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CONDITION OF FORT PICKENS.
Condition of Fort
tions for forcing Slemmer | of the important positions at Key West and out of the Santa Rosa for- the Tortugas. [See vol. I. page 368.] tress. It was reported from Several messengers from Washington, March 16th, that the fort was in- the Federal authorities to vested by thirteen full batteries, including Fort Sumter appeared in Forts McRae and Barrancas, which command- Charleston during the middle and latter part ed not only Pickens but the offing. At that of March. Surgeon Fox, of the United States date the steam corvette Brooklyn, and the sail- Navy, was dispatched by Mr. Lincoln, and ing frigate Sabine, were lying off the port with passed over to Sumter, "by special permisreinforcements on board. No attempts were sion of the South Carolina authorities," to made to land the troops, however, since the inspect the sanitary condition of the fort, as rebel commander threatened to open fire well as to confer privately with Major Anon the vessels and on Pickens, if the rein- derson; but the attendance of Captain Hartforcement was attempted. But, the night- stene prevented the desired private conferly mission of small boats which put off, ence. with muffled oars, to the outside of Santa Rosa island, gave the brave Lieutenant good cheer and helping hands, and when the middle of the month had passed, the fortress was prepared for the threatened bombardment. Beside the Brooklyn and Sabine, the Wyandotte and several sloops-of-war were understood to be present, prepared to render effective service. This powerful array undoubtedly prevented the assault; and the three thousand Confederates, with "souls on fire for the fray," all under command of a redoubtable officer, were compelled to witness the old flag's morning salute, without the power to banish it from their sight. The presence of a strong naval force at that point, with reinforcements, was one of the acts which marked the brief term of Secretary Holt's service. To his orders, to that disposition of the vessels-of-war, as well as to Slemmer's efficiency, does the country owe the salvation of Pickens,* and the retention
*The service which his predecessor, John B. Floyd, rendered to the cause of disunion and treason, was thus set forth by the Atlanta (Geo.) Confederacy,
of March 16th.:
“But for the foresight, and firmness, and patriotic providence of John B. Floyd, in what stress and peril would the Cotton State's be floundering this day! He saw the inevitable doom of the Union, or the doom of his own people. For many months past, from his stand-point, he had an extended field of vision, which enabled him to see the great danger which threatened us, but which was hid below the but which was hid below the horizon from the eyes of most of us. When his faithful loyalty to his own persecuted people began its labors in our defense, in what a condition were
Colonel G. W. Lay, of General Scott's staff, appeared at Charleston March 20th, and had a long interview with Governor Pickens and General Beauregard, understood to be in reference to terms of evacuation, and the disposition of the armament of the fort, should the Federal Government order the surrender of the fortress.
March 25th, Colonel Lamon, as a special messenger of the President, arrived in Charleston. After an interview with the authorities, he passed over to the fort. His visit was announced as one of "pacification." He had an unrestricted interview with Major Anderson, whom he found in good spirits, and with provisions enough to hold out to April 15th. He returned to Washington the Southern States! The North had the heavy guns, the light arms, the powder and ball, just as the North had everything else that belonged to the common Government. How quietly were men shifted from our soil who might have been here to-day to murder us at Abraham Lincoln's order. How slender the garrisons became in Southern forts which were made for us, and belong to nobody else, but which a savage enemy now chafes and rages to get possession of! Who sent 37,000 stand of arms to Georgia? How came 60,000 more prime deathdealing rifles at Jackson, Miss.? And, in short, why have we anything at all in the South to mail the strong hands of the sons of the South with at this hour, when every heart, and head, and arm of her children is needed in her defense? Truth demands it of us to declare that we owe to John B. Floyd an eternal tribute of gratitude for all this. Had he been less the patriot than he was, we might now have been disarmed and at the mercy of a nation of
cut-throats and plunderers."
March 26th, reporting unfavorably to rein- | but this will be, at present, our main topic. Four forcements. All the schemes devised for millions of immortal beings, incapable of self-care, throwing supplies into the beleaguered for- and indisposed to industry and foresight, are provitress Mr. Lamon reported to be impractica- dentially committed to the hands of our Southern ble—an opinion which Major Anderson, also, This stupendous trust they cannot put
from them if they would. Emancipation, were it
was understood to entertain.
possible, would be rebellion against Providence, and destruction to the colored race in our land. We at the North rid ourselves of no responsibility by assuming an attitude of hostility to Slavery, and thus sundering the bonds of State fellowship; we only put it out of our power to do the good which both humanity and religion demand; should we not rather recognize the Providence of God, in his placing such
a vast multitude of the degraded and dependent sons of Africa in this favored land, and cheerfully co-operate, by all needful labors and sacrifices, with
As showing something of the spirit of a very large and influential class of citizens of the North, at this juncture, we may mention the existence of a Society organized in New York under the presidency of Prof. Samuel
F. B. Morse. It represented
His benevolent design to save, and not to destroy them? Under a Providential dispensation, lifting them up from the degradation and miseries of indolence and vice, and exacting of them due and needful labor, they can certainly be trained and nurtured, as many have been, for the services and joys of heaven; and if the climate and institutions of the South are such that our fellow-citizens there can afford to take the onerous care of them, in return for their services, should we not gladly consent? the commercial interests They freely concede to us our conscientious convic more particularly--among tions, our rights, and all our privileges; should we its chief corporators being found the names not as freely concede to them theirs? Why should of several eminent merchants, while the New we contend? Why paralyze business, turn thouYork Journal of Commerce became its " or-sands of the industrious and worthy poor out of emgan." The society was called the "Amer-ployment, sunder the last ties of affection that can ican Society for promoting National Unity." | bind these States together, destroy our once pros It held its first session in New York, March perous and happy nation, and perhaps send multi6th, and put forth its plea in a "programme," tudes to premature graves-and all for what? Is which was a singular commixture of religion, not such a course a struggle of arrogant assumption politics and commerce-all directed against against the Providence of the Most High? and, “Abolitionism,” the great prime demoral- persisted in, will it not surely bring down his heavy and prolonged judgments upon us ?" izer and disorganizer. We may quote from this document as one of those "signs of the times" which indicated how cleverly commerce and religion could hob-nob with Satan, when he threatened to disturb their quiet and their profits:
“We believe that the time has come when such evil teachings (abolitionism) should be firmly and boldly confronted, not by the antagonisms of doubtful and perishable weapons, but by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever,' as expounded by a broad and faithful recognition of his moral and providential government over the world. It is with this view that we propose an organized effort, &c., &c. “Our attention will not be confined to Slavery, ply as one of the last religious efforts to
This religio-commercial enterprise did not, we may state, attract any particular attention, although strongly indorsed and sustained by that powerful organ of the Presbyterian (Old School) denomination, the New York Observer. The great tide of public feeling was sweeping insensibly onward, against the old barriers where property in man was intrenched; and those subservient servants who ordained the "American Society for promoting National Unity," by fighting the battles of the propagandists with Scriptural weapons, daily became less potential. We advert to the organization sim
The several reports of these messengers seemed to leave no alternative but the withdrawal of the little band from Charleston. The order for evacuation was hourly looked for by the country, as well as by Anderson himself. But, the days wore into weeks, and that order was not given. The interest in the garrison became hourly more painful. The crisis was approaching. The national pulse seemed to stand still for the word that was to declare the fate of the Republic.
GOV. PICKENS' MESSAGE OF CONGRATULATION.
ambition with fanaticism, they
The Governor complied with the resolu-
"I herewith transmit the ordinances and resolutions of the different States that have seceded, and would call attention to the obvious propriety of providing for them, together with our own ordinance on the same subject, some suitable place of safe deposit. They are the simple, but authentic records of events well calculated to produce a profound impression upon the future destiny of our country.
"Under our old articles of Confederation the Government had failed, and the Constitution of the United States grew out of the force of circumstances, and was adopted in order to secure, at that period, a more perfect union to enable us to resist foreign aggression. We have outgrown that state of things, and the danger lately was not from foreign aggression, but from internal corruption, and from an assumption in parts and majorities of absolute Governments over other parts, without reference to the limitations and reservations of the compact. Thus, that Constitution ran its career, and fulfilled its destiny, under the perverted and vitiated idea that we were a consolidated people. Under prejudices fostered by designing men, and under the worst passions inflamed by bad men, an absolute majority was created, who assumed that their will must necessarily be the Government, instead of the fixed principles of the Constitution, which were intended to guard the local rights and interests of the separate and independent communities which composed the Confederacy of States.
"Our State, true to the great principles upon which the Confederacy was formed, and true to those great and progressive ideas which were so identified with American Independence, was forced to resume her original powers of Government; and if she succeeds in engrafting the fundamental right of a separate and independent State to withdraw from any Confederacy that may be formed, whenever her people, in sovereign Convention assembled, shall so decide, then she will have made another advance in the science of Government, and added another guaranty to the great principle of civil liberty. And if this principle could be secured without an appeal to arms and blood, it would show that the country has progressed in civ
hé assumes control of all the military operations of your State, having reference to, or connected with, questions between your State and powers foreign to it. He also directs me to request you to communicate to the Department without delay, the quantity and character of arms and munitions of war which have been acquired from the United States, and which are now in the forts, arsenals, and navy-yards of your State, and all other arms and munitions which your State may desire to turn over and make chargeable to this Government."
"Heretofore in the history of the world, the great struggle has been to secure the personal rights of individuals. In former times the power of government absorbed all individual or personal rights of citizens. But our English ancestors, by their sturdy virtues, engrafted, at different periods, such grants and restrictions upon the British Constitution as effectually secured personal rights, and as far as that branch of liberty is involved, they made it as perfect as any other country.
“To secure the political rights of separate and independent communities, required a higher and broader range of political experience. The guarantees for personal rights in England was a great advance over the old feudal system of Europe; and it was then left to the separate States of America to develop a higher experience over a larger extent of territory, in those guarantees necessary to secure the local rights of separate independent communities, united under one common govern
"The old Constitution was intended to effect this advance in the science of Government, and if it had been properly administered, would have continued to develop the mighty resources and power of a wonderful people. But, under the combination of