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THE PROGRESS OF THE WAR.
Washington, July 7, 1863.
Remarks made by Secretary Seward in Washington, on Tuesday night, after the reception of the news of the fall of Vicksburg.
When I saw a commotion upheaving in the state, I thought it consistent with the duty of a patriot and a Christian to avert the civil war if it was possible, and I tried to do so. If this was a weakness, I found what seemed an instruction excusing it in the prayer of our Saviour, that the cup, the full bitterness of which was understood by himself alone, might pass. But I found, also, an instruction in regard to my duty in his resignation: "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." When it was clear that without fault on your part or mine the civil war was inevitable, I then thought it consistent with the duty of a patriot and a Christian to take care that the war should be begun not by the friends of the Union, but by its enemies, so that in maintaining the Union we should not only maintain the cause of our country, but should be maintaining it in righteous self-defence. Aggression, unjust aggression, is in every case weakness. Self-defence in a righteous cause is the strongest attitude that an individual or a nation can have. The weakest nation may resist a powerful adversary, while it occupies an attitude of self-defence. Powerful nations have been shivered in making an unprovoked attack upon one infinitely weaker than themselves.
I thought, further, that it was consistent with my duty as a patriot and a Christian to do what was in my power to render the war as light in its calamities and as short in its duration as possible. Therefore, I proposed to retain on the side of the loyal states as many of the states which were disturbed by elements of sedition as could be retained by a course of calm and judicious conduct. I would have had, if possible, the insurrection confined to the seven original so-called seceding states. When all these conditions had been secured, so far as was possible to secure them, I thought still farther that it was consistent with my duty as a patriot and a Christian to combine the loyal states and consolidate them into one party for the Union, because I knew that disunion had effectually combined the people of the disloyal states to overthrow the Union. I thought that this could be done only through the sacrifice of individual and state and sectional opinions, interests, prejudices and ambitions.
A nation cannot be saved from death whose individual citizens lack the virtue to make these sacrifices. Unwilling to ask of my fellow-citizens sacrifices I had not the resolution to make myself, I determined not to wait until I should be called upon to make them. I said, "I give up myself, my family, my friends, my party, all that I have laid up of character in the past, all the interests that I now possess, and all the future that I have thought was in store for me. I take for my associate and leader the first brave and disinterested man who leads the way, and I follow his guidance and share his fortunes." I found a leader in Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, a man who tolerated and excused, if be did not justify slavery; and as all the world knew that I then abhorred and detested it, and as God knows I abhor and detest it now, I said, " The country shall be saved by the republican party if it will, by the democratic party if it choose, without slavery if it is possible, with slavery if it must."
Once engaged in the contest, I was prepared to demand, as I have demanded ever since, that no treasure, no amount of human life necessary to save the nation's life, should be withheld. I thought that the war might be ended in three months —in six months — in a year — and I labored to that end. But, as you will all recollect, I said that it was the people, and not any one man or any combination of men, that could bring it to an end, then or ever, and the people could only do it by showing so much zeal, determination and consistency, as would not only keep envious, or interested, or ambitious foreign nations aloof from the battle, but should make it their obvious interest to frown upon