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[432] to state to Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford that he has no authority, nor is he at liberty, to recognize then as diplomatic agents, or hold correspondence or other communication with them.

Finally, the Secretary of State would observe that, although he has supposed that he might safely and with propriety have adopted these conclusions without making any reference of the subject to the Executive, yet, so strong has been his desire to practice entire directness, and to act in a spirit of perfect respect and candor toward Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, and that portion of the Union in whose name they present themselves before him, that he has cheerfully submitted this paper to the President, who coincides generally in the views it expresses, and sanctions the Secretary's decision declining official intercourse with Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford.

These memorable papers are too lucid to require or justify extended comment. The Commissioners, it will be seen, place the alleged Secession of the Cotton States expressly and exclusively on the true and proper ground--“the inherent right of every free people to change or reform their political institutions” --in other words, the Right of Revolution — thus precluding all discussion as to the pretended constitutional right, or reservation of right, to secede at will from the Union. But this position, however wisely and honorably taken, does not at all preclude the question which Mr. Lincoln was bound to ask, and, in some way, to answer--“What right have I, the fairly chosen Chief Magistrate of the Union--chosen, too, at an election wherein the seven States now alleged to have seceded fully participated — to recognize those States as a foreign nation, as independent of the remaining States as Russia or Peru? How will such recognition, and the action necessarily consequent thereon, accord with my solemn oath of office, and the weighty obligations it imposes? How with my duty to those loyal citizens of the United States who are also citizens or residents of the States which acknowledge Mr. Jefferson Davis as their political Chief?” To these questions, inevitably presenting themselves to every intelligent mind, Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford indicate no reply whatever. They represented a power which had declined cooperation with even a majority of the Slave States--which had not even considered the propriety of calling a National Convention--and which now proffered to the Union no compromise, no middle ground, but the naked alternative of “ Surrender or fight!”

Gov. Seward's reply, though pacific in temper, and evidently animated by a hope that hostilities may yet be avoided, is eminently frank and explicit. That the Executive could recognize Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford only as citizens of the United States, not as plenipotentiaries of an independent and foreign power — that the alleged secession and confederation of the seven States in question was not, and could not be, recognized by the Government as valid; their secession being impliedly, and their confederation expressly, forbidden by the Federal Constitution — that there could be no secession save through the agency of a National Convention, which those States had declined to invoke, and were now unwilling to submit to — that their alleged grievances could be redressed only through such Convention, or by the Congress of the United States, wherein the right of those States to an equal representation had been, and still was, unquestioned — and that the President had been consulted respecting, and fully

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