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safety of the state requires it to keep troops and ships of war, President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to recognize the exercise of that power by the state, and by proclamation to give notice of the fact, for the information and government of all parties concerned."
ATTEMPTS TO FAVOR SECESSION.
Mr. Mason, of Virginia, also, shortly after, offered a joint resolution to the effect that, in view of the secession of South Carolina, and the consequent suspension of the laws of the United States therein, and to avoid any hostile collision between the authorities of that state and those of the United States, that the laws of the United States directing the mode in which the President shall use the army and navy in aid of the civil authorities executing the laws, and all laws for the collection of revenue, be suspended and made inoperative in the State of South Carolina.
A representative from North Carolina (February 11th, 1861) offered the following resolution:
and to suspend the national laws in South Carolina,
"Whereas the States of South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Geor gia, Mississippi, and Louisiana have seceded from the Confederacy of the United States, and have established a government under the name of the Confederacy of the United States South;' and whereas it is desirable that the most amicable relations should exist between the two governments, and war should be avoided as the greatest calamity which can befall them
"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, etc., That the President of the United States be, and is hereby required to acknowledge the independence of the said government as soon as he is informed officially of its establishment, and that he receive such envoy, embassador, or commissioner as may or shall be appointed by such government for the purpose of amicably adjusting the matters in dispute with said government."
edge the independence of the seced
Such were the attempts to secure the military disarmMeantime the navy ing of the government. Its naval disarming had been already and effectually accom
CHAP. XXXV.] REPORT OF THE NAVAL COMMITTEE.
In reply to a resolution of inquiry of the House of Representatives respecting the navy, the committee reported (February 21st, 1861) "That the entire naval force available for the defense of the whole Atlantic coast consisted of the steamer Brooklyn, twenty-five guns, and the store-ship Relief, two guns, and that the former was of too great a draught to permit her to enter Charleston Harbor with safety except at spring tides, and the latter was under orders to the coast of Africa, with stores for the African squadron. Thus the whole Atlantic sea-board has been to all intents and purposes without defense during all the period of civil commotion and lawless violence to which the President has called our attention as of "such vast and alarming proportions as to be beyond his power to check or control."
Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs.
Commenting on the fact that several of the most important ships had been dispatched to distant stations since the secession troubles had begun, the committee proceed to say:
"To the committee this disposition of the naval force at this critical time seems most extraordinary. The permitting of vessels to depart for distant seas after these unhappy difficulties had broken out at home, the omission to put in repair and commission, ready for orders, a single one of the twenty-eight ships dismantled and unfit for service in our own ports, and that, too, while $646,639 79 of the appropriation for repairs in the navy in the presyear remained unexpended, were, in the opinion of the committee, grave errors in the administration of the Navy Department, the consequences of which have been manifest in the many acts of lawless violence to which they have called attention. The committee are of opinion that the secretary had it in his power, with the with the pres ent naval force of the country at his command, and with
CENSURE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. [SECT. VIL
out materially impairing the efficiency of the service abroad, at any time after the settled purpose of overthrowing the government had become manifest, and before that purpose had developed itself in overt acts of violence, to station at anchor, within reach of his own or ders, a force equal to the protection of all the property and all the rights of the government and the citizens, as well as the flag of the country, from any outrage or insult at any point on the entire Atlantic sea-board. The failure to do this is without justification or excuse."
The committee proceeded also to comment with great severity on the Secretary of the Navy, in that he had ac cepted the resignations of navy officers, citizens of the disloyal states, thereby enabling them to join the service of the insurgents without incurring the penalties of treason. They presented in detail several cases of an aggravated character, and recommended the adoption of the following resolution:
'Resolved, That the Secretary of the Navy, in accepting, without delay or inquiry, the resignations of officers of the Censure of seces- navy who were in arms against the government when tendering the same, and of those who sought
sionist Secretary of the Navy.
to resign that they might be relieved from the restraint imposed by their commissions upon engaging in hostilities to the constituted authorities of the nation, has committed a grave error, highly prejudicial to the discipline of the service, and injurious to the honor and efficiency of the navy, for which he deserves the censure of this House."
The resolution was agreed to by the House.
quarters of the
As the time approached for the contemplated meeting at Montgomery, the chief conspirators recomes the head- tired to that place, many persons of less conspiracy. importance, who were in hopes of place and emolument in the projected Confederacy, accompanying them. There remained, however, still in Washington, no inconsiderable number of their friends, who held clerk
ships and various other positions in the government of fices; they remained partly for the sake of making themselves useful for the purposes of the conspiracy, but chiefly on account of their salaries. Though ostensibly the capital of the nation, Washington was essentially a Southern town; the predominance of Southern influence in the government had filled it with Southern placemen and their dependents. These persons, foreseeing the loss of their emoluments through the incoming of a Republican administration, constituted a most embittered class. They acted as spies upon the government, and transmit ted whatever information they could gather to Montgomery. That city soon replaced Washington as the focus of revolutionary action, and to it these persons, as they were removed by the incoming administration from the offices they had enjoyed, instinctively repaired. The tone of Washington society remained, however, for a long time unchanged; it was essentially that of a slaveholding
TREASON IN WASHINGTON.
The new administration sometimes barely escaped insidious attempts to establish an espionage in its offices. Thus, at the time of the seizure of the Southern forts, it was of the ut most importance to the conspirators to know the movements of the national ships. In the evening of the 1st of April, a package was brought from the President by his private secretary, and handed to the Secretary of the Navy. It ordered the removal of Commodore Stringham, a loyal officer, to a distant station, and the appointment of Captain Samuel Barron in his stead. It was di rected that the latter should be put in possession of full information concerning the navy, its officers, its movements. Unwilling to have a person whom he had reason to distrust placed in his department in such a confidential position, the secretary forthwith sought an interview
Attempt to introduce spies into the Departments at Washington.
with the President, and explained to him that the sympathies of Captain Barron were altogether with the conspirators. The order was, of course, revoked. "This dangerous paper must have passed through high places somewhere before it could have reached the President. Captain Barron soon after deserted his flag, openly es poused the rebel cause, and was one of the very first of ficers captured after the war began."
Attempts to bring
In Montgomery every influence was used, and every exertion was made, to secure the secession over Maryland and of Maryland and Virginia. It was supposed that if those states could accomplish that movement successfully, they would necessarily carry the District of Columbia with them. Notwithstanding this, as we shall presently see, Maryland was not only thwart ed in her intention of attaching herself to the Confederacy, but also in her attempt to prevent the passage of Northern troops through her territory for the defense of Washington; and as to Virginia, she did acted by Virginia. not secede until she had exacted a thorough protection for her domestic slave-trade, and the transfer of the Confederate government to Richmond.
The conditions ex
Events have shown that the views taken by Davis of the impolicy of this latter measure, the removal to Richmond, were correct. He strenuously resisted it at first, and gave a reluctant consent only when overborne by extraneous considerations.
SUCCESS OF THE CONSPIRACY.
Success of the conspiracy.
Few conspiracies recorded in history have been more successful than this of Secession. It had completely effected the establishment of an insurrectionary government, organized in all its branches, and able to resist the legitimate government. It had accomplished nearly all the objects it had proposed, the seizure of forts, public works, munitions of war, the exclusion of the national authority from its domain, the