Duplicity of Lincoln and His Instruments
New Orleans Daily Delta, April 18, 1861
The duplicity and treachery of Lincoln and Seward have served greatly to increase the hostility of our people against the United States Government. Never was seen in the chief executive or the high officer of any respectable nation such a display of low cunning and dishonorable artifice. Besides his faithlessness to our Commissioners in leading them to believe that they would in time be recognized and treated with, and that peaceful relations would in the meantime be maintained, there have been various instances of treachery and deception by Lincoln towards individuals, which will contribute to illustrate the disgusting baseness of this pitiable creature, this burlesque of a President. One of the victims of this duplicity of Lincoln was no less an individual than judge John A. Campbell, of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Campbell had been induced to withhold his resignation of his seat on the bench by the earnest entreaty of the venerable Chief justice and by the hope of using his influence to give a peaceful direction to the agitations between the two Confederacies. Accordingly, when our Commissioners reached Washington, Judge Campbell offered his services as an intermediary between them and Lincoln and Seward. In this position it was supposed he would be equally acceptable to both parties. It was to him, a Judge of the highest tribunal of the Government of the United States, that Lincoln and Seward gave the most positive assurances of peaceful purposes and of his determination not to reinforce the forts. This assurance was given as late as the 8th of April, after the orders had been sent from the War Department to fit out the naval expedition and move the troops southward to reinforce Sumter and Pickens. We have this fact from a member of Judge Campbell’s family. But this is not the only instance of vile treachery towards a prominent official, Senator Gwin, of California, before leaving Washington, having received from Seward repeated assurances that as soon as the Executive could be relieved of the hungry gang of office cormorants who were then besieging him, he would recognize the Southern Commissioners and take measures for a peaceful separation. At the request of Seward Mr. Gwin made a visit to Lincoln and presented to him his view of the impossibility of coercing the South into the Union. Mr. Gwin spoke as an impartial observer of the conflict, as the representative of a State not involved in it. When he had concluded his statement, Mr. Lincoln declared with great appearance of sincerity, that he fully concurred in his views, and that his policy was one of peace and conciliation. Mr. Gwin came South and communicated to all his friends in this section his belief in these purposes of Lincoln. Nelson and Etheridge, two Union members of Congress from Tennessee, received like assurances, and when they returned home communicated them to their constituents. Their communication contributed greatly to strengthen the Union feeling in Tennessee.
The closing incident in the series of acts of duplicity of Lincoln was the intrigue which was fortunately suspected and defeated by Gov. Pickens and Gen. Beauregard. It was the plan to obtain possession of Fort Sumter, which was conceived by one Fox, an officer in the United States Army, and a brother-in-law of Blair, the Postmaster General. Fox’s plan was to concert with Anderson an arrangement of signals from Fort Sumter by which small boats and launches might be enabled to steer into the bay during the night, and to avoid the South Carolina batteries. To promote this scheme Talbot was appointed Assistant Adjutant General, and obtained the permission of Gov. Pickens to leave the fort and proceed to Washington. On his arrival there he and Fox were closeted with Gen. Scott and with Lincoln’s Secretaries of War and Navy, and the plans for the concerted signals and communications between the fort and squadron were arranged and agreed upon. With these plans Talbot and Fox returned to Charleston and asked permission to proceed to the fort, declaring that their purpose was to make arrangements for the evacuation. But the Carolinians began to suspect these individuals, and refused them leave to go to the fort, and ordered them off, thus defeating a plot, to consummate which the lowest and the most vulgar falsehood and treachery had been employed. These are only a few of the devices of the low cunning and cowardly duplicity of the miserable pretenders who now fill the high places in the once respectable Government of the United States.