Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 29
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 29
the boat and not averse to giving his opinion, which Russell quotes with apparent approval of the concluding statement. “This war,” the steward said, “is all about niggers; I’ve been sixteen years in the country, and I never met one of them yet was fit to be anything but a slave; I know the two sections well and I tell you, sir, the North can’t whip the South let them do their best.” 1  34
  Mixed with the stern determination on both sides to fight out the conflict was a sincere regret that the Union should be broken. When an old gentleman, whom Russell met in Charleston, spoke of the prospect of civil war “tears rolled down his cheeks,” but regarding it “as the natural consequence of the insults, injustice and aggression of the North against Southern rights” he had no apprehension for the result. Mrs. Chesnut wrote of the separation, “The wrench has been awful.” When the Virginia convention was considering the ordinance of secession, one delegate, who spoke against it, became incoherent in his emotion and finally broke down sobbing. Another, who voted for it, wept like a child at the thought of rending ancient ties. 2 It is Henry Adams’s opinion based on his recollections of Washington in the winter of 1861 that, “Not one man in America wanted the civil war or expected or intended it.” Similar was Nicolay’s impression at the same period in Springfield while assisting Lincoln. “Nobody wanted war” is the word. 3 And when it came, J. D. Cox and James A. Garfield, then members of the Ohio legislature, groaned at “the shame, the folly, the outrage” of “civil war in our land.” 4  35
Note 1. Russell, 106, 251, 315, 329; III, 407 n., 433 n.; Lect., 157 et seq. [back]
Note 2. Russell, 117; Chesnut, 53; III, 386. [back]
Note 3. Nicolay, 153. Nicolay was Lincoln’s first private secretary; see Mark Twain, I, 160. [back]
Note 4. III, 359 n. [back]


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