of the United States, and they set forth the objects of their attendance at Washington. They observe that seven States of the American Union, in exercise of a right inherent in every free people, have withdrawn, through conventions of their people, from the United States, reassumed the attributes of sovereign power, and formed a government of their own, and that those Confederate States now constitute an independent nation de facto and de jure, and possess a government perfect in all its parts and fully endowed with all the means of self-support. Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, in their aforesaid communication, thereupon proceeded to inform that, with a view to a speedy adjustment of all questions growing out of the political separation thus assumed, upon such terms of amity and good — will as the respective interests, geographical contiguity, and the future welfare of the supposed two nations might render necessary, they are instructed to make to the Government of the United States overtures for the opening of negotiations, assuring this Government that the President, Congress, and people of the Confederate States earnestly desire a peaceful solution of these great questions, and that it is neither their interest nor their wish to make any demand which is not founded in strictest justice, nor do any act to injure their late confederates. After making these statements, Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford close their communication, as they say, in obedience to the instructions of their Government, by requesting the Secretary of State to appoint as early a day as possible, in order that they may present to the President of the United States the credentials which they bear and the objects of the mission with which they are charged. The Secretary of State frankly confesses that he understands the events which have recently occurred, and the condition of political affairs which actually exists in the part of the Union to which his attention has thus been directed, very differently from the aspect in which they are presented by Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford. He sees in them, not a rightful and accomplished revolution and an independent nation, with an established government, but rather a perversion of a temporary and partisan excitement to the inconsiderate purposes of an unjustifiable and unconstitutional aggression upon the rights and the authority vested in the Federal Government, and hitherto benignly exercised, as from their very nature they always must be exercised, for the maintenance of the Union and the preservation of liberty, and the security, peace, welfare, happiness, and aggrandizement of the American People. The Secretary of State therefore avows to Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford that he looks patiently but confidently for the cure of evils which have resulted from proceedings so unnecessary, so unwise, so unusual, and so unnatural, not to irregular negotiations, having in view new and untried relations with agencies unknown to and acting in derogation of the Constitution and laws, but to regular and considerate action of the people of those States, in cooperation with their brethren in the other States, through the Congress of the United States, and such extraordinary Conventions, if there be any need thereof, as the Federal Constitution contemplates and authorizes to be assembled. It is, however, the purpose of the Secretary of State not to engage in any discussion of these subjects, but simply to set forth his reasons for declining to comply with the request of Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford. On the 4th of March inst., the newly elected President of the United States, in view of all the facts bearing upon the present question, assumed the executive Administration of the Government, first delivering, in accordance with an early, honored custom, an Inaugural Address to the people of the United States. The Secretary of State respectfully submits a copy of this address to Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford. A simple reference will be sufficient to satisfy those gentlemen that the Secretary of State, guided by the principles therein announced, is prevented altogether from admitting or assuming that the States referred to by them have, in law or in fact, withdrawn from the Federal Union, or that they could do so in the manner described by Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, or in any other manner than with the consent and concert of the people of the United States, to be given through a National Convention, to be assembled in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States. Of course, the Secretary of State cannot act upon the assumption, or in any way admit, that the so called Confederate States constitute a foreign Power, with whom diplomatic relations ought to be established. Under these circumstances, the Secretary of State, whose official duties are confined, subject to the direction of the President, to the conducting of the foreign relations of the country, and do not at all embrace domestic questions, or questions arising between the several States and the Federal Government, is unable to comply with the request of Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, to appoint a day on which they may present the evidences of their authority and the objects of their visit to the President of the United States. On the contrary, he is obliged
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
I. Our country .
V. The Convention and the Constitution .
Vi. Slavery under the Constitution .
Xii. Texas and her Annexation.
Xiv. The Wilmot Proviso.
Xvi. The era of Slave-hunting.
Xxi. The Presidential canvass of 1860 .
Xxiii. peace efforts at the North .
Xxiv. conciliation in Congress.
Xxv. Peace Democracy— peace Conference .
Xxvii. Ominous pause.
Xxxi. The forces in conflict.
Xxxii. West Virginia .
XXXIII . East Virginia — Bull Run .
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