« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
and just way to deal with the tenets and positions from time to time held by contending parties—this, namely: to cite fully and fairly from the 'platforms' and other formal declarations of sentiment put forth by each; or (in the absence of these) from the speeches, messages, and other authentic utterances, of their accepted, recognized chiefs. This I have constantly and very freely done throughout this volume. Regarding the progress of Opinion toward absolute, universal justice, as the one great end which hallows effort and recompenses sacrifice, I have endeavored to set forth clearly, not only what my countrymen, at different times, have done, but what the great parties into which they are or have been divided have believed and affirmed, with regard more especially to Human Slavery, and its rights and privileges in our Union. And, however imperfectly my task may have been performed, I believe that no preëxisting work has so fully and consistently exhibited the influences of Slavery in molding the opinions of our people, as well as in shaping the destinies of our country.
To the future historian, much will be very easy that now is difficult; as much will in his day be lucid which is now obscure; and he may take for granted, and dispatch in a sentence, truths that have now to be established by pains-taking research and elaborate citation. But it is by the faithful fulfillment of the duties incumbent on us, his predecessors, that his labors will be lightened and his averments rendered concise, positive, and correct. Our work, well done, will render his task easy, while increasing the value of its fruits.
Some ancient historians favor their readers with speeches of generals and chiefs to their soldiers on the eve of battle, and on other memorable occasions; which, however characteristic and fitting, are often of questionable authenticity. Modern history draws on ampler resources, and knows that its materials are seldom apocryphal. What Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Laurens, the Pinckneys, Marshall, Jackson, Clay, Calhoun, Webster, etc., etc., have from time to time propounded as to the nature and elements of our Federal pact, the right or wrong of Secession, the extension or restriction of Slavery under our National flag, etc., etc., is on record; and we know, beyond the possibility of mistake, its precise terms as well as its general purport. We stand, as it were, in the immediate presence of the patriot sages and heroes who made us a nation, and listen to their wellweighed utterances as if they moved in life among us to-day. Not to have cited them in exposure and condemnation of the novelties that have so fearfully disturbed our peace, would have been to slight and ignore some of the noblest lessons ever given by wisdom and virtue for the instruction and guidance of mankind.
It has been my aim to recognize more fully than has been usual the legitimate position and necessary influence of the Newspaper Press of our day in the discussion and decision of the great and grave questions from time to time arising among us. To-day, the history of our country is found recorded in the columns of her journals more fully, promptly, vividly, than elsewhere. More and more is this becoming the case with other countries throughout the civilized world. A history which takes no account of what was said by the Press in memorable emergencies befits an earlier age than ours.
As my plan does not contemplate the invention of any facts, I must, of course, in narrating the events of the war, draw largely from sources common to all writers on this theme, but especially from The Rebellion Record of Mr. Frank Moore, wherein the documents eluci
dating our great struggle are, in good part, preserved. Perhaps the events of no former war were ever so fully and promptly embodied in a single work as are those of our great contest in The Record, which must prove the generous fountain whence all future historians of our country may draw at will. But I am also considerably indebted to Mr. Orville J. Victor's History of the Southern Rebellion, wherein is embodied much valuable, important, and interesting material not contained in The Record. I shall doubtless appear to have made more use of Mr. Edward A. Pollard's Southern History of the War; which I have often cited, and shall continue to cite, for peculiar reasons.
Its author is so hot-headed a devotee of Slavery and the Rebellion, that nothing which seems to favor that side is too marvelous for his deglutition; so that, if he were told that a single Confederate had constrained a Union regiment to lay down their arms and surrender, he would swallow it, without scrutiny or doubt. His work, therefore, is utterly untrustworthy as a whole ; yet, in certain aspects, it has great value. He is so headlong and unquestioning a believer in the Confederacy, that he never dreams of concealing or disavowing the fundamental ideas whereon it is based; it is precisely because it stands and strikes for Slavery that he loves and glories in the Confederate cause. Then his statements of the numbers engaged or of the losses on either side are valuable in one aspect: You know that he never overstates the strength nor the losses of the Confederates; while he seems, in some instances, to have had access to official reports and other documents which have not been seen this side of the Potomac. Hence the use I have made, and shall doubtless continue to make, of his work. But I trust that it has been further serviceable to me, in putting me on my guard against those monstrous exaggerations of the numbers opposed to them with which weak, incompetent, and worsted commanders habitually excuse, or seek to cover up, their failures, defeats, and losses.
I have not found, and do not expect to find, room for biographic accounts of the generals and other commanders who figure in our great struggle, whether those who have honored and blessed or those who have betrayed and shamed their country. To have admitted these would have been to expand my work inevitably beyond the prescribed limits. By nature little inclined to man-worship, and valuing individuals only as the promoters of measures, the exponents of ideas, I have dealt with personal careers only when they clearly exhibited some phase of our National character, elucidated the state of contemporary opinion, or palpably and powerfully modified our National destinies. Thomas Jefferson, Eli Whitney, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, John O. Calhoun, Benjamin Lundy, Elijah P. Lovejoy, John Brown-men differing most widely in intellectual caliber as well as in aspirations, instincts, convictions, and purposes—may fairly be regarded as, in their several spheres, representative Americans, each of whom in some sense contributed to lay the train which we have seen fired by the Secessionists of our day with so magnificent a pyrotechnic display, so majestic a resulting conflagration; and of these, accordingly, some notion may be acquired from the following pages; while, of our generals and commodores, the miniature Portraits contained in these volumes, and the record of their respective achievements, are all that I can give. So many battles, sieges, marches, campaigns, etc., remain to be narrated, that-ample as this work would seem to be, and capacious as are its pages-a naked record of the remaining events of the war, especially should it be protracted
for a full year more, will test to the utmost my power of condensation to conclude the work in another volume of the generous amplitude of this.
My subject naturally divides itself into two parts: I. How we got into the War for the Union ; and II. How we get out of it. I have respected this division in my cast of the present work, and submit this volume as a clear elucidation of the former of these problems, hoping to be at least equally satisfactory in my treatment of the latter.
It is the task of the historian to eliminate from the million facts that seemed important in their day and sphere respectively, the two or three thousand that have an abiding and general interest, presenting these in their due proportions, and with their proper relative emphasis. Any success in this task must, of course, be comparative and approximate; historical work ever was or will be written whereof a well-informed and competent critic might not forcibly say, 'Why was this fact stated and that omitted? Why give a page to this occurrence, and ignore that, which was of at least equal consequence? Why praise the achievement of A, yet pass over that of B, which was equally meritorious and important?' But, especially in dealing with events so fresh and recent as those of our great convulsion, must the historian expose himself to such strictures. Time, with its unerring perspective, reduces every incident to its true proportions ; so that we are no longer liable to misconceptions and apprehensions which were once natural and all but universal. We know, beyond question, that Braddock's defeat and death before Fort Du Quesne had not the importance which they seemed to wear in the eyes of those who heard of them within the month after their occurrence; that Bunker Hill, though tactically a defeat, was practically a triumph to the arms of our Revolutionary fathers; that the return of Bonaparte from Elba exerted but little influence over the destinies of Europe, and that little of questionable beneficence; and that "fillibusterism,' so called, since its first brilliant achievement in wresting Texas from Mexico and annexing her to this country, though attempting much, has accomplished very little, toward the diffusion either of Freedom or Slavery. And so, much that now seems of momentous consequence will doubtless have shrunk, a century hence, to very moderate dimensions, or perhaps been forgotten altogether.
The volume which is to conclude this work cannot, of course, appear till some time after the close of the contest; and I hope to be able to bestow upon it at least double the time that I was at liberty to devote to this. I shall labor constantly to guard against Mr. Pollard's chief error--that of supposing that all the heroism, devotedness, humanity, chivalry, evinced in the contest, were displayed on one side; all the cowardice, ferocity, cruelty, rapacity, and general depravity, on the other. I believe it to be the truth, and as such I shall endeavor to show, that, while this war has been signalized by some deeds disgraceful to human nature, the general behavior of the combatants on either side has been calculated to do honor even to the men who, though fearfully misguided, are still our countrymen, and to exalt the prestige of the American name.
That the issue of this terrible contest may be such as God, in His inscrutable wisdom, shall deem most directly conducive to the progress of our race in knowledge, virtue, liberty, and consequent happiness, is not more the fervent aspiration, than it is the consoling and steadfast faith, of
H. G. NEW YORK, April 10, 1864.
VI. Slavery after 1787..
XVIII. Case of Dred Scott in Sup. Court...251
Views of President Buchanan-Chief Justice Taney
XIX. Our Foreign Policy-Monroe-Cuba.26-1
Treaty with France Washington-Jefferson-The
Monroe Doctrine'-The Panaina Congress---Se
-The Ostend Manifesto-William Walker and the
XX. John Brown and his Raid..........279
Lineage and early life of John Brown-His Kansas
Scott--Clay-Pinkney--P. P. Barbour-Webster--
VIII. State Rights-Resolutions of '98..... 81
Georgia and the Indians.
IX. Abolition—Its Rise and Progress....107
Early efforts for Emancipation--Slave-holders con-
denn Slavery-Virginia- Benjamin Lundy-Wm.
X. The Churches on Slav'y and Abolition.117
XI. The Pro-Slavery Reaction-Riots.....122
Rifling the Mails--Persecution and Murder of Rev.
E. P. Lovejoy- The Struggle in Congress for the
Right of Petition.
XII, Texas and her Annexation to the U.S.147
Sam. Houston-M. Hunt--Webster-T, W. Gilmer-
Jackson---J. Q. Adams Van Buren-Clay-Benton
XIII. The Mission of Samuel Hoar to S. C.. 178
XIV. War with Mexico-Wilmot Proviso...185
Gen. Cass-Letter to Nicholson-Gen. Taylor chosen
President-Attempts by Gen. Burt, of s. C., and by
Senator Douglas, to extend the Compromise Line of
36° 30' to the Pacific.
XV. The Struggle for Compromise in 1850..198
Gov. Seward-James Brooks-Gen. Taylor-Hen-
ry Clay-Jefferson Davis-Webster's 7th of March
Speech--The Texas Job.
XVI. The Era of Slave-Hunting-1850-60.210
Fugitive Slave Law John Van Buren-Judge Grier
-R, R. Sloane-Margaret Garner-Anthony Burns
-The Flaunting Lie'-National Party Platforms
of 1852-Gen. Scott--Election of Pierce and King.
Organization of the Confederacy-Jefferson Da-
vis chosen President, and Alex. H. Stephens
corner-stone' speech-Mr. Lincoln's journey to
XXVII. The Pause before the Shock......428
The two Cabinets-Attempts to Negotiate by
Forsyth and Crawford---Repelled by Gov. Sew-
ard-- Judge Campbell's Statement-Northern
proposals to join the Confederacy--Society for
the promotion of National Unity.
XXVIII. Siege and Reduction of Ft. Sumter 440
Hesitation-Futile Negotiations-Attempt to
provision-Order to open fire-Bombardinent
commeuced-Fire returned-Interior of the fort
in flames-- Wigtall's volunteer embassy-Ander
son surrenders--Garrison leaves for New York-
XXIX. The Nation called to arms-and
Virginia sends Envoys to Washington-The
XXX. Secession resumes its march......473
Shameful surrender of the Norfolk Navy Yard--
XXXI. The Opposing Forces in conflict...497
Davis's first Message-Relative strength of the
North and the South-European opinion-
Slavery -- Cotton -- Military training - Army
Officers-Northern sympathy with the South
--The heart of the People for the old flag and
their whole country.