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January 2, 1986     The Ponchatoula Times
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January 2, 1986
 

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JAMES BUCHANAN Copyright 1985 An Original History by Berrd Vincent McMahon THE PONCHATOULA TIMES, JANUARY 2. 1986, PAGE T "The bachelor President who granted a divorce to the North and S( Part Three in a Series After attending the inaugural of his successor, Abraham Lincoln, Buchanan returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where his home town folks gave him a rousing reception. Before retiring to his native city it should be pointed out the break with the South was not abrupt but came gradually only after a series of meeting with southern ladies and the registrations of Buchanan&apos;s cabinet appointees. There were compromise proposals, the chief of them were two: "Senator J.J. Crittenden of Kentucky Compromise" and the "Virginia Peace Convention." The senator proposed five "permanent" amendments to the Constitution: one protecting slavery in the states where it was legal: two sanctioniDg the domestic slave trade; three guaranteeing payments by the United States for escaped slaves: fourth, forbidding Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia without the consent of Virginia and Maryland: and fifth, reviving the Missouri Compromise Line. The Virginina Peace Convention (1861) with representatives from 33 states who after a month of deliberations rubber stamped the Crittenden Compromise. On Dec. 8, 1860 the South Carolina congressional delegation called on Buchanan. Object: to avoid bloodshed before a South Carolina secession. After that the new nation of South Carolina would send their delegates to negotiate future diplomatic and trade treaties with the U.S. "Put it in writing," Buchanan said "Will you use force, they queried. 1 will obey the laws," he said. (question: What laws?). The same day Howell Cobb, Secretary of Treasury, resigned, stunning Buchanan as Cobb was the Southern anchor man in his cabinet. On Dec. l0 the South Carolina congressional delegations returned, asking Buchanan to pledge that Fort Sumpter would not be reinforced, particularly from the Fort Moultrie Garrison, the pledge to be put in writing. Buchanan refused. Michigan's Cass (Secretary of State) came in the next day demanding Buchanan reinforce the Charleston Forts. He refused. Cass resigned. Shortly after two Southern senators, Gwin and Slidell, came into the White House and demanded that Buchanan pledge not to reinforce the Charleston Forts. On his refusal they too left in anger. Black was appointed Secretary of State and Edwin M. Stanton Attorney General. With these resignations the social season in Washington slammed to an abrupt halt. The gloom was lifted only by Buchanan's appeal for a day of prayer on Jan. 4, 1861, starting more grim jokes. General Scott showed and told Buchanan to reinforce the forts. "You're too late," the president told him. William Shakespeare put it best: "The times are out of joint." In the midst of this secession upheaval, in walks Secretary of Interior Jacob Thompson with a strange-request. He told President Buchanan that the State of Mississippi had appointed him their agent to visit North Carolina and there discuss the secession movement. In the ensuing uproar Buchanan lamely gave his approval, saying later he believed Thompson was going to prevent secession and not precipitate secession. Thompson told the North Carolinans that he was a cooperationist, meaning just wait till we all are ready and then we will jump together. To top it off William M. Browne, the editor of Washington Constitution, identified as a Buchanan news organ, came out for secession. Buchanan, under pressure, cancelled rich government's printing contracts with the paper. On Dec, 17, 1860 Greeley's New York Tribune headlined "The President is insane." " Here is a true sounding story, right out of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With The Wind": While attending a Washington wedding reception on Dec. 20, 1860 the President, about to kiss the beautiful bride, was startled by a wolf cry from the top of the stair case. This shriek started the dogs howling for blocks around, it later became known as "the rebel yell". It was Lawrence Kitt doing a war dance and waving a telegram above his head "Thank God! Oh. thank God!" he yelled. South Carolina has seceded Here's the telegram." Buchanan, with the bride still clasped in his arms, was heard to say with a quizzical look on his face, "They did?" Returning to the White House he was handed a telegram from South Carolina's (new) Governor Pickens confirming the news. This was followed up by a letter from the governor asking Buchanan to authorize him "to take possession of Fort Sumter immediately," demanding an instant reply. This alarmed Slidell, Jefferson Davis, Congressman Bonham and McQueen, who saw through the message of the letter, acknowledging from South Carolina that the federals had control of the forts. They telegraphed Pickens to withdraw the letter. Buchanan wrote, "If South Carolina should attack any of these forts, she will then become the assailant in a war against the United States." This was not sent because Pickens had withdrawn his letter. Captain Foster, an engineering officer, requisitioned muskets from the Charleston army arsenal, arousing the rage of tile citizens who thought Washing- ton ordered the shipment. South Carolina ordered the forts blockaded. Floyd, Secretary of War, ordered the return of the rifles and things quieted down. On Dec. 22. 1860 Floyd, whether willing or unwilling, was caught in a graft scandal involving army supply contractors. Buchanan asked Floyd to resign. He refused. In spite he ordered cannons from Pittsburgh mills to Texas forts unprepared for them. Pittsburgh armory employees and other citizens wired Buchanan who cancelled the shipment. Floyd on Christmas Day in an extremely agitated state was visited by a Southern senator, Wigfall, who managed during the hostilities to be in everyboy's way, with plans to kidnap President Buchanan and place Breckenridge in the presidency. Commissioners from South Carolina arrived in Washington to nego- tiate with the president and his cabinet and they both agreed to meet with them as "private gentlemen only." The meeting was scheduled for Dec. 27, 1860. The meeting was cancelled as the boys were caught with their pants down. Major Anderson a Kentuckian West Point graduate had spiked the guns at Moultre and in the middle of the night under the noses of the South Carolina militia transfered its garrison to Fort Sumpter. ( O with us! Years + Eve December 31st, 1985 9:30 p.m. till 1:30 a.m. $25 per The Blue Room cou.,e 0000CREOLE Tickets Available At B.Y.O L. Hoydde Building S, :tups" Ponchatoula Video Furnished The Ponchatoula Times 386-8974 AUCTION PONCHA TOULA A UCTION CO" NEW YEARS DAY 11 A.M. Secretary of War Floyd, who should have been fired by now, wired Anders'6%. returned it with the notation "this paper, just presented to the President. is of suct that he, Floyd, did not order this removal. Into the White House charged '"-character that he declines to receive it." The president was convinced ht Jefferson Davis. "Now. Mr. President, you are surrounded with blood and rpresented the great majority of peace loving Americans both North and Soutf dishonor on all sides." He was followed by Senators Hunter. Lane. Yulee. and Slidell. all demandinq that Anderson send the troops out of Sumpter. Buchanan for once did not give in to their threats. At the cabinet meeting Floyd demanded Anderson be ordered back to Fort Moultre other cabinet officers violently disagreed. Floyd resigned. A paper that has since disappeared from Buchanan to the South Carolina commissioners was the subject of a stormy cabinet meeting. The message was about to be sent to South Carolina on Dec. 30. 1860 but was not mailed when the president learned that Black. Stanton. and Holt would resign if it was sent. It has since been discovered that Buchanan was negotiating with President-elect Abraham Lincoln asking his backing for a constitutional convention on slavery. Buchanan was stalling for a day or two to hear from Lincoln. Lincoln. who was extremely mulish, refused to come to Washington and confer with Buchanan. December 10, 1860 Thurlow Weed journeyed to Springfield to confer with Lincoln. Before leaving Weed met with newly-appointed Secretary of State Seward in Lincoln's cabinet who was now fearful of war unless the issue could be, compromised. Wall Street had the jitters, as they were holding ].50 million in Southern bonds and stocks. A hurriedly called meeting was attended on "'The Street" by August Belmont, Samuel L.M. Barlow. Thurlow Weed. Judah P. Benjamin, Duff Green and others. All were seeking a compromise. In desperation Buchanan sent Duff Green to Springfield to sound out Lincoln on a constitutional convention on slavery. Friday Dec. 28. 1860 Green wired Buchanan quoting Lincoln: "The questions on the amendments to the Constitution and the question submitted by Mr. Crittenden belonged to the people and state in legislatures or conventions, and that he (Lincoln) would be inclined not only to acquiese, but to give full force to their will thus expressed." Lincoln told Green to call again the next morning and he would hand a written statement to be telegraphed to the president. Lincoln now got cold feet. telling Green the statement was sent to Senator Lyman Trumbel] of Illinois for his approval. Part of the statement pledged the Southern states to suspend all action for dismemberment of the Union" until the Lincoln administration had committed some act violating their rights. Buchanan now realized he would get no support from Lincoln, as Lincoln did not dare support a compromise action that would lose him the support of the Republican Party. Buchanan in an amended statement stated his intention was "'to defend Fort Sumter...against hostile attacks .from whatever quarter they may come." the infuriated South Carolina commissioners replied on Jan. 2. 1861 with such a violent blast the cabinet Springfield American Legion awards members [o service +_ The Tucker A. Greg,ire Ame,ica, l.eqi,,n P,,st and Auxiliary l.Jml 2,r ,,[ piuLlfield held their regulm m,,lthl', m',,linq Det 17 at the [.e|i,n ll,,me (',,mmandel Alex Pelf'u, ,,p,.,I,,l the l,,ild 111.'elill with [.egim ('haplain }eIHa,nin He',, qivinq rmw,r [,,r the ,,t,Isi,l rlhtd. k,,,|l (,ird,., w.,le lhell ',(I fr,,m l)a'.;J l.,'vitv .Jr and Edward M,nIm. al,,lu I vllll a lelh.,r [r, ml the Veh'r,u,s ll,,',pilal iI New ()rledlv. tle l,,t,d h,,,,l+ital.. I,,r New Years Ddv I)l",i]'ll Svke' also, Illellli{,lled that iI I'vblu,uv flie Unit will be h,,Idinq a k,adel ,,ch,,,,I ,,f instructi, ql fin its ,ne,,be,,, The (]n prize,, he the me,atilg t..ere W,,li hv Par Aubin. Anna ()d,,r. Ellel P,,che and Albertine Heltz. Witt i,, further hu,qles. l, discuss lhe Ineetitul was cl,,sed with prayer by ('h,l-flaiu Etlvl P,,che Members pr,, . ' theexchanqelChristmasgilt llhukin 9 lle P,,sl aml Unit fir theiY "' c,,nlrihuti(u l,, the welfare fund ,m" ('hrisha., fund Meher,hip awards were , .... lqt's't,t,.'(l lw Vwe C, mmander T,,n,, Sykes t,, tl,,e members wh, omlri buled t the P,st membership dive during his administratim. Th, ,se receiving the hmrs were: Mervin Bazile. Luby Martin. Adam Martin. Paul Bates. R(,berl Fayard. Alex Peth,,. ,Juni,,r Dix,,n. Joe Miller. Wayne Aubin. Ralph Wasc(,m. l.i,nel Ham,. Clarence Br,wn and I.(mis K,,leszar C,m]mander Peth( thet presented the [)eparlnerl Pins f()r membership. Th,se receiving the Gold Stars were I.ubv' Martin. Adam Martin. R,bert Favard. Paul Bates. Merviu Bazile. Benjamin Hess. ,Juniper Dixcm and Alex Petht. Thse receiving the Silver Stars were: Percy Pcche. Tommy Sykes and Lmis K, deszar. Special Cdr Bearer Pin were then presented t) Clayton Drurv. Clarence Br,)w'n. Adam Martin. AI l,rger,n. Nels,n Heltz. David C,,urtney. T,nv Ujvari. Jr,e ()d(,r and .l,e Miller. h was als,, decided by b,th groups m dmale a flag pole and flag t, a f,,ster h(,me in Albany. Auxiliary Presidenl Juliana Sykes tl'ien am,,unced t the, Legionnaires thdd |e ladies purchased a sign l be l',laced ,,n their newly acquired pr)perty ann,,uncing the future home of Post 258 i.egimnaires then donatect $2()(L()0 to the David Adams family fi,r m,,dical xpenses. The Commander and President then commended those c,n]mitlees fir their excellent w)rk ,n the Hamm(,nd State Sch,,,I Christmas party. ,Jacksm War H(,me Christmas Party and their participatim m the flat and parades. It was also, mentirmed to the group ,d the ttal success d bth parties at the scho,l and h role. With n further business m discu,s bth grcmps separated t hrdd their r   L  meetings. Auxiliary President .luli:m, S'kes pcned the ladies nleelii-ig The rlairi issue d business was the <Jdrnissim of tu,,'< new members Thc, se admitted to membership was Brigit Daniels and ,l,,sie M,,csary. It was also ann<,unced by the Juni(>r Activities Chairman l.,,uise Loper that the Junior Group d,nated $16500 worth of candy and purchase a decorated cake f(,r the Jacks(m War Hme Christmas Party She als,, tdd the group thal the duni,,r.,, w,uld be makinf4 tray fawcs for "Up With People" backs SLU football Fund raising by supporters who are saying "'Up With Football!" at SLU will get some help from the popular touring company "'Up With People." "Up With People is bringing its all new show. "Beat of the Future," to the Southeastern University Center at 7:30 p.m.. Jan 4-5 Spcmsored by Citizens National Bank with help from the Daily Star. WHMD-FM and WFPR-AM radio stations, the event is being staged as an athletic program fund-raiser. Tickets. availabk at all Citizens locations and Rosenblum's, are $7 fo adults, $6 for students and senior citizen.,,. Advance tickets ale $6 and $5. i I IlleetlflJg rt, tlt, sliil/ciIls tvert' i,, lhe r) nlt, ltlbClS pre-;eill who wanted no war and that he was torn between Radical Republicans an firebrand secessionists. There was no joy in the White House New Years Day January first 1861. On the same, South Carolina seized the lighthouse in Charleston Harbor, cu off the mail to Fort Sumpter. and banned ships flying the American Flag from th harbor. Buchanan told a White House visitor "'That nothing but the interposition of al wise providence could save our country that he had despaired of being able to anything himself." Reading in the newspapers of the departure of the Star of th West Secretary of Interior Thompson enraged resigned He was followed Secretary of Treasury Philip F. Thomas. The custom collector at Charleston resigned and Buchanan's replacement Peter Mclntire was refused confirmation by the Senate. On January 8, Buchanan sent Congress a special message with this key sentence." The right duty to use military force defensively against those who resist the federal officers.. and.. assail the property of the federal government is clear and undeniable." Th constitutional convention was introduced in the Senate and every Republ c senator voted it down. President Buchanan. a master diplomat, was now confronted with the problem of maintaining the status quo until the Lincoln administration was inaugurated The White House mail was flooded by letters from Southerners opposed to secession wishing to resolve their problems within the federal government. To Be Continued =;.,, 113 TfflS SASOI't GLADI3(SS, W WISF. YOU GOOD CHR. Tangi Finance Service 158 W. Pine St. Ponchatoula 386-3503' You are cordially invited to an evening of fine dining at Aw Shucks NEW YEARS EVE, December 3 1, 8 p.m.-3 a.m. featuring Barbecue Shrimp Beef Stroganoff Shrimp .Creole Filet M00gnon French Onion Soup Seafood Gumbo Cream of Cauliflower Soup Quiche Omelettes Fresh Fruit Pastries or if you prefer order from our regular menu AW SHUCKS , INC. 131 S. W. Railroad Ave. Ponehatoula, La. 70454 386-9579 llll