The news of the fall of Fort Sumter has been received at the North more with astonishment than any other feeling. Every mind is full of questions. Has the administration been in earnest in this first strangely disastrous battle? If the fort was to be reinforced, why was not the attempt made? With the facts before us we cannot believe that Mr. Lincoln intended that Sumter should be held. More than a month ago the report first came that the fort was to be evacuated, and that such was for a time the purpose of the government, will scarcely be denied. The declaration of this policy was received with ill-concealed disfavor by the radical Republicans. The leaders of the party were, for the most part, inclined to take a war attitude against rebellion. The affair at Fort Sumter, it seems to us, has been planned as a means by which the war feeling at the North should be intensified, and the administration thus receive popular support for its policy. We are inclined to believe the dispatch which says that when the news of the surrender was communicated to the President, “he was not surprised, but remarked, ‘The supply vessels could not reach him.'” If the armament which lay outside the harbor, while the fort was being battered to pieces, had been designed for the relief of Major Anderson, it certainly would have made a show of fulfilling its mission. But it seems plain to us that no such design was had. The administration, virtually, to use a homely illustration, stood at Sumter like a boy with a chip on his shoulder, daring his antagonist to knock it off. The Carolinians have knocked off the chip. War is inaugurated, and the design of the administration is accomplished, for while the North is aroused with just indignation, and is entirely ready to “take up arms against the sea of troubles,” the responsibility of the war rests with the rebels. It may have been that Major Anderson had an intimation of the mind of his superiors when he surrendered, but, at all events, wearied and famished, and with the ships sent to relieve him, floating at spy-glass distance outside, he could have clone nothing more than he did.

The whole country would have supported the President in using force, if need be, to supply the famishing garrison at Fort Sumter with food; but we have no evidence that the Administration attempted this. It might have been impossible for the vessels outside to come to Major Anderson’s relief; but we are inclined to the opinion that this was no part of their instructions.