and the ordinances of secession were not, as a general rule, submitted to the
people for ratification.
In the Border Slave States there was also a marked difference of opinion
and feeling on the question. As late as April 11, 1861, three resolutions which
were presented in the Virginia Convention containing declarations in favor of the
withdrawal of that State from the Union under certain conditions were rejected
by decisive and significant majorities.
Prior to April 15, 1861, the people of Kentucky and Missouri were, if possible,
more decided in their opposition to secesv.on than were the people of Virginia,
and in Maryland, before the date mentioned, practically the whole population
was opposed to the action of the Cotton States, and desired a peaceful solution of
the public difficulties, and the maintenance of the Union.
To carry out any plan of pacification, and to endeavor to adjust the practical
questions connected with the institution of slavery in iis relations to the Federal
Government, the Border Slave States were ready to give that Government their
support, and from the election of Mr. Lincoln, the people of these States never
ceased to urge upon the Federal authorities the policy of peace.
While affairs were in this critical state, there came the bombardment of
Fort Sumter, and before the smoke had rolled away from Charleston harbor
there came, on April 15, 1861, the proclamation of President Lincoln, declaring
that the laws were being opposed, and that their execution was obstructed in the
Cotton States, and calling forth the militia of the several States of the Union to
the aggregate number of 75,000 men to cause the laws to be duly executed.
What was the effect of this proclamation upon the people of the Border
States? They had been offering their support to the Federal Government on all
constitutional measures for the preservation of peace, and now they were com-
manded to submit to the exercise, by the President of the United States, of powers
unwarranted by the Constitution and the laws, and their resolution was quickly
taken. Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia each passed art
ordinance of secession, and, although the free expression of change in the feeling
of the people of Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland, which was very decided,
was prevented by force, the action of the Federal Government was strongly
The position of Maryland was a most critical one ; and while, after the
President's proclamation, a large number of her people sympathized with the
South, there was a feeling underneath that, on account of her geographical
position, her fortunes were linked with those of the North. In the call of the
President for troops, four Maryland regiments were included, and after that call
a marked division manifested itself among the people of Baltimore. Business
was almost suspended, a spirit of unrest and strife seemed to be in the air. and it
was difficult for the police to preserve the peace.