1865 POSTMORTEMS

CIVIL WAR: POSTMORTEMS, 1865 to 1900

Researched by: Jeremiah L. Jones

Posted: 8 March 2011

Comments to: north.carolina.secession1861@gmx.com

Samuel Sullivan Cox [1824 – 1889], UNION-DISUNION-REUNION: THREE DECADES OF FEDERAL LEGISLATION, 1855 TO 1885. PERSONAL AND HISTORICAL MEMORIES OF EVENTS PRECEEDING, DURING AND SINCE THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, INVOLVING SLAVERY AND SECESSION, EMANCIPATION AND RECONSTRCTION; WITH SKETCHES OF PROMINENT ACTORS DURING THESE PERIOD. [PROVIDENCE, RI: J.A. & R. A. REED, c.1885. 1888]. 726pp.

“No revolutions [including secessions], according to [end of page 63] Sir James Macintosh, are justifiable, however well ground upon grievances, without a reasonable probability of a successful termination. True, there was in that Congress exaltation on the part of Southern men which led them to hope, even before Sumter was fired upon, that the separation which they sought would be accomplished. Had they, even a priori, considered the mechanical forces of the North, which are now so manifest in the results of the war, they might well have halted upon the dogma of Sir James Macintosh. But among the many fine traits of Southern men was impetuosity and ardor of sentiment and heart which does not look to consequences when there is conviction in a justifiable cause [especially men of the privileged class when the heart of their wealth, in their view, is at risk]. In the light of historical philosophy, an unbiased mind can apprehend what a tremendous hold the more abstract doctrine of secession had upon these men, who anticipated a still larger curtailment of their constitutional rights [by the national government of the Federal Union as well as the state governments in the Union]. When it is remembered that there were real grounds for this apprehension, and when it was argued [by Southern politicians] with so much logic and brilliancy that the rights of the states could be preserved only in a new confederacy, it is not marvelous that the call for secession fired the Southern heart. [Eds. Note: earlier in the chapter he explained the legitimate grievances of the South especially the application of state rights theory by the abolitionist governors in Wisconsin and Ohio. Governor Chase of Ohio went so far as to boast that if the Supreme Court of Ohio handed down a decision inconsistent with a ruling by the United States Supreme Court, he would enforce the Ohio court’s decision, by force, if necessary. Also, the governor stated that he would never enslave a free man regardless of decisions made by national courts or the Union’s government.]

The Southern Style of Secession

When the time for final action came, the movements in favor secession were made with great formality and solemnity. Ordinances came with all the precision and regularity of legislative order. States withdrew in the presence of excited and awe-struck audiences, after the most dramatic and apparently authorized sanction. The great body of the oratory of that time came from such men as Benjamin, Davis, Curry, Lamar, Pugh of Alabama, Garnet, and Bocock. It developed all the graces of eloquence. Fair women from the galleries, warm with Southern blood, gave applause more precious than coronets of gold and jewels to the oratory of their impassioned champions. As one by one the states became unrepresented [in the government of the Federal Union], not a word was heard, except, perhaps, in debate, of the abstract right to secede. There seemed to be a tacit acknowledgment that secession at present was the best course. No attempt was made to arrest any one. Prominent Republicans like Lieutenant-Governor Stanton, of Ohio, – not to mention his namesake, the Secretary of War [Edwin Stanton] – Mr. Greeley, and Mr. Chase (the governor of Ohio), abetted the movement of secession by opposing any constraint upon the departing sisters. These facts, forerunners of the mighty conflict, seem now inexplicable to many persons, because it is forgotten that from December, 1860, until March, 1861, there was hope of reconciliation. [Stephan A.] Douglas (1813 – 1861) [of Illinois] and [John J.] Crittenden (1787 – 1863) [of Kentucky] were still sanguine when they telegraphed to Georgia that the rights of the South and of every state and section would be protected in the Union.

The Union Men of the United States Congress, in 1860, Working Between Uncompromising Factions for Compromise, Until All Was Lost

The first efforts at compromise were by no means confined to the Democratic Senators and members. Governor Corwin, Charles Francis Adams, Edward Joy Morris, and others in the House; Senators Cameron, Baker, Dixon, Foster, Collamer, and others in the Senate, were, at the beginning of the session [the 36th Congress], and for some time afterwards, regarded as not indifferent to a [end of page 64] compromise which would at least retain the border states, if it did not stop the movement of the Gulf States. The most experienced and able Southern men believed that the step they were about to take would be bloodless; that their array in strength and mien of resistance would prevent coercion by arms. Some of them looked upon secession as a mere temporary alienation. Even so late as the secession of Texas, Judge Reagan, one of its Representatives, after he had left his seat in Congress, took pains to inform the author that he thought the South would be out only a season. When the excitement subsided, and especially if any guarantees were given from the protection of their rights, he believed the states would return. In this, how signally ability and experience failed to discern the future! Mankind generally reckon the greatness of men by success. If this be the touchstone, the vaunted statesmanship of the South vanishes. But what a company of conspicuous men answered to the roll-call on the 6th of December, 1860, in the Thirty-sixth Congress [of the United States].” [page 65]

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Samuel Sullivan COX [1824 – 1889] was a Representative, in the United States House of Representatives, from Ohio and from New York; he was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Zanesville, Ohio, 1849; owner and editor of the Columbus (Ohio) STATESMAN (newspaper) in 1853 and 1854; secretary of the legation at Lima, Peru, in 1855; delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1864 and 1868; elected as a Democrat from Ohio to the Thirty-fifth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1857-March 3, 1865); chair, Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Thirty-fifth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Thirty-ninth Congress in 1864; moved to New York City on March 4, 1865, and resumed the practice of law; elected from New York to the Forty-first and Forty-second Congresses (March 4, 1869-March 3, 1873); unsuccessful candidate of the Democrats and Liberal Republicans for reelection in 1872 as Representative at large to the Forty-third Congress; subsequently elected to the Forty-third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative James Brooks; reelected to the Forty-fourth and to the five succeeding Congresses until his resignation on May 20, 1885 (November 4, 1873-May 20, 1885); chair, Committee on Banking and Currency (Forty-fourth Congress), Committee on the Census (Forty-sixth Congress), Committee on Foreign Affairs (Forty-sixth Congress), Committee on Naval Affairs (Forty-eighth Congress); appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Turkey by President Cleveland, May 21, 1885-October 22, 1886; was again elected to the Forty-ninth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Representative Joseph Pulitzer; reelected to the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses (November 2, 1886-September 10, 1889); died on September 10, 1889, in New York City; interment in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

From: the BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

Online at: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C000839

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