Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History Volume 02.
these States, in which the ultra-secession party was signally overthrown.  It submitted sullenly to its defeat; leaving, as always before, a considerable faction unsatisfied and implacable, only awaiting a new opportunity to start a new disturbance.  This new opportunity arose in the slavery agitation, beginning with the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in 1854, and ending with the election of Lincoln.  Daring this six years’ controversy, disunion was kept in the background because the pro-slavery party had continual and sanguine hope of ultimate triumph.  It did not despair of success until the actual election of Lincoln, on the 6th of November, 1860; consequently, even in the Southern States, as a rule, disunion was frowned upon till near the end of the Presidential campaign, and only paraded as an evil to be feared, not as a thing to be desired.

This aspect, however, was superficial.  Under the surface, a small but determined disunion conspiracy was actively at work.  It has left few historical traces; but in 1856 distinct evidence begins to crop out.  There was a possibility, though not a probability, that Fremont might be elected President; and this contingency the conspirators proposed to utilize by beginning a rebellion.  A letter from the Governor of Virginia to the Governors of Maryland and other States is sufficient proof of such an intent, even without the evidence of later history.

    RICHMOND, VA., Sept. 15, 1856.

DEAR SIR:  Events are approaching which address themselves to your responsibilities and to mine as chief Executives of slave-holding States.  Contingencies may soon happen which would require preparation for the worst of evils to the people.  Ought we not to admonish ourselves by joint council of the extraordinary duties which may devolve upon us from the dangers which so palpably threaten our common peace and safety?  When, how, or to what extent may we act, separately or unitedly, to ward off dangers if we can, to meet them most effectually if we must?
I propose that, as early as convenient, the Governors of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee shall assemble at Raleigh, N.C., for the purpose generally of consultation upon the state of the country, upon the best means of preserving its peace, and especially of protecting the honor and interests of the slave-holding States.  I have addressed the States only having Democratic Executives, for obvious reasons.

    This should be done as early as possible before the Presidential
    election, and I would suggest Monday, the 13th of October next. 
    Will you please give me an early answer, and oblige,

    Yours most truly and respectfully,

    HENRY A. WISE.

    His Excellency Thomas W. Ligon,
    Governor of Maryland.

If any explanation were needed of the evident purpose of this letter, or of the proposed meeting, it may be found in the following from Senator Mason, of Virginia, to Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, who was at the time Secretary of War under President Pierce: 

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Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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