arts of government, and enabled them, by superior ability, to control the successive administrations at Washington. Proud and confident, they indulged the belief that their great political prestige would continue to serve them among their late party associates in the North, and that the counsels of the adversary would be distracted, and his power weakened, by the fatal effects of dissension. All warlike sentiment and capacity was believed to be extinct among the traders and manufacturers, 'the shopkeepers and pedlars,' of the Middle and Eastern States. Hence a vigorous attack in arms against the Federal Government was expected to be met with no energetic and effective resistance. A peaceable dissolution of the Union, and the impossibility of war—at least of any serious and prolonged hostilities—was a cardinal point in the teachings of the secessionists. The fraudulent as well as violent measures by which they sought to disarm the Federal Government and to forestall its action, were only adopted 'to make assurance doubly sure.'
Beyond all doubt, the system of slavery encourages those habits and passions which make the soldier, and which instigate and maintain wars. The military spirit and that of slavery are congenial; for both belong to an early stage in the progress of civilization, when each is necessary to the support and continuance of the other. It was therefore to be expected that the Southern people would be better prepared for the organization, and also for the manœuvring of armies. But the mistake and the fatal delusion cherished by the conspirators, was the belief that the Northern people were without manly spirit, and incapable of being aroused by sentiments of patriotism. It was an equal miscalculation to anticipate that the fabric of Northern free society would fall to pieces, and be thrown into irremediable disorder, at the first appearance of civil commotion. This false idea was the offspring of the slave system, which boasted of the solidity of its own organization and the impossibility of its overthrow. From their standpoint, amid the darkness of a social organization, in which one half the population is not more than semi-civilized, the slaveholders could not easily obtain any other view. Long accustomed to wield irresponsible power as masters, enjoying wealth and independence from the unrewarded labor of the slave, but liberal and humane, condescending and indulgent, so long as the untutored black was quiet and obedient, the planter very naturally imagined his system to be the perfection of social order. In the atmosphere of luxurious ease which surrounded him, were the elements of a mental mirage which distorted everything in his deceptive vision. He weighed the two systems, and found his own immeasurably more powerful than its antagonist. Fatal mistake! fatal but inevitable, in his condition, in the midst of the blinding refractions of the medium which enveloped him.
Prosperity had made him giddy. Cotton was not merely King—it was God. Moral considerations were nothing. The sentiment of right, he argued, would have no influence over starving operatives; and England and France, as well as the Eastern States of the Union, would stand aghast and yield to the masterstroke which should deprive them of the material of their labor. Millions were dependent on it in all the great centres of civilization, and the ramifications of its power extended into all ranks of society and all departments of industry and commerce. It was only necessary to wave this imperial sceptre over the nations, and all of them would fall prostrate and acknowledge the supremacy of the power which wielded it. Nothing could be more plausible than this delusion. Satan himself, when about to wage war in heaven, could not have invented one better calculated to marshal his hosts and give promise of success in rebellion against the authority of the Most High. But alas! the supreme error of this anticipation lay in omitting from the calculation all power of principle. The right still has authority over the minds of men and in the counsels of nations. Factories may cease their din; men and women may be thrown out of employment; the marts of commerce may be silent and deserted; but truth and justice still command some respect among men, and God yet remains the object of their adoration.
Drunk with power and dazzled with prosperity, monopolizing cotton, and raising it to the influence of a veritable fetich, the authors of the rebellion did not admit a doubt of the success of their attack on the Federal Government. They dreamed of perpetuating slavery, though all history shows the decline of the system as industry, commerce, and knowledge advance. The slaveholders proposed nothing less than to reverse the currents of humanity, and to make barbarism flourish in the bosom of civilization. They even thought of extending the system, by opening the slave trade and enlarging the boundaries of their projected empire, Mexico and Central America, Cuba and St. Domingo, with the whole West Indian group of islands, awaited the consolidation of their power, and stood ready to swell the glory of their triumph.
But these enticing visions quickly faded away from their sight. At an early day after the inauguration of their government, they were compelled to disavow the design of reopening the slave trade, and in no event is it probable their recognition will be yielded by foreign governments, except on the basis of ultimate emancipation. How such a proposition will be received by their deluded followers, remains yet to be ascertained by an experiment which the authors of the rebellion will be slow to try among their people. One of the most effective appeals made to the non-slaveholders of the South, in order to start the revolution, was to their fears and prejudices against the threatened equality and competition of the emancipated negro. The immense influence of this appeal can scarcely be estimated by those not intimately acquainted with the social condition of the great mass of the Southern people. Among them, the distinction of color is maintained with the utmost rigor, and the barrier between the two races, social and political, is held to be impassable and eternal. The smallest taint of African blood in the veins of any man is esteemed a degradation from which he can never recover. Toward the negro, as an inferior, the white man is often affable and kind, cruelty being the exception, universally condemned and often punished; but toward the black man as an equal, an implacable hostility is instantly arrayed. This intense and unconquerable prejudice, it is well known, is not confined wholly to the South; but it prevails there without dissent, and is, in fact, one of the fundamental principles of social organization.
When, therefore, the leaders of the rebellion succeeded in persuading the Southern masses that the success of the Republican party would eventually liberate the slave and place him on an equality with the whites, an irresistible impulse was given to their cause. To the extent that this charge was credited was the rebellion consolidated and embittered. Had it been universally believed, there would have been few dissenting voices throughout the seceding States. All would have rushed headlong into the rebellion. And even now, every measure adopted on our part, in the field or in Congress, which can be distorted as looking to a similar end, must prove to be a strong stimulus in sustaining and invigorating the enemy. Happily, while the system of slavery naturally discourages education, and leaves the mass of whites comparatively uninformed, and peculiarly subject to be deceived and misled, there are yet many highly intelligent men among the non-slaveholders, and some liberal and unprejudiced ones among the slaveholders themselves. These serve to break the force of the appeals made to the ignorant, and they have had a powerful influence in maintaining the love of the Union and the true spirit of our