284 Southern Historical Society Papers.
So as to the right of secession, the New York Tribune of Novem- ber Qth, 1860, said: " If the Cotton States shall decide that they can do better out of the Union than they can in it, we insist upon letting them go on in peace. The right to secede may be a revolu- tionary one, but exists nevertheless. Whenever a considerable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go out, we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it in. We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets."
The fleet, mentioned above, for the relief of Fort Sumter sailed about the 6th of April. When this was known a demand for the surrender of the fort was made by General Beauregard by direction of the Confederate authorities at Montgomery. This having been refused fire was opened on the fort on the morning of April i2th, and kept up until the I3th, when it capitulated without loss to either side.
It has been reiterated ad nauseam, and much stress laid upon the fact, that the Confederates fired the first gun, implying that they therefore were the aggressors in the war.
Very little thought will show the absurdity of this inference. Ac- cording to Constitutional History (Hallam): "The aggressor in a war (that is, he who begins it), is not he who first uses force, but he who first renders force necessary. ' '
If a man finds a trespasser or a burglar on his premises who re- fuses to leave when ordered off, he is hardly expected to wait to be attacked before proceeding to enforce his rights. The Federals persisted in holding and occupying a Confederate territory in de- fiance of all remonstrances and entreaties, and there was nothing left but to repel force by force. Let it ever be remembered that throughout the war from beginning to end, the people of the Con- federate States were merely defending themselves and resisting in- vasion, a wicked and cruel invasion unjust and without warrant.
The fall of Sumter produced the fiercest excitement throughout the North. Reason was thrown to the winds and it was determined, in the ridiculous jargon of those and later days, to subdue the re- bellion, as it was called, at any cost.
On the 1 5th of April, 1861, the following telegram was received at Raleigh from the War Department at Washington: