border States to furnish troops for the suppression of the Rebellion, the tone of the presses of those States, and the temper of the people gratified the leaders at Montgomery, and excited the hopes of the Confederates; while the patriotic responses of Northern governors to the President's call, the uprising of the people, the patriotic utterances of Northern Democrats and presses, disappointed and exasperated those who had vainly hoped that if war came, its battle-fields would be in the North, and that the Northern Democrats would give the administration work enough at home. In their pride of power the Rebel leaders received the call of the President for seventy-five thousand troops with contemptuous ridicule. The Southern press, too, teemed with defiance of the government and ridicule of Northern troops, denouncing the latter as "scurvy fellows, white slaves, peddling wretches, small-change knaves, vagrants, the dregs and offscouring of the populace." "One Southron," they contended, could "whip five of them." Robert Toombs went so far in his contempt for Northern men as to declare, in a speech at Montgomery, that he could hold in the hollow of the palm of his hand all the blood that would be shed in the war. These silly and contemptuous boastings of Southern presses and politicians evinced their ignorance of the North and of its great resources, with their thorough misapprehension of the courage, patriotism, and devotion of its people. It was, indeed, a great and grave mistake, and bitterly did they rue it, and dearly did they pay for their misconceptions and misapprehensions of Northern patriotism and power.
Nor was the North without evidences of estimates alike faulty concerning the section with which it was so soon to close in deadly grapple. Its presses and speakers betrayed a similar ignorance of the spirit and purpose, the fiery zeal and unquestioned courage, of their mistaken countrymen. Underrating Southern resources, they believed that the Confederate government and its military forces would speedily go down beneath the crushing power of the nation. Neither of the sections fully comprehended either its own resources or the resources of the other. In the long struggle that followed, however, they
came to know each other better. The devotion manifested, the endurance and courage displayed, by the men of the North and of the South, will be an inheritance of which their chil dren and their children's children will be proud.
On the 17th of April, two days after the President's proclamation had been issued, Jefferson Davis issued a similar paper, in which he said it had become the duty of the new government to "repel the threatened invasion, and defend the rights and liberties of the people, by all the means which the laws of nations and the usages of civilized warfare" placed at his disposal. At the same time he invited privateering upon the commerce of the United States. Two days afterward President Lincoln, by proclamation, announced that he should employ force to blockade the Southern ports, and all persons, acting under the pretended authority of the Confederate States, who should molest vessels of the United States on the seas, would be held amenable to the laws for the punishment of piracy. The Confederate Congress, on the 6th of May, authorized Davis to issue to private armed vessels letters of marque and general reprisal, and a bounty of twenty dollars for each person who might be on board any vessel belonging to the United States which should be burnt, sunk, or destroyed by a privateer; and also a bounty of twenty-five dollars for any prisoner captured by a privateer and delivered to an agent of the Confederation in any of its ports.
By this proclamation of the Confederate President there was adopted a policy which has, it has been said, "no parallel on the statute-books of civilized nations," and which was tantamount to "a reward for the murder, by fire, water, or otherwise, of men, women, and children found on board of a public vessel of the United States." It also inaugurated, under the more respectable name of privateering, a system of piratical depredations on the commerce of the nation which, if it did not sweep it entirely from the high seas, inflicted incalculable damage, from which it has not yet recovered. Though the Confederates had neither the skill nor resources to construct a navy for themselves, they could steal and purchase, as they did.
Within a very few weeks they had stolen six national
revenue-cutters, and purchased some dozen vessels, which they let loose on their work of mischief and destruction. They gave letters, too, to vessels fitted out in the ports of other nations.
By these declarations and measures of the President of the United States and of the chosen leader of the Confederacy was inaugurated the great civil war that has no parallel in American annals or on the American continent; a Rebellion that has no parallel in the annals of any age or of any continent.