The Abolition Crusade and Its Consequences_ Four Periods of American History
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Title: The Abolition Crusade and Its Consequences
Four Periods of American History
Author: Hilary Abner Herbert
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THE ABOLITION CRUSADE
AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
FOUR PERIODS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
HILARY A. HERBERT, LL.D.
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Copyright, 1912, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Published April, 1912
TO MY GRANDCHILDREN
THIS LITTLE BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATEDIN THE HOPE THAT ITS PERUSALWILL FOSTER IN THEM, AS CITIZENS OF THIS GREATREPUBLIC, A DUE REGARD FOR THE CONSTITUTIONOF THEIR COUNTRYAS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND
BY JAMES FORD RHODES
"Livy extolled Pompey in such a panegyricthat Augustus called him Pompeian,and yet this was no obstacle to theirfriendship." That we find in Tacitus. Wemay therefore picture to ourselves Augustusreading Livy's "History of the CivilWars" (in which the historian's republicansympathies were freely expressed), andlearning therefrom that there were twosides to the strife which rent Rome. Aswe are more than forty-six years distantfrom our own Civil War, is it not incumbenton Northerners to endeavor to seethe Southern side? We may be certainthat the historian a hundred years hence,when he contemplates the lining-up of fiveand one-half million people against twenty-twomillions, their equal in religion, morals,[viii]regard for law, and devotion to the commonConstitution, will, as matter of course, averthat the question over which they foughtfor four years had two sides; that all theright was not on one side and all the wrongon the other. The North should welcome,therefore, accounts of the conflict writtenby candid Southern men.
Mr. Herbert, reared and educated in theSouth, believing in the moral and economicalright of slavery, served as a Confederatesoldier during the war, but after Appomattox,when thirty-one years old, he toldhis father he had arrived at the convictionthat slavery was wrong. Twelve yearslater, when home-rule was completely restoredto the South (1877), he went intopublic life as a Member of Congress, sittingin the House for sixteen years. At the endof his last term, in 1893, he was appointedSecretary of the Navy by President Cleveland,whom he faithfully served during hissecond administration.
[ix]Such an experience is an excellent trainingfor the treatment of any aspect of theCivil War. Mr. Herbert's devotion to theConstitution, the Union, and the flag nowequals that of any soldier of the Northwho fought against him. We should expecttherefore that his work would be pervadedby practical knowledge and candor.
After a careful reading of the manuscriptI have no hesitation in saying that the expectationis realized. Naturally unable toagree entirely with his presentation of thesubject, I believe that his work exhibits aside that entitles it to a large hearing. Ihope that it will be placed before theyounger generation, who, unaffected by anymemory of the heat of the conflict, maytruly say:
Tros Tyriusve, mihi nullo discrimine agetur.
James Ford Rhodes.
Boston, November, 1911.
In 1890 Mr. L. E. Chittenden, who hadbeen United States Treasurer under PresidentLincoln, published an interesting accountof $10,000,000 United States bondssecretly sent to England, as he said, in 1862,and he told all about what thereupon tookplace across the water. It was a reminiscence.General Charles Francis Adams inhis recent instructive volume, "StudiesMilitary and Diplomatic," takes up thisnarrative and, in a chapter entitled "AnHistorical Residuum," conclusively showsfrom contemporaneous evidence that thebonds were sent, not in 1862, but in 1863,but that, as for the rest of the story, theresiduum of truth in it was about like thespeck of moisture that is left when a soapbubble is pricked by a needle.
General Adams did not mean that Mr.Chittenden knew he was drawing on his imagination.[xii]He was only demonstrating thatone who intends to write history cannotrely on his memory.
The author, in the following pages, isundertaking to write a connected story ofevents that happened, most of them, in hislifetime, and as to many of the most importantof which he has vivid recollections;but, save in one respect, he has not reliedupon his own memory for any importantfact. The picture he has drawn of the relationsbetween the slave-holder and non-slave-holderin the South is, much of it,given as he recollects it. His opportunitiesfor observation were somewhat extensive,and here he is willing to be considered inpart as a witness. Elsewhere he has reliedalmost entirely upon contemporaneous writtenevidence, memory, however, often indicatingto him sources of information.
Nowhere are there so many valuable lessonsfor the student of American history asin the story of the great sectional movementof 1831, and of its results, which have[xiii]profoundly affected American conditionsthrough generation after generation.
An effort is here made to tell that storysuccinctly, tracing it, step after step, fromcause to effect. The subject divides itselfnaturally into four historic periods:
1. The anti-slavery crusade, 1831 to1860.
2. Secession and four years of war, 1861to 1865.
3. Reconstruction under the Lincoln-Johnsonplan, with the overthrow by Congressof that plan and the rule of the negroand carpet-bagger, from 1865 to 1876.
4. Restoration of self-government in theSouth, and the results that have followed.
The greater part of the book is devoted tothe first period—1831 to 1860, the period ofcausation. The sequences running throughthe three remaining periods are more brieflysketched.
Italics, throughout the book, it may bementioned here, are the author's.
Now that the country is happily reunited[xiv]in a Union which all agree is indissoluble,the South wants the true history of thetimes here treated of spread before its children;so does the North. The mistakes thatwere committed on both sides during thatlamentable and prolonged sectional quarrel(and they were many) should be known ofall, in order that like mistakes may not becommitted in the future. The writer has,with diffidence, attempted to lay the factsbefore his readers, and so to condense thestory that it may be within the reach ofthe ordinary student. How far he has succeededwill be for his readers to say. Theverdict he ventures to hope for is that hehas made an honest effort to be fair.
The author takes this occasion to thankthat accomplished young teacher of history,Mr. Paul Micou, for valuable suggestions,and his friend, Mr. Thomas H. Clark,who with his varied attainments has aidedhim in many ways.
Hilary A. Herbert.
Washington, D. C., March, 1912.
|I.||Secession and Its Doctrine||15|
|II.||Emancipation Prior to 1831||37|
|III.||The New Abolitionists||56|
|IV.||Feeling in the South—1835||77|
|V.||Anti-Abolition at the North||84|
|VI.||A Crisis and a Compromise||93|
|VII.||Efforts for Peace||128|
|VIII.||Incompatibility of Slavery and Freedom||147|
|IX.||Four Years of War||180|
|X.||Reconstruction, Lincoln-Johnson Plan and Congressional||208|
|XI.||The South under Self-Government||229|
THE ABOLITION CRUSADE AND ITS
The Constitution of the United Statesattempts to define and limit the powerof our Federal Government.
Lord Brougham somewhere said thatsuch an instrument was not worth theparchment it was written on; people wouldpay no regard to self-imposed limitationson their own will.
When our fathers by that written Constitutionestablished a government that waspartly national and partly federal, and thathad no precedent, they knew it was anexperiment. To-day that government hasbeen in existence one hundred and twenty-threeyears, and we proudly claim that theexperiment of 1789 has been the success ofthe ages.
Happy should we be if we could boastthat, during all this period, the Constitutionhad never been violated in any respect!
The first palpable infringement of itsprovisions occurred in the enactment ofthe alien and sedition laws of 1798. Thepeople at the polls indignantly condemnedthese enactments, and for years thereafterthe government proceeded peacefully; thepeople were prosperous, and the Union andthe Constitution grew in favor.
Later, there grew up a rancorous sectionalcontroversy about slavery that lastedmany years; that quarrel was followedby a bloody sectional war; after that warcame the reconstruction of the SouthernStates. During each of these three tryingeras it did sometimes seem as if that oldpiece of "parchment," derided by LordBrougham, had been utterly forgotten.Nevertheless, and despite all these tryingexperiences, we have in the meantime advancedto the very front rank of nations,and our people have long since turned, notonly to the Union, but, we are happy tothink, to the Constitution as well, withmore devotion than ever.
It may be further said that, notwithstandingall the bitter animosities that forlong divided our country into two hostilesections, that wonderful old Constitution,handed down to us by our fathers, was always,and in all seasons, in the hearts ofour people, and that never for a momentwas it out of mind. Even in our sectionalwar Confederates and Federals were bothfighting for it—one side to maintain it overthemselves as an independent nation; theother to maintain it over the whole of theold Union. In the very madness of reconstructionthe fundamental idea of theConstitution, the equality of the States,ultimately prevailed—this idea it was thatimperatively demanded the final restorationof the seceded States, with the right ofself-government unimpaired.
The future is now bright before us. Thecomplex civilization of the present is, wedo not forget, continually presenting newand complex problems of government, andwe are mindful, too, that, for the peoplewho must deal with these problems, ahigher culture is required, but to all thisour national and State governments seem tobe fully alive. We are everywhere erectingmemorials to our patriotic dead, we haveour "flag day" and many ceremonies tostimulate patriotism, and, throughout ourwhole country, young Americans are beingtaught more and more of American historyand American traditions.
The essence of these teachings presumablyis that time has hallowed our Constitution,and that experience has fully shown thewisdom of its provisions. In this land ofours, where there are so much property andso many voters who want it, and where thehonor and emoluments of high place are sotempting to the demagogue, there can beno such security for either life, liberty, orproperty as those safeguards which ourfathers devised in the Constitution of theUnited States.
Our teachers of history must thereforeexpose fearlessly every violation in the pastof our Constitution, and point out the penaltiesthat followed; and, above all, theycannot afford to condone, or to pass by insilence, the conduct of those who have heretoforeadvocated, or acted on, any law whichto them was higher than the American Constitution.
One of the most serious troubles in thepast, many think our greatest, was our terriblewar among ourselves. Perhaps, afterthe lapse of nearly fifty years, we can allnow agree that if our people and our Stateshad always, between 1830 and 1860, faithfullyobserved the Federal Constitution weshould have not had that war. Howeverthat may be, the crusade of the Abolitionists,which began in 1831, was the beginningof an agitation in the North against the existenceof slavery in the South, which continued,in one form or another, until theoutbreak of that war.
The negro is now located, geographically,much as he was then. If another attemptshall be made to project his personal statusinto national politics, the voters of