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CH, XI.]

ANDERSON'S AND SLEMMER'S LOYALTY.

563

1860.

wholly indefensible on the land side. made, the women and children were, Early alive to the critical position in early in February, sent from the fort to which he was placed, Major Anderson New York; and the war department begged for reinforcements, at the begin. was informed, on the 1st of March, that ning of December, 1860; but the presi- an attack might at any time be expected dent, acting under the guidance of Mr. to be made on Fort Sumter. Floyd, secretary of war, refused to send As illustrating the fact that some few them. The commander of the United were left who dared to act gallantly in States troops then, following his own behalf of the Union and flag of our judgment as to the necessities of the country, we may put on record the spirit

case, on the night of the 26th and energy of Lieut. A. J. Slemmer, at

of December, removed his small Fort Pickens, Florida. On the 12th of force to Fort Sumter, in which, being January, 1861, Captain Randolph, of out of the way of immediate danger, the navy, headed a band of insurgents, and every way more favorably situated, and by the connivance of the officers in he was confident of being able, for the command at the Pensacola navy yard, present, at least, to defend the flag of took possession of it, and hauled down his country.

our glorious national flag. Lieutenant The Charlestonians were greatly excit- Slemmer, a young officer of artillery, in ed on account of what had occurred, and temporary charge of the adjacent Fort determined to take measures at once McRae, scorning the treason of his asto compel submission. On the 10th of sociates, occupied at once. Fort PickJanuary, the steamer Star of the West ar- ens, on Santa Rosa Island, facing the rived with reinforcements; but having harbor. Some marines from the U. S.

been fired into by the confederate steamer Wyandotte, and some few sol

guns, she sailed away, and the diers from Fort Barancas and the navy brave band in Fort Sumter were aban- yard, joined the loyal band, and Lieut. doned to their fate. Governor Pickens Slemmer was thus enabled to hold the immediately demanded the surrender enemy at bay till the fort was reinforced of the fort, which was promptly refused and properly garrisoned (in April) by by Major Anderson, on the 11th. Bat- the government. teries were now brought to bear in commanding positions, and the fort was above, (p. 562 note), Mr. Cobb, secreclosely besieged. Major Anderson was tary of the treasury, finding, apparently, instructed by government to act wholly that there was nothing further which on the defensive, which he did; but as he could do to benefit secession and its matters were every day tending toward vile purposes, resigned his post, De the furious assault which was ultimately cember 10th, 1860. On the 14th, Gen

eral Cass, secretary of state, refused to rebellion and deeply" injured the honor and efficiency of the navy."—See also, in this connection, the opening serve any longer in the cabinet, because chapters of Dr. Boynton's History of the Navy, during the president would not strengthen the the Rebellion,vol. I., where the reader will find matter

garrison at Fort Moultrie, and on the

1861.

to bear in In carrying out the plan alluded to

for astonishment and humiliation.

29th, Mr. Floyd,* the secretary of war, torily refused, and Mr. Jones telegraphed having ascertained, much to his chagrin, for further instructions. Seeretary Dix's that the president would not order answer was instantaneous and decisive: Major Anderson back from Fort Sum- " if any one attempts to haul down the ter to Fort Moultrie, and would not American flag, shoot him on the spot !evacuate Charleston harbur, resigned all Secretary Holt, also, in his department, further share on his part in the man- signed an order on the 1st of March, disagement of public affairs. Mr. Holt, missing, with disgrace, General Twiggs the postmaster-general, was appointed from the army of the United States, in his place, and soon gave evidence" for his treachery to the flag of his that there was to be some life and vigor country, in having surrendered, on the in that department. Mr. Thompson, 18th of February, 1861, on the demand secretary of the interior, resigned, Jan. of the authorities of Texas, the mili uary 8th, 1861; as did also Mr. Thomas, tary posts and other property of the appointed in Mr. Cobb's place, on the United States in his department and 14th of January. John A. Dix was under his charge." By this officer's then chosen secretary of the treasury, treasonable conduct, more than a million which seemed to give assurance of more of dollars' worth of property (mules, energy and decision than had heretofore horses, wagons, materials of war, etc.) marked the action of the cabinet. By was lost to the government and placed these changes it was saved from sinking in the hands of rebels. quite into public contempt.

In Congress, an agreed upon course had As evidence of there being some new been pursued on the subject of resignalife infused into the administration, it tion. As the states before named semay be stated here, that Secretary Dix, ceded, their senators and representatives four days after his entrance upon office, professed themselves called upon to take sent Mr. W. H. Jones to save, if possi- their departure from Washington. With ble, from the hands of plundering seces- a degree of assurance truly wonderful, sionists, two revenue cutters at New these men, the Davises, the Slidells, the Orleans and Mobile. Mr. Jones, on Yulees, the Taylors, and the like, dared reaching New Orleans, directed Capt. to stand up in the halls of the national Breshwood, in command of the cutter, legislature and avow themselves as un to proceed to New York. He peremp- der no obligations to obey the laws of

the United States, and as determined * In the latter part of the year 1860, public funds, amounting to more than $800,000, were abstracted from to trample the Union under foot. With the department of the interior by a clerk named Godard singular forbearance and lack of spirit Bailey. The grand jury of the District of Columbia soon after found an indictment against Mr. Floyd, as on the part of .Congress, they were lis being privy to this fraud on the part of Bailey ; but, tened to, and permitted to utter words although many believe him to have been a sharer in the spoils thus acquired, the case, when brought up in as they chose, words of mingled threatthe criminal court at Washington, was dismissed, March enings and entreaties, which plainly 20th, 1861. See Mr. Buchanan's “ Administration on showed that, despite all their boastings the Eve of the Rebellion," pp. 185-87: he regrets, very and loud talking, they were by 10 means much that Floyd escaped, as he did, without trial.

CH. XI.]

END OF BUCHANAN'S ADMINISTRATION.

563

1861.

was

1861.

so sure as they professed themselves to Buchanan retired from the cares and rebe with regard to the final, perhaps sponsibilities of office. Our view of his fatal, consequences of their acts. administration may be gathered with.

Congress having reached its limit of out difficulty from the brief record bere life, adjourned on the 4th of March. placed before the reader. A man of The session had been a busy one, full good intentions, amiable in character, of excitement, and with more talking gentlemanly in deportment, and posthan any thing else; and few of its sessing fair abilities, this “old public measures were what the grave necessi- functionary” bad been a very long time

ties of the country called for.* in political life, and had served his

The military arm not country in various capacities, at home strengthened ; and the increase to the and abroad. He was well acquainted navy was small and not important. with the routine of office, and, we may The loans authorized were rather for believe, truly desirous of promoting the temporary emergencies than anything best interests of his native land; but else; and the tariff, which added to the certain personal qualities, by which he duties some five to ten per cent., was yielded readily to others, and a adopted in order to gratify the manu. certain deficiency in strength facturing interests at the North. So and fixedness of purpose, as well as an far, however, as any settlement of diffi- almost abject adherence to that school culties was concerned, or any clear, ad. of politics which gave up everything to equate apprehension of what was neces- southern domination and supremacy, sary to be done in the existing critical fitted him exactly for the uses of those condition of affairs, Congress adjourn. ambitious, unscrupulous men who were ed without any result. This, as sub- determined that the North and West sequent events developed, was a part should submit entirely to all their deof the plan adopted by the secession mands, or they would break down and leaders.

destroy the Union. He seems to have At the same date, March 4th, James been conscious, oftentimes, that he

ought not to allow such and such * Three new Territories were erected, principally things to be said and done, and that he made up from parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Utah, ought to say and do something very and were named Colorado, Nevada and Dacotah.

+ The treasonable plots and schemes of these men different from what he did. Unwilling have been made evident enough by various letters and to offend those who had placed him in documents which have come into the possession of the United States authorities. Senator Yulee, of Florida, the presidential chair, he hesitated con. for instance, writing under date, January 7th, 1861, to tinually; he was uncertain and unde. a person in Tallahassee, says: "If we left here (Congress), force, loan, and volunteer bille might be passed, cided in his course; he allowed his which would put Mr. Lincoln in immediate condition secretaries, with their shrewd helpers for hostilities; whereas, by remaining in our places in and out of Congress, to shape things until the 4th of March, it is thought we can keep the hands of Mr. Buchanan tied, and disable the Republicans from effrcting any legislation which will strengthen upon by southern traitors, was found in Fernandina, the hands of the incoming administration.” This letter, Florida, when that place was captured by Union which shows how deliherately secession was settled troops, March, 1862.

war to the late administration as she has to this-I

in such wise as to prepare the way for acting !* Let this, however, suffice. rebellion; he virtually placed a pre- Mr. Buchanan's career came to its end; mium on rebellion; and in fact, he did and his countrymen have virtually promore than any other one man could nounced judgment upon him and his have done to give it the ways and acts. It is evident, we think, to say means of entering with any hope of the least, that he was not equal to the success upon its suicidal, wicked career emergency in which he was placed, and, of blood and outrage. In words, Mr. after making all due allowances, we Buchanan was not deficient on various are convinced, that upon him will ever occasions; he could and he did beg, rest the reproach of vacillation, weak. and entreat, and implore his country- ness, inefficiency, and unfitness for the men not to dispute, not to contend, not high and responsible office of President to strive one with another; he could of the United States. set forth the folly and impudence of

* General Dix, in a speech made in New York, April secession as clearly as was possible for 20th, tried to defend Mr. Buchanan, and said, among language to do it; yet he could, at the other things, that “if South Carolina had tendered same time, stultify himself by declaring mean by a hostile and deadly assault,it would have that, though it was plainly a violation been unanimously accepted.” No doubt this was so; of the Constitution for a state to take but not while Cobb, Floyd, Thompson, et id omne genus,

It was only possible when such upon itself to secede, though secession men as Gen. Dix and Secretary Holt were Mr. Buchanwas revolution, still he had no power dues.

an's advisers, that rebellion would receive its just to take steps to prevent it; he did not + In November, 1865, the predecessor of Mr. Lincoln see that he could use any force to hin. published a book entitled, “ Mr. Buchanan': Admin

istration on the Eve of the Rebellion." It is a moderate der men from destroying the Union sized volume of about 300 pages, and undertakes to and involving the whole country in war defend, and exonerate from all reproach, one of whom and bloodshed. A most singular state charges hostility against him on the part of Congress ;

we have spoken very freely above. Mr. Buchanan of things indeed! A most astonishing their refusal to strengthen the hands of, or aid in an: view of the duties and responsibilities way, the Executive ; the rancorous enmity of individ

ual politicians; the unjust and false charges of Gen of one who had solemnly sworn to Scott against him, etc. He also undertakes to set forth.

preserve, protect, and defend the Con- his policy as being the only wise and safe policy in the stitution of the United States," which he, at least, is not to blame for what was done, or what

existing crisis, and altogether to make it appear that is “the supreme law of the land”! A has resulted from his course during the latter part of strange exemplification of words in his public career. In Appendix I. at the end of the

present chapter, we give a few extrasts from Mr. Buplace of deeds; of talking instead of chanan's book : valeant quantum, etc.

were in the cabinet.

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CH. XI]

BUCHANAN'S ATTEMPT AT DEFENCE.

567

APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XI.

1-BUCHANAN'S ADMINISTRATION ON American people disobeyed and resisted the Consti.

THE EVE OF THE REBELLION. tution of their country as expounded by the tribuThe narrative will prove that the original and con- nal which they themselves bad created for the exspiring causes of all our future troubles are to be press purpose. The great democratic party might found in the long, active, and persistent hostility of have maintained its ascendancy and saved the Union, the northern abolitionists, both in and out of Con- had it not been thus hopelessly divided at this critigress, against southern slavery, until the final tri- cal period. Encouraged and emboldened by its umph of their cause in the election of President Lin- irreconcilable divisions, the abolition, or republican coln; and on the other hand, the corresponding an- party, no longer confined itself to an opposition to tagonism and violence with which the advocates of slavery in the Territories. It soon extended its agislavery resisted these efforts, and vindicated its pre- tation to the suppression of slavery within the States. servation and extension up to the period of secession. At the first it sought to save appearances, but the

Many grievous errors were committed veil was too transparent to conceal its purposes. by both parties from the beginning, but the most fatal of them all was the secession of the cotton states. Speaking of the threats of South Carolina and

Even after Mr. B. had, in his messages, others that they would secede, if Mr. Lincoln were exposed the dangerous condition of public affairs, elected, and of papers like the N. Y. Tribune, crying and when it had become morally certain that all his out, “Let them go," "we can do better without efforts to avoid the civil war would be frustrated by them ;” and the like; Mr. B. goes on to say :agencies far beyond his control, they persistently re

In addition to all these considerations, the perfused to pass any measures enabling him or his suc- sistent refusal of Congress, from the first until the cogsor to execute the laws against armed resistance, last hour of the session of 1860, '61, to take a single or to defend the country against approaching rebel- step in preparing for armed resistance to the execulion.

tion of the laws, served to confirm the cotton states

in the opinion that they might "depart in peace." President Buchanan, ever since the commencement The people of the cotton states, unfortunately for of his administration has been persistently de- themselves, were also infatuated with the belief, until nounced, especially by the Douglas democracy, for the very last moment, that in case they should secede sustaining the law as pronounced by the highest ju- they would be sustained by a large portion, if not dicial authority of the country. .

Bad the whole democratic party of the North. They must be the condition of any country where an ap- vainly imagined that this party, which had mainpeal can be taken from judicial decisions to excited tained their constitutional rights whilst they repopular elections! Under our free government all mained in the Union, would sustain them in rebelcitizens are equal before the law. The law and the lion after they had gone out of it. In this delusion law alone is their master. When this is disregarded they were also greatly encouraged by sympathy and and defied by excited and exasperated popular ma- support from influential and widely circulated antijorities, anarchy and confusion must be the inevit republican journals in the North, and especially in able consequence. Public and private rights are sac | the city of New York. It was in vain, therefore, rificed to the madness of the hour. The Govern- that the late President warned them, as he often did, ment itself becomes helpless for their protection, and against this delusion. It was in vain be assured them to avoid such evils history has taught us that the peo- that the first cannon fired against either Fort Moulple will at last seek refuge in the arms of despotism. trie or Fort Sumter would arouse the indignant Let all free governments in future times profit by spirit of the North, would heal all political divisions our example. Let them take warning that the late amongst the northern people, and would unite them disastrous civil war, unjustifiable as it was, would as one man in support of a war rendered inevitable most probably never have existed, had not the l by such an act of rebellion

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