Extract from the Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge
December 30. Major Anderson has evacuated Fort Moultrie and retired to Fort Sumter. The palmetto flag floats over the Charleston Custom House. In short, they are in open rebellion. The President’s (Buchanan) message took the ground that every State might secede, as there was no law to prevent it, but that he was obliged by the Constitution to collect duties at the seaports and that the United States ports and arsenals should be protected. Now that South Carolina has begun the aggression, I hope he will chastise them instantly and severely. His enemies say he is a traitor and will do nothing. The Cabinet is breaking up. The credit of the Government is so poor that the bids for a Treasury loan of five millions ranged from seven per cent to thirty-six per cent. The Bank of Commerce in New York gets one million five hundred thousand at twelve per cent. It was left to Cobb as Secretary of the Treasury to begin paying off the United States debt at eighteen per cent premium and to go out of office with so little credit that the Government pays gladly twelve per cent per annum. During the week a fraud in the Indian funds of about one million was discovered. A clerk by the name of Baily sent bonds of different States to a large contractor, Russell by name, and took as security acceptances of the Secretary of War which Russell had received but which he could not negotiate. The guilty parties confessed.