Necessity Knows no Law.
--There are periods in the history of nations and individuals when the force of even this proverb is illustrated.
The law, or rather the demands of justice, self-respect, national honor, and the vindication of our nationality in the eyes of Europe
, all demand that we should retain possession of Fort Sumter
at any and every sacrifice; and no man in this nation is more deeply impressed with the paramount importance of so doing than is Abraham Lincoln
, the President
of the United States
He feels and recognizes his duty in the premises, but the Law
of necessity steps in, puts at defiance his wishes and his duty, and sternly forbids his attempting to hold or relieve the noble Fortress so promptly snatched from the hands of the Rebels
and Traitors of Charleston
by the timely action of Major Anderson
and his traitor Cabinet had deliberately planned the robbing of our arsenals under the superintendence of, and with the connivance of the miserable fellow Floyd
, whose portrait now hangs so conspicuously in the Rogue's Gallery
of our city police; and we all know, that when Major Anderson
took possession of Fort Sumter
demanded its restoration to the Rebels
, and Buchanan
actually yielded to the demand, until threatened with danger to his person if he ventured upon any such act of treachery.
He yielded to a stern necessity; but in yielding he determined to accomplish by management and finesse what he had not the courage to do openly.
He accordingly refused to permit the fort to be reinforced as it could have been in those days, with the necessary men and stores to enable it to hold out for a year at least against any force which could be brought against it; and it was not until after Morris Island
had been fortified, that he sanctioned the abortive attempt at succor made by the Star of the West; and even countermanded that order before it was carried into effect.
until the fourth of March, the traitors and rebels of Charleston
and the Cotton States
received every countenance and support from Mr. Buchanan
which could be afforded them; and when he retired from office on the 4th instant, he grunted over the conviction that he had fostered rebellion and treason until they had no repent that they were beyond the control of his successor.
And the one great source of his glorification was, that Fort
was without provisions, and that, of necessity, the garrison must surrender from starvation before it would be in the power of the Republican Administration
to relieve and reinforce it.
Of course, Abraham Lincoln
could know nothing of this treason; and when in his inaugural he spoke of occupying the public forts and collecting the revenue, he little dreamed that his predecessor had treasonably arranged to make the abandonment of Fort Sumter
a political necessity.
He was soon apprised, however, that the treason of his predecessor had cunningly devised for him the most serious mortification that could be inflicted, and that he had presented to him the alternative of permitting Anderson
and his command to starve or promptly to withdraw them, and ignominiously permit the fort to fall into the hands of the rebels.
To reinforce the garrison or to supply them with provisions, are equally impossible, because James Buchanan
and his associate traitors designedly refused to do so while it was in their power to do it, and compelled the commandant of the fort quietly to permit the construction of works in his immediate vicinity and under the range of his guns, which would effectually prevent his being relieved when an honest man assaulted the Government
on the 4th of March. Buchanan
's final act of treason has been consummated.
He prevented the late Congress passing a law giving power to the Executive
to call for volunteers to occupy and recapture the public forts and arsenals, and he designedly left Fort Sumter
in a position which renders relief physically impossible without an army of from ten to twenty thousand men, and the employment of a naval force greater than we can command; and he and his myrmidons now exultingly and flauntingly say to the Republican President
, ‘"Do your worst.
We have designedly withhold from you the means of relieving and holding Fort Sumter
, and we invite you to the pleasing alternative of permitting Anderson
and his command to starve
within fifteen days, or of ignominiously abandoning it to a nest of traitors and rebels whom we have nursed into existence as the only certain mode of destroying the Republican party."’
Such are the simple facts of the case as they are presented to the new President
upon his assuming the reins of Government; and we speak advisedly and from knowledge when we say, that while the country has been wickedly made to believe that the time of the Administration has been occupied with the disposal of offices, four fifths of all the hours spent in consultation by the Cabinet
have been devoted to the consideration of the all important question — how to save Fort Sumter
and avert from the Government
the dishonor of abandoning it to the miserable traitors who for months have been in open rebellion against the authority of the Government
, and all the military and naval chiefs at Washington
, have been consulted; every plan which military science could conceive or military during suggest, has been attentively considered and maturely weighed, with a hope at least that the work of the traitor Buchanan
was not so complete as he and his associates supposed.
But all in vain.
There stands the isolated, naked fact--Fort Sumter cannot be relieved because of the treason of the late Administration, and Major Anderson and his command must perish by starvation unless withdrawn.
What, then, is to be done?
Could the President
leave them to starve?
Would the sacrifice of a handful of gallant men to the reason of thieves and rebels, have been grateful to their countrymen?
But, says the indignant yet thoughtless patriot, ‘" think of the humiliation and dishonor of abandoning Sumter
to the Rebels
!"’ We do think of it, and weep tears of blood over the humiliation thus brought upon the country by the traitor President
who has just retired to Wheatland
to gloat over his consummated treason.
And we are assured, too, and do not doubt the truth of the assurance, that when Abraham Lincoln
was compelled to yield his reluctant consent to this most humiliating concession to successful treason, he did not attempt to suppress the sorrow and tears which it called forth.
But he had no alternative.
‘"Necessity knows no law,
"’ and to save the lives of the gallant men who have so long held Fort Sumter
against an overwhelming force of heartless traitors and wicked and unprincipled rebels, whose treason has been steeped in fraud and theft, vulgarly known as ‘"Southern chivalry,"’ the President
of the United States
, in the discharge of a duty to humanity, has signed the order for the evacuation of Sumter
Had war, not peace, been his object — had he desired to raise throughout the mighty North
a feeling of indignation, which in ninety days would have emancipated every slave on the continent and driven their masters into the sea, if needs be — he had only to have said:‘"Let the garrison of Fort Sumter
do their duty and perish beneath its walls, and on the heads of the traitors and rebels of the slavery propagandists be the consequences." Such a decision would have carried joy to the bosoms of Phillips
and their fanatical associates, who so justly consider abolitionism and disunion synonymous; but it would have brought upon the country such scenes of horror as the mind, shrinks from contemplating.
Verily, the blood of the martyrs would have been the seed of " negro emancipation."’
For every patriot soldier thus sacrificed to the revival of the African slave trade and the establishment of a hideous slaveocracy at the South
, ten thousand negro slaves would have been emancipated, and as many of their masters been driven into the ocean to expiate their crimes on earth.
But Mr. Lincoln
desired to rouse no such feeling of revenge among the people of the Free States
He knew — no man knew better — that he had but to hold on to Fort Sumter
agreeably to the plainly expressed will of the people and leave its gallant garrison to the fate prepared for them by rebels and traitors, to insure an uprising which would at once have wiped out slavery from the face of the country; and with it, all engaged in this atrocious rebellion against the Government
But his purpose is Peace, not War. His object is to restore, to rebuild and to preserve the Government
, and the Constitution
which enacted it; and his great aim is, while maintaining the Constitution
and enforcing the laws, to bring back good men to their allegiance, and leave the thieves and rogues, and braggarts who compose the great mass of the rebels, under the cognomen of ‘"Southern Chivalry,"’ to the uninterrupted enjoyment of their own precious society and the reflections which time must awake even in them.
He is mindful of his oath ‘"registered in Heaven,"’ to preserve the Constitution
and enforce the laws; and he feels that his mission is to reclaim and not extinguish; or most assuredly he could have left Fort Sumter
to its fate; and that fate would have been speedy, certain, and absolute annihilation to the traitors now in rebellion against the Government
, and to the very existence of the institution of slavery on the American
But he has been faithful to his oath of office and to the Constitution
; and by yielding to the necessity of the case and listening to the cry of humanity, slavery has had accorded to it its last victory over freedom and the Constitution of the United States
The deed has been accomplished; the sacrifice has been made; traitors and rebels are again triumphant; and the Stars and Stripes are again to be dishonored in the sight of the nation and of astonished Europe
The flag of the Union
is to be pulled down, and the bloody banner of pirates, freebooters, rebels, and traitors, is to be run up to wave triumphantly over Sumter
and be saluted from hundreds of guns in the rebel camp, amid the cheers of thousands whose senseless gasconade and braggadocio vauntings, have long since disgusted brave men and honest citizens.
And yet, we approve the act.
A traitor President
rendered it a necessity;
and humanity demanded that Abraham Lincoln
should sacrifice all personal feelings, and gracefully yield to that necessity and the deliberately planned treason upon which it is based.
His countrymen will sustain him in this discharge of an humiliating but an imperative duty; but with him they feel that the account is now closed with treason.
There is nothing now to yield to traitors — nothing more to sacrifice in order to give to slavery and the slave trade the odor of nationality.
In future, the President
of the United States
has only laws to enforce and a Constitution to sustain; and woe be to them who thwart him in the performance of his duty, and to himself, if he are to shrink from the performance of his whole duty.