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Text for Page 180 [02-16-1861]

	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.
  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?
  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
  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.
  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-               
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