. 20.--A year ago, when Gen. Cass
--grieved and indignant — left Mr. Buchanan
's Cabinet, Mr. Attorney-General Black
was transferred to the portfolio of State, and Mr. Stanton
, then absent from Washington
, was fixed upon as Attorney-General
The same night he arrived at a late hour, and learned from his family of his appointment.
Knowing the character of the bold, bad men then in the ascendency in the Cabinet
, he determined at once to decline; but when, the next day, he announced his resolution at the White House
, the entreaties of the distressed and helpless President
, and the arguments of Mr. Black
, prevailed upon him to accept.
At the first meeting of the Cabinet
which he attended, the condition of the seceded States, and course to be pursued with the garrison at Fort Sumter
were discussed, Floyd
dwelling upon “the irritation of the Southern
heart,” and the folly of “continuing a useless garrison to increase the irritation.”
No one formally proposed any course of action, but the designs of the conspirators were plain to the new Attorney-General
He went home troubled.
He had intended, coming in at so late a day, to remain a quiet member of this discordant council.
But it was not in his nature to sit quiet longer under such utterances.
The next meeting was a long and stormy one, Mr. Holt
, feebly seconded by the President
, urging the immediate reinforcement of Sumter
, while Thompson
, and Thomas
contended that a quasi-treaty had been made by the officers of the Government
with the leaders of the rebellion, to offer no resistance to their violations of law and seizures of Government property.
especially blazed with indignation at what he termed the “violation of honor.”
At last Mr. Thompson
formally moved that an imperative order be issued to Major Anderson
to retire from Sumter
to Fort Moultrie
to the enemy and proceeding to a post where he must at once surrender.
could sit still no longer, and rising, he said, with all the earnestness that could be expressed in his bold and resolute features: “Mr. President
, it is my duty, as your legal adviser, to say that you have no right to give up the property of the Government
, or abandon the soldiers of the United States
to its enemies; and the course proposed by the Secretary of the Interior
, if followed, is treason, and will involve you and all concerned in treason.”
Such language had never before been heard in Buchanan
's Cabinet, and the men who had so long ruled and bullied the President
, were surprised and enraged to be thus rebuked.
sprang to their feet with fierce, menacing gestures, seeming about to assault Stanton
took a step forward to the side of the Attorney-General
The imbecile President
implored them piteously to take their seats.
After a few more bitter words the meeting broke up. That was the last Cabinet meeting on that exciting question in which Floyd
Before another was called, all Washington
was startled with a rumor of those gigantic frauds which have made his name so infamous.
At first he tried to brazen it out with his customary blustering manner, but the next day the Cabinet
waited long for his appearance.
last he came; the door opened, his resignation was thrust into the room, and Floyd
disappeared from Washington
Such was the end of Floyd
and the beginning of Stanton
St. Louis Republican, Jan. 20.