From the first announcement that hostilities had actually commenced in Charleston Harbor
, and that Major Anderson
's garrison of sixty or seventy men were sustaining and replying as best they could, to a fierce bombardment from a force more than one hundred times their number, down to the moment it was announced that he was compelled to strike his flag, the feeling that stirred the people as one man, here, and so far as we can learn, elsewhere also, was too deep, too strong, and will be too enduring, to be characterized by the term excitement.
Never have we seen anything like it. While the keen sagacity of the public mind readily detected the absurdity and downright falsehood of many of the despatches, yet those received on Friday night, created a sharp relish for more; consequently, Saturday morning, all the forenoon, and throughout the whole day, business was forsaken or limited to the briefest necessity.
At the Stock Board cheers were given for Major Anderson
, and the Government
stocks stiffened with renewed determination to stand by the country.
As despatch after despatch came, like bombs from an enemy's battery, the feeling was depressed or elated according to their character.
The announcement that Fort Sumter
was on fire sounded like a knell as well as an impossibility.
It was a silly, unnecessary falsehood, or else some calamity had happened within the walls of Fort Sumter
, on which it was based.
It caused forebodings.
“Where is the fleet?”
was on all lips.
That there had been some unlucky miscarriage, as the public mind had conceived its objects, was quite plain.
Finally came the report that the stars and stripes would soon come down, and, later, that they had actually given place to the flag of Rebellion; when, in spite of doubts, and the strong inclination to disbelief, particularly of the statement that, notwithstanding the bombardment had continued nearly
thirty-six hours, “nobody was hurt,” on either side, the feeling reached its climax.
It did not find vent in extraordinary manifestations, but crystallized in a deep-seated conviction that a contest had been inaugurated, and an issue joined that would not be suffered to go by default.
No compromise now with Rebellion, is the universal sentiment.
If there were differences before, there cannot be said to be any now.
Yesterday the churches throughout the city were crowded to overflowing, many persons attending in order to hear what might be disseminated from the pulpit, in regard to the war which had been inaugurated.
While the discourses of some of the preachers made direct and extended allusion to the great event in their churches, it was referred to in the prayers and lessons of the day. Others, doubtful of the authenticity of the news, abstained from any reference to the subject.
During the progress of one of the Fourth-avenue cars down-town, Capt. Miller
, with a friend, was quietly discussing the affairs of Government, when their conversation was interrupted by a gentlemanly-looking person, who attributed all the trouble to the “D — d Black Republicans.”
, who is a member of the church, but nevertheless a fighting man, turned suddenly upon the individual and said: “Now, look here, Mr.
, you're a stranger to me, but if you want to join in conversation with me you must come in the character of a gentleman.”
Stranger suddenly discovered that he had arrived at his destination.
On Saturday evening, a gentleman in the crowd that gathered on Printing-House Square was disposed to rejoice over the news, and expressed the opinion that it was the best way to bring about a settlement.
“Settlement did you say, my friend?”
responded a six-footer, whose peculiarity of speech indicated that he was raised somewhere in the vicinity of the Green Mountains
, “I will tell you what, there is just one way to get a settlement, provided this news is true, and that is by one side or the other getting whipped!”
The cheers of the crowd showed how heartily the sentiment was responded to.
Three men, apparently laborers, who were alone reading the despatches as they came, when information came that Anderson
had hauled down the American Flag
, were so affected that they wept.
As an evidence of the feeling among the representative men of our city, we will state that Commodore Vanderbilt
informed our reporter last night that no application had been made to him by the Government
in reference to his steamships; but he said, my steamships are at the disposal of the Government
.--N. Y. Tribune
, April 15.
The Resurrection of patriotism.
The incidents of the last two days will live in History.
Not for fifty years has such a spectacle been seen, as that glorious uprising of American loyalty which greeted the news that open war had been commenced upon the Constitution
and Government of the United States
The great heart of the American
people beat with one high pulsation of courage, and of fervid love and devotion to the great Republic.
Party dissensions were instantly hushed; political differences disappeared, and were as thoroughly forgotten as if they had never existed; party bonds flashed into nothingness in the glowing flame of patriotism;--men ceased to think of themselves or their parties,--they thought only of their country and of the dangers which menace its existence.
Nothing for years has brought the hearts of all the people so close together,--or so inspired them all with common hopes, and common fears, and a common aim, as the bombardment and surrender of an American fortress.
We look upon this sublime outburst of public sentiment as the most perfect vindication of popular institutions,--the most conclusive reply to the impugners of American loyalty, the country has ever seen.
It has been quite common to say that such a Republic as ours could never be permanent, because it lacked the conditions of a profound and abiding loyalty.
The Government could never inspire a patriotic instinct, fervid enough to melt the bonds of party, or powerful enough to override the selfishness which free institutions so rapidly develop.
The hearts of our own people had begun to sink within them, at the apparent insensibility of the public to the dangers which menaced the Government
The public mind seemed to have been demoralized,--the public heart seemed insensible to perils which threatened utter extinction to our great Republic.
The secession movement, infinitely the most formidable danger which has ever menaced our Government, was regarded with indifference and treated as merely a novel form of our usual political contentions.
The best among us began to despair of a country which seemed incompetent to understand its dangers, and indifferent to its own destruction.
But all this is changed.
The cannon which bombarded Sumter
awoke strange echoes, and touched forgotten chords in the American
American Loyalty leaped into instant life, and stood radiant and ready for the fierce encounter.
From one end of the land to the other — in the crowded streets of cities, and in the solitude of the country — where-ever the splendor of the Stars and Stripes, the glittering emblems of our country's glory, meets the eye, come forth shouts of devotion and pledges of aid, which give sure guarantees for the perpetuity of American Freedom.
War can inflict no scars on such a people.
It can do them no damage which time cannot repair.
It cannot shake the solid foundations of their material prosperity,--while it will strengthen the manly and heroic virtues, which defy its fierce and frowning front.
It is a mistake to suppose that War,--even Civil War,--is the greatest evil that can afflict a nation.
The proudest and noblest nations on the earth have the oftenest felt its fury, and have risen the stronger, because the braver, from its overwhelming wrath.
War is a far less evil than degradation,--than the national and social paralysis which can neither feel a wound nor redress a wrong.
When War becomes the only means of sustaining a nation's honor, and of vindicating its just and rightful supremacy, it ceases to be an evil and becomes the source of actual and positive good.
If we are doomed to assert the rightful supremacy of our Constitution by force of arms, against those who would overthrow and destroy it, we shall grow the stronger and the nobler by the very contest we are compelled to wage.
We have reason to exult in the noble demonstration of American loyalty, which the events of the last few days have called forth from every quarter
of the country.
Millions of freemen rally with exulting hearts, around our country's standard.
The great body of our people have but one heart and one purpose in this great crisis of our history.
Whatever may be the character of the contest, we have no fears or misgivings as to the final issue.--N. Y. Times
, April 16.