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“ [203] them.” I can add nothing to the explicitness of this language, which still applies to the existing status.

The right to send forward reenforcements when, in the judgment of the President, the safety of the garrison requires them, rests on the same unquestionable foundation as the right to occupy the fortress itself. In the letter of Senator Davis and others to yourself, under date of the 15th ultimo, they say: “We therefore think it especially due from South Carolina to our States —to say nothing of other slaveholding States—that she should, as far as she can consistently with her honor, avoid initiating hostilities between her and the United States or any other power;” and you now yourself give to the President the gratifying assurance that “South Carolina has every disposition to preserve the public peace;” and since he is himself sincerely animated by the same desire, it would seem that this common and patriotic object must be of certain attainment. It is difficult, however, to reconcile with this assurance the declaration on your part that “it is a consideration of her [South Carolina's] own dignity as a sovereign, and the safety of her people, which prompts her to demand that this property should not longer be used as a military post by a government she no longer acknowledges,” and the thought you so constantly present, that this occupation must lead to a collision of arms and the prevalence of civil war. Fort Sumter is in itself a military post, and nothing else; and it would seem that not so much the fact as the purpose of its use should give to it a hostile or friendly character. This fortress is now held by the Government of the United States for the same objects for which it has been held from the completion of its construction. These are national and defensive; and were a public enemy now to attempt the capture of Charleston or the destruction of the commerce of its harbor, the whole force of the batteries of this fortress would be at once exerted for their protection. How the presence of a small garrison, actuated by such a spirit as this, can compromise the dignity or honor of South Carolina, or become a source of irritation to her people, the President is at a loss to understand. The attitude of that garrison, as has been often declared, is neither menacing, nor defiant, nor unfriendly. It is acting under orders to stand strictly on the


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