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commissioner on the part of his own State, Mississippi. The amount abstracted is confessed, by Godard Bailey, the guilty disbursing clerk, to have been eight hundred and thirty thousand dollars; but, on investigation, it is believed, “the half has not been told.”
Bailey, to whom the bonds were specially intrusted, is a native of South Carolina, but at the time of his appointment, as disbursing clerk, was a citizen of Alabama.
The funds stolen are known as the Indian Trust Fund, which has accumulated, for the benefit of various Indian tribes, under our treaties with them. According to the provision of many of these treaties, a certain sum is stipulated to be paid to the Indians for their land, the sum to be paid in annual payments, equalling, in amount, the interest that would be due upon the principal. In order to avoid the necessity of being compelled to pay these annual sumis out of the current receipts of the revenue, the government has been in the habit of investing the principal in State stocks, and making the interest on these stocks meet the annual payment due the Indians.
It was these bonds or stocks, thus acquired, that have been so unlawfully abstracted from the Interior department. The most intense excitement prevailed concerning the robbery. Mr. Floyd, Secretary of War, and several other high officials under government, were charged with
complicity” in the affair, and said to be “ deeply implicated” in the revelations made. Secretary Thompson appealed to the House for the appointment of a committee, with full power to send for persons and papers, and asked for investigation, by. Congress, in order to vindicate his own honor and expose the guilty, that full justice might be done in the premises.
Whether guilty or not guilty of the “robbery,” is he not equally guilty with Floyd, of maladministration in office? Was he not a conspirator against the government when he accepted the appointment of commissioner, from one “rebellious ” State to another? Was he attending to the duties of the office which he still held undex government, and by whom he was paid for his services, when he left Washington, as the bearer of treasonable documents from Mississippi to North Carolina, urging the coöperation of that State in the matter of secession, and declared that it afforded him “great pleasure” to accept this appointment and obey these instructions ? How came the fraud (which had been going on for many months) to be discovered just at the time of his absence ? And, yet, this is the man who calls upon Congress to vindicate his honor."
Caleb Cushing, special messenger of the President to South Carolina, to induce the postponement of the adoption of the ordinance of secession, returns and reports the passage of the ordinance, and reports no hopes of any arrangement of the pending differences. He represented the condition of affairs, there, to be fearful and alarming. A cabinet meeting was then called. A deepening gloom, darker than the pall of night, and as solemn as the sarcophagus of Washington, appears to have settled over the national capital. The most hopeful were desponding, seeing no prospect of a settlement of difficulties. There seemed to be no man, or set of men, equal to the occasion, though there were some who had the ability, the sagacity, the statesmanship, to grapple with questions at issue, yet were powerless to arrest the fearful ruin that impended. Mr. Crittenden, in conversation with a friend, said that it was the darkest day of his life; that he was overwhelmed with solicitude for his country, and that nothing but the affection of the people for the Union could restore peace. Terror and gloom was on every countenance. The Crittenden compromise was defeated by the Senate committee of thirteen, and the House committee of thirty-three could accomplish nothing. All confidence in the administration was lost. A President who was secretly aiding the South, who violated the Constitution, and refused to administer the laws; who was false to the obligations upon him to preserve our nationality;--a cabinet composed almost entirely of Southern men, with secession principles, nothing could be hoped for from that quarter.
The Union, “the old ship of state," which had been steered safely through fogs and darkness, and various dangers, for upwards of three-score years and ten, which had hitherto weathered every storm, - was now being driven swiftly before wind and tide to the rocks and shoals of civil war; and it was of no avail that the foaming breakers ahead were pointed out to the officers and crew, to whom had been entrusted the management of the noble vessel, with her precious freight of historic glory, present prosperity and power, and all the glowing hopes of future years. Every man seemed drunk or mad, and shipwreck appeared inevitable. Reason and moderation were banished from both sections. The extremists, both North and South, were equally violent; and the United States was precipitated, by reckless politicians, into the most revolutionary condition ever witnessed in any country in the world.
December 24. Intense excitement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in consequence of orders being given to ship, from the Alleghany arsenal, seventy-eight ten and eightinch columbiads to Fort Newport, near Galveston, and forty-eight to Ship Island, near Balize, at the mouth of - the Mississippi, — both unfinished forts. regarded the order as designed to strip the arsenal, in order to place the heavy guns in the hands of the enemies of the government. An immense meeting was held in the street, relative to the removal of ordnance South. Several resolutions were adopted, almost unanimously, declaring loyalty to the Union, deploring the existing state of things, and that it is the special duty of Pennsylvania to look to the fidelity of her sons; and in that.view,
The people call on the President, as a citizen of that commonwealth, to see that the public receive no detriment at his hands. Yet, notwithstanding the indignation of the people, and their avowed determination to oppose, by force, their removal, on the twenty-eighth the order was carried out. The work of removal commenced; the heavy guns of the arsenal were placed on board of boats, procured for that purpose, and forwarded to their destination, at the South.
On the 24th, the members of Congress from South Carolina notified the Speaker of the House of Representatives, that the secession of their State dissolved their connection with that body. The Speaker directed the names of the South Carolina members to be retained on the roll, and to be regularly called ; thus not recognizing the conduct of their State, as severing their connection with the House, or government.
December 26. Ex-Speaker, James L. Orr, R. W. Barnwell, and ex-Governor J. H. Adams, commissioners from South Carolina, appointed to negotiate with the federal government, in relation to matters pertaining to the ordinance of secession adopted by a convention of that State, arrived in Washington, and were received by Mr. Trescott, Assistant Secretary of State (resigned), and who subsequently acts as their secretary.
Col. Myers and Captain Donovan, of South Carolina, and Major Wayne, of Georgia, resigned their offices in the army. On the evening of the same day, December 26, Major Anderson commenced the evacuation of Fort Moultrie, transferring his entire force (about eighty men), with stores, munitions, movable arms, etc., to Fort Sumter, after having spiked the guns and set fire to the gun-carriages. The facts show that Major Robert Anderson, who commanded Fort Moultrie, knowing the position to be untenable, evacuated it and took possession of Fort Sumter, an almost impregnable fort, where, in the event of an attack upon United States property, he would be
enabled to defend it against great odds. Anderson withdrew for strategic purposes ; for it was generally known, and the expressed opinion of military men, that Fort Moultrie could not be held, against a resolute attack, for twenty-four hours; but that Sumter was the strongest fort, of its size, in the world. Thus it will be seen that the evacuation of a weak and comparatively worthless position, for a stronger one, was a wise military movement.
They stood within those fortress walls,
A small but gallant band;
Bright emblem of their land.
This hero band could boast,