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[283] no authority, North Carolina being still in the Union, and the request was, of course, refused; but on January 9th the fort was entered and occupied by a body of men, without organization, from Wilmington and Smithville (now Southport). They were promptly ordered out by the Governor, and the fort was restored to the Federal authorities. This is mentioned to show the excitement and intensity of feeling at the time.

The government refused to evacuate Fort Sumter—although there was a promise that it should be done, and works in Charleston harbor commanding it were erected or extended, to prevent its relief or reinforcement. General Scott advised its evacuation ‘as a military necessity,’ and Wm. H. Seward, Mr. Lincoln's Secretary of State, assured Judge John A. Campbell, of the Supreme Court, that ‘Fort Sumter will be evacuated in the next five days,’ and in reply to a note from Judge Campbell reminding him of this fact Seward replied briefly: ‘Faith as to Sumter fully kept; wait and see,’ and this though he knew that a large fleet with supplies and strong reinforcements for Sumter had already sailed.

It is a matter of interest, and worthy of memory, that the right of secession and the duty of the United States Government to withdraw its forces from the seceded territory were admitted by very distinguished Abolitionist authority. By no less a person than Wendell Phillips of Massachusetts, the great and able Abolitionist, the ‘silver tongued orator,’ the distinguished scholar, the bold, uncompromising foe of the South and of her institutions. In a speech delivered at New Bedford, Mass., on April 9th, 1861, just four days before the reduction of Fort Sumter by the Confederates, he said: ‘Here are a series of States girding the Gulf, who think their peculiar institutions require that they should have a separate government. They have a right to decide that question without appealing to you or me. A large body of the people sufficient to make a nation, have come to the conclusion that they will have a government of a certain form. Who denies them the right? Standing with the principles of 1776 behind us, who can deny them the right? What is the matter of a few millions of dollars or a few forts? It is a mere drop in the bucket of the great national question. It is theirs just as much as ours. I maintain on the principles of 1776 that Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter.’ These are the words of Wendell Phillips. Can language be more plainer or more forcible in support of the belief and action of the people who united in establishing the Confederate States?

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