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.

Friday, December 14, 1860, was a day of gloom and despondency in Mr. Buchanan’s office, bringing to his mind more forcibly than he had ever before realized the utter wreck into which he had guided his Administration.  To the jubilant secessionists it was not only a day of triumph achieved, but also of apparently assured successes yet to come.  The hitherto official organ of the Administration in its issue of the following morning contained two publications which gave startling notice to the country of the weakness of the right and the strength of the wrong in the swiftly approaching struggle for national existence.

The first of these documents was a proclamation from the President of the United States, saying that in response to numerous appeals he designated the fourth day of January, proximo, as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer.  The “dangerous and distracted condition of our country” was therein thus set forth: 

  [Sidenote] Washington “Constitution,” Dec. 15, 1860.

The Union of the States is at the present moment threatened with alarming and immediate danger—­panic and distress of a fearful character prevail throughout the land—­our laboring population are without employment, and consequently deprived of the means of earning their bread—­indeed, hope seems to have deserted the minds of men.  All classes are in a state of confusion and dismay, and the wisest counsels of our best and purest men are wholly disregarded....  Humbling ourselves before the Most High, ... let us implore him to remove from our hearts that false pride of opinion which would impel us to persevere in wrong for the sake of consistency, rather than yield a just submission to the unforeseen exigencies by which we are now surrounded....  An omnipotent Providence may overrule existing evils for permanent good.

The second manifesto was more practical and resolute.  As the first public and combined action of the conspirators, it forms the hinge upon which they well-nigh turned the fate of the New World Republic.  It was a brief document, but contained and expressed all the essential purposes of the conspiracy.  It was signed by about one-half the Senators and Representatives of the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas.  It precedes every ordinance of secession, and is the “official” beginning of the subsequent “Confederate States,” just as Governor Gist’s October circular was the “official” beginning of South Carolina secession.

  [Sidenote] Washington “Constitution,” Dec. 15, 1860.


    WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 1860.

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