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Chapter 6: Affairs at the National Capital.--War commenced in Charleston harbor.

When intelligence of Anderson's occupation of Fort Sumter went abroad, it created intense excitement. In the Freelabor States, as we have observed, it produced joyful emotions. In the Slave-labor States it kindled anger, and intensified the hurricane of passion then sweeping over them. From these, proffers of sympathy and military aid were sent to the South Carolinians, and they were amazingly strengthened by the evidences of hearty co-operation in their revolutionary designs, which came not only from the Cotton-producing States, but from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and even from Maryland.

The National Capital, in the mean time, became the theater of important and startling events, calculated to add to the feverish excitement throughout the country. Congress had not adjourned during the holidays, as usual. On the day when the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession was passed,

December 20, 1860.
the House of Representatives was discussing the Pacific Railway Bill. Half an hour after that ordinance was adopted, the telegraph told the news to the representatives of that State in Congress, and all but two of them immediately left the hall. A little later it was publicly announced by Representative M. R. H. Garnett, of Virginia, who, contending in the discussion that his State would not be responsible for any bonds which the Government might issue for the construction of the Pacific Road, said:--“Why, Sir, even while your bill is under debate, one of the Sovereign States of this Confederacy has, by the glorious act of her people, withdrawn, in vindication of her rights, from the Union, as the telegraph announced to us at half-past 1 o'clock. . . . It is my solemn belief that the people of Virginia, when my State takes that course which thronging events will lead her to take, will not hold themselves responsible for the first cent of these bonds and appropriations.” 1 These words were followed by applause from some of the Southern members; and Messrs. Boyce and Ashmore, the two remaining representatives of South Carolina, arose from their seats, shook hands with some of their friends, and left the hall. Four days afterward, a letter signed by the entire South Carolina delegation, then in Washington, was sent in to the Speaker, announcing, in the peculiar phraseology of the devotees of State Supremacy, that the action of their State had dissolved their connection with those whom they had “been associated with [141] in a common agency” (meaning the National Congress), and that they should vacate their seats.2 After drawing their pay from the public treasury up to the hour of their desertion, they departed for their homes. The South Carolina Senators, as we have observed, had already resigned.3

The announcement of the treasonable movements at Charleston was heard with a calm dignity quite remarkable by the representatives of the Freelabor States, who had begun to look with contempt on the dramatic performances of some of the Hotspurs of the cotton-growing region, and thought it time to rebuke them. On the same evening the New York delegation, excepting those from the city of New York, held a consultation, and passed a resolution, by unanimous vote, saying for the people of their State, that they believed that the appropriate remedy for every existing grievance might be applied under the Constitution, and that they should insist upon “a prompt and energetic enforcement of all the laws of the General Government.” This resolution, which was applauded by representatives from other States, was sent to the Governor of New York (Morgan), with a suggestion, that in his forthcoming message he should give such expression that the enemies of the Government should know that “New York, at least, will never submit to the doctrine of secession ;” also, suggesting the propriety of recommending the Legislature to adopt measures for forming “volunteer companies, to sustain, if need be, the Union--to protect the Federal property, and aid in enforcing the Federal laws.” 4 It was felt that the time for public meetings, for political speeches, and for moral suasion, had passed, and that the people should rise in their majesty, and say, with the vehemence of conscious power, to the traitors everywhere — Touch the Ark of our Covenant with parricidal hands at your peril!

While there was calmness in Congress on the annunciation of the action of South Carolinians, there was great excitement throughout the Capital. The writer was in Washington at the time, and was in conversation with General Cass, at his house, on the great topic of the hour, when a relative brought to him a bulletin concerning the act of secession. The venerable statesman read the few words that announced the startling fact, and then throwing up his hands, while tears started from his eyes, he exclaimed, with uncommon emotion:--“Can it be! Can it be! Oh,” he said, “I had hoped to retire from the public service, and go home to die with the happy thought, that I should leave to my children, as an inheritance from patriotic men, a united and prosperous republic. But it is all over! This is but the beginning of the end. The people in the South are mad; the people in the North are asleep. The President is pale with fear, for his official household is full of traitors, and conspirators control the Government. God only knows what is to be the fate of my poor country! To Him alone must we look in this hour of thick darkness.”

The writer left the venerable ex-Minister of State, and went over to the War and Navy Departments. The offices were closed for the day, but the [142] halls and lobbies were resonant with the voices of excited men. There were treasonable utterances there, shocking to the ears of loyal citizens. I went to the hotels on Pennsylvania Avenue--“Willard's,” the “Kirkwood,” “Brown's,” and “The National,” and found them swarming with guests, for it was then the late dinner-hour. There was wild excitement among them; secession cockades were plentiful, and treason and sedition walked as boldly and defiantly in these hotels, and in the streets of the National Capital, as in the “Mills House,” and the streets of Charleston. I took up the newspapers, and found no word of comfort therein for the lovers of the country. “The long-threatened result of Black Republican5 outrage and autocracy,” said one, “has taken place in South Carolina; secession is a fixed fact.” 6 Another, the Government gazette, praised the dignity of the South Carolina Convention. “If the telegraphic abstract may be relied upon,” it said, “it is not easy to conceive of any thing more calm, more thoughtful, more dignified, than the utterances which followed the taking of the decisive step. . . . Almost Spartan simplicity animates the oratory. . . . A few days will bring the issue to the chambers of the Capitol. South Carolina, through her representatives, will reappear in Washington, in a character that will test the virtue of the Federal system, and the good sense of Congress. Let us hope that the solemnity of Charleston will not be left to stand in contrast to frivolity or passion in this the metropolis of the Union.” 7 I went home with a friend living near Bladensburg. His family physician — a small, fiery man, named Garnett, and son-in-law of ex-Governor Wise, of Virginia--came to see a sick child. He was full of passion. “Noble South Carolina,” he said, “has done her duty bravely. Now Virginia and Maryland must immediately raise an armed force sufficient to control the district, and never allow Abe Lincoln to set his foot on its soil.” The little enthusiast was only the echo of the Virginia conspirators. A few days before, the Richmond Enquirer, edited by Wise's son, who perished while in arms against his country, thus insolently concluded an article on the subject of sending commissioners from that State to others:--“Let the first convention, then, be held between Maryland and Virginia, and, these two States agreeing, let them provide sufficient force to seize the city of Washington, and if coercion is to be. attempted, let it begin with subjugating the States of Maryland and Virginia. Thus practical and efficient fighting in the Union will prevent the powers of the Union from falling into the hands of our enemies. We hope Virginia will depute her commissioners to Maryland first, and, providing for the seizure of Washington and Old Point, Harper's Ferry and Gosport Navy Yard, present these two States in the attitude of rebels inviting coercion. This was the way Patrick Henry brought about the Revolution, and this is the best use that Virginia can make of commissioners of any kind.”

Governor Wise had already publicly announced that, in the event of an attempt at “coercion” on the part of the National Government, Fortress Monroe, the Navy Yard at Gosport, and the armory and arsenal at Harper's [143] Ferry would be seized, and held for the purpose of opposing the Government. Already Judge A. H. Handy, a commissioner from Mississippi, had visited Maryland for the purpose of engaging that State in the Virginia scheme of seizing the National Capital, and preventing the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln. The conspirators were so confident of the success of their schemes, that one of the leading Southern Senators, then in Congress, said:--“Mr. Lincoln will not dare to come to Washington after the expiration of the term of Mr. Buchanan. This city will be seized and occupied as the capital of the Southern Confederacy, and Mr. Lincoln will be compelled to take his oath of office in Philadelphia or in New York.” 8 And the veteran editor, Duff Green, the friend and confidential co-worker with Calhoun when the latter quarreled with President Jackson, and who naturally espoused the cause of the secessionists, told Joseph C. Lewis, of Washington, while under the half-finished dome of the Capitol, early in 1861:--“We intend to take possession of the Army and Navy, and of the archives of the Government; not allow the electoral votes to be counted; proclaim Buchanan provisional President, if he will do as we wish, and if not, choose another; seize the Harper's Ferry Arsenal and the Norfolk Navy Yard simultaneously, and sending armed men down from the former, and armed vessels up from the latter, take possession of Washington, and establish a new government.”

There is ample evidence that the seizure of Washington City, the Government buildings, and the archives of the nation, was an original and capital feature in the plan of the conspirators; and their assertions, after they were foiled in this, that they sought only for “independence,” and that all they asked was “to be let alone,” was the most transparent hypocrisy. They aimed at revolution at first, and disunion afterwards. They had assurances, they believed, that the President would not interfere with their measures. Should Congress pass a Force Bill, he was pledged by the declarations of his annual Message to withhold his signature from it; and most of them were satisfied that they might, during the next seventy days, establish their “Southern Confederacy,” and secure to it the possession of the Capital, without governmental interposition. Yet all were not satisfied. Some vigilant South Carolina spies in Washington would not trust the President. One of them, signing only the name of “Charles,” in a letter to Rhett, the editor of the Charleston Mercury, said: “I know all that has been done here, but depend upon nothing that Mr. Buchanan promises. He will cheat us [144] unless we are too quick for him.” 9 He then urged the seizure of the forts, Sumter particularly, without a moment's delay. Neither would the conspirators fully trust each other. William H. Trescot, already mentioned, a South Carolinian, and then Assistant Secretary of State and who for years had been conspiring against the Government, was thought to be tricky. The writer just quoted said:--“Further, let me warn you of the danger of Governor Pickens making Trescot his channel of communication with the President, for the latter will be informed of every thing that transpires, and that to our injury. Tell Governor Pickens this at once, before matters go further.” 10 And the elder Rhett commenced a letter to his son, of the Charleston Mercury, by saying:--“Jefferson Davis is not only a dishonest man, but a liar!” 11 These politicians seem to have had a correct appreciation of each other's true character.

While the excitement in Washington because of the doings at Charleston was at its hight, it was intensified by a new development of infamy, in the discovery of the theft of an enormous amount of the Indian Trust-Fund, which was in the custody of the conspirator, Jacob Thompson, the Secretary of the Interior. The principal criminal in the affair was undoubtedly Floyd, the Secretary of War. He had been chiefly instrumental in getting up a military expedition into the Utah Territory, in which about six millions of dollars of the public treasure were squandered, to the hurt of the national credit, at a critical time. The troops were stationed there at a point called Camp Floyd; and the Secretary had contracted with the firm of Russell, Major, & Waddell for the transportation of supplies thither from Fort Leavenworth, and other points on the Missouri River. For this service they were to receive about one million of dollars a year. Floyd accepted from them drafts on his Department, in anticipation of service to be performed, to the amount of over two millions of dollars.12 These acceptances were so manifestly illegal, that they could with difficulty be negotiated. The contractors became embarrassed by the difficulty, and hit upon a scheme for raising money more rapidly.

Russell had become acquainted with Goddard Bailey, a South Carolinian and kinsman of Floyd, who was the clerk in the Interior Department in whose special custody were the State bonds composing the Indian Trust-Fund. He induced Bailey to exchange these bonds

July, 1860.
for Floyd's illegal acceptances. These were hypothecated in New York, and money raised on them. When, as we have observed, the financial affairs of the country became clouded, late in 1860,13 these bonds depreciated, and the holders called on Russell for additional security. Bailey supplied him with more bonds,
December 13.
until the whole amount was the sum of eight hundred and seventy thousand dollars. When the time approached for him to be called upon by the Indian Bureau for the coupons payable on the 1st of January, on the abstracted bonds, Bailey found himself in such a position that he was driven to a confession. Thompson, his employer, was then in North Carolina, on the business of conspiracy, as Commissioner of the “Sovereign State of Mississippi.” [145] Bailey wrote a letter to him, antedated the 1st of December, disclosing the material facts of the case, and pleading, for himself, that his motive had been only to save the honor of Floyd, which was compromised by illegal advances.

Thompson returned to Washington on the 22d, when the letter was placed in his hands. After consultation, it is said, with Floyd, he revealed the matter to the President, who was astounded. The farce of discovering the thief was then performed, Thompson being chief manager. The Attorney-General, and Robert Ould the District Attorney (who afterward became one of the most active servants of the confederated conspirators at Richmond), were called to take a part. Neither the robber, nor the key of the safe in which the bonds were kept, could be found. Mayor Berret was required to detail a special police force to guard every avenue leading to the Interior Department, so that no clerks might leave. These clerks were all examined touching their knowledge of the matter. Nothing was elicited. Then the safe was broken open, and the exact amount of the theft was speedily made known. At length Bailey was discovered, and made a full confession.

The wildest stories as to the amount of funds stolen immediately wert abroad. It was magnified to millions.14 It was already known that Cobb had impoverished the Treasury; it was now believed that plunder was the business of the Cabinet, for the public held Floyd and Thompson responsible for the crime which Bailey had confessed. The blow given to the public credit was a staggering one. The Grand Jury of Washington soon acted on the matter, and Floyd was indicted on three counts, namely, malversation in office, complicity in the abstraction of

John B. Floyd.

the Indian Trust Fund, and conspiracy against the Government. The House of Representatives appointed a Committee to make a thorough investigation of the affair, and they concluded their report
February 12, 1861.
with the expression of an opinion, mildly drawn. that Floyd's conduct in the matter “could not be reconciled with purity of private motives and faithfulness to public trusts.” 15 When the indictment of the Grand Jury and the report of the Committee were made, Floyd was far beyond the reach of marshals and courts. He had fled in disgrace from the National Capital, and was an honored guest of the public authorities at Richmond,16 who boldly defied the national power.

The excitement on account of the robbery in the Interior Department was followed by intelligence of the proceedings at Pittsburg, already mentioned,17 where an immense meeting of the citizens was held in the street, in front of the Court House, in the evening of the 27th,

December, 1860.
and they resolved that it was the duty of the President “to purge his [146] Cabinet of every man known to give aid and comfort to, or in any way countenancing, the revolt of any State against the authority of the Constitution and the laws of the Union.” On the morning of the same day,
December 27, 1860.
the news of the occupation of Fort Sumter by the garrison of Fort Moultrie reached Washington, and produced the greatest consternation among the conspirators. The Cabinet assembled at midday. They had a stormy session. Floyd urgently demanded an order for Anderson's return to Fort Moultrie, alleging that the President, by withholding it, was violating the “solemn pledges of the Government.” The latter, remembering his implied, if not actual pledges, was inclined to give the order;18 but the warning voices of law, duty, and public opinion made him hesitate. They spoke to his conscience and his prudence about faithfulness, impeachment, and a trial for treason; and to his patriotism concerning the goodness and the greatness of his native land, and its claims upon his gratitude. He paused, and the Cabinet adjourned without definite action.

The position of the aged President, during the eventful week we are here considering, was a most painful one. He was evidently involved in perilous toils into which he had fallen in less troublous times, when he believed that he had called into his counsels true men, as the world of politicians goes. He found himself, if not deceived, unexpectedly subjected to the control of bad men; and for two or three days after this Cabinet meeting, as the writer was informed by an intimate acquaintance of the President, he was in continual fear of assassination.

On the morning after the stormy cabinet meeting just mentioned, news came that Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney had been seized by South Carolina troops. The President breathed more freely. He felt himself relieved from much embarrassment, for the insurgents had committed the first act of war. He now peremptorily refused to order the withdrawal of the garrison from Sumter, and on the following day

December 29.
the disappointed Floyd resigned the seals of his office, fled to Richmond, and afterward took up arms against his country. In his letter of resignation, this man, covered, as with a garment, with some of the darkest crimes known in history, spoke of “patriotism” and “honor.” He said:--“I deeply regret that I feel myself under the necessity of tendering to you my resignation as Secretary of War, because I can no longer hold it under my convictions of patriotism, nor with honor, subjected as I am to a violation of solemn pledges and plighted faith.” 19 His resignation was immediately accepted, and his place filled by the patriotic Kentuckian, Joseph Holt. Then a load of anxiety was lifted from the burdened hearts of the loyal people of the Republic. The purification of Buchanan's Cabinet went on, and there was a general change in the ministry by the middle of January. When Attorney-General Black succeeded General Cass as Secretary of State, his office was filled by Edwin M. Stanton, afterward Secretary of War under President Lincoln; Philip F. Thomas, of Maryland, had succeeded Cobb as Secretary of the Treasury. [147] Unwilling to assist the Government in enforcing the laws, Thomas resigned,20 and was succeeded by John A. Dix, a stanch patriot of New York. Thompson left the Interior Department on the 8th,
January, 1861.
and, like Floyd, hastened to his own State to assist in the work of rebellion.

There was still another cause for excitement in Washington and throughout the country, during the eventful week we are considering. It was the arrival and action of Messrs. Barnwell, Adams, and Orr, the “Commissioners” for South Carolina. They evidently expected to stay a long time, as embassadors of their “Sovereign State” near the Government of the United States. Their fellow-conspirator, W. H. Trescot, who had just left the State Department, in which he could be no longer useful to the enemies of his country, had hired the fine dwelling-house of the widow of Captain Joseph Smoot, of the United States Navy, No. 352 (Franklin Row)

Joseph Holt.

K Street, as their ministerial residence. There they took up their abode on their arrival, on the 26th, with servants and other necessaries for carrying on a domestic establishment, and Trescot was duly installed their Secretary. They were greeted with distinguished consideration by their fellow-conspirators, and the multitude of sympathizers in the National Capital; and they doubtless had roseate dreams' of official and social fellowship with Lord Lyons, M. Mercier, Baron Von Gerolt, and other foreign ministers then in Washington. That dream, however, assumed the character of a nightmare, when, on the following day, they heard of Anderson and his gallant little band being in Fort Sumter.

On the 28th,

December, 1860.
the “Commissioners” addressed a formal diplomatic letter to the President, drawn up, it is said, by Orr, who was once Speaker of the

Rebidence of the “Commissioners.” 21

National House of Representatives, and who had been denounced in his own State as “the prince of demagogues.” 22 That letter informed the President [148] that they were authorized and empowered to treat with the Government of the United States for the delivery of the forts, magazines, light-houses, and other real estate, with their appurtenances, in the limits of South Carolina; and also for an apportionment of the public debt, and for a division of all other property held by the Government of the United States as agent of the Confederated States, of which South Carolina was recently a member; and generally to negotiate as to all other measures and arrangements proper to be made and adopted in the existing relation of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity between the Commonwealth and the Government at Washington. They also furnished him with a copy of the Ordinance of Secession. They said it would have been their duty, under their instructions, to have informed him that they were ready to negotiate, “but (referring to Anderson's movements) the events of the last twenty-four hours” had altered the condition of affairs under which they came. They reminded him that the authorities of South Carolina could, at any time within the past sixty days, have taken possession of the forts in Charleston harbor, but they were restrained by pledges given in a manner that they could not

James L. Orr.

doubt.23 They assured him that until the circumstances of Anderson's movements were explained in a manner to relieve them of all doubt as to the spirit in which the negotiations should be conducted, they would be compelled to suspend all discussion. In conclusion, they urged the President to immediately withdraw all the National troops from Charleston harbor, because, under the circumstances, they were a “standing menace,” which rendered negotiations impossible, and threatened to “bring to a bloody issue questions which ought to be settled with temperance and judgment.” 24

The arrogance and insolence visible in this letter, considering the crimina position of the men who signed it, and the circumstances to which it related, offended the President, who would have been applauded by every loyal man in the country if he had arrested them on a charge of treason.25 Yet he treated the “Commissioners” and their letter with marked courtesy in a reply written on the 30th.

December, 1860.
He referred them to his Annual Message for a definition of his intended course concerning the property of the United States and the collection of the revenue. He could only meet them as private gentlemen of the highest character, and [149] was willing to lay before Congress any proposition they might make. To recognize their State as a foreign power would be usurpation on his part; he should refer the whole matter of negotiation to Congress. He denied ever having made any agreement with the Congressional delegates from South Carolina concerning the withholding of re-enforcements from the Charleston forts, or any pledge to do so;26 but declared that it had been his intention, all along, not to re-enforce them, and thus bring on a collision, until they should be attacked, or until there was evidence that they were about to be attacked. “This,” he said, “is the whole foundation of the alleged pledge.” He then referred them to the instructions to Major Anderson, already noticed,27 in which that officer was authorized to occupy any one of the forts with his small force in case of an attack, and to take similar steps when he should “have tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.” He also referred to the fact that the South Carolinians had already committed an act of war by seizing two forts belonging to the National Government in Charleston harbor, and had flung out the Palmetto flag over them, in place of the old standard of the Union. “It is under all these circumstances,” he said, with evident indignation, “that I am urged immediately to withdraw the troops from the harbor of Charleston, and am informed that without this negotiation is impossible. This I cannot do; this I will not do. Such an idea was never thought of by me in any possible contingency.” He informed them that he had just heard of the capture of the Arsenal at Charleston and half a million of dollars' worth of property by the insurgents, and said,--“Comment is needless;” and then gave them to understand that he considered it his duty to defend Fort Sumter, as a portion of the public property of the United States. He concluded with expressing “great personal regard” for the “Commissioners.”

Two days later,

January 1, 1861.
the “Commissioners” replied to this note in a long and extremely insolent and insulting letter. As representatives of a “sovereign power,” they said, they “had felt no special solicitude” as to the character in which the President might receive them, and they had no reason to thank him for permitting them to have their propositions laid before Congress. They then referred to the declarations in his Message, that he had no right, and would not attempt, “to coerce a seceding State,” and pointed to his subsequent acts, as virtual pledges that such were his honest convictions of duty. “Some weeks ago,” they said, “the State of South Carolina declared her intention, in the existing condition [150] of public affairs, to secede from the United States. She called a convention of her people to put her declaration in force. The Convention met, and passed the Ordinance of Secession. All this you anticipated.” They then taunted him with dereliction of duty. “You did not re-enforce the garrison in the harbor of Charleston. You removed a distinguished and veteran officer from the command of Fort Moultrie because he attempted to increase his supply of ammunition.28 You refused to send additional troops to the same garrison when applied for by the officer appointed to succeed him. You accepted the resignation of the oldest and most eminent member of your Cabinet, rather than allow the garrison to be strengthened. You compelled an officer, stationed at Fort Sumter, to return immediately to the Arsenal forty muskets which he had taken to arm his men. You expressed, not to one, but to many, of the most distinguished of our public characters, your anxiety for a peaceful termination of this controversy, and your willingness not to disturb the military status of the forts, if Commissioners should be sent to the Government, whose communications you promised to submit to Congress. You received, and acted on, assurances from the highest official authorities of South Carolina, that no attempt would be made to disturb your

Signatures of the South Carolina “Commissioners.”

possession of the forts and property of the United States, if you would not disturb their existing condition until the Commissioners had been sent, and the attempt to negotiate had failed. You took from the members of the House of Representatives a written memorandum that no such attempt should be made, ‘provided that no re-enforcements should be sent into those forts, and their relative military status shall remain as at present.’ 29 . . . You sent orders to your officers, commanding them strictly to follow a line of conduct in conformity with such an understanding.” They then mentioned the circumstances of their arrival and personal interview :--“On Friday,” they said, “we saw you, and we called upon you then to redeem your pledge. You could not deny it.” Because of the resignation of Floyd, expressly in consequence of the alleged violation of the pledged faith of the Government, they said, “denial was impossible. You did not deny it. You do not deny it now, but seek to escape from its obligations on the ground that we terminated all negotiations by demanding, as a preliminary measure, the withdrawal of the United States troops from Charleston, and the hostile action of the [151] authorities of South Carolina.” 30 They told him that they had felt kindly, and, by forbearance, had acted kindly toward him, because of the delicacy of his position, but he had deceived them. “You have decided,” they said. “You have resolved to hold by force what you have obtained by misplaced confidence; and by refusing to disavow the act of Major Anderson, have converted his violation of orders into a legitimate act of your executive authority. Be the issue what it may, of this we are assured, that if Fort Moultrie has been recorded in history as a memorial of Carolina gallantry, Fort Sumter will live upon the succeeding page as an imperishable testimony of Carolina faith. By your course you have probably rendered civil war inevitable. Be it so. If you choose to force this issue upon us, the State of South Carolina will accept it, and, relying upon Him who is the God of Justice, as well as God of Hosts, will endeavor to perform the great duty which lies before her, bravely and thoroughly.”

The President made no reply to this letter, but returned it to the “Commissioners,” indorsed with these words:--“This paper, just presented to the President, is of such a character that he declines to receive it.” This occurred on New Year's Day. The usual calls on the President were very few and formal. The “East room,” which is the great h all of “The white House,” as the official residence of the President is called, and which is usually very much

North front of the white House, from Pennsylvania. Avenue

crowded on such occasions, was almost deserted. Only a few Army and Navy officers made their appearance. Many Unionists and secessionists, it is said, declined to [152] shake hands with the President. He appeared, according to the newspaper correspondents, “pale, haggard, care-worn, and weary.” The city, at the same time, was heaving with excitement. Union and secession cockades were worn by men and women in the streets. Full fifty Union flags were displayed; and that night a police force was detailed to guard the house where the “Commissioners” dwelt.

Thus terminated the diplomatic correspondence between the President of the Republic and the Embassadors of a treasonable Oligarchy in one of the weaker States of the Union. Having occupied the ministerial residence on K Street ten days, they left it,

January 5, 1861.
and returned home, to engage in the work of conspiracy with all their might. Trescot had started for Charleston on New Year's Day.

With the opening of the new year, the faith of the people in the Administration was somewhat revived by evidences of its determination to enforce the laws. The President, under better counselors, seemed disposed to do his duty boldly. It was evident that plans for the seizure of Washington City and the Government were fast ripening. Lieutenant-General Scott was called into cabinet meetings for consultation; and measures were taken for the military defense of the Capital, by the organization of the militia of the District of Columbia, and the concentration at Washington of a few companies of artillery, under the charge of Captain Charles P. Stone, of the Ordnance Department. It was also resolved to strengthen the garrisons of the forts on the coasts of the Slave-labor States, particularly in Charleston harbor. For the latter purpose, the naval force at hand was totally inadequate. The steam-frigate Brooklyn, which had lately arrived at Norfolk, after a three years cruise, was the only armed vessel of any importance on the Atlantic coast, the conspirators having managed to procure the dispersion of the Navy in distant seas.

In view of the threatening aspect of affairs, the crew of the Brooklyn was not discharged on her arrival, but was kept in readiness for duty. At the Cabinet meeting whose proceedings compelled Secretary Cass to resign,

December 14, 1860.
it was proposed to send her with troops to Charleston. The Secretary of the Navy (Toucey), it is alleged, refused to give the order for the purpose,31 and the President yielded; now, under the advice of General Scott and Secretary Holt, orders were given for her to be made ready to start at a moment's notice. This order was revealed to the conspirators. Virginians were ready to seize any vessels that might attempt to leave Norfolk with troops; and the lights of the shore-beacons in Charleston harbor were extinguished, and the buoys that marked the channels were removed. Informed of this betrayal of his secret, the President countermanded the order; and when Thompson, the Secretary of the Interior, who was doubtless the criminal in the matter, threatened the President with his resignation because of such order, the latter promised that none like it should be issued, “without the question being first considered and decided in the Cabinet.” 32 [153]

Pledges to men had to yield to the public interest. It was evident that there were those in the Cabinet who could not be trusted. Dangers were thickening. Fortunately, the President listened to his new counselors, Secretary Holt and General Scott; and it was resolved to send troops and supplies to Fort Sumter by a more secret method than had yet been devised. Instead of employing a vessel-of-war for the purpose, the stanch merchant-steamer Star of the West, built to run between New York and Aspinwall, on the California route, was chartered by the Government and quickly laden with supplies. She was cleared for New Orleans and Savannah, in order to mislead spies. She left her wharf at New York at sunset on the 5th of January, and far down the bay she received, under the cover of thick darkness, four officers and two hundred and fifty artillerists and marines, with their arms and ammunition. She crossed the bar at Sandy Hook at nine o'clock the same evening, and proceeded to sea under her commander, Captain John McGowan.

In consequence of the reception of a letter from Major Anderson, stating that he regarded himself secure in his position, and intelligence that the

The Star of tie West.

insurgents had erected strong batteries at the mouth of Charleston harbor that could destroy an unarmed vessel, the Government, with the concurrence of General Scott, countermanded the order for the sailing of the Star of the West.33 The countermand was sent by the General-in-chief to Colonel H. L. Scott, of his staff, then in New York, by telegraph, but it reached that city after the vessel had left. It is a pity that it was too late. The American people will ever recur to the page of their history on which the record of that expedition is written with regret and humiliation, because it tells the fact that their powerful Government was so weakly administered, that it seemed necessary to resort to clandestine acts in the maintenance of its rightful authority.

The South Carolinians, meanwhile, were making preparations to attack Fort Sumter and strengthen their position. They affected to regard the refusal of the President to hold further intercourse with their arrogant representatives as an insult to their “Sovereign State.” Every man int [154] Charleston and vicinity, liable to do military duty, was immediately called to arms. Measures were taken to increase the strength and armament of Fort Moultrie. A garrison composed of the Charleston Rifles, under Cap. tain J. Johnson, was sent to occupy Fort Johnson. The erection of batteries that would command the ship-channel of the harbor, and bear heavily upon Fort Sumter, was commenced on Morris and Sullivan's Islands, and a thousand negro slaves were employed in the work. The commander of Castle Pinckney ordered that no boat should approach its wharf-head except by permission. The city of Charleston was placed under the protection of a military patrol. Look-out boats scouted the outer harbor at night. The telegraph was placed under the most rigid censorship, and Major Anderson was denied all communication with his Government. The United States Sub-treasurer at Charleston (Pressley) was forbidden by the authorities to cash any more drafts from Washington.34 The National Collector of the Port (Colcock), participating in the treasonable work, announced that all vessels from and for ports outside of South Carolina must enter and clear at Charleston. The Convention, assuming supreme authority, passed an ordinance on the 1st of January, defining treason against the State; and with a barbarous intent unknown in a long obsolete British law, and with a singular misunderstanding of its terms, they declared the punishment to be “death, without benefit of the clergy.” 35 On that morning

January 1, 1861.
they had received intelligence from the “Commissioners” at Washington that their mission would be fruitless; and the Rev. Mr. Du Pre, in the prayer at the opening of the Convention, evidently believing that war was inevitable, supplicated the Almighty, saying:--“Wilt thou bring confusion and discomfiture upon our enemies, and wilt thou strengthen the hearts, nerves, and arms of our sons to meet this great fire.” Then a bust of John C. Calhoun, cut from pure white marble, was placed on the table before the President, bearing a curious inscription on a piece of paper.36

Frantic appeals were now made to the politicians of other Southern coast States to seize the forts and arsenals of the Republic within their borders. The organs of the South Carolina conspirators begged that Fort Pickens, and the Navy Yard and fortifications on the shores of Pensacola Bay, and Forts Jefferson and Taylor, at the extremity of the Florida Peninsula, might be seized at once — also Fort Morgan, near Mobile; for a grand scheme of piracy, which was inaugurated a hundred days later, was then in embryo. [155] Speaking for those who, true to the instructions of their ancestral traditions, were anxious to revive that species of maritime enterprise which made Charleston so famous and so rich in far back colonial times, the Mercury shouted, Seize those forts, and then “the commerce of the North in the Gulf will fall an easy prey to our bold privateers; and California gold will pay all such little expenses on our part.” There was a wild cry for somebody, in the interest of the conspirators, to capture the California treasureships; and the Louisianians were invoked to seize the mint at New Orleans, and to put into the coffers of their State its precious metals. This piracy — this plunder — this violation of every principle of honor — were counseled by the South Carolina conspirators before the politicians in any other State had even held a convention to determine on secession! It was the spirit of an outlaw, whose life is forfeit to offended justice, armed to the teeth, and with the frenzy of desperation, defying all power, denying all right, and, desiring to drag every one down to his own base level.

Cut off by the insurgents from communication with his Government, Major Anderson could not know whether his appeals for re-enforcements and supplies had been heard or heeded. Anxiously all eyes in Sumter were hourly turned ocean-ward, with a desire to see some vessel bearing the National flag that might promise relief. With that apparition they were greeted on the morning of the 9th of January,

when the Star of the West was seen coming over the bar, and making her way toward the fort. She had arrived at the bar at half-past 1 o'clock, and finding all the lights put out, extinguished her own, and lay there until morning. At dawn she was discovered by the scouting steamer, General Clinch, which at once burned colored lights as signals, passed the bar into the ship-channel, and ran for the inner harbor. The Star of the West followed her, after putting all the soldiers below, and giving her the appearance of a mere merchant vessel, with only crew enough to manage her. The deception was fruitless. Her name, her character, and the object of her voyage, had already been made known to the authorities of South Carolina, by a telegraphic dispatch to the Charleston Mercury,37 and by Thompson, one of the conspirators in Buchanan's Cabinet, who was afterward an accomplice in deeds exceeding in depravity of conception the darkest in the annals of crime. Some spy had revealed the secret to this man, and he, while yet in the pay of the Government, betrayed it to its enemies. “As I was writing my resignation,” he said, “I sent a dispatch to Judge Longstreet that the Star of the West was coming with re-enforcements.” 38 He also gave a messenger another dispatch to be sent, in which he said, as if by authority, “Blow the Star of the West out of the water.” The messenger patriotically withheld the dispatch. [156]

The insurgents at Charleston were thus enabled to prepare for her reception. They did so; and when she had arrived within two miles of Forts, Moultrie and Sumter, unsuspicious of danger, a shot came ricocheting across her bow from a masked battery on Morris Island, three-fourths of a mile distant, the only indication of its presence being a red Palmetto flag. The battery was under the command of Major Stevens, Principal of the State Military School, kept in the Citadel Academy, and his gunners, called the Citadel Cadets, were his pupils. He was supported by about two hundred and sixty-five soldiers under Lieutenant-Colonel J. L. Branch.

The National flag was flying over the Star of the West at the time, and, as soon as possible, Captain McGowan displayed a large American ensign at the fore. Of course the assailants had no respect for these emblems of the Union, and for ten minutes, while the vessel went forward, a continuous, fire was kept up from the battery, and one or two shots were hurled at her from Fort Moultrie, without producing serious damage. The heavy balls flew over her deck and through her rigging, “and one,” said the Captain, “came within an ace of carrying away our rudder.” Fort Moultrie, well armed and garrisoned, was then just ahead, and from it two steam-tugs were seen to put out, with an armed schooner, to intercept the Star of the West. Hemmed in, and exposed to a cannonade without power to offer resistance (for his vessel was unarmed), Captain McGowan perceived that his ship and all on board of her were in imminent peril of capture or destruction; so he turned her bow ocean-ward, after seventeen shots had been fired at her, put to sea, and returned to New York on the 12th.39 Major Stevens, a tall, black-eyed, black-bearded young man of thirty-five years, was exceedingly boastful of his feat of humbling the flag of his country. The friends of Colonel Branch claimed the infamy for him.

The garrison in Sumter had been in a state of intense excitement during the brief time when the Star of the West was exposed to danger. Major Anderson was ignorant of her character and object, and of the salutary official changes at Washington, or he would have instantly resented the insult to the old flag. Had he known that the Executive and the new members of his Cabinet approved his course, and were trying to aid him — had he known that, only two days before,

January 7, 1861.
a resolution of such approval had passed the National House of Representatives by a large majority40--the Star of the West and her precious freight of men and stores would not have been driven to sea by a band of less than three hundred insurgents. He was ignorant of all this. She appeared as only a merchant vessel on a commercial errand to Charleston. When the first shot was fired upon her, he suspected her of being a relief-ship. When she ran up the old ensign at the fore, he could no longer doubt. His guns bearing on Moultrie, Morris Island, and the channel, were shotted and [157] run out, and his officers earnestly desired leave to fire. His peremptory instructions restrained him. He had not been “attacked.” Yet he was on the point of assuming the responsibility of giving the word to fire, because

Map of Charleston harbor in January, 1861.

the sovereignty of the nation was insulted by this dishonoring of its flag, when the vessel that bore it turned about and went to sea.

This assault upon the Star of the West was an open act of war. The conspirators of South Carolina had struck the first blow that was to inaugurate a destructive civil war — how specially destructive to themselves, and to the hundreds of thousands of the innocent people in the Slave-labor States [158] whom they deceived, betrayed, and ruined, let the history of that war declare. They gloried in the infamy. The Legislature resolved unanimously, “That this General Assembly learns with pride and pleasure of the successful resistance this day by the troops of this State, acting under orders of the Governor, to an attempt to re-enforce Fort Sumter.” The organ of the conspirators, speaking in their name, said, exultingly :--“Yesterday, the 9th of January, will be remembered in history. Powder has been burnt over the decree of our State, timber has been crashed, perhaps blood spilled. The expulsion of the Star of the West from Charleston harbor yesterday morning, was the opening of the ball of revolution. We are proud that our harbor has been so honored. We are more proud that the State of South Carolina, so long, so bitterly, so contemptuously reviled and scoffed at, above all others, should thus proudly have thrown back the scoff of her enemies. Intrenched upon her soil, she has spoken. from the mouth of her cannon, and not from the mouths of scurrilous demagogues, fanatics, and scribblers. Contemned, the sanctity of her waters violated with hostile purpose of re-enforcing enemies in our harbor, she has not hesitated to strike the first blow, full in the face of her insulter. Let the United States Government bear, or return at its good-will, the blow still tingling about its ears — the fruit of its own bandit temerity. We would not exchange or recall that blow for millions! It has wiped out half a century of scorn and outrage. Again South Carolina may be proud of her historic fame and ancestry, without a blush upon her cheek for her own present honor. The haughty echo of her cannon has ere this reverberated from Maine to Texas, through every hamlet of the North, and down along the great waters of the Southwest. The decree has gone forth. Upon each acre of the peaceful soil of the South, armed men will spring up as the sound breaks upon their ears; and it will be found that every word of our insolent foe has been, indeed, a dragon's tooth sown for their destruction. And though grisly and traitorous ruffians may cry on the dogs of war, and treacherous politicians may lend their aid in deceptions, South Carolina will stand under her own Palmetto-tree, unterrified by the snarling growls or assaults of the one, undeceived or deterred by the wily machinations of the other. And if that red seal of blood be still lacking to the parchment of our liberties, and blood they want — blood they shall have — and blood enough to stamp it all in red. For, by the God of our fathers, the soil of South Carolina shall be free!” 41

Four years after the war was so boastfully begun by these South Carolina conspirators, it had made Charleston a ghastly ruin, in which not one of these men remained; laid Columbia, the capital of the State, in ashes; liberated every slave within the borders of the Commonwealth; wholly disorganized society; filled the land with the mourning of the deceived and bereaved people, and caused a large number of those who signed the Ordinance of Secession, and brought the curse of War's desolation upon the innocent inhabitants of most of the Slave-labor States, to become fugitives from their homes, utterly ruined.42 The retribution was terrible! [159]

Major Anderson accepted the insult to his country's flag as an act of war, and promptly sent a letter to Governor Pickens under a flag of truce, borne by Lieutenant Hall, as he would to a belligerent enemy, stating the fact of the firing upon an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of the Republic, and asking him whether the outrage had been committed in obedience to his orders. It was a humiliating but unavoidable confession of the weakness of the Government, when a commander of one of its powerful forts was compelled, with a supplicating flag of truce, to seek communication with the Governor of one of the most unimportant members of the Republic — the proconsul of a province. Anderson felt the humiliation keenly; but acted prudently. His demand for an explanation was made with courtesy, but with firmness. He notified the Governor, that if the outrage was not disavowed by him he should regard it as an act of war, and should not, after a reasonable time allowed for the return of his messenger, permit any vessel to pass within range of his guns. “In order to save, as far as it is in my power,” he said, “the shedding of blood, I beg you will take due notification of my decision, for the good of all concerned.”

Governor Pickens replied promptly. He assumed the act as that of the State of South Carolina; and assured Anderson that any attempt to re-enforce Sumter would be resisted. He left him to decide for himself, whether he would carry out his threat concerning the interception of vessels passing the channel, which the Governor would regard as an attempt to “impose on the State the conditions of a conquered province.” The affair assumed an aspect of too much gravity for Anderson to act further upon his sole responsibility, and he resolved to refer the whole subject to his Government. He wrote to Pickens to that effect, expressing a hope that he would not prevent the bearer of his letter, Lieutenant Talbot, proceeding at once to Washington. No objections were interposed, and Talbot carried to

Francis W. Pickens.

the North the first full tidings, from Sumter, of the outrage upon the old flag, and the failure of the expedition of the Star of the West. It created an intense excitement in the Free-labor [160] States, composed of disgust and indignation — disgust, because the Government had attempted to do secretly and deceptively what it should have done openly and honorably, with a strong arm; and indignation, because traitors in arms had dishonored the old flag, and boasted of their crime. How that indignation, as a sentiment, speedily ripened into positive action, we shall observe hereafter.

Two days after the attack on the Star of the West, Governor Pickens sent his Secretary of State, Magrath, and Secretary of War, Jamison, as commissioners, to make a formal demand on Major Anderson for the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter to the authorities of South Carolina. They tried every art to persuade and alarm him, but in vain. He assured them that, sooner than suffer such humiliation, he would fire the magazine, and blow fort and garrison in the air. They returned fully impressed with the conviction that only by starvation or assault could the fortress be secured for South Carolina; and, to prevent re-enforcements or supplies coming into the harbor, four old hulks filled with stones were towed into the shipchannel that afternoon and sunk. From that time, the insurgents worked diligently in preparations to attack the fort, and the garrison worked as diligently in preparations for its defense.

Here, besieged in Fort Sumter, we will leave Major Anderson and his little band, while we observe the progress of revolutionary movements in the six Gulf States.

Tail-piece — ruins in Charleston.

1 Report of the Proceedings of Congress, in the Washington Globe, December 20, 1860.

2 This letter was signed by John McQueen, Milledge L. Bonham, W. W. Boyce, and J. D. Ashmore. Law rence M. Keitt and William Porcher Miles were then in the Secession Convention at Charleston.

3 See page 51.

4 Letter of John B. Haskin, member of Congress, to Governor Morgan, December 20, 1860.

5 The prefix “Black” was given to the Republican party because, being favorable to the abolition of Slavery, its members were ranked as friends of the negro. This name was applied by the Oligarchy in the South, and was freely used by their partisans in the North.

6 Washington States.

7 Washington Constitution, the organ of the Administration.

8 Correspondence (Occasional) of the Philadelphia Press, December 21, 1860. In the same letter, which was a trumpet-call to the country to arouse it to a sense of its danger and to act, the writer (J. W. Forney) said:--“The Administration of the Government is in the hands of the enemies of the country. The President of the United States has ceased to be the Chief Magistrate of a free people, and may be called the chief of those who are seeking to enslave a free people. He is quoted by the secessionists, if not as their active, at least as their quiescent ally l He refuses to exercise his functions, and to enforce the laws l He refuses to protect the public property, and to re-enforce the gallant Anderson at Fort Moultrie! He sends the Secretary of the Interior to North Carolina, with the intention of forcing that loyal and conservative State into the ranks of the disunionists! While sending General Harney to Kansas with a large military force to suppress a petty border insurgent, he folds his arms when General Scott and his brave subordinates in the South appeal to him for succor. His Attorney-General argues with all his ingenuity against the power of the Federal Government to enforce the laws of the country. His confidants are disunionists. His leaders in the Senate and in the House are disunionists and while he drives into exile the oldest Statesman in America, simply and only because he dares to raise his voice in favor of the country, he consults daily with men who publicly avow, in their seats in Congress, that the Union is dissolved, and that the laws are standing still! Is it not time, then, for the American people to take the country into their own hands, and to administer the Government in their own way?”

9 Autograph letter, dated Washington, December 22, 1860.

10 The same.

11 Autograph letter.

12 Report of the Committee of Investigation of the House of Representatives, February 12, 1861.

13 See page 115.

14 The Government lost over six hundred thousand dollars.

15 Report of the Investigating Committee, February 12, 1861.

16 See note 8, page 127.

17 See page 123.

18 See Letter of President Buchanan to the “Commissioners of South Carolina,” December 30, 1860.

19 In reply to a statement made by General Scott, concerning the apparent remissness of duty on the part of the Administration at that crisis, published in the National Intelligencer on the 21st of October, 1862, Mr. Buchanan says that it was at his request that Floyd resigned. This allegation of the President, which is undoubtedly true, makes Floyd's high-sounding words about wounded patriotism and honor, in connection with his infamous official career, appear extremely ridiculous.

20 See his Letter of Resignation, January 11, 1861.

21 the house next to the open space in the picture.

22 Orr's views seem to have undergone a change. In a letter to the editor of the Charleston Mercury, dated January 24, 1858, Andrew Calhoun said:--“I found, on my return to this State, that Orr, that prince of demagogues, had, by all kinds of appliances, so nationalized public opinion about here, that sentiments are habitually uttered suited to the meridian of Connecticut, but destructive to the soil and ancient faith of the State.” This Calhoun and other conspirators found it necessary to work upon the people continually, to keep them prepared for treasonable work at the proper moment. Whenever they found a man of influence true to the Union, they denounced and persecuted him, and men in more humble spheres were cowed into meek submission by the truculent Oligarchy.

23 See page 102.

24 Letter of the “Commissioners” to the President, dated Washington, December 28, 1861.

25 Three weeks later, Francis C. Treadwell, of New York, a counselor of the Supreme Court, offered to Chief-Justice Taney an affirmation, in due form, that certain persons (naming most of the public men known to have been engaged in the great conspiracy) were guilty of conspiring against the Constitution and Government of the United States, and had committed the crime of treason, or misprision of treason, and praying for their arrest. This paper was returned to Mr. Treadwell by the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Benjamin C. Howard, with the remark, that the Chief Justice deemed it “an improper paper to be offered to the Court.”

26 See page 102. When Jacob Thompson, the Secretary of the Interior, reached Oxford, Mississippi, after leaving office, he was honored by a public reception. In the course of a speech on that occasion, he said, speaking of affairs in Charleston harbor:--“The President agreed with certain gentlemen, undertaking to represent South Carolina, that no change should be made in the military status of the forts; and when Major Anderson, adopting an extreme measure of war, only justified in the presence of an overpowering enemy, spiked his guns and burned his gun-carriages, and moved, with his garrison, from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, and thus committed an act of hostility, the President heard of the movement with chagrin and mortification.”

It is the deliberate conviction of Joseph Holt, the loyal Secretary of War during the last seventy days of Mr. Buchanan's administration, that no such pledge was ever given. See his reply to allegations in a speech of ex-Postmaster-General Blair, at Clarkesville, Maryland, in August, 1865. It is fair to conclude that men like the “Commissioners” from South Carolina, and Jacob Thompson, all engaged in the commission of the highest crime known, namely, treason to their Government, would not be slow in the use of the more venal and common sin of making false accusations, especially when such accusations might furnish some excuse for their iniquity. No proof has ever been given that the President violated his oath by making such pledg.

27 See page 125, and note 1, page 129.

28 See page 118.

29 See page 102.

30 Much has been said concerning the visit to Charleston, at about this time, of Caleb Cushing, the distinguished citizen of Massachusetts who presided over the Democratic Convention in that city, seven months before. One of the most careful chroniclers of the events immediately preceding, and at the outbreak of the civil war, says, that he was sent there by President Buchanan as his confidential agent, to assure the insurgents that he would not “re-enforce Major Anderson, nor initiate any hostilities against the Secessionists, provided they would evince a like pacific spirit, by respecting the Federal authority down to the close of his Administration.” He says the time of this mission was at “the middle of December,” and that General Cushing, having been informed that his being a “representative of the Federal authority had cast a sudden mildew on his popularity in that stronghold of secession,” remained there but five hours, when he returned to Washington, and his report was “the theme of a stormy and protracted Cabinet meeting.” See The American Conflict: by Horace Greeley, i.,409. I have the authority of a letter from General Cushing himself, dated 26th March, 1865, for saying, that the single and sole object of his visit (which was on the 20th of December) was to endeavor to “counteract the mad scheme of secession.” The visit was suggested or promoted by gentlemen at Washington of the very highest authority, North and South, including the President. At the very moment when General Cushing entered Charleston, the bells were beginning to ring, and salutes to be fired, in. honor of the passage of the Ordinance of Secession. Of course there was nothing for him to do at Charleston, and he left for Washington the next morning. His agency went no further. He had no authority to say any thing on the subject of the forts or of hostilities, and, of course, he did not.

31 “I should have told you that Toucey has refused to have the Brooklyn sent from Monroe.” --Autograph Letter of “Charles” to the Editor of the Charleston Mercury, December 22, 1860, already cited on page 148.

32 Speech of ex-Secretary Thompson at Oxford, Mississippi.

33 Letter of Secretary Holt to ex-Secretary Thompson, March 5, 1861.

34 This dishonest order plagued Governor Pickens in a way that provoked much merriment. With amazing assurance, that officer, then in open insurrection against his Government, wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury for three thousand dollars, due him on his salary as Minister to Russia. The Secretary sent him a draft on the Sub-treasurer at Charleston, who, pursuant to his instructions, refused to honor it. See Harper's History of the Great Rebellion, page 36.

35 The term in the old criminal law was, “without benefit of clergy,” not of the clergy; for it had no reference to the attendance of a clergyman upon a criminal, of which favor the South Carolinians intended to deprive him. It was a law in Roman Catholic countries, or where that form of Christianity, as a system, prevailed. That church claimed the right to try its own clergy at its own tribunals. When a man was condemned, and was about to be sentenced, he might, if he had the right, claim that he was a clergyman, and he was relieved from the power of the civil law and remanded to the ecclesiastical tribunal, under the privilege called “benefit of clergy.” In certain cases of heinous offenses, this “benefit of clergy” was denied.

36 Associated Press Dispatch from Charleston. January 1, 1861. The following is the inscription:--“Truth, Justice, and Fraternity, you have written your name in the Book of Life, fill up the page with deliberation that which is written, execute quickly — the day is far spent, the night is at hand. Out names and honor summon all citizens to appear on the parade-ground for inspection.”

37 On the 24th of January, 1861, the following card appeared in the New York Tribune:--

I have to state that I am no spy, as charged in your paper of this morning. I utterly detest the name, and am incapable of acting the part of one.

I have been for some time employed as a special telegraph news reporter for a few Southern newspapers, including one in Charleston. My business has been to send them, when occasion required it, important commercial intelligence and general news items of interest. Hence, in the discharge of my duty as a telegraph reporter, I did send an account of the sailing of the Star of the West. If that was treason, all I have to say in conclusion is, make the most of it.

Alexander Jones. Herald office, New York, January 23, 1861.

38 Speech at Oxford, Mississippi.

39 Report of Captain McGowan, January 12, 1861.

40 The resolution, offered by Mr. Adrain of New Jersey, was as follows:--“Resolved, That we fully approve of the bold and patriotic act of Major Anderson in withdrawing from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, and of the determination of the President to maintain that fearless officer in his present position; and that we will support the President in all constitutional measures to enforce the laws and preserve the Union.” This resolution was adopted by a vote of one hundred and twenty-four against fifty-six. For the yeas and nays, see Congressional Globe's report of the proceedings of the Thirty-sixth Congress, page 281.

41 Charleston Mercury, January 10, 1861.

42 A letter written in Charleston just after the National troops took possession of it, in February, 1865, contained the following paragraph:--

“The wharves looked as if they had been deserted for half a century-broken down, dilapidated, grass and moss peeping up between the pavements, where once the busy feet of commerce trode incessantly. The ware-houses near the river; the streets as we enter them; the houses and the stores and the public buildings we look at them and hold our breaths in utter amazement. Every step we take increases our astonishment. No pen, no pencil, no tongue can do justice to the scene. No imagination can conceive of the utter wreck, the universal ruin, the stupendous desolation. Ruin — ruin — ruin — above and below; on the right hand and the left; ruin, ruin, ruin, everywhere and always — staring at us from every paneless window; looking out at us from every shell-torn wall; glaring at us from every battered door and pillar and veranda; crouching beneath our feet on every sidewalk. Not Pompeii, nor Herculaneum, nor Thebes, nor the Nile, have ruins so complete, so saddening, so plaintively eloquent, for they speak to us of an age not ours, and long ago dead, with whose people and life and ideas we have no sympathy whatever. But here, on these shattered wrecks of houses-built in our own style, many of them doing credit to the architecture of our epoch — we read names familiar to us all; telling us of trades and professions and commercial institutions which every modern city reckons up by the hundred: yet dead, dead, dead; as silent as the grave of the Pharaohs, as deserted as the bazars of the merchant princes of Old Tyre.”

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