A True Estimate of Abraham Lincoln
and Vindication of the South
by Mildred Lewis Rutherford
When the Virginia Convention pleaded for peace, Lincoln sent word by Colonel Baldwin to say, "It is too late for peace." He did not send word why it was too late, for at that time four expeditions were on the way to Sumter and Pickens to force war. He refused to see the Peace Commissioners sent by the Confederate government to plead for peace — but through Seward and Judge Campbell he kept them deceived until war had been declared.
Abraham Lincoln did not want peace for he had promised coercion, which meant war. He knew, too, that the South would never stand for his administration.
What were those four expeditions he had already sent? Mr. Johnstone’s Truth of the War Conspiracy of 1861(1) will tell you all about it. Read it.
An armistice had been entered into between South Carolina and the United States government on 6 December 1860. A similar armistice had been entered into between Florida and the United States government on 29 January 1861. These armistices agreed that the forts, Sumter and Pickens, should neither be garrisoned nor provisioned so long as these armistices continued in force. Papers to this effect had been filed in the United States Army and Navy Departments and Abraham Lincoln knew this — hence his secret orders.
To violate an armistice is a treacherous act of war. This is acknowledged by all nations. Before his inauguration Lincoln had sent a confidential message to General Winfield Scott to be ready, when his inauguration on 4 March 1861 should take place, to hold or retake the forts.(2) He had in mind then to break this armistice.
One of the agreements of an armistice was that no person, friend nor foe, could visit the forts while the terms of the armistice were in force. President Lincoln sent Lieutenant Worden with a secret message to Captain Adams at Fort Pickens. This was an act of a spy. On March 12th, President Lincoln directed Montgomery Blair, one of his Cabinet, to telegraph to G.V. Fox to come to Washington to arrange for reinforcing Fort Sumter. Fox was sent on March 15th to Fort Sumter and arranged with Anderson for reinforcement. This was an act of a spy. Lamon had also been sent secretly to Charleston to confer with Anderson. This was also the act of a spy.
On March 29th, Abraham Lincoln ordered three ships with 300 men and provisions to be ready to go to Fort Sumter — all orders were marked private. On April 1st, he sent a secret message to the Commandant at Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York to fit out the Powhatan without delay. In this message, he said, "You will under no circumstances communicate to the Navy Department this fact."(3) A fourth expedition was secretly sent to Pensacola under Lieutenant Porter on April 7th on which date the three vessels were directed to go to Fort Sumter. On that same day, President Lincoln directed Seward to say to the Peace Commissioners, "no design to reinforce Fort Sumter." In short, there were four expeditions ordered to garrison and provision Forts Sumter and Pickens while the armistice was yet in force. Not until sufficient time had elapsed to suppose that the vessels had landed were the Peace Commissioners informed of these facts.
Fortunately, a storm delayed some of the ships. When the Confederate government was informed of this treachery, permission was given to General Beauregard to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter. Anderson was ordered to surrender the fort. He refused until he could receive orders from the United States authorities. General Beauregard sent word that unless the fort was surrendered within a certain time, it would be fired upon. It was not surrendered and the shot was fired, and war began.
Who was responsible? No one but Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, who on his own authority, without the consent of Cabinet or Congress, declared war by breaking the armistice agreed upon and forcing the Confederate troops to fire. This is the truth of the matter as the War Records at Washington reveal it.(4) Hallam, in his Constitutional History, rightly says, "The aggressor in war is not the first that uses force, but the first who renders force necessary.
President Lincoln sent a note to each member of the Cabinet asking advice about holding Fort Sumter. Two may be said to have voted for it. Blair favored it; Chase was doubtful. He said, "I will oppose any attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter, if it means war." However, the others decidedly voted against it. Notice that Lincoln did not call a Cabinet meeting and he did not call his Congress. Why? He knew that neither would favor war.
Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, said, "There was not a man in the Cabinet that did not know that an attempt to reinforce Sumter would be the first blow of war." And again he said, "Of all the Cabinet Blair only is in favor of reinforcing Sumter."
William Seward, Secretary of State, said, "Even preparation to reinforce will precipitate war. I would instruct Anderson to return from Sumter.
General Braxton Bragg said, "They have placed an engineer officer at Fort Pickens to violate, as I consider, our agreement not to reinforce."
Hosmer, in his History of the American Nation wrote:
The determination expressed by Lincoln in his Inaugural Address to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the United States precipitated the outbreak, and his determination to collect duties and imports was practically an announcement of an offensive war.(5)
The New York Express said, "The people petitioned and pleaded, begged and implored Lincoln and Seward to be heard before matters were brought to a bloody extreme, but their petitions were spurned and treated with contempt."(6)
In The Opening of the Twentieth Century, these words are found: "The war was inaugurated by the North on an unconstitutional basis, and defended on an unconstitutional basis."
The New York Herald stated:
We have no doubt Mr. Lincoln wants the Cabinet at Montgomery to take the initiative by capturing the two forts in its waters, for it would give him the opportunity of throwing upon the Southern Confederacy the responsibility of commencing hostilities. But the country and posterity will hold him just as responsible as if he struck the first blow.(7)
Again, the New York Herald stated:
Unless Mr. Lincoln’s Administration makes the first demonstration and attack, President Davis says there will be no bloodshed. With Mr. Lincoln’s Administration, therefore, rests the responsibility of precipitating a collision, and the fearful evils of protracted war.(8)
Governor Moore of Alabama said:
I have had a conference with Secretary Mallory of Florida, and Secretary Fitzpatrick of Alabama, in which they informed me that they and Secretary Slidell had a personal interview with the President and the Secretary of the Navy and were assured by them that no attack would be made upon Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens or any excuse given for the shedding of blood during the present administration.
Stephen Douglas said, "Lincoln is trying to plunge the country into a cruel war as the surest means of destroying the Union upon the plea of enforcing the laws and protecting public property."
Zack Chandler wrote to Governor Blair, "The manufacturing states think a war will be awful, but without a little blood-letting the Union will not be worth a curse."(9)
Benjamin Williams, of Lowell, Massachusetts, said:
The South was invaded and a war of subjugation was begun by the Federal government against the seceding states in amazing disregard of the foundation principle of its existence — and the South accepts the contest forced upon her with a courage characteristic of this proud-spirited people.
Horton’s History states, "The first gun of the war was the gun put into that war fleet that sailed against Charleston. The first gun fired at Fort Sumter was the first gun in self-defense. This is the simple fact stripped of all nonsense with which it has been surrounded by Abolitionists."(10)
J.D. Holland writes, "Up to the fall of Sumter Lincoln had no basis for action. If he had raised an army that would have been an act of hostility that would have been coercion. A thousand Northern papers would have pounced on him as a provoker of war. After Sumter fell he could declare war."(11)
It is true many causes had led to the secession of the states, but none of these would have declared war. The South did not want war and the North did not want war, so Abraham Lincoln was responsible for bringing the crisis that forced war in order to please his anti-South party. One cannot truthfully deny this — the facts of history prove it. Mr. Lincoln had pledged his party, if elected he would, in case the Southern states seceded, coerce them back into the Union.(12)
General Donn Piatt said, "Lincoln’s low estimate of humanity blinded him to the South. He could not understand that men could fight for a principle. He thought this movement on the part of the South was only a political game of bluff. It was said, "The South can’t fight. She has no resources."(13)
Hanibal Hamlin said, "If they fight they must come to us for arms, and they must come without money to pay for them."
Lincoln tried in every way to quiet the fears of his constituents, but when the states did secede he remembered his promise to coerce.
The leaders of the North, strong, just and brainy men, who while differing with the South along slavery and other lines political and commercial, stood for the Constitution and stood by the decisions of the Supreme Court, and would never have taken up arms to coerce the Southern states. But when the cry was raised, "The flag has been fired upon," they felt that their refusal to enlist might be misjudged, and many hired substitutes to take their place. There was nothing said when the flag was fired upon on the Star of the West in Buchanan’s Administration. It was simply an excuse of Lincoln’s to fire the men of the North to take up arms.
The following will show the spirit of the true men of the North at that time:
A committee was appointed to draw up resolutions to present to the Massachusetts Legislature when sectional feeling was at its height. They calmly and deliberately weighed the arguments on the side of the slaveholders, and then as calmly and deliberately weighed those on the side of the Abolitionists. Then they came to a conclusion and said:
"Nothing which is not founded upon the eternal principles of truth and justice can ever long prevail against an irresistible force of public disapprobation. Your committee feel that the conduct of the Abolitionists is not only wrong in policy but erroneous in morals.
"Your committee are determined to fulfill their duty to the state and to our common country in the most firm and faithful manner. In remembering that while they are men of Massachusetts, they are incapable of meanly forgetting that they also are Americans."(14)
George Lunt said, "Abraham Lincoln was not the choice of the people of the North. The Republican Party put him in power, because he seemed to afford the prospect of more malleable material for their purposes."(15)
This anti-South party wanted a man from the lower class to humiliate the upper class. The lower class voted for him because they were of his class, and the lower class are glorifying him today because they sympathize with him.
Lincoln hated the aristocrats, whether they were slaveholders or not. This statement has been denied, but a man who headed the list of subscribers to John Brown’s raid in Kansas and Virginia, advocating murder and arson, who telegraphed congratulations to Sherman, Sheridan, Grant, and Hunter for cruel treatment of women and children, who stood for destroying all food supplies, leaving both White and Black to starve, who allowed the women of New Orleans, Louisiana to be treated with such indignity by the order of Benjamin Butler, and who allowed Negro troops to guard and fire upon Southern prisoners, could not have had love but abounding hate in his heart for the South.(16)
Nor could a man who advocated Parson Brownlow for the Governor of a Southern state, after hearing his New York speech, love the people he wished to put him to rule over. This is what Brownlow said:
If I had the power I would arm every wolf, panther, catamount and tiger in the mountains of America; every negro in the Southern Confederacy, and every devil in hell and turn them on the rebels in the South.
I would like to see Richmond and Charleston captured by negro troops commanded by Butler the Beast and driven into the Gulf of Mexico to be drowned as the devils did the hogs in the Sea of Galilee (long and loud applause).
And after, when he was made Governor of Tennessee, he said, "If I could I would divide the army going South into three divisions. 1st, with knives to do the killing; 2nd, with torches dipped in spirits of turpentine to do the burning; and 3rd, with compasses to divide the land."
Had Abraham Lincoln forgotten his Inaugural Address of March, 1861?
The Republican Party placed on the platform for my acceptance and as a law to themselves and me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:
"Resolved: That the maintenance of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions, according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power in which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend: and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed forces of the soil of any state, or territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes."
These messages of congratulations for lawless invasion of the South by armed forces make Abraham Lincoln a criminal by his own definition.
1. Curryville, Georgia.
2. Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Hon. E.B. Washburn, dated Springfield, Illinois, 21 December 1860.
3. War of the Rebellion Records, Volume IV, p. 109.
4. Series 1, Volume IV, pages 90-259.
5. Volume XX, page 20
6. 15 April 1861.
7. 6 April 1861.
8. 7 April 1861.
9. Quoted by S.D. Carpenter, The Logic of History (Madison, Wisconsin: self-published, 1864), pg. 138.
10. page 109.
11. Life of Lincoln (1865).
12. The Makers of America, page 270.
13. Reminiscences of Lincoln.
14. George Lunt, Chairman.
15. George Lunt, Origins of the Late War (1866).
16. Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume X, page 190.