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itary force and a complete s}-stem of coast defence. The buoys from the channels were removed, the lights in the light-houses extinguished, fortifications built, an army was enlisted, and a most formidable show of defiance to the Federal authorities exhibited everywhere throughout the State. Most of the officers of the United States army and navy who were natives of South Carolina had, on the announcement of its act of secession, resigned from the Federal service and offered their allegiance to the seceded State. South Carolina was thus at once provided with officers capable of organizing its military force and directing the works necessary for its defence.
Throughout the cotton States the movement of Major Anderson was considered an aggressive act, and they showed their disposition to make common cause with South Carolina by lib* eral offerings of aid. Georgia, Alabama, and even North Carolina, tendered the services of troops.
At the North, public attention had been diverted for a time from South Carolina by exciting events occurring nearer home, which, however, from their supposed relation to the Southern movement, served to increase the general inquietude, and prepare the public for DeC« further developments of treason. 25« A great-defalcation had been discovered in the Indian trust fund, by which the Government had been defrauded of eight hundred and thirty thousand dollars. Thompson, the secretary of the interior, who had been ab
sent from his Federal post, striving as a secession commissioner from Mississippi to stir up the people of North Carolina to rebellion, was summoned to Washington. His disbursing clerk was absent, and the key of the safe missing. The former was discovered, but the latter was lost. The safe was broken open; no property, however, was found. It was difficult to trace the degree of criminality which belonged to those to whom the trust had been confided. The superiors asserted their innocence, and to the inferior was imputed the crime; but public opinion did not hesitate to charge the secretary of war, Floyd, and the secretary of the interior, Thompson, as accomplices in the fraud, which had been committed, if not for personal advantage, at any rate for the advancement of Southern interests.
Another event, no less exciting, occurred at the same moment. An order had been received from Washing- DCC« ton at Pittsburg to send imme- 25. diately from the Alleghany arsenal there 78 large cannon to Fort Newport, near Galveston, and 48 to Ship Island, near Biloxi, off the coast of Mississippi.
As the government of Buchanan was still guided by those whose fidelity to the Union was suspected, the purpose of this order was naturally supposed to further Southern secession. This aroused the indignation of the citizens of Pittsburg, who expressed a determination not to allow the arms to leave the arsenal. Finally, the excitement of Pittsburg found relief in a "mass meeting," at which resolutions were adopted "deFEELING AT
daring loyalty to the Union, and ability to defend themselves against all enemies of the Union; deprecating any interference with the shipment of arms under government orders, however inopportune or impolitic the order might appear; deploring the existing state of things in connection with the administration of important departments of the public service so as to have shaken confidence in the people of the free States; declaring that while Pennsylvania is on guard at the Federal capital, it is her special duty to look to the fidelity of her sons, and in that view call on the President, as a citizen of this Commonwealth, to see that the public receive no detriment at his hands, and to purge his cabinet of every man known to give aid and comfort to, or in any way countenancing the revolt of, any State against the authority of the Constitution and the laws of the Union."
These events, the robbery of the public treasury and arsenals, seemed to reveal more clearly to the public mind of the North the extent and danger of the Southern conspiracy. Alarm and distrust now became more general, and the people began to fear for the safety of that Union which they had fondly believed to be too greatly endeared to the universal American heart to be in peril from any sectional disaffection. While thus depressed, the news came of the movement of Major Anderson, and that simple act of military duty was hailed as a deed of heroism, and its author as an heroic defender of the Union.
The feeling of patriotic exultation
THE NORTH. 67
found vent through the press in a burst of ardent rhetoric:
"We must own," exclaimed a writer in the Boston Courier, "that the news of the transaction in Charleston harbor was learned by us yesterday with a prouder beating of the heart. We could not but feel once more that we had a country—a fact which had been to a certain degree in suspense for some weeks past. What is given up for the moment is of no consequence, provided the one point stands out clear, that the United States means to maintain its position, where its rights exist, and that its officers, civil and military, intend to discharge their duty. The concentration of the disposable force in Charleston harbor in a defensible post is thus a bond of union. It is a decisive act, calculated to rally the national heart. * * We are not disposed to allow the Union to be broken up for grievances of South Carolina, which might be settled within the Union; and if there is to be any fighting, we prefer it within, rather than without. The abandonment of Fort Moultrie was obviously a necessary act, in order to carry into effect the purpose contemplated with such an inferior force as that under the command of Major Anderson.
"If anybody ever doubted Major Anderson's eminent military capacity, that doubt must be dispelled by the news that we publish in another column," wrote the editor of the Boston Atlas. "Of his own accord, without orders from Washington, but acting on the discretion which an officer in an independent command always possesses, Major Anderson, commander of the defences of Charleston harbor, transports his troops to the key of his position, Fort Sumter, against which no gun can be laid which is not itself commanded by a 10-inch columbiad in the embrasures of that octagon citadel. This rapid, unexpected manoeuvre has disconcerted treason, and received the highest military commendation in the country.
"Brave major of artillery, true servant of your country, soldier of penetrating and far-seeing genius, when the right is endangered by fraud or force, at the proper time the needed man is always provided. The spirit of the age provides him, and he always regards the emergency. Washington, GariBaldi, Anderson."
Washington, in the mean time, had been no less stirred by the great event. Floyd, the secretary of war, who had been so long pretending to serve the Union, while he had given himself up totally to the demon of rebellion, resigned, and was succeeded by Holt, of Kentucky, a patriot of unquestioned loyalty to the Union. The correspondence between Floyd and the President is a curious memorial of the times when an obvious duty of government was construed into a justifiable cause for disaffection and hostile defiance.
"war Department, Dec. 29, 1860.
"Sir: On the morning of the 27th inst. I read tbe following paper to you in the presence of the cabinet:
'Council Chamber, Executive Mansion.
action of the commander of Fort Moultrie, that the solemn pledges of the Government have been violated by Major Anderson. In my judgment, but one remedy is now left us by which to vindicate our honor and prevent civil war. It is in vain now to hope for confidence on the part of the people of South Carolina in any further pledges as to the action of the military. One remedy is left, and that is to withdraw the garrison from the harbor of Charleston. I hope the President will allow me to make that order at once. This order, in my judgment, can alone prevent bloodshed and civil war.
'Joiin B. Floyd,
'Secretary of War.' "I then considered the honor of the administration pledged to maintain the troops in the position they occupied, for such had been the assurances given to the gentlemen of South Carolina who had a right to speak for her. South Carolina, on the other hand, gave reciprocal pledges that no force should be brought by them against the troops or against the property of the United States. The sole object of both parties in these reciprocal pledges was to prevent a collision and the effusion of blood, in the hope that some means might be found for a peaceful accommodation of the existing troubles, the two Houses of Congress having both raised committees looking to that object. Thus affairs stood until the action of Major Anderson, taken unfortunately while the commissioners were on their way to this capital on a peaceful mission looking to the avoidance of bloodshed, has complicated matters in the existing manner. Our refusal or even delay .to place affairs back as they stood under our agreement invites a collision, and must inevitably inaugurate civil war. I cannot consent to be the agent of such calamity. I deeply regret that I feel myself under the necessity of tendering to you my resignation as secretary of war, because I can no longer hold it under my convictions of patriotism, nor with honor, subjected as I am to a violation of solemn pledges and plighted faith. "With the highest personal regard, "I am most truly yours,
DEMAND OF SOUTH CAROLINA COMMISSIONERS.
"John B. Floyd.
"To His Excellency the President Of The United States."
The President's Reply.
"washington, Dec. 21, 1860. "My Dear Sir: I have received and accepted your resignation of the office of secretary of war; and not wishing to impose upon you the task of performing its mere routine duties, which you have so kindly offered to do, I have authorized Postmaster-General Holt to administer the affairs of the department until your successor shall be appointed. "Yours, very respectfully,
"james Buchanan. "Hon. JonN B. Floyd." The commissioners appointed by the convention of South Carolina to treat with the President in regard to the delivery of the forts and other Federal property, made the event of Anderson's performance of his duty the occasion for their abrupt departure from Wash
ington, after an insolent demand for satisfaction from the Federal authority, followed by an audacious defiance of its power, and a threat of resistance. The correspondence between the commissioners of South Carolina and the President, is another strange memorial of that period of humiliation for the Union when its chief magistrate was called to account in the capital of the United States by confessed rebels, for not repudiating a simple act of national defence, performed by an officer in the course of his military duties.
The Correspondence Between The South Carolina Commissioners And The President Of TnE United States.
"washington, Dec. 29, 1860. "Sir: We have the honor to transmit to you a copy of the full powers from the convention of the people of South Carolina, under which we are ' authorized and empowered to treat with the Government of the United States for the delivery of the forts, magazines, lighthouses, and other real estate, with their appurtenances, in the limits of South Carolina ; and also for an apportionment of the public debt, and for a division of all other property held by the Government of the United States, as agent of the confederated States, of which South Carolina was recently a member, and generally to negotiate as to all other measures and arrangements proper to be made and adopted in the existing relation of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity between this Commonwealth and the Government at Washington.'
"In the execution of this trust it is our duty to furnish you, as we now do, with an official copy of the Ordinance of Secession, by which the State of South Carolina has resumed the powers she delegated to the Government of the United States, and has declared her perfect sovereignty and independence.
"It would also have been our duty to have informed you that we were ready to negotiate with you upon all such questions as are necessarily raised by the adoption of this Ordinance, and that we were prepared to enter upon this negotiation with the earnest desire to avoid all unnecessary and hostile collision, and so to inaugurate our new relations as to secure mutual respect, general advantage, and a future of goodwill and harmony, beneficial to all the parties concerned.
"But the events of the last twenty-four hours render such an assurance impossible. We came here the representatives of an authority which could, at any time within the past sixty days, have taken possession of the forts in Charleston harbor, but which, upon pledges given in a manner that we cannot doubt, determined to trust to your honor rather than to its own power. Since our arrival here, an officer of the United States, acting, as we are assured, not only without, but against, your orders, has dismantled one fort and occupied another—thus altering to a most important extent the condition of affairs under which we came.
"Until these circumstances are explained in a manner which relieves us
of all doubt as to the spirit in which these negotiations shall be conducted, we are forced to suspend all discussion as to any arrangement by which our mutual interests may be amicably adjusted.
"And, in conclusion, we would urge upon you the immediate withdrawal of the troops from the harbor of Charleston. Under present circumstances, they are a standing menace which renders negotiation impossible, and, as our recent experience shows, threatens speedily to bring to a bloody issue questions which ought to be settled with temperance and judgment. We have the honor to be,
"Your obedient servants, "R. W. Barnwell, \ "J. H. Adams, > Commissioners. "Jas. L. Orr,;
"To the Pp.EsrDENT Of The United States."
Tiie Phesident's Reply, "Washington City, Dec. 30, 1860.
"Gentlemen: I have had the honor to receive your communication of 28th inst., together with a copy of 'your full powers from the convention of the people of South Carolina,' authorizing you to treat with the Government of the United States on various important subjects therein mentioned, and also a copy of the Ordinance, bearing date on the 20th inst., declaring that 'the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.'
'' In answer to this communication, I