Deluding the People
New York Evening Day-Book, April 17, 1861
The Abolition imposture originated in, and has grown and thrived upon, deluding the people. The last phase of this delusion is perhaps the most insidious and hypocritical of any that have preceded it. A party that has denounced the Constitution and the Union for years—which, in all our wars, has never shown the slightest attachment to the American flag, now all at once assumes to be its especial guardian. And strange to say, Democrats have been deluded by the arch machinations of these destroyers of our country—these worse than madmen, who talk about preserving the Union by fighting for it! Are the people stark mad? Are they crazy? Will they not pause and listen to reason? Let us recur to a few facts.
Not long since, a Democratic Convention was held at Albany. It was just after our people had been frightened by "a big scare" gotten up by judge Smalley. That Convention solemnly pledged the Democracy and Unionmen of this State to oppose coercion, and demanded that the Republicans should either grant some reasonable compromise to the South, or else that Mr. Crittenden's Compromise Amendments should be submitted to a vote of the people. If the Republicans failed to do this, that Convention solemnly pledged itself to resist, with all their influence, the coercive policy of Lincoln.
Where are these men now? We trust the Convention will at once be called together, and let us see whether these men are now ready to join hands with the Abolitionists in tearing down this government, or whether they still stand true to their pledges. Are they still ready to say "if the Republicans desire to fight the South, let them do it, but we will have none of this bloody work?" Or are they weakly bending before the storm of Puritanical intolerance and bullyism like that which silenced the men who protested against the delusions of witchcraft?
Why this sudden change which, the Republican papers say, has taken place? First, we do not believe it is half as general as they say; but what reason is there for any change? Let us look at this Fort Sumter matter stripped of all its disguise. We have no doubt, and all the circumstances prove, that it was a cunningly devised scheme, contrived with all due attention to scenic display and intended to arouse, and, if possible, exasperate the northern people against the South. Lincoln and Seward know very well that the right to send a vessel with provisions to Major Anderson involved just the same issue as a reinforcement. Hence it was made in the way that enabled them to get up a story about "humanity," "relieving a starving garrison," &c. It would be impossible for Seward to do anything openly and above board.
The next step was to sacrifice Major Anderson. He must be defeated at all hazards. Republicans openly said, before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, that they wanted Major Anderson defeated. They wished to arouse the Democrats of the North, and the Tribune, the next day after the fall of Sumter, thus coolly chuckles:
"WE HAVE LOST FORT SUMTER, BUT WE HAVE GAINED A UNITED NORTH."
And some Democrats have been just such dunderheads as to fall into this pit dug for their reception. Blind, deluded people! don't you know that should this party, even by accident, do one noble, patriotic act, it would at once repent of it? By means of the excitement thus created, they have ensnared a few patriotic but thoughtless young men in New York, who love (very properly and very rightly) the American flag and its glorious associations, and hope by this means to enlist them in a fight for the Chicago platform; for that is all there is of this war. It is simply the Republicans fighting for the unconstitutional Chicago platform. If they will consent to abandon their opposition to the Constitution of their country; if they will agree to live under it and obey it in its spirit and letter, we might have peace tomorrow.
By means, therefore, of their cunning strategy at Sumter, they hope to induce Democrats to fight for that platform, while they cry out, "come, defend the stars and stripes." The Republican party is not a fighting party, they know that, and so it was requisite to stir up the Democrats, arouse their pride, and while under the excitement, hurl the country into war, and thus secure the eternal division of the Union—which is their cherished object.
We venture to say a more gigantic conspiracy against the principles of human liberty and freedom has never been concocted. Who but a fiend could have thought of sacrificing the gallant Major Anderson and his little band in order to carry out a political game? Yet there he was compelled to stand for thirty-six hours amid a torrent of fire and shell, while the fleet sent to assist him, coolly looked at his flag of distress and moved not to his assistance! Why did they not? Perhaps the archives at Washington will yet tell the tale of this strange proceeding. If the South Carolinians had been as bloodthirsty as the conceivers of this plot, the country might now have been shocked with the slaughter of every man in that fatal enclosure.
Democrats! will you, can you be led away by such transparent devices? Republicans!—for we know many of you are opposed to this unnecessary and unjust war—will you be driven by reckless leaders and politicians into supporting such atrocious acts?
Pause then, and consider before you endorse these madmen who are now, under pretense of preserving the Union, doing the very thing that must forever divide it. If they can get one more step in this programme carried out, and cause blood to flow, then, perchance, they will be satisfied, for it gratifies their long cherished hopes and seals the fate of Union forever!