Doc. 52.--Fort Sumter correspondence.
The following is the correspondence immediately preceding the hostilities:
--New York Tribune. At all events, the reduction of Fort Sumter and this manifesto of President Lincoln are equivalent to a declaration of war on both sides, between the Confederate and the United States. In a conflict of this sort, there can be but two parties — a Northern and a Southern party; for all other parties will cease to exist. The political principles, organizations and issues which have divided our country and our people, in various shapes and forms, since the treaty of our independence with England, will all be very soon overwhelmed in the sweeping changes of a civil war. It would be folly now to argue what might, could, would, or should, have been done by Southern fire-eaters and Northern disorganizers in 1854, 1860, or by Mr. Buchanan, or by Mr. Lincoln, or by the late session of Congress. Civil war is upon us, and the questions which now supersede all others are: What are the consequences now before us? Where is this war to end? and how and when? What is our duty under this warlike condition of things? and what are the movements and the conditions necessary to change this state of war to a state of peace? These questions will irresistibly impress themselves upon the mind of every thinking man, north and south. Earnestly laboring in behalf of peace, from the beginning of these sectional troubles down to this day, and for the maintenance of the Union through mutual concessions, we do not even yet utterly despair of arresting this civil war before it shall have passed beyond the reach of reason.--N. Y. Herald. The “irrepressible conflict” started by Mr. Seward, and endorsed by the Republican party, has at length attained to its logical, foreseen result. That conflict, undertaken “for the sake of humanity,” culminates now in inhumanity itself, and exhibits the afflicting spectacle of brother shedding brother's blood. Refusing the ballot before the bullet, these men, flushed with the power and patronage of the Federal Government, have madly rushed into a civil war, which will probably drive the remaining Slave States into the arms of the Southern Confederacy, and dash to pieces the last hope for a reconstruction of the Union. To the gallant men, who are so nobly defending the flag of their country within the walls of Fort Sumter, the nation owes a debt of eternal gratitude — not less than to the equally gallant and patriotic spirits, who, in like obedience to the demands of duty, are perilling their lives and shedding their blood in the heroic, but, as yet, unsuccessful endeavor to afford them succor. But, to the coldblooded, heartless demagogues, who started this civil war — themselves magnanimously keeping out of the reach of bodily harm — we can only say, you must find your account, if not at the hands of an indignant people, then in the tears of widows and orphans. The people of the United States, it must be borne in mind, petitioned, begged and implored these men, who are become their accidental masters, to give them an opportunity to be heard, before this unnatural strife was pushed to a bloody extreme, but their petitions were all spurned with contempt, and now the bullet comes in to decide the issue!--N. Y. Express. The curtain has fallen upon the first act of the great tragedy of the age. Fort Sumter has been surrendered, and the stars and stripes of the American Republic give place to the felon flag of the Southern Confederates. The defence of the fortress did honor to the gallant commander by whom  it was held, and vindicated the Government under which he served. Judging from the result, it does not seem to have been the purpose of the Government to do any thing more. The armed ships which accompanied the supplies took no part in the contest. Whatever may have been the reason for it, their silence was probably fortunate. They could scarcely have forced their way through the heavy batteries which lined the coast, nor could their participation in the fight have changed the result. The preparations of the enemy were too complete, and their forces too numerous, to warrant any hope of success with the number of guns at our command. The fort was bravely defended. It has fallen without loss of life — the ships are on the spot to enforce the blockade of Charleston harbor--Fort Pickens, according to a despatch from Montgomery, has already been reinforced — and every thing is ready for unrolling the next and the far more terrible scene of this great drama. The Government of the United States is prepared to meet this great emergency, with the energy and courage which the occasion requires, and which the sentiment of the nation demands. The President issues his proclamation to-day, convening Congress for the 4th of July, and calling for seventy-five thousand volunteers for the defence of the Union, and the protection of the rights and the liberties of the American people. The people will respond to this demand with alacrity and exultation. They ask nothing better than to be allowed to fight for the Constitution which their fathers framed. Whatever may have been their political differences, there has never been a moment when they were not ready to sink them all in devotion to their common country, and in defence of their common flag. The President's proclamation will be hailed with an enthusiasm which no event of the last twenty years has called forth — with a high-hearted determination to exterminate treason, which will carry terror into the hearts of the Confederates, who have conspired for the destruction of the freest and best government the world has ever seen.--N. Y. Times. The spirit which has been manifested since the assault upon Fort Sumter commenced shows that the anomaly we have too long witnessed, of peace upon one side, and war upon the other, will very speedily be destroyed. Henceforth we shall no longer strive to see how little we can do to strengthen forts, to maintain armies, to fit out fleets, to enforce the laws, and protect the honor of the nation, but how much. We will no longer seek to tie the hands of the Government — to cripple its powers — to unman and degrade it — to strengthen and encourage treason, and to dishearten and humiliate loyalty. The issue is now made up — either this great Republic or its desperate adversaries must be overthrown; and may God defend the right! Henceforth each man, high and low, must take his position as a patriot or a traitor — as a foe or a friend of his country — as a supporter of the flag of the stars and stripes or of the rebel banner. The contest which is impending will doubtless be attended with many horrors; but all the facts show that it has been forced upon us as a last resort; and war is not the worst of evils. Since the startling events of the last five months have been succeeded by a brutal bombardment of a fort erected at vast expense for the defence of Charleston harbor, which would have been peaceably evacuated if the rebels had not insisted upon the utter humiliation of the Government, and since the Secretary of War of the Southern Confederacy has threatened to capture Washington, and even to invade the Northern States, while a formal declaration of hostilities is about to be made by the Confederate Congress, we should be wanting in every element of manhood, be perpetually disgraced in the eyes of the world, and lose all self-respect, if we did not arouse to determined action to re-assert the outraged dignity of the nation.--Phila. Press. Were the Confederate States now a foreign foe, and we had declared war against them, with the status of Sumter as it was in the present case, we should regard them as the veriest fools and cowards, had they failed to make the attack before reinforcements could arrive, and so to secure the advantages of their position. And by this estimate they must be judged in this thing. For although the administration at Washington does not regard them as a foreign foe, yet the Confederate States constitute a nation, with its independence declared, and therefore they regard the United States as a foreign foe. In the attack upon Sumter they have done just what the United States would have done with respect to England at the opening of the Revolutionary war; just what any nation would do under the same circumstances. And in fact they have done that thing, which, had they not done, they would have been the subject of scoff and ridicule up and down the whole gamut of Black Republican insolence. The questions which now arise are all with respect to the future. The inflamed and warlike spirit accredited to the Northern cities and free States generally, must not be taken into the account, or we shall plunge into a prolonged, sanguinary, and indecisive conflict, in which the border States will soon become the “dark and bloody ground.” A war of conquest and subjugation against the Southern Confederacy, will terminate in inevitable disaster, whatever may be the actual termination of the strife. Such a war must begin, as it has really been anticipated, by a positive purpose on the part of the administration at Washington to reduce the Southern States to political inequality in the Union. Consequently, the alternative of submission to this administration at any time, includes assent to political inequality, and the recognition of a power which has avowed an “irrepressible conflict” with Southern institutions. Whatever successes may attend the United States, therefore, as against the Confederate States, the end must be the recognition of independence of the latter, or the holding them by military power. In the latter case all union is at an end; peace and harmony will be unattainable; and the utter prostration of all business will continue indefinitely. On the other hand, the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States will at once end the strife, restore public confidence, and relieve the enterprises of industry and capital from the embarrassment which now hinders their prosperity, and must in the end overwhelm them with calamity.--Baltimore Sun.