Stephen A. Douglas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about Stephen A. Douglas.

[Footnote 884:  Philadelphia Press, October 29, 1860.]

[Footnote 885:  Savannah (Ga.) Express, quoted by Chicago Times and Herald, October 25, 1860.]

[Footnote 886:  There was a bare reference to the Montgomery incident in the Chicago Times and Herald, November 12, 1860.]

[Footnote 887:  Wilson, Slave Power in America, II, p. 700.]

[Footnote 888:  Chicago Times and Herald, November 13, 1860; Philadelphia Press, November 28, 1860.]

[Footnote 889:  Chicago Times and Herald, November 19, 1860.]

[Footnote 890:  Stanwood, History of the Presidency, p. 297.]

[Footnote 891:  Douglas and Bell polled 135,057 votes more than Breckinridge; see Greeley, American Conflict, I, p. 328.]



On the day after the election, the palmetto and lone star flag was thrown out to the breeze from the office of the Charleston Mercury and hailed with cheers by the populace.  “The tea has been thrown overboard—­the revolution of 1860 has been initiated,” said that ebullient journal next morning.[892] On the 10th of November, the legislature of South Carolina called a convention of the people to consider the relations of the Commonwealth “with the Northern States and the government of the United States.”  The instantaneous approval of the people of Charleston, the focus of public opinion in the State, left no doubt that South Carolina would secede from the Union soon after the 17th of December, when the convention was to assemble.  On November 23d, Major Robert Anderson, in command of Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor, urged the War Department to reinforce his garrison and to occupy also Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, saying, “I need not say how anxious I am—­indeed, determined, so far as honor will permit—­to avoid collision with the citizens of South Carolina.  Nothing, however, will be better calculated to prevent bloodshed than our being found in such an attitude that it would be madness and folly to attack us.”  “That there is a settled determination,” he continued, “to leave the Union, and to obtain possession of this work, is apparent to all."[893] No sane man could doubt that a crisis was imminent.  Unhappily, James Buchanan was still President of the United States.

To those who greeted Judge Douglas upon his return to Washington, he seemed to be in excellent health, despite rumors to the contrary.[894] Demonstrative followers insisted upon hearing his voice immediately upon his arrival, and he was not unwilling to repeat what he had said at New Orleans, here within hearing of men of all sections.  The burden of his thought was contained in a single sentence:  “Mr. Lincoln, having been elected, must be inaugurated in obedience to the Constitution.”  “Fellow citizens,” he said, in his rich, sonorous voice, sounding the key-note of his subsequent career, “I beseech you, with reference to former party divisions, to lay aside all political asperities, all personal prejudices, to indulge in no criminations or recriminations, but to unite with me, and all Union-loving men, in a common effort to save the country from the disasters which threaten it."[895]

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Stephen A. Douglas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.