Doc. 10.--Secretary Floyd to the President.
war Department, Dec. 29, 1860.Sir: On the morning of the 27th inst. I read the following paper to you in the presence of the Cabinet:
counsel Chamber, Executive mansion.I then considered the honor of the Administration pledged to maintain the troops in the position they occupied, for such had been the assurances given to the gentlemen of South Carolina who had a right to speak for her. South Carolina, on the other hand, gave reciprocal pledges that no force should be brought by them against the troops or against the property of the United States. The sole object of both parties in these reciprocal pledges was to prevent a collision and the effusion of blood, in the hope that some means might be found for a peaceful accommodation of the existing troubles, the two Houses of Congress having both raised Committees looking to that object. Thus affairs stood until the action of Major Anderson, taken unfortunately while the Commissioners were on their way to this capital on a peaceful mission looking to the avoidance of bloodshed, has complicated matters in the existing manner. Our refusal or even delay to place affairs back as they stood under our agreement, invites a collision and must inevitably inaugurate civil war. I cannot consent to be the agent of such calamity. I deeply regret that I feel myself under the necessity of tendering to you my resignation as Secretary of War, because I can no longer hold it under my convictions of patriotism, nor with honor, subjected as I am to a violation of solemn pledges and plighted faith. With the highest personal regard, I am most truly yours,Sir: It is evident now from the action of the Commander of Fort Moultrie, that the solemn pledges of the Government have been violated by Major Anderson. In my judgment but one remedy is now left us by which to vindicate our honor and prevent civil war. It is in vain now to hope for confidence on the part of the people of South Carolina in any further pledges as to the action of the military. One remedy is left, and that is to withdraw the garrison from the harbor of Charleston. I hope the President will allow me to make that order at once. This order, in my judgment, can alone prevent bloodshed and civil war. (Signed.)John B. Floyd, Secretary of War.
The President's reply.
Washington, Dec. 31, 1860.my dear Sir: I have received and accepted your resignation of the office of Secretary of War; and not wishing to impose upon you the task of performing its mere routine duties, which you have so kindly offered to do, I have authorized Postmaster-general Holt to administer the affairs of the Department until your successor shall be appointed. Yours, very respectfully,