borders of South Carolina if an attempt was made to take it by force. Seeing very early that this question of property was a difficult and delicate one, you manifested a desire to settle it without collision. You did not reinforce the garrison in the harbor of Charleston. You removed a distinguished and veteran officer from the command of Fort Moultrie because he attempted to increase his supply of ammunition. You refused to send additional troops to the same garrison when applied for by the officer appointed to succeed him. You accepted the resignation of the oldest and most eminent member of your Cabinet, rather than allow the garrison to be strengthened. You compelled an officer stationed at Fort Sumter to return immediately to the arsenal forty muskets which he had taken to arm his men. You expressed not to one, but to many. of the most distinguished of our public characters, whose testimony will be placed upon the record whenever it is necessary, your anxiety for a peaceful termination of this controversy, and your willingness not to disturb the military status of the forts, if Commissioners should be sent to the Government, whose communications you promised to submit to Congress. You received and acted on assurances from the highest official authorities of South Carolina, that no attempt would be made to disturb your possession of the forts and property of the United States, if you would not disturb their existing condition until the Commissioners had been sent, and the attempt to negotiate had failed. You took from the members of the House of Representatives a written memorandum that no such attempt should be made, “provided that no reinforcements should be sent into those forts, and their relative military status shall remain as at present.” And although you attach no force to the acceptance of such a paper — although you “considered it as nothing more in effect than the promise of highly honorable gentlemen” --as an obligation on one side, without corresponding obligation on the other — it must be remembered (if we were rightly informed) that you were pledged, if you ever did send reinforcements, to return it to those from whom you had received it, before you executed your resolution. You sent orders to your officers, commanding them strictly to follow a line of conduct in conformity with such an understanding. Besides all this, you had received formal and official notice from the Governor of South Carolina that we had been appointed Commissioners, and were on our way to Washington. You knew the implied condition under which we came; our arrival was notified to you, and an hour appointed for an interview. We arrived in Washington on Wednesday, at 3 o'clock, and you appointed an interview with us at 1 the next day. Early on that day, (Thursday,) the news was received here of the movement of Major Anderson. That news was communicated to you immediately, and you postponed our meeting until 2 1/2 o'clock on Friday, in order that you might consult your Cabinet. On Friday we saw you, and we called upon you then to redeem your pledge. You could not deny it. With the facts we have stated, and in the face of the crowning and conclusive fact that your Secretary of War had resigned his seat in the Cabinet, upon the publicly avowed ground that the action of Major Anderson had violated the pledged faith of the Government, and that unless the pledge was instantly redeemed, he was dishonored, denial was impossible; you did not deny it. You do not deny it now, but you seek to escape from its obligation on the grounds, first, that we terminated all negotiation by demanding, as a preliminary, the withdrawal of the United States troops from the harbor of Charleston ; and, second, that the authorities of South Carolina, instead of asking explanation, and giving you the opportunity to vindicate yourself, took possession of other property of the United States. We will examine both. In the first place, we deny positively that we have ever in any way made any such demand. Our letter is in your possession; it will stand by this on record. In it we informed you of the objects of our mission. We say that it would have been our duty to have assured you of our readiness to commence negotiations, with the most earnest and anxious desire to settle all questions between us amicably and to our mutual advantage, but that events had rendered that assurance impossible. We stated the events, and we said that until some satisfactory explanation of these events was given us, we could not proceed; and then, having made this request for explanation, we added: “And in conclusion, we would urge upon you the immediate withdrawal of the troops from the harbor of Charleston. Under present circumstances they are a standing menace, which renders negotiation impossible,” &c. “Under present circumstances!” What circumstances? Why, clearly the occupation of Fort Sumter and the dismantling of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson, in the face of your pledges, and without explanation or practical disavowal. And there is nothing in the letter which would, or could, have prevented you from declining to withdraw the troops, and offering the restoration of the status to which you were pledged, if such has been your desire. It would have been wiser and better, in our opinion, to have withdrawn the troops; and this opinion we urged upon you; but we demanded nothing but such an explanation of the events of the last twenty-four hours at would restore our confidence in the spirit with which the negotiations should be conducted. In relation to this withdrawal of the troops from the harbor, we arc compelled, however, to notice one passage of your letter. Referring to it, you say: “This I cannot do. This I will not do. Such an idea was never thought of by me in any possible contingency. No allusion to it had ever been made in any communication between myself and any human being.” In reply to this statement, we are compelled to say, that your conversation with us left upon our minds the distinct impression, that you did seriously contemplate the withdrawal of the troops from Charleston harbor. And in support of this impression, we would add, that we have the positive assurance of gentlemen of the highest possible public reputation and the most unsullied integrity — men whose name and fame, secured by long service and patriotic achievements, place their testimony beyond cavil — that such suggestions had been made to and urged upon you by them, and had formed the subject of more than one earnest discussion with you. And it was this knowledge that induced us to urge upon you a policy, which had to recommend it its own wisdom and the might of such authority. As to the second point, that the authorities of South Carolina, instead of asking explanations, and giving you the opportunity to vindicate yourself, took possession of other property of the
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