Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.
[1] “The President has listened to him [General Scott] with due
friendliness and respect, but the War Department has been little
communicative.  Up to this time he has not been shown the written
instructions of Major Anderson, nor been informed of the purport of
those more recently conveyed to Fort Moultrie verbally by Major
Buell.”—­Gen. Scott (by G.W.  Lay) to Twiggs, Dec. 28, 1860.  W.R.  Vol. 
I., p. 580.

[2] In a Senate speech, January 10, 1861, “Globe,” page 307, Jefferson Davis, commenting on these orders, while admitting that they empowered Major Anderson to go from one post to another, said, “Though his orders were not so designed, as I am assured.”



Thus far Mr. Buchanan’s policy of conciliation through concession had brought him nothing but disappointment, and whatever faint hope his loyal Cabinet advisers may have had at the outset in its saving efficacy was by practical experiment utterly destroyed.  The non-coercion doctrine had been adopted as early as November 20, in the Attorney-General’s opinion of that date.  The fact was rumored, not only in the political circles of the capital, but in the chief newspapers of the country; and the three secession members of the Cabinet had doubtless communicated it confidentially to all their prominent and influential confederates.  Since that time South Carolina had continued her preparation for secession with unremitting industry; Mississippi had authorized a convention and appointed commissioners to visit all the slave-States and propagate disunion, among them Mr. Thompson, Buchanan’s Secretary of the Interior, who afterwards exercised this insurrectionary function while yet remaining in the Cabinet; the North Carolina Legislature had postponed the election of United States Senator; Florida had passed a convention bill; Georgia had instituted legislative proceedings to bring about a conference of the Southern States at Atlanta; both houses of the National Congress had rung with secession speeches, while frequent caucuses of the conspirators took place at Washington.

  [Sidenote] Cobb to Buchanan, “Washington Constitution,” Dec. 12,

Mr. Buchanan’s truce with the South Carolina Representatives had as little effect in arresting the secession intrigues as his non-coercion doctrine officially announced in the annual message.  On the evening of the day (December 8)[1] on which he received the South Carolina pledge, the Secretary of the Treasury, Howell Cobb, of Georgia, tendered his resignation, announcing in the same letter his intention to embark in the active work of disunion.  It had been generally understood that the non-coercion theories of the message were adopted by the President in deference to the wishes and under the influence of Cobb, Thompson, and Floyd, and undoubtedly they had also been largely instrumental in bringing about

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