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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 055 [01-10-1861]

              47
	Letter to the �Evening Post.�

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
intended reinforcements to Major Anderson would
be incontinently subjugated or slaughtered by the
troops of South Carolina.*  And he read, at the
cost of a good deal of patience and some pushing,
the written echoes of these reports upon the Mer-
cury�s bulletin, and the milder, more truthful ones
of the Courier.
  It was within an hour of noon, (I may remark, in-
cidentally, of a bright, sunny, lovely morning, befit-
ting a New York May,) when very much had been
done in the way of marching and countermarching
on the part of military young South Carolina, both
horse and foot, and uniforms were yet conspicuous
in the streets, when that �denominated Broad ex-
perienced a new sensation.  This was Lieutenant
Hall, with a flag of truce and a message from
Major Anderson to Governor Pickens.  Rumor and
the mob went before, beside and behind him, leav-
ing a broad trail in the rear.  The first pronounced
him a captured officer from the supposed sunken
steamer, one charged with offering terms of sur-
render of Fort Sumter, a spy, Major Anderson
himself; and the second regarded him anxiously.
I overheard suggestions of lynching him.  But on
he marched, accompanied by some South Carolina
officials, looking neither to the right nor the left�
first, mistakenly, to the City Hall, thence to the
Governor�s residence on Meeting street.  Here he
remained for two and a half hours, the crowd await-
ing his appearance on the sunny street.  At 2 o�clock
a carriage and two aids of the Governor relieved
him from their further attentions.
  You are acquainted with Major Anderson�s mes-
sage and the Governor�s answer.  We did not know
either till towards sunset, hence we spent the in-
tervening space in conjecture  The correspond-
ence, communicated to the legislature in evening
session, had scarcely elicited a unanimous burst of
assent to the resolutions proposed by Mr. Mullins,
endorsing the Governor�s justification of the firing
into the Star of the West, when another message
from Major Anderson was placed before it, the more
pacific nature of which scarcely reached the public
ear till this morning.  So Major Ripley�s �practice
firing� at Fort Moultrie startled us into running
hither and thither, inquiring whether Major Ander-
son had, indeed, fulfilled his supposed threat of
cannonading that fortification, and Charleston went 
to bed in an unpleasant state of uncertainty as to
the circumstances which might attend her awaken-
ing.  As usual, occasional rockets soared into the
night air, suggestive of treacherous �blue light�
communication between Fort Sumter and sympa-
thizers with its gallant defender within the revolted
city, and so sleep came done on man and Wed-
nesday ended.

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
  To-day has passed but a dull day�a calm after a
little storm, but a treacherous one, ominous of a
greater.  We read in the newspapers of our yes-
terday�s achievements, duly glorified, of �who
fired the first shot,� and of Washington vacilla-
tions, which were considered pacific, though not of
that character implied by the text, �First PURE, then
peaceful.�  We even congratulated each other as
though those �fifteen or seventeen shots� had
achieved us a victory, unmindful or unregardful of
the echo they would create throughout the North.
We felicitated ourselves on the secession of Missis-
sippi, our first follower, and talked despitefully of
Alabama, whom we were all praising two days ago.
We spoke confidently of Louisiana, hoped that
North Carolina would emulate the example of
Georgia in taking her forts, execrated Tennessee,
and rather distrusted the action of Virginia, in spite
of the provocation of Harper�s Ferry.  And the
wind blew the dust about our quiet, sunny streets,
and the day wore on, rumor growing rife again to-
wards the evening.
  As I write now, it is asserted that the Brooklyn
has been despatched hither upon the same errand
as the Star of the West, but prepared for resist-
ance, and less confidently urged that the last-named
steamer will accompany her.  What had been be-
fore projected, the blockading of the only channel
by which she can approach, by the sinking of a ship,
has been certainly accomplished.  So to-morrow
may witness the recommencement of hostilities.
There is no possibility of withdrawal on the part of 
this people; they have sown the wind and must
reap the whirlwind, and it is upon them.
  A paragraph or so [word missing] to the normal aspect of re-
volution here, and I conclude.  All business has
ceased in Charleston, and there must be, unques-
tionably, great suffering among the poorer classes,
though we read nothing and say little about it.
That either the city or the revolution is in the hands
of a ruffian mob, who overawe the more decent por-
tion of the citizens and compel them to contribute
whatever they may choose to demand, is simply not
true, as yet.  We may very possibly grow to it.
We are none the less living under as complete a
reign of terror as that of the first French revolution.
It is all the more perfect from its extreme quiet-
ness, from there being but few outward indications
of it, though these are suggestive enough.  Suspi-
cion, as Thackeray wrote of snobbery in England,
is �in the air�; we breathe it and are part of it.
As in Fauquier Tinville�s time, we are all conjugat-
ing the verb, �I am suspected, thou are suspected,
he is suspected,� and with reason.  To be a South
Carolinian seems the only recognised guaranty of a
man�s political opinions; every northerner is dis-               
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