« PredošláPokračovať »
of the National problem. In fact, there were morrow and the defeated share with the victors thousands of voters in both parties who did in rejoicing that the campaign is at an end not decide until November whether they and that business and social life can resume would vote for Lincoln or Douglas. There
its normal course. It was not so in 1860. was a little remnant who tried to content The election of Mr. Lincoln was the signal themselves by crying “ Peace I Peace !" when for increasing political excitement.
The mathere was no peace, but the vote for Bell and jority of the people in the North were dumEverett, their candidates, showed them to be founded to find steps instantly taken to put a negligible quantity.
in effect the pre-election threats of secession. This division in the Republican party was The announcement of Mr. Lincoln's election nowhere more marked than in Indiana. on the evening of election day was greeted in Henry S. Lane, who had come from the Charleston, South Carolina, with cheers for Whig party, represented the conservative the Southern Confederacy. The United element ; Oliver P. Morton, who had been a States Judge and the United States District Democrat, represented the progressive ele- Attorney resigned. Their resignations were ment. Happily for the party and for the followed by the resignation of one of the State, a fusion of the two elements was United States Senators. The Legislature at effected— Mr. Lane was nominated for Gov- once called a Convention to consider the ernor and Mr. Morton for Lieutenant-Gov- state of the country. That the object of
Subsequent events justified the rumor this Convention was to prepare for secession that this nomination was the result of a
was well understood, though not formally tleman's agreement
» between the two can- avowed. There were unmistakable indicadidates. After the election of both Governor tions that other States were preparing to foland Lieutenant-Governor by about ten thou- low the lead of South Carolina. sand majority, Mr. Lane resigned and was For secession and its inevitable conseelected United States Senator by a Republi- quences the North was ill prepared. Brave can Legislature, and Mr. Morton became men who were ready to meet the threatened Governor. He proved to be one of the great war if it came yet confessed their dread of it. war Governors of the period. He was under “ The heavens are indeed black,” wrote Senforty years of age, a man of rare executive ator Dawes, of Massachusetts, “ and an awful ability, of indomitable courage, of strong and stormis gathering. . . . I am well-nigh appalled clear convictions, and with the kind of elo- at its awful and inevitable consequences.” In quence which comes from the possession of every community were found Republicans who such convictions and the ability to give them lamented that they had voted for Mr. Lincoln forceful expression. On the 10th of March, and frankly confessed that they would never nearly three weeks before my arrival, he had have done so could they have foreseen the spoken in Terre Haute at a ratification meet- consequences. Some proposed to escape ing, advocating squarely the Lincoln as op- those consequences by surrender. Three posed to the Douglas method, and had met days after the election of Mr. Lincoln Mr. the charge of being an abolitionist with char- Greeley wrote in the New York - Tribune :" acteristic frankness : “I am opposed to the “ If the cotton States shall decide that they diffusion of slavery. I am in favor of pre- can do better out of the Union than in it, we serving the Territories to freedom, of en- insist on letting them go in peace.' Others couraging, elevating, and protecting free sought to avoid the threatened war by some labor ; at the same time conscientiously be- new form of compromise. It was variously lieving that with slavery in the several States proposed to amend the Constitution so as to we have nothing to do and no right to give all territory south of a certain line to interfere. If this makes me an abolitionist, slavery and all north of it to freedom; to prothen I am one, and my political enemies vide that slavery should never be interfered may make the most of it.” It would have with in the Territories; to recognize State been well for the Republican party and for rights and deny to the Federal Government the country if all Republicans had possessed the right of coercion ; to bring about the resigGovernor Morton's courage and shared his nation of Mr. Lincoln and a new election ; to convictions.
abolish the office of President altogether and Usually in America the excitement of a substitute an executive council of three ; to campaign comes to an end on election night. repeal the Personal Liberty Laws of the The political foes of yesterday are friends to- North, which had been enacted to prevent
the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law; But the great majority both South and North to amend that law so as to give the Negro a were doubtful, perplexed, anxious : not knowright to a jury trial ; to provide for the pay- ing what to think or which way to look for ment to the slaveholder for rescued slaves by escape from impending calamity. the county where the rescue had taken place. Prior to the election in November I do not “No one," wrote Mr. Seward, “ has any sys- recall that I spoke in the pulpit at all on the tem, or any courage or confidence in the political issues. There were two reasons for Union.” This was said in Washington. In this silence: one was my father's counsel, Indiana and Illinois it was seriously proposed first to get my influence, then to use it; the to those States which lay along the Ohio other was that I did not wish to use it in and Mississippi Rivers, which could never favor of the election of the Republican canpermit their exit to the sea to pass through a didate. I have never believed that the minforeign and hostile territory, that they join the ister should be the advocate of a political Southern Confederacy, bring in Ohio and party or a political candidate. He may urge Pennsylvania and perhaps New York, and temperance, but not the claims of the Proleave abolitionist New England out of the new hibition party; social reform, but not the Union ; it would be what New England de- claims of the Progressive party ; liberty, but served, for the country would never have been not the claims of the Republican party. I brought to this pass had it not been for these do not know that I have ever departed from Yankee agitators. It is useless to inquire what this principle in my pulpit utterances. I did would have been the result if a Washington or not do so in Terre Haute. Nor was it a Jackson had been at the head of the Federal likely that in the first few months of my Government at this time. Mr. Buchanan ministry, a stranger among strangers, I could had neither the wisdom of the one nor the exert much influence on the moral issues courage of the other. He could not get above involved. I had not that eloquence which the arts of the politician. In his Message of gives the orator a power quite independently December 4, to please the North he argued of his known character. I must secure the that no State had a right to secede ; to confidence of the community before I could please the South, that if a State did secede even get a hearing. And this was the more the Federal Government had no right to pre- important because there was little in common vent the secession.
in our point of view. There was very little Such was the condition of the country in anti-slavery sentiment in Terre Haute; so December, 1860. In such a time of con- little that when, two years later, a Republican flicting counsels no man should be deemed a orator--an officer in the Union army—was coward because he keeps silent, or as weak speaking at a mass-n
s-meeting in favor of enand vacillating because he is inclined to fol- listing the Negro in the Union cause, the low first one counsel and then another. Tra- sentiment which evoked the most uproarious ditions are then of no avail, and most men applause was, “I hate a Nigger worse than are guided by traditions. Parties have dis- I hate the devil.” solved, party platforms have disappeared, But when, after the election, these imparty allegiance no longer governs or even practical schemes of surrender, evasion, and guides. The citizen is like a navigator who compromise were everywhere discussed, I is separated from his fleet in a dense fog, thought the time had come for me to speak. hears whistles blowing in every direction, and I was known; I believed I was respected; knows not which are warnings of danger I was sure I should be listened to. And I and which are calls to safety. If the fog has was not mistaken. On the 9th of Decemshut down suddenly and he knows not where ber, the Sunday following Mr. Buchanan's he is, he does well to anchor or to slow Message, I preached a sermon on the condidown his engines and wait for the fog to lift. tion of the country. I had at least one equipThe election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 left ment for the task. I did not share either the country fog-bound. A minority of reso- the common surprise or the common perlute spirits in the South were determined to plexity. The reader may remember that in dissolve the Union and erect a new Republic 1856 I had written to my cousin, now my with slavery as its corner-stone. A minority wife, that I did not see how war could be of resolute spirits in the North were equally avoided, and I hoped that, if it came, I determined to maintain the Union and restrict might have some part in the battle for freeslavery, expecting its eventual overthrow. dom. The threat of disunion, therefore, did
not surprise me. Nor did it make me hesi- mental moral question before the community, tate. For I preferred a divided country, one- The opportunity was given me. I could not half of it free, to a united country, all of it refuse it. But my friend's counsel enabled slave. I had made up my mind that the me to speak in such fashion as secured a only possible settlement of the issue was to patient and even a somewhat sympathetic be found in the motto: “Liberty national, hearing The church was crowded ; the slavery sectional.” And I was prepared to Republican paper published the sermon in set that principle by the side of the current
full. Even the Southern Democratic paper proposals of compromise for the popular granted to its spirit a qualified commendation. judgment.
The editor had evidently anticipated someBefore preaching the sermon I counseled thing a great deal worse. A critical editorial with Mr. Ryce, who was my best friend and on the sermon he introduced as follows: my wisest adviser. He was a lover of peace
While we by no means justify ministers of and hated strife. He advised me against
the Gospel, either North or South, in occupying speaking upon the subject at all. There the pulpit on the Sabbath for the purpose of were some weighty reasons for this counsel. molding political opinion, we nevertheless acSuch a sermon would be an innovation, even cord to Mr. Abbott sincerity of motive, and a startling innovation. Whatever might be fully believe that he deemed it his imperative the custom in New England, the people of duty to speak out upon the awful crisis that Indiana were not accustomed to political
hangs over our beloved country. We confess Mine would be the first one ever
that we were agreeably surprised at some of the preached in a Terre Haute church. In fact,
positions he assumed. Barring two or three
extreme points, the address was much more so far as I know, I was the only minister in
conservative than we anticipated. We will not the town who dealt with slavery at all in the
now allude to the exceptional points, but will pulpit throughout the Civil War. The people
do so hereafter, if we deem it necessary. We of Terre Haute were loyal; but many of will say that if the clergymen in the North, them were Southern in their origin and in for the last six years, had discussed the their sympathies, and would resent any anti- slavery question with the same moderation and slavery utterances. The division in the church brotherly love that Mr. Abbott did last night,
there would not be half the excitement in the was not ended; it might break out again at any time—as indeed it did a little later.
country in regard to it that there is. The epithet Unitarian had been applied The state of feeling in the city on the to me but had not hurt me, because the general subject is perhaps slightly indicated people cared nothing for theological dis- by the fact that when I reached home a little tinctions. But the epithet abolitionist would after midnight, having been kept at the newsnot be regarded so lightly. Such an utter- paper office correcting the proof of the serance as I proposed would be perilous to the mon, I found my wife very anxious lest I had church and might be perilous to me. Party been assaulted on the street, and just prefeeling ran very high. Lovejoy had been paring to sally out in a search for me. And murdered in Illinois for his anti-slavery utter- she was not easily alarmed. ances. Anti-slavery meetings had been broken Of this sermon I have no report. The up by mobs and even practically forbidden printed report which I once had has disapin the East by the authorities. At the same peared, and any account which I might give time Mr. Ryce was careful to make it clear from recollection would be untrustworthy and that neither he nor any one else in the church without value. I can only say that, on the would attempt to interfere with my personal one hand, I emphatically expressed my disliberty. I had asked his advice, and he gave belief in the doctrines of the Garrisonian aboit to me.
litionists, which I thought then and still think It has been throughout my life my princi- to have been not only impracticable but a ple, not as clearly defined then as it has been cowardly evasion of responsibility; and, on the since, to ask courage to tell me what to do other hand, I declared, as I had done in the and caution to tell me how to do it. I had letter to my cousin printed in Chapter IV left the law for the ministry partly that I of these reminiscences, that the issue joined might be free to minister directly to the between North and South, union and secesspiritual life of the individual, partly that I sion, liberty and slavery, was one that could might be able to take an active part in the not be settled by any compromise, however solution of the great and, as I thought, funda- sagaciously framed, but was a phase of the
tempting to increase the attendance on the prayer-meeting by increasing the spiritual life of the church. If I were going into the pastorate again, I would not urge people to come to the prayer-meeting. I would endeavor to have one devotional meeting in the week to which persons of devotional temperament who were socially inclined would wish to come.
I would seek quality, not quantity, and would prefer a dozen devout souls to a hundred who were not devout. Another lesson I learned that summer of 1860. The weekly prayer-meeting was held on Saturday evening. It seemed to me unfortunate to have all the devotional life of the church crowded into two days.
As I made my pastoral calls and urged the women to come to the prayer-meeting, I discovered that they were all eager to come, but could not because Saturday night was set apart to get the children washed and the clothes laid out for Sunday. I quietly agitated for a change; there was no serious opposition; the change was made to Wednesday evening—and the attendance was no better. I then learned the difference between real reasons and good
-the reasons which have induced us to act and the reasons we give to others for our action. We give to others the reasons which we think will satisfy them. The mothers rightly thought I would put the welfare of the children above the welfare of the prayer-meeting. Hence the reasons they gave to me. Two years later I induced the church to run a partition across the Sunday-school room, making in one end of it two rooms connected by folding doors, one for my study, the other for a church parlor. The attendance jumped at once from fifteen or twenty to forty or fifty, sometimes a hundred. It was possible to hold a social prayer-meeting in a parlor ; not possible to hold one in a lecture hall.
When Dr. Jewett returned to Terre Haute from the East I do not now remember, But not long after his return he began a series of Sunday morning services in the Court-House where twenty-six years before he began his pastorate. Something like a score of the congregation took their hymn-books from the church and joined him in these services. I do not know whether it was by deliberate design that this movement took place almost to a day the year after my arrival to supply his former pulpit. At the same time the reports were repeated that the young man now occupying the pulpit was not orthodox ; that he
had leanings towards Unitarianism ; that there To preach in the Court-House to people was danger that he would unsettle the faith of who never go to church is in itself a very good the church; that his friends had conspired to deed. I assumed, and the church assumed drive off the old pastor. Where did those with
me, that this was the motive which inspired reports come from? Where does gossip ever the Court-House services. I had learned from come from? Where do the weeds that spring my father and my grandfather that it takes up in the garden bed, to the great vexation of two to make a quarrel, and I resolved not to the gardener, come from? I do not know. make one of the two. In this resolve I was But the fact that they came, and that no thoroughly supported by my wife, who paid authoritative denial was given to them, no attention to the prevailing gossip. When, widened the breach in the church.
which was not often, it got a chance to get All men love to watch a fight, and what in at one ear, it went straightway out of the fights are so well worth watching as a church other. The church took the same attitude fight? One of the local papers rather antici- and was inspired by the same spirit of peace pated, but mildly deprecated, a split in the and good will. I called on the members church. This,” said the “Weekly Atlas," of my church who were taking an active part “is the third division that has taken place in in the Court-House services and expressed this church in the past twenty years, and yet my interest in their enterprise and my hope there has been no serious backset or incon- for its success. I treated it as an attempt. venience experienced by the remaining con- by members of the church of which I was gregation.” The “ Daily Evening Journal,"
Daily Evening Journal,” the pastor to preach the Gospel to a class in a Democratic, not to say Copperhead, organ, the community which no church was reaching. and bitterly hostile to the young Yankee Nor was there any false pretense in this. If preacher, whose anti-slavery utterance had Dr. Jewett had come to me in the outset of earned for the church on the street the sobri- the enterprise, I would have given to it every quet of “ damned Abolition Church,” cried, encouragement and support in my power. “ St'boy !” “We attended,” it said, " at the Even if the motives of those promoting the Court-House yesterday, and had the pleasure enterprise were somewhat mixed, what matof hearing the Rev. M. A. Jewett preach a tered that? Paul had given to us, pastor and most excellent sermon. In his allusions church, the counsel for this crisis, and we acted to the deplorable condition of our country
“ Some indeed preach Christ even of his remarks were characterized by the true envy and strife; and some also of good spirit of a Christian and patriot. There will: What then ? Notwithstanding, was none of that blood and thunder about it every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, which we hear occasionally from pulpit ranters Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, and miniature Beechers. It was truly refresh- yea, and will rejoice.” It might not have ing to hear him.”
been so easy to act on this principle, or perIf this Democratic organ could have incited haps I should rather say to maintain this a church division, it would have gladly done spirit, if I had not been able to write at the
It lacked not the will, but the power. time, “ More strength and numbers have But all intention of starting a new church been added to our congregation, and, I think was disavowed by the attendants on the Court- I can say, to our church, since I have come House services. The object of the movement here than Dr. Jewett can possibly take was declared to be to provide a service for away.” The result was that when, at the people who went to no church at all, and end of three months, the Court-House services who could not be persuaded to go into a were discontinued, the members of our church church, but might attend a religious meeting and congregation came back with no sense of in the Court-House. Thus interpreted, the humiliating defeat; there were no asperities movement was a sort of forerunner to to be apologized for, no broken friendships those Sunday evening meetings in theaters to be reknitted, no wounded feelings to be and halls which have been organized in the healed. And I may add that if the experilast ten or fifteen years in many of our towns ment had proved a success, if out of it there and cities. It is almost always wise to attrib- had grown either a permanent mission or a ute a deed which is inherently good to a new church, the results of this spirit would good motive, and if for any deed either one have been equally beneficial.
In the one of two motives is possible, to assume that the case the mission would have had the symaction has sprung from the better motive. pathy and support of the mother church; in