The National Constitutional Union convention assembled at Baltimore, May 9, 1860. Its members were survivors of the Whigs with the American element especially prominent. Twenty-four states only were represented by delegates. Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were the only Northwestern states represented, and from none of them was there a full delegation.1 California and Oregon were not represented, nor were Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.2 Former Governor Washington Hunt of New York was permanent chairman of the convention which had been organized with Crittenden of Kentucky temporarily presiding. In his opening address, Hunt referred to the question of slavery in the territories as a "miserable abstraction," and sounded the keynote of the convention deliberations when he said: "I trust we shall not be very much embarrassed in the construction of a platform. We ought not to endeavor p93 strongly to establish uniformity of opinion on a question which we all know and understand — a question that every man will at least think and feel according to his own judgment."3
The question of slavery was avoided and national patriotism was emphasized in the convention. A newspaper correspondent observed that the delegates believed the country was weary of the whole theme of slavery and irrepressible conflict, and would rally to the standard of a party which rigorously avoided any mention of them.4 But there was a more cogent reason for their evasive attitude. They sought by silence in their national platform to leave the way open for state organizations to adopt platforms suitable to their respective constituencies. In substance, it was exactly what the Douglas Democrats desired at Charleston. The only difference was, that the Douglas Democrats wanted an ambiguous platform which could be interpreted one way at the South and another at the North, while the Constitutional Unionists wished to leave each section unhampered by the necessity of interpretation. They adopted, therefore, a platform which recognized no principles other than "The Constitution of the country, the Union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws"; but that was not the entire platform nor, in the light of the subsequent election, was it the most important part. The platform continued: "As the representatives of the Constitutional Union men of the country in National Convention assembled, we here pledge ourselves to maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, those great principles of public liberty and national safety against all enemies, at home and abroad, p94 believing that thereby peace may once more be restored to the country, and the just rights of the people and of the States reëstablished, and the Government again placed in that condition of justice, fraternity, and equality which, under the example and Constitution of our fathers, has solemnly bound every citizen of the United States to maintain 'a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.' "5
This was a distinctly Southern platform. It did not pledge its endorsers to support the union of states at all hazards. It pledged them to reëstablish the rights of the people and of the states, and to restore the principles of justice and fraternity and equality as fundamental principles in governmental action, because those were the terms and the conditions of the Constitution (the written compact) by which men were bound faithfully to support the union of states. It was not an endorsement of federal supremacy, nor of majority rule, but rather of state rights and constitutional protection for rights of the minorities. The men who framed it did not renounce their allegiance to their states, nor did they surrender the right to demand congressional legislation and executive action for the protection of the slaveholder in the enjoyment of his property in the territories. The convention was dominated by men from the slave states, particularly from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina. The party in Alabama at a later date adopted a platform which stated "that the territories are the common property of all the States, and therefore, the people of all the States have the right to enter upon and occupy any Territory p95 with their slaves, as well as other property, and are protected by the Constitution and flag of the country; that Congress has no right to legislate slavery into, nor exclude it from, a Territory, and that neither Congress, nor a Territorial legislature has any right or power to legislate on the subject, except so far as may be necessary to protect the citizens of the Territory in the possession and enjoyment of their slave property."6
The party managers denounced the doctrine of popular sovereignty; they asserted the duty protection by the federal government and in the subsequent election they polled but 2 per cent of the vote in free states, representing 13 per cent of the total vote cast for their candidate.7 They denounced the Breckinridge Democrat as attempting to promote disunion, but they did not deny the right of ultimate resistance by secession or revolution. They emphasized the fact that although Lincoln might be elected, the Supreme Court and Congress would be against him and that the states of the South should await some p96 positive overt act before resorting to resistance. They were standing upon the Georgia platform, and they polled 34 per cent of the vote in the lower South and 45 per cent of the vote in the upper South. They sought the defeat of Lincoln and the election of a compromise candidate by the Electoral College or the House of Representatives; and after Lincoln's election they sought compromise and coöperation rather than immediate separate state secession. Neill S. Brown of Tennessee said in the national convention: "I would not give up the Union of States for all the negroes and all the manufacturers, all the railroads, and all the ships that sail the ocean," but, when the question of acquiescing in coercion faced him, he cast his lot with the Southern confederacy, and his attitude was a perfectly consistent one throughout.
The Republican platform, adopted at Chicago, May 17, was an embodiment of sound Republican doctrine. It denied that slavery was based in the common law, denied the right of Congress or of a territorial legislature to establish it in any of the territories, denounced the principles of non-intervention and popular sovereignty as deceptions and frauds, and defined the doctrine of the right of secession as treason.8 A further provision demanded the passage by Congress of "the complete and satisfactory Homestead measure which has already passed the House." In one sense this was the most anti-slavery clause of the platform. The bill referred to had been passed by the Republican House of Representatives as a free-soil measure, with the avowed object of facilitating the formation of numerous free states. It had provided for granting to individuals above the age of twenty-one a p97 quarter section of land as a homestead if occupied for a period of five years. It had been brought to a vote in Senate where Douglas voted with Seward, Sumner, Wilson, and other Republican senators in favor of it.9
This platform, together with the nomination of Lincoln, has been regarded as a repudiation by the party of radical anti-slavery sentiment. They were not so received at the South. The circulation of Sumner's Barbarism of Slavery and Helpers' Impending Crisis as campaign documents by the Republicans counteracted whatever claims to conservatism the party derived from its platform.10 The nomination of Lincoln was not regarded as a repudiation of Seward's Rochester speech, but due to Lincoln's greater popularity in the Northwest.11 What historians have interpreted as a trend toward conservatism, the Southerners viewed as the acts of astute politicians who sought to counteract the effects of John Brown's raid by adopting "a conciliatory tone, 'sinking the nigger' as much as possible from his unpopular eminence in their platform and cunningly resuscitating old questions that now have p98 scarcely the importance of side issues."12 Others denounced the Chicago platform as "a rebuke to Southern morality, and a gross insult to Southern intelligence."13
Four candidates were thus presented to the people in a campaign in which discussion centered about the question of the abolition of slavery in the territories, but in which men were thinking in terms of the ultimate abolition of slavery in the states.
At the South, the members of all political parties were dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery. Douglas and his doctrine were recognized as hostile to the institution, with the result that he received but 7 per cent of the vote in the lower South, constituting but 3 per cent of his total vote. He did only slightly better in the states of the upper South, with but 8 per cent of the vote, representing 5 per cent of his total vote. Lincoln received no support whatever in the lower South, and only 3 per cent of the total vote in the states of the upper South.
The South was determined to resist any attempt on the part of a Republican administration to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it existed. The majority in the states of the lower South believed that the election of a Republican President would in itself constitute sufficient cause for resistance. The majority in the states of the upper South believed that resistance should be delayed until some overt act had been committed.14 p99 The former, in the main, were supporters of Breckinridge, the latter of Bell. Every governor but one15 and virtually every senator and representative in Congress from the seven states of the lower South was on record as favoring secession in event of Republican victory. Three state legislatures had already made provision for arming their states, and had advised the calling of state conventions to determine what course should be pursued. The presidential campaign at the South, therefore, assumed the nature of a preliminary struggle over the question of resistance to Republican rule with the Breckinridge forces upon the defensive.16 They were upon the defensive because their leading men were charged by the Douglas Democrats and by the Constitutional Unionists with having broken up the Democratic party as one act in a prearranged conspiracy to disrupt the Union.
Those parties presented three principal lines of argument in support of their assertions. The first centered in Yancey and his organization of the Leaguers of the South; the second presented the various resolutions adopted by the legislatures of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, counseling some form of resistance to a Republican p100 administration; and the third quoted the many utterances of leading constitutional Democrats in favor of secession if a Republican President were elected. As to the Leaguers of the South or League of United Southerners, as the organization was variously known, there can be no doubt that it had been launched, but we have the statements of Yancey and of Davis that it did not prosper. Davis said in the Senate, when Douglas first presented the argument of the Slaughter letter, that so far as he knew there was never a lodge outside of Alabama, and that not more than seventy-five men ever joined it in that state.17 Yancey himself stated, in the Alabama Democratic convention in January, 1860, that the league was not organized to further the cause of disunion but as an organization to secure the nomination of Southern-rights men in all parties at the South and thereby preserve the principles of the Constitution within the Union. He further admitted that the movement had failed utterly, because "the political managers frowned us down for fear of our disturbing the usual selfish routine of the ambitious leaders of parties, who feared the ascendancy of the statesman over the wiles of the politicians."18 In spite of these and other continued denials, however, the charges were kept alive by the Douglas forces at Charleston and in the Senate; were published in the newspapers of both the Douglas and Bell forces, and were scattered broadcast in pamphlet form throughout the South during the presidential campaign.19
Basing their arguments upon the assumption that the p101 lodges of the Leaguers of the South were fully organized in all the Southern states and engaged in missionary activities for the dissemination of secession doctrine, the Constitutional Unionists and Douglas Democrats turned to the Slaughter letter again for explanation of the various statements of public men, legislative resolutions, and state party platforms. They contended that the details of the conspiracy to "influence parties, legislatures, and statesmen," and "to precipitate the Cotton States into a revolution," had been worked out in private consultation at Montgomery during the Southern commercial convention of 1858, at a time when no specific cause for separation existed. The plot, therefore, was, in its inception, the work of disunionists per se, who sought to arouse the South to their support by introducing the question of reopening the African slave trade into the Montgomery convention, and again in the Vicksburg convention of 1859.20 Finding the opposition to the reopening of the trade too strong, they next turned to the doctrine of congressional protection as first endorsed by the New Orleans Delta, the Montgomery Advertiser, and the Richmond Enquirer, in September, 1858.21 In thus bringing forward this doctrine, the leaders of the conspiracy knew that it would never be accepted by the Democratic party, and never desired that it should be accepted; but brought it forward for the sole purpose of disrupting the party and procuring a united North against a united South.
The next step in the evolution of the movement, they p102 declared, was that of educating the masses to the support of the doctrines of congressional protection and resistance to the inauguration of a Republican President, which had been accomplished through the medium of the newspapers during the year 1859.
The public utterances of many Breckinridge Democrats were displayed as evidence that Southern party leaders had rallied to the support of the conspiracy to bring about the disruption of the union of states and the formation of a Southern confederacy. Virtually every public official in the lower South had at some time counseled resistance to a Republican administration. Governor Pettus of Mississippi had stated, during the campaign of 1859, that he would retire from the canvass if he thought the people "would not sustain him in resistance to the inauguration of a Black Republican President." Ex-Governor McRae of that state, representative in Congress in 1860, had taken a similar position in resolutions sent to the Vicksburg convention in 1859; and, on the eve of his departure for Washington in September of that year, had said at Jackson, that in event of a Republican victory, "Mississippi, separately or in concert with other Southern States as she might elect, ought at once to discontinue her connection with the Abolition States."22 Jefferson Davis had likewise stated at Jackson, July 6, 1859, that "in the contingency of the election of a President on the platform of Mr. Seward's Rochester speech, let the Union be dissolved."23
Other representatives and senators openly declared for secession in event of a Republican victory, some for immediate action, and others in event an overt act should be p103 committed against the South.24 The conspirators, it was charged, having carried out their program of education, having secured the endorsement of men in public office, and having placed three states on record as favoring their designs, had then proceeded to the final preliminary act of the drama, the disruption of the Democratic party at Charleston and at Baltimore. It followed, said the Douglas Democrats and Constitutional Unionists, that Breckinridge and Lane were the candidates of a disunion party; and the Douglas campaign committee thanked God that no disunionist supported their candidates.
In answer to the slogan of the Douglas Democrats, "Thank God no disunionist sustains Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson," written by Miles Taylor of Illinois, chairman of the Douglas campaign committee, the Constitutional Democrats quoted that gentleman's remarks and those of his friend and colaborer in the Douglas cause, Pierre Soulé, in Congress during the struggles over the compromise measures of 1850 and over the admission of Kansas.25 Both had been fire-eaters of the fiercest sort too recently to have had a complete change of heart. In fact, so little did any one suspect the position that Soulé would adopt in the campaign that, at the New Orleans mass meeting of May 12, his political theories were quoted time and again; and the remark was made by D. C. Glenn of Mississippi: "Let Democrats now in battling for Southern rights say that they learned their political doctrines from the lips of Pierre Soulé."26 Alexander H. Stephens, Douglas elector at large from Georgia, p104 had said in the House of Representatives: "When this Government is brought in hostile array against me and mine, I am for disunion — openly, boldly, and fearlessly for revolution."27 Hiram Warner of the same state, a leading Douglas supporter, had delivered in Congress a most able speech in favor of disunion if Congress refused protection to slave property in the territories.28 E. C. Cabell, a Douglas supporter in Missouri, freely denounced the Constitutional Democrats as disunionists, but formerly, as congressman from Florida, he had said: "We can only remain in the Union as your equals. . . . we have resolved to resist at every hazard, and to the last extremity, what is called the 'spirit of the age,' which would array the powers of the Government against the interests of our section."
Quoting these former speeches of leading Douglas supporters to show that they had been disunionists, the startling disclosure was then made that the Atlanta Confederacy, a leading Douglas newspaper of Georgia, was raising the standard of resistance; boldly proclaiming during the campaign: "Let the consequences be what they may — whether the Potomac is crimsoned in human gore, and Pennsylvania Avenue is paved ten fathoms in depth with mangled bodies or whether the last vestige of liberty is swept from the face of the American Continent, the South will never submit to such humiliation and degradation as the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln." The Constitutional Democrats contended, therefore, that the disunionists of Georgia under their old leader, Herschel V. Johnson, and the old disunionists all over the South, were supporting Douglas as part of a well-planned conspiracy p105 to elect Lincoln and succeed in disunion where they had failed in 1850.29
The Constitutional Unionists and Douglas Democrats seized upon a letter of Lawrence M. Keitt of South Carolina, published in the Columbia South Carolinian and in the Charleston Mercury, July 20, 1860. In this letter Keitt said:
Under the teachings of the Abolitionists, the North is about to be consolidated against the South. It is futile to deny, unless all the signs around us betray, that the Federal Government is about to pass into the hands of the majority section, and that all its powers will be used to cripple, and ultimately to destroy, the institution of slavery as it exists among us. . . . It has been said that if the Republican party succeeds in the pending Presidential Campaign, it will succeed through the forms of the Constitution, and that we must wait for an overt act. It is immaterial to a free people, whether they are oppressed under the forms of a Constitution or over and against its forms; they resist oppression itself, and not the form in which it comes. . . . And how can the South be saved from injury if the Republican party succeeds in the coming presidential election? I answer, only by dissolving the Government immediately. If this party succeeds, loyalty to the Union will be treason to the South. The South now stands upon the Constitution, and her standard is in the hands of Breckinridge and Lane; let her sons rally to it, and, under it, move on to equality in the Union.30
This was treason, said the Constitutional Unionist press, and only those would support Breckinridge who were willing to sacrifice the country up the altar of party.
Many Constitutional Unionists had declared, on previous p106 occasions, in favor of separation if Northern aggression continued. Among others were W. L. Underwood of Kentucky,31 H. W. Hilliard of Alabama,32 Leander M. Cox of Kentucky,33 Jeremiah Morton of Virginia,34 and J. P. Campbell of Kentucky.35 Benjamin H. Hill of Georgia, leading Bell and Everett elector at large in that state, said at Macon, Georgia, June 30, 1860, after arguing strongly for protection in the territories:
If the experiment is forced, the fact will turn out to be, in my humble judgment, that this Government and Black Republicanism cannot live together. . . . At no period of the world's history have four thousand millions of property debated whether it ought to submit to the rule of an enemy.36
The Constitutional Unionist newspapers of the lower South adopted a similar attitude against submission to further aggression. The New Orleans Crescent said, as early as July 21, 1860:
When the occasion serves it will denounce them [Union-at‑any‑price men]. The Crescent has not followed the Democratic journals that support Douglas in proclaiming Breckinridge, Yancey, Slidell, and Company as Disunionists, because these gentlemen themselves deny that such is the case, and we do not believe it of them even if they had not denied it. There are very few Disunionists per se in the country. But p107 there are plenty of people, of all shades of political opinion, who will prefer disunion to oppression and injustice within the Union. If any politician, no matter to what party he belongs, avows his readiness to remain in the Union and submit patiently to every indignity that may be offered, we shall be as ready to oppose him, and even to denounce him as we ever were.37
What is the answer? It is simply this: That the South was a unit in its determination to resist a Republican administration conducted along the lines outlined by Seward, Giddings, and others in their many public utterances. Men might differ as to the question of who was responsible for the disruption of the Democratic party, and as to the motives underlying that action; they might differ as to the questions of the benefits to be derived by the South from an endorsement of the principle of popular sovereignty; they might differ as to the nature which resistance should assume; separate state secession, coöperative action, or revolution en masse; they might differ as to the question of time with reference to resistance; but with regard to ultimate resistance in defense of their institutions, they did not differ at all. The South was interested in defeating the Republicans; the Breckinridge Democrats, because from a Republican victory they anticipated death to the institution of slavery; the Constitutional Unionists, because they saw beyond a Republican victory certain disruption of the union of states and civil war.
The Breckinridge Democrats contended that a heavy Southern vote for Bell or Douglas would be understood in the North "as an abandonment of all thought of ever using state authority to stay federal oppression"; and that if the Northern people could be convinced that a dissolution p108 of the Union would follow Lincoln's election he would be defeated.38 The Constitutional Unionists believed that a heavy vote for Breckinridge would embolden the advocates of disunion and a light vote cause them to hesitate before urging extreme measures of resistance.39
That neither Douglas nor Breckinridge could win the election was generally conceded. Two possibilities were open for the Constitutional Unionists to save the Union, and each depended upon preventing the Republicans from securing a majority in the Electoral College. If they could be prevented from doing so, a compromise could possibly be secured in that body, or failing there, in the House of Representatives.40 Few of them indeed, even during the campaign, would have been willing to deny the necessity of the separation of the states in all possible contingencies. They were determined to exhaust every possible effort under the Constitution for a redress of grievances before deserting the Union. They were unionists, it is true, who hoped for peace and harmony; but they were Southern-rights men, and the protection and security of Southern interests was the object of the course they pursued. They opposed the Breckinridge Democrats in the election because the members of that party indicated a p109 policy which would not allow time for compromise; but, unless compromise could be effected along lines satisfactory to the South, they favored peaceable separation.
As early as July 1, 1860, Governor Isham G. Harris of Tennessee indicated the extremes to which the Breckinridge forces were willing to go to prevent a Republican victory. He had been a delegate to the Baltimore convention, had withdrawn, and had participated in the nomination of Breckinridge in the Constitutional Democratic convention. A meeting of the Davidson County Democracy was held at Nashville, June 30, to ratify the action of the Tennessee delegation in withdrawing at Baltimore. Governor Harris said at that meeting that the Tennessee delegation had "used every means of conciliation, and had offered to make every concession consistent with the maintenance of the Constitution, the equality of the States, and the protection of the rights of the citizen"; and that the movement was not a disunion movement, because "the purely national principles asserted in the platform, as well as the antecedents and present position of our candidates, brand this charge as an unmitigated slander and falsehood." More important, however, than his defense of the action taken at Baltimore, was his advice as to the future conduct of the party. Predicting a certain disruption of the union of states if Lincoln should be elected, he advised that the Tennessee electoral delegates, after the election was over, should support Douglas in the Electoral College, if by so doing Lincoln might be defeated.41
As the campaign progressed and it became evident that Lincoln would be elected unless New York or Pennsylvania could be secured by an opposing candidate, an effort was made to perfect a fusion ticket of the opposing p110 parties in those states. On July 6, Mayor Wood published a manifesto in favor of a fusion ticket. Douglas should leave the South to Breckinridge and no Breckinridge ticket should be placed against Douglas in the North. Such procedure would prevent Lincoln from securing a majority of the Electoral College.42 Following this public statement the Mozart Hall Democratic Club of New York City, of which Wood was president, published a series of resolutions which had been adopted by a vote of 86 to 10, urging all parties to support the Douglas electoral ticket in the election. Eventually the fusion ticket was arranged throughout the state, as well as in New Jersey and Rhode Island. Southern men of all parties came North in an effort to arouse the masses to the danger of the situation. Yancey, because of the prominence given by the Republicans and Douglas Democrats to the Slaughter letter and the League of United Southerners in the campaign, was prevailed upon to make an extended campaign which began at Memphis, Tennessee, and ended at Boston, Massachusetts. Henry S. Foote (Constitutional Unionist) of Tennessee and others did likewise. Yancey made no recession from his original position. He denied that he was a disunionist per se; but declared that in the event of a Republican victory, "I hope to God there will be some man or set of men, whom Providence will rear in our midst . . . that there will be some great Washington arise who will be able to scourge them from the temple of freedom, even if he is called a traitor — an agitator, or a rebel during the glorious process."43 Foote p111 was not so emphatic in his statements, but he made it perfectly clear that if once the alternative were presented to the states of the upper South of going with the states of the lower South or remaining as a hopeless minority in a disrupted Union, they would not hesitate to withdraw.44
Meanwhile, Herschel V. Johnson, candidate for vice president on the Douglas ticket, was taking a position with regard to resistance to Republican supremacy which was the farthest possible from unionism as that term was understood at the North. He maintained that, not being a disunionist per se, he patriotically wished the union to be preserved. He believed the South was unwise in the course it was pursuing; but "if the doctrine of non-intervention must at last be repudiated; if the national Democratic party cannot be preserved; if the South shall persist in the policy which she has inaugurated . . . until the country shall be forced into two great antagonistic sectional organizations, based on sectional issues and bounded by sectional lines, I shall be recreant to the instincts of my heart if I do not link my destiny with hers, and follow her fortunes for weal or woe."45
p112 The popular vote in the election was 1,857,610 for Lincoln, 1,365,976 for Douglas, 847,953 for Breckinridge, and 590,631 for Bell. Although elected by a minority vote, it was not the division of the opposition which gave Lincoln the victory. If every vote cast for Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell had been given to any one of the three, Lincoln would still have had a majority of seventeen and one half votes in the Electoral College.46 Before the election returns were fully in, it was evident that Lincoln had been elected, and that secession of the lower South was assured.
1 Halstead, Caucuses of 1860, 104‑105; Important Political Pamphlet for the Campaign of 1860, 23.
2 By reference to the table of statistics, Appendix C, it will be observed that Bell polled, in the subsequent election, but 14,404 votes in the seven states of the Northwest, and but 7,000 votes in the two Pacific coast states.
3 Important Political Pamphlet for the Campaign of 1860, 24.
4 Halstead, Caucuses of 1860, 108‑109.
5 Ibid., 112.
6 "Platform of the Constitutional Union Party of Alabama, adopted at Selma, June 28, 1860," in Important Political Pamphlet for the Campaign of 1860, 16‑18.
7 The attitude of the Constitutional Unionists toward the territorial question is clearly indicated in the following statements from two of their leading journals: "The trouble is that the Bell and Breckinridge men hold that, subject to the Constitution, the Territories have no lawful authority to exclude slavery nor slaveholders, while Mr. Douglas and his Northern supporters hold that the Territories have such lawful authority. . . . To the doctrine of Judge Douglas we, of the Bell party and the Breckinridge party, can never, and will never, assent, as a fundamental principle of party organization, or a fundamental practice in the administration of the Government." Daily Chronicle and Sentinel, Augusta, October 10, 1860. "The editor of the Democrat takes the organs of the Union party to task after his rather sharp fashion. He thinks that the friends of Mr. Bell are very inconsistent in holding that it is the duty of Congress to protect the adjudicated rights of slave owners in the Territories and yet refusing to say that they will be for dissolving the Union if the duty shall not be done." Louisville Daily Journal, August 27, 1860.
8 Proceedings of the first three Republican National Conventions, 131‑133.
9 The bill was defeated in the Senate by the narrow margin of 31 to 26. For the text of the bill and the vote in Senate, see Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., III, 1999.
10 "Both have been disclaimed by a portion of the party for whose service they were sent forth. But it is the dictate of common caution to note how far the principles are sustained of which the expression is disavowed; and to watch for the indication of a coming time when both may be taken up again and set forth as the exponents of a successful party." The Daily Picayune, June 10, 1860. "The Republican journals, such as the New York Tribune and Times, disavow the sentiments of Sumner, and are very desirous to convince the world that they are not the sentiments of the Republican party. . . . The fact is, Sumner has spoken too truly . . . Greeley and Raymond are afraid, just at this moment, to speak the whole truth. They dare not let the conservative portion of the people at the North know that it is the design of the party with which they are associated to make uncompromising war upon the South." The Richmond Dispatch, June 9, 1860. See, also, The Charleston Mercury, July 3, 1860.
11 The Richmond Enquirer, May 22, 1860.
12 New Orleans Daily Crescent, March 16, 1860; see, also, Breckinridge and Lane Campaign Documents, No. 6, 6; and The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, September 11, 1860.
13 The Southern Argus, Norfolk, October 22, 1860.
14 An overt act did not necessarily mean an act of violence. In general the exclusion of slavery from the territories by congressional action or the refusal to admit a slave state into the union were included in that term. The Daily Chronicle and Sentinel, April 14, 1860, said: "If it has come to this, that the General Government, under neither Democratic nor Republican Rule, is able to secure the just rights of the States and the citizens thereof in the common Territory, but that we must either be excluded by our common government or, in the last resort, take what the first-comers may give us, then is the Union a failure, and we of the South must look for new safeguards. If either the Republican policy or the policy of the Popular Sovereignty-Freesoil Democracy is to be the settled policy of this government of ours, then we are no longer equals in the Union our fathers framed, and we would as soon submit to one as the other, but counsel always no submission to either." See, also, Republican Banner, February 10, 1861.
15 Houston of Texas.
16 The author does not mean to imply by this statement that the opponents of the Constitutional Democrats were Unionists in the sense of submissionists as that term was understood at the North.
17 Remarks of Davis of Mississippi in the Senate, May 17, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., III, 2156.
18 Speech of William L. Yancey delivered in the Democratic State Convention, of the State of Alabama, held at Montgomery on the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th of January, 1860, 10.
19 See the National Union, August 4, 1860; the Republican Banner, Nashville, July 28, 1860; and The Conspiracy to Break Up the Union, consisting of extracts from the Daily Nashville Patriot and published in pamphlet form by the Douglas campaign committee.
20 Spratt of South Carolina introduced the resolution into the Montgomery convention, Yancey carried the burden of the debate favoring their adoption, and Roger A. Pryor of Virginia was the leader of the opposition forces. At Vicksburg, Spratt of South Carolina led the debates in favor of the reopening of the trade and Foote of Mississippi the opposition.
21 The National Union, August 4, 1860.
22 The Weekly Mississippian, November 20, 1859.
23 Ibid., July 7, 1859.
24 See remarks by the following congressmen: S. Moore of Alabama, December 8, 1859, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., IV, Appendix, 38; J. L. M. Curry of Alabama, December 19, 1859, ibid., 50.
25 Ibid., 31 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, II, 1520; ibid., 34 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, 187.
26 The Daily True Delta, May 13, 1860.
27 Cong. Globe, 31 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, II, 1083.
28 Ibid., 34 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, 297, 300.
29 Breckinridge and Lane Campaign Document, No. 16, 5.
30 L. M. Keitt to A. G. Sailey, Henry Ellis, and others, July 16, 1860, Republican Banner, July 28, 1860; Daily Missouri Republican, St. Louis, July 27, 1860.
31 Cong. Globe, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, 1166.
32 Ibid., 31 Cong., 1 Sess., I, 359. Hilliard took an active part in securing a fusion ticket in New York in order to defeat Lincoln; see H. W. Hilliard to Millard Fillmore, August 30, 1860, Daily Missouri Republican, September 10, 1860. He was later entrusted by the Confederate government with the important mission of securing a military alliance with Tennessee; see "Convention between the State of Tennessee and the Confederate States of America," in Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 297‑298.
33 Cong. Globe, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, 32.
34 Ibid., 31 Cong., 1 Sess., Appendix, I, 113, 115.
35 Ibid., 34 Cong., 1 Sess., I, 56.
36 Quoted in Breckinridge and Lane Campaign Document, No. 16, 7.
37 See, also, The New Orleans Bee, July 27, 1860.
38 Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, November 6, 1860; The Charleston Mercury, August 4, 1860, said: "That the Union is stronger than slavery in the South, is an axiom of the Black Republican party, their success, in grasping the power of the General Government rests upon it. All movements in the South tending to show that their axiom is true, is a most efficient coöperation with them, and nerves and stimulates their progress and power at the North."
39 Daily Nashville Patriot, October 2, 1860.
40 The attitude of the Southern-rights men on this point was clearly indicated by the Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, June 19, 1860, when it said that "those who please may talk about going before a Black Republican Congress for an election; everybody know what that means — to take the chance of buying a vote, or make a corrupt arrangement, and to ensure what is the certain, final result, absolute submission to anti-slavery domination."
41 Nashville Union and American, July 1, 1860.
42 Fernando Wood to John Van Allen, Watkins, Schuyler and Co., July 6, 1860, in The Daily Delta, New Orleans, July 12, 1860.
43 "Speech of the Hon. William L. Yancey of Alabama at Memphis, Tennessee, August 14, 1860," in the Nashville Union and American, Supplement, August, 1860.
44 "Speech of Henry S. Foote of Tennessee at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, August 14, 1860," in the Daily Missouri Republican, St. Louis, August 21, 1860.
45 "Speech of Herschel V. Johnson delivered in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia, June 28 and 29, 1860," in ibid., July 19, 1860. There was a distinct trend toward Southern unity as the campaign neared its close. Amid all the lip service for the Union, there was an evident consciousness of greater devotion to the security of Southern institutions. The rank and file of the Douglas and Bell parties never subscribed to the extravagant professions of loyalty from their candidates. Typical of many statements was that of The Daily Constitutionalist, leading Douglas organ of the lower South, November 3, 1860: "If this threatened danger to our homes, our property, our people, and our honor be averted by the kindness of merciful God; if, again, we become great in the councils of our country, and Abolition preachers and fools become as of yore, the petitioners of Congress for disunion, let us learn a lesson by the solemn and eventful past, and never divide our forces on the eve of battle." See, also, Speech of Hon. Albert G. Brown, delivered at Crystal Springs, Copiah Co., Miss., September 6, 1860, 3.
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