III. the Albany evening Journal on Gov. Seward and Judge Campbell.The Albany Evening Journal of May 20th, 1861, commenting on a very abusive attack on Gov. Seward, in a then recent Richmond Whig, with regard to his assurances to or through Judge Campbell, respecting Fort Sumter, says:
If the Secretary of State were at liberty to reply to ex-Judge Campbell, revealing all that passed between them on several occasions, not only no imputation of insincerity would rest upon the Secretary, but the facts would seriously affect Judge Campbell's well-established reputation for candor and frankness. These revelations would furnish no evidence of either the “falsehood” or “duplicity” of Governor Seward; for there was nothing of either in his conversations. We violate no confidence in saying that Judge Campbell balanced long between Loyalty and Secession; the preponderance, up to a late day, being in favor of the Union. If he at any time looked with favor or satisfaction upon Secession, he was much and generally misunderstood. If he did not seriously contemplate remaining in the Union and upon the Bench, he was misunderstood. If, during that period of mental trial, he was acting in harmony with the leading enemies of the Union, he was grossly misunderstood. That Gov. Seward conversed freely with Judge Campbell, we do not deny; nor do we doubt, that, in those conversations, at one period, he intimated that Fort Sumter would be evacuated. He certainly believed so; founding his opinion upon a knowledge of Gen. Scott's recommendation. Subsequently, the President deemed it his duty to authorize an effort to reenforce and provision that fortress. We do not know whether Gov. Seward met Judge Campbell after that change of purpose; but he was not at liberty, if they did meet, to reveal what was so well kept. But, whatever Gov. Seward said or intimated to Judge Campbell, was true at the time it was said. That Judge Campbell reported to the Confederate President half that he said or intimated, is more than doubtful.
Fort Sumter was impelled by a stringent, imperative political necessity — that hostilities were inaugurated, to prevent the else inevitable crumbling away and utter collapse of the Confederacy — has received additional confirmation since that portion of this work was stereotyped, through an averment of Hon. Jere. Clemens, late U. S. Senator from Alabama, who, in a Union meeting held at the city of his residence, Huntsville, Ala., March 13, 1864, said:
Before I declare this meeting adjourned, I wish to state a fact in relation to the commencement of the war: Some time after the ordinance of Secession was passed. I was in Montgomery, and called upon President Davis, who was in that city. Davis, Memminger, the Secretary of War, Gilchrist, the member from Lowndes County, and several others, were present. As I entered, the conversation ceased. They were evidently discussing the propriety of firing upon Fort Sumter. Two or three of them withdrew to a corner of the room; and I heard Gilchrist say to the Secretary of War, “It must be done. Delay two months, and Alabama stays in the Union. You must sprinkle blood in the faces of the people.”The Secretary of War in question was Mr. Leroy Pope Walker, also a citizen of Huntsville, who made, the evening after Fort Sumter's surrender, a public proclamation that the Rebels would have possession of Washington City within a month. He was an original Secessionist; while Senator Clemens, with most of the people of their county (Madison), clung to the Union, so long as they could with safety. That Mr. Clemens has fabricated such a statement with regard to two of his neighbors, by whom it might so easily be refuted, if untrue, will hardly be suggested.
V. The confidence of the Rebels--Russell on the capture of Washington.That the speedy capture and occupation of Washington by the Confederates were confidently anticipated by their chiefs, as among the earliest and most inevitable results of the War they were inaugurating, has, perhaps, been sufficiently established in due course; but, since the Governors of Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, with others, boldly and broadly charged President Lincoln with wantonly inaugurating civil war, by his Proclamation calling out 75,000 militia for the defense of the Federal metropolis, it may be proper to accumulate evidence on this head. Here is what Wm. H. Russell, The Times's correspondent, who was in the South when Sumter was reduced, records in his “Diary,” under the date of April 20th, 1861, just after dining at Charleston with W. H. Trescott, W. Porcher Miles, Gov. Manning, and other pioneers of Disunion:
The Secessionists are in great delight over Gov. Letcher's proclamation, calling out troops and volunteers; and it is hinted that Washington will be attacked, and the nest of Black Republican vermin, which haunt the capital, be driven out.