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But the great contest was political, and the Southern States struggled on the arena of Congress against the increasing predominancy of the North. As the number of members sent to the House of Representatives is in proportion to the population of each State, the North had a majority of votes in that House; but, as the Senate is composed of two members from each State, and no more, the South retained a resisting power there till the number of States had increased from 13 to 30; but when, in 1860, the total number of States had become 34, and the Slave States were restricted to 15, the political power of the South was at an end. The election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States brought the feeling of discontent in the South to a crisis. The Republican party, who placed him in power, included the whole of the Abolitionists; all the Free States voted for him; all the Slave States against him. A distinct line of demarcation was thus drawn between the two sections of the Union, and the Northern section was the victor.
Anticipating this result, the Southern States entered into a combination to withdraw from the Union. South Carolina led the way. On the 20th of December, 1860, a convention assembled at Charleston adopted an ordinance in the following terms:- "We, the people of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the 23rd day of May, 1788, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of the State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and the other States under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved." The convention, at the same time, [drew up a Declaration of immediate causes which induce and justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union," at the commencement of which it is stated, that "The people of South Carolina, in convention assembled, on the 2nd day of April, 1852, declared, that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States by the Federal Government, and its encroachments on the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in their withdrawal from the Federal Union; but, in deference to the feelings and wishes of the other slave-holding States, she forebore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue."
The other seceding States pursued a course similar to that of South Carolina. The dates at which they successively withdrew from the Union are as follows:
The aggregate area of these eleven States is 767,893 square miles, which is more than eight times the area of Great Britain. According
to the census of 1860, the free population of these eleven States was 5,581,649; the slave population, 3,520,116; total, 9,101,765.
The four other Slave States are Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. The aggregate area of these four States is 115,837 square miles. The free population, in 1860, was 2,698,841; the slave population, 429,441; total, 3,128,282.
The aggregate area of the nineteen Free States (including the district of Columbia) is 997,281 square miles. The population of these nineteen States (including Columbia), in 1860, was 18,979,695.
There are also seven Territories not yet admitted as States of which the aggregate area has not yet been ascertained. The total population of these seven Territories, in 1860, was 220,149.
Thus, the aggregate area of the United States, before the Secession, and exclusive of the Territories, was 1,881,011 square miles. The total population of the thirty-four States (incluing Columbia) was 31,209,742. Including the Territories, the grand total of the population, in 1860, was 31,429,891.
On the 9th of January, President Buchanan, in a Message to Congress, stated, that "in several of the States which have not yet seceded, the forts, arsenals, and magazines of the United States have been seized." And on this day the first shot was fired which announced the determination of the South to resist by force of arms the power of the North. A vessel sent with troops and stores to reinforce Fort Sumter, at the entrance of Charleston Harbour, as she was passing Morris Island, was fired upon, when she stopped her course, and retired.
On the 9th of February a convention of the seven States which had then seceded, held at Montgomery, in Alabama, elected Mr. Jefferson Davis to be Provisional President of the Confederate States; and on the 18th he was inaugurated in the office.
On the 4th of March Mr. Abraham Lincoln assumed office as President of the United States. On that occasion he made the following statement: "I declare that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never revoked them. And more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read :-Resolved-That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.""
But the Secessionists had no confidence in the declarations of Mr. Lincoln, or the resolutions of the Republicans. Terms of accommodation were proposed, but they came to nothing. The South insisted on separation, and the North was conscious, that, the precedent of secession once established, the anticipated grandeur of the American Republic would never be realized.
One of the first proceedings of Mr. Lincoln's Government was to endeavour to reinforce and supply with provisions the garrisons at Charleston. For this purpose a number of transports, under convoy of two ships of war, proceeded from New York; but the fleet was dispersed by a storm. Meantime, Major Anderson, who commanded the forces of the United States at Charleston, had evacuated Castle Pinckney, and Fort Moultrie, and had removed the small garrisons to Fort Sumter. On the 11th of April, General Beauregard, who commanded the Confederate troops and forts at Charleston, sent a summons to Major Anderson to surrender. General Beauregard met with a refusal, and on the 12th commenced the bombardment of Sumter by the other forts and batteries. The assailed fort replied vigorously for some time, but the bombardment having been continued for about forty hours, the garrison was under the necessity of surrendering on the afternoon of the 13th. Major Anderson was courteously treated, and on the following day was taken on board a steamer to be conveyed to New York. Only two or three men were killed, and a few wounded.
This hostile proceeding of the authorities at Charleston caused intense excitement and indignation in the Northern States. War became inevitable. President Lincoln, on the 15th of April, issued a proclamation denouncing the illegal combinations of the seven seceding States, and calling out the militia of the United States to the number of 75,000. On the 19th of April he issued another proclamation, in which he gave notice that the ports of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, were placed under blockade. On the 21st of April the Federal authorities dismantled the navy-yard at Norfolk, and sunk or destroyed the 'Merrimac,' Jamestown,' 'Pennsylvania,' Delaware,' and Columbus,' to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Confederates.
On the 3rd of May, President Lincoln issued a proclamation, calling out, for the service of the United States, 42,000 volunteers, and directing that the regular army should be increased by 23,000 soldiers, and the navy by 18,000 seamen.
Immediately after the above proclamation, the Confederate Congress passed an Act recognizing "the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States."
On the 4th of May, Mr. Seward, the Federal Secretary of State, in a despatch addressed to the American Ambassador at Paris, announced that the United States had "accepted the civil war as an inevitable necessity," and that "there is not now, nor has there been, nor will there be, any the least idea existing in this Government of suffering a dissolution of the Union to take place in any way whatever."
On the 13th of May, a proclamation by the Queen of Great Britain commanded all her subjects to observe a strict neutrality in the war which had commenced between the United States and Confederate States, acknowledging the latter as belligerents. The Emperor of the French also, by a notification, in the Moniteur' of the 11th of June, announced his intention to observe a similar neutrality.
At the commencement of June, General Beauregard, who had been removed from Charleston to take the command of the Confederate army in Virginia, had his head-quarters at Manassas Junction, about 30 miles S.W. from the city of Washington.
The Congress of the United States having assembled, President Lincoln, in his Message, on the 5th of July, required to be provided with 400,000 men and 400,000,000 dollars, to carry on the war. On the 10th of July the House of Representatives passed a Bill, also passed by
the Senate, which authorized the raising of an army of 500,000 men, and a loan of 500,000,000 dollars.
The Confederate States having resolved to change their place of assemblage, on the 20th of July met at Richmond, in Virginia, instead of Montgomery, in Alabama.
At this time the head-quarters of the Federal army, commanded by General M'Dowell, were at Centreville, about 20 miles S.W. from Washington, and about 8 miles N.E. from the Confederate forces at Manassas. At about six o'clock in the morning of the 21st of July, the first battle of importance between the two main armies was commenced by the Federals in the vicinity of a stream called Bull's Run. During the forenoon the attacking army appeared to have the advantage, and pushed on bravely till about three o'clock in the afternoon, when General Beauregard having unmasked certain concealed batteries, and General Johnston having come up with reinforcements, the Federal troops began to break and run. The retreat soon became a rout, and finally a panic. The pursuit was continued eastwards towards Centreville, and northwards towards Leesburg, the flying army leaving behind them nearly all their artillery, a large portion of their small arms, and most of their ammunition, baggage, and stores. The loss of the Federals was announced officially to have been 462 men and 19 officers killed: and 947 men and 64 officers wounded. The loss of the Confederates was stated to have been only 60 killed and wounded; but this included six superior officers killed. The Confederate army was stated to have numbered 15,000 men, and the Federal army 18,000.
A Bill to provide for the construction of iron-clad ships and floating batteries was passed by the Federal Congress on the 22nd of July.
August 16. President Lincoln issued a proclamation prohibiting all commercial intercourse between the United States and the seceded States, and declaring that property seized in the possession of Confederates should be confiscated, as well as all ships, under similar cir- • cumstances, seized on the high seas.
On the 21st of September, Lexington, in Kentucky, was surrendered to the Confederate forces, after three days' fighting.
On the 21st of October General Sherman, with a body of troops, effected a landing on the coast of Port Royal Bay, in South Carolina. After a battle which lasted about four hours he compelled the Confederates to abandon their forts, of which he took possession.
At the end of October, General Scott, on account of his age and infirmity, resigned the command in chief of the army of the United States, and General M'Clellan was appointed to succeed him.
During the month of November an event occurred which, taken in connection with the circumstances attending it, threatened to involve Great Britain in a war with the United States. The Trent,' a steamer employed as a mail-packet between Vera Cruz and the Island of St. Thomas, on the 7th of November left Havanna, where she had called to take in additional mails and passengers, and proceeded to St. Thomas, where the mails and passengers were to be transhipped for England. Among the persons taken on board at Havanna were Messrs. Mason and Slidell, sent by the Confederate States as commissioners to Europe (Mr. Mason to England, and Mr. Slidell to France), each accompanied by a secretary. About noon on the eighth of November, the Trent' was compelled to stop by the San Jacinto,' a vessel of war belonging to the United States, under the command of Captain Wilkes. The Trent' was then visited by a lieutenant, with a large guard of armed marines. He demanded that Messrs. Mason and
Slidell, with their secretaries, should be delivered up to him. After remonstrances on one side and threats on the other, this was at length done, under protest, and the four gentlemen were then taken on board the San Jacinto.' When the intelligence of this insulting breach of international law reached England on the 27th of November, the feeling of indignation which it excited was universal. A cabinet council was held on the 29th, at which the Government resolved to demand the restitution of the four persons who had been seized. Earl Russell, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, immediately transmitted a despatch to Lord Lyons, the British Ambassador at Washington, directing him to make the demand; and troops were forwarded to Canada, and other preparations made for war, in case of refusal. Meantime, the San Jacinto had conveyed Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their secretaries, to New York, where they were put in prison. In Boston and other places, as well as in New York, the exultation was excessive. Captain Wilkes was invited to attend public meetings, where he was eulogized; the House of Representatives, on the 4th of December, passed a vote of thanks to him; and the people and Government seemed alike determined to retain their prisoners. Lord Lyons, however, having communicated to the authorities at Washington, on the 23rd of December, the despatch of Earl Russell, the four gentlemen were delivered up, on the 28th, to Lord Lyons, who forthwith had them conveyed to England, where they arrived on the 29th of January, 1862. The anticipated war was thus avoided.
On the 30th of November, Mr. Jefferson Davis was elected President of the Confederate States, for six years. Mr. Stephens was elected VicePresident.
The Congress of the Federal States met at Washington on the 2nd of December. President Lincoln, in his Message to Congress, stated the amount of the Federal army as follows:
On the 28th of December, an attempt was made by the Federals to block up the harbour of Charleston by sinking at the entrance sixteen hulks of whaling vessels laden with blocks of stone. Much indignation was expressed throughout Europe at this act, and nothing more was done.
On the 31st of December, cash payments were suspended by the Government of the Federal States.
The Confederate garrison at Fort Donnelson, in Tennessee, surrendered, on the 16th of February, to the Federal army under General Grant. The Federals captured here 13,500 prisoners, including three generals, and a large quantity of war material. General Floyd, with 5,000 troops, escaped during the preceding night.
In consequence of the surrender of Fort Donnelson, Nashville, the