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meagre force at the disposal of the Secretary a dictation of terms to the revolutionistsrendered it impossible to take any action. their retention might force a settlement of The feeling of the Department was communi- the Union question when all compromise cated, unofficially, to the Governor. Under should fail; while, if the blood of loyal citidate of January 12th he wrote to the Presi-zens was shed in their defence, they would dent that the seizures had not been made as become the signal-lights to concentrate the reported, but that, on the 8th of January, the patriotism of the people and States. Whatforts of Wilmington alone had been seized, ever may have been Mr. Buchanan's wishes but, by his military orders, were restored. in the matter, it is evident that his Cabinet He said: and General Scott regarded the question in "My information satisfies me the light we have represented, and those pathat this popular outbreak was triotic men lent all their energies to the occaused by a report, very gene-cupation and retention of all the points
The North Carolina
rally credited, but which, for the sake of humanity, I hope is not true, that it was the purpose of the Administration to coerce the Southern States, and
A dispatch from New Orleans, dated Jan
that troops were on their way to garrison the South-uary 15th, said:-"Consul Pickens went to ern ports, and to begin the work of subjugation. This impression is not yet erased from the public mind, which is deeply agitated at the bare contemplation of so great an indignity and wrong; and I would most earnestly appeal to your Excellency to strengthen my hands in my efforts to preserve the public order here, by placing it in my power to give public assurance that no measures of force are contemplated towards us."
Vera Cruz this morning, bearing important dispatches from Washington to the Commander of the Gulf Squadron. It is rumored they were for a concentration of the fleets at the mouths of the Mississippi and the harbor of Pensacola." The great activity in the Portsmouth and Brooklyn Navy-yards was also a marked feature in the events of the month, which went to prove that the Federal
This communication Mr. Buchanan turned Government had truly become aroused to over to Mr. Holt for answer. He wrote:
"In reply to your inquiry, whether it is the purpose of the President to garrison the forts of North
Carolina during his Administration, I am directed to say that they, in common with the other forts, arsenals, and other property of the United States, are in the charge of the President, and that if assailed, no matter from what quarter or under what pretext, it is his duty to protect them by all the means which the law has placed at his disposal. It is not his purpose to garrison the forts to which you refer at present, because he considers them entirely safe, as heretofore, under the shelter of that law-abiding sentiment for which the people of North Carolina have ever been distinguished. Should they, however, be attacked or menaced with danger of being seized or taken from the possession of the United States, he could not escape from his constitutional obligation to defend and preserve them. The very satisfactory and patriotic assurance given by your Excellency justifies him, however, in entertaining the confident expectation that no such contingency
If Sumter and Pickens could be placed beyond the hazards of capture, and the Navyyard at Norfolk could be rendered secure from seizure, it would give the incoming Administration the points d'appui necessary for
the imminence of its danger. Every vessel of war, capable of service, was, apparently, to be called into requisition for any service which the policy of resistance to aggression might require.
South Carolina's "Agent".
Col. Hayne, the "Agent" of Governor Pickens, to bear to Washington the ultimatum of South Carolina, had an interview with Mr. Buchanan on Tuesday, January 15th. His demands were understood to be made by authority of Governor Pickens, as Commander-in-Chief of the South Carolina forces; he was neither empowered by the Legislature nor by the Convention. His terms proposed the entire withdrawal of Major Anderson and the Federal garrison from Charleston harbor, guaranteeing that South Carolina would then honorably treat for the forts and a just settlement of all questions at issue. The President refused to recognize Colonel Hayne as an agent; and, that no misconception might arise, he turned the messenger over to the War Department, ordering him to put his demands in writing. As significant of the purposes of the Administra
Ꮇ Ꭱ . PRYOR'S PLAN OF
tion, Lieut. T. Talbot, of Fort Sumter, Major
The extra session of the Legislature conAnderson's bearer of dispatches, left Wash-vened by Governor Letcher, January 7th, ington with sealed orders, on Wednesday, continued in exciting and active session durJanuary 16th, for the Major to be prepared ing the entire month. Its primary indica to retain his post to the last, in event of tions were, as we have said, decidedly inimiany attempt to force him from his position. cal to the cause of the Union, [see page 164]; The corvette Brooklyn and the Harriet Lane but the powerful influences brought to bear were understood to be ready to lend him by members of Congress, by Messrs. Botts, their assistance at any moment, while vessels Sherwood, Clemens, Amos Kendall, and other from the Gulf Squadron would soon be in to determined Unionists, for a while stemmed cooperate in Sumter's defense, if an assault the tide of Secession sentiment, so far as to should be made. This determined front keep it in abeyance until propositions of setrather intimidated the "agent," and we find tlement could be acted upon. This peace him not only hesitating in his further formal policy little suited the plans and designs of proceedings, but, it is said, the most urgent Jas. M. Mason, Jno. B. Floyd, Henry A. Wise messages were sent from the secession leaders and their coadjutors, who had fully arranged in Washington to Governor Pickens, remon- to "precipitate" the State according to the strating against any attempt to dispossess prearranged secession programme; but it Anderson. Colonel Hayne, therefore, re- seemed to stay the revolution at least for the served his communication to the War De- moment. A plan came up in the House of partment to a later day. Governor Pickens, Delegates, understood to have originated in probably to give force to his "agent's" de- Washington and to have been forwarded by mands, sent in a message to the Legislature Roger A. Pryor. It embraced the following of South Carolina, (January 15th,) advising propositions in resolutions:— the raising of two more military companies and one more regiment, to serve three years. He proposed the permanent garrison of the extensive fortifications in South Carolina, "This may be expensive, but, considering that we shall soon have a Southern Confederacy, it will be necessary to protect the seacoast, and afterwards transfer the troops to the Southern Government. The fanatical excitement of Northern people shows us that if we expect to preserve peace, we must prepare for war." That message only rendered the War Department more determined to prepare for the seemingly inevitable emergency of a collision.
The position of Virginia The Position of began to absorb public atVirginia. tention to a great degree during the middle of January. Her location as a "Border State"-her proximity to the Federal Capital—her importance as a political power rendered her course of vital importance to the cause of the Union. She, seemingly, held it in her keeping; if she cast her influence into the scale of the revolutionists the Southern Confederacy would become a government de facto until strength of arms should decide between the contestants for supremacy.
"First: There must be some
Pryor's Plan of
definite and conclusive settle-
tion will be inevitable.
Second: Proposing the Crittenden compromise, as amended by Mr. Douglas, as the basis of a fair and honorable adjustment, and as the least that Vir
ginia feels she can take as a settlement.
Third: The appointment of a Commissioner to each State in the Union to represent the action of Virginia, and to invite a response to this measure of conciliation.
"Fourth: A strong appeal to the Federal Government to stay its hand and avert all acts which may lead to a collision pending the mediation of Virginia.
"Fifth: An appeal to the Seceding States to preserve the existing status, and also to abstain from all acts which may precipitate a collision."
Similar movements were contemplated in the Legislatures of the remaining Border States. Out of this plan eventually sprung the "Peace Convention" which assembled in Washington, February 4th, composed of specially appointed Commissioners from all the States in the Union, excepting from those States already in revolution.
On the 16th, the House of Delegates' Committee on Federal Relations reported, on Mr.
Smith's resolutions, that it is inexpedient for the Federal Government, under existing circumstances, to make any additional military force, inasmuch as it would be liable to misconstruction, and tend to credit uneasiness in the public mind; and requesting the Governor to obtain immediate information for the purposes of the General Government with respect to strengthening the military force in the arsenals, &c., in Virginia. No action was taken on the report of the Committee. It embraced, as its basis of compromise, the plan above referred to, which was understood to have the approval of Messrs. Crittenden, Douglas, Breckenridge, Wm. C. Rives, and other eminent Conservative leaders, while it was, of course, opposed by the Secessionists. The plan was, however, to be referred to the Peace Congress, or Conference, which the Report recommended to be called to meet at Washington, February 4th. On the 17th this Report was acted upon, so far as the calling of the Congress, with the proviso that the Commissioners, which Virginia might send, should, at all times, be under control of the General Assembly, or of the State Convention, if it should be in session.
In the State Senate, January 17th, the Committee on Federal Relations reported resolutions that, in the opinion of the General Assembly, the propositions embraced in the Crittenden resolutions constitute such a basis of adjustment as would be accepted by the people of this Commonwealth; that Commissioners be appointed to the General Government, also to South Carolina and other Seceding States, with instructions respectfully to request the President and the authorities of such States to agree to abstain, pending the proceedings contemplated by the action of this General Assembly, from all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms between the States and the General Government, It was made the order for the succeeding day. Considerable opposition was manifested, and
a substitute offered.
The Governor also communicated the New
York State Legislature resolutions, copies of which had, by special vote, been sent to the Governors of all the States. His views of the resolutions were expressed in the following message:
"EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, RICHMOND, "January 17, 1861.
Reply to New York.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Delegates: "I have received a communication from his Excellency Edwin D. Morgan, Governor of New York, inclosing a preamble and resolutions adopted by the Legislature of that State.
"The first resolution declares that the Legisla ture of New York' tenders to the President of the United States 'whatever aid, in men and money, he may require, to enable him to enforce the laws and uphold the authority of the Federal Government.' This I understand to be a declaration of their readi ness and willingness to sacrifice the men and money of that State in the effort to coerce the Slaveholding States into submission to Federal authority. The Governor and Legislature of New York ought to know that the sword has never reconciled differences of opinion. Military coercion can never perpetuate the existence of this Union. When the affections of the people are withdrawn from the Government, an attempt at coercion can have no other effect than to exasperate the people threatened to be coerced. Blood shed in civil strife can only enrich the soil that must speedily produce a harvest of woe.'
"I cannot suppose, from what has occurred, that the President of the United States would be inclined to adopt a policy which he must see and know could not fail to result in bloodshed. I am satisfied that
prudence and patriotism would induce him to reject all counsels and measures which would be calcu Jated to bring about so great a calamity. I have no idea, therefore, that he will accept the tender which has been so inopportunely and ostentatiously para ded before the country.
"Nothing that has occurred in the progress of this controversy has been worse timed and less excl.sa• ble. If the Governor and Legislature of New York
desire to preserve the Union, a tender of men and money, under the promptings of passion, prejudice and excitement, will not produce the result. At a time like this, when the horizon is overcast with clouds, when darkness and gloom are gathering close around us, and when we behold nothing but danger on all sides, some little wisdom, discretion and prudence is expected from the representatives of the people. They ought, at least, to refrain from adding fuel to the flame that burns with utmost in
tensity now. It would have been far better that these resolutions had never been adopted.
"In 1798 and 1799 the action of Virginia was
marked by calmness, dignity, and an earnest desire to preserve the Union, without prejudice to the rights of the States. No feeling of resentment toward the other States was manifested by those great men, in that day of peril and trial. No effort was
made to produce estrangement between the different sections of the country, or to inflame popular prejudices. Their example is worthy of imitation when
events are hurrying us on so rapidly into civil
"Nothing but a sense of duty has induced me to transmit this preamble and resolutions to the two Houses of General Assembly. The threat which is conveyed in them can inspire no terror with Freemen. "JOHN LETCHER."
The message and accompanying resolutions were read, when, on motion of Mr. Anderson, it was unanimously
Resolved, That the Governor of Virginia return the resolutions of the Legislature of New York to the Executive of that State, with the request that no such resolutions be again sent to this General Assembly."
| concurred in the Senate amendments of the report of the Committee on Federal Relations, as above given; when the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That the interests of Virginia are those of her Southern sisters, and no reconstruction of the Union can be permanent which will not secure to each section self-protecting power against any invasion of the Federal Union upon the reserved rights of either."
The people of the State were approached by their delegation in Congress. Acting under the "central power" of Mason, Toombs, Hunter and Davis, ten members signed and sent out an "Address to the Virginia people," giving a review of the proceedings and the probable action of Congress in regard to the present state of affairs. They said: "It is vain to hope for any measures of conciliation or adjustment from Congress, which the people can accept. Also, that they are satisfied that the Republican party designs, by a civil war alone, to coerce the Southern States, under the pretext of
Address of the
The House of Delegates passed a bill, January 18th, appropriating one million dollars for the defense of the State. In the Senate, Jan. 19th, the consideration of the report on Federal resolutions, contemplating a National Convention, was resumed. The second resolution in the report was amended by appointing John Tyler, William C. Rives, John W. Brockenbrough, George W. Sum-enforcement of the laws,' unless it shall bemer and James A. Seddon, Commissioners to Washington, on the 4th of February, to procure a delay of Federal action,
The Peace Congress
looking toward coercion.
The fifth resolution was amended by modifying Mr. Crittenden's proposition, so as to give additional protection and security to slave property.
The sixth resolution was amended by pointing John Tyler a Commissioner to wait on the President of the United States, and Judge John Robertson a Commissioner to South Carolina and the other Seceding States, to request them to abstain from hostile acts during the pendency of proceedings.
come speedily apparent that the Seceding States are so numerous, determined and united, as to make such an attempt hopeless. The Address concluded by expressing the solemn conviction, that prompt and decided action by the people of Virginia in Convention will afford the surest means, under the providence of God, of averting the impending civil war, and of preserving a hope of reconap-structing a Union already dissolved." This was devised to create a new fever for hasty action in the Legislature. The tendency of things towards the "peace" policy alarmed the conspirators at headquarters; they, hence, sought to restore the immediate secession sentiment to its destined ascendency ere the Peace Congress could proceed to arrange a scheme of adjustment. The Address was one of several plots emanating from Washington to drive the people into the revolution. That this was the sole purpose of the Address was soon evident in other extraordinary exertions made by the Secessionists to recover their lost ground. A leading member of the Legislature, on the Conservative side, wrote as follows, under date of January 23d:
The report was then passed by yeas 40,
The following was then introduced, and passed unanimously:
Resolved, That if all efforts to reconcile the differences between the two sections of the country shall prove abortive, then every consideration of honor and interest demands that Virginia shall unite her destinies with her sister Slaveholding States."
The House of Delegates, January 19th,
has begun to operate, and a more wholesome condition of feeling prevails. I think a large majority of the Convention will be opposed to immediate secession.
"Recent developments have encouraged. me to | Virginia. If she secedes, and no speedy combelieve that the action of Virginia will be decidedly promise is made by Congress similar to Mr. conservative. There was a violent and unnatural Crittenden's proposition, I have positive excitement here, produced by the systematic efforts knowledge that the people of Maryland are of disunion politicians. The sober second thought preparing, independent of the Governor, to elect and convene a Sovereign Convention, which will certainly withdraw the State from the Union before Mr. Lincoln's inauguration." Delaware showed herself to be loyal. Her Legislature approved the Crittenden resolves, January 17th. The following among other resolves, though not acted on affirmatively, still reflected the tone of feeling which was uppermost with the ten-people :
"The position of the conservatives in our General Assembly has been a trying one. At the earlier period of the session we were overwhelmed by the destructives. But we rallied our forces, and, after a resolute fight, we have beaten them, and so shaped the action of the Legislature as to render it decidedly conservative. Virginia now occupies the position of mediator, holding back the belligerents and dering the olive branch of peace."
Maryland still firm.
"Resolved, That we believe solemnly that the Con. stitution and the laws of the United States faithfully administered and implicitly obeyed are fully equal to heal all grievances, coming from what portion of the country they may.
Resolved, That Delaware knows no North, no
South, no East, no West, but only the Union, Constitution and Laws, and earnestly desires that the laws be fully and faithfully enforced in every por tion of our Union.
Resolved, That we earnestly recommend to our Senators and Representatives in Congress, under no circumstances to countenance or sanction the with drawal of any State from the Union, but in the language of Jackson, this Union must and shall be preserved." "
North Carolina Hest. tating.
In North Carolina much opposition was manifested to the secession of the State. One party was unmistakably Union at all events; another favored compromise, which, if not conceded, should be cause for secession; another was for cooperation with Vir
Maryland continued steadfast to the Union under the firm guidance of Governor Hicks. On the 20th it was stated, in a dispatch from Baltimore, that the great mass of the people approved the course pursued by the Governor in refusing to call the Legislature. Another statement was published to the effect that "Union meetings held in almost every county approve his course, and pronounce against disunion. The association of Minute-Men of Baltimore have taken a noble stand in support of Governor Hicks and the Union. This organization, formed about a month before the Presidential election, numbers about thirty-two hundred active members in the city, and is affiliated with kindred organizations in every county in the State. They are divided into companies of sixty-four men each. To their efforts is due the brilliant success of the recent Union meeting in Baltimore. Upon the very day│ginia. The number of unconditional separawhen the forty United States marines were sent to take possession of Fort McHenry, it was intended by the Minute-Men to occupy and hold it, until relieved by the Federal troops, and thus to keep the property safe from the possibility of seizure by the rapidly organizing Secession association called the "Southern Volunteers." A dispatch from another source, dated the 21st, expressed less sanguine views of the Union strength in the State. It said:"Georgia's secession has struck a melancholy blow to the hopes of Maryland. We are now at the mercy of
tionists was comparatively small, but powerful enough, with the outside pressure of South Carolina, to keep the State moving quietly but surely towards the point of open action. The Legislature of the State was in session during January. January 16th, anti-coercion resolutions passed to a second reading. They were opposed to coercion, even to pledging the whole power of the State to resist any attempt of the General Government to use arms against a seceding State. The Convention bill was also under consideration.
The Arkansas Legislature, January 16th,