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ANDERSON'S AND SLEMMER'S LOYALTY.
wholly indefensible on the land side. Early alive to the critical position in which he was placed, Major Anderson begged for reinforcements, at the beginning of December, 1860; but the president, acting under the guidance of Mr. Floyd, secretary of war, refused to send them. The commander of the United States troops then, following his own judgment as to the necessities of the case, on the night of the 26th of December, removed his small force to Fort Sumter, in which, being out of the way of immediate danger, and every way more favorably situated, he was confident of being able, for the present, at least, to defend the flag of his country.
The Charlestonians were greatly excited on account of what had occurred, and determined to take measures at once to compel submission. On the 10th of January, the steamer Star of the West arrived with reinforcements; but having been fired into by the confederate 1861. guns, she sailed away, and the brave band in Fort Sumter were abandoned to their fate. Governor Pickens immediately demanded the surrender of the fort, which was promptly refused by Major Anderson, on the 11th. Batteries were now brought to bear in commanding positions, and the fort was closely besieged. Major Anderson was instructed by government to act wholly on the defensive, which he did; but as matters were every day tending toward the furious assault which was ultimately
rebellion and deeply “injured the honor and efficiency of the navy.”—See also, in this connection, the opening chapters of Dr. Boynton's "History of the Navy, during
the Rebellion," vol. I., where the reader will find matter for astonishment and humiliation.
made, the women and children were, early in February, sent from the fort to New York; and the war department was informed, on the 1st of March, that an attack might at any time be expected to be made on Fort Sumter.
As illustrating the fact that some few were left who dared to act gallantly in behalf of the Union and flag of our country, we may put on record the spirit and energy of Lieut. A. J. Slemmer, at Fort Pickens, Florida. On the 12th of January, 1861, Captain Randolph, of the navy, headed a band of insurgents, and by the connivance of the officers in command at the Pensacola navy yard, took possession of it, and hauled down our glorious national flag. Lieutenant Slemmer, a young officer of artillery, in temporary charge of the adjacent Fort McRae, scorning the treason of his associates, occupied at once Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island, facing the harbor. Some marines from the U. S. steamer Wyandotte, and some few sol diers from Fort Barancas and the yard, joined the loyal band, and Lieut. Slemmer was thus enabled to hold the enemy at bay till the fort was reinforced and properly garrisoned (in April) by the government.
In carrying out the plan alluded to above, (p. 562 note), Mr. Cobb, secretary of the treasury, finding, apparently, that there was nothing further which he could do to benefit secession and its vile purposes, resigned his post, December 10th, 1860. On the 14th, Gen eral Cass, secretary of state, refused to serve any longer in the cabinet, because the president would not strengthen the garrison at Fort Moultrie, and on the
29th, Mr. Floyd,* the secretary of war, torily refused, and Mr. Jones telegraphed having ascertained, much to his chagrin, | for further instructions. Secretary 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 harbor, 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 energy and decision than had heretofore marked the action of the cabinet. By these changes it was saved from sinking quite into public contempt.
As evidence of there being some new life infused into the administration, it may be stated here, that Secretary Dix, four days after his entrance upon office, sent Mr. W. H. Jones to save, if possible, from the hands of plundering secessionists, two revenue cutters at New Orleans and Mobile. Mr. Jones, on reaching New Orleans, directed Capt. Breshwood, in command of the cutter, to proceed to New York. He peremp
of dollars' worth of property (mules, horses, wagons, materials of war, etc.) was lost to the government and placed in the hands of rebels.
In Congress, an agreed upon course had been pursued on the subject of resigna tion. As the states before named seceded, their senators and representatives professed themselves called upon to take their departure from Washington. With a degree of assurance truly wonderful, these men, the Davises, the Slidells, the Yulees, the Taylors, and the like, dared to stand up in the halls of the national legislature and avow themselves as un der no obligations to obey the laws of the United States, and as determined to trample the Union under foot. With singular forbearance and lack of spirit 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 as they chose, words of mingled threatenings and entreaties, which plainly showed that, despite all their boastings and loud talking, they were by 10 means
* In the latter part of the year 1860, public funds, amounting to more than $800,000, were abstracted from the department of the interior by a clerk named Godard
Bailey. The grand jury of the District of Columbia soon after found an indictment against Mr. Floyd, as
although many believe him to have been a sharer in the spoils thus acquired, the case, when brought up in
the criminal court at Washington, was dismissed, March 20th, 1861. See Mr. Buchanan's “Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion," pp. 185-87: he regrets very
much that Floyd escaped, as he did, without trial.
END OF BUCHANAN'S ADMINISTRATION.
so sure as they professed themselves to be with regard to the final, perhaps fatal, consequences of their acts.
Buchanan retired from the cares and responsibilities of office. Our view of his 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. The session had been a busy one, full of excitement, and with more talking than any thing else; and few of its measures were what the grave necessi
placed before the reader. A man of
ties of the country called for.* 1861. The military arm was not strengthened; and the increase to the navy was small and not important. The loans authorized were rather for temporary emergencies than anything else; and the tariff, which added to the duties some five to ten per cent., was adopted in order to gratify the manufacturing interests at the North. So far, however, as any settlement of difficulties was concerned, or any clear, adequate apprehension of what was necessary to be done in the existing critical condition of affairs, Congress adjourned without any result. This, as subsequent events developed, was a part of the plan adopted by the secession leaders.† 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, and were named Colorado, Nevada and Dacotah.
+ The treasonable plots and schemes of these men have been made evident enough by various letters and
documents which have come into the possession of the
United States authorities. Senator Yulee, of Florida, for instance, writing under date, January 7th, 1861, to
a person in Tallahassee, says: "If we left here (Con
gress), force, loan, and volunteer bills might be passed, which would put Mr. Lincoln in immediate condition for hostilities; whereas, by remaining in our places
until the 4th of March, it is thought we can keep the hands of Mr. Buchanan tied, and disable the Republicans from effecting any legislation which will strengthen the hands of the incoming administration." This letter, which shows how deliberately secession was settled
ought to say and do something very different from what he did. Unwilling to offend those who had placed him in the presidential chair, he hesitated continually; he was uncertain and undecided in his course; he allowed his secretaries, with their shrewd helpers in and out of Congress, to shape things
upon by southern traitors, was found in Fernandina, Florida, when that place was captured by Union troops, March, 1862.
in such wise as to prepare the way for rebellion; he virtually placed a premium on rebellion; and in fact, he did more than any other one man could have done to give it the ways and means of entering with any hope of success upon its suicidal, wicked career of blood and outrage. In words, Mr. Buchanan was not deficient on various occasions; he could and he did beg, and entreat, and implore his countrymen not to dispute, not to contend, not to strive one with another; he could set forth the folly and impudence of secession as clearly as was possible for language to do it; yet he could, at the same time, stultify himself by declaring that, though it was plainly a violation of the Constitution for a state to take upon itself to secede, though secession was revolution, still he had no power to take steps to prevent it; he did not see that he could use any force to hinder men from destroying the Union and involving the whole country in war and bloodshed. A most singular state of things indeed! A most astonishing view of the duties and responsibilities of one who had solemnly sworn to (6 preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," which is "the supreme law of the land"! A strange exemplification of words in place of deeds; of talking instead of
acting!* Let this, however, suffice. Mr. Buchanan's career came to its end; and his countrymen have virtually pronounced judgment upon him and his acts. It is evident, we think, to say the least, that he was not equal to the emergency in which he was placed, and, after making all due allowances, we are convinced, that upon him will ever rest the reproach of vacillation, weakness, inefficiency, and unfitness for the high and responsible office of President of the United States.†
* General Dix, in a speech made in New York, April
20th, tried to defend Mr. Buchanan, and said, among other things, that "if South Carolina had tendered mean by a hostile and deadly assault-it would have been unanimously accepted." No doubt this was so; but not while Cobb, Floyd, Thompson, et id omne genus, were in the cabinet. It was only possible when such men as Gen. Dix and Secretary Holt were Mr. Buchandues. an's advisers, that rebellion would receive its just
war to the late administration as she has to this-I
+ In November, 1865, the predecessor of Mr. Lincoln
istration on the Eve of the Rebellion." It is a moderate
published a book entitled, "Mr. Buchanan's Admin sized volume of about 300 pages, and undertakes to defend, and exonerate from all reproach, one of whom charges hostility against him on the part of Congress; their refusal to strengthen the hands of, or aid in any ual politicians; the unjust and false charges of Gen way, the Executive; the rancorous enmity of individ Scott against him, etc. He also undertakes to set forth. his policy as being the only wise and safe policy in the he, at least, is not to blame for what was done, or what existing crisis, and altogether to make it appear that has resulted from his course during the latter part of his public career. In Appendix I. at the end of the
we have spoken very freely above. Mr. Buchanan
present chapter, we give a few extracts from Mr. Bu
chanan's book: valeant quantum, etc.
BUCHANAN'S ATTEMPT AT DEFENCE.
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XI.
L-BUCHANAN'S ADMINISTRATION ON
THE EVE OF THE REBELLION. THE narrative will prove that the original and conspiring causes of all our future troubles are to be found in the long, active, and persistent hostility of the northern abolitionists, both in and out of Congress, against southern slavery, until the final triumph of their cause in the election of President Lincoln; and on the other hand, the corresponding antagonism and violence with which the advocates of slavery resisted these efforts, and vindicated its preservation and extension up to the period of secession. . Many grievous errors were committed by both parties from the beginning, but the most fatal of them all was the secession of the cotton states.
Even after Mr. B. had, in his messages, exposed the dangerous condition of public affairs, and when it had become morally certain that all his efforts to avoid the civil war would be frustrated by agencies far beyond his control, they persistently refused to pass any measures enabling him or his successor to execute the laws against armed resistance, or to defend the country against approaching rebellion.
American people disobeyed and resisted the Constı. tution of their country as expounded by the tribunal which they themselves bad created for the express purpose. The great democratic party might have maintained its ascendancy and saved the Union, had it not been thus hopelessly divided at this critical period. Encouraged and emboldened by its irreconcilable divisions, the abolition, or republican party, no longer confined itself to an opposition to slavery in the Territories. It soon extended its agitation to the suppression of slavery within the States. At the first it sought to save appearances, but the veil was too transparent to conceal its purposes.
In addition to all these considerations, the persistent refusal of Congress, from the first until the last hour of the session of 1860, '61, to take a single step in preparing for armed resistance to the execution 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. . Sad 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 he 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 by such an act of rebellion