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The Commissioner's Instructions.
the troops at that fort would not be allowed. This, therefore, became a state of hostility, in consequence of which the State of South Carolina was placed in a condition of defence. During the preparation for this purpose, an attempt was made to reenforce Fort Sumter and repelled.
"You are now instructed to proceed to Washington, and there, in the name of the Government of the State of South Carolina, inquire of the President of the United States, whether it was by his order that troops of the United States were sent into the harbor of Charleston to reenforce Fort Sumter; if he avows that order, you will then inquire, whether he asserts a right to introduce troops of the United States within the limits of this State, to occupy Fort Sumter; and you will, in case of his avowal, inform him that neither will be permitted; and either will be regarded as his declaration of war against the State of South Carolina.
"The Governor, to save life, and determined to omit no course of proceeding usual among civilized nations, previous to that condition of general hostilities which belongs to war; and not knowing under what order, or by what authority Fort Sumter is now held, demanded from Major Robert Anderson, now in command of that fort, its delivery to the State. That officer, in his reply, has referred the Governor to the Government of the United States at Washington. You will, therefore, demand from the President of the United States the withdrawal of the troops of the United States from that fort, and its delivery to the State of South Carolina.
"You are instructed not to allow any question of property claimed by the United States to embarrass the assertion of the political right of the State of South Carolina to the possession of Fort Sumter. The possession of that fort by the State is alone consistent with the dignity and safety of the State of South Carolina; but such possession is not inconsistent with a right to compensation in money in another Government, if it has against the State of South Carolina any just claim connected with that fort. But the possession of the fort cannot, in regard to the State of South Carolina, be compensated by any consideration of any kind from the Government of the United States, when the possession of it by the Government is invasive of the dignity and affects the safety of the State. That possession cannot become now a matter of discussion or negotiation. You will, therefore, require from the President of the United States a positive and distinct answer to your demand for the delivery of the fort. And you are further authorized to give the pledge of the State to adjust all matters which may be, and are, in their nature, susceptible of value in money, in the
The Commissioner's Instructious.
manner most usual, and upon the principles of equity and justice always recognized by independent nations, for the ascertainment of their relative rights and obligations in such matters.
"You are further instructed to say to the Presi dent of the United States, that the Governor regards the attempt of the President of the United States, if avowed, to continue the possession of Fort Sumter, as inevitably leading to a bloody issue; a ques tion which, in the judgment of the Governor, can have but one conclusion reconcilable with a due regard to the State of South Carolina, the welfare of the other States which now constitute the United States, and that humanity which teaches all men, but particularly those who, in authority, control the lives of others to regard a resort to arms as the last which should be considered.
"To shed their blood in defense of their rights is a duty which the citizens of the State of South Carolina fully recognize. And in such a cause, the Gov ernor, while deploring the stern necessity which may compel him to call for the sacrifice, will feel that his obligation to preserve inviolate the sacred rights of the State of South Carolina justify the sacrifice necessary to secure that end. The Governor does not desire to remind the President of the responsibilities which are upon him. "Respectfully,
"Your obedient servant, "A. G. MAGRATH. "To the Hon, I. W. HAYNE, Special Envoy from the State of South Carolina to the President of the United States."
Then followed, in the Charleston papers, letters from United States Senators Wigfall, Hemphill, Davis, Slidell, Benjamin and others, to the Hon. I. W. Hayne, requesting him to exert his influence to postpone an attack upon Fort Sumter. They also addressed a similar letter to the President, to which the following reply was made through the Secretary of War, Joseph Holt:
SECRETARY HOLT'S REPLY FOR THE PRESI
"WAR DEPARTMENT, January 22, 1861. "To the Hon. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, S. R. Mallory, and John Slidell:
"GENTLEMEN: The President has received your communication of the 19th instant, with the copy of a correspondence between yourselves and others, representing States which have already seceded from the United States, or will have done so before the first of February next,' and Colonel Isaac W.
Secretary Holt's Reply.
Hayne, of South Carolina, in | should, as far as she can consistently with her honor, behalf of the Government of avoid initiating hostilities between her and the Unithat State, in relation to Fort ted States, or any other power.' To initiate such Suinter; and you ask the President to take into hostilities against Fort Sumter, would, beyond quesconsideration the subject of that correspondence." tion, be an act of war against the United States. With this request he has complied, and has directed me to communicate his answer.
"In your letter to Col. Hayne of the 15th inst., you propose to him to defer the delivery of a message from the Governor of South Carolina to the President, with which he has been intrusted, for a few days, or until the President and Col. Hayne shall have considered the suggestions which you submit. It is unnecessary to refer specially to these suggestions, because the letter addressed to you by Col. Hayne, of the 17th inst., presents a clear and specific answer to them. In this he says: 'I am not clothed with power to make the arrangement you suggest; but provided you can get assurances, with which you are entirely satisfied, that no reenforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter in the interval, and that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina, I will refer your communication to the authorities of South Carolina, and, withholding the communication with which I am at present charged, will await further instructions.'
"From the beginning of the present unhappy troubles, the President has endeavored to perform his executive duties in such a manner as to preserve the peace of the country, and to prevent bloodshed. This is still his fixed purpose. You, therefore, do him no more than justice in stating that you have assurances (from his public messages, I presume,) that, notwithstanding the circumstances under which Major Anderson left Fort Moultrie, and entered Fort Sumter with the forces under his command, it was not taken, and is not held with any hostile or unfriendly purpose toward your State, but merely as property of the United States, which the Presi dent deems it his duty to protect and preserve; you have correctly stated what the President deems to be his duty. His sole object now is, and has been, to act strictly on the defensive, and to authorize no movement against the people of South Carolina, unless clearly justified by a hostile movement on their part. He could not have given a better proof of his desire to prevent the effusion of blood, than by forbearing to resort to the use of force, under the strong provocation of an attack (happily without a fatal result) on an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of the United States.
"I am happy to observe that, in your letter to Col. Hayne, you express the opinion, that it is especially due from South Carolina to our States, to say nothing of other Slaveholding States, that she
"In regard to the proposition of Col. Hayne,' that no reenforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter, in the interval, and that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina,' it is impossible for me to give you any such assurances. The President has no authority to enter into such an agreement or understanding. As an executive officer, he is simply bound to protect the public property, so far as this may be practicable; and it would be a manifest violation of his duty, either for an indefinite or a limited period. At the present moment, it is not deemed necessary to reenforce Major Anderson, because he makes no such request, and feels quite secure in his position.Should his safety, however, require reenforcements, every effort will be made to supply them.
"In regard to an assurance from the President 'that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina,' the answer will readily occur to yourselves. To Congress, and to Congress alone, belongs the power to make war, and it would be an act of usurpation for the Executive to give any assurance that Congress would not exercise this power, however strongly he may be convinced that no such intention exists.
"I am glad to be assured, from the letter of Colonel Hayne, that Major Anderson and his command do now obtain all necessary supplies, including fresh meat and vegetables, and, I believe, fuel and water from the city of Charleston, and do now enjoy communication, by post and special messenger, with the President, and will continue to do so, certainly, until the door to negotiation has been closed.' I trust that these facilities may still be afforded to Major Anderson. This is as it should be. Major Anderson is not menacing Charleston; and I am convinced that the happiest result which can be attained is, that both he and the authorities of South Carolina shall remain on their present amicable footing, neither party being bound by any obligations whatever, except the high Christian and moral duty to keep the peace, and avoid all causes of mu tual irritation.
have been received by Gov. Yates from the Governors of New York, Pennsylvania, and other Northern States, suggesting the propriety of joining in a Convention, to be held at Washington in February, to devise proper remedies for the adjustment of the present difficulties. The appointment of five Commissioners from each State is recommended. Gov. Yates has finally decided to join in the movement. In this, it is supposed, he has acted upon the advice of Mr. Lincoln."
The States, as stated, The Peace Congress. quite generally approved of the Virginia suggestions, and appointed Commissioners. The appointments made indicated that it would embody the most trusty and able men in each State, though, it is but stating a generally accepted opinion, little hopes were entertained of any thing being accomplished of a definitive or satisfactory nature.
South Carolina's Re
friendly motives which inspired the mission intrusted to the Hon. Judge Robertson, her Commissioner.
"Resolved unanimously, That this Assembly further owe it to the friendly relations with the State of Virginia, to declare that they have no confidence in the Federal Government of the United States; that been disregarded; that, under the pretence of prethe most solemn pledges of that Government have serving property, hostile troops have been attempted
to be introduced into one of the fortresses of this
State, concealed in the hold of a vessel of commerce, with a view to subjugate the people of South Carolina, and that ever since the authorities at Washing. ton have been informed of the present mediation of Virginia, a vessel of war has been sent to the South, with troops and munitions of war concentrated on the soil of Virginia. Adopted unanimously.
“Resolved unanimously, That in these circumstan ces this Assembly, with renewed assurance of cordial respect and esteem for the people of Virginia, and high consideration for her Commissioner, decline
entering into the negotiations proposed by both branches of the Virginia Legislature. Adopted unani
Much opposition was manifested, by some State Legislatures, in sending Commissioners jection of Virginia's (January 28th), to the pro-to the Congress. The Massachusetts legislaposition of Virginia was so characteristic that we may give it at length:- ted-the majority approving, the minoritz tors were divided, two reports being submit “Resolved unanimously, That the General Assem- disapproving, representation in the Congress. bly of South Carolina tender to the Legislature of Ohio instructed its deputation to vote for 3 the State of Virginia their acknowledgments of the postponement of the Congress to April 4th. Illinois, although, as stated, she resolved to send delegates, did not do so until after seve ral days of wordy dissension. The opposition arose from a disinclination to prosecute com. promise further, until after Mr. Lincoln's safe and peaceful inauguration. Her State pride was insulted to think that their fellow-citizen, constitutionally elected, should be compelled to submit to the indignities threatened. Governor Yates, as heartily as any one, wished for peace; but he preferred that it should not be dictated in opprobrious terms, nor in a spirit of intimidation. Mr. Lincoln, it was said, advised the sending of Commissioners, and they were sent. This advice did not commit him to compromise-he simply proved his willingness to have all means tried for effecting a settlement of National troubles. [See page 290.]
Resolved unanimously, That candor, which is due to the long continued sympathy and respect which have subsisted between Virginia and South Carolina, induces this Assembly to declare with frankness, that they do not deem it advisable to initiate negotiations when they have no desire or intention to promote the ultimate object in view-that object being, as declared in the resolution of the Virginia Legislature, the procurement of amendments or new guaranees to the Constitution of the United States. Adopted unanimously.
Resolved unanimously, That the separation of South Carolina from the Federal Union is final, and she has no further interest in the Constitution of the United States, and that the only appropriate negotiations between her and the Federal Government are as to their mutual relations as foreign States. Adopted unanimously.
PROCEEDINGS OF. CONGRESS CONTINUED. EIGHTH WEEK. IM. PORTANT AND EXCITING WEEK. WITHDRAWAL SPEECHES OF JEFFERSON DAVIS, YULEE, CLAY, ETC. CORWIN'S SPEECH IN SUPPORT OF HIS REPORT. SPEECHES OF BIGLER, CLEMENS, ETHERIDGE, NELSON, RUST, GILMER, AND OTHERS.
THE Session of the Senate for the 8th week (January 21-26,) opened with speeches from the withdrawing Senators, viz: Yulee and Mallory, of Florida; Clay and Fitzpatrick, of Alabama; and Davis, of Mississippi. Prior to this withdrawal, Mr. Hunter, of Virginia, asked to be excused from any further service on the Finance Committe, remarking that, in view of the withdrawal of Southern Senators, the majority would pass into the hands of their opponents; he therefore thought justice to himself and to the Senate required that he should be permitted to retire. His labors, as Chairman of that important Committee, had extended through a term of fifteen years. His ability, prudence and probity had rendered his country invaluable service. He was excused.
Mr. Polk, (Dem.,) of Missouri, then presented a petition of citizens of his State, whose signatures filled fifteen quires of foolscap paper. The roll was wrapped in the American flag, inscribed, "Love to the North, South, East and West." The petitioners asked the passage of the Crittenden resolu
It was laid on the table. Slidell, of Louisiana, moved that the Senate take up the message of the President in answer to his resolution in relation to his appointment of Acting Secretary of War.
He also offered a resolution as follows:
“ Resolved, That in the opinion of the Senate, the reasons given by the President, in his message, for
not communicating to the Senate at an early day the fact of his having appointed Joseph Holt Acting Sec
retary of War.
"Also resolved, That the grounds assumed by the President for making such an appointment during
of Florida, in Convention duly assembled, has seen fit to recall the powers delegated to the Union, and to assume the responsibility of separate Government. He was sure the people of Florida would never be insensible to the blessings and advantages of the Union when directed to the purpose of establishing justice, and domestic tranquillity, and safety. They would also hold in grateful memory the earlier history of the Union. But, they had decided that their civil and social safety were jeoparded by a longer continuance in the Union. Recent events had impressed them with the belief that there is no safety except in withdrawal. They would remember always the large array of noble spirits at the North, and their efforts to uphold the right. With grateful emotions and acknowledgements for the many courtesies he had enjoyed in this body, and with most cordial' wishes, he retired from their midst in cheerful, approving loyalty to his own State.
Mallory, of the same State, followed. Hc regretted, more than words could tell, the course of events which had compelled the disseverance of the Union. But one course had been left for the injured States to pur
sue--to withdraw from a Confederacy which had failed of its intent and great truths. He said: "Many difficulties will arise-among them, one which I am not ashamed to say I dread, that is civil war. But, whatever danger may come upon us, we are a united people. Yet I implore, I entreat, and pray you not to mistake the facts, and force us into war. The South will never submit to the last degradation of a constrained existence under a violated Constitution. We do not seek to conquer you, and we know you could never conquer us. But if, in a moment of pride and infatuation, you should imbrue your hands in our blood, there will be such a contest as was never seen before. In thus leaving the Senate to return to my own State, there to serve her with unfaltering head and heart, I am very happy to acknowledge ten thousand acts of courtesy and kindness which I have received from Senators on the opposite side, and which I shall remember through life, and to whom I am indebted for much which I shall not only cherish, but recall with pleasure. And, Sir, in parting on this side from true and tried friends, the noble representatives of the free people of the North, who are true to themselves-the noble champions of truth and justice-it is not strange that we should feel, that whatever the future may have in store for us, it will be brightened by the recollection of the loyalty and many acts of friendship which have characterized our intercourse, and which, in my judgment, will bind them to us by ties of kindness for ever."
Christian communication, because it could not endure what it styles the leprosy of Slavery. It refuses us permission to pass through the North with our property, in violation of the Constitution and the laws of Congress, designed to protect that property. It has refused us any share in the lands acquired mainly by our diplomacy, our blood, and our treasure. It has robbed us of our property, and refused restoration. It has refused to deliver up criminals against our laws, who fled to the North with our property, or with blood upon their hands, and it threatened us with punishment, and murdered Southern men who attempted the recovery of their property. It invaded the borders of Southern States, burned the dwellings and murdered the families. Habitual violators of the rights of humanity, they have exhausted all that human ingenuity can devise, and all that diabolical malice can invent, to heap indignity upon us, and make us a by-word, a hissing, and a scorn throughout the civilized world. Yet we bore all this for many years, and might have borne it many years longer, under the oft-repeated assurance and fondly cherished hope that these things were not the action and feeling of a majority, but a minority party. But the failure of these promises and our hopes have conclusively proved to us that there is no hope. The platform of the Republican party we regard as a declaration of war against the lives and institutions of the Southern people. It not only reproaches us as unchristian and heathenish, and imputes to us a sin and crime, but adds words insulting and hostile to our domestic tranquillity. In its declaration that our negroes are entitled to liberty and equality with white men, it is in spirit, if not in fact, a strong incitement to insurrec tion, arson, murder, and other crimes. And, to aggravate the insult, the same platform denies us equality with Northern white men or free negroes, and brands us as an inferior race. To cap the climax of insult to our feelings, and this menace to our
Ciay, of Alabama, then extended his ad- rights, this party nominated for the Presidency a vice to the Hall in the following terms:
"I rise to announce, for my colleague and myself, that the 'people of Alabama have adopted an Ordinance of Separation, and that they are all in favor of withdrawing from the Union. I wish it to be understood that this is the act of the people of Alabama, in taking this momentous step. It is nearly forty-two years since Alabama came into this Union. She entered it amid violence and excitement, caused by the hostility of the North against the institution of Slavery at the South. It is this same spirit of hostility at the North which has effected the secession of Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. It has denied
man who not only indorsed the platform, and prom. ised to enforce its principles, but disregards the judgments of your Courts, the obligations of your Constitution, and the requirements of his oath, by approving any bill to prohibit Slavery in the Territories of the United States. A large ma jority of the Northern people have declared their approval of the platform, and candidates of that party in the late election. It is the solemn verdict of the people of the North that the Slaveholding communities of the South are to be outlawed, and branded with ignominy, and consigned to execration and ultimate destruction. Sir, are we looked upon as more or less than men? Is it expected that we will or can exercise that God-like