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[171] heavy tempest delayed the arrival of the expedition, and gave time to the commander of our forces at Charleston to ask and receive instructions of the government. Even then, under all the provocation incident to the contemptuous refusal to listen to our commissioners, and the treacherous course of the Government of the United States, I was sincerely anxious to avoid the effusion of blood, and directed a proposal to be made to the commander of Fort Sumter, who had avowed himself to be nearly out of provisions, that we would abstain from directing our fire on Fort Sumter if he would promise to not open fire on our forces unless first attacked. This proposal was refused. The conclusion was, that the design of the United States was to place the besieging force at Charleston between the simultaneous fire of the fleet. The fort should, of course, be at once reduced. This order was executed by Gen. Beauregard with skill and success, which were naturally to be expected from the well-known character of that gallant officer; and, although the bombardment lasted some thirty-three hours, our flag did not wave over the battered walls until after the appearance of the hostile fleet off Charleston.

Fortunately not a life was lost on our side, and we were gratified in being prepared. The necessity of an useless effusion of blood by the prudent caution of the officers who commanded the fleet, in abstaining from the evidently futile effort to enter the harbor for the relief of Major Anderson, was spared.

I refer to the report:of the Secretary of War, and the papers accompanying it, for further particulars of this brilliant affair.

In this connection I cannot refrain from a well-deserved tribute to the noble State, the eminently soldierly qualities of whose people were conspicuously displayed. The people of Charleston for months had been irritated by the spectacle of a fortress held within their principal harbor as a standing menace against their peace and independence — built in part with their own money — its custody confided with their long consent to an agent who held no power over them other than such as they had themselves delegated for their own benefit, intended to be used by that agent for their own protection against foreign attack. How it was held out with persistent tenacity as a means of offence against them by the very Government which they had established for their own protection, is well known. They had beleaguered it for months, and felt entire confidence in their power to capture it, yet yielded to the requirements of discipline, curbed their impatience, submitted without complaint to the unaccustomed hardships, labors and privations of a protracted siege, and when at length their patience was relieved by the signal for attack, and success had crowned their steady and gallant conduct, even in the very moment of triumph they evinced a chivalrous regard for the feelings of the brave but unfortunate officer who had been compelled to lower his flag.

All manifestations or exultations were checked in his presence. Their commanding general, with their cordial approval and the consent of his government, refrained from imposing any terms that would wound the sensibility of the commander of the fort. He was permitted to retire with the honors of war, to salute his flag, to depart freely with all his command, and was escorted to the vessel on which he embarked with the highest marks of respect from those against whom his guns had so recently been directed.

Not only does every event connected with the siege reflect the highest honor on South Carolina, but the forbearance of her people and of this government from making any harangue of a victory obtained under circumstances of such peculiar provocation, attest to the fullest extent the absence of any purpose beyond securing their own tranquillity, and the sincere desire to avoid the calamities of war.

Scarcely had the President of the United States received intelligence of the failure of the scheme which he had devised for the reinforcement of Fort Sumter, when he issued the declaration of war against this Confederacy, which has prompted me to convoke you. In this extraordinary production, that high functionary affects total ignorance of the existence of an independent government, which, possessing the entire and enthusiastic devotion of its people, is exercising its functions without question over seven sovereign States--over more than five millions of people — and over a territory whose area exceeds five hundred thousand square miles.

He terms sovereign States “combinations too powerful to be suppressed in the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law.”

He calls for an army of seventy-five thousand men to act as the posse comitatus in aid of the process of the courts of justice in States where no courts exist, whose mandates and decrees are not cheerfully obeyed and respected by a willing people.

He avows that the first service to be assigned to the forces which have been called out will not be to execute the processes of courts, but to capture forts and strongholds situated within the admitted limits of this Confederacy, and garrisoned by its troops, and declares that this effort is intended to maintain the perpetuity of popular government.

He concludes by commanding the persons composing the “combinations” aforesaid, to wit: the five millions of inhabitants of these States, to retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days.

Apparently contradictory as are the terms of this singular document, one point was unmistakably evident. The President of the United States calls for an army of 75,000 men, whose

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