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to the territorial lim
the cause of secession.
Having thus formally declared that the con- Opposition templated limitation of the territory within which itation of slavery negro slavery should be tolerated was the sole cause of the projected separation, and having appealed to the world to support them, the seceding States made efforts, which proved vain, to induce the other slave States to join them. No other States passed ordinances of secession until after the fall of Fort Sumter. On the contrary, the people of the States of Tennessee' and Missouri' before that time voted by large majorities against secession; and in the States of North Carolina and Virginia conventions were called and were in session when some of the events hereinafter referred to took place; and these bodies were known to be opposed to the revolutionary movements in South Carolina and the six States bordering on the Gulf of Mexico. A large minority, if not a majority, of the peo- Sonth opposed to
A party in ple of the slave States known as Border States, and of the mountainous parts of the six States known as the Gulf States, did not desire separation. They were attached to the Union, which had fostered and protected their interests, and they expressed no dissatisfaction, except with the proposed policy as to the extension of slavery, and
A party in the in many cases not even with that. Their feelings South opposed to
were forcibly expressed by the distingushed Alexander H. Stephens, Provisional Vice-President of the Montgomery Government, in a speech made in the Convention in Georgia before that State passed the ordinance of secession, and about two months before he accepted office at Montgomery. He said, “This step [of secession] once taken can never be recalled; and all the baleful and withering consequences that must follow will rest on the Convention for all coming time. When we and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war, which this act of yours will inevitably invite and call forth; when our green fields of waving harvest shall be trodden down by the murderous soldiery and fiery car of war sweeping over our land; our temples of justice laid in ashes; all the horrors and desolations of war upon us, who but this Convention will be held responsible for it, and who but him who shall have given his vote for this unwise and illtimed measure, as I honestly think and believe, shall be held to strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation, and probably cursed and execrated by posterity for all coming time, for the wide and desolating ruin that will inevi. tably follow this act you now propose to perpe
i McPherson's History of the Rebellion, page 25.
trate? Pause, I entreat you, and consider for A party in the
South opposed to
. a moment what reasons you can give that will secession. even satisfy yourselves in calmer moments; what reasons you can give to your fellow-sufferers in the calamity that it will bring upon us.
What can you give to the nations of the earth to justify it? . They will be the calm and deliberate judges in the case, and what
, cause or one overt act can you name or point to, on which to rest the plea of justification? What right has the North assailed? What interest of the South has been invaded? What justice has been denied ? And what claim founded in justice and right has been withheld? Can either of you to-day name one governmental act of wrong, deliberately and purposely done by the Government of Washington, of which the South has a right to complain? I challenge the answer.” All the facts above referred to in this
paper were patent to the whole world, were ostentatiously put forth by the insurgents, and were openly commented upon by the public press throughout the United States. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to presume that the British Government received from its representatives and agents in the United States full information concerning them as they took place. To suppose the
contrary would be to ignore the well-known
fidelity of those officers. Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln entered upon the duties of his Mr. Lincoln.
office on the 4th of March, 1861. He found the little Army of the United States scattered, and disintegrated; the Navy sent to distant quarters of the globe; the Treasury bankrupt; the credit of the United States seriously injured by forced sales of Government securities; the public service demoralized; the various Departments of the Government filled with unfaithful clerks and officers, whose sympathies were with the South, who had been placed in their positions for the purpose of paralyzing his administration. These facts, which were known to the world, must have attracted the attention of the observant Representative of Great Britain at Washington, and must have enabled him to make clear to his Government the reasons why the Cabinet at Washington must pause before asserting its rights
by force. The British Gov- The new Government took an early opportuof his purposes. nity to inform the British Government of its
purposes.' On the 9th of March, four days after the installment of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Dallas, the Minister of the United States at London, was instructed to communicate to Lord Russell the Inaugural Ad
i Seward to Dallas, Vol. I, page 8.
The British Government informed
dress of the President, and to assure him that the President entertained full confidence in the speedy of his purposes. restoration of the harmony and unity of the Government. He was further told that “the United States have had too many assurances and manifestations of the friendship and good-will of Great Britain, to entertain any doubt that these considerations will have their just influence with the British Government, and will prevent that Government from yielding to solicitations to intervene in any unfriendly way in the domestic concerns of our country.”
Mr. Dallas, in complying with his instructions, (April 9, 1861,) pressed upon Lord Russell the importance of England and France abstaining, " at least for a considerable time, from doing what, by encouraging groundless hopes, would widen a breach still thought capable of being closed.” Lord Russell replied that the coming Lord John Rus
sell promises to of Mr. Adams (Mr. Dallas's successor)'“would await Mr. Adams's doubtless be regarded as the appropriate and ing. natural occasion for finally discussing and determining the question."
The United States therefore had reasonable ground to believe, not only in view of the great moral interests of which they were the exponents, and of the long-standing friendship between them
arrival before act
1 Dallas to Seward, Vol. I, page 12.