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of religion and morality, the pulpit was ally felt that a vigorous proclamation, loud in its denunciations of the threatened such as General Jackson might have sent evil. In the more quiet state of public forth, calling the secessionists of the South affairs which succeeded, the eloquence to return to their allegiance, would have which had overrun the secular topics of been quite as much in place at the crisis the hour again returned to its accustomed as the appointment of a national fast day channel of religious instruction, to the in the midst of the festivities of the New too great neglect, perhaps, of those in-Year. culcations of duty to the State, on the The ground being thus fairly broken part both of office-holders and the people, the attack upon Sumter brought with it, without the right understanding and per- as a matter of course, a free and open formance of which neither government expression of opinion in the churches nor religion can exist in safety.
generally. The 21st of April, the first The first prominent occasion for the Sunday after that event, will long be revoice of the pulpit to be heard in the pre- membered as a day of extraordinary sent agitation arose with the recommenda- earnestness and anxiety. The President's tion of President Buchanan, in view of the call upon the militia of the several States distracted and dangerous condition of the probably reached every congregation, country, that the people should assemble and parents and children, as they gatheron the 4th of January and observe the ed for worship that Lord's day, felt their day as one of humiliation, fasting and full responsibility in the novel and perilprayer throughout the Union. The day ous situation of affairs. It was noticed was generally kept in the Northern as a striking coincidence that the preStates with the solemnity befitting the scribed lesson for the day from the Old injunction, though the opportunity in Testament in the service of the Episcopal many instances was turned in rather a Church embraced the memorable prodifferent direction, from that apparently clamation in the book of the Prophet intended by the author of the proclama- Joel :-“Prepare war, wake up the tion. He had advised a supplication to mighty men, let all the men of war draw Heaven “ to remove from our hearts that near ; let them come ap. Beat your false pride of opinion which would impel plough-shares into swords and your prunus to persevere in wrong for the sake of ing hooks into spears ; let the weak say consistency, rather than yield a just sub- I am strong. Multitudes, multimission to the unforeseen exigencies by tudes in the valley of decision : for the which we are now surrounded,” a sug- day of the Lord is near in the valley of gestion of concession and compromise, decision." Few of the many thousands which might have been available, if both in whose hearing these words were that sides had been disposed to listen to it. day read could have listened to them The Northern divines, in reply, expressed without emotion. Of the occasion genthe kindliest feelings of cordiality and erally it is but little to say that the brotherhood, but urged in the most de- ministers of religion, conscious of the cided manner the paramount importance prospect before them, were true to the of the maintenance and preservation of great purposes of their vocation in inthe Government. Indeed it was gener-spiring the hearts of the people with that
mingled humility and courage which go Republicans fighting the battles of the hand in hand in the Christian life.
Union. In the middle ground there These were times that tried the tem- was something of a struggle and some per and disposition of men ; but gener- notable defections occurred, among which ally there being little choice of action, were those of two of the late candidates any differences of judgment were lost for the Presidency, John C. Breckenridge in the preponderating local sentiment. of Kentucky, and John Bell of TennesMuch had been expected on both sides see. The former, though he continued to from divisions of opinion. The South maintain a responsible relation with the looked for aid, or at least acquiescence, Government for some time, taking his in its schemes of revolt, from the divided seat as a member of the Senate in the political councils of the North, and the New Congress, early opposed the policy active sympathy of those hitherto pledg- of the Administration. On the 20th of ed to its interests ; and the North, on April, in a speech at Louisville, he dethe other hand, for a long time relied on nounced President Lincoln's Proclamathe coöperation of what was called "a tion as illegal, proposed that Kentucky large Union element” at the South, should protest against the settlement of which at the first opportunity would the present difficulties of the country by throw off the authority of the rebel | the sword, and, that influence failing, asleaders and rise in support of the old serted that it was the duty and interest nationality. Neither expectation proved of Kentucky to unite her fortunes with well founded. The contest became at the South. Mr. Bell in a speech at a once too serious to permit indifference, public meeting at Nashville, Tennessee, and whether from interest or sympathy unequivocally gave his adherence to the with the prevalent feeling around them, South. Casting aside the efforts he had the expected friends of the rebellion and recently made and the hopes he had the expected supporters of the flag were cherished for the preservation of peace, silent or drawn into the popular current. he urged upon all the slaveholding States In the Border States, however, there the policy of uniting together to make was more room for the display of indi- common cause against what he called a vidual preferences, and there for a time common foe. Pronouncing his own State an active rivalry was maintained which of Tennessee already out of the Union, realized some of the worst features of he counselled the most effective and encivil warfare. The public men of the ergetic measures for her military organSouth thus occasionally, in spite of their ization.* cherished convictions, as in the case of
The doubtful adherence and final open Stephens and Johnson of Georgia, who revolt of Breckenridge were more than both, at the outset, voted against the compensated by the loyalty of the venordinance of secession, yielding to the erable Crittenden. There was, likewise, necessities of their unhappy position be- no one in Tennessee whose loss could came a united body of rebels ; while the offset the unhesitating allegiance to the old race of Northern politicians with Union of the energetic Andrew Johnson. Southern opinions speedily found them
* Speech of John Bell at Nashville, Tenn., April 23 selves in the ranks side by side with the 1861.
THE NATIONAL CAPITAL.
'The remaining unsuccessful candidate for dicate the claim of the national Governthe Presidency, Senator Douglas, was not ment to the obedience of all its citizens.' the man to be silent or indifferent at The army and navy presented a debatsuch a period. Wisely appreciating his able ground where the sectional line was own position and the demands of the less defined. Numbers, misled by the untimes, "the patriot achieved a great but happy doctrine of State allegiance abaneasy conquest over the partisan as he doned their commissions in the national heartily, warmly, and with a zeal befit- service, but there were many, especially ting the momentous cause in which he in the navy, whom no local jealousies or was engaged, united with those who had delusions could alienate from their loyheretofore not only opposed but de- alty to the old flag. nounced him, in a struggle to uphold the
* Address of Mr. Browning of Ilinois, in the Senate, Union, sustain the Constitution and vin- | July 9, 1861.
SEIZURE OF HARPER'S FERRY AND THE NORFOLK NAVY YARD.
The first duty of the Government was ready paved the way for by intrigue. to protect Washington. The capture of There could be no doubt then of the the Capital was evidently the object of danger when troops were set in motion the insurgents. Lying between two slave northward, and the seizure of the CapiStates and largely occupied by sympa- tal was everywhere talked of through thizers with the rebellion, it was doubt- the Confederacy without disguise as its less expected to fall an easy prey to the inevitable policy. Southern leaders. Indeed, so important There was some disposition shown afwas its possession to the rebel Govern- terwards to throw off the responsibility of ment that it is difficult to suppose, in so an intention to attack Washington at the comprehensive a scheme of revolt, put time of which we speak, but there would in operation by such masters of strata- appear to be quite evidence enough to gem, that its capture was not contem- establish the fact. A collection of explated from the very outset. After the pressions on the subject by the Southern attack upon Sumter, which was immedi- press, exhibits a variety of declarations ately followed by the secession of Vir- arising in different quarters, and all tendginia, that State having the honor of be- ing to the same result. We have aling the first, outside of the original sev- ready noted the threat of the Confederen, to gain admission to the Montgomery ate Secretary of War at Montgomery, to Confederacy, and when North Carolina, supplant the stars and stripes on the nathe intervening barrier, was waiting only tional Capital by the new flag of the the formal act of withdrawal, the path rebellion before the 1st of May.* The lay open to the Southern armies to ac- day after that avowal, on the 13th of complish by force what they had al
* Ante p. 118.
April, the Richmond Enquirer summon- minious expulsion of Lincoln and his ed to arms the citizens disposed to join body-guard of Kansas cut-throats from " the Southern army as it shall pass the White House. It makes good the through our borders,” with the signifi- words of Secretary Walker at Montgomcant intimation that “nothing was more ery in regard to the Federal metropolis. probable than that President Davis will It transfers the lines of battle from the soon march an army through North Car- Potomac to the Pennsylvania border.” olina and Virginia to Washington.” The “ Washington City," said the Raleigh New Orleans Picayune of the 18th de- Standard of the same date, “will soon clared that “the first fruits of a Virginia be too hot to hold Abraham Lincoln and secession will be the removal of Lin- his Government. North Carolina has coln and his Cabinet and whatever he said it, and she will do all she can to can carry away to the safer neighbor- make good her declaration."
As we hood of Harrisburg or Cincinnati-per- approach the scene of the contemplated haps to Buffalo or Cleveland.” In Ala- robbery the anxiety for the perpetrabama and Mississippi the report was cur- tion of the deed is apparently intensified. rent that Ben. McCullough, the noted “ The capture of Washington City," says Texas chieftain, destined to a conspicu- the Richmond Excaminer of April 23, ous career in the conduct of the war, had“ is perfectly within the power of Virthus early organized a force of five thou- ginia and Maryland, if Virginia will only sand men for the seizure of the Capital. make the effort by her constituted auThe Hon. Roger A. Pryor on his arrival thority, nor is there a single moment to at Montgomery, after his escape from the lose. The entire population pant for the perils of Sumter, publicly announced his onset. There never was half the unadesire to march immediately upon Wash- nimity among the people before, nor a ington. The Eufaula, Alabama, Express, tithe of the zeal upon any subject that is in a few words, described the situation as now manifested to take Washington and it presented itself to the minds of thou- drive from it every Black Republican sands :-"With independent Virginia on who is a dweller there. From the mounone side and the secessionists of Mary- tain tops and valleys to the shores of the land, who are doubtless in the majority, sea there is one wild shout of fierce reon the other, our policy at this time solve to capture Washington city at all should be to seize the old Federal Capi- and every human hazard. The filthy tal and take old Lincoln and his Cabinet cage of unclean birds must and will asprisoners of war. Once get the Head suredly be purified by fire. The people of the Government in our power and we are determined upon it, and are clamorcan demand any terms we see fit, and ous for a leader to conduct them to the thus, perhaps, avoid a long and bloody onslaught. That leader will assuredly contest." North Carolina journals were rise, aye, and that right speedily.” equally impressed with the value of the Whatever, however, inay have been movement. To have gained Mary- the intentions of the leaders, or the wishes land,” said the Goldsboro' Tribune of of the people, in this matter, the course the 24th, " is to have gained a host. It of events in Virginia was well calculated ensures Washington City and the igno
* National Intelligencer, May 9, 1861.
to inspire alarm at the Capital. Within so-called and so-esteemed Union memfour days after the fall of Sumter a bers of the convention to go over to the convention of the people, sitting at Rich- disunion minority. The necessary nummond, resolved upon secession and threw ber of votes having thus been secured, a the State at the feet of the Southern secession ordinance was passed in secret Confederacy. The body which passed on the 17th of April. In accordance this act had been chosen at the suggestion with the conditions under which the conof the Legislature, obviously with the vention had been chosen, it was provided intent on the part of its contrivers to in the act itself that it should take effect employ it for disunion purposes ; while when ratified by a majority of the votes the understanding of the people who of the people of the State cast at a poll elected the delegates was distinctly that to be taken thereon on the fourth Thurs its influence should be exerted on the day in the ensuing May. The ordinance, side of the Union. A majority of the of course, leaving out of view the paradelegates, indeed, were chosen as Union mount question of its legality under the men, and it was moreover, at the same Constitution of the United States, was time, expressly provided by an over- entirely inoperative until this ratification whelming direct vote on the subject, that which was enjoined by the dictation of the action of this convention, whatever the people themselves should be made. it might be, should be sent back to the Yet, in spite of this provision thus forpeople for their confirmation by a popu- mally acknowledged, “the Convention lar vote. Virginia was in fact attached and the Legislature, which was also in to the old Union by so many traditions of session at the same time and place, with State pride and patriotism ; the mother leading members of the State, not memof Presidents, she had given so many bers of either, immediately commenced statesmen and heroes to the nation ; her acting as if the State were already out contiguity to the seat of Government; of the Union. They pushed military the divided opinions of her population preparations vigorously forward all over on the moral, social and economical con- the State. They seized the United States ditions of slavery ; her imperfect sym- armory at Harper's Ferry and the Navy pathies with the South ; the obvious ne- Yard at Gosport, near Norfolk. They cessity, if she gave ear to the secession received, perhaps invited, into their State outcry of offering her fields and cities as large bodies of troops, with their warlike the battle grounds and refuge of the con- appointments from the so-called seceded tending armies—all these were so many States. They formally entered into a loud-tongued appeals to her people to treaty of temporary alliance and coöpebeware of joining their fortunes with the ration with the so-called Confederate desperate enterprise of the Cotton States. States, and sent members to their ConYet, by the management of her intriguing gress at Montgomery. Finally, they perpoliticians of the school of Mason, Floyd, mitted the insurrectionary government Letcher and the rest, the very act, which to be transferred to their capital at Richthis State, of all others, had reason to mond.' All this was done before the avoid, was consummated. The fall of
* Message of Presiden' Lincoln to Congress. July 8, Sumter was the signal for a portion of the 1861.