that the spot once held so sacred and so carefully insulated from local or partial associations, should become the object of the first civil war!
That is, indeed, what we have come to. Many of us remember, not without a tingle of shame for our own country, the wanton attack of the British
army on the Capitol
, and the foolish injuries done there, destined to be more than avenged.
This was but a souvenir
of the old War of Independence.
No British officer would have dared to insult the shrine of American union and liberty, had it not been felt that, besides the question then at issue, there was an account still to settle for the former war. Since the year 1812, there has been a generation of mutual respect — of even affection.
That is all gone by. Other combatants gather round Washington
The War Minister
of the Southern Confederacy publicly promises that the Secession flag shall float over the Capitol
by the 1st of May.
Any day it is expected that Virginia
, whether by choice or necessity, will join the Secession, and then the sacred district of Columbia, which was to have been the common ground of the world's great brotherhood, will be the debateable border of a divided allegiance and a bloody quarrel.
Meanwhile time brings round anniversaries, which are celebrated as of yore, but with the feeling that they are now a solemn mockery.
What are the Declaration of Independence
, the Battle of Lexington
, the Birthday of Clay
, and the other red-letter days in the American Calendar
, now that the glorious fabric is itself in the dust, and the mountain made with hands shattered to pieces?
It was but the other day, that all eyes were fixed on the Capital
of the Old World as the single object of interest, and the expected scene of the great events that were to mark the latter years of this century.
occupied the attention of all men. A hundred questions were asked, but all were of Rome
be still a Capital?
Will it be the head of a Confederation, or the throne of a King, or the seat of a foreign Viceroy, or the See of a Universal Bishop
, or the Senate of a National Republic?
Before these questions could be answered, and while they are still asked, the Capital
of the New World comes to the foreground, and is the object of much the same inquiries.
The two cities of Rome
are not so differently situated at this moment, nor are their prospects so different as might be. For the present, indeed, we shall all think more of Washington
than of Rome
, April 27.
We have at last the intelligence that hostilities have broken out between the Federal Government
and the Southern States
has fallen, after what is described as a gallant resistance on the part of Major Anderson
and his force, of forty hours duration.
But, singular enough — and fortunate as it is singular — during this protracted cannonade, in the course of which some 1,700 rounds of shot and shell were fired by both parties, not one single man was killed on either side, and it is doubtful whether any one has been wounded.
This bloodless conclusion of the first encounter, taken in connection with the circumstances which preceded and followed it, seems to indicate that there is no very bitter or rancorous feeling on either side, and favors the hope that a good deal of the pent — up irritation of the Southerners has found vent in the first and comparatively harmless passage of arms.
From the correspondence between General Beauregard
and Major Anderson
immediately before the forts opened fire, it was quite obvious that bloodshed was not intended, and that the commander of Fort Sumter, in resisting the demand to evacuate, stood simply on a point of honor, and, in returning the fire of the Secessionists, only desired to justify himself to his Government, and remove the impression which his passive conduct appears to have created at Washington
. We say all this is to be gathered from the correspondence in question, and derives confirmation from the fact that, immediately after Major Anderson
hauled down his flag, he proceeded to Charleston
, where he became the guest of General Beauregard
It is further observable that, although there were ships of war under the orders of the Federal Government
, in the offing, no attempt was made to relieve Fort Sumter
, nor when the commander commenced to reply to: the Secessionists' fire.
The excitement both at Charleston
and at Washington
is described as intense; but it would seem the feeling has not reached the occupants of the White House
, who, and more especially the President
, are said to be calm and composed.
Neither has the news from the South
, notwithstanding its gravity, produced any thing like a panic at New York.
The stocks generally receded, it is true, but the Government Securities
are reported to have been firmly held--a fact in itself of sufficient significance, as indicating confidence in the proceedings of the Administration
. The suspension of business in Wall street was the natural consequence of the report of the actual outbreak of hostilities, but the absence of any thing approaching to a panic could not fail to be regarded as a proof that the mercantile community, at least, do not regard civil war with all its horrors, as inevitable, or that the general interruption of trade is the necessary consequence of the existing state of things.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the reluctance of the Federal Government to resort to hostilities, it is obvious that they are prepared to take a determined stand against the Secessionists, wherever the rights or property of the Union are attacked.
It rests, therefore, with the Southern Convention to say whether they are disposed to listen to terms, or whether they are prepared to persevere in the course they have adopted, regardless of the consequences
.--London Shipping Gazette
, April 26.
The fall of Fort Sumter
must soon, we fear, if we may rely at all on the drift of the recent