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Hammond, years ago, put it to Thomas Clarkson : “ Were ever any people, civilised or savage, persuaded by argument, human or divine, to surrender voluntarily $2,000,000,000 ? The idea is absurd. Away then with your pretended moral suasion ! You know it is mere nonsense.”
The President Lincoln's inaugural was a puzzler. But Mr. Ellison has no difficulty in fathoming its abstruseness, upon Punch’s principle of prophesying the winner of the Derby on the Thursday. So that the anticipation of Mr. Iverson seems to have been pretty accurately realised. *
“ People read Lincoln's message and re-read it without being able to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion : some said it meant coercion, others, concession; some peace, others war. Many who read it to-day and pronounced it a pacific document, reversed their opinion with a second reading on the morrow, and vice versâ; but such was the helpless condition of Government that to have laid bare the plans it intended to carry out under certain contingencies, would have resulted in certain disaster to the Union. For whilst the secessionists had been long preparing for war, Government was as unprepared as it possi
* Vide p. 111. .
bly could be. To suppose they for a moment ever contemplated to allow the seceding States to withdraw peacefully is absurd."* Pretty morality this! Jefferson Davis and his cabinet did not fail to apprehend the real import of their intentions, and forthwith strengthened their various military positions, and bombarded Fort Sumpter. On the 15th of April the war proclamation was issued by Lincoln, which will be found in the Appendix (I.) with Davis's counter one. And on the same day the Governor of Virginia announced his intention of resisting the invasion of his State, and on the 19th the Federal troops were compelled to destroy the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and on the 20th the Gosport navy yard, Norfolk. On the 29th the seaboard of the South was blockaded: one by one the border States came into the secession movement. On May 6th Arkansas passed her ordinance. On June 8th Tennessee, North Carolina adding a loan of $5,000,000 to the Confederacy. Since then military possession alone holds in the Union Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and Western Virginia; and yet Mr. Ellison tells us, p. 292,—“The uprising does not extend to the whole people, but is entirely the work of a band of
* Ellison, p. 275.
disappointed and defeated politicians. These men have usurped the reins of Government, and now tyrannise over the peaceful and Union-loving people, and are so thoroughly organised that they can prevent the expression of opinions contrary to their notions. The real disunion party is a very small minority; there is a strong anti-secession party which is coerced and the great bulk of the people deluded, victims of foulest misrepresentations of the North’s intentions, and the most absurd statements of those of European powers. If once relieved from the presence and power of traitors there will be a general reaction in favour of union; and when the people have seen the true character of the movement they will hurl rebel leaders with probably less ceremony than would be employed by the Federal Government!!!!!!”*
* The manner in which these constitutional repressors of rebellion are conducting warfare, may be seen by the atrocious piracy of one Lieut. Budd of the U.S. Navy, who lately landed and destroyed private property on the Potomac, upon no pretence whatever known to modern warfare. Here is his report :-"Dr. Hooe's house presented marks of a recent stampede” (no wonder, and thank God some escaped !) “and that some of the fugitives were females. It was richly furnished, and contained a valuable library, all of which fell a prey to the flames. Dr. Hooe was killed by a shot from a rifled cannon.” Good God, is this the way warfare is to be carried on in the 19th century?
Of Mr. Ellison's fairness in weighing the relative merits of the Southern and Northern politicians we may take this as a specimen :
“ The poor whites are compelled from necessity to some labour, such as retail business, grocery stores, &c.; large numbers lounge about the country, subsisting on fishing and hunting, and odd jobs on plantations. All are held in great contempt by the slaveholding class. The Hon. G. Lumpkin, of Georgia, speaks of them as . degraded, half-fed, halfclothed, ignorant, and without just appreciation of character.
“ And this,” says Ellison, “must ever be the condition of a society where the basest features of human nature have no check, but, on the contrary, are urged into full and fiendish development, so long as the first principles of humanity are daily violated by the man-floggings and woman-beatings, the libertinism and other villanies of the slave system of the South."*
Well done Mr. Lumpkin: ominous title! With such writers arguments must be utterly thrown away; but, surely, there must be men in the North who regret such very poor abuse as this should be suffered
* Ellison, p. 187.
to inflame minds already aggravated by a sense of injustice, and who deplore in secret, apparently, for none have yet had the courage to denounce it, the virulent and bitter hatred of all the talent and statesmanship which the South has for half a century dedicated to the service of the general commonwealth. It seems impossible to believe that writers such as these can represent the feelings, or embody the sentiments of the merchants, the manufacturers, the traders, the professional men, and statesmen of such communities as Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. Or is the tyrant howl of a senseless mob drowning their voice? We fear so!
What are we to think of such a recommendation as this, which appeared but a few days ago in one of the leading journals of New York? “Instead of shedding the blood of our FELLOW-MEN ! ! ! let us, North and South, unite to resent the threatened interference of England. Let one half Northern and one half Southern army join hands in a common cause, and proceed directly to drive the British power out of Canada. We have the strength, why not the will ?"
The only parallel to this delicious suggestion is to be found in the pages of the revolutionary press of France in 1793, and based on precisely the same assumption.