Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/119

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Provisional Congress.

vein of thought that pervades the memorandum before us. The truth of history requires that it should distinctly appear upon the record that the undersigned did not ask the Government of the United States to recognize the independence of the Confederate States. They only asked audience to adjust, in a spirit of amity and peace, the new relations springing from a manifest and accomplished revolution in the Government of the late Federal Union. Your refusal to entertain these overtures for a peaceful solution, the active naval and military preparations of this Government, and a formal notice to the commanding General of the Confederate forces in the harbor of Charleston that the President intends to provision Fort Sumter by forcible means, if necessary, are viewed by the undersigned, and can only be received by the world, as a declaration of war against the Confederate States; for the President of the United States knows that Fort Sumter cannot be provisioned without the effusion of blood. The undersigned, in behalf of their Government and people, accept the gage of battle thus thrown down to them; and, appealing to God and the judgment of mankind for the righteousness of their cause, the people of the Confederate States will defend their liberties to the last, against this flagrant and open attempt at their subjugation to sectional power.

This communication cannot be properly closed without adverting to the date of your memorandum. The official note of the undersigned, of the 12th of March, was delivered to the Assistant Secretary of State on the 13th of that month, the gentleman who delivered it informing him that the secretary of this commission would call at twelve o'clock, noon, on the next day, for an answer. At the appointed hour Mr. Pickett did call, and was informed by the Assistant Secretary of State that the engagements of the Secretary of State had prevented him from giving the note his attention. The Assistant Secretary of State then asked for the address of Messrs. Crawford and Forsyth, the members of the commission then present in this city, took note of the address on a card, and engaged to send whatever reply might be made to their lodgings. Why this was not done, it is proper should be here explained. The memorandum is dated March 15, and was not delivered until April 8. Why was it withheld during the intervening twenty-three days? In the postscript to your mem-