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Sa.mon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, had been also a prominent candidate for the Presidency. He was a man of commanding person, and fine manly presence, dignified, sedate, and earnest. His mind was comprehensive, logical, and judicial. He was an earnest, determined, consistent, radical abolitionist. His had been the master mind at the Buffalo Convention of 1848, and his pen had framed the Buffalo platform. By his writings, specches, and forensic arguments, and as Governor of the State of Ohio, and in the United States Senate, acting with the accomplished free-soil Senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner, he had contributed largely to the formation of the republican party. Up to the time he became Secretary of the Treasury, he had developed no special adaptation to, or knowledge of finance; but he brought to the duties of that most difficult position, a clear judgment, and sound sense.
Simon Cameron, had been a very successful Pennsylvania politician; he was of Scotch descent, as his name indicates, with inherent Scotch fire, pluck, energy, and perseverance. IIe had a marked Scotch face, a keen gray eye, was tall and commanding in form, and had the faculty of never forgetting a friend, nor an enemy. He was accused of being unscrupulous, of giving good offices and fat contracts to his friends. He retired after a short time, to make room for the combative, mnde, fearless, vigorous, and unflinching Stanton. A man who was justly said to have “organized victory."
Montgomery Blair, the Postmaster General, represented the Blair family. A family of large political influence, and long connected with National affairs. F. P. Blair, Sen., as the editor of the Globe, during General Jackson's administration, was one of the ablest and strongest of the able men who surrounded that great man.
He had associated with, and was the friend of Benton, Van Buren, and Silas Wright, he had seen those friends stricken down by the slave power, and ho had learned to hate and distrust the oligarchy of slaveholders, and his counsels and advice, and his able pen,
had efficiently aided in building up the party opposed to slavery.
Montgomery Blair had argued against the Dred Scott decision. F. P. Blair, Jr., and B. Gratz Brown, had led the
anti-slavery men of Missouri, and had, after a most gallant contest carried the city of St. Louis, and the former was now its honored representative in Congress.
Edward Bates, the Attorney General, was a fine, dignified, scholarly, gentlemanly lawyer of the old school.
Gideon Wells had been a leading editor in New England, and has conducted the affairs of the Navy with great ability; Caleb B. Smith was a prominent politician from Indiana, and had been a colleague of Mr. Lincoln in Congress.
On the evening of the 4th of March, Mr. Lincoln entered the White House, as the National Executive. He found a Government in ruins.
The conspiracy which had been preparing for thirty years, had culminated. Seven States had passed ordinances of secession, and had already organized a rebel Government at Montgomery. The leaders in Congress, and out of it, had fired the excitable Southern heart, and had infused into the young men, a fiery headlong zeal, and they hurried on with the greatest rapidity, the work of revolution. They ordained rebellion, and christened treason, secession. South Carolina, as already stated, having long waited for an occasion, took the lead, and had eagerly seized the pretext of the election of Mr. Lincoln, and on the 17th of November, 1860, passed unanimously, an ordinance of secession.
Georgia, against the remonstrances of Alexander H. Stephens, and others of her statesmen, followed, on the 19th of December, by a vote of 208 against 89. Ordinances of secession had been adopted by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
North Carolina still hesitated. The people of that staunch old Union State, first voted down a call for a convention, by a vote of 46,671 for, to 47,333, against, but a subsequent convention, on the 21st of May, passed an ordinance of secession. Nearly all the Federal forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom houses and post offices within the territories of the seceded States, had been seized, and were held by the rebels. Large numbers of the officers of the army and the navy, deserted, entering the rebel service. Among the most conspicuous in this infamy, was General David E. Twiggs, the second
officer in rank, in the army of the United States, and in January, 1861, commanding the Department of Texas. He had been placed there by Secretary Floyd, because he was known to be in the conspiracy. Secretary Holt, on the 18th of January, ordered that he should turn over his command to Colone! Waite; but before this order reached Colonel Waite, Twiggs had consummated his treason by surrendering to the rebel Ben. McCullough, all the National forces in Texas, numbering twenty-five hundred men, and a large amount of stores and munitions of war.
Strange as it may seem, the resignations of many officers were received and accepted, and the traitors instead of being arrested, were suffered to pass over to the insurgents. The civil officers of the United States were not permitted to exercise their functions in the seceded States under penalty of imprisonment and death. All property of the National Government was seized and appropriated to the rebellion. Debts due to the Government and to individuals in the loyal States, and the property of Union men, were confiscated.
There was little or no struggle in the Gulf States, excepting in Northern Alabama, against the wild tornado of excitement in favor of rebellion, which carried everything before it.
In the border States, in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri, there was a contest, and the friends of the Union made a struggle to maintain their position. Ultimately the Union triumphed in Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri; and the rebels carried the State of Tennessee against a most gallant contest on the part of the Union men of East Tennessee, under the lead of Andrew Johnson, Governor Brownlow, Horace Maynard, and others. They also carried Virginia, which seceded April 17th, and North Carolina, which adopted secession on the 20th of May.
Some of the rebel leaders labored under the delusion, and they most industriously inculcated it among their followers, that there would be no war; that the North was divided; that the Northern people would not fight, and if there was war, a large part of them would oppose coercion, and
perhaps fight on the side of the rebellion.* There was in the tone of a portion of the Northern press, and in the speeches of some of the Northern democrats, much to encourage this idea, and some leading republican papers were at least ambiguous on the subject. There was, however, one prominent man from Massachusetts, who had united with the rebel leaders in support of Breckinridge, who sought to dispel this idea. This was Benjamin F.Butler, who came to Washington, to know of his old political Associates what it meant? “It means," said his Southern friends, “ separation, and a Southern Confederacy. We will have our independence, and establish & Southern Government, with no discordant elements.”
“Are you prepared for war,” said Butler.
“ The North will fight. The North will send the last man, and expend the last dollar to maintain the government," said Butler.
· But,” said his Southern friends, “the north can't fight, we have too
allies there." “ You have friends," said Butler, "in the North, who will stand by you so long as you tight your battles in the Union ; but the moment you fire on the flag, the Northern people will be a unit against you." “And," added Butler, "you may be
, assured if war comes, slavery ends.” Butler, sagacious and true, became satisfied that war was inevitable. With the boldness and directness which has ever marked his charao ter, he went to Buchanan, and advised the arrest of the commissioners sent by the seceding states, and their trial for treason. This advice was as characteristic of Butler to give, as of Buchanan to disregard.
During the last months of Buchanan's administration, there as a struggle between the conspirators in his cabinet, and the honest men-Dix, who had replaced Cobb as Secretary of
• Ex President Pierce in a letter to Jefferson Davis, dated January 6th, 1800, among other things said: “If through the madness of Northern abolitionists, that dire calamity, (disraption of the Union,) must come, the tighting will not be along Mason and Dixon's line merely. It will be soithin our own borders, in our own streets between the two classes of citizens to whom I have referred. Those wbo dety law, and scuui Constitutional obligation, will, if we ever reach the arbitrament of arms, And oocupation enough at home!" Buch a letter is sufficiently signifonnt.
the Treasury; Holt, who had replaced Floyd, as Secretary of War; and Stanton, who had replaced Black as Attorney General; Black having been called to the department of State, on the indignant retirement of Gen. Cass from that position, when Buchanan refused to reinforce Anderson at Moultrie.
When Lincoln entered upon his duties as President, such had been the misrepresentation of the speakers and press in the Southern States, that the people regarded him as a savage monster, in form and in character. The following incidents will illustrate this feeling.
A distinguished South Carolina lady, the widow of a Northern scholar, proud, aristocratic, and conscious of the blood of all the Howards," and to whom Lincoln had been represented as a demon, half ape and half tiger, the very devil himself-called upon him at Willard's Hotel, just before his inauguration. The President elect came into the parlor accompanied by senators Hale, Seward, and others, prominent members of Congress. As she approached, (she was nearly as tall as the President,) she hissed in his ear, “South Carolinian !” He turned and addressed her with the greatest courtesy and gentlemanly politeness. After listening to him a few moments, astonished, she said to him :
“Mr. Lincoln, you look, act, and speak like a humane, kind and benevolent man!” He replied, “Did you take me for a savage, madam ?”
« Certainly, I did," said she. Such was the impression his genial, benevolent nature made upon her, that she said to him, “Mr. Lincoln, the best way for you to preserve peace is to go to Charleston, and show the people what you are, and tell them you have no intention of injuring them.” She went home, and entering a room, where were assembled a partyof secessionists from South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, exclaimed as she entered, “I have seen him! I have seen him !” " Who?" enquired they. “That terrible monster, Lincoln, and what is more, I am going to his first levee.” The evening of the reception arrived, and dressing herself in a black velvet dress, with two long white plumes in her hair, this tall daughter of South Carolina repaired to the White House. Being nearly six feet high, with black hair, black eyes, a Calhoun