The National Crisis.interesting letter from Charleston — Messages of the Governors of Pennsylvania and New York — the President's reply to South Carolina--Fitting Out of Government vessels, &c., &c.
Letter from Charleston.An interesting letter in the Baltimore American, from Charleston, gives an inside view of the official business of the new "Republic" At the Governor's quarters I found the greatest activity. The room was filled with aids writing out orders and dispatches. The various Secretaries of His Excellency, the Military Chief of the Republic, were all employed in attending to the demands made upon them. The Governor himself was seated upon a rostrum facing the entrance, surrounded by half a score or more of gentlemen in military undress or in citizens' habit. All seemed impressed with anxiety and concern, and from what I saw going on, and from what I heard, I inferred that the State considered herself in an actual state of warfare. The messengers that ran hither and thither bore military looking dispatches, with great seals upon them. The Governor appeared careworn, but determined. He expressed himself to those about him as engaged in preparation for the worst. He listened to the suggestions of his advisers, and read the reports of military subordinates as soon as they reached his hand, and on the instant issued such directions as seemed to be necessary. The measures he has already taken for defence are principally confined to the harbor, beyond Fort Sumter.--This post is not generally known to be almost in the middle of Charleston harbor, half-way between Fort Moultrie and Morris' Island, or Fort Johnson. Fort Johnson is no stronghold in any sense, but merely the sight of an old revolutionary work, on which entrenchments are now being thrown up, and batteries are being erected. Morris' Island is also the site for another work undergoing construction. Both the localities bear directly upon Fort Sumter, and, besides, command all vessels that enter the harbor on the one side, while opposite positions command the rest of the entrance to the bar, so that before any craft or vessel-of-war is able to reach Fort Sumter, she will have to encounter the breastworks, batteries, &c., erected on the outside. To the left of the Gubernatorial quarters is a chamber occupied by a number of staff officers. These gentlemen were in the midst of business. A long green baize table extended nearly from end to end of the room. It was literally covered with papers, while the floor of the room was in an equally unfortunate condition. There was no lounging on the part of any one. The men all looked to be thoroughly immersed in business; many of them were busy writing out orders, which were promptly delivered to men in waiting; none were idle, and affairs of the greatest moment appeared to occupy every one. The Governor is quite up to the mark of promptness which the order of the people demands. All under him are bound to be active, and all that liveliness can accomplish will be done, you may rest assured. I should give you some description of the Governor's apartment. It is in the second story of the City Hall, the seat of municipal and magisterial justice, corner of Broad and Meeting streets. The Recorder's Court-room is the first you enter on the story above the basement. Passing through this you ascend to the second story by a broad and winding staircase of mahogany until you are brought up in front of the Mayor's office, which of itself is a most luxuriously furnished apartment, being fitted up with heavy red damask curtains, mirrors, gilded frames, marble mantles, richly papered walls, heavy velvet chairs, luxurious sofas and rich Brussells carpets. Adjoining this retreat of official dignity is the Executive Chamber. A placard on the door-post given information of the fact. You pass the vigilance of a sentinel and brush through a crowd of military men in attendance, and are ushered into the Executive presence. The first thing that strikes the eye is a dais or rostrum, in appearance something like the reading desk of a church, only it is covered with dark red velvet and bestrewn with papers, inkstands and pens. The Private Secretary of the Governor occupied it when I was first admitted into the apartment and he was as busy as all the rest, writing. Above this desk is a bust of Calhoun, and leaning against the wall below it is a dozen or more of long, black ebony rods, with old heads, which I am told are used on State occasions by high functionaries. They are chiefly carried in the hand when processions are moving, and belong, I believe, to the Aldermen and Mayor of the city. The entire room is richly furnished, and is of large dimensions. At this time it was in much confusion, owing to the great amount of business transacted. All around the walls rich pictures, portraits, busts, &c., were suspended, giving an air of refinement to the apartment in perfect keeping with its other appointments. In front of the dais, and indeed scattered all over the room, were writing tables, with clerks and aids at work — giving the whole place exactly the appearance of a drawing-room suddenly transferred into an editor's or reporter's quarters. About the grand old fireplace a knot of military officers were gathered in conversation; among these the Governor freely circulated, and seemed anxious to participate in what was going on. Since the affair of Fort Sumter, our military ardor has been up to the highest pitch — each day has brought into existence new companies, and by degrees the city assumes a thoroughly warlike appearance. Military uniforms, of the homeliest character, swarm the streets. None but Southern-made woolen goods are worn, except perhaps the cloth of a finer texture I noticed on some of the soldiers, which, they tell me, is imported from England direct. We have had rumors that the steamer Harriet Lane had been dispatched, or is about being dispatched, with reinforcements for Col. Anderson at Fort Sumter. The Governor is determined to intercept her at Morris' Island, three miles below the fort, where earthworks are being erected, composed of Palmetto logs and sand. Similar earthworks are being erected on the other side of the channel, at the lower end of Sullivan's Island, so that she will have to pass through a raking fire, and it is believed that she will be sunk before she can reach the fort. The Citadel Cadets have their battery on Sullivan's Island, and have charge of the defences at that point. The Vigilant Rifles are stationed on Morris' Island, near the Light House, and their guns have full command of the ship channel. The company of Zouaves have been stationed at another point with a powerful battery, near the mouth of the harbor. Every defencible point of the harbor is in possession of armed men. No definite movement has yet been made for an attack on Fort Sumter, though rumors are abundant in relation to some movement in that direction. The rumor on the street is that it is to be starved out and then stormed by large parties of men on rafts, protected by the batteries from the shores. Major Anderson, however, is undoubtedly beleaguered, but is believed to be in possession of abundant supplies, and should the fortress be attacked he can hold out long enough to receive succor, if it is the intention of the Government to make any movement in that direction. The number of arms in the United States Arsenal, which is now in full possession of the State, has been greatly exaggerated.--They do not exceed 25,000 stand, instead of 70,000, and many of them old flint locks. The city is nightly patrolled by the military. Though there is no fear of the negroes or any enemies within the city, it is thought necessary to drill the new recruits in all the stern realities of the soldier's life. Preparations are making to fortify some of the points of the harbor with cotton bales, covered with a foot of earth, so as to prevent their conflagration from hot shot that may be used from Fort Sumter. Chevauz de frise and other obstructions are being devised to drop in the channel to prevent any vessels-of-war from coming in. All the buoys in the channel are being removed, and the lights on the coast will be extinguished so soon as it is ascertained that any naval vessel is approaching. The coast is the most dangerous in the country. The military on the coast, unused as they are to such exposure and hardships, are suffering greatly. The weather has been quite cold, as well as damp and disagreeable, and their relatives in the city are in great distress about them. The realities of practical secession are already found to be much more serious than was anticipated, although the first gun has not been fired yet. I learn to-day that the Post-Office Department at Washington has refused to all an order of the City Postmaster for $500 worth of stamps. It is supposed that cash in advance will be demanded for them. This is awkward, and difficult to remedy. All the fire companies have donned military uniforms, and are drilling in prospect of being called into active service. It is now reported that Major Anderson was scared out of Fort Moultrie by three rockets let off at the eastern and of Sullivan's Island, and that he left in great haste, thinking it was a signal for attack. This is not so, however, though it is certain he did not take much time in transferring his command. This is evidenced by the condition of the quarters of the officers — such as hats, cents, opened, with books on the floor, and stool overturned.
Message of the Governor of Pennsylvania.In his message to the Pennsylvania Legislature, Gov. Packer, after discussing the Personal Liberty law of Pennsylvania, makes the following suggestions: ‘ While a majority of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Prigg case, held that a State had no constitutional right to provide by legislation for delivering up fugitives from labor, a minority were then of the opinion that State laws, consistent with and in aid of the constitutional injunction, were valid and proper. And this minority opinion is now the judgment of the present Court, as recently indicated in a case which arose in the State of Illinois. There is, therefore, nothing to prevent the revival of the act of 1826 and its restoration to the place in our code to which by its merits it is so justly entitled. This would leave to the option of the claimant whether he would seek his remedy under State or National laws. He had this right before the repeal of our act of 1826, and, in my opinion, no good reason can be assigned for refusing to place him again in the same position. ’ I would also recommend that the consent of the State be given that the master, while sojourning in our State, for a limited period, or passing through it, may be accompanied by his slave, without losing his right to his services. While such legislation is due to the comity which should ever exist between the different States of this Union, it would undoubtedly tend greatly to restore that peace and harmony which are now so unwisely perilled. By it Pennsylvania would concede no principle — we would be simply falling back upon our ancient policy, adopted at a time when our people were themselves struggling for their rights, and never departed from, until, by a misconception of its meaning, one of our most important statutes was declared unconstitutional. From 1780 to 1847, a period of sixty-seven years, Pennsylvania, herself a free State, permitted the citizens of other States to sojourn within her limits, with their slaves, for any period not exceeding six months, and to pass through the State, in traveling from one State to another, free from all molestation.--Was she injured, or was the cause of human freedom retarded by the friendly grant of this privilege? This question cannot be truthfully answered in the affirmative; but it may be safely averred, that by changing our policy in this respect, we have, in some degree, at least, alienated from us the feelings of fraternal kindness which bound together so closely the sisterhood of States. Let us, then, renew this pledge of amity and friendship, and once more extend a kindly welcome to the citizens of our common country, whether visiting us on business or pleasure, not withstanding they may be accompanied by those who, under the Constitution and the laws, are held to service and labor. In relation to a settlement of the National troubles, the Governor says: ‘ May we not wisely follow the example of our fathers, by re-enacting the old Compromise line of 1820, and extending it to the boundary of California? Not by the means of legislation of doubtful constitutionality, but by an amendment to the Constitution itself, and thus permanently fix the condition of the Territories, so that those who desire to occupy them may find a home, at their discretion, either where slavery is tolerated or where it is prohibited. If the adoption of such an amendment would peacefully settle the difficulties around us, I am satisfied that it would be sanctioned by the people of Pennsylvania. At all events they should have an opportunity to accept or reject it, if made as a peace-offering. I would, therefore, recommend the General Assembly to instruct and request our Senators and Representatives in Congress to support a proposition for such an amendment of the Constitution, to be submitted for ratification or rejection to a Convention of delegates, elected directly by the people of the State. ’ In the event of the failure of Congress speedily to propose this, or a similar amendment to the Constitution, the citizens of Pennsylvania should have all opportunity, by the application of some peaceable remedy, to prevent the dismemberment of this Union. This can only be done by calling a Convention of delegates to be elected by the people, with a view solely to the consideration of what measures should be taken to meet the present fearful exigencies. If Congress should propose no remedy, let it emanate from the source of all authority, the people themselves. Every attempt upon the part of individuals, or of organized societies, to lead the people away from their allegiance to the Government, to induce them to violate any of the provisions of the Constitution, or to incite insurrections in any of the States of this Union, ought to be prohibited by law, as crimes of a treasonable nature. It is of the first importance to the perpetuity of this great Union that the hearts of the people, and the action of their constituted authorities, should be in unison in giving a faithful support to the Constitution of the United States. The people of Pennsylvania are devoted to the Union.--They will follow its stars and its stripes through every peril. But, before assuming the high responsibilities now dimly foreshadowed, it is their solemn duty to remove every just cause of complaint against themselves, so that they may stand before high heaven, and the civilized world, without fear and without reproach, ready to devote their lives and their fortunes to the support of the best form of government that has ever been devised by the wisdom of man.
Message of the Governor of New York.After referring to State affairs, Gov. Morgan's message to the New York Legislature touches on Federal relations. It opposes the right of secession. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise is held up as the root from which sprung all our present evils. The message concludes thus: ‘ Not desiring the adoption of the Missouri line, in 1820, and opposing, with almost solid front, the weight of her influence to the repeal in 1854, this State does not ask, nor does she desire, the restoration of that line. After full and free discussion, her people have declared against the extension of slavery into any of the Territories, and this they regard as a disposition of that question until revoked by the same authority. Ever ready, nevertheless, as she has proved herself heretofore, New York will, in all honorable ways, endeavor to reconcile the estrangements now existing in the country. ’ A magnanimous and loyal State, in such an exigency, may well forego the question whether assumed grievances are real or only imaginary; but while her action should be marked by patience, calmness, conciliation and fraternal affection, there should be no surrender of important rights, nor sacrifice of vital principles. It is equally clear she should not insist on points of pride, or on more abstraction. Though brought forward under misapprehension, one such grievance is alleged against this State. In 1840, conformably to the general opinion of that day, the Legislature passed a statute granting a trial by jury, in the Courts of this State, to persons charged as being fugitives from service. Afterwards, the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Prigg against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, decided that all State laws, even though subordinate to the Federal enactments, and favorable to the extradition of fugitives, were inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, and therefore void; and so this statute of our State, which granted a trial by jury, became ineffective. It has been universally held to be obsolete by all our commentators, and all our public authorities, although now improperly classed among what are technically called "Personal Liberty laws," and made occasion for exciting jealousies and discontents. I therefore recommend its repeal. In this connection, and while disavowing any disposition to interfere with that which exclusively pertains to the individual States, and in a spirit of fraternal kindness, I would respectfully invite all those States which have upon their statute books any laws of this character, conflicting with the Federal Constitution, to repeal them at the earliest opportunity; not upon condition that a more equitable fugitive slave law be passed, nor upon any other conditions, but relying for the proper modifications of this enactment upon the justice and wisdom of the Federal authorities. Let the free States fulfill all the obligations of the Federal Constitution and laws, then, with propriety, they may exact like obedience from all the other States. That the President and Vice President elect, though constitutionally chosen, were unacceptable to a portion of the South, was the cause first avowed for succession. This ground, however, proving untenable as soon as assumed, the agitators fell back upon other alleged grievances and renewed their complaints with a view to and alarm the people of those States with idle and painful fears. Every one knows, or may know, that the newly-elected President and Vice-President, not only can have no motive nor desire to do any injury to the complaining States, but that they will have no power to exercise for such a purpose. The Senate of the United States is now controlled by the same political majority which has controlled it for the two last Presidential terms; the House of Representatives, already chosen for half the term for which the President and Vice-President are elected are of the same majority as the Senate; and the Supreme Court is pressingly the same as it has been for nearly a quarter of a century, and all the constitutional guarantees are in force now as here , against Executive . While the question of slavery, throughout all history, has been a subject of debate, the record of the past will show that the people of the free States have remained content with the disposition of the subject made by the Constitution and Federal laws, and have refrained from any political agitation of it until attempts were persistently made to extend the institution into the national domain, with a view, as we have seen, to increase the number of the slaveholding States. The alternative was now forced upon the Northern States, either of a ceaseless agitation of the subject of slavery, with a view to its removal even from the slaveholding States themselves, or else of resisting its introduction into the public domain through the intervention of the Federal Government. They chose the latter, and have on all occasions proclaimed, and in the most solemn manner pledged, to the slave States, the entire, absolute, and unquestioned control, regulation, management and disposition of slavery within their own borders. This is the position of the free States to-day, as it always has been, and the convictions and sentiment of the whole people, save those of a mere fraction, are in harmony with it. Angered by private griefs, or what they have deemed an unjust fugitive slave act, a few inconsiderate persons of the Northern States have made either actual or seeming aggressions upon the rights of the people of the slaveholding States. This, of course, has been met by the people of the latter in a temper and spirit hostile and retaliatory, as might have been expected. Vindictive laws have been passed by them, peaceable and unoffending citizens of Northern birth have been degraded or banished by Southern communities and authorities. What is especially wanted, both at the North and at the South, is not only a cessation of hostile words and acts, but a complete restoration of all those amicable and fraternal relations which formerly existed in every portion of the Confederacy, and without which the Union ceases to confer its highest advantages. No apprehension, however, need be entertained that the people of this law-abiding State would, in any case, suffer their authorities or agents in the State or Federal Government to invade or impair any constitutional right or privilege of the slave States; on the contrary, they stand always as ready to guarantee those rights as to defend their own, and I think it would be well for the Legislature to give such new and solemn utterances to these convictions as shall afford to the people of all the Southern States the assurance that all their rights, under the Constitution and the laws, are recognized, and will, on the part or the people of this State, be respected and maintained inviolate. I fully believe that if justice and moderation shall mark the conduct of the loyal States, we shall safely pass the present crisis, as we have passed many others, without loss of substantial rights or self-respect; for I am unwilling to admit that there are madmen, either at the North or South, sufficiently formidable in power or in numbers, to destroy the Union of the States; a Union which has been productive of inestimable good; a Union in which all sections and parts have contributed in diverse, though harmonious modes, to that common result of strength, stability and happiness, manifest to every eye, in every direction, throughout the length and breadth of this extended land. In view, however, of the momentous questions involved, it becomes the solemn duty of the National Executive to act with promptitude and firmness; the National Legislature with moderation and conciliation, and the public press, throughout the country, with that regard to the rights of all sections and interests which its vast influence and responsibilities demand. Every State can do something, and ought to do all that it can to avert the threatened danger. Let New York set the example in this respect. Let her oppose no barrier; but, on the contrary, let her Representatives in the Federal Legislature give their ready support to any settlement that shall be just and honorable to all — a settlement one alike to the cherished memories of the past, the mighty interests of the present, and the myriads of the future. Let her stand in attitude of hostility to none; but extending the hand of fellowship to all, and living up to the strict letter of that great fundamental law, the living and immortal bond of the union of the States, cordially unite with other members of the Confederacy, in proclaiming and enforcing the determination that the Constitution shall be honored, and the union of the States shall be preserved.
Edwin D. Morgan.
Albany, Jan. 1, 1861.
Albany, Jan. 1, 1861.
The President's reply to South Carolina.On Monday, after three o'clock, the reply was addressed to the Hons. Barnwell, Orr and Adams, and delivered by the President's Secretary. The President approved the conduct of Maj. Anderson, on the ground that be had tangible evidence of the intention, on the part of the South Carolinians, to seize and occupy Fort Sumter. Subsequently disclosures have satisfied those well informed, that such was the intention. Once in occupancy of Sumter Major Anderson would have been powerless and at the mercy of the Carolinians. No reinforcement of Fort Moultrie could have been made effectual for the recovery of Fort Sumter. Major Anderson, being in command, took a military view, and anticipated the South Carolinians by proceeding to the stronghold they coveted under the cover of the night. Upon these considerations, the President also refused to interfere for the withdrawal of the United States forces, saying, "This I cannot do, and I will not do." He also announced his firm determination to collect the revenues, and that the property now in the occupancy of the troops of South Carolina must be restored. The seizure of the United States Arsenal he deems a high-handed outrage.
The effect.The Commissioners are hors du combat at the non-recognition of their title and office, being addressed as distinguished gentlemen only. They had threatened to leave at once, upon non-compliance with their requests, but to-day they are silent, and busily engaged in writing. During last night and this morning crowds of Southern gentlemen have visited their quarters. One of them asserted that the President had gone over to the Republicans and deserted his friends. A consolidated South and a consolidated North is now predicted.
The alleged Compact.The President is reported to have said today, in speaking of Gov. Floyd's reasons for resigning: "The agreement was made between the Secretary of War, who had no right to make it, and the leaders of the mob at Charleston, who had no power to keep it." It is understood that Gen. Scott will be the ruling spirit at the War Department, he and Secretary Holt being on good terms, which is more than can be said in respect to Gov. Floyd or Jefferson Davis, with neither of whom the Commander was on speaking terms.
"Suspected" naval movements.The Norfolk Day Book, of yesterday, says: ‘ The brig Dolphin has been paid off and put out of commission, but will not be dismantled for some time to come, as her services may be needed at almost any moment for special or other service. In connection with the "Brooklyn" all manner of rumors are afloat, one of which is to the effect that all her boats, with muffled cars, proceeded to the yard during the storm and darkness on Saturday night, and removed all the arms from the yard to the ship, for fear of their being seized by the Secessionists here. Another says that her guard has been temporarily sent to the yard to protect the store-houses, which are said to be threatened with sacking by the number of unemployed men in the two communities, &c.--We give them for what they are worth, vouching for nothing contained in them. ’ The Portsmouth Transcript, of yesterday, adds: ‘ A report is circulating here that the U. S. steam-frigate Brooklyn has orders to take in stores at once for a four months cruise. Madame Rumor has not disclosed the destination, but, as a matter of course, every one says Charleston. One thing is certain, steam was gotten up aboard of her this morning, and she may go up to the yard before night. ’
A Collector for Charleston nominated.A Washington dispatch, of Wednesday, says: ‘ Instead of the expected message, however, the President sent in to the Senate an important nomination for Collector of the Revenue in the neighborhood of Charleston harbor.--The name of the individual is believed to be Wm. McIntire, of Pennsylvania, although others say he is of New York. The former is probably the more correct. ’ The Republican Senators desired to go into Executive session on the subject, but this was resisted by the other side, and an adjournment was carried by the Democratic present, with the exception of . Diglar, Latham, and Sewell. It is not certain, according to present appearances, that McIntire will be confirmed. This nomination is considered in the highest degree important, and as foreshadowing the future operations of the Administration.
Coercion Charleston in the New York Legislature.
Albany, January 2.--Is the Senate to-day Mr. Spanela (Democrat) introduced a series of resolutions authorizing the Governor in tender to the President of the United States the services of this military of the State, to be used as he should deem best to preserve the and adduce the Constitution and laws of the country. Also, instructing the Committee on Military Affairs to report a bill to raise $10,000,000 properly to arm the State. Mr. Spinola said he believed the time approached when old party divisions must be temporarily laid aside, and that all good citizens should unite for the preservation of the Union, and put down Northern abolitionism and Southern fanaticism. The resolutions were laid over.