The National Crisis.the debate in Congress on the Corwin amendment — interview between Senator Douglas and Mr. Lincoln--the Southern Confederacy--a Northern Senator on record — the Lincoln conspiracy, &c.
The debate in Congress on the Corwin amendment.When the motion to reconsider the vote rejecting Mr. Corwin's amendment to the report of the Committee of Thirty-Three, was made in the House of Representatives, Thursday-- Mr. Kilgore, who moved the motion, called the attention of his Republican friends to the importance of the vote they were now called upon to give. But a few days ago they all emphatically declared, by sustaining the resolution unanimously adopted, that they had no desire or disposition to interfere with slavery in the States where it exists. Yesterday, however, they seemed to have forgotten this declaration, carried away by wild fanaticism, and also the peculiar condition of the country requiring some action. If they had changed their grounds since the occasion to which he had referred, and were now disposed to invade the sovereignty of the States, then he was no Republican. In repeated speeches he had said those who accused the Republicans of such design uttered a slander. Should they say to the world, when they are about to possess the power of the Government, that they are for using it to break down the sovereign rights of the United States, and invade their privileges? If that was the doctrine, he could not subscribe to it. They should bear in mind that they were not the masters, but the more servants of the people. The proposition to amend the Constitution should be taken to their masters, and the latter should be asked whether they will approve or reject it. He appealed to them for the sake of the peace and quiet of the country, and for the good of the Republican party, to come forward to-day, and, with the same unanimity they voted for the resolution to which he had referred, declare the same thing in the pending proposition as an amendment to the Constitution. If you fail to give peace you wrong yourselves and not the people, and on your head will fall the responsibility. Mr. Stanton said that while there were fifteen slaveholding States acknowledging allegiance to the Federal Government, and therefore having in their hands the power to protect themselves against an invasion of their rights, it was a matter of little consequence whether such an amendment to the Constitution should be inaugurated or not. But the state of the country is now essentially and radically changed. Seven or eight States now deny allegiance to the Government and have proceeded to organize a separate Confederacy, independent of the Federal Government. Whether it will be recognized or not is a question for the future. If these State maintain their position for a year or two, and it should appear that nothing but war or subjugation can bring them back, he would be disposed to recognize their independence. In this state of things, if the remaining slaveholding States remain in the Union, they are entitled to additional guarantees.--[Explanation on Democratic side--‘"Good, that is right."’ There are now seven slaveholding and nineteen free States. In ten years hence Delaware will, for all practical purposes, be free. This will make twenty free and six slaveholding States, and in a few years more we will have five more free States. There would then be the requisite three-fourths of States to change the Constitution, and confer on the Federal Government power to interfere with slavery in the States. He held that this was a power which should never be invested in Congress, even if there were only one slaveholding State. Slavery was a matter of local and State concern. If he were a citizen of a slaveholding State, desiring the emancipation of slavery, he would resist interference by the Federal Government. If it was the purpose to afford constitutional protection to the slaveholding States, which the altered condition of the country demands, it was incumbent upon them to submit the proposition to the people to say at least how they will recognize it. It ought not to be said that the Constitution which our fathers made is sufficient. At the time of its adoption there was only one free State, all the others slaveholding. Therefore there was no necessity for such guarantee then. He was in earnest when he said that he did not desire to interfere with slavery in the States, and apprehended that his associates did not. If the Border Slave States remain in the Union he apprehended they have the right to demand such guarantees, and, so far as he is concerned, they shall have them.--[Applause from the Southern side.] His friends on the Republican side were making a mistake. He would tell them that public opinion in the States they represent will not warrant their refusal. At all events, it was ungenerous to refuse the people an opportunity to express their opinion. Their position would not be sustained. He would say to his Southern friends, if this guarantee be now refused, let them forego any act of secession until there shall be an opportunity to appeal to the people of the free States. [Applause] Mr. Lovejoy, amid the greatest confusion and excitement, appealed to Mr. Stanton to withdraw his demand for the previous question, which Mr. Stanton most emphatically refused to do. Several gentlemen complained of the confusion, as it was impossible to know what was going on. Some said that the noise was owing to the large number of strangers on the floor, whilst others charged the disorder to members themselves. The Speaker directed the Doorkeeper to perform his duty. The question was then taken, and the vote rejecting Mr. Corwin's proposed amendment to the Constitution reconsidered — yeas 128, nays 65.
Interview between Senator Douglas and Mr. Lincoln.A Washington dispatch to the New York Herald gives the following particulars of an interview between Senator Douglas and Mr. Lincoln: ‘ The appearance of Judge Douglas early Tuesday evening in close conversation with the confidential friends and advisers of Mr. Lincoln, in the parlors of the latter at Willard's, created quite a sensation, especially as it is an unusual thing for him to leave his residence to go into town in the evening. It appears that the fact had been communicated to the Judge that the Peace Congress had not only failed to agree upon any article of adjustment, but was likely to adjourn without accomplishing anything. This alarmed him so much that he resolved, first, to go to Willard's and ascertain the exact state of the case; and secondly, if he found the report was true, to lay aside his political feelings, for the time at least, and, as a man and citizen of a common country, go at once to Mr. Lincoln and appeal to him also to yield up something for the sake of peace to the country and the salvation of the Union. Mr. Douglas found that the Convention was truly on the ever of dissolving without agreeing upon anything, and communicated his desire to see Mr. Lincoln to another friend of the latter, who conducted the Judge to Mr. Lincoln's parlor. Mr. Lincoln was receiving the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation. Consequently Mr. Douglas withdrew until the Interview ended, when Mr. Lincoln seat a message for Mr. Douglas. The latter informed Mr. Lincoln that he had sought this interview at the risk of being misunderstood, but that the critical condition of the country required every friend of the Union to lay aside all partisan, feelings and personal delicacy. --He had just learned that there was imminent danger that the Peace Conference would dissolve without agreeing upon any basis of adjustment. In that event he apprehended that the border States might resolve promptly to secede from the Union, before any plan could be matured for referring the matter in dispute to the people of the several States.--A fearful responsibility would rest upon the President elect if the Union were dissolved under his administration, unless he did everything in his power to save the country from such a catastrophe; that Mr. L. alone could now save it. He implored him to speak to his friends in the Conference, and save the country. Mr. Douglas did not desire Mr. L. to explain his views then to him, but to speak promptly and unequivocally to his own friends. Twenty-four hours more and it might be too late. He reminded Mr. L. that he had children as well as Mr. D., and implored him in God's name to act the patriot and to save to our children a country to live in. Mr. D. said to Mr. L. that he was now, as heretofore, his political opponent, and expected to oppose the political measures of his administration, but assured him that no partisan advantage should be taken or political capital manufactured out of an act of patriotism which would preserve the Union of these States, Mr. D. added that he had now performed his duty, and asked Mr. L. to perform his. Mr. L. listened respectfully and kindly, and assured Mr. Douglas that his mind was engrossed with the great them which they had been discussing, and expressed his gratification at the interview.--Shortly after this interview he held a conference with his friends, and, it is said, the appeal of Judge Douglas was the subject under discussion. What the result will be, does it appear as late as to-day soon. ’
A Northern Senator on record.The fact that Senators Chandler and Bingham, of Michigan, had telegraphed and afterwards written to Governor Blair, of that State, desiring him if possible to have the Legislature reconsider its refusal to appoint Commissioners to the Peace Conference at Washington, and suggesting themselves as proper candidates for the appointment, has already been stated. The Governor it appears has abused the confidence reposed in him by allowing the modest and patriotic correspondence of these gentlemen to be made public.--Both letters appear in the Detroit Free Press; both are to the same effect. That of Senator Chandler being the briefest and most pointed of the two, we publish it below:
My Dear Governor
His Excellency Austin Blair. P. S.--Some of the manufacturing States think that a fight would be awful. Without a little blood letting this Union will not, in my estimation, be worth a rush
How the Conspiracy against Lincoln was discovered.The New York Herald furnished an account of the manner in which the plot against the fugacious Abe was discovered. It says: ‘ It appears that there were two sets of most effective detectives sent to work upon the matter. Mr. Fouche Kennedy, of New York, at the instance of Thurlow Weed, dispatched one band of detective police to Baltimore and the interlying points between that place and Harrisburg, to ferret out the plot, and the Vidocq of Baltimore had another band employed in the same localities, neither chief being aware of the action of the other. If there was anything to be discovered this efficient combination of detective talent would be sure to find it out; and so it did, for it happened that the detectives from New York came into frequent communion with the detectives from Baltimore, and, not knowing one another, each supposed that he had found a conspirator in the other party, and forth with commenced to sympathize with the plot and draw his communicative companion out, for the purpose of getting information, as these wise officials are wont to do; and so between them they unravelled, if they did not concoct, the whole terrible conspiracy against the life of Mr. Lincoln. which compelled him to resort to the Scotch cap of the Camerous and the long military cloak, in which undignified disguise he reached the Federal capital with a whole skin. No sooner did Mr. Fouche Kennedy succeed in discovering this awful conspiracy than he turned up at Washington, in search of an office, we suppose, to which he is undoubtedly entitled at the hands of Mr. Lincoln, whose life he so miraculously preserved. ’
The Southern Confederacy.The Montgomery correspondent of the Columbus Times, writing on the 25th, sends the following intelligence: The following advertisement from the Advertiser of yesterday morning, will show that the Treasury branch of the Government is now in operation. H. D. Capers, I learn, is Chief Clerk: ‘ Confederate States of America, Treasury Department, Montgomery, February 23, 1861. This Department is now ready for the transaction of business. The Secretary will be found at the Executive Building, corner of Commerce and Bibb streets. Gen. Davis on yesterday attended divine service at the Episcopal Church. I learn that the President daily receives letters from Maine, Connecticut, and other New England States, which, doubtless, contain terrible threats, with a view of menacing and scaring the Southern Government. Fortunately, Mr. Davis is not the man to be annoyed by these missiles of the fanatics. Mr. Davis has sent a special messenger with dispatches to Gov. Pickens, of South Carolina. As to the purport of these dispatches, there are many conjectures, ‘"wise and otherwise,"’ which I do not consider worth the ink and paper that it would require to detail them. It is impossible for any outsider to know the contents of secret dispatches. Florida will certainly get the Secretaryship of the Navy, as she is the only State in the Confederacy that has a Navy-Yard. It is intended, I learn, to make the Pensacola Navy-Yard to the Southern Confederacy what the Gosport (Va.) Navy-Yard is to the Northern--a great ship-building and naval station. ’
A strong Government.The Augusta (Ga.) Sentinel is out again in favor of a strong Government-- something in the form of an Elective Monarchy — upon the principle originally advanced by Alexander Hamilton, the great head of the old Federal school of politics — the chief of which should be elected for a term of twenty-one years.--The Constitutionalist, published in the same place, joins issue with its contemporary, and after ably pointing out the elements of danger, discord, and of possible despotism, with which the idea is fraught, very justly adds: ‘ There was no want of strength in the Government — nothing imperfect in the instrument which bound us together. But there was corruption, undermining, and weakening the main pillars which supported one part of the edifice; there was fanaticism which was endeavoring to destroy another. Had the head of the Administration, for the time being, possessed the moral courage to do its duty, during all of the sectional controversy, the Temple would have been still standing in all its original strength and beauty. ’
The Old parties in the New Confederacy.The Columbus (Geo.) Enquirer is not satisfied with the Cabinet appointments of ‘"President"’ Davis. It says they are objectionable on the score of their exclusive party character: ‘ Every member of the Cabinet, we believe, was a Breckinridge Democrat and an original Secessionist. The Bell and Douglas men have been entirely excluded from a share in the administration of the new Government.--Even such men as George W. Crawford, of Georgia, and Thomas H. Watts, of Alabama, who supported Bell but sustained secession as soon as it was made an issue, are passed by, and politicians of less ability and influence with the people selected. Presenting, as the Bell and Douglas men did, such fine material for Cabinet appointments, their total exclusion cannot be regarded other wise than as proscription on account of their course previous to the secession issue. The new Government, we believe, has made a great error by this exclusive promotion of a particular party — a party that was in a minority in two of the seceding States. It has, however, several very excellent and able men in its administrative departments, and we may yet hope from them a repudiation of the partisanship that appears to have influenced their own selection. Such men are Hon. C. G. Memminger, of South Carolina, and Hon. L. P. Walker, of Alabama, gentlemen who have ever exhibited an independence of party in emergencies requiring devotion to their country lone. ’
Capt. Armstrong has been the ordering a Court-Martial for his trial for surrendering the Navy-Yard at Pensacola. The officers to compose the Court have not yet been named.