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or disregard it in any part. Imploring the assistance of Divine Provi. dence, and with due regard to the views and feelings of all who were represented in the Convention, to the rights of all the States and Territories and people of the nation, to the inviolability of the Constitution, and the perpetnal union, harmony, and prosperity of all, I am most happy to cooperate for the practical success of the principles declared by the Con. vention. Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Hon. GEORGE ASHMUN,
President of the Republican Convention Mr. Lincoln's nomination proved universally acceptable to the Republican party. Its members recognized in him a man of firm principles, of ardent love for freedom, of strict integrity and truth, and they went into the political contest with a zeal and enthusiasm which was the guarantee of victory ; while the doubt and uncertainty, the divided counsels and wavering purposes of their opponents were the sure precursors of defeat.
His nomination was the signal to the leaders of the slaveholders' party for pressing upon the Democratic Convention their most ultra views, that by the division of the Democratic forces the victory of Mr. Lincoln might be assured, and the pretext afforded them for carrying into execution the plot against the liberties of the country which they had been for so many years maturing. That they would dare to carry their threat of rebellion into execution, was not believed at the North. If it had been, while it might have frightened away some votes from Mr. Lincoln, it would have brought him substantial accessions from the ranks of those who, though following the Democratic banner, had not learned to disregard the good old doctrine that the majority must rule, and who would have rushed to its rescue, if they had believed that it was really threatened. The vote which he received on November 6, 1860, was that of a solid phalanx of earnest men, who had resolved that freedom should henceforth be national, and that slavery should remain as the framers of the Constitution intended that it should remain
FROM THE ELECTION, NOV. 6, 1860, TO THE INAUGURATION,
MARCH 4, 1861.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELEOTION.-SECESSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA.-Forma•
TION OF THE REBEL CONFEDERACY:-THE OBJECTS OF SECESSION.--SBOESSION MOVEMENTS IN WASHINGTON.-DEBATES IN CONGRESS.—Tu CRITTENDEN RESOLUTIONS.—CoxOILIATORY ACTION OF CONGRESS.—TUB PEACE CONFERENCE.—AOTION OF CONGRESS.-The SECESSION MoveMENT UNCHECKED.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was elected to be President of the United States on the sixth day of November, 1860. The preliminary canvass had not been marked by any very extraordinary features. Party lines were a good deal broken up, and four presidential candidates were in the field ; but this departure from the ordinary course of party contests had occurred more than once in the previous political history of the country. Mr. Lincoln was put in nomination by the Republican party, and represented in his life and opinions the precise aim and object for which that party had been formed. He was a native of a slaveholding State ; and while he had been opposed to slavery, he had regarded it as a local institution, the creature of local laws, with which the National Govern. ment of the United States had nothing whatever to do. But, in common with all observant public men, he had watched with distrust and apprehension the advance of slavery, as an element of political power, towards ascendency in the Government of the nation, and had cordially co-operated with those who thought it absolutely neces. sary for the future well-being of the country that this advance should be checked. He had, therefore, opposed very strenuously the extension of slavery into the Territories, and had asserted the right and the duty of Congress to exclude it by positive legislation there from.
The Chicago Convention, which nominated Mr. Lincola, adopted a platform of which this was the cardinal feature; but it also took good care to repel the imputation of its political opponents, and to remove the apprehensions of the South, that the party proposed to interfere with slavery in the States whose laws gave it support and protection. It expressly disavowed all authority and all wish for such interference, and declared its pur. pose to protect the Southern States in the free enjoyment of all their constitutional rights. The Democratic Convention, originally assembled at Charleston, was disposed to make Mr. Douglas its candidate in opposition to Mr. Lincoln ; but this purpose was thwarted by leading politicians of the slaveholding States, who procured the nomination of Mr. Breckinridge, with full knowledge of the fact that this would divide the Democratic party, and in all probability secure the election of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Breckinridge represented the pro-slavery element of the Democratic party, and asserted the duty of the National Government, by a positive exercise of its legislative and executive power, to protect slavery in the Territories against any legislation either of Congress or of the people of the Territories themselves, which should seek to impair in any degree the right, alleged to be recognized in the Constitution, of property in slaves. Mr. Douglas supported the theory that the people of the Territories, acting through their territorial legislature, had the same right to decide this question for themselves as they had to decide any other; and he represented this principle in opposition to Mr. Lincoln on the one hand, and Mr. Breckinridge on the other, in the residential canvass. John Bell, of Tennessee, was also made a candidate by the action mainly of men who were dissatisfied with all the existing political parties, and who were alarmed at the probable results of a presidential election which promised to be substantially sectional in its character. They put forth, therefore, no opinions upon the leading points in controversy ; and went into the canvass with the Constitution, the Union, and the enforcement of the
laws" as their platform,--one upon which they could easily have rallied all the people of all sections of the country, but for the fact, which they seemed to overlook, that the widest possible differences of opinion prevailed among the people as to its meaning.
All sections of the country took part in the election. The Southern States were quite as active and quite as zealous as the Northern in carrying on the canvass. Public meetings were held, the newspaper press, South as well as North, discussed the issues involved with, energy and vigor, and every thing on the surface indicated the usual termination of the contest, the triumph of one party and the peaceful acquiescence of all others. The result, however, showed that this was a mistake. The active and controlling politicians of the Southern States had gone into the canvass with the distinct and well-formed purpose of acquiescing in the result only in the event of its g'ving them the victory. The election took place on the 6th of November. Mr. Lincoln received the electoral votes of all the Free States except New Jersey, which was divided, giving him four votes and Mr. Douglas three Mr. Breckinridge received the electoral votes of all the Slave States except Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, which voted for Bell, and Missouri, which voted for Douglas, as did three electors from New Jersey also. Of the popular vote, Lincoln received 1,857,610; Douglas, 1,365,976 ; Breckinridge, 847,953; and Bell, 590,631. In the Electoral College, Lincoln received 180 votes, Douglas 12, Breckinridge 72, and Bell 39.
As soon as the result of the election was known, various movements in the Southern States indicated their purpose of resistance; and it soon became evident that this purpose had been long cherished, and that members of the Government under the presidency of Mr. Buchanan had officially given it their sanction and aid On the 29th of October, General Scott sent to the President and John B. Floyd, his Secretary of War, a letter expressing apprehensions lest the Southern people should seize some
of the Federal forts in the Southern States, and advising that they should be immediately garrisoned by way of precaution. The Secretary of War, according to statements subsequently made by one of his eulogists in Virginia, “thwarted, objected, resisted, and forbade" the adoption of those measures, which, according to the same authority, if carried into execution, would have defeated the conspiracy, and rendered impossible the formation of a Southern Confederacy. An official report from the Ordnance Department, dated January 16, 1861, also shows that during the year 1860, and previous to the presidential election, one hundred and fifteen thousand muskets had been removed from Northern armories and sent to Southern arsenals by a single order of the Secretary of War, issued on the 30th of December, 1859. On the 20th of November, the Attorney General, Hon. John S. Black, in reply to inquiries of the President, gave him the official opinion that Congress had no right to carry on war against any State, either to prevent a threatened violation of the Constitution or to enforce an acknowledgment that the Government of the United States is supreme: and it soon became evident that the President adopted this theory as the basis and guide of his executive action.
South Carolina took the lead in the secession movement. Her legislature assembled on the 4th of November, 1860, and, after casting the electoral vote of the State for John C. Breckinridge to be President of the United States, passed an act the next day calling a State Convention, to ineet at Columbia on the 17th of December. On the 10th, F. W. Pickens was elected Governor, and, in his inaugural, declared the determination of the State to secede, on the ground that, “in the recent election for President and Vice-President, the North had carried the election upon principles that make it no longer safe for us to rely upon the powers of the Federal Government or the guarantees of the Federal compact. This,” he added, “is the great overt act of the people of the Northern States, who propose to inaugurate a chief magistrate not to preside over