I feel entire confidence that Fort Sumter will be evacuated in the next ten days. And this measure is felt as imposing great responsibility on the administration. I feel entire confidence that no measure changing the existing status, prejudiciously to the Southern Confederate States, is at present contemplated. I feel an entire confidence that an immediate demand for an answer to the communication of the Commissioners will be productive of evil, and not of good. I do not believe that it ought at this time to be pressed.The substance of this statement I communicated to you the same evening by letter. Five days elapsed, and I called with a telegram from Gen. Beauregard, to the effect that Sumter was not evacuated, but that Major Anderson was at work making repairs. The next day, after conversing with you, I communicated to Judge Crawford, in writing, that the failure to evacuate Sumter was not the result of bad faith, but was attributable to causes consistent with the intention to fulfil the engagement; and that as regarded Pickens, I should have notice of any design to alter the existing status there. Mr. Justice Nelson was present at these conversations, three in number, and I submitted to him each of my written communications to Judge Crawford, and informed Judge C. that they had his (Judge Nelson's) sanction. I gave you, on the 22d March, a substantial copy of the statement I had made on the 15th. The 30th of March arrived, and at that time a telegram came from Gov. Pickens inquiring concerning Col. Lamon, whose visit to Charleston he supposed had a connection with the proposed evacuation of Fort Sumter. I left that with you, and was to have an answer the following Monday, (1st April.) On the 1st of April I received from you the statement in writing, “I am satisfied the Government will not undertake to supply Fort Sumter without giving notice to Gov. Pickens.” The words “I am satisfied” were for me to use as expressive of confidence in the remainder of the declaration. The proposition, as originally prepared, was, “The President may desire to supply Sumter, but will not do so,” &c., and your verbal explanation was that you did not believe any such attempt would be made, and that there was no design to reinforce Sumter. There was a departure here from the pledges of the previous month, but with the verbal explanation I did not consider it a matter then to complain of — I simply stated to you that I had that assurance previously. On the 7th April, I addressed you a letter on the subject of the alarm that the preparations by the Government had created, and asked you if the assurances I had given were well or ill founded. In respect to Sumter, your reply was, “Faith as to Sumter, fully kept — wait and see.” In the morning's paper I read, “An authorized messenger from President Lincoln informed Gov. Pickens and Gen. Beauregard, that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter peaceably, or otherwise by force.” This was the 8th of April, at Charleston, the day following your last assurance, and is the evidence of the full faith I was invited to wait for and see. In the same paper I read that intercepted despatches disclose the fact that Mr. Fox, who had been allowed to visit Major Anderson, on the pledge that his purpose was pacific, employed his opportunity to devise a plan for supplying the fort by force, and that this plan had been adopted by the Washington Government, and was in process of execution. My recollection of the date of Mr. Fox's visit carries it to a day in March. I learn he is a near connection of a member of the Cabinet. My connection with the Commissioners and yourself was superinduced by a conversation with Justice Wilson. He informed me of your strong disposition in favor of peace, and that you were oppressed with a demand of the Commissioners of the Confederate States for a reply to their first letter, and that you desired to avoid, if possible, at that time. I told him I might, perhaps, be of some service in arranging the difficulty. I came to your office entirely at his request, and without the knowledge of the Commissioners. Your depression was obvious to both Judge Nelson and myself. I was gratified at the character of the counsels you were desirous of pursuing, and much impressed with your observation that a civil war might be prevented by the success of my mediation. You read a letter of Mr. Weed, to show how irksome and responsible the withdrawal of troops from Fort Sumter was. A portion of my communication to Judge Crawford on the 15th of March, was founded upon these remarks, and the pledge to evacuate Sumter is less forcible than the words you employed. Those words were, “Before this letter reaches you, (a proposed letter by me to President Davis), Sumter will have been evacuated.” The Commissioners who received those communications conclude they have been abused and overreached. The Montgomery Government hold the same opinion. The Commissioners have supposed that my communications were with you, and upon the hypothesis prepared to arraign you before the country in connection with the President. I placed a peremptory prohibition upon this as being contrary to the terms of my communications with them. I pledged myself to them to communicate information upon what I considered as the best authority, and they were to confide in the ability of myself, aided by Judge Nelson, to determine upon the credibility of my informant. I think no candid man who will read over what I have written, and consider for a moment what is going on at Sumter, will agree
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