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	Involving a Correct Prediction.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
during the past six years must have observed, an
indifference towards the Union, which the northern
mind finds it difficult to realize or credit.  I myself
heard it spoken of as  an experiment  as far back
as 1854, in Alabama, in Mississippi and in Louisiana,
and that, too, by wealthy, influential and so-called
conservative men.  They did not foresee this crisis,
but were so lukewarm nationally, that its possi-
bility involved what has now occurred.  So much
for the charge of precipitancy.
        IS THE STATE WEARY OF SECESSION?
  As to the impression that South Carolina is tired
of secession, observe:
  That, deducting Fort Sumter, it has been so far a
positive success, costing no more than inevitability
might have been counted upon, the cessation of
trade, the expense of military preparation.  Now I
do not assert that the merchants and marriedx men
of Charleston (on whom the loss has fallen most
heavily) are indifferent to impecuniosity, but I pos-
itively affirm that the majority of them are so iden-
tified with the universal conviction in favor of se-
cession, that they appear willing to pay even a
severer price for it, supposing that when a slave-
holding confederacy is established free trade will
make them ample amends.  This may be nonsense,
but they believe and act upon it.  Whatever secret 
misgivings exist, it is felt that the community has
gone too far to retract; risked all it has to risk;
and must march onwards, braving and accepting
consequences.  With five states to share its
fortune a number exceeding its hopes (it
would not have attained them but for the
sympathy excited by the asserted menace im-
plied in the occupation of Fort Sumter)  some
perhaps doubtful in feeling, but yet out of the
Union, South Carolina holds steadfastly to the
path she has chosen.  Charleston, which is to the
state what Paris is to France, has not suffered so 
sharply and directly as you in New York suppose.
For its size it is a rich city, populated almost ex-
clusively by two classes merchants, planters,
well-to-do people and negroes, slaves.  The inter-
mediate class of  poor whites,  which one hears
overmuch about in extreme Republican papers, is 
almost nominal.  There may be hardship, there is
no popular discontent, still less riot, and no starva-
tion.  And high and low, rich and poor, are irre-
vocably committed to secession.  The community,
essentially different from a New York one, is na-
tive born local in its affections and convictions; it
does not think and reason as we do hence the de-
plorable difficulty of effecting a right understand-
ing of what lies between us.  Talk to a South Caro-
linian of pecuniary loss in connection with this
revolution, he flashes out into a declaration that it
is a question of honor, of right and wrong, liberty

[Gunn s handwriting]
       x monied /

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
or slavery; he will spend his last dollar, shed his
last drop of blood in the cause, scorning from the
very depths of his soul all thought of profit and
loss.  We know he is miserably duped, of course 
that his Dulcinea is not the peerless creature he
fancies, but a hideous M gara, intrinsically fatal
and detestable; yet, I ask the blackest of black Re-
publicans if the delusion has not some redeeming,
nay, some noble features in its manifestation?
    PROBABILITY OF AN ATTACK ON FORT SUMTER.
  On the second head, the probability of an attack 
upon Fort Sumter, I might simply reiterate my
convictions as expressed in former letters.  The
Governor and better class of revolutionists yet cling
to the hope that it may be obtained by negotiation,
demand or purchase that the federal government
will  not be mad enough  to insist on retaining its
own property at the cost of certain civil war.  The
Rhett-Mercury party only a clique, mind, though
an influential one would prefer a fight, whatever
the result might be, for these reasons:
  The irretrievable committal of the seceded states
to hostility to the United States government.  They
could not allow South Carolina to oppose its arms
unaided, and blood once spilt, there would be no
possibility of withdrawal, of which, at present, there
is some doubt in the case of Georgia and Alabama.
The possibility that the border states might be
stimulated into sympathy, or their interests so ma-
terially effected as to compel their siding with the
South.
  A belief that a war is necessary to establish the
Southern Confederacy in the eyes of Europe.
  I need scarcely say that the troops, without
understanding or caring to understand the preced-
ing reasons, are all for assaulting Fort Sumter.
They think that the honor of their state demands
the pulling down of the stars and stripes, and, as
Wellington said of his young soldiers, will  rush
to death as to a dance  in the attempt.  It is very
possible that these words may excite a  pooh  or
 pshaw,  but the men are in earnest, and have
pluck enough to render any cause formidable.
  I infer, then, that if Fort Sumter cannot be ob-
tained peacefully, that it will be attempted martially,
directly the floating battery is finished.  It has its
sides completed, and will presently be floored.  The
negro carpenters do not work very industriously.
The third misapprehension I have involuntarity
answered in speaking of the first and second.
South Carolina may return to the Union after many
years  bitter experience, but not till then.
	POSITION OF THE STATE.
  The fourth question, I cannot pretend to discuss
elaborately.  Only South Carolina is regarded as
having courageously dared everything for a prin-
ciple, and those who know the South will under-
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen: page one hundred and eighty
Description:Includes a newspaper clipping written by Gunn for the ''Evening Post'' concerning pre-war events and attitudes in Charleston.
Date:1861-02-16
Subject:Business; Charleston mercury.; Civil War; Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; New York evening post.; Pickens, F.W.; Rhett, R.B.; Secession; Slavery
Coverage (City/State):Charleston, South Carolina; Alabama; Mississippi; Louisiana; Georgia
Scan Date:2010-05-20

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Fifteen
Description:Describes Gunn's experience as a correspondent for ""The New York Evening Post"" in Charleston, South Carolina, in the aftermath of South Carolina's secession from the federal government, including a conflict between A.H. Colt and Mr. Woodward, a visit to Sullivan's Island, John Mitchel's tale of assisting with the lynching of an abolitionist, attending a celebration in honor of Benjamin Mordecai, Will Waud's arrival in Charleston, the scene in Charleston the day the ''Star of the West'' was fired upon by the Morris Island battery, pistol and rifle practice with various Charlestonians, a rumor in New York about his having been tarred and feathered in Charleston, a visit to the quarters of the ''Richland Rifles,'' witnessing a slave auction, and a visit to Colonel Bull's home.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Publishers and publishing; Secession; Slavery; Slaves; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Charleston, South Carolina
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.