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ALL was now warlike. The Rubicon was passed. Bayonets bristled on every side. Commissions in the Federal army and navy were resigned, and new officers appointed to fill their places. The combatants arranged themselves pro and con. The air appeared to be scented with fire and brimstone; whilst to the sound of drum and fife the tramp of armed soldiers beat time whilst on their way to the scenes of battle. But why these revolutionary scenes? Who originated them ? And by what freak in the chapter of accidents did the great and terrible explosion come which has produced such appalling calamities? If the original landmarks had been observed and faithfully guarded by the administrators of the government at Washington, golden ages of peace might have dawned on our land; but both North and South made haste to remove them, when, for the profit that waits on crime they joined hands together to adopt what are called the “compromises of the constitution.” Hence the danger and difficulty of their future course.
The South saw this, and openly and manfully said, “let us agree to separate." "No," said the North, "we are quite willing to take you and your sins to our arms and hearts, but if you go out of the Union we will make you return." look at the justice of the case," said the South. “It
is quite true," said the North, “that, like you, we have been great transgressors, and have broken the two tables of our law; but, being the biggest sinners in having broken the compromises, in the adoption of the Missouri Compromise, and the socalled Personal Liberty Bills, we have the right to the biggest share of the spoils; and as we are the strongest of the two, our right is might.” then,” said the South, “there is the honour and brotherhood known and practised amongst thieves ?” “Yes," said the North,
“When thieves fall out, the proverb runs,
Honest men may expect their own;
Sabres and trumpets though unblown ?”
There might have been, however, some probability of an adjustment of the difficulty but for the religious fanaticism which was at the bottom of it. This brings us to the real originators of the war; the men who shout the Northern cause is ours; “if ours, 'tis God's, and that's sufficient."
How sad, and yet how true it is that a party answering to the above description has sprung into being in America, men who use religion not to soften the fierce conflicts of human passion, or to bid men remember that they are fellow-citizens and
brothers, but to swell the chorus of fratricidal hate, let out deluges of blood in order, as they say, to purify the land; and after the fashion of Artemus Ward present their “wife's relations,” or the model of Henry Ward Beecher, set apart their children, as sacrifices for the redemption of the land from the manifold evils of slavery.
Their growth is of recent origin; and it is somewhat remarkable that the writer first conceived and developed the necessity of their being organized into a society on a moral force basis, which was taken up and acted upon at the commencement of their official existence as shewn in the following clause contained in their declaration of principles :-"The word of God our charter for freedom, and armoury against slavery.” To the sword of the Lord they soon called the sword of the President of America. The first was not sufficient for them. With the latter they hoped to do wonders, as in a circular issued by them at their annual meeting in the spring of 1861, they expressed the hope “by another year they might lay down their trust, and advise the dissolution of a society whose work should have been done." Their work, therefore, was to be short, sharp, and decisive ; grim, terrible, and very bloody. On the abrogation or perversion of their fundamental principles, like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, they must have a compromise to their constitution, that they might claim for the President supreme power over all the states ;
define the Union to be one of law, to be upheld by force; and demand that all resistance to the authority of the President, and to the so-called “binding power” of the Union, which General Sherman calls common law,” should be put down as rebellion.
These views and policies were first promulgated in August 1859, at the extraordinary church meeting already referred to. The Rev. Dr. Cheever added to them the doctrine of servile insurrection, in his thanksgiving sermon, preached in the Church of the Puritans, New York, during the same year. With the above party the commercial men of the North, and also the idolaters of the Union, allied themselves ; the former dreading the abrogation of the navigation laws by the South, and a direct trade with England; and the latter filled with the gorgeous phantom of an empire stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, gathering in its embrace one hundred millions of inhabitants, whose president should dictate terms of peace to the world. At length the Beecherites joined their ranks, and then the Garrisonians, and last of all the Quakers, represented by Whittier, Coffin, and others; so that by a combination of circumstances the “War Christians ” acquired an immense power, which they did not fail to bring to bear on the President and Congress.
The late President Buchanan was deaf to their entreaties; but Lincoln, being a man of easy virtue, and fond of power, having "adopted for his creed,”
according to Frederick Douglas, one of his menials, “evil from choice, and good from necessity,” readily acquiesced in their will to form a centralized power from which imperious mandates should be issued, and bells of absolute and despotic power touched on the right hand, and on the left; and also to draw on the “ war power” for the invasion of the sovereign states of the South in defiance of state sovereignty doctrines, and the "rights of 1776 ;" that he might cripple their ancient allies, and use slavery, if necessary, for that purpose; but refused to apply the freedom power of the Constitution, which by sharp practice on the part of both North and South had been turned into a slave power in our whole history, and given the Constitution through usage and custom all the force of a law to uphold, protect, and foster the slaveholding interest. The war Christians were disappointed in the rejection of their favourite theory regarding the Constitution ; but elated with their partial success, they resolved to be on the look out for chances to press the application of the constitution for freedom. The firing on Fort Sumter by the Southerns, in consequence of Seward's indignity and wanton insult, formed a grand pretext to be used in favour of urging their pleas with renewed power and vigour. On the occasion the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher was preaching a sermon on the “Crisis,” to incite the people to war. By arrangement, a telegram was handed to him on the pulpit platform, which he