The National crisis.
views of Gen. Scott
--a look inside of Fort Moultrie
--condition of Fort Sumter
Democratic Convention--Expression of opinion in Philadelphia
, &c., &c.
The following are the views of Gen. Scott
, as transmitted to the President
on the 29th of October:
To save time, the right of secession may be conceded, and instantly balanced by the correlative right, on the part of the Federal Government
, against an inferior
State or States, to re-establish by force, if necessary, its former continuity of territory.--[Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy, last chapter.]
But break this glorious Union by whatever line or lines that political madness may contrive, and there would be no hope of reuniting the fragments except by the laceration and despotism of the sword.
To effect such result the intestine wars of our Mexican
neighbors would, in comparison with ours, sink into mere child's play.
A smaller evil would be to allow the fragments of the great Republic to form themselves into new Confederacies, probably four.
All the lines of demarcation between the new Unions cannot be accurately drawn in advance, but many of them approximately ay. Thus, looking to natural boundaries and commercial affinities, some of the following frontiers, after many wavering and conflicts, might perhaps become acknowledged and fixed:
1. The Potomac river
and the Chesapeake Bay
to the Atlantic
2. From Maryland
, along the crest of the Alleghany
(perhaps the Blue Ridge
) range of mountains, to some point in the coast of Florida
The line from say the head of the Potomac
to the west or northwest, which it will be most difficult to settle.
4. The crest of the Rocky Mountains
The Southeast Confederacy would, in all human probability, in less than five years after the rupture, find itself bounded by the first and second lines indicated above, the Atlantic
and the Gulf of Mexico
, with its capital at say Columbia, South Carolina
The country between the second, third, and fourth of those lines would, beyond a doubt, in about the same time, constitute another Confederacy, with its capital at probably Alton
or Quincy, Illinois
The boundaries of the Pacific Union
are the most definite of all, and the remaining States would constitute the Northeast Confederacy
, with its capital at Albany
It, at the first thought, will be considered strange that seven slaveholding States and parts of Virginia
should be placed (above) in a new Confederacy with Ohio
, &c. But when the overwhelming weight of the great Northwest is taken in connection with the laws of trade, contiguity of territory, and the comparative indifference to free soil doctrines on the part of Western Virginia
, it is evident that but little, if any coercion, beyond moral force, would be needed to embrace them; and I have omitted the temptation of the unwasted public lands which would fall entire to this Confederacy — an appanage (well husbanded) sufficient for many generations.
As to Missouri
, and Mississippi
, they would not stand out a month.
would coalesce without much solicitation, and Alabama
, with West Florida
, would be conquered the first winter from the absolute need of Pensacola
for a naval depot.
If I might presume to address the South
, and particularly dear Virginia
— being "native here and to the manner born"--I would affectionately ask, will not your slaves be less secure and their labor less profitable under the new order of things than under the old?--Could you employ profitably two hundred slaves in all Nebraska
, or five hundred in all New Mexico
The right, then, to take them thither would be a barren right.
And is it not wise to--
‘ "Rather bear the ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?"
The Declaration of Independence
proclaims and consecrates the same maxim: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes." And Paley
, too, lays down as a fundamental maxim of statesmanship, "never to pursue national honor
as distinct from national interest,
" but adds:--"This rule acknowledges that it is often necessary to assert the honor of a nation for the sake of its interests."
The excitement that threatens secession is caused by the near prospect of a Republican's election to the Presidency.
From a sense of propriety, as a soldier, I have taken no part in the pending canvass, and, as always heretofore, mean to stay away from the polls.
My sympathies, however, are with the Bell
With Mr. Lincoln
I have had no communication whatever, direct or indirect, and have no recollection of ever having seen his person; but cannot believe any unconstitutional violence, or breach of law, is to be apprehended from his administration of the Federal Government
From a knowledge of our Southern population, it is my solemn conviction that there is some danger of an early act of rashness preliminary to secession, viz. the seizure of some or all of the following forts: Forts Jackson
and St. Philip
, in the Mississippi
, below New Orleans, both without garrisons; Fort Morgan
, below Mobile
, without a garrison; Forts Pickens
, Pensacola harbor, with an insufficient garrison for one; Fort Pulaski
, below Savannah
, without a garrison; Forts Moultrie
, Charleston harbor
— the former with an insufficient garrison, and the latter without any; and Fort Monroe
, Hampton Roads
, without a sufficient garrison.
In my opinion all these works should be immediately so garrisoned as to make any attempt to take any one of them, by surprise or coup de main,
With the army faithful to its allegiance, and the navy probably equally so, and with a Federal Executive, for the next twelve months, of firmness and moderation, which the country has a right to expect--moderation
being an element of power not less than firmness
--there is good reason to hope that the danger of secession may be made to pass away without one conflict of arms, one execution, or one arrest for treason.
In the mean time it is suggested that exports should remain as free as at present; all duties, however, on imports, collected.
(outside of the cities,*) as such receipts, would be needed for the national debt, invalid pensions, &c., and only articles contraband of war be refused admittance.
But even this refusal would be unnecessary, as the foregoing views each of the idea of invading a seceded State.
October 29, 1860.
--In forts or on board ships-of-war.
The great aim and object of this plan was to gain time — say eight or ten months--to await expected measures of conciliation on the part of the North
, and the subsidence of angry feelings in the opposite quarter.
Lieut. General Scott
's respects to the Secretary of War
That a copy of his "Views, &c." was dispatched to the President
yesterday, in great haste; but the copy intended for the Secretary
, better transcribed, (herewith,) was not in time for the mail.
General S. would be happy if the latter could be substituted for the former.
It will be seen that the "Views" only apply to a case of secession that makes a gap
in the present Union.
The falling off (say) of Texas
, or of all the Atlantic States
, from the Potomac
south, was not within the scope of General S's provisional remedies.
It is his opinion that instructions should be given, at once, to the commanders of the Barrancas, Forts Moultrie
, to be on their guard against surprises and coups demain
As to regular approaches,
nothing can be said or done, at this time, without volunteers.
There is one (regular) company at Boston
, one here, (at the Narrows,) one at Pittsburg
, one at Augusta, Ga.
, and one at Baton Rouge
— in all five companies, only, within reach, to garrison or reinforce the forts mentioned in the "Views."
is all solicitude for the safety of the Union
He is, however, not without hope that all dangers and difficulties will pass away without leaving a scar or painful recollection behind.
's most ob'dt.
October 30, 1860. W. S.
The "Virginia Life Guard."
--We understand that this new company is rapidly filling up, and that the members will proceed at once to uniform themselves and apply to the State
The uniform adopted is very simple, and will not cost more than five or six dollars. The company will probably attach itself to the 179th regiment, as many of its members, on account of their engagements, cannot belong to the volunteer regiment proper.
The "Life Guard" will only be called out when the emergency is such as to require a larger force than can be furnished by the uniformed regiment of the city — in other words, when the services of the militia
are needed, they will promptly take the field.
At some future day they hope to be able to procure rifles.
Illinois Democratic Convention--important resolutions on the crisis.
Springfield, January 16.
--The Democratic State Convention met at the State-House
Ninety-three out of the hundred and two counties were represented.
Resolutions were adopted by an almost unanimous vote, declaring that it is the prompting of patriotism and dictate of wisdom to make an earnest effort to save the Union
by conciliation and concession; therefore, we are willing to accept the amendments to the Con- stitution proposed in the United States Senate by Senator Douglas
and Senator Crittenden
, and the border State proposition, or any other whereby harmony may be restored between the people of the different sections of the country.
Therefore, we earnestly entreat the Federal Government
and the seceding States to withhold the arm of military power, and on no pretext whatever bring the nation to the horrors of a civil war, until the people can take such action as the troubles demand.
We recognize and declare it to be the duty of the Federal Government
, through the civil authorities within the jurisdiction of the States, to enforce all laws passed in pursuance of the Constitution
; but we distinctly deny that the Federal Government
has a constitutional power to call out the military to execute these laws, except in aid of the civil authorities.
We deny the constitutional right of any State to secede from the Union
, and we are equally opposed to nullification at the North
and secession at the South
, as violations of the Constitution
That in the opinion of this Convention the employment of a military force by the Federal Government
to coerce into submission the seceding States, will inevitably plunge the country in a civil war, and entirely extinguish all hope for a settlement of the fearful issues now pending before the country.
We recommend the repeal of all Personal Liberty bills, and recommend a National Convention, to be held at Louisville, Ky.
, on the 12th of February, to take into consideration the present perilous state of the country, and recommend to the people such just concessions and such amendments to the Constitution
as will produce harmony and fraternal feeling throughout the Union
, said Convention to consist of one delegate from each Congressional district, and two at large from each of the thirty-three States.
We request that the Legislatures of the several States take steps for the holding of State Conventions to carry out the aforesaid recommendations.
The late Philadelphia meeting and Maj. Anderson.
The following correspondence has been published:
(Copy.)Philadelphia, Jan. 7, 1861.
--As presiding officer of the great public meeting held in this city on Saturday evening last, the agreeable duty devolves on me of transmitting to you the enclosed account of its proceedings, as published in our morning papers.
Although I am well aware that the consciousness of having performed his duty is the soldier's highest reward, and that, therefore, your love of country needs no spur to incite you to continue faithful to its flag, it is no less the duty of your fellow-citizens everywhere to greet your patriotic doings in the present perilous crisis of our national affairs, with their hearty sympathy and applause.
In this feeling, responsive as I know it to be to that of the vast mass of my fellow-citizens, I have great pleasure in being the instrument of making to you the present communication.
Trusting that the Federal Government
will perform its whole duty towards you and the brave officers and men under your command, by giving you, without delay, the needful reinforcements and supplies.
I have the honor to remain, dear sir, your most obedient servant,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 7th inst., enclosing a copy of the proceedings of a public meeting held in Philadelphia
on the 5th inst.
I will not attempt to express the feelings which such an approval of my poor efforts to do my duty excites, but will now merely thank you personally for the handsome manner in which you have performed your part as presiding officer of the meeting, and for the flattering terms of your letter of transmittal.
Hoping that by the blessing of God the impending storm may be dispersed without bloodshed, I am, dear sir, very respectfully,
Expression of opinion in Philadelphia.
At the Democratic Union meeting, held in Philadelphia
on Wednesday evening, the Hon. Wm. B. Reed
, our late Minister
, was one of the speakers.
His remarks were eminently befitting the occasion, and replete with good counsel.
We extract some paragraphs:
said he had come there to say a few words in behalf of peace and conciliation.
The resolutions presented breathed nothing but peace and conciliation.
He did not want to talk even of concession.
He had a great aversion to the words secession and concession.
He came there to see if they could not promote some feeling of kindness which would bring back their Southern brethren.--He was in favor of conciliation, and if there was one sentiment prevalent here, it was a desire for conciliation, and an aversion to anything like civil war. The legislators at Harrisburg
have been denouncing the business and the working men of this city, because they desire conciliation.
Who had a better right to desire our Representatives at Harrisburg
to give us some means of relief than the business men of Philadelphia
What is to be our condition?
I state my propositions thus:
To put an end to this senseless clamor for coercion, if coercion means war, and to utter no words of defiance.
- 2. To purge quickly, cheerfully, gracefully, our statute book of those laws which do, or seem to give offence, and, so far as domestic slavery is concerned, to afford, as it used to be, auxiliary jurisdiction by our magistrates, and protection of property to the sojourner among us.
To compel by legal means, or, if need be, by peaceful measures, outside of the letter of the Constitution, such a Convention as will so amend it as will satisfy the South on the points as to which they are naturally sensitive.
Doing this, we have a right to ask our brethren in the South
to remain with us, or if they please, to return to us, and recognize — as I for one am perfectly willing to do — the obligation of the Constitution
as it is, when, according to its forms, a sectional candidate is placed for four busy and disappointing years (for such must be Mr. Lincoln
's fate) in the Chief Magistracy
of the Union
The two hundred thousand Democrats of Pennsylvania
, the Constitutional Union men, are with the South
on its duty of jealous vigilance over the incoming Administration; but our power is gone, and is as nothing if our Southern friends abandon us, or put us in the wrong.
We beg them, for our sake, to pause.
It is not too late.
It will not be too late till a drop of blood is shed, and then, fellow-citizens, it will be too late.
I have a hope, which, though it wanes and flickers as time rolls by without redress, and each gust of passion, northward and southward, sweeps along, still burns like the little lamp before the sanctuary — that the intercessor will yet appear and stay the evil before it is irremediable; that some intermediate agency of pacification will arise, that shall bring together alienated friends, without offence to wounded pride, which is always an impediment.
I hope and pray that escape through some avenue, not now clear, may happen; but, in the meantime, I speak the true sentiment of every one around me — nay, of all Pennsylvania
--except those who, as technical Abolitionists, I count as out laws.
Honor, all honor, to the statesmen who strive for peace, and to avoid collision.
Honor to those who, recognizing their oath of office, do their duty, and yet keep the peace.
The statesman who will "tide us" over the rugged reef on which we hang will deserve and will command honor from all. The President, we hope and believe, is the pilot to weather the storm.
At all events, he is at the helm, and it is our duty to stand by him. Give him a fair support and he will save the Union
The Norfolk Day Book gives the following description of Fort Norfolk:
Fort Norfolk has become famous in the last few days, as the point from which it was said the steamer Express took the powder.
The U. S. Naval Hospital is nearly due South from the point of the wharf; the top of the cut is due North and the bottom South
From the wharf, in a line South by West and about 2,700 feet across the river, is the site of old Fort Nelson
, long since removed and now used as a portion of the Naval Hospital grounds
In a line West by South is the wharf known as Hardy's Wharf, while the same line extended, would pass through Mr. Todd
's residence on Smith's Point
The walls of the fort are built of brick, and are rendered "doubly secure" by the earth work within, which is thrown up like an embankment against the wall; in warm weather this embankment is covered with a green turf, which commences on the top of the wall or ramparts, and slopes down towards the centre of the fort.
There are two or three small and unimportant buildings inside the garrison.--They were used as cartridge and shell houses, but the impression prevails that they are now empty, and that the magazine alone is occupied.
There are no guns at this fort, nor has there been since we could recollect.
At one time, it was in a deplorable state of repair, but in the last two or three years it has been put in tolerable order, and has been occupied as a powder station for the U. S. Navy.
Large quantities of powder have been stored there, and no doubt but a sufficient quantity is now in the magazine to shake down half the houses in this city, if it should take fire, It is but one mile from this city, in a northwest direction.
It was between this fort and Fort Nelson
that the Constellation
was anchored when the battle of Craney Island
was anchored off that island while the men were engaged in throwing up that fortification, but when it was complete, she hauled up and anchored in the stream as above stated.
At that time a large number of troops were collected at this point, and Fort Norfolk was garrisoned under Gen. Robert B. Taylor
, who was succeeded by Gen. Porter
.--Troops continued to occupy this garrison until 1815, when peace was declared, and the soldiers allowed to return to their homes.
Since that time to this, now forty-odd years, there has been no garrison at Fort Norfolk.
The fortification is so constructed, the bastion and circle so complete, that it not only commands the channel of the river, but sweeps the whole country around in every direction.
There are no casemates or embrasures in it, but all guns have to be mounted on the parapet and fired over the ramparts.
Fort Norfolk is about 450 feet long and 225 feet wide, and was built some time prior to the last war with Great British; but at what precise time, we have been unable to learn.
A Charleston correspondent gives the following particulars of the look of things in and about Fort Moultrie
is, as the newspapers will tell you, "an enclosed water battery, having a front on the south, or water side, of a depth of about three hundred feet, built with salient and reentering angles on all sides, and is admirably adapted for defence, either from the attack of a storming party or by regular approaches." That is to say, provided it is not exposed to the fire of a hostile garrison in Fort Sumter
, Passing along its narrow and not very deep moat, we joined the throng of spectators at the entrance.
Here a couple of soldiers on guard, with crossed muskets and bayonets, blocked the way, and an officer (I believe a lieutenant) responded to many applications for admission, according few. A sick man was carted out, a quantity of newly-washed linen, a negress in a pyramidal turban of bright colors, half a dozen recruits, a bottle of whiskey and a cheese were passed in. Unable ourselves to obtain the privilege of entrance, we strolled around the fort, looking seaward.
A more fortunate acquaintance, whom I encountered in the return to the city, gave me some few particulars as to the look of the interior.
The cannon disabled by Major Anderson
still lie in picturesque confusion, all smoke-stained and discolored below the ramparts, though their spikes have been removed.
They were twelve in number, pointed directly towards Fort Sumter
, hence the gallant Kentuckian
's object is apparent — the frustration of any attempt to stop him during his removal.
Why they have not been replaced on gun-carriages, my informant was unable to conjecture; possibly for lack of the same.--All the other guns are loaded and levelled--one or two at Fort Sumter
, the rest commanding what is now the only water approach to the city, Maffett's Channel, six or ten sunken vessels effectually blockading the other.
Thus, any vessel endeavoring to enter the harbor against the will of the commander of Fort Moultrie
could, and probably would, be destroyed or disabled — in case that formidable Fort Sumter
did not interfere.
For the rest, all was preparation within Fort Moultrie
; huge stacks of barrels of sand, covered with hides shielding the guns, the apparatus for heating shot and shell in order, the powder magazine buried in sand, sentinels on the look-out every where, and drilling in progress perpetually.
That its present occupants will fight bravely and desperately, and hold it to the last extremity, admit of no question.
The Charleston Mercury, noticing an article in the Dispatch about the heroism displayed at Fort Moultrie
There is more in the remarks of the Dispatch than possibly it may have intended.
The guns of Fort Sumter
are within point blank range of Fort Moultrie
At the time that the guns of Fort Moultrie
opened upon the Star of the West, (which, by the way, was quite out of their range,) those of Fort Sumter
were ranged with all the precision that mathematical skill and instruments could effect, directly upon each gun of Fort Moultrie
When the firing from Fort Moultrie
began, it was fully expected that it would immediately be returned, with interest.
And here comes in our joke.
When the Star of the West turned tail, and it became evident that she would approach no closer, the young fellows under orders became clamorous and eager for "a shot any how." "Well," says the Major
,) jumping upon the parapet, "fire away, boys, but you'll all be in — in five minutes." The boys did fire; but the Major
's prediction was not fulfilled.
was twice brevetted for gallantry during the Mexican
Sergeant Geo. McFadden
, formerly a soldier in the United States Army, and who was one of the laborers recently sent away from Fort Sumter
, gives an account of the condition of that fort very different from what generally obtains.
The account is furnished to the New York Post
was in a much better condition for defence than Fort Sumter
; nearly all the guns were mounted, and everything was in apple-pie order, and the men in good condition; three days before we retired from Fort Moultrie Major Anderson brought from Fort Sumter
an apparatus to mount the remaining guns.
This apparatus was left behind at Fort Moultrie
When we arrived at Fort Sumter
everything was cold, miserable and unfinished.
has five faces to it.
and some nine or ten guns imperfectly mounted.
These guns cannot be depressed sufficiently to defend the forts.
They are mounted for long range shot, and any object within a mile or a mile and half of this fort would be as harmless to it as our present fort on our battery enfilading the channel between Governor's
and Ellis's Islands would be harmless to the boats constantly passing it.--Fort Sumter
has no provisions.
took from Fort Moultrie
some fifty barrels of flour and one or two casks of other provisions.
A sergeant and squad of men in citizens' dress were sent ashore to purchase provisions.
They procured some eighty pounds of beef, with vegetables, &c. The Charleston Vigilant Committee would not permit them to take away the provisions they had paid for, and they threatened the lives of the men if they persisted in doing so. Fort Sumter
has no fuel, and if they have any at all it must be by burning what they can find in the fort to burn.
The fort is in a perfect state of incompleteness, and as to Major Anderson
being able to defend it — unless he is not attacked — it is all nonsense.
He will be a smarter man than I take him to be if he can do it against a lot of men. Only give me a hundred determined fellows, and I'll have possession of that fort in a half hour from the moment we get on the landing; all I'd want is an additional number of men to carry and raise the ladders for the men to scale the walls.
never asked the workmen to stay and fight under the American
If he had done so. I for one would have stuck to him as long as he had anything to stick to. On the contrary, he was most anxious to get rid of the many extra mouths that were eating up the provisions he wanted for his own men.--As to all the statements of the papers about his impregnability, it's all balderdash, &c.