Bedford Gazette, April 12, 1861
The so-called "peace policy" of the Lincoln Administration has all at once been turned into one of blood and horror. As the white and placid moon when storms are gathering in the firmament, sometimes changes her wonted pallor to a lurid red, so the fickle "powers that be," have suddenly yielded up their professed desire for peace and are now engaged in the wicked and desperate attempt to precipitate upon the country a conflict, unnatural and unnecessary, brutal and horrible, and calculated to bring destruction, famine and desolation to the hearth-stone of every American family. It is now almost certain that the pretence of peace on the part of Lincoln, was a mere ruse to gain time for preparation for war to lull the seceded states into security, and bring about the adjournment of the Conventions in the Border Slave States without any definite result. This hypocritic policy, Mr. Lincoln, doubtless, imagined, would not be discovered by the Southern people until too late—to resist its consummation. How sadly, how lamentably he has erred, he will learn when Maryland, Virginia and the remainder of those slave states which have so firmly and nobly stood by the Union, shall have joined hands and shouldered muskets with their brothers of the Southern Confederacy. Too late will he then discover that a bold and straight-forward course, an open and unconcealed front, even though it had been warlike, would have been far better for the broken and distracted nation over whose destinies he presides. Too late also, may he recognize the fact that the adoption by his Administration of some one of the numerous plans suggested for a pacific adjustment of the Southern difficulties, would have been ineffably preferable to the barbarous wager of battle to which he has chosen to resort. When he shall behold his country torn and bleeding, the prey of civil feuds excited and precipitated by his own immediate agency; when the cruel ferocity of the liberated slave shall bring fire and rapine to the homes of the North, as well as to the plantations of the South; when this lovely land, ere while an Eden of love and peace, shall have been turned into a very hell of hate and strife; Mr. Lincoln and his partizans may learn to pray that the curse placed upon their political sins may be removed. Perhaps, says one, civil war will not bring all this. Friend, it has never brought less. Do you remember Greece? Rome? York and Lancaster? The French Revolution: Do you remember the disasters that resulted to mother England when she attempted to coerce our fathers, her children?
But how much better would it have been if Mr. Lincoln had made the Crittenden Compromise, or even the Peace Conference Plan, a measure of his Administration[?] The Slavery question would have been settled. No civil strife would have ensued. The adoption of the Crittenden plan, would have brought back into the Union all of the seceded States, for their President, Jefferson Davis, their Vice President, Mr. Stephens, and even Mr. Toombs, expressed themselves satisfied with that measure if acceded to by the "Republicans."—When this sectional conflict shall rage, when the Northern man shall be called upon to bathe his fraternal sword in his own blood flowing in the veins of his Southern brother, let it be remembered that this unjust and unholy war could have been avoided, but that Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet peremptorily refused to make any compromise with the Southern people, stolidly insisting upon construing the Constitution as they please, no matter how the Supreme Court, the proper and only tribunal erected for the decision of Constitutional questions, may expound it.