Foreign and Colonial NewsThe Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1071, pp. 71-72.
January 26, 1861
The latest advices from New York show no signs of reconciliation between the contending States. Indeed the breach is widening daily. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, have seceded, and, like South Carolina, constituted themselves into independent Republics. Virginia is preparing to adopt a similar course. The secessionists have taken possession of several of the forts in Louisiana, and the Federal troops have abandoned most of the forts in Pensacola. The New York State has offered the whole State force for the service of the general Government. President Buchanan's promised Message to Congress is said to throw the responsibility on that body, to whom he suggests the Missouri compromise. At the same time we are informed that Mr. Seward, the avowed enemy to all compromise, has accepted the post of Premier under Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Thompson, the Secretary of the Interior, has resigned. At Charleston the Star of the West, with reinforcements for Major Anderson, has been fired into by the South Carolinians. When the sloop of war Brooklyn arrives at Charleston it is supposed that a serious encounter will take place. The Congress has not hitherto hit on any plan for the adjustment of the dispute.
A Washington telegram of the 8th instant says:— "Mr. Thompson, the Secretary of the Interior, resigned to-day, on the ground that troops had been sent to Charleston by the steamer Star of the West, when, as he alleges, there was a distinct understanding on the 31st of December that none were to be ordered south without the decision of the Cabinet. Agents of Southern States continue to arrive for the purpose of purchasing arms. The Government for the present refuses to sell any to State or private parties. A number of the leading Secessionists here are urging upon Governor Hicks, of Maryland, and Letcher, of Virginia, the necessity of demanding of the President an immediate removal of United States' troops from Fort Washington. The armament of Fort Washington is in excellent condition, and preparations have been made for firing red-hot balls that will burn any vessel which may attempt to pass the forts for hostile purposes. The Naval Department has received information this morning that the revenue cutter Dophin, lying in Mobile harbour, has the United States' flag flying with the Union down, and the Palmetto flag flying at the mainmast. This act, on the part of those having the vessel in charge, is considered open revolution before the secession of the State of Alabama."
The 8th of January, being the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, was devoted to a great consumption of gunpowder all over the Union in honour of General Jackson's victory; and in most of the Northern States in honour also of Major Anderson's course at
Page 72Charleston. The occasion was also seized in the New York State Senate to pass a resolution to present a sword to Major Anderson. General Jackson's proclamation against nullification was also read, on the motion of Mr. Spinola.
A Washington despatch of the 8th states, upon reliable information, that Senator Cameron has declined a seat in Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet.
Two hundred men, with 130 horses, left Fort Leavenworth for Baltimore on the 7th.
The reinforcements sent to Fort Sumter consisted of 250 artillerists and marines, with ample supplies of provisions and arms, and were put on board the Star of the West in the Lower Bay, New York, at night, so as not to attract attention. Troops have been sent from Baltimore to Harper's Ferry to protect the arsenal.
A telegram from Washington of the 5th says that the committee of the Border States, including Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina, from the South, and New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, &c., from the North, had agreed upon propositions for an adjustment of pending difficulties, by amending the Constitution as follows:—
1. Recommending a repeal of all the Personal Liberty Eills [sic]. 2. That the Fugitive Slave Law be amended for the preventing of kidnapping, and so as to provide for the equalisation of the Commissioners' fee, &c. 3. That the Constitution be so amended as to prohibit any interference with slavery in any of the States where it now exists. 4. That the Congress shall not abolish slavery in the Southern dockyards, arsenals, &c., nor in the district of Columbia without the consent of Maryland and the consent of the inhabitants of the district, nor without compensation. 5. That Congress shall not interfere with the inter-State slave trade. 6. That there shall be a perpetual prohibition of the African slave trade. 7. That the line of 36 degress [sic] 30 minutes shall be run through all the existing territory of the United States; that in all north of that line slavery shall be prohibited, and that south of that line neither Congress nor the Territorial Legislature shall hereafter pass any law abolishing, prohibiting, or in any manner interfering with African slavery; and th t [sic] when any territory containing a sufficient population for one member o [sic] Congress in any area of 60,000 square miles shall apply for admission as a State, it shall be admitted, with or without slavery, as its Constitution may determine.
We read in a Washington letter:— "The compromise proposed by the Committee of Border States is not accepted by the South. The South will not consent to leaving the territories south of 36 deg. 30 min. to be free or slave as the people may elect, believing that, by leaving the question open, the scenes of Kansas will be revived, and the country overrun with anti-slavery people, through the agency of the Northern emigrant aid societies. They demand the unequivocal recognition by the North that slavery shall exist in territory south of the proposed line, until it shall be divided into States, when, in their sovereign capacity as States, they may alter or confirm their status in regard to slavery. In other words, all territory North shall be considered free, and all South slave, unless the people shall chose to change the condition after their Government shall be clothed with State authority."
It is said that Mr. Lincoln has authorised Mr. Seward and Thurlow Weed to agree to any compromise that "New York and Pennsylvania will stand upon."
We read in the New York Herald:— "A strong effort is being made to carry the proposition adopted by the Border State Committee through the two Houses of Congress. The Senate will undoubtedly adopt it, but it is believed that there may be found enough Secessionists to vote with the Republicans to defeat it in the House."
The Republican members of the House held a caucus on the 5th inst. upon the present state of affairs—Speaker Pennington in the chair. There was a full attendance.
Mr. Hale, of Pennsylvania, brought up the report from the Sub-Committee of the border States, who said that he believed the members of his committee representing the border Slave States would agree to his proposition that all the territory of the United States north of 36 deg. 30 min. should be free, and all south of that line to remain as it is, with liberty to the people to organise into States whenever they please, with or without slavery. He was of opinion that it might be better for the North to take this proposition than to precipitate the country into war. Mr. Howard, of Michigan, objected to any compromise. Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, speaking of the malcontents of the Slave States, and the proposed compromise of dividing the territory between freedom and slavery to the Pacific, said:- "There never was a more causeless revolt since Lucifer led his cohorts of apostate angels against the throne of God; but I never heard that the Almighty proposed to compromise the matter by allowing the rebels to kindle the fires of hell south of the celestial meridian of thirty-six thirty." This outburst created a deal of sensation and some movement. Mr. Sherman stated that, as a member of the Border Sub-Committee from the Border States, he could neither vote for the proposition proposed by Mr. Hale, nor that proposed by Mr. Crittenden, to restore the Missouri line and extend it to the Pacific. He was also opposed to the compromise to prevent the abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia. While he did not wish to abolish it now, he was opposed to yielding up the right of Congress to do so at any future period. Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, expressed himself decidedly opposed to all compromises. Messrs. Hickman and Stevens, of Pennsylvania, and Case, of Indiana, opposed all compromises in speeches couched in unmistakable language. The caucus unanimously agreed to press the business of the country in the House. Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, moved that no vote be taken on any of the propositions, and that the caucus adjourn sine die, which was carried. The caucus was fully attended, and was harmonious at the close against all compromise.
The Senators of those Southern States which had called Conventions met at Washington and adopted the following resolutions:—1st. We recommend to our States immediate secession. 2nd. We recommend holding a Convention at Montgomery, Alabama, on a day not later than the 15th of February, and establishing a Southern Confederacy. Another resolution was passed, considered confidential, but understood to pledge the Senators to remain at Washington, and defeat army and navy appropriations, and other bills, if proposed.
In Maine, Ohio, and Illinois there was a disposition to repeal or amend he [sic] Personal Liberty Bills, but in all the right of secession is denied. Governor Wood, of Illinois, said he spoke the sentiments of the whole population of the State in adopting the sentiments of President Jackson— "The Federal Union—it must be preserved."