Skedaddle — the e-journal
January 3, 1861
The Charleston Mercury
The Progress of the Revolution.
Every effort of the General Government to avert its dissolution, only hastens on its fate. Major ANDERSON abandons Fort Moultrie and garrisons Fort Sumter. The President approves and the Northern press praises the achievement. The New York EVENING POST even declares that this step to coercion raises the price of Stocks in New York. But what follows in the South, where the great game of disunion is going on? The people of South Carolina are made more resolute in their determination to throw off the Government. Our city is like an armed camp. Martial music fills the air. Offers of assistance come by thousands from the neighboring States. Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, Fort Johnson, and the United States Arsenal, are occupied with our troops. Disciplined companies are arriving by the railroad from the interior of the State. The Governor of Georgia seized the United States forts commanding the harbor of Savannah. The Georgia elections, with the voice of a tempest, sweeps before it the flying chaff of Unionism and fear, and proclaims that the Union must be dissolved. In a few more days Florida, Alabama and Mississippi will have cast off all political connection with the North, and all the fortresses on the Atlantic and in the Gulf, from Cape Fear to the Mississippi, will have the stars and stripes forever taken down from their flagstaffs. So works the threats of coercion of the South. And how is it at the North? Congress has been in session a month, and not a single measure of coercion has been proposed, much less passed, in Congress. The Black Republicans seem to be content to abuse the President as a traitor, because he does not enter upon the enterprise of conquering the South with one thousand men, being the whole force at his command from Boston to New Orleans. They know that the President is just as helpless as they are, to coerce the Southern States into the Union; and yet, they bray out their assinine abuse, with all the force of baffled hate and raging imbecility. Scheme after scheme, to keep the Union together, is formed, and bursts like bubbles on a fretful tide. Every day brings its proof of the steady progress of the Government of the United States to dissolution, and of the South to union, whilst every effort made to avert this inevitable drift of things, only accelerates them to their final consummation. Not to act is fatal and to act is more speedily fatal. So, why not at once acquiesce in the destiny of things—pitch the account book of the Union into the fire; and take down the new account book of a Southern Confederacy? Then, spread out its fair pages, for a glorious history of independence, prosperity, and liberty. As to the North, —let it go over to Canada—or break up into an Eastern, and Middle, and Western Confederacy—all inferior in power, wealth and civilization, to the great predominating Republic of the Slaveholding States of North America. Can they help themselves? We will see.
The Work Goes Bravely On.
We learn that 150 able bodied free colored men, of Charleston, yesterday offered their services gratuitously to the Governor, to hasten forward the important work of throwing up redoubts wherever needed along our coast.
Posts of Duty—Which?
In the military enthusiasm now pervading our city, it is difficult to keep young men who have responsible posts of business, in which the public are concerned, at their work. The rage for volunteering or active service is so great, that we, in the MERCURY office, have had the utmost difficulty in restraining our clerks, printers and employees, and keeping them in this branch of the public service. In vain, in some instances, have we urged the necessity of furnishing with promptitude and certainty the intelligence so eagerly sought by all, and making the moral fight so essential to the cause of the South in the world of ideas. Nothing but a place in the hosts of battle will suit their unreasoning ardor. Although thousands, whose duties at this juncture are not generally missed, are offering their services to the State, we find a strong inclination for stampede to the war. Under these circumstances, we must crave indulgence of the public for any shortcoming.
In addition to our own troubles, we learn, too, that the Postmaster is left in the same dilemma from the same cause, and that allowances must be made in the delivery of the mail.
New York Herald
The Crisis in Washington—The President’s Reply to the South Carolina Commissioners.
Mr. Buchanan’s administration is coming out of this fiery ordeal of revolution as fine gold from the furnace. His reply to the South Carolina Commissioners, as indicated in our Washington despatches, brings him forward in full relief as the man who rightly comprehends his position, his responsibilities and the expectations of the American people.
The three South Carolina Commissioners in question presented themselves to the President as ambassadors from a foreign government. Mr. Buchanan tells them that he can only recognize them as distinguished citizens of the United States from South Carolina. They demanded, as the first preliminary step to their contemplated negotiations, the withdrawal of the federal troops from the forts at Charleston. Mr. Buchanan tells them that he not only intends to collect the revenue and execute the federal laws in South Carolina as in other ports of the Union, but that he will defend the property of the federal government with all the power at his command. Thus, as Chief Magistrate of the United States, sworn to support the constitution thereof, Mr. Buchanan rises to the full standard of his official obligations to the country.
We are gratified that our confidence in him, as a statesman and a patriot, is thus vindicated before the world. Had he made his own well considered views and opinions upon public affairs the laws of his Cabinet from the beginning, it would have saved him a world of trouble. He should never have permitted his late Secretary of the Treasury, for instance, to urge upon Congress a tariff policy in direct conflict with that of the head of the government. If the unity of the Cabinet upon that subject demanded the removal of Mr. Cobb, he should have been removed at once. Mr. Floyd too, as Secretary of War, should have been dismissed upon the discovery that he had been dabbling in army transportation jobs and fort site speculations to the prejudice of the administration. Had Mr. Buchanan, resisting his own generous feelings, followed the examples of Gen. Jackson in this matter of a loyal Cabinet, even to the extent, if necessary, for the first year or two, of a new Cabinet every six months, there would have been no ministerial imbecilities and desertions and no astounding discoveries of frauds in the executive departments now in the hour of trial and danger.
But, returning to the main question, the inquiry naturally arises, does this ultimatum of Mr. Buchanan to South Carolina inaugurate a civil war? We hope not. The President desires to avoid an appeal to arms. He will seek, as he has sought by all available means of conciliation and forbearance, to preserve peace. The South Carolina Convention, on the receipt of his ultimatum to their Commissioners, may proceed to extreme measures. It is probable, however, that the strength of Fort Sumter will suggest the expediency of delay in that quarter, and that a vessel of war or two will be able to look after the federal revenues at Charleston, without any warlike collision with the local authorities. Under a rigid interpretation of the constitution, the President might proceed to the arrest, not only of the South Carolinians in occupation of federal property in a warlike attitude, but to the seizure of those three Commissioners, on charges of treason. The President, however, acting under the fraternal considerations of good will and reconciliation, will overlook everything in this business except the overt act of war against the United States.
We would therefore kindly admonish our fellow citizens of South Carolina to the exercise on their part of the saving virtues of reflection and forbearance. They may yet secure all that is necessary for their protection and safety, as a community, whether in or out of the Union, without war. On the other hand, a resort to war may be more disastrous to South Carolina, from her exposed situation, than to any other State of the Union. The people of that State, in common with our Southern brethren generally, have just causes of complaint against the ant-slavery spirit and power of the North. But there is a way of redress, even in the resort to secession, without resorting to war. Let all the Southern States, for instance, meet together in convention and adopt such amendments to the federal constitution as they may think indispensable to their future security and welfare, and upon this basis let them for a new Union. Let it at first be limited to the Southern States, but open to all the other States on the condition of the adoption by each of this new constitution, and we will answer for the best results. We believe that a Southern movement of this comprehensive character would soon bring the Central States and the Western States into a happy accord with the Southern States. The New England States might hold out, and the best thing that could be done with them would probably be to assist them in the experiment of a little Puritanical confederacy all to themselves. Despairing of any relief for the Union from this factious and incompetent Congress, and of any seasonable propositions in behalf of peace and harmony from the President elect—who seems to understand neither his position nor the condition of our public affairs—we present to the Southern States our proposition for a Southern National Convention, a new constitution, and a reconstruction of the Union upon a new Southern basis.
To this end we appeal to the local authorities and to the people of South Carolina to delay yet a little longer the ruinous alternative of the sword. There is a limit beyond which the President cannot forbear; he has indicated it. Let not that limit be hastily passed by those to whom it is addressed, if they would escape the sweeping disasters of civil war.
Diary of a Yankee in the Patent Office
by Horatio Nelson Taft
THURSDAY 3 —The affairs of the Country appear so desperate that the subject engrosses the attention of all men in all places. Public questions are discussed in my room at the patent office full as much as applications for Patents. It is frequently asked what patents will be worth if the Union is dissolved. But applications continue to be made from both north and south, altho there is something of a falling off. Tomorrow is the Fast day recommended by the Prest of the U.S. Offices closed.
hits since 10/14/2005; page created or modified
© 2005 Michael Goad—All rights