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between them, or in any other way to cast off their lawful obligations to the nation thus for the moment disturbed. Any other principle than this would be to resolve government everywhere into a thing of accident and caprice, and ultimately all human society into a state of perpetual
We do not go into any argument of fact or of law in support of the positions we have thus assumed. They are simply the suggestions of the instinct of self-defence, the primary law of human action—not more the law of individual than of national life.
Similar views were presented for the consideration of the French Emperor, and, indeed, of all the foreign governments with wbich we held diplomatic intercourse. The action of the seceding States was treated as rebellion, purely domestic in its character, upon the nature or merits of which it would be unbecoming in us to hold any discussion with any foreign power. The President pressed upon all those governments the duty of accepting this view of the question, and of abstaining, consequently, from every act which could be construed into any recognition of the rebel Confederacy, or which could embarrass the Government of the United States in its endeavors to re-establish its rightful authority. Especial pains were taken, by the most emphatic declarations, to leave no doubt in the mind of any foreign statesman as to the purpose of the people of the United States to accomplish that result. “You cannot be too decided or explicit,” was the uniforın language of the Secretary, “in making known to the government that there is not now, nor has there been, nor will there be, any the least idea existing in this Government of suffering a dissolution of this Union to take place in any way whatever.” Efforts were also made by our Government to define, with the precision which the novel features of the case required, the law of nations in regard to neutral rights, and also to secure a general concurrence of the maritime powers in the principles of the Paris Convention of 1859: the latter object was, however, thwarted by the demand made by both
France and England, that they should not be required to abide by these principles in their application to the internal conflict which was going on in the United States. This demand the President pronounced inadmissible.
SHE EXTRA SESSION OF CONGRESS, AND THE MILITARY EVENTS
OF THE SUMMER OF 1861.
In pursuance of the President's proclamation of the 15th of April, Congress met in extra session on the 4th of July, 1861. The Republicans had control of both houses, counting 31 votes out of 48 in the Senate, and 106 out of 178 in the House, there being, moreover, 5 in the Senate and 28 in the House who, without belonging to the Republican party, supported the Administration in its efforts to preserve the Union. Hon. G. A. Grow was elected Speaker of the House; and, on the 5th, the President communicated to Congress his first annual message as follows: Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and
House of Representatives : Having been convened on an extraordinary occasion, as authorized by the Constitution, your attention is not called to any ordinary subject of legislation.
At the beginning of the present presidential term, four months ago, the functions of the Federal Government were found to be generally sus pended within the several States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, excepting only those of the PostOffice Department.
Within these States all the forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom-houses and the like, including the movable and stationary property in and about them, had been seized, and were held in open hostility to this Government, excepting only Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson, on and near the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor, South Carolina. The forts thus seized had been put in improved condition, new ones had been built, and armed forces had been organized and were organizing, all avowedly with the same hostile purpose.
The forts remaining in the possession of the Federal Government in and near these States were either besieged or menaced by warlike preparations, and especially Fort Sumter was nearly surrounded by wellprotected hostile batteries, with guns equal in quality to the best of its own, and outnumbering the latter as perhaps ten to one. A disproportionate share of the Federal muskets and rifles had somehow found their way into these States, and had been seized to be used against the Government. Accumulations of the public revenue, lying within them, had been seized for the same object. The Navy was scattered in distant seas, leaving but a very small part of it within the immediate reach of the Government. Officers of the Federal Army and Navy had resigned in great numbers; and of those resigning, a large proportion had taken up arms against the Government. Simultaneously, and in connection with all this, the purpose to sever the Federal Union was openly avowed. In accordance with this purpose, an ordinance had been adopted in each of these States, declaring the States, respectively, to be separated from the National Union. A formula for instituting a combined government of these States had been promulgated; and this illegal organization, in the character of Confederate States, was already invoking recognition, aid, and intervention from foreign Powers.
Finding this condition of things, and believing it to be an imperative duty upon the incoming Executive to prevent, if possible, the consummation of such attempt to destroy the Federal Union, a choice of means to that end became indispensable. This choice was made, and was declared in the Inaugural Address. The policy chosen looked to the exhaustion of all peaceful measures before a resort to any stronger ones. It sought only to hold the public places and property not already wrested from the Government, and to collect the revenue, relying for the rest on time, discussion, and the ballot-box. It promised a continuance of the mails, at Government expense, to the very people who were resisting the Government; and it gave repeated pledges against any disturbance to any of the people, or any of their rights. Of all that which a President might constitutionally and justifiably do in such a case, every thing was forborne, without which it was believed possible to keep the Government on foot.
On the 5th of March (the present incumbent's first full day in office, a letter of Major Anderson, commanding at Fort Sumter, written on the 28th of February, and received at the War Department on the 4th of March, was by that Department placed in his hands. This letter expressed the professional opinion of the writer, that re-enforcements could not be thrown into that fort within the time for his relief, rendered necessary by the limited supply of provisions, and with a view of holding possession of the same, with a force of less than twenty thousand good and well-disciplined men. This opinion was concurred in by all the officers of his command, and their memoranda on the subject were made enclosures of Major Anderson's letter. The whole was immediately laid before Lieutenant-General Scott, who at once concurred with Major Anderson in opinion. On reflection, however, he took full time, consulting with other officers, both of the army and the navy; and at the end of four days came reluctantly, but decidedly, to the same conclusion as before. He also stated at the same time that no such sufficient force was then at the control of the Government, or could be raised and brought to the ground within the time when the provisions in the fort would be exhausted. In a purely military point of view, this reduced the duty of the Administration in the case to the mere matter of getting the garrison safely out of the fort.
It was believed, however, that to so abandon that position, under the circumstances, would be utterly ruinous; that the necessity under which it was to be done would not be fully understood; that by many it would be construed as a part of a voluntary policy; that at home it would discourage the friends of the Union, embolden its adversaries, and go far to insure to the latter a recognition abroad ; that, in fact, it would be our national destruction consummated. This could not be allowed. Starvation was not yet upon the garrison; and ere it would be reached Fort Pickens might be re-enforced. This would be a clear indication of policy, and would better enable the country to accept the evacuation of Fort Sumter as a military necessity. An order was at once directed to be sent for the landing of the troops from the steamship Brooklyn into Fort Pickens. This order could not go by land, but must take the longer and slower route by sea. The first return news from the order was received just one week before the fall of Fort Sumter. The news itself was that the officer commanding the Sabine, to which vessel the troops had been transferred from the Brooklyn, acting upon some quasi armistice of the late Administration (and of the existence of which the present Administration, up to the time the order was despatched, had only too vague and uncertain rumors to fix attention), had refused to land the troops. To now re-enforce Fort Pickens before a crisis would be reached at Fort Sumter was impossible-rendered so by the near exhaustion of provisions in the latter-named fort. In precaution against such a conjuncture, the Government had a few days before commenced preparing an expedition, as well adapted as might be, to relieve Fort Sumter, which expedition was intended to be ultimately used or not, according to circumstances. The strongest anticipated case for using it was now presented, and it was resolved to send it forward. As had been intended in this contingency, it was also resolved to notify the Governor of South Carolina that he might expect an attempt would be made to provision the fort; and that, if the attempt should not be resisted, there would be no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or in case of an