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with an army to conquer the South, but we can, Whiting was dispatched by Jefferson Davis make the war he will have begun as wide as the ocean itself. It is said that New England made more money than she lost in the war of 1812, by pri

vateers on the British commerce. We of the Con

to inspect the fortifications of Charleston. The "Floating Battery," of which great expectations were formed, was launched February 25th. It was simply a floating fortifi

cation about one hundred feet front, to

federate States cannot be the greatest loser at such a game. But, whatever may be our instrumentalities of defence or aggression, the Provisional Govern-mount four to six heavy guns. It was low ment was established to put them in full operation in the water, built of pine and palmetto logs against our enemies of the North. It is a war gov. and ribbed with iron-thus supposed to be ernment. It may be compelled to raise an unusual impervious to shot. The design was to anarmy. It may be compelled to lay unusual taxes-chor it in a commanding position off Sullito call for unusual loans. Let the people of the Con- van's island, where it could enfilade the federate States view with forbearance its imperfec- ramparts of Sumter.* tions or irregularities, and be prepared to support it in all its difficulties. Within one month we will know what our necessities require. The Provisional Government may be useless, and a permanent government, looking to all those guaranties which a

free government require, may supersede its tempo

rary existence.

The terms here used" our enemies of the North"-implied a fact which should be given due weight, viz.: that the Southern populace had been educated to believe that the North was, an open and declared enemy of the South; hence, the unanimity with which they responded to the call to arms,

The fortress on Cumming's point was a firm structure of green logs covered in sand, mounting guns of a very heavy calibre, with one or two very effective rifled cannon. The other batteries strung along on Sullivan, Morris and James islands, were located in spots to command the channel approaches to Sumter-thus to cut off all reenforcements by sea. Fort Moultrie was a frowning fortress, of a nameless number of guns, evidently prepared for throwing shot and shell in an of the "Invincible Eighty" which lay off in appalling shower upon the sea-girt fastness the harbor, as gullen, silent and dark as a sleeping volcano.

This was the consideration which the Confederate Government Vouchsafed to the maintain relations of peace.” Union, with which "its only desire was to

Audi alteram partem. We feel the force of the injunction when we are called to sit in judgment on the Administration of Mr. Buchanan. With the effects of his misrule we are so painfully impressed, that the impulse to pronounce a sweeping condemnation is in deed strong. The tragedy of war-the humiliation of our National prestige-the awful

and submitted their necks to their rulers' yoke. The relative strength of each section became a subject of quite general attention, as well as the comparative courage and activity of the Northern and Southern people. The intelligent community never before took such interest in the census statistics. It is indicative of the extraordinary self-deception which the Southern people practised upon themselves, that they deemed their six millions of white population fully equivalent, in material force, to the nineteen millions of the North. It would have been considered an evidence of cowardice in the South for a person to have confessed the equality of the North with the South, man-for-man. The local and State prejudices which ever have prevailed in the Cotton-growing States- The idea of this battery was by no means an owing as much to the want of general intel- | original one. At the seige of Gibralter, 1782, ten ligence among the masses of the people, as to the egotism and dictatorial spirit engendered by long exercise of the rights of masters over slaves-served to strengthen this over-estimate of strength and the resources of war.

floating forts were constructed, at a cost of upwards of $500,000. They were so compactly built as to be

deemed invulnerable, and, mounting from ten to eighteen guns each, truly were formidable engines of destruction. They worked well and did great execution, until the fortress threw hot shot, when they were soon all in flames, and those on board

During the last days of February, Col. perished almost to a man.

MR. BUCHANAN AND HIS ERRORS.

507

peril to Republican Government which he bequeathed as a legacy to his successor-all rise up, not like spirits, but like palpable presences, to cry out "anathema !" There are, too, minor sins for which partisans of the Democratic faith will not fail to hold him responsible. He assumed the Chief Magistracy as the representative of a powerful party whose rule has rarely been broken since Jefferson laid its bases in the National heart. He vacated the Chief Magistracy to leave that party broken, bruised, abased. He found the country prosperous-he left it weak. He found a Treasury overflowing he left it bankrupt. He trailed his robes of office in the dust of politicians' haunts, and made his high dignity a bye-word in caucuses and committee-rooms. In a word, he dishonored his country-dishonored his office-dishonored his trusts, and his memory promises not to be precious with mankind, nor honorable in history.

But, for all these miseries entailed, there still are some who offer a defence, if not in justification at least in palliation, of his acts. He was chosen Chief Magistrate to serve a party rather than to serve the country. He was both openly and secretly bound to men and to a policy, which, to have forsaken, would have required the moral and physical courage of a Jackson. He dared not "assume the responsibility:" and, in this dependance, is written much of the misery which followed upon his rule. He pledged Kansas to the South as the price of Southern support. To redeem that pledge he stultified himself, he outraged the first principles of true democracy, he caused human blood to be shed and a fair land to struggle into the Union through desolution and curses. To make Kansas a Slave State, and thus "preserve the balance of power," he pursued a course ealculated to inscribe the word "odious" over his name. His reward was to see the Republican party grow into the public heart, flourishing and daily strengthened on his very errors and follies. What should he do? desert his Southern friends and bend before the unqestionable will of the people of the North? He dared not desert! He could not if he would; for, in his Cabinet were men subtle and unscrupulous as an impious cause

could demand, at his elbow were men as bra zen, as dangerous, as traitorous as their pa rent, the Prince of Darkness: all of whom watched, warned, plotted, promised, cajoled, threatened, until the President was wholly ob scured in the partisan. If he committed inexcusable errors the first was in his pledges of service; his next was the choice of his advisers; his third was in following their advice. Out of these sprang the terrible train of evils which now darken his name and load his memory with a weight of calamities which all the special pleading of special chroniclers will scarcely be able to transfer to other shoulders.

Following upon the Kansas imbroglio came his second blow to the Democracy, which still clung to him as its leader. His intrigues against Mr. Douglas and the persecution of his friends-his support of the irregular Southern nominee, irretrievably dissevered the two wings of the party and sent the antiLecompton or Northern wing over to the Republicans as their only means of defence against his attempted demoralization.* He triumphed by seeing his rival fall, but it was the triumph of madness; for, hardly had the deed of defeat been recorded ere he found himself betrayed by his Southern friends, and he opened his eyes to behold beneath his feet a mine which the creatures of his smiles had placed there not only for his own destruction but for the destruction of his country.

*In a very undignified speech, made to a crowd of Breckenridge and Lane "ratifiers," the President

unqualifiedly scoffed the idea of "Squatter Sover

eignty" the very principle upon which he had sesured his promotion to office. He only recorded his own weakness in that desertion of principle at the behest of Southern men. He said:

"We have been told that non-intervention on the part of Congress with Slavery in the Territories is the true policy. Very well. I most cheerfully admit that Congress has no right to pass any law to establish, impair, or abolish Slavery in the Territories. Let this principle of non-inte vention be extended to the Territorial Legislatures, and let it b- declared

that they in I ke manner have no power to establish, impair, or destroy Slavery, and then the controversy is in effect ended. This is all that is required at present, and I verily be heve all that will ever be required. Hands off by Congress,

and hands off by the Territorial Legislature !''

Had he made this speech in 1856, James Buchanan never would have been President of the United States.

It is an impossible task to write the story | like beholding a ray shooting across dark of the Administration from the moment waters to read the names of Dix, Holt, Stanof that discovery down to the 4th of March. It is so full of good deeds and bad, of strength and weakness, of wisdom and folly, as to read like the alternate reign of a good and an evil genius. To disentangle the warp and woof required not only a master-hand, but more light than yet exists upon the Executive's conduct, and we must patiently bide the judgment which Time will surely send. Our record thus far, of outward facts, will stand the tests of evidence as far as they go; but, we must, after all, consider that it is necessary to read motives as well as acts in order to arrive at the full truth of events in an historical light. In most of the incidents of the revolution, the motive became apparent with the act. There are some things, however, concerning Mr. Buchanan's apparently contradictory course, which make it impossible to write the true history of his "decline and fall" at this early stage of the drama which his errors, not his genius, created. We shall await, with interest, his promised "Defence of his Administration;" and if, in aught, we have done him injustice, it will be with a pleasure unfeigned that our censures shall be qualified. It is our country which is injured by the abasement of its Chief Magistrate, and every patriotic heart will be glad to wipe away any stain upon the name of a President of the United States.

It is a relief to turn from the Cabinet' of December to the Cabinet of February. It is

ton; while the vision of Winfield Scott rises like a luminary out of the troubled sea, to draw to it all faith and confidence. We feel like crying “Oh, why so late?" and the country might well mourn that they were not summoned to the President's side at the first alarm of danger. That Mr. Buchanan called them at all is proof that the President loved the Union well :—that he did not always follow their counsels, but trimmed and veered to the gale like a timid man, was proof rather of his desire to avoid danger than of his disloyalty. Had he had one year to serve, instead of forty days, his diplomatic scruples in regard to coercion probably would have been cast aside as unworthy of the crisis which the law-makers never had conceived possible; and he might have pursued the course so wisely prescribed and so sagaciously followed by his successor. But, the brevity of his term gave no opportunity for the laying down and elaboration of a defensive policy; and all the honor which attaches to his latter days comes from little acts of patriotism-evidences of what he might have done, in a more eminent degree, had there been a year before him in which to act. We say, might have done. The spirit of his entire administration forbids us to say could have done. What he would have done toward "his Southern friends" is one of the secrets which his expected history may, and, we hope, will record.

APPENDIX.

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE BUCHANAN ADMINISTRATION.

We are informed that the venerable ex-President | I agreed with hlm in denying the right of coercion. is busily engaged upon his "History of his Admin-I agreed with him, that it was his duty to enforce the istration." As one object of our labors is to throw the law, and to hold and preserve the public properall possible light upon the secession movement, we ty. And believing as I did, that in enforcing law in have an interest in the latter portion of his reign this free Government, where our fathers took the which warrants us in submitting for his considera- greatest pains to subordinate the military to the tion, and that of the public who take an interest in civil authorities, the army and navy could only be secret histories, the documents relating to Judge called on as posse comitatus to aid the civil officers Thompson's resignation as Secretary of the Interior. in executing the processes and orders issuing from The Judge, on his arrival at Oxford, Miss., after the civil magistrates. And that in preserving prophis withdrawal, was given a reception by his fellow erty his duty and his power only extended to a citizens and there made a speech wherein he de-resistance to all marauders, to the driving back and tailed his version of the Cabinet history during December and January. We subjoin the material portion:

defeating all the approaches of mobs and unlawful and unauthorized combinations of individuals. With an ardent desire to preserve peace, to avoid all conflict, and to give a full and free opportunity in all sections for the public opinon to develop itself, so that if possible our institutions might be preserv ed I retained my place.

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"No serious difficulty or division occurred in Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet, until after the late Presidential election. As soon as it was known that the sectional candidate was elected President, by a sectional vote, on a platform of principles in direct conflict with the Constitution, which, by denying a right of protection to a vast property in the Southern States, overthrew the equality of the States, and passed all the States of the South to a state of outlaw, it was perceived that a new class of questions would arise. The extent of the reserved powers of the States was the first great question, and the power of the general government to use military force upon the people of a sovereign State undertaking to resume the powers delegated in the Constitution of the United States-to enforce obedience to the mandates of the Government of the Union was the next great question. On the first, that is on the power of a State to secede, there was soon developed an irreconcilable difference of opinion. On the power to coerce a State to remain in, or to return to the Union, there were found to be unanimity and harmony. Hence it was, fellow-citizens, that I continued a member of the Cabinet after the delivery of the President's message. I differed with him in his argument on the right of secession. I at war with the theory of our Government.

Looking at the subject practically, I believed with a due exercise of caution and moderation, conflict could be avoided. Without a civil magistrate there could be no process; without a writ or process there could be no arraignment and no justification for the calling in the military force, and hence enforcing the laws was an impossibility, inasmuch as the machinery for its accomplishments was wanting! Forts had been erected within the limits of the States with their consent, for the purpose of enabling the United States to fulfil its duties to protect the States, by repelling invasion and suppressing insurrection. To hold a fort as a menace upon a State, with a view of controlling her political action or of endangering her power, was such a perversion of the grant of jurisdiction by the States, that, in the judgment of all true men, it would be viewed as a crying outrage, an act of war. forts, then, in the Seceding States can be rightfully regarded only as property. To hold them as military posts, to thus threaten the peace of the State is

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"With these opinions conscientiously entertained, and believing, as I did, that any attempt to reenforce the forts in Charleston Harbor would be viewed by the people of South Carolina as an act of hostility, and would, therefore, be resisted, my opposition to an order for reenforcement was early taken and uniformly maintained. When the question first arose, the President decided to refuse such an order, and General Cass withdrew from the Cabinet on account of the refusal. The President then agreed with certain gentlemen, undertaking to represent South Carolina, that no change should be made in the military status of the forts, and when Major Anderson, adopting an extreme measure of war, only justified in the presence of an overpowering enemy, spiked his guns and burned his gun-carriages, and moved with his garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, and thus committed an act of hostility, the President heard of the movement with chagrin and mortification. Governor Floyd considered his honor implicated, unless the garrison under Major Anderson was withdrawn, and when he was refused permission to make that order, he threw up his commission. On his withdrawal Mr. Holt was trans

ferred to the War Departmen as Secretary, ad interim. This assignment was made without consultation with me, and on the day I was advised that Mr. Holt had taken charge of the War Department, knowing his eagerness to strengthen these forts, I visited the President with my resignation drawn up. He informed me then that the orders for reenforce ment by the Brooklyn had been countermanded, and that no other orders would be issued without the question being first considered and decided in Cabinet. With that promise I was content. Two days afterwards the question was considered, and a decision was reached, to send a messenger to Major Anderson to learn his true situation and wishes. As to what else was done my lips are sealed, because all Cabinet consultations are confidential. Of one thing be assured, that so hostile had I been from the beginning, to the sending of additional troops to the forts in Charleston, that there is not one member of the Cabinet who would have expected me to continue one hour in its councils after an affirmative decision had been made by the President. I did not understand such a conclusion to have been adopted, and the first intimation I had that additional troops had been sent to Fort Sumter was on the morning of the 8th of January. That day I severed my connection with the Cabinet. My ground for doing so was two-fold. First, on account of the manner of the issuance of the order; and, second, on account of the order itself. On the Saturday previous I had telegraphed my old friend, Judge Longstreet, that no troops had been ordered, and that if no attack had been made on Fort Sumter none, in my opinion,

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would be ordered, and urged him to exert his influence with the South Carolina authorities to make no attack on Fort Sumter. This dispatch was sent in good faith. Judge Longstreet acted effectively in preventing an attack; and while thus engaged to preserve peace, the Secretary of War was actually engaged in an effort, by stealth, to charter a steamer, put on board his soldiers, clear the vessel for New Orleans, to escape surprise, and thus, by strategy, strengthen a fort, to threaten the peace of South Carolina. As I was writing my resignation I sent a dispatch to Judge Longstreet that the Star of the West was coming with reenforcements. The troops were thus put on their guard, and when the Star of the West arrived, she received a warm welcome from booming cannon, and soon beat a retreat. I was rejoiced the vessel was not sunk, but I was still more rejoiced that the concealed trick, first conceived by General Scott, and adopted by Secretary Holt, but countermanded by the President when too late, proved a failure."

Mr. Holt, upon reading this statement, prepared the following scathing rebuke and exposć, which was published in the National Intelligencer, of March 6th: "To the Editors of the National Intelligencer:

"GENTLEMEN-In your issue of Saturday last you published an extract from an address recently made to the people of Mississippi, by the Honorable Jacob Thompson, late Secretary of the Interior, in which the following language occurs:

"As I was writing my resignation, I sent a dispatch to Judge Longstreet that the Star of the West was coming with reenforcements. The troops were then put on their guard, and when the Star of the West arrived she received a warm welc me from booming cannon, and soon beat a retreat. I was rejoiced the vessel was not sunk, but I was still more rejoiced that the concealed trick. first conceived by General Scott, and adopted by Secretary Holt, but count rmanded by the President when too late, proved a failure.'

"We have here a distinct and exultant avowal, on the part of the honorable Secretary, that, while yet a member of the Cabinet, he disclosed to those in open rebellion against the United States information which he had derived from his official position and which he held under the seals of a confidence that, from the beginning of our history as a nation, had never been violated. This step not merely endangered the highest public interests, but put in imminent jeopardy the lives of two hundred and fifty innocent men, who had never wronged the honorable Secretary, and who, in proceeding to Charleston Harbor, were simply obeying the lawful command of their superior officers. The armed enemies of the Government he was serving, under the solemn sanctions of an oath, were, as he declares, thus put upon their guard,' and the frail vessel that was bear ing succor to its friends' received a warm welcome

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