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CH. XXVII. the 7th of February, 1861, by Clement L. Vallandigham, of Ohio, who, not content with the clogs of a dual form, proposed the following absurd quadruple machinery: The Union to be divided into four sections: North, West, Pacific, and South. On demand of one-third of the Senators from any section, for any action to which the concurrence of the House of Representatives may be necessary,except on adjournment,-a vote shall be by sections, and a majority of Senators from each section shall be necessary to the validity of such action. A majority of all the electors in each of the four sections to be necessary to choice of President and Vice-President; they should hold the office six years; not to be eligible to reëlection except by vote of two-thirds of the electors of each section; or of the States of each section whenever the choice devolved upon the Legislature; Congress to provide for the election of President and Vice-President when electors failed. No State might secede without consent of the Legislatures of all States of that section, the President to have power to adjust differences with seceding States, the terms of agreement to be submitted to Congress; neither Congress nor Territorial Legislatures should have power to interfere with citizens immigrating-on equal termsto the Territories, nor to interfere with the rights of person or property in the Territories. New States pp. 794, 795. to be admitted on an equal footing with old ones. The adoption of any or all of the legislative nostrums which were severally suggested, presupposed a willingness on the part of the South to carry them out and be governed thereby. The authors of these projects lost sight of the vital difficulty,

"Globe,"

Feb. 7, 1861,

that if the South refused obedience to laws in the CH. XXVII. past she would equally refuse obedience to any in the future when they became unpalatable. It was not temporary satisfaction, but perpetual domination which she demanded. She did not need an amendment of the fugitive-slave act, or a repeal of personal liberty bills, but a change in the public sentiment of the free States. Give her the simple affirmation that slaves are property, to be recognized and protected like other property, embody the proposition in the Constitution, and secure its popular acceptance, and she would snap her fingers at an enumeration of other details. Fugitive-slave laws, inter-State slave trade, a Congressional slave code, right of transit and sojourn in the free States, compensation for runaways, new slave States, and a majority in the United States Senate would follow, as inevitably as that the well planted acorn expands by the forces of nature into roots, trunk, limbs, twigs, and foliage. This was what Jefferson Davis formulated in discussing his Senate resolutions of February, 1860,1 and the doctrine for which Yancey rent the Charleston Convention in twain. This is what Jefferson Davis would again demand of the Senate Committee of Thirteen; and, knowing the North would never concede it, he would, even prior to the demand, join in instigating and proclaiming secession.

1"We want nothing more than of the Federal Government to a simple declaration that negro slaves are property, and we want the recognition of the obligation

protect that property like all
other." Senate Speech, "Globe,"
May 17, 1860, p. 2155.

CHAPTER XXVIII

THE CONSPIRACY PROCLAIMED

CH.XXVIII.

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O a great majority of the people the hopes and chances of a successful compromise seemed still cheering and propitious. There was indeed a prevailing agitation in the Southern part of the Union, but it had taken a virulent form in less than half a dozen States. In most of these a decided majority still deprecated disunion. Three of the great political parties of the country were by the voice of their leaders pledged to peace and order; the fourth, apparently controlled as yet by the powerful influences of official subordination and patronage, must, so it seemed, yield to the now expressed and public advice of the President in favor of Union and the enforcement of the law; especially in view of the forbearance and kindness he was personally exercising towards the unruly elements of his faction. Throughout the Northern States the folly and evils of disunion appeared so palpable that it was not generally regarded as an imminent danger, but rather as merely a possible though not probable event. The hasty and seemingly earnest action of the people and authorities of South Carolina was looked upon as a historical repetition of the nullification crisis of 1831-32; and

without examining too closely the real present con- CH.XXVIII. dition of affairs, men hoped, rather than intelligently expected, that the parallel would continue to the end. Some sort of compromise of the nature of that of 1850 was the prevailing preoccupation in politics.

This was the popular view of the situation. But it was an erroneous view, because it lacked the essential information necessary to form a correct and solid judgment. The deep estrangement between the sections was imperfectly realized. The existence of four parties, a very unusual occurrence in American politics, had seriously weakened party cohesion, and more than quadrupled party prejudice and mistrust. There was a strong undercurrent of conviction and purpose, not expressed in speeches and platforms. But the most serious ignorance was in respect to the character and fidelity of the high officers of the Government. Of the timidity of Mr. Buchanan, of the treachery of three members of the Cabinet, of the exclusion of General Scott from military councils, of the President's refusal to send troops to Anderson, of his stipulation with the South Carolina Members, of the intrigue which drove General Cass from the head of the State Department and from the Cabinet, the people at large knew nothing, or so little that they could put no intelligent construction upon the events. The debates of Congress shed the first clear light upon the situation, but the very violence and bitterness of the secession speeches caused the multitude to doubt their sincerity, or placed their authors in the category of fanatics who would gain no followers.

CH.XXVIII.

While, therefore, the Republicans in Congress and in the country maintained, as a rule, an expectant and watchful silence, the conservatives, made up for the greater part of the supporters of Bell and Everett, were active in setting on foot a movement for compromise, in the final success of which they had the fullest confidence; and it is but justice to their integrity and ability to add that this confidence was warranted by the delusive indications of surface politics. Highly patriotic in purpose and prudent in act, their leading men in Congress had promptly opposed secession, had moved a Senate Committee of Thirteen, and secured the appointment and the organization of the House Committee of Thirty-three. Already some twenty-three different propositions of adjustment had been submitted to this committee, and under the circumstances it actually seemed as if only a little patience and patriotic earnestness were needed to find a compromise,-perhaps an amendment of the Constitution,- which the feverish unrest and impatience of the nation would compel Congress to enact or propose, and the different States and sections, willing or unwilling, to accept and ratify.

Superior political wisdom and more thorough information, as well as a finer strategy, a quicker enthusiasm, and a more unremitting industry, must be accorded to the conspirators who now labored night and day in the interest of disunion. They discerned more clearly than their opponents the demoralization of parties at the North, the latent revolutionary discontent at the South, the influence of brilliant and combined leadership, and

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