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The National crisis.

correspondence between Judge Robertson and the South Carolina authorities --the arrival of the storeship Supply at New York — farewell of Senator Benjamin --position of Senator Cameron, &c., &c.

Correspondence between Judge Robertson, of Va., and the South Carolina authorities.

[Hon. John Robertson to the Governor.]

Charleston, Jan. 29, 1861.
To His Excellency, the Governor of South Carolina:
The intelligence of the sailing of the Brooklyn from Hampton Roads, received here on the 25th inst., determined me at once not to press an immediate reply to my note of that date, communicating the mediatorial propositions of the General Assembly of Virginia.

It was arranged between Ex-President Tyler and myself, previous to our departure from Richmond, that we would endeavor to obtain from the Government at Washington and the authorities of the seceded States mutual assurances of abstinence from acts calculated to produce hostile collision during the period designated by the General Assembly, which assurances being interchanged, would be reciprocally binding.

Last evening, I received a dispatch from Mr. Tyler, informing me that the President declines to give a written pledge. I do not understand that he has given, or proposes to give, a verbal one.

Under these circumstances — informed, moreover, that South Carolina does not consent to send Commissioners to Washington, as proposed by Virginia — it seems wholly unnecessary, if not unreasonable, to ask from the authorities of your State assurances of the character contemplated, which the Government at Washington, on its part, declines to give. At the same time, though regarding my mission as terminated, it will afford me sincere pleasure to be the bearer of any response which the authorities of South Carolina may think proper to make through me, to the friendly interposition of the State I have the honor to represent.

Permit me, in conclusion, to express my grateful sense of the courtesy and kindness extended to me by the authorities and citizens of South Carolina, during my brief sojourn among them.

Very respectfully,

John Robertson.

[Rep'y. Of the Governor, through the State Department, to Hon. John Robertson.]

State of South Carolina, Executive Office, State Department. Charleston, Jan. 29, 1861.
The Governor of the State of South Carolina directs me to acknowledge his reception of your letter of this date, and to communicate to you the great satisfaction which he has derived from your visit to this State.

To the General Assembly of this State, the Governor has transmitted the ‘"Preamble and Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of Virginia, January the 19th, 1861,"’ with an accompanying Message. In the General Assembly certain resolutions were adopted; copies of which, with the Message of the Governor, are herewith enclosed.

The Governor is able to inform you, that the dispatch from Mr. Tyler to you, in which he communicated to you that the President refused to give the written pledge which was asked, contained the renewed expression of the refusal of the President to the same pledge, proposed to him by the Senators of the several seceding States.

The refusal of the President to give this pledge — a refusal, in fact, to abstain from the commission of acts of hostility — was not unexpected by the Governor. But it has been gratifying to him that you should have become possessed of this information while you were in this State, from source which, in affording you that information, enabled you thoroughly to understand the motives of the authorities of this State in not having relied upon assurances which, hitherto, to your honored Commonwealth, may have seemed sufficient to have justified and demanded, perhaps, confidence in the sources by which they were made.

With the evidence you now have of the purposes of the Government of the United States, it is unnecessary for the Governor to add to it anything, from the more than sufficient testimony which has for some time led him to the conclusion which you have reached.

The Governor is well satisfied that the ancient Commonwealth, whose honored envoy you are, will receive the report of your mission with the spirit which has given to its name the respect which it everywhere receives.

You carry with you to Virginia, from the General Assembly of this State, ‘"the assurances of their cordial respect and esteem."’--In this, the Governor requests me to say he heartily concurs. And with equal pleasure does he unite with the General Assembly in the expression of its ‘"high consideration"’ for you.

With great respect,

Your obedient servant,

A. G. Magrath.
To Hon. John Robertson, Commissioner from Virginia.

The arrival of the storeship Supply at New

The telegram announcing the arrival of the U. S. storeship Supply, Capt. Walke, at New York, with Lieut. Slemmer, was a mistake.--The Slemmer was Mrs. Lieutenant, and not the officer himself. The following is the list of passengers who went from the Warrington Navy-Yard on the Supply:

Mrs. Lieut. Slemmer, U. S. A., servant and child; Mrs. J. H. Gilman, U. S. A., servant and child; John Irwin, Lieutenant U. S. A., lady and two children; Mrs. Samuel; Robert Dixon, U. S. N., lady and two children; Jas. Cooper, U. S. N., lady and four children; Miss Cooper; Robert Hunter, U. S. N.; Lewis Holmes, U. S. N.; John Milan, lady and child; Wm. C. Knowles, John Tyler, Spencer Clarke; also, John J. Flarety, Dan'l. E. Jameson, John Gallagher, Wm. J. Lodge, J. W. Barker, T. Massey, employees of the Warrington Navy-Yard; also, nine invalids from Naval Hospital, Warrington; twenty-seven ordinary men from do. do., and thirty-four marines from the Marine Barracks. The above were released on parole and taken off under a flag of truce.

’ The wives and children of the command at Fort Pickens were placed on board the Supply to-day, before the surrender of the Navy-Yard. On the following day the storeship, under a flag of truce, proceeded to the wharf of the Navy-Yard, where the laborers and marines were taken on board, Captain Walke having given his parole that they should be landed north of Mason & Dixon's line. Overtures had been made to the marines to join the secessionist forces, with the alternative of expulsion in case of a refusal. The personal property of the force at Fort Pickens, furniture, carpets, pianos belonging to the officers' wives, books, clothing, &c., were, under the flag of truce, conveyed on board the Supply.

The steamer Wyandot has been cruising in the bay, rendering assistance in many different ways to the force under Lieutenant Slemmer's command at Fort Pickens. Captain (commanding) Berryman is at present assisted in the officer corps by only two engineers, all the other officers having resigned. His guard of sixteen marines he transferred to Fort Pickens, increasing the force there to about eighty men. The Wyandot will cruise in the neighborhood of the fort until reinforcements arrive, or until its possessors are compelled by an attack to abandon it. In the latter event the guns of the fort will be spiked and the fort itself blown up, while the garrison by means of boats can escape from the beach to the steamer.

Statement of Mrs. Slemmer.

The exodus from the Barrancas Fort was made necessarily in much haste, there being little time except to hurriedly pack up the most valuable of their articles of furniture and wardrobe. No personal violence was offered to these retreating women and children, but the sudden and peaceable breaking up of so many peaceful households, and the violent separation of family ties, were cause of great distress. To many the parting of husband and wife was as if for the last time, and tears bedewed many a hardy cheek when the last ‘"good by"’ was spoken.

The excitement produced upon the officers when they saw their flag at the Navy-Yard hauled down, Mrs. Slemmer says, was most intense. It was a sight they never expected to see, and they had never conceived of the deep feeling of humiliation and vexation that the spectacle existed in every breast.

During the day and night of the evacuation of Barrancas, and the transfer of the garrison to Fort Pickens, every person, men, and officers, and their wives, performed prodigies of labor, and never obtained a wink of sleep for nearly twenty-four hours; and the hard work fell about equally upon all, without regard to rank or sex. The ladies cheerfully performed their part throughout the trying ordeal. On the day following the embarkation of the families on board of the Supply, Mrs. Gilman and Mrs. Slemmer, accompanied by officers from the storeship, went on shore under a flag of truce, to obtain a last interview with their husbands.

Every step of their progress was met by armed officials. They were obliged, first, to obtain permission from the new Commandant of the Navy-YardRandolph, who ten days before had resigned his commission in the Navy. This was very reluctantly granted, after appeals had been made to him as a husband and father. They then had to pass the Barrancas forts, whose commander, after

some hesitation, allowed them to pass. In this place, so lately deserted by these peaceful and happy families, all was now confusion.--The undisciplined soldiers or understrappers had broken open some of the trunks and boxes containing the wardrobes, and household relies of Col. Winder, late Commander, probably in pursuit of clothing for their own use, and they saw ladies' dresses, and family daguerreotypes, scattered about with little regard to their vaunted respect for the rights of personal property. In justice to the officers, these ladies wished to exonerate them, personally, from these acts of vandalism, and believe they were done by the baser, sort upon whom discipline had as yet exerted no control.

Lieut. Slemmer asserted that he could hold the place against five thousand men, and declared he would do it. It is needless to say that both these ladies exhorted their husbands to stand by their country's flag to the last, and never haul it down, except to an overpowering force.

All the prisoners in the Navy-Yard were permitted to leave after giving their parole, and those who could get away left. Such as decided to remain were compelled to take the oath of allegiance to serve the State of Florida.

Farewell of Senator Benjamin.

Senator Benjamin, of Louisiana, with Mr. Slidell, his colleague, bade farewell to the U. S. Senate on Monday. Mr. Benjamin said that after the Southern Senators had left there would be still voices raised on that side of the chamber in opposition to force bills — to bills for raising armies and navies for the desolution of the South. Mr. Benjamin concluded as follows:

‘ And now to you, Mr. President, and to my brother Senators on all sides of this chamber, I bid a respectful farewell. With many of those from whom I have been radically separated in political sentiment, my personal relations have been kindly, and have inspired me with a respect and esteem that I shall not willingly forget.

’ With those around me from the Southern States, I part as men part from brothers on the eve of a temporary absence, with a cordial pressure of the hand and a smiling assurance of the speedy renewal of sweet intercourse around the family hearth. But to you, noble and generous friends, who bow beneath other skies, possess hearts that beat in sympathy with ours — to you who solicited and assailed by motives the most powerful that could appeal to selfish natures and nobly spurned them all — to you who on our behalf have bared your breast to the fierce beatings of the storm and made willing sacrifice of life's most glittering prizes in your devotion to constitutional liberty — to you who have made our cause your cause, and from many of whom I now feel that I part forever, what shall I say? Naught I know and feel is needed for myself; but this I will say for the people in whose name I speak to-day:

‘ Whether prosperous or adverse fortunes await you, one priceless treasure is yours — the assurance that an entire people have your names and hold them in grateful and affectionate memory. But with still sweeter and more touching return, shall your unselfish devotion be rewarded. When in after days the story of the present shall be written; when history shall have passed her stern sentence on the erring men who have driven unoffending brethren from the shelter of their common home, your names shall derive fresh lustre from the contrast; and when your children shall hear, oft-repeated, the familiar tale, it will be with glowing cheek and kindling eye; their very souls will stand a tip-toe as their sires are named; and they will glory in their lineage from men, of spirits as generous and of patriotism as high-hearted as ever illustrated or adorned the American Senate. Good friends, farewell.

’ [Mr. Benjamin was frequently greeted with applause, particularly at the close. A great number of Senators and others bid the Louisiana Senator farewell, and the scene was highly impressive. The galleries were crowded.]

Position of Senator Cameron.

The Committee of New York Merchants, who presented to Congress the memorial of forty thousand citizens, urging the adoption of the Border State Compromise, before leaving the Capital, assembled the Republican members of Congress at an entertainment given at Willard's Hotel. Senator Cameron, who is to be a member of Lincoln's Cabinet, made a speech. He said:

‘ I have heard that New York is a generous city, but I do not know whether this calling on me for a speech be any evidence of the fact; for they ask me to speak before I have half finished my supper. Only the other day, after making, in the Senate, a speech which I honestly believed the crisis and the country demanded, I was declared a rebel to my party. But I find that I am not the only rebel. John Sherman is a rebel, too, judged by the same rule of construction; so is my friend, Judge Hale; so is my young friend Killinger, who made, to-night, a conservative speech in the House; so is my friend Mr. Curtis, of Iowa; and it seems we all have to be read out of the party. These are clear indications, evident that the love of the country is above all considerations of party. [Cheers.] We have reached a crisis that no one anticipated. This is no time for party. It is a question of country. Everybody is anxious and desirous to do something, but no one knows what will do good. It is the rebels at the South who have been laboring long to dissever this Government. There has been no time, since Congress met, that this whole question could not have been settled, if the South had only come forward generously, and met the question fairly. The plot of secession has been meditated for thirty years, and now the political leaders of the South are bound hand and foot to the disorganizing mob at home, who have really no interest at stake in the present crisis. There is no plan of settlement, that is honorable, that I am not fully prepared to accept. [Cheers.]

Mr. McKnight stated that he believed he represented the district which gave the largest Republican majority in the Presidential canvass — a majority of ten thousand over fusion and nine thousand over all the mongrel elements combined. He was not prepared to say, as had been remarked, that he had a crowbar down his back when the interest of his country was at stake. He was prepared to vote for most, if not all, of the propositions reported by the Committee of Thirty-three. In conclusion, he proposed the health of the hero of Charleston harbor, the patriotic Robert Anderson.

The toast was received by a perfect burst of applause, which did not subside for several minutes.

Senator Cameron again spoke, in response to the remarks of Mr. McKnight; " I have been denounced by all the journals throughout the honorable member's district for the course which I have taken. I am glad to hear now from my honorable friend that he is even willing to go further than I, and to vote to make slave territory out of territory now free. I am willing, however, to take the distinguished member from Pennsylvania as captain of the host, and to follow him modestly as an humble follower.

The officers of the home Squadron.

A letter from Lieut. Porcher, of South Carolina, on board the United steamer Powhatan, at Vera Cruz, gives the following account of the difficulties experienced by Southern officers in leaving their ships there:

‘ Some hours after the arrival of the mail, when I had fully digested the news, I had a friendly, unofficial talk with the Captain; told him my intention was to hand in my resignation the next day, (yesterday,) and requested him to aid me in my endeavors to return immediately. He said he would, but that he felt certain the Flag-Officer would not grant his request. I told him I wanted it understood, that if kept on board I would not serve in any capacity against any Southern city or State. Yesterday three of us from South Carolina went in and saw the Flag-Officer.--He refused to allow us to leave until he hears from the Secretary, on the ground that if we go, others might assume the same position.--We exhausted all argument, and wound up by giving him to understand that we would not serve either to collect revenues, or in any other way harass or annoy any Southern city. His further reply was, that for the present the ship would remain here. We were particular in thus defining our position, as the frigate Sabine and sloop St. Louis are ordered to Pensacola.

Resignation of Capt. Ingraham.

Capt. Ingraham, of Kosta celebrity, tendered his written resignation on Friday to Secretary Toucey, who declined receiving it, and begged him to reconsider. He agreed to withhold it for a short time, but will insist on its acceptance. The rumor current that he had resigned was untrue.

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