Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/116

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

and sanctions the Secretary's decision declining official intercourse with Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford.

April 8, 1861.

The foregoing memorandum was filed in this Department on the 15th of March last. A delivery of the same to Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford was delayed, as was understood, with their consent. They have now, through their secretary, communicated their desire for a definite disposition of the subject. The Secretary of State therefore directs that a duly verified copy of the paper be now delivered.

The Commissioners in Reply to Mr. Seward.

Washington, April 9, 1861.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State for the United States, Washington.

The "memorandum" dated Department of State, Washington, March 15, 1861, with postscript under date of 8th instant, has been received through the hands of Mr. J. T. Pickett, secretary of this commission, who, by the instructions of the undersigned, called for it on yesterday at the Department.

In that memorandum you correctly state the purport of the official note addressed to you by the undersigned on the 12th ultimo. Without repeating the contents of that note in full, it is enough to say here that its object was to invite the Government of the United States to a friendly consideration of the relations between the United States and the seven States lately the Federal Union, but now separated from it by the sovereign will of their people, growing out of the pregnant and undeniable fact that those people have rejected the authority of the United States, and established a government of their own. Those relations had to be friendly or hostile. The people of the old and new Governments, occupying contiguous territories, had to stand to each other in the relation of good neighbors, each seeking their happiness and pursuing their national destinies in their own way, without interference with the other; or they had to be rival and hostile nations. The Government of the Confederate States had no hesitation in electing its choice in this alternative. Frankly