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PERSONAL AND HISTORICAL MEMORIES or EVENTS PRECEDING,
DURING, AND SINCE
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR,
INVOLVING SLAVERY AND SECESSION, EMANCIPATION AND RECONSTRUC-
TION, with SKETCHES OF PROMINENT ACTORS
DURING THESE PERIODS.
SAMUEL S. Cox.
MEMBER OF CONGRESS FOR TWENTY-FOUR YEARS.
AUTHOR OF “BUCKEYE ABROAD,” “Why We LAUGH," “ WINTER SUNBEAMS,"
“ Arctic SUNBEAMS,” “ ORIENT SUNBEAMS,” Etc.
With THIRTY-SIX PORTRAITS ENGRAVED ON STEEL
EXPRESSLY FOR THIS WORK.
PROVIDENCE, R. I. : J. A. & R. A. REID, PUBLISHERS.
State University of lowa
Providence, R. I.
Steel Plates by the
All Rights Reserved.
4ana »26E, L
18 JUN 1930 HERTZ 1..
It is said by a translator of Thucydides, that the sources from which the ancient historian gathered his narrative are very dissimilar to those at the disposal of the modern historian. The first were meagre and oral, the latter are often overwhelming to the compiler by the very mass of materials. Writers like Thucydides had certain aids, such as statues, buildings, columns from sepulchres, decrees of state, and traditions, but few written data comparable with modern libraries.
The author of this volume, unlike the ancient recorder, has had no need to draw upon his imagination in order to depict events, or give eloquence to his characters. He has had access to a multitude of books and other recorded evidences bearing upon his theme. He has also been quite near to the contending forces and persons, and in the very midst of many of the events which he narrates. He has written within reach of the Library of Congress, with its vast stores of material. He has had the same freedom of access to the House Library, and to collections of legislative and executive documents. No fact has been stated upon doubtful authority. All important statements have been made in the language of official reports of the executive departments of the government, of congressional investigating committees, of the witnesses examined before congressional or legislative committees, or of the proceedings of the state conventions and legislatures. In cases of conflicting testimony, the statements of witnesses or parties on each side have been considered or cited. No inference prejudicial to private character or public conduct has been drawn which has not been accompanied by indisputable facts.
In the preparation of portions of this work the writer has had the assistance of gentlemen with whom he is more or less associated in and out of Congress, and without whose aid he could not speak with such absolute certainty as to some of its verities.
The title — “ The Three Decades” – indicates the scope of the volume.
The first decade begins with the organization of the Republican party at Pittsburgh, in the year 1855. This party was partly built upon the ruins of the Know Nothing and Whig parties; but the genius of the structure was the aggressive and intellectual anti-slavery zealotry which, though for a long time championed by few, had almost as long been a most potential factor in our politics. With this decade begins, practically, the era of sectionalism. It was marked by a sanguinary and prolonged internecine war. 1865 saw the termination of that war.
The second decade begins with the period of Reconstruction.
The third decade begins with that part of the period of Reconstruction when the unconstitutional exercise of the military power at the polls ceased. This was the one good result of the compromises which grew out of the Great Fraud perpetrated by means of the Electoral Commission.
From 1865 to 1885 there was a twenty years' struggle to restore the early and better order which had existed before the extremes of sectionalism began their baleful and bloody work.
It has been the unhappy fate of the passing generation to witness the fulfillment of Mr. Webster's prophetic vision. States have been dissevered, discordant, belligerent.” Our land has been "rent with civil feuds" and “ drenched in fraternal blood.” These eloquent words were uttered in 1830. They presaged the controversy upon slavery and its extension.
That controversy led to the national disaster which he so much feared.
It is no part of the plan of this work to embrace a full history of that controversy, nor of the subsequent war, and the action of the government. Leaving those events as concluded in the first decade, the second begins with the efforts of President Lincoln to restore the “dissevered” and “discordant” states to their proper Federal relations.
The generous policy of Mr. Lincoln was thwarted at its very inception by the majority in Congress. It was almost slain by the hand of an assassin. Another political phase came before its practicability could be tested. There is a prevalent notion that President Johnson adopted, and proposed to carry out, the policy of his predecessor; but it will be seen that he had a policy of his own, and that the plan of the Republican President was more liberal and comprehensive than that of his Democratic successor.
It is contemplated to give a condensed history of what was done under each of these Presidential policies, both in Washington and in the states ;