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ment in jails and penitentiaries of citizens of the Southern States who should No. 54. dare to ask aid of the officers of the law for the recovery of their pro- Conföd. perty. Emboldened by success, the theatre of agitation and aggression 20. April against the clearly expressed constitutional rights of the Southern States 1861. was transferred to the Congress ; Senators and representatives were sent to the common councils of the nation, whose chief title to this distinction consisted in the display of a spirit of ultra fanaticism, and whose business was not "to promote the general welfare or ensure domestic tranquillity,“ but to awaken the bitterest hatred against the citizens of sister States by violent denunciation of their institutions; the transaction of public affairs was impeded by repeated efforts to usurp powers not delegated by the constitution, for the purpose of impairing the security of property in slaves, and reducing those States which held slaves to a condition of inferiority. Finally, a great party was organized for the purpose of obtaining the administration of the government with the avowed object of using its power for the total exclusion of the slave States from all participation in the benefits of the public domain, acquired by all the States in common, whether by conquest or purchase; of surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited; of thus rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars. This party, thus organized, succeeded in the month of November last in the election of its candidate for the Presidency of the United States. | In the mean time, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States, and the increasing care and attention for the well being and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upwards of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent and civilized agricultural labourers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race, their labor had been 80 directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of the wilderness into cultivated lands, covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented from about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the constitution, to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar and tobacco, for the full developement and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was, and is, indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three fourths of the exports of the whole United States, and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized men. With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperilled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North to the adoption of some course of action to avert the danger with which they were openly

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No. 54. menaced. With this view, the Legislatures of the several States invited
Conföd. the people to select delegates to conventions to be held for the purpose of
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29. April determining for themselves what measures were, best adapted to meet so

alarming a crisis in their history. || Here it may be proper to observe that
from a period as early as 1798 there had existed in all of the States of
the Union a party, almost uninterruptedly in the majority, based upon the
creed that each State was, in the last resort, the sole judge as well of its
wrongs, as of the mode and measure of redress. Indeed, it is obvious,
that under the law of nations, this principle is an axiom as applied to the
relations of independent sovereign States such as those which had united
themselves under the constitutional compact. The democratic party of the
United States repeated in its successful canvass in 1856, the declaration made
in numerous previous political contests, that it would “faithfully abide by
and uphold the principles laid down in the Kentucky and Virginia resolu-
tions of 1798, and in the report of Mr. Madison to the Virginia Legislature
in 1799; and that it adopts those principles as constituting one of the main
foundations of its political creed.”. The principles thus emphatically an.
nounced embrace that to which I have already adverted—the right of each
State to judge of and redress the wrongs of which it complains. These
principles were maintained by overwhelming majorities of the people of all
the States of the Union at different elections, especially in the elections of
Mr. Jefferson in 1805, Mr. Madison in 1809, and Mr. Pierce in 1852. In
the exercise of a right so ancient, so well established, and so necessary
for self-preservation, the people of the Confederate States in their conven-
tions determined that the wrongs which they had suffered, and the evils
with which they were menaced, required that they should revoke the de-
legation of powers to the federal government which they had ratified in
their several conventions. They consequently passed ordinances resuming
all their rights as sovereign and independent States, and dissolved their
connection with the other States of the Union. Having done this they
proceeded to form a new compact amongst themselves, by new articles
of confederation, which have been also ratified by the conventions of the
several States, with an approach to unanimity far exceeding that of the
conventions which adopted the constitution of 1787. They have organized
their new government in all its departements; the functions of the executive,
legislative and judicial magistrates are performed in accordance with the
will of the people as displayed, not merely in a cheerful acquiescence, but
in the enthusiastic support of the government thus established by them-
selves; and but for the interference of the government of the United States
in this legitimate exercise of the right of a people to self-government, peace,
happiness and prosperity would now smile on our land. That peace is
ardently desired by this government and people, has been manifested in
every possible form. Scarce had you assembled in February last, when,
prior even to the inauguration of the Chief Magistrate you had elected, you
passed a resolution expressive of your desire for the appointment of com-
missioners to be sent to the government of the United States “for the pur-

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pose of negotiating friendly relations between that government and the Con- No. 54. federate States of America, and for the settlement of all questions of disagree. Confod. ment between the two governments upon principles of right, justice, equity 29. April and good faith.“ | It was my pleasure, as well as my duty, to co-operate with you in this work of peace. Indeed, in my address to you on taking the oath of office*), and before receiving from you the communication of this resolution I had said, „as a necessity, not a choice, we have resorted to the remedy of separation, and henceforth our energies must be directed to the conduct of our own affairs and the perpetuity of the confederacy which we have formed. If a just perception of mutual interest shall permit us peaceably to pursue our separate political career, my most earnest desire will have been fulfilled.“ | It was in furtherance of these accordant views of the Congress -and the Executive, that I made choice of three discreet, able and distinguished citizens, who repaired to Washington. Aided by their cordial co-operation, and that of the Secretary of State, every effort compatible with self-respect and the dignity of the confederacy was exhausted before I allowed myself to yield to the conviction that the government of the United States was determined to attempt the conquest of this people, and that our cherished hopes of peace were unattainable. On the arrival of our Commissioners in Washington, on the 5th of March, they postponed, at the suggestion of a friendly intermediary, doing more than giving informal notice of their arrival. This was done with a view to afford time to the President, who had just been inaugurated, for the discharge of other pressing official duties in the organization of his administration, before engaging his attention in the object of their mission. It was not until the 12th of the month that they officially addressed the Secretary of State, informing him of the purpose of their arrival, and stating in the language of their instructions their wish “to make to the government of the United States overtures for the opening of negotiations, assuring the government of the United States that the President, Congress and people of the Confederate States earnestly desire a peaceful solution of these great questions; that it is neither their interest nor their wish to make any demand which is not founded on strictest justice, nor do any act to injure their late confederates.“

To this communication no formal reply was received until the 8th April. During the interval the Commissioners had consented to waive all questions of form. With the firm resolve to avoid war if possible, they went so far, even, as to hold, during that long period, unofficial intercourse, through an intermediary, whose high position and character inspired the hope of success, and through whom constant assurances were received from the government of the United States of peaceful intentions; of the determination to evacuate Fort Sumter; and further, that no measure, changing the existing status prejudicially to the Confederate States, especially at Fort Pickens, was in contemplation, but that in the event of any change of intention on the subject, notice would be given to the Commissioners. The crooked

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No. 54. paths of diplomacy can scarcely furnish an example so wanting in courtesy, in Conföd. candor and directness as was the course of the United States government towards 29. April our Commissioners in Washington. For proof of this I refer to the annexed docu

ments marked —, taken in connection with further facts which I now proceed to relate: — Early in April the attention of the whole country, as well as that of our Commissioners, was attracted to extraordinary preparations for an extensive military and naval expedition in New York and other Northern ports. These preparations, commenced in secrecy, for an expedition whose destination was concealed, only became known when nearly completed, and on the 5th, 6th and 7th of April, transports and vessels of war, with troops, munitions and military supplies sailed from Northern ports bound southwards. Alarmed by so extraordinary a demonstration the Commissioners requested the delivery of an answer to their official communication of the 12th March, and thereupon received, on the 8th April, a reply dated on the 15th of the previous month, from which it appears that, during the whole interval, whilst the Commissioners were receiving assurances calculated to inspire hopes of the success of their mission, the Secretary of State and the President of the United States had already determined to hold no intercourse with them whatever; to refuse even to listen to any proposals they had to make, and had profited by the delay created by their own assurances, in order to prepare secretly the means for effective hostile operations. That these assurances were given, has been virtually confessed by the government of the United States by its sending a messenger to Charleston, to give notice of its purpose to use force, if opposed in its intention of supplying Fort Sumter. No more striking proof of the absence of good faith in the conduct of the government of the United States towards this confederacy can be required than is contained in the circumstances which accompanied this notice. According to the usual course of navigation the vessels composing the expedition designed for the relief of Fort Sumter, might be expected to reach Charleston harbor on the 9th April; yet with our Commissioners actually in Washington, detained under assurances that notice should be given of any military movement, the notice was not addressed to them, but a messenger was sent to Charleston to give the notice to the Governor of South Carolina, and the notice was so given at a late hour on the 8th April, the eve of the very day on which the fleet might be expected to arrive. That this manœuvre failed in its purpose was not the fault of those who contrived it. A heavy tempest delayed the arrival of the expedition and gave time to the commander of our forces at Charleston to ask and receive the instructions of this government. Even then, under all the provocation incident to the contemptuous refusal to listen to our Commissioners, and the tortuous course of the government of the United States, I was sincerely anxious to avoid the effusion of blood, and directed a proposal to be made to the commander of Fort Sumter, who had avowed himself to be nearly out of provisions, that we would abstain from directing our fire on Fort Sumter if he would promise not to open fire on our forces unless first attacked. This proposal was refused, and the conclusion was

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reached that the design of the United States was to place the besieging No. 54. force at Charleston between the simultaneous fire of the fleet and the fort. Conföd. There remained, therefore, no alternative but to direct that the fort should 29. April at once be reduced. This order was executed by General Beauregard, 1861. with the skill and success which were naturally to be expected from the well known character of that gallant officer, and although the bombardment lasted but thirty-three hours, our flag did not waive over its battered walls, until after the appearance of the hostile fleet off Charleston. Fortunately, not a life was lost on our side, and we were gratified in being spared the necessity of a useless effusion of blood by the prudent caution of the officers who commanded the fleet, in abstaining from the evidently futile effort to enter the harbor for the relief of Major Anderson. I refer to the report of the Secretary of War and the papers which accompany it for further details of this brilliant affair. | In this connection I cannot refrain from a well deserved tribute to the noble State, the eminent soldierly qualities of whose people were so conspicuously displayed in the port of Charleston. For months they had been irritated by the spectacle of a fortress held within their principal harbor, as a standing menace against their peace and independence. Built in part with their own money, its eustody confided with their own consent to an agent who held no power over them other than such as they had themselves delegated for their own benefit, intended to be used by that agent for their own protection against foreign attack, they saw it held with persistent tenacity as a means of offence against them by the very government which they had established for their protection. They had beleaguered it for inonths — felt entire confidence in their power to capture it yet yielded to the requirements of discipline, curbed their impatience, submitted without complaint to the unaccustomed hardships, labors and privations of a protracted siege ; and when at length their patience was rewarded by the signal for attack, and success had crowned their steady and gallant conduct - even in the very moment of triumph they evinced a chivalrous regard for the feelings of the brave but unfortunate officer who had been compelled to lower his flag. All manifestations of exultation were checked in his presence. Their commanding general, with their cordial approval and the consent of his government, refrained from imposing any terms that could wound the sensibilities of the commander of the fort. He was permitted to retire with the honors of war — to salute his flag, to depart freely with all his command, and was escorted to the vessel in which he embarked with the highest marks of respect from those against whom his guns had been so recently directed. Not only does every event connected with the siege reflect the highest honor on South Carolina, but the forbearance of her people and of this government from making any harsh use of a victory obtained under circumstances of such peculiar provocation, attest to the fullest extent the absence of any purpose beyond securing their own tranquillity, and the sincere desire to avoid the calamities of war. Scarcely had the President of the United States received intelli. gence of the failure of the scheme which he had devised for the reinforce.

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