Manifesto of the Confederate Congress.
We give below the manifesto of the Confederate Congress, the publication of which in this paper has been unavoidably delayed.
It is understood to be from the pen of the Hon Wm
C River, of Virginia
Joint Resolutions, Declaring the dispositions, principles and purposes of the Confederates States in Relation to the Existing War with the United States.
It is due to the great cause of humanity and civilization, and especially to the heroic sacrifices of their gallant army in the field, that no means, consistent with a proper self respect and the approved usages of nations, should be omitted by the confederate States
to enlighten the public opinion of the world with regard to the true character of the struggle in which they are engaged, and the dispositions, principles, and purposes by which they are actuated; Therefore.
Resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of America,
That the following manifesto be issued in their name and by their authority, and that the President
be requested to cause copies thereof to be transmitted to our commissioners abroad to the end that the same may be laid before foreign Governments.
Manifesto of the Congress of the Confederate States of America relative to the Existing War with the United States.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America
, acknowledging their responsibility to the opinion of the civilized world, to the great law of Christian philanthropy, and to the Supreme Ruler
of the universe, for the part they have been compelled to bear in the sad spectacle of war and carnage which this continent has for the last three years, exhibited to the eyes of afflicted humanity, deems the present a fruiting occasion to declare the principles, the sentiments and the purposes by which they have been and are still actuated.
They have ever deeply deplored the necessity which constrained them to take up arms in defence of their rights and of the free institutions deliver from their ancestors; and there is nothing they more ardently desire than peace, whensoever their enemy, by ceasing from the unhallowed war waged upon them, shall permit them to enjoy in peace the sheltering protection of those hereditary rights and of those cherished institutions.
The series of successes with which it has pleased Almighty God, in so signal a manner, to bless our arms on almost every point of our invaded borders since the opening of the present campaign, enables us to proless this desire of peace in the interests of civilization and humanity without danger of having our motives misinterpreted, or of the declaration being ascribed to any unmanly sentiment or any distrust of our ability fully to maintain our cause.
The repeated and disastrous checks, foreshadowing ultimate discomfiture, which their gigantic army, directed against the capital of the Confederacy
, has already met with, are but a continuation of the same providential successes for us. We do not refer to these successes in any spirit of vain boasting, but in humble acknowledgment of that Almighty protection which has vouchsafed and granted them.
The world must now see that eight millions of people, inhabiting so extensive a territory, with such varied resources and such numerous for defence as the benignant bounty of nature has bestowed upon us, and aminated with one spirit to encounter every privation and sacrifice of ease, of health, of property, of life itself, rather than be degraded from the condition of tree and independent States into which they were born, can never be conquered.
Will not our adversaries themselves begin in feet that humanity has bled long enough; that treats and blood and treasure enough have been expended in a bootless undertaking, covering their own land, no less than ours, with a pall of mourning, and exposing them far more than ourselves to the catastrophe of financial exhaustion and bankruptcy, not to speak of the loss of their liberties by the despotism engendered in an aggressive warfare upon the liberties of another and kindred people?
Will they be willing, by a longer perseverance in a wanton and hope loss contest, to make this continent, which they so long boasted to be the chosen abode of liberty and self government, of peace and a higher civilization, the theatre of the most causeless and prodigal effusion of blood which the world has ever seen, of a virtual relapse into the barbarism of the ruder ages, and of the destruction of constitutional freedom by the lawlessness of usurped power?
These are questions which our adversaries will decide for themselves.
We desire to stand acquitted before the tribunal of the world, as well as in the eyes of Omniscient Justice, of any responsibility for the origin or prolongation of a war as contrary to the spirit of the age as to the traditions and acknowledged maxims of the political system of America
On this continent, whatever opinion may have prevailed elsewhere, it has ever been held and acknowledged by all parties that Government, to be lawful, must be founded on the consent of the governed.
We were forced to dissolve our federal connection with our former associates by their aggressions on the fundamental principles of our compact of union with them; and in doing so we exercise a right consecrated in the great charter of American liberty — the right of a free people, when a Government proves destructive of the ends for which it was established to recur to original principles and to institute new guards for their security.
The separate independence of the States, as sovereign and co equal members of the Federal Union, had never been surrendered, and the pretension of applying to independent communities; so constituted and organized, the ordinary rules of coercion, and reducing rebellions subjects to obedience, was a solecism in terms, as well as an outrage on the principles of public law
The war made upon the Confederate States
was, therefore, wholly one of aggression.
On our side it has been strictly defensive.
Born freemen, and the descendants of a gallant ancestry, we had no option but to stand up in defence of our invaded firesides, of our desecrated altars, of our violated liberties and birthright, and of the prescriptive institutions which guard and protect them.
We have not interfered, nor do we wish in any manner whatever to interfere, with the internal peace and prosperity of the States arrayed in hostility against us, or with the freest development of their destinies in any form of action or line of policy they may think proper to adopt for themselves.
All we ask is, alike immunity for ourselves and to be left in the undisturbed enjoyment of those inalienable rights of "tile, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," which our common ancestors declared to be the equal heritage of all the parties to the social compact
Let them forbear aggression upon us, and the war is at an cad. If there be questions which require adjustment by negotiation, we have ever been willing and are still willing to enter into communication with our adversaries in a spirit of peace, of equity, and manly frankness.
Strong in the persuasion of the justice of our cause, in the gallant devotion of our citizen soldiers, and of the whole body of our people, and above all in the gracious protection of Heaven, we are not afraid so avow a sincere desire for peace on terms consistent with our honor and the permanent security of our rights, and as earnest aspiration to see the world once more restored to the beneficent pursuits of industry and of mutual intercourse and exchanges, so essential to its well-being, and which have been so gravely interrupted by the existence of this unnatural war in America
But it our adversaries, or those whom they have placed in authority, deaf to the voice of reason and justice, steeled against the dictates of both prudence and humanity by the presumptuous and delusive confidence in their own numbers, or those of their black and foreign mercenaries, shall determine upon an indefinite prolongation of the contest, upon them be the responsibility of a decision so ruinous to themselves, and so injurious to the interests and repose or mankind.
For ourselves, we have no fear of the result.--The widest pictures ever drawn of a disordered imagination comes short of the extravagance which could dream of the conquest of night millions of people, resolved with one mind" to the freemen rather than live slaves," and forewarned by the savage and exterminating spirit in which this war has been waged upon them, and by the mad avowal of its patrons and supporters, of the worn than Egyptian
bondage that aware them in the event of their subjugation.
With these declarations of our dispositions, our principles, and our purposes, we commit our cause to the enlightened judgment of the world, to the reflection of our adversaries themselves, and to the column and righteous arbitrament of Heaven.