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[3]

The third session of the provisional Congress commenced at Richmond on July 20, 1861, and ended on August 31st. At the previous session a resolution had been passed authorizing the President to cause the several executive departments, with the archives thereof, to be removed to Richmond at such time as he might determine prior to July 20th. In my message to the Congress of that date, the cause of removal was stated to be that the aggressive movements of the enemy required prompt, energetic action; that the accumulation of his forces on the Potomac sufficiently demonstrated that his first efforts were to be directed against Virginia, and from no point could necessary measures for her defense and protection be so effectively provided as from her own capital. My remarks to Congress at this session were confined to such important facts as had occurred during the recess, and to the matters connected with the public defense. ‘The odious features of the policy and purposes of the Government of the United States stood revealed; the recent grant of a half million of men and four hundred millions of dollars by their Congress, was a confession that their intention was a subjugation of the Southern States.’

The fact thus briefly presented in the message was established by the course pursued since the first advent to power of those who had come into possession of the sword and the purse of the Union. Not only by the legislation cited was the intent to make war for the purpose of subjugating the Southern states revealed, but also, and yet more significantly, was the purpose manifested in the evasion and final rejection of every proposition of the Southern states for a peaceful solution of the issues arising from secession.

Such extreme obstinacy was unnatural, unreasonable, and contrary to the general precedents of history, except those which resulted in civil war. This unfavorable indication was also observable in the original party of abolition. Its intolerance had a violence which neither truth nor justice nor religion could restrain, and it was transferred undiluted to their successors. The resistance to the demands of the states and persistence in aggressions upon them were the occasion of constant apprehensions and futile warnings of their suicidal tendency on the part of the statesmen of the period. For thirty years had patriotism and wisdom pointed to dissolution by this perverse uncharitableness. Had the North been contending for a principle only, there would have been a satisfactory settlement, not indeed by compromising the principle, but by adjusting the manner of its operation so that only good results should ensue. But when the contest is for supremacy on one side and self-defense

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