Editorials from Northern Newspapers
Many newspapers favored allowing the southern states to peacefully leave as the one below by Greeley.
But later in February and March of 1861, the sentiments changed...
"If the Declaration of Independence justified the secession of 3,000,000 colonists in 1776, I do not see why the Constitution ratified by the same
men should not justify the secession of 5,000,000 of the Southerners from the Federal Union in 1861...
We have repeatedly said, and we once more insist that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence that government
derives its power from the consent of the governed is sound and just, then if the Cotton States, the Gulf States or any other States choose to form
an independent nation they have a clear right to do it...
The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nevertheless; and we do not see how one party can have a right to do what another
party has a right to prevent. We must ever resist the asserted right of any State to remain in the Union and nullify or defy the laws thereof;
to withdraw from the Union is another matter. And when a section of our Union resolves to go out, we shall resist any coercive acts to keep
it in. We hope never to live in a Republic where one section is pinned to the other section by bayonets ." --Horace Greeley, New York Tribune
[ full editorial 12/17/1860 ]
"The predicament in which both the Government and the commerce of the country are placed, through the non-enforcement of our revenue laws,
is now thoroughly understood the world over....If the manufacturer at Manchester [England] can send his goods into the Western States
through New Orleans at less cost than through New York, he is a fool for not availing himself of his advantage...If the importations of
the counrty are made through Southern ports, its exports will go through the same channel. The produce of the West, instead of coming to
our own port by millions of tons, to be transported abroad by the same ships through which we received our importations, will seek other
routes and other outlets. With the lost of our foreign trade, what is to become of our public works, conducted at the cost of many huindred
millions of dollars, to turn into our harbor the products of the interior? They share in the common ruin. So do our manufacturers...Once
at New Orleans, goods may be distributed over the whole country duty-free. The process is perfectly simple... The commercial bearing of
the question has acted upon the North...We now see clearly whither we are tending, and the policy we must adopt. With us it is no longer
an abstract question---one of Constitutional construction, or of the reserved or delegated powers of the State or Federal government, but
of material existence and moral position both at home and abroad.....We were divided and confused till our pockets were touched."
---New York Times March 30, 1861
"The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing....It is very
clear that the South gains by this process, and we lose. No---we MUST NOT "let the South go." "
----Union Democrat , Manchester, NH, February 19, 1861
From a story entitled: "What shall be done for a revenue?"
"That either revenue from duties must be collected in the ports of the rebel states, or the ports must be closed to importations from abroad....
If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up; we
shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe.....Allow rail road iron
to be entered at Savannah with the low duty of ten per cent, which is all that the Southern Confederacy think of laying on imported goods, and
not an ounce more would be imported at New York; the railroads would be supplied from the southern ports.
---New York Evening Post March 12, 1861, recorded in Northern Editorials on Secession, Howard C. Perkins, ed., 1965, pp. 598-599.