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.
the unofficial truce at Charleston.  If, amid all his fears, Mr. Buchanan retained any sensibility, he must have been profoundly shocked at the cool dissimulation with which Mr. Cobb, everywhere recognized as a Cabinet officer of great ability, had assisted in committing the Administration to these fatal doctrines and measures, and then abandoned it in the moment of danger.  “My withdrawal,” he wrote to the President, “has not been occasioned by anything you have said or done.  Whilst differing from your message upon some of its theoretical doctrines, as well as from the hope so earnestly expressed that the Union can be preserved, there was no practical result likely to follow which required me to retire from your Administration.  That necessity is created by what I feel it my duty to do; and the responsibility of the act, therefore, rests alone upon myself.”  Ignoring the fact that the Treasury was prosperous and solvent when he took charge of it, and that at the moment of his leaving it could not pay its drafts, Mr. Cobb, five days later, published a long and inflammatory address to the people of Georgia, concluding with this exhortation:  “I entertain no doubt either of your right or duty to secede from the Union.  Arouse, then, all your manhood for the great work before you, and be prepared on that day to announce and maintain your independence out of the Union, for you will never again have equality and justice in it.”

  [Sidenote] G.T.  Curtis, “Life of James Buchanan.”  Vol.  II., p. 399.

The President had scarcely found a successor for Mr. Cobb when the head of his Cabinet, Lewis Cass, Secretary of State, tendered his resignation also, and retired from the Administration.  Mr. Cass had held many offices of distinction, had attained high rank as a Democratic leader, and had once been a Presidential candidate.  His resignation was, therefore, an event of great significance from a political point of view.  The incident brings into bold relief the mental reservations under which Buchanan’s paradoxical theories had been concurred in by his Cabinet.  A private memorandum, in Mr. Buchanan’s handwriting, commenting on the event, makes the following emphatic statement:  “His resignation was the more remarkable on account of the cause he assigned for it.  When my late message (of December, 1860) was read to the Cabinet before it was printed, General Cass expressed his unreserved and hearty approbation of it, accompanied by every sign of deep and sincere feeling.  He had but one objection to it, and this was, that it was not sufficiently strong against the power of Congress to make war upon a State for the purpose of compelling her to remain in the Union; and the denial of this power was made more emphatic and distinct upon his own suggestion.”

  [Sidenote] See proceedings of convention in “Charleston Courier,”
  Dec., 1860.

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