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Doc. 174.-Jefferson Davis and Pope Pius IX.

Richmond, September 23, 1863.
Very venerable sovereign Pontiff: The letters which you have written to the clergy of New-Orleans and New-York have been communicated to me, and I have read with emotion the deep grief therein expressed for the ruin and devastation caused by the war which is now being waged by the United States against the States and people which have selected me as their President, and your orders to your clergy to exhort the people to peace and charity. I am deeply sensible of the Christian charity which has impelled you to this reiterated appeal to the clergy. It is for this reason that I fell it my duty to express personally, and in the name of the Confederate States, our gratitude for such sentiments of Christian good feeling and love, and to assure your Holiness that the People, threatened even on their own hearths with the most cruel oppression and terrible carnage, are desirous now, as they have always been, to see the end of this impious war; that we have addressed prayers to heaven for that issue which your Holiness now desires; that we desire none of our ememy's possessions, but that we fight merely to resist the devastation of our country and the shedding of our best blood, and to force them to let us live in peace under the protection of our own institutions and under our laws, which not only insure to every one the enjoyment of his temporal rights, but also the free exercise of his religion. I pray your Holiness to accept, on the part of myself and the people of the Confederate States, our sincere thanks for your efforts in favor of peace. May the Lord preserve the days of your Holiness and keep you under his divine protection.

Reply of the Pope.

illustrious and honorable President: Salutation. We have just received, with all suitable welcome, the persons sent by you to place in our hands your letter, dated twenty-third of September last. Not slight was the pleasure we experienced when we learned, from these persons and the letter, with what feelings of joy and gratitude you were animated, illustrious and honorable President, as soon as you were informed of our letters to our venerable brothers, John, Archbishop of New-York, and John, Archbishop of New-Orleans, dated the eighteenth of October of last year, and in which we have, with all our strength, excited and exhorted these venerable brothers that in their episcopal piety and solicitude they should endeavor, with the most ardent zeal, and in our name, to bring about the end of the fatal civil war which has broken out in those countries, in order that the American people may obtain peace and concord, and dwell charitably together. It is particularly agreeable to us to see that you, illustrious and honorable President, and your people, are animated with the same desires of peace and tranquillity which we have [510] in our letters inculcated upon our venerable brothers. May it please God at the same time to make the other peoples of America and their rulers, reflecting seriously how terrible is civil war, and what calamities it engenders, listen to the inspirations of a calmer spirit, and adopt resolutely the part of peace. As for us, we shall not cease to offer up the most fervent prayers to God Almighty that he may pour out upon all the peoples of America the spirit of peace and charity, and that he will stop the great evils which afflict them. We, at the same time, beseech the God of mercy and pity to shed abroad upon you the light of his grace, and attach you to us by a perfect friendship.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, the third of December, in the year of our Lord 1863, of our Pontificate 18.

Pius IX.

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