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The Privateer Proc


Union Administration to terms. When the “ And I do further notify all

The Privateer Proo secret archives — if such archives, indeed, applicants aforesaid, that be. have been allowed to exist — of the peripa

fore any commission or Letter tetic Government of Jefferson Davis are ex

of Marque is issued to any vessel, the owner or ownplored, and the truth is told, it will, unques- will be required to give bond to the Confederate

ers thereof, and the commander for the time being, tionably, be found that the scheme of forcing States, with at least two responsible sureties, not the United States to accept the conditions interested in such vessel, in the penal sum of five of settlement proposed by the South, was

thousand dollars; or if such vessel be provided with matured months before the attack on Sumter, more than one hundred and fifty men, then in the and only awaited some act on the part of the penal sum of ten thousand dollars, with condition Washington authorities, to excuse to their that the owners, officers, and crew who shall be people the final appeal to arms.

employed on board such commissioned vessel, shall The Confederate Gov- observe the laws of these Confederate States, and Davis' Second Levy. ernment made a second the instructions given to them for the regulation of

levy upon

the Seceded their conduct. That they shall satisfy all damages States for troops, April 16th, calling for done contrary to the tenor thereof by such vessel thirty-two thousand men-thus giving, with during her commission, and deliver up the samo

when revoked by the President of the Confederate previous enlistments, a force equal to that

States. called into the field by the Federal author- “ And I do further specially enjoin on all persons ities.

holding offices, civil and military, under the author. April 17th, the Letters of Marque and Re-ity of the Confederate States, that they be vigilant prisal Proclamation was made public. It and zealous in discharging the duties incident there. read as follows:

to; and I do, moreover, solemnly exhort the good “Whereas, Abraham Lincoln, people of these Confederate States, as they love the President of the United their country, as they prize the blessings of free

States, has, by proclamation, government, as they feel the wrongs of the past, announced the intention of invading this Confed and these now threatened in aggravated form by eracy with an armed force, for the purpose of cap.

those whose enmity is more implacable because unturing its fortresses, and thereby subverting its in- provoked, that they exert themselves in preserving dependence, and subjecting the free people thereof

order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the auto the dominion of a foreign power; and whereas, it thority and efficacy of the laws, and in supporting has thus become the duty of this Government to re

and invigorating all the measures which may be pel the threatened invasion, and to defend the rights adopted for the common defense, and by which,

under the blessings of Divine Providence, we may and liberties of the people, by all the means which the laws of nations and the usages of civilized war. hope for a speedy, just, and honorable peace. fare place at his disposal :

“In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set “Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of

my hand, and caused the Seal of the Conthe Confederate States of America, do issue this my

federate States to be affixed, this seventeenth Proclamation, inviting all those who may desire, by

day of April, 1861. service in private armed vessels on the high seas,

“By the President, to aid this Government in resisting so wanton and

“ (Signed)

JEFFERSON DAVIS. wicked an aggression, to make application for com

“R. TOOMBS, Secretary of State." missions or Letters of Marque and Reprisal, to be This was expected by the enterprising issued under the Seal of these Confederate States.

spirits of the South. It was put forth to in· And I do further notify all persons applying for flict injury of magnitude upon the high seas' Letters of Marque, to make a statement in writing, commerce of the Northern States---conceivgiving the name and a suitable description of the

ing their commerce to be their most vulneracharacter, tonnage, and force of the vessel, and the

ble point. Leading journals in the South name and place of residence of each owner concerned therein, and the intended number of the crew, had often recurred to it as a certain step in and to sign said statement, and deliver the same to

event of hostilities. Although Souther the Secretary of State, or to the Collector of any men, from the time of John Randolph, had port of entry of these Confederate States, to be by characterized the “Yankees” as a race of him transmitted to the Secretary of State.

money-getters, and, in contrast, had exalted



Lincoln's Counter


Proclamation of

the patriotic, high-toned character of their ports within the States aforeown fellow-citizens, visions of suddenly said, in pursuance of the laws though dishonorably acquired wealth dazzled of the United States, and of the the Southern sight, and did not fail to render a laws of nations in such cases provided. For this pur. large class very hopeful and happy for the pose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent moment. It would offer matter for not very If, therefore, with a view to violate sach blockade,

entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. complimentary comment to quote the terms

a vessel shall approach, or shall attempt to leave of the various notes of commendation be any of the said ports, she will be duly warned by stowed by the secession press upon the Pri- the Commander of one of the blockading vessels, vateer Proclamation. The amendatory action who will indorse on her register the fact and dato of the Confederate Congress, which after- of such warning; and if the same vessel shall again ward affixed a price per capita on Union attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port, she men, live and dead, taken on the high seas, will be captured and sent to the nearest conven. will not enhance the good reputation of the ient port, for such proceedings against her and her men who promulgated the act, and the people cargo, as prize, as may be deemed advisable. who hoped to profit by it.

“ And I hereby proclaim and declare, that if any Lincoln's Counter But, all this dream of person, under the pretended authority of said States,

or under any other pretense, shall molest a vessel wealth to be had for the

of the United States, or the persons or cargo on Blockade and Piracy. mere“ seizing," was cut

board of her, such person will be held amenable to short by the Proclamation of Blockade, is- the laws of the United States for the prevention and sued April 19th, by the President of the punishment of piracy. United States. It was a checkmate to King By the President, ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Stork, even before the board could be opened: “ WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Sec. of State.

Whereas, an insurrection against the Govern. " WASHINGTON, April 19th, 1861.” ment of the United States has broken out in the No time was lost in enforcing this importStates of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, ant measure, though the paucity of vessels Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of available for purposes of blockade, rendered the United States for the collection of the revenue it a work of many months to seal up the recannot be efficiently executed therein, conformably bellious ports over the vast and intricate to that provision of the Constitution which requires coast line, stretching from Hampton Roads duties to be uniform throughout the United States:

to Brownsville. "And whereas, a combination of persons, engaged in snch insurrection, have threatened to grant pre- of this order of blockade,

Prior to the publication

On to Washington. tended leters of marque, to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and Virginia had plunged into .property of good citizens of the country lawfully the vortex of the revolution and stood arengaged in commerce on the high seas, and in rayed against the Union — thus directly waters of the United States:

menacing Washington. The Capital and “ And whereas, an Executive Proclamation has Government archives were in imminent danbeen already issued, requiring the persons engaged ger of seizure. Ben McCullough fitted back in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom, and forth between Richmond and Baltimore, calling out a militia force for the purpose of re- organizing his cut-throat brigade for the despressing the same, and convening Congress in

perate service. It became whispered abroad extraordinary session to deliberate and determine that Maryland was to “co-operate," and thus thereon :

the more effectually to isolate the District of “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, with a view to the same porsion of Virginia for its development. That

Columbia. The plot only awaited the secesposes before mentioned, and to the protection of the public peace, and the lives and property of such a scheme existed has been denied by quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful oc. some writers in the interest of secession; but cupations, until Congress shall have assembled and numerous evidences attest the existence and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or the maturity of the conspiracy for occupsuntil the same shall have ceased, have further ing Washington, there to inaugurate the deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the Montgomery Government, Departments and

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Congress--a coup-de-maitre time to try the difference between · Scott's tactics' On to Washington. which certainly would have and the Shanghae drill for quick movements. given the Southern move

“ Great cleansing and purification are needed and ment an alarming temporary ascendency. The will be given to that festering sink of iniquity, that cry at the South was—“On to Washington !” wallow of Lincoln and Scott--the desecrated Cits

of Washington; and many indeed will be the car. At once to illustrate the fact here stated,

casges of dogs and caitiffs that will blacken the air and to show the spirit in which the revolu

upon the gallows, before the great work is accomtionists saw proper to approach the subject, plished. So let it be." we may reproduce one of the almost number

The country was prepared less newspaper paragraphs designed to in- for the reply which Gover.

Virginia demanding flame the passions of their people. The


nor Letcher, of Virginia, Richmond Examiner, edited by John M.

returned to the President's call for troops. Daniels-Mr. Buchanan's charge to Turin--in

The Virginia Convention, still in session, had its issue of April 23d, contained this article :

accomplished nothing definite since the pro" THE CAPTURE OF WASHINGTON.

ceedings recorded in Chapter IV of this vol“ The capture of Washington City is perfectly within the power of Virginia and Maryland, if Vir

The dispatch of supplies to Sumter ginia will only make the effort by her constituted much strengthened the Secessionists in the authorities ; nor is there a single moment to lose. Convention, and the President was forth with The entire population pant for the onset; there called upon for explanations, by a resolution never was half the unanimity among the people adopted April 8th, appointing Wm. Ballard before, nor a tithe of the zeal, upon any subject, Preston, Alexander H. H. Stuart, and George that is now manifested to take Washington, and W. Randolph “ Commissioners” to wait upon drive from it every Black Republican who is a Mr. Lincoln. The Unionists and some of the dweller there.

Conservatives of the Convention, opposed the “ From the mountain tope and valleys to the resolution, as designed to precipitate secesshores of the sea, there is one wild shout of fierce sion, but they failed of a majority. The “Com. resolve to capture Washington City, at all and every missioners” called upon Mr. Lincoln, April human hazard. The filthy cage of unclean birds must and will assuredly be purified by fire. The 13th, presenting their resolution - which, people are determined upon it, and are clamorous with the President's patriotic reply, we for a leader to conduct them to the onslaught. here place on record : That leader will assuredly arise, aye, and that right

• To Hon. Messrs. PRESTON, speedily.

STUART, and RANDOLPH : Mr. Lincoln's Answer " It is not to be endured that this flight of Aboli

“GENTLEMEN : As a committion harpies shall come down from the black North tee of the Virginia Convention, now in session, you for their roosts in the heart of the South, to delile present me a preamble and resolution in these words: and brutalize the land. They come as our enemies “• Whereas, in the opinion of this Convention, the —they act as our most deadly fues—they promise uncertainty which prevails in the public mind as to us bloodshed and fire, and this is the only promise the policy which the Federal Executive intends to they have ever redeemned. The fanatical yell for pursue towards the Seceded States, is extremely the immediate subjugation of the whole South, is injurious to the industrial and commercial interests going up hourly from the united voices of all the of the country, tends to keep up an excitement North ; and for the purpose of making their work which is unfavorable to the adjustment of the pend. sure, they have determined to hold Washington City ing difficulties, and threatens a disturbance of the as the point from whence to carry on their brutal public peace ; therefore, warfare.

«6 Resolved, That a committee of three delegates “ Our people can take it--they will take it-and be appointed to wait on the President of the United Scott the arch-traitor, and Lincoln the Beast, com- States, present to him this preamble, and respectbined, cannot prevent it. The just indignation of fully ask him to communicate to this Convention the an outraged and deeply injured people will teach | policy which the Federal Executive intends to pur. the Illinois Ape to repeat his race and retrace his sue in regard to the Confederate States.' journey across the borders of the Free

“In answer I have to say, that having, at the be. still more rapidly than he came; and Scott, the ginning of my official term, expressed my intended traitor, will be given an opportnnity at the same policy as plainly as I was able, it is with deep re. VIRGINIA'S ORDINANCE OF SECESSION.




Letcher's Proclama


gret and mortification I now Governor Letcher replied ar Lincoln's Answer. learn there is great and inju- to the call for troops: “I

Governor Letcher's

Disloyalty. rious uncertainty in the public have only to say that the mind as to what that policy is, and what course 1 militia of Virginia will not be furnished to intend to pursue. Not having as yet seen occasion the powers at Washington for any such use to change, it is now my purpose to pursue the course

or purpose as they have in view. Your obmarked out in the Inaugural address. I commend a careful consideration of the whole document, as the ject is to subjugate the Southern States, and best expression I can give to my purposes. As I

a requisition made upon me for such an obthen and therein said, I now repeat, * The power ject—an object, in my judgment, not within confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and the purview of the Constitution or the Act possess property and places belonging to the Gov. of 1795—will not be complied with. You ernment, and to collect the duties and imports ; but have chosen to inauguratė civil war, and beyond what is necessary for these objects, there having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as will be no invasion, no using of force against or among determined as the Administration has exhibthe people anywhere.' By the words ' property and ited towards the South." This piece of places belonging to the Government,' I chiefly allude treason and threat only anticipated the Secesto the military posts and property which were in pos- sionists in their now hurried action. It assession of the Government when it came into my sumed an open antagonism to the Federal hands. But if, as now appears to be true, in pur- authorities—thus, at one sweep of the pen, suit of a purpose to drive the United States authority from these places, an unprovoked assault has virtually placing the State out of the Union, been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall hold myself at whether the people willed it or not. The liberty to repossess it, if I can, like places which following proclamation succeeded the answer bad been seized before the Government was de- to the Secretary of War : volved upon me; and in any event I shall, to the

Whereas, seven of the States best of my ability, repel force by force. In case it formerly composing a part of proves true that Fort Sumter has been assaulted, as the United States have, by auis reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the United States thority of their people, solemnly resumed the powers mails to be withdrawn from all the States which granted by them to the United States, and have framclaim to have seceded, believing that the commence.

ed a Constitution and organized a Government for ment of actual war against the Government justi-themselves, to which the people of those States are fies and possibly demands it. I scarcely need to yielding willing obedience, and have so notified the say that I consider the military posts and property President of the United States by all the formalities situated within the States which claim to have se incident to such action, and thereby become to the ceded, as yet belonging to the Government of the United States a separate, independent and foreign United States as much as they did before the sup. power; and whereas, the Constitution of the United posed secession. Whatever else I may do for the States has invested Congress with the sole power purpose, I shall not attempt to collect the duties

* to declare war,' and until such declaration is made, and imposts by any armed invasion of any part of the President has no authority to call for an extrathe country; not meaning by this, however, that I ordinary force to wage offensive war against any may not land a force deemed necessary to relieve a foreign Power ; and whereas, on the 15th instant, fort upon the border of the country. From the fact the President of the United States, in plain violation that I have quoted a part of the Inaugural address, of the Constitution, issued a proclamation calling for it inust not be inferred that I repudiate any other a force of seventy-five thousand men, to cause the part, the whole of which I reaffirm, except so far as laws of the United States to be duly executed over what I now say of the mails may be regarded as a a people who are no longer a part of the Union, and zodification."

in said proclamation threatens to exert this unusual This answer left no doubt as to the Presi- / force to compel obedience to his mandates ; and dent's mode of treatment of the Southern erup- jority approaching to entire unanimity, declared at its

whereas, the General Assembly of Virginia, by a mation, and the Commissioners returned home

last session, that the State of Virginia would consider to report tha:-—“Virginia's honor and inter- such an exertion of force as a virtual declaration of est alike demanded immediate secession,


war, to be resisted by all the power at the command a unity with the Confederate States in a

of Virginia; and subsequently the Convention now in common cause."

session, representing the sovereignty of this state,

of Secession

has reaffirmed in substance the same policy, with | not only to the injury of the almost equal unanimity; and whereas, the State of people of Virginia, but to the

Virginia's Ordinance Virginia deeply sympathizes with the Southern oppression of the Southern States in the wrongs they have suffered and in the Slaveholding States : position they have assumed, and having made earn- “Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do est efforts peaceably to compose the differences declare and ordain, that the ofdinance adopted by which have severed the Union, and having failed in the people of this state in Convention on the twentythat attempt, through this unwarranted act on the fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thoupart of the President; and it is believed that the in- sand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the fiuences which operate to produce this Proclama. Constitution of the United States of America was tion against the Seceded States will be brought to ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this bear upon this Commonwealth, if she should exer- State ratifying or adopting amendments to said Concise her undoubted right to resume the powers stitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that granted by her people, and it is due to the honor of the union between the State of Virginia and the Virginia that an improper exercise of force against other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is her people should be repelled; therefore, I, John hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is Letcher, Gorernor of the Commonwealth of Vir- in the full possession and exercise of all the rights ginia, have thought proper to order all armed vol- of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free unteer regiments or companies within the State and independent State. And they do further de. forth with to hold themselves in readiness for imme- clare that said Constitution of the United States of diate orders, and upon the reception of this Procla- America is no longer binding on any of the citizens mation to report to the Adjutant General of the of this State. State their organization and numbers, and prepare

“ This ordinance shall take effect and be an act themselves for efficient service. Such companies of this day, when ratified by a majority of the votes as are not armed and equipped will report that fact, of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken that they may be properly supplied.

thereon, on the fourth Thursday in May next, in " In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my pursuance of a schedule hereafter to be enacted. hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to

“Done in Convention in the city of Richmond, 03 be affixed, this 17th day of April, 1861, and in the the seventeenth day of April, in the year of our eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth.

Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, “ JOHN LETCHER."

and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth

of Virginia. Against this high-handed tyranny the

JNO. L. EUBANK, Unionists of the State were powerless; and

Secretary of Convention." under the pressure and terrorism of secession, Thus was consummated the long-labored. the Convention quickly went through the for withdrawal of the “Old Dominion” from farce of passing a Secession Ordinance, as the Union wherein it had for years shone as follows, viz. :

the first star, but in which it was rapidly AnOrdinance to repeal the rati- paling, owing to the ascendancy of the more Virginia's Ordinance

fication of the Constitution of vigorous and equitably governed Free States. of Secession.

the United States of America, To say the act was an usurpation and an outby the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution," which rage upon the people is to repeat what a passed the State Convention on the 17th of April

, large majority of the resident population and

land-owners sooner or later asseverated 1861:

what the action of the people of Western “ The people of Virginia, in the ratification of

Virginia in forming a new Government prothe Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention, on the 25th day of claimed; but, it was a step which would June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven

have been taken two months previously, had hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the it not been for the unflinching front presentpowers granted under the said Constitution were ed by the Unionists, (see page 245, Vol. I,] derived from the people of the United States, and who were, at the last hour, only overridden might be resumed whensoever the same should be by a system of terrorism, which forever must perverted to their injury and oppression, and the stain Virginia “chivalry” with the stigma of Federal Government having perverted said powers, | dishonor.

“ A true copy,

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