Appendix Icorrespondence and extracts from correspondence relative to Fort Sumter, from the affair of the Star of the West, January 9, 1861, to the withdrawal of the envoy of South Carolina from Washington, February 8, 1861.
Major Anderson to the Governor of South CarolinaTo the letter above, an evasive reply was returned on the 22d by the Hon. Joseph Holt, Secretary of War ad interim, on behalf of the  President, the material points of which are contained in the following paragraph:To his Excellency the Governor of South Carolina.sir: Two of your batteries fired this morning upon an unarmed vessel bearing the flag of my Government. As I have not been notified that war has been declared by South Carolina against the Government of the United States, I can not but think that this hostile act was committed without your sanction or authority. Under that hope, and that alone, did I refrain from opening fire upon your batteries. I have the honor, therefore, respectfully to ask whether the above mentioned act—one I believe without a parallel in the history of our country, or of any other civilized Government—was committed in obedience to your instructions, and to notify you, if it be not disclaimed, that I must regard it as an act of war, and that I shall not, after a reasonable time for the return of my messenger, permit any vessels to pass within range of the guns of my fort. In order to save as far as in my power the shedding of blood, I beg that you will have due notification of this my decision given to all concerned. Hoping, however, that your answer may be such as will justify a further continuance of forbearance on my part, I have the honor to be, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,Robert Anderson, Major First Artillery U. S. A., commanding. Fort Sumter, South Carolina, January 9, 1861.
extracts from reply of the Governor to Major AndersonState of South Carolina, Executive Office, Headquarters, Charleston, January 9, 1861.sir: Your letter has been received. In it you make certain statements which very plainly show that you have not been fully informed by your Government of the precise relations which now exist between it and the State of South Carolina. Official information has been communicated to the Government of the United States that the political connection heretofore existing between the State of South Carolina and the States which were known as the United States had ceased, and that the State of South Carolina had resumed all the power it had delegated to the United States under the compact known as the Constitution of the United States. The right which the State of South Carolina possessed to change the political relations it held with other States, under the Constitution of the United States, has been solemnly asserted by the people of this State, in convention, and now does not admit of discussion. The attempt to reenforce the troops now at Fort Sumter, or to retake and resume possession of the forts within the waters of this State, which you have  abandoned, after spiking the guns placed there, and doing otherwise much damage, can not be regarded by the authorities of this State as indicative of any other purpose than the coercion of this State by the armed force of the Government. To repel such an attempt is too plainly its duty to allow it to be discussed. But, while defending its waters, the authorities of the State have been careful so to conduct the affairs of the State that no act, however necessary for its defense, should lead to a useless waste of life. Special agents, therefore, have been off the bar, to warn all approaching vessels, if armed, or unarmed and having troops to reenforce the forts on board, not to enter the harbor of Charleston; and special orders have been given to the commanders of all the forts and batteries not to fire at such vessels until a shot fired across their bows would warn them of the prohibition of the State. Under these circumstances, the Star of the West, it is understood, this morning attempted to enter this harbor, with troops on board; and, having been notified that she could not enter, was fired into. The act is perfectly justified by me. In regard to your threat in relation to vessels in the harbor, it is only necessary to say, that you must judge of your responsibilities. Your position in this harbor has been tolerated by the authorities of the State. And, while the act of which you complain is in perfect consistency with the rights and duties of the State, it is not perceived how far the conduct which you propose to adopt can find a parallel in the history of any country, or be reconciled with any other purpose of your Government than that of imposing upon this State the condition of a conquered province.
Major Anderson to the GovernorHeadquarters, Fort Sumter, South Carolina, January 9, 1861.sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of to-day, and to say that, under the circumstances, I have deemed it proper to refer the whole matter to my Government; and that I intend deferring the course indicated in my note of this morning until the arrival from Washington of the instructions I may receive. I have the honor also to express a hope that no obstructions will be placed in the way of, and that you will do me the favor to afford every facility to, the departure and return of the bearer, Lieutenant T. Talbot, U. S. Army, who has been directed to make the journey. I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
To his Excellency F. W. Pickens, Governor of the State of South Carolina.Robert Anderson, Major U. S. Army, commanding.
the Governor to the President of the United StatesState of South Carolina, Executive Office, Headquarters, Charleston, January 11, 1861.sir: At the time of the separation of the State of South Carolina from the United States, Fort Sumter was, and still is, in the possession of troops of the  United States, under the command of Major Anderson. I regard that possession as not consistent with the dignity or safety of the State of South Carolina; and I have this day addressed to Major Anderson a communication to obtain from him the possession of that fort, by the authorities of this State. The reply of Major Anderson informs me that he has no authority to do what I required, but he desires a reference of the demand to the President of the United States. Under the circumstances now existing, and which need no comment by me, I have determined to send to you the Hon. I. W. Hayne, the Attorney-General of the State of South Carolina, and have instructed him to demand the delivery of Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, to the constituted authorities of the State of South Carolina. The demand I have made of Major Anderson, and which I now make of you, is suggested because of my earnest desire to avoid bloodshed which a persistence in your attempt to retain the possession of that fort will cause, and which will be unavailing to secure you that possession, but induce a calamity most deeply to be deplored. If consequences so unhappy shall ensue, I will secure for this State, in the demand which I now make, the satisfaction of having exhausted every attempt to avoid it. In relation to the public property of the United States within Fort Sumter, the Hon. I. W. Hayne, who will hand you this communication, is authorized to give you the pledge of the State that the valuation of such property will be accounted for, by this State, upon the adjustment of its relations with the United States, of which it was a part.F. W. Pickens. To the President of the United States.
extracts from instructions of the State Department of South Carolina to Hon. I. W. HayneState of South Carolina, Executive Office, State Department, Charleston, January 12, 1861.sir: The Governor has considered it proper, in view of the grave questions which now affect the State of South Carolina and the United States, to make a demand upon the President of the United States for the delivery to the State of South Carolina of Fort Sumter, now within the territorial limits of this State and occupied by troops of the United States. You are now instructed to proceed to Washington, and there, in the name of the government of the State of South Carolina, inquire of the President of the United States whether it was by his order that troops of the United States were sent into the harbor of Charleston to reenforce Fort Sumter; if he avows that order, you will then inquire whether he asserts a right to introduce troops of the United States within the limits of this State, to occupy Fort Sumter; and you will, in case of his avowal, inform him that neither will be permitted, and either will be regarded as his declaration of war against the State of South Carolina. The Governor, to save life, and determined to omit no course of proceeding  usual among civilized nations, previous to that condition of general hostilities which belongs to war, and not knowing under what order, or by what authority, Fort Sumter is now held, demanded from Major Robert Anderson, now in command of that fort, its delivery to the State. That officer, in his reply, has referred the Governor to the Government of the United States at Washington. You will, therefore, demand from the President of the United States the withdrawal of the troops of the United States from that fort, and its delivery to the State of South Carolina. You are instructed not to allow any question of property claimed by the United States to embarrass the assertion of the political right of the State of South Carolina to the possession of Fort Sumter. The possession of that fort by the State is alone consistent with the dignity and safety of the State of South Carolina; but such possession is not inconsistent with a right to compensation in money in another Government, if it has against the State of South Carolina any just claim connected with that fort. But the possession of the fort can not, in regard to the State of South Carolina, be compensated by any consideration of any kind from the Government of the United States, when the possession of it by the Government is invasive of the dignity and affects the safety of the State. That possession can not become now a matter of discussion or negotiation. You will, therefore, require from the President of the United States a positive and distinct answer to your demand for the delivery of the fort. And you are further authorized to give the pledge of the State to adjust all matters which may be, and are in their nature, susceptible of valuation in money, in the manner most usual, and upon the principles of equity and justice always recognized by independent nations, for the ascertainment of their relative rights and obligations in such matters. . . . Respectfully, your obedient servant,A. G. Magrath. To Hon. W. Hayne, special envoy from the State of South Carolina to the President of the United States.
letters of Senators of seceding States to Hon. I. W. HayneWashington City, January 15, 1861.sir: We are apprised that you visit Washington, as an envoy from the State of South Carolina, bearing a communication from the Governor of your State to the President of the United States, in relation to Fort Sumter. Without knowing its contents, we venture to request you to defer its delivery to the President for a few days, or until you and he have considered the suggestions which we beg leave to submit. We know that the possession of Fort Sumter by troops of the United States, coupled with the circumstances under which it was taken, is the chief, if not only, source of difficulty between the government of South Carolina and that of the United States. We would add that we, too, think it a just cause of irritation and of apprehension on the part of your State. But we have also assurances, notwithstanding the circumstances under which Major Anderson left Fort Moultrie and entered Fort Sumter with the forces under his command, that it was not taken, and is not held, with any hostile or unfriendly purpose toward your State, but merely as property of the United States, which the President deems it his duty to protect and preserve.  We will not discuss the question of right or duty on the part of either Government touching that property, or the late acts of either in relation thereto; but we think that, without any compromise of right or breach of duty on either side, an amicable adjustment of the matter of differences may and should be adopted. We desire to see such an adjustment, and to prevent war or the shedding of blood. We represent States which have already seceded from the United States, or will have done so before the 1st of February next, and which will meet your State in convention on or before the 15th of that month. Our people feel that they have a common destiny with your people, and expect to form with them, in that Convention, a new Confederation and Provisional Government. We must and will share your fortunes, suffering with you the evils of war if it can not be avoided; and enjoying with you the blessings of peace, if it can be preserved. 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. We have the public declaration of the President that he has not the constitutional power or the will to make war on South Carolina, and that the public peace shall not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward your State. We, therefore, see no reason why there may not be a settlement of existing difficulties, if time be given for calm and deliberate counsel with those States which are equally involved with South Carolina. We, therefore, trust that an arrangement will be agreed on between you and the President, at least till the 15th of February next; by which time your and our States may, in convention, devise a wise, just, and peaceable solution of existing difficulties. In the mean time, we think your State should suffer Major Anderson to obtain necessary supplies of food, fuel, or water, and enjoy free communication, by post or special messenger, with the President; upon the understanding that the President will not send him reenforcements during the same period. We propose to submit this proposition and your answer to the President. If not clothed with power to make such arrangement, then we trust that you will submit our suggestions to the Governor of your State for his instructions. Until you have received and communicated his response to the President, of course your State will not attack Fort Sumter, and the President will not offer to reinforce it. We most respectfully submit these propositions, in the earnest hope that you, or the proper authority of your State may accede to them. We have the honor to be, with profound esteem, Your obedient servants,
Hon. Isaac W. Hayne.
 letter of Hon. I. W. Hayne in reply to Senators from seceding StatesWashington, January, 1861.Gentlemen: I have just received your communication, dated the 15th instant. You represent, you say, States which have already seceded from the United States, or will have done so before the 1st of February next, and which will meet South Carolina in convention, on or before the 15th of that month; that your people feel they have a common destiny with our people, and expect to form with them in that Convention a new Confederacy and Provisional Government; that you must and will share our fortunes, suffering with us the evils of war, if it can not be avoided, and enjoying with us the blessings of peace, if it can be preserved. I feel, gentlemen, the force of this appeal, and, so far as my authority extends, most cheerfully comply with your request. I am not clothed with power to make the arrangements you suggest, but provided you can get assurances, with which you are entirely satisfied, that no reenforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter in the interval, and that public peace shall not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina, I will refer your communication to the authorities of South Carolina, and, withholding their communication, with which I am at present charged, will wait for their instructions. Major Anderson and his command, let me assure you, do now obtain all necessary supplies of food (including fresh meat and vegetables), and, I believe, fuel and water; and do now enjoy free communication, by post and special messengers, with the President, and will continue to do so, certainly, until the door of negotiation shall be closed. If your proposition is acceded to, you may assure the President that no attack will be made on Fort Sumter until a response from the Governor of South Carolina has been received by me, and communicated to him. With great consideration and profound esteem, Your obedient servant,Isaac W. Hayne, Envoy from the Governor and Council of South Carolina.
letter of Senators of seceding States to the PresidentSenate-Chamber, January 19, 1861.Sir: We have been requested to present to you copies of a correspondence between certain Senators of the United States and Colonel Isaac W. Hayne, now in this city, in behalf of the government of South Carolina, and to ask that you will take into consideration the subject of said correspondence. Very respectfully, your obedient servants,Benjamin Fitzpatrick, S. R. Mallory, John Slidell. To his Excellency James Buchanan, President United States.
In regard to the proposition of Colonel Hayne, that “no reenforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter in the interval, and that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina,” it is impossible for me to give you any such assurances. The President has no authority to enter into such an agreement or understanding. As an executive officer, he is simply bound to protect the public property, so far as this may be practicable; and it would be a manifest violation of his duty to place himself under engagements that he would not perform this duty either for an indefinite or limited period. At the present moment it is not deemed necessary to reenforce Major Anderson, because he makes no such request, and feels quite secure in his position. Should his safety, however, require reenforcements, every effort will be made to supply them.Holt concludes his letter by saying:
 Some further correspondence ensued, but without the presentation of any new feature necessary to a full understanding of the case. The result was to leave it as much unsettled in the end as it had been in the beginning, and the efforts at negotiation were terminated by the retirement from Washington of Colonel Hayne on February 8, 1861.Major Anderson is not menacing Charleston; and I am convinced that the happiest result which can be attained is, that both he and the authorities of South Carolina shall remain on their present amicable footing, neither party being bound by any obligations whatever, except the high Christian and moral duty to keep the peace, and to avoid all causes of mutual irritation. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,J. Holt, Secretary of War ad interim.
letter of Senators of seceding States to Hon. I. W. HayneWashington, January 23, 1861.Sir: In answer to your letter of the 17th inst. we have now to inform you that, after communicating with the President, we have received a letter signed by the Secretary of War, and addressed to Messrs. Fitzpatrick, Mallory, and Slidell, on the subject of our proposition, which letter we now inclose to you. Although its terms are not as satisfactory as we could have desired, in relation to the ulterior purposes of the Executive, we have no hesitation in expressing our entire confidence that no reenforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter, nor will the public peace be disturbed within the period requisite for full communication between yourself and your government; and we trust, therefore, that you will feel justified in applying for further instructions before delivering to the President any message with which you may have been charged. We take this occasion to renew the expression of an earnest hope that South Carolina will not deem it incompatible with her safety, dignity, or honor to refrain from initiating any hostilities against any power whatsoever, or from taking any steps tending to produce collision, until our States, which are to share her fortunes, shall have an opportunity of joining their counsels with hers. We are, with great respect, your obedient servants,
Hon. Isaac W. Hayne.Louis T. Wigfall, John Hemphill, D. L. Yulee, John Slidell, J. P. Benjamin, C. C. Clay, Jr. A. Iverson, P. S.—Some of the signatures to the former letter addressed to you are not affixed to the foregoing communication, in consequence of the departure of several Senators, now on their way to their respective States.
Letter of Hon. I. W. Hayne to Senators of seceding StatesTo the Honorable Louis T. Wigfall, D. L. Yulee, J. P. Benjamin, A. Iverson, John Hemphill, John Slidell, and C. C. Clay, Jr.Gentlemen: I have received your letter of the 23d inst., inclosing a communication dated the 22d inst., addressed to Messrs. Fitzpatrick, Mallory, and Slidell, from the Secretary of War ad interim. This communication from the Secretary is far from being satisfactory to me. But, inasmuch as you state that “we (you) have no hesitation in expressing an entire confidence that no reenforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter, nor will the public peace be disturbed within the period requisite for full communication between yourself (myself) and your (my) Government,” in compliance with our previous understanding, I withhold the communication with which I am at present charged, and refer the whole matter to the authorities of South Carolina, and will await their reply. Mr. Gourdin, of South Carolina, now in this city, will leave here by the evening's train, and will lay before the Governor of South Carolina and his Council the whole correspondence between yourselves and myself, and between you and the Government of the United States, with a communication from me, asking further instructions. I can not, in closing, but express my deep regret that the President should deem it necessary to keep a garrison of troops at Fort Sumter for the protection of the “property” of the United States. South Carolina scorns the idea of appropriating to herself the property of another, whether of a government or an individual, without accounting, to the last dollar, for everything which, for the protection of her citizens and in vindication of her own honor and dignity, she may deem it necessary to take into her own possession. As property, Fort Sumter is in far greater jeopardy occupied by a garrison of United States troops than it would be if delivered over to the State authorities, with the pledge that, in regard to that and all other property claimed by the United States within the jurisdiction of South Carolina, they would fully account, upon a fair adjustment. Upon the other point of the preservation of the peace, and the avoidance of bloodshed—is it supposed that the occupation of a fort in the midst of a harbor, with guns bearing upon every position of it, by a Government no longer acknowledged, can be other than the occasion of constant irritation, excitement, and indignation? It creates a condition of things which I fear is but little calculated to advance the observance of the “high Christian and moral duty to keep the peace, and to avoid all causes of mutual irritation,” recommended by the Secretary of War in his communication. In my judgment, to continue to hold Fort Sumter, by United States troops, is the worst possible means of protecting it as property, and the worst possible means of effecting a peaceful solution of present difficulties. I beg leave, in conclusion, to say that it is in deference to the unanimous opinion expressed by the Senators present in Washington, “representing States which have already seceded from the United States, or will have done so before the 1st  of February next,” that I comply with your suggestions. And I feel assured that suggestions from such a quarter will be considered with profound respect by the authorities of South Carolina, and will have great weight in determining their action. With high consideration, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,Isaac W. Hayne, Envoy from the Governor and Council of South Carolina.
Mr. Hayne to the President of the United StatesWashington, January 31, 1861.Sir: I had the honor to hold a short interview with you on the 14th inst., informal and unofficial. Having previously been informed that you desired that whatever was official should be, on both sides, conducted by written communications, I did not at that time present my credentials, but verbally informed you that I bore a letter from the Governor of South Carolina in regard to the occupation of Fort Sumter, which I would deliver the next day under cover of a written communication from myself. The next day, before such communication could be made, I was waited upon by a Senator from Alabama, who stated that he came on the part of all the Senators then in Washington from the States which had already seceded from the United States, or would certainly have done so before the 1st day of February next. The Senator from Alabama urged that he and they were interested in the subject of my mission in almost an equal degree with the authorities of South Carolina. He said that hostilities commenced between South Carolina and your Government would necessarily involve the States represented by themselves in civil strife, and, fearing that the action of South Carolina might complicate the relations of your Government to the seceded and seceding States, and thereby interfere with a peaceful solution of existing difficulties, these Senators requested that I would withhold my message to yourself until a consultation among themselves could be had. To this I agreed, and the result of the consultation was the letter of these Senators addressed to me, dated 15th January, a copy of which is in your possession. To this letter I replied on the 17th, and a copy of that reply is likewise in your possession. This correspondence, as I am informed, was made the subject of a communication from Senators Fitzpatrick, Mallory, and Slidell, addressed to you, and your attention called to the contents. These gentlemen received on the 22d day of January a reply to their application, conveyed in a letter addressed to them, dated the 22d, signed by the Hon. J. Holt, Secretary of War ad interim. Of this letter you of course have a copy. This letter from Mr. Holt was communicated to me under the cover of a letter from all the Senators of the seceded and seceding States, who still remained in Washington; and of this letter, too, I am informed you have been furnished with a copy. This reply of yours through the Secretary of War ad interim to the application made by the Senators, was entirely unsatisfactory to me. It appeared to me to be not only a rejection in advance of the main proposition made by these Senators, to wit, that “an arrangement should be agreed on between the authorities of South Carolina and your Government, at least until the 15th of February next,  by which time South Carolina and the States represented by the Senators might, in convention, devise a wise, just, and peaceable solution of existing difficulties”; “in the mean time,” they say, “we think” (that is, these Senators) “that your State” (South Carolina) “should suffer Major Anderson to obtain necessary supplies of food, fuel, or water, and enjoy free communication, by post or special messenger, with the President, upon the understanding that the President will not send him reenforcements during the same period”; but, besides this rejection of the main proposition, there was in Mr. Holt's letter a distinct refusal to make any stipulation on the subject of reenforcement, even for the short time that might be required to communicate with my government. This reply to the Senators was, as I have stated, altogether unsatisfactory to me, and I felt sure that it would be so to the authorities whom I represented. It was not, however, addressed to me, or to the authorities of South Carolina; and, as South Carolina had addressed nothing to your Government, and had asked nothing at your hands, I looked not to Mr. Holt's letter but to the note addressed to me by the Senators of the seceded and seceding States. I had consented to withhold my message at their instance, provided they could get assurances satisfactory to them that no reenforcements would be sent to Fort Sumter in the interval, and that the peace should not be disturbed by any act of hostility. The Senators expressed, in their note to me of the 23d instant, their “entire confidence that no reinforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter, nor will the public peace be disturbed within the period requisite for full communication between you (myself) and your (my) Government”; and renewed their request that I would withhold the communication with which I stood charged, and await further instructions. This I have done. The further instructions arrived on the 30th instant and bear date the 26th. I now have the honor to make to you my first communication as special envoy from the government of South Carolina. You will find inclosed the original communication to the President of the United States from the Governor of South Carolina, with which I was charged in Charleston on the 12th day of January, instant, the day on which it bears date. I am now instructed by the Governor of South Carolina to say that “his opinion as to the propriety of the demand which is contained in this letter has not only been confirmed by the circumstances which your (my) mission has developed, but is now increased to a conviction of its necessity. The safety of the State requires that the position of the President should be distinctly understood. The safety of all seceding States requires it as much as the safety of South Carolina. If it be so, that Fort Sumter is held as property, then as property, the rights, whatever they may be, of the United States can be ascertained, and for the satisfaction of these rights the pledge of the State of South Carolina you are” (I am) “authorized to give. If Fort Sumter is not held as property, it is held,” say my instructions, “as a military post, and such a post within the limits of South Carolina, can not be tolerated.” You will perceive that it is upon the presumption that it is solely as property that you continue to hold Fort Sumter that I have been selected for the performance of the duty upon which I have entered. I do not come as a military man to demand the surrender of a fortress, but as the legal officer of the State, its Attorney-General, to claim for the State the exercise of its undoubted right of eminent domain, and to pledge the State to make good all injury to the rights of property which may arise from the exercise of the claim.  South Carolina, as a separate, independent sovereignty, assumes the right to take into her possession everything within her limits essential to maintain her honor or her safety, irrespective of the question of property, subject only to the moral duty requiring that compensation should be made to the owner. This right she can not permit to be drawn into discussion. As to compensation for any property, whether of an individual or a Government, which she may deem it necessary for her honor or safety to take into her possession, her past history gives ample guarantee that it will be made, upon a fair accounting, to the last dollar. The proposition now is, that her law officer should, under authority of the Governor and his Council, distinctly pledge the faith of South Carolina to make such compensation in regard to Fort Sumter, and its appurtenances and contents, to the full extent of the money value of the property of the United States delivered over to the authorities of South Carolina by your command. I will not suppose that a pledge like this can be considered insufficient security. Is not the money value of the property of the United States in this fort, situated where it can not be made available to the United States for any one purpose for which it was originally constructed, worth more to the United States than the property itself? Why, then, as property, insist on holding it by an armed garrison? Yet such has been the ground upon which you have invariably placed your occupancy of this fort by troops; beginning, prospectively, with your annual message of the 4th December; again in your special message of the 9th [8th] January, and still more emphatically in your message of the 28th January. The same position is set forth in your reply to the Senators, through the Secretary of War ad interim. It is there virtually conceded that Fort Sumter “is held merely as property of the United States, which you deem it your duty to protect and preserve.” Again, it is submitted that the continuance of an armed possession actually jeopards the property you desire to protect. It is impossible but that such a possession, if continued long enough, must lead to collision. No people, not completely abject and pusillanimous, could submit, indefinitely, to the armed occupation of a fortress in the midst of the harbor of its principal city, and commanding the ingress and egress of every ship that enters the port, the daily ferryboats that ply upon the waters moving but at the sufferance of aliens. An attack upon this fort would scarcely improve it as property, whatever the result; and, if captured, it would no longer be the subject of account. To protect Fort Sumter merely as property, it is submitted that an armed occupancy is not only unnecessary, but that it is manifestly the worst possible means which can be resorted to for such an object. Your reply to the Senators, through Mr. Holt, declares it to be your sole object “to act strictly on the defensive, and to authorize no movement against South Carolina unless justified by a hostile movement on their part,” yet, in reply to the proposition of the Senators that no reenforcements should be sent to Fort Sumter, provided South Carolina agrees that during the same period no attack should be made, you say: “It is impossible for me (your Secretary) to give you (the Senators) any such assurance,” that it “would be a manifest violation of his (your) duty to place himself (yourself) under engagements that he (you) would not perform the duty either for an indefinite or a limited period.” In your message of the 28th inst., in expressing yourself in regard to a similar  proposition, you say: “However, strong may be my desire to enter into such an agreement, I am convinced that I do not possess the power. Congress, and Congress alone, under the war-making power, can exercise the discretion of agreeing to abstain from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms' between this and other governments. It would, therefore, be a usurpation for the Executive to attempt to restrain their hands by an agreement in regard to matters over which he has no constitutional control. If he were thus to act, they might pass laws which he should be bound to obey, though in conflict with his agreement.” The proposition, it is suggested, was addressed to you under the laws as they now are, and was not intended to refer to a new condition of things arising under new legislation. It was addressed to the Executive discretion, acting under existing laws. If Congress should, under the war-making power, or in any other way, legislate in a manner to affect the peace of South Carolina, her interests or her rights, it would not be accomplished in secret. South Carolina would have timely notice, and she would, I trust, endeavor to meet the emergency. It is added in the letter of Mr. Holt that “at the present moment it is not deemed necessary to reenforce Major Anderson, because he makes no such request, and feels quite secure in his position. But, should his safety require it, every effort will be made to supply reenforcements.” This would seem to ignore the other branch of the proposition made by the Senator, viz., that no attack was to be made on Fort Sumter during the period suggested, and that Major Anderson should enjoy the facilities of communication, etc. I advert to this point, however, for the purpose of saying that to send reenforcements to Fort Sumter could not serve as a means of protecting and preserving property, for, as must be known to your Government, it would inevitably lead to immediate hostilities, in which property on all sides would necessarily suffer. South Carolina has every disposition to preserve the public peace, and feels, I am sure, in full force, those high “Christian and moral duties” referred to by your Secretary; and it is submitted that on her part there is scarcely any consideration of mere property, apart from honor and safety, which could induce her to do aught to jeopard that peace, still less to inaugurate a protracted and bloody civil war. She rests her position on something higher than mere property. It is a consideration of her 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. She feels this to be an imperative duty. It has, in fact, become an absolute necessity of her condition. Repudiating, as you do, the idea of coercion, avowing peaceful intentions, and expressing a patriot's horror for civil war and bloody strife among those who once were brethren, it is hoped that on further consideration you will not, on a mere question of property, refuse the reasonable demand of South Carolina, which honor and necessity alike compel her to vindicate. Should you disappoint this hope, the responsibility for the result surely does not rest with her. If the evils of war are to be encountered, especially the calamities of civil war, an elevated statesmanship would seem to require that it should be accepted as the unavoidable alternative of something still more disastrous, such as national dishonor or measures materially affecting the safety or permanent interests of a people —that it should be a choice deliberately made, and entered upon as war, and of  set purpose. But that war should be the incident or accident, attendant on a policy professedly peaceful, and not required to effect the object which is avowed as the only end intended, can only be excused when there has been no warning given as to the consequences. I am further instructed to say that South Carolina can not, by her silence, appear to acquiesce in the imputation that she was guilty of an act of unprovoked aggression in firing on the Star of the West. Though an unarmed vessel, she was filled with armed men entering her territory against her will, with the purpose of reinforcing a garrison held, within her limits, against her protest. She forbears to recriminate by discussing the question of the propriety of attempting such a reenforcement at all, as well as of the disguised and secret manner in which it was intended to be effected. And on this occasion she will say nothing as to the manner in which Fort Sumter was taken into the possession of its present occupants. The interposition of the Senators who have addressed you was a circumstance unexpected by my government, and unsolicited certainly by me. The Governor, while he appreciates the high and generous motives by which they were prompted, and while he fully approves the delay which, in deference to them, has taken place in the presentation of this demand, feels that it can not longer be withheld. I conclude with an extract from the instructions just received by me from the government of South Carolina: The letter of the President, through Mr. Holt, may be received as the reply to the question you were instructed to ask, as to his assertion of his right to send reenforcements to Fort Sumter. You were instructed to say to him, if he asserted that right, that the State of South Carolina regarded such a right when asserted, or with an attempt at its exercise, as a declaration of war. If the President intends it shall not be so understood, it is proper, to avoid any misconception hereafter, that he should be informed of the manner in which the Governor will feel bound to regard it. If the President, when you have stated the reasons which prompt the Governor in making the demand for the delivery of Sumter, shall refuse to deliver the fort upon the pledge you have been authorized to make, you will communicate that refusal without delay to the Governor. If the President shall not be prepared to give you an immediate answer, you will communicate to him that his answer may be transmitted within a reasonable time to the Governor at this place (Charleston, South Carolina). “The Governor does not consider it necessary that you (I) should remain longer in Washington than is necessary to execute this, the closing duty of your (my) mission, in the manner now indicated to you (me). As soon as the Governor shall receive from you information that you have closed your mission, and the reply, whatever it may be, of the President, he will consider the conduct which may be necessary on his part.” Allow me to request that you would, as soon as possible, inform me whether, under these instructions, I need await your answer in Washington; and, if not, I would be pleased to convey from you, to my government, information as to the time when an answer may be expected in Charleston. With high consideration. I am, very respectfully,
To his Excellency James Buchanan, President.Isaac W. Hayne, Special Envoy.