« PreviousContinue »
ties, he will prevent the passage of all vessels to the city of Charleston.
Governor Pickens replied that the re-enforcement of the fort was regarded as an act of hostility to South Carolina, and that he approved of the attack upon the Star of the West.
After some deliberation, Major Anderson concluded to refer the subject to the federal authorities at Washington, and Lieutenant Talbot was sent to the capitol with dispatches.
January 11. Phillip F. Thomas, of Maryland, Secretary of Treasury, resigned, and Hon. John A. Dix, of New York, appointed in his place.
An abolition meeting at Rochester, N. Y., was broken up Jan. 12. The Star of the West arrived at New York, from Charleston, and, on the thirteenth, landed her troops at Governor's Island.
Senator Seward, of N. Y., made a great Union speech in the United States Senate.
15th. Major-General Sanford tendered the first division N. Y. State Militia, 7000 men, to the Commanderin-Chief, for any service which might be required.
18th. The Massachusetts State Legislature tendered to the President of the United States aid in men and money.
20th. Wendell Phillips, in a speech at Music Hall, Boston, declared himself to be a disunionist, and said he was glad to see the movement of South Carolina.
21st. United States Senators, Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi; Fitzpatrick and Clay, of Alabama; Yulee and Mallory, of Florida; and the whole Alabama and Georgia delegation, formally withdrew from Congress. Postal service in Florida was discontinued.
22d. Sherrard Clemens, of Virginia, made a Union speech in the U. S. House of Representatives.
24th. The annual meeting of the Mass. Anti-Slavery Society, in Boston, was broken up.
25th. The Rhode Island personal liberty bill was repealed by the legislature.
27th. The grand jury for the District of Columbia made presentments of Ex-Secretary Floyd for maladministration in office, complicity in the abstraction of Indian bonds, and conspiring against the government.
31st. The attorney general of South Carolina made proposals to government, in behalf of the State, to buy Fort Sumter.
February 4th. The commissioners to the peace conference, proposed by Virginia, met at Washington. Delegates were present from Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, Ex-President Tyler chosen president.
5th. Senators Slidell and Benjamin and the Louisiana delegation withdrew from Congress.
9th. Tennessee voted by a large majority to remain in the Union.
13th. Virginia State convention met at Richmond.
22d. Abraham Lincoln, the President elect, broke up the programme of his route to Washington, and left Harrisburg, Pa., secretly, in a special night train, for Washington, owing to fears of assassination in Baltimore.
The Union celebration in San Francisco on the 22d was universally observed in a style similar to that of the Fourth of July. Business was generally suspended. The Union meeting on that day was attended by 20,000 people. Union speeches were made, and resolutions adopted declaring the unalterable attachment of California to the Union; that there exists no power under the Constitution for a State to secede; that California will cheerfully acquiesce in any honorable plan for the adjustment of the difficulties so as to secure the rights of all the States; that if one or more States should finally sep
arate from the confederacy, California would still cling to the Union; that California repudiates the Pacific republic project; that the true attitude of the people of California is that of fraternal kindness toward all the States, and her honor and interests demand that she should do all in her power to bring about harmony and reunion. The meeting was enthusiastic.
On Wednesday, February 27, Mr. Lincoln was officially welcomed to the capitol by Mayor Berritt and the members of the city council. Mr. Berritt, in addressing the President elect, spoke as follows:
"Mr. Lincoln: As the President elect under the Constitution of the United States, you are soon to stand in the august presence of a great nation of freemen, and to enter upon the discharge of the duties of the highest public trust known to our form of government, and under circumstances menacing the peace and permanency of the republic, which have no parallel in the history of our country. It is our earnest wish that you may be able, as we have no doubt you will, to perform these duties in such a manner as shall reflect honor to yourself; restore peace and harmony to our now distracted country; and, at last, bring the old ship of state into the harbor of safety and prosperity, thereby deservedly securing the plaudits of a whole world. I avail myself of this occasion to say that the citizens of Washington, true to the instincts of constitutional liberty, will ever be found faithful to all the obligations of patriotism; and as their chief
1 Some have charged Mr. Lincoln with cowardice in avoiding Baltimore, but it appears to be the fault of Baltimore, not of Mr. Lincoln, for "Mr. Buchanan met with the same difficulty when he left Lancaster, four years before, on his way to Washington, as President elect; he was threatened by the rowdies of Baltimore with personal violence, in any number of anonymous letters, and it made such an impression on him that, in company with a few friends, he took a private carriage, leaving his escort and a dinner that had been prepared for him behind.
magistrate, and in accordance with the honored usage, I bid you welcome to the seat of government."
Mr. Lincoln, in reply, thanked the mayor, and, through him, the municipal authorities of the city, for their kind welcome; and declared it to be the first time in his life, since the present phase of politics had presented itself in this country, that he had spoken publicly within a region of country where the institution of slavery existed; and - expressed it as his opinion that very much of the ill-feeling which has existed, and still exists, between the people of the section from whence he came and the people of the slave States was owing to a misunderstanding between each other which unhappily prevails. At the same time assuring the mayor, and all the people present, that he had not at that time, nor ever had, any other than as kindly feelings towards them as to the people of his own section, and that it was not his purpose to withhold from them any of the benefits of the Constitution, under any circumstances, that he would not feel himself constrained to withhold from his own neighbors; and expressed the hope that when they should become better acquainted they would like each other the more; and again thanking them for their kind reception, soon afterwards withdrew.
February 27th. The peace convention adjourned without day, after adopting a plan of adjustment embracing the restoration of the Missouri compromise, a condition respecting the acquisition of new territory which made necessary the concurrence of a majority of Northern and Southern senators, agreeing that there should be no future amendments of the Constitution to allow Congress to interfere with slavery in any State or territory, etc., etc.
February 28th. Senator Crittenden, of Kentucky, presented the recommendations of the peace convention, in the Senate, and favored their adoption.
Mr. Corwin's proposed amendment to the Constitution,
as adopted by the committee of thirty-three, passed the House of Representatives.
March 2d. The new tariff bill signed by President Buchanan.
March 4th. Mr. Corwin's proposed amendment passed the Senate.
The thirty-sixth Congress adjourned, sine die.
Aside from telegraphic dispatches, received by General Scott and others, cautioning them to be on the lookout for gunpowder plots at the capitol, and anonymous letters with threats of personal violence to the President on the day of his inauguration, with rumors of riotous preparations being made on a large scale, nothing occurred to disturb the tranquillity of the President elect or his friends. These reports, being widely circulated through the public press, brought together at Washington large crowds of people, both political and civil, who were determined that the inauguration should take place, and that the President should be protected at all hazards; that the people's choice must take his seat at the head of the government of this great nation, let the consequences be what they would. Five hundred special police were detailed for duty on the fourth of March, and soldiers were stationed in the housetops along the line of procession, to act as sharp-shooters in case of riotous proceedings. The amplest civil and military preparations were made, by the municipal authorities and General Scott, to provide for any emergency which might arise. The day of inauguration, that ever-memorable fourth of March, was ushered in by a most exciting session of the Senate, that body sitting for twelve hours, from seven o'clock the previous evening to seven in the morning; and as the dial of the clock, that old admonisher of time and things passing away, now told the hour of midnight, and Sunday gave way to Monday, the fourth of March, the Senate chamber presented a curious and