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THE CONFEDERATE ENVOYS TO GOV. SEWARD. 435

incompatible, that it was scarcely
possible that they should seriously
engage in a negotiation, much less
bring it to a happy issue.
happy issue. It was
much as if a plenipotentiary should
address the government to which he
was accredited in Greek, knowing no
other tongue, and his dispatch be
received and answered by one who
was equally ignorant of any language
but Choctaw. The only possible re-
sult of such diplomacy is a postpone-
ment of hostilities; and that seems,
in this case, to have been achieved:
for the Confederate envoys, in sha-
king from their feet the dust of
Washington and returning to their
own 'nation,' addressed, on the 9th
of April, a vituperative letter to Gov.
Seward, whereof all that is not mere
rhetoric, of a peculiarly Southern
stamp, or has not already been here-
in stated, is as follows:

"The undersigned clearly understand that you have declined to appoint a day to enable them to lay the objects of the mission with which they are charged before the President of the United States, because so to do would be to recognize the indepen

dence and separate nationality of the Con

federate States. This is the vein of thought that pervades the memorandum before us. The truth of history requires that it should distinctly appear upon the record that the undersigned did not ask the Government of the United States to recognize the independence of the Confederate States. They only asked an audience to adjust, in a spirit of amity and peace, the new relations springing from a manifest and accomplished revolution in the government of the late Federal Union. Your refusal to entertain these overtures for a peaceful solution, the active naval and military preparations of this Government, and a formal notice to the commanding general of the Confederate forces in the harbor of Charleston that the President intends to provision Fort Sumter, by forcible means, if necessary, are viewed by the undersigned, and can only be received by the world, as a declaration of war against the Confederate States; for the President of the United States knows that Fort Sumter cannot be provisioned without the effusion of blood.

The undersigned, in behalf of their Governthus thrown down to them; and, appealing ment and people, accept the gage of battle to God and the judgment of mankind for the righteousness of their cause, the people of erties to the last against this flagrant and open attempt at their subjugation to sectional power."

the Confederate States will defend their lib

As the world has not been gratified with a sight of the credentials and instructions of these gentlemen, it may be discourteous to assume that their eagerness to "accept the gage of battle" carried them beyond the strict limits of their powers and duties; but the subtile casuistry which enabled them to discriminate between a recognition of Confederate independence and an "audience to adjust the new relations springing from a manifest and accomplished revolution," might have secured to them fame and fortune in some more poetic and imaginative vocation.

As the Commissioners seem to apprehend that they would be charged with a lack of energy if it should be understood that they had allowed the Government of the United States

nearly four weeks wherein to decide between recognizing-or, if they choose, admitting and acting uponthe independence of the Confederate States, and an acceptance of the "gage of battle," it may be requisite to give one more extract from their valedictory, as follows:

"This delay was assented to for the express purpose of attaining the great end of the mission of the undersigned, to wit: a pacific solution of existing complications. The inference, deducible from the date of your memorandum, that the undersigned had, of their own volition and without cause, consented to this long hiatus in the grave duties with which they were charged, is therefore not consistent with a just exposition of the facts of the case. The intervening twenty-three days were employed in active unofficial efforts, the object of

which was to smooth the path to a pacific solution, the distinguished personage alluded to [Judge Campbell] cooperating with the undersigned; and every step of that effort is recorded in writing, and now in possession of the undersigned and of their Government. It was only when all these anxious efforts for peace had been exhausted, and it became

clear that Mr. Lincoln had determined to appeal to the sword to reduce the people of the Confederate States to the will of the section or party whose President he is, that the undersigned resumed the official negotiation temporarily suspended, and sent their secretary for a reply to their note of

March 12th."

But that the Confederacy was allowed, in no respect, to suffer by this brief breathing-spell mistakenly accorded by her plenipotentiaries to the Union-that the peace' which we enjoyed was of an equivocal and one-sided character-will appear, not only from the close investment of menaced Fort Sumter-with which no one was allowed to communicate, save by Gov. Pickens's gracious permission--but by the active, aggressive hostility to Federal authority manifested throughout the South, as evinced in the following order:

"HEAD-QUARTERS TROOPS CONFEDERATE STATES, NEAR PENSACOLA, FLA., March 18, 1861. "The Commanding General learns with surprise and regret that some of our citizens are engaged in the business of furnishing supplies of fuel, water, and provisions, to

the armed vessels of the United States now occupying a threatening appearance off this harbor.

"That no misunderstanding may exist upon this subject, it is announced to all concerned that this traffic is strictly forbidden; and all such supplies which may be captured in transit to said vessels, or to Fort Pickens,

will be confiscated.

"The more effectually to enforce this prohibition, no boat or vessel will be allowed to visit Fort Pickens, or any of the United States naval vessels, without special sanction.

"Col. John H. Forney, Acting InspectorGeneral, will organize an efficient Harbor Police for the enforcement of this order. "By command of Brigadier General

"BRAXTON BRAGG. "ROBERT C. WOOD, Jr., Ass't. Adj't.-Gen."

And, all through the seceded States, those Unionists who dared to indicate their devotion to the flag of their fathers were being treated with a still more active and positive illustration of Confederate amity than was accorded to the garrison of Sumter and the fleet off Pensacola.

Whether President Lincoln did or

did not, for some days after his inauguration, incline to the withdrawal of Major Anderson and his brave handful from closely beleaguered Sumter, is not certain. It is certain that great doubt and anxiety on this point pervaded the country. Some of the newspaper correspondents at Washington, who were very properly and keenly on the watch for the least indication of the Presidential purpose, telegraphed, quite confidently, on the 14th, that Sumter was to be peaceably evacuated; that Gen. Scott had given his opinion that this was a military necessity; that the fortress was so surrounded and enveloped by Confederate forts and batteries that it could not now be reënforced, nor even provisioned, save at an enormous and unjustifiable cost of human blood; so that there was no practical alternative to its abandon

ment.

The new Senate, which had been convened for the 4th by President Buchanan to act upon the nominations of his successor, remained sitting in Extra Session until the 28th; and its Democratic members-now reduced by Secession and by changes to a decided minority-urgently and pertinaciously demanded from the majority some declaration of the President's purpose. "Are we to have coërcion and civil war, or concession and peace?" was the burden of their

SENATOR DOUGLAS AGAINST COERCION.'

437

inquiries. Messrs. T. L. Clingman,' of | made "the Union, the Constitution,

North Carolina, Bayard, of Delaware, and Breckinridge, of Kentucky, who were all three close allies in the past of the Confederate chiefs, and two of them, since, open participants in the Rebellion, were prominent and pertinacious in pushing these inquiries; but Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, united in them, talking as if the President were at perfect liberty to enforce the laws or not, at his discretion, and as if his attempting to do it would render him responsible for lighting the flames of civil war. He distinctly advocated the surrender of the Southern fortresses; saying:

"We certainly cannot justify the holding of forts there, much less the recapturing of those which have been taken, unless we intend to reduce those States themselves into subjection. ***We cannot deny that there is a Southern Confederacy, de facto, in existence, with its capital at Montgomery. We may regret it. I regret it most profoundly; but I cannot deny the truth of the fact, painful and mortifying as it is.”

No Democrat in the Senate, and no organ of Democratic opinion out of the Senate, proffered an assurance or an exhortation to the President, tending to encourage and support him in upholding the integrity and enforcing the laws of the Union; and not Democrats only, but those who, in the late Presidential contest, had

'Mr. Clingman offered the following resolution:

"Resolved, That, in the opinion of the Senate, it is expedient that the President withdraw all Federal troops from the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana, and abstain from all attempts to collect revenue in these States."

Mr. Breckinridge finally offered the following resolution; action on which-together with that of Mr. Clingman-was precluded by the adjournment of the Senate:

"Resolved, That the Senate recommend and advise the removal of the United States troops from the limits of the Confederate States."

and the enforcement of the laws," their platform and their battle-cry, now spoke and acted precisely as would a community who, seeing their sheriff set forth to serve a precept upon a band of desperate law-breakers, were to ask him why he did not. desist from his aggressive project, and join them in preserving the peace. The Republicans of the Senate were either unable or unwilling to shed any additional light on the purposes of the Executive-the resolution in regard to them, offered by Mr. Douglas, being laid on the table by a party vote: Yeas 23; Nays 11. But, before the Senate adjourned, it was very generally understood-certainly among Republicans-that the Southern forts were not to be surrendered, and that the Union was to be maintained.

The month of March had nearly worn away prior to any outward manifestations, by the 'new lords' at Washington, of a firm resolve to discard the policy of indecision and inaction whereby their predecessors had permitted the Republic's strongholds, arms, munitions, and treasure, to be seized and turned against her by the plotters of Disunion. So late as the 21st of that month, the astute and

The New Orleans Bee, one of the most respectable of Southern journals, in its issue of March 10th, thus expressed the universal conviction of the Southrons that no fight could be educed from the North:

"The Black Republicans are a cowardly set, after all. They have not the courage of their own convictions. They tamper with their principles. Loathing Slavery, they are willing to incur almost any sacrifice rather than surrender the Border States. Appearances indicate their disposition even to forego the exquisite delight of sending armies and fleets to make war on the Confederate States, rather than run the risk of forfeiting the allegiance of the frontier Slave States. We see by this how hollow and perfidi

rarely over-sanguine Vice-President | might be deemed desirable acquisi

10

tions, Mr. Stephens spoke more guardedly, yet no less complacently, as was previously, seen."

This was by no means idle gasconade or vain-glorious presumption. Throughout the Free States, eminent and eager advocates of adhesion to the new Confederacy by those States— or so many of them as might hope to find acceptance-were widely heard and heeded. The New England States (except, possibly, Connecticut), it was agreed, need indulge no such hope their sins were past for

Stephens congratulated his hearers that their revolution had thus far been accomplished without shedding a drop of blood-that the fear of deadly collision with the Union they had renounced was nearly dispelled-that the Southern Confederacy had now a population considerably larger than that of the thirteen United Colonies that won their independence through a seven years' struggle with Great Britain-that its area was not only considerably larger than that of the United Colonies, but larger than that of both France and the Austrian Em-giveness, and their reprobation eterpire-larger than that of France, Spain, Portugal, and the British Isles altogether. He estimated the property of the Confederate States as worth Twenty-two Thousand Millions of Dollars; while the last Census makes that of the entire Union but Sixteen Thousand Millions-an understatement, doubtless. That the remaining Slave States would break away from the Union and join the Confederacy was regarded by him as a matter of course. "They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law." As to such others as

ous is their policy, and how inconsistent are their acts with their professions. The truth is, they abhor Slavery; but they are fully alive to the danger of losing their power and influence, should they drive Virginia and the other Border States out of the Union. They chafe, doubtless, at the hard necessity of permitting South Carolina and her sisters to escape from their thraldom; but it is a necessity, and they must, perforce, submit to it."

10 In his speech at Savannah, already quoted. 11 See pages 416-18.

12 The New York Herald of December 9, 1860, has a Washington dispatch of the 8th relative to a caucus of Southern Senators then being held at the Capitol, which said:

"The current of opinion seems to set strongly in favor of a reconstruction of the Union, without the New England States. The latter States

nal. So with the more 'fanatical' States of the North-West; so, perhaps, with Western New York and Northern Ohio. The remaining States and parts of States, it was assumed, might easily and wisely fit themselves for adhesion to, and acceptance by, the Southern Confederacy by expelling or suppressing all 'fanatics,' and adopting the Montgomery Constitution, thus legalizing slaveholding as well as slavehunting on their soil. Among those who were understood to urge such adhesion were Gov. Seymour, of New York, Judge Woodward and

are supposed to be so fanatical in their views as to render it impossible that there should be any peace under a government to which they were parties."

And Gov. Letcher, of Virginia, in his Message of January 7, 1861, after suggesting "that a commission, to consist of two of our most intelligent, discreet, and experienced statesmen," should bə appointed to visit the Legislatures of the Free States, to urge the repeal of the Personal Liberty bills which had been passed, said:

"In renewing the recommendation at this time, I annex a modification, and that is, that commissioners shall not be sent to either of the New England States. The occurrences of the last two months have satisfied me that New England Puritanism has no respect for human constitutions, and so little regard for the Union that they would not sacrifice their prejudices, or smother their resentments, to perpetuate it."

PROPOSED PRO-SLAVERY 'RECONSTRUCTION.'

439

Francis W. Hughes," of Pennsylva- | provement and blessing of both the

nia, Rodman M. Price," of New Jersey, etc., etc.

Kindred in idea, though diverse in its mode of operations, was an association organized at New York during this month, naming itself the "American Society for promoting National Unity," whereof Prof. Samuel F. B. Morse (of telegraphic fame and fortune) was made President, while The Journal of Commerce became its accredited organ. The cardinal idea

of this fraternity was the restoration and conservation of National Unity through the conversion of all dissidents to the faith that African Slavery is ordained by God, for the im

"For many years, Chairman of the Democratic State Committee.

"Formerly Representative in Congress from California; since, Democratic Governor of New Jersey. Gov. Price's letter to L. W. Burnett, Esq., of Newark, N. J., appeared in The Newark Mercury of April 4, 1861. He says:

"If we find that to remain with the North, separated from those who have, heretofore, consumed our manufactures, and given employment to a large portion of our labor, deprived of that reciprocity of trade which we have hitherto enjoyed, our Commerce will cease, European competition will be invited to Southern markets, our people be compelled to seek employment elsewhere, our State becoming depopulated and impoverished, thereby affecting our agricultural interest, which has not yet felt the crisis-commerce and manufactures being always first to feel political and financial embarrassments. But at last the blow will be felt by all; even now, the farmers' products are at ruinous prices at the West. These are the prospective results of remaining with the present Northern confederacy. Whereas, to join our destiny with the South will be to continue our trade and intercourse, our prosperity, progress, and happiness, uninterrupted, and perhaps in an augmented degree. Who is he that would advise New Jersey to pursue the path of desolation when one of prosperity is open before her, without any sacrifice of principle or honor, and without difficulty or danger; besides being the course and policy, in my judgment, most likely to reünite all the States under the glorious 'Stars and Stripes?'

"The action of our State will prove influential and, perhaps, potential, from our geographical position, upon the adjoining great States of Pennsylvania and New York; and I am confident that the people of those States, whose in

Whites and the Blacks. The programme of this society thus illustrates the bland, benignant piety wherein the movement was grounded:

"We believe that the time has come when

such evil teachings [Abolitionism] should be firmly and boldly confronted, not by the antagonisms of doubtful and perishable weapons, but by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,' as expounded by a broad and faithful recognition of His moral and providential government over the world. It is with this view that we propose an organized effort," etc., etc.

"Our attention will not be confined to Slavery; but this will be, at present, our main topic. Four millions of immortal beings, incapable of self-care, and indisposed to industry and foresight, are providentially committed to the hands of our Southern

terests are identical with our own to a considerable degree, will, when they elect, choose also to cast their lot with the South. And, after them, the Western and North-Western States will be found in the same balance, which would be, essentially, a reconstruction of the old Government. What is the difference whether we go to the South, or they come to us? I would rather be the magnanimous brother or friend, to hold out the hand of reconciliation, than he who, as magnanimously, receives the proffer.

"It takes little discernment to see that one policy will enrich us, and the other impoverish us. Knowing our rights and interests, we dare maintain them. The Delaware River only separates us from the State of Delaware for more than one hundred miles. A portion of our State extends south of Mason and Dixon's line, and south of Washington city. The Constitution made at Montgomery has many modifications and amendments desired by the people of this State, and none they would not prefer to disunion. We believe that Slavery is no sin; 'that the negro is not equal to the white man; that Slavery-subordination to the superior race -is his natural and normal condition;' still, we might desire some change in the Constitution, which time may effect; but, as a whole, it is, in my opinion, the only basis upon which the country can be saved; and, as the issue between the North and the South has been a practical one (the question of territorial rights was immaterial, and, practically, nothing to us), let us, then, save the country-let us do that which is most likely to reünite the States, speedily and peacefully."

Arguments nearly identical with the foregoing were used to like purpose by Gov. Seymour, of New York, but in private conversations only.

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