The Civil War News & Views Open Discussion Forum

So What Happened Mr. Seward?

To Mr. Adams our Minister to England.
April 10th, 1861,
Mr. Seward said

“He (the President) believes, nevertheless, that the citizens of those States, as well as the citizens of the other States, are too intelligent, considerate and wise to follow the leaders to that disastrous end (secession). For these reasons, he would not be disposed to reject a cardinal dogma of theirs, namely, that the Federal Government could not reduce the seceding States to obedience by conquest, even though he were disposed to question that proposition. But, in fact, the President willingly accepts it as true. Only an imperial or despotic Government could subjugate thoroughly disaffected and insurrectionary members of the State. This Federal Republic system of ours is, of all forms of Government, the very one which is most unfitted for such a labor. Happily, however, this is only an imaginary defect. The system has within itself adequate peaceful, conservative and re- cuperative forces. Firmness on the part of the Government in maintaining and preserving the public institutions and property, and in executing the laws, where authority can be exercised without waging war, combined with such measures of justice, moderation and forbearance as will disarm reasoning opposition, will be sufficient to secure the public safety, until returning reflection, concurring with the fearful experience of social evils, tise inevitable fruits of faction, shall bring the recusant members cheerfully back into the family which, after all, must prove their best and happiest, as it undeniably is their most natural home. The Constitution of the United States provides for that return by authorizing Congress, on application to be made by a certain majority of the States, to assemble a naticnal convention, in which the organic law can, if it be needful, be rvised, so as to remove all real obstacles to a reunion, so suitable to the habits of the people, and so emineatly conducive to the common safety and welfare.

Keeping that remedy steadily in view, the President, on the one hand, will not suffer the Federal authority to fall into abeyance, nor will he, on the other, aggravate existing evils by attempts at coercion, which must assume the form of direct war against any of the revolutionary States.”

David Upton