, permitted various precautionary measures to be taken, among which, a well-designed, though finally abortive effort to reinforce Sumter, was perhaps the most noteworthy.
Various plans to send men and provisions to Anderson were discussed, and it was at last decided to attempt stratagem.
A swift merchant-steamer, the Star of the West was chartered in New York, loaded with the needed supplies and two hundred and fifty recruits; thus prepared, she sailed on her errand on the night of January 5, 1861.
The effort to keep the expedition an entire secret had not succeeded.
Notice of her departure went to Charleston from New York; and in addition to this, Thompson, the conspiring Secretary of the Interior, who at the last moment learned the fact in Cabinet meeting, also warned his Charleston friends of her coming.
Anderson does not seem to have received his notice, though he gathered from newspapers that some such enterprise was being matured.
He was, therefore, not greatly surpris
to her (Mississippi) those guarantees and principles of liberty which had been pledged to her by the fathers of the Revolution, were but tricks of the conspiracy for local use and effect.
The managers well understood that if the States were once committed to secession, the mere revolutionary momentum of the crisis would carry them to whatever combination they might devise.
The whole plan appears to have been more fully matured and adopted in a Washington caucus held on the night of January 5, 1861, at which time four important points were arranged: 1st, the Cotton States should immediately secede; 2d, that delegates should be chosen to meet in Montgomery, to organize a confederacy, not later than February 15th; 3d, that the conspirators would remain in Congress as long as possible, to obstruct coercive legislation; and 4th, that Jefferson Davis, Slidell, and Mallory be appointed a committee to carry out the objects of the caucus.
Thus, more than a month before his inauguration a