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President Davis to Gov. Magoffin.

Richmond, Aug. 28, 1861.

To the Hon.B.Magoffin, Gov. of Kentucky, &c. Sir:
I have received your letter informing me that ‘"since the commencement of the unhappy difficulties yet pending in the country, the people of Kentucky have indicated a steadfast desire and purpose to maintain a position of strict neutrality between the belligerent parties. "’ In the same communication you express your desire to elicit ‘"an authoritative assurance that the Government of the Confederate States will continue to respect and observe the neutral position of Kentucky."’

In reply to this request, I lose no time in assuring you that the Government of the Confederate States of America neither intends nor desires to disturb the neutrality of Kentucky. The assemblage of troops in Tennessee, to which you refer, had no other object than to repel the lawless invasion of that state by the forces of the United States, should their Government attempt to approach it through Kentucky without respect for its position of neutrality. That such apprehensions were not groundless, has been proved by the course of that Government in Maryland and Missouri, and more recently in Kentucky itself, in which, as you inform me, ‘"a military force has been enlisted and quartered by the United States authorities. "’

The Government of the Confederate States has not only respected most scrupulously the neutrality of Kentucky, but has continued to maintain the friendly relations of trade and intercourse which it has suspended with the people of the United States generally.

In view of the history of the past, it can scarcely be necessary to assure your Excellency that the Government of the Confederate States will continue to respect the neutrality of Kentucky so long as her people will maintain it themselves.

But neutrality, to be entitled to respect, must be strictly maintained between both parties; or if the door be opened on the one side for the aggressions of one of the belligerent parties upon the other, it ought not to be shut to the assailed when they seek to enter it for the purposes of self-defence.

I do not, however, for a moment believe that your gallant State will suffer its soil to be used for the purpose of giving an advantage to those who violate its neutrality and disregard its rights over those who respect them both.

In conclusion, I tender to your Excellency the assurance of my high consideration and regard.

And am, sir, very respectfully, yours, &c.,
Jefferson Davis.

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