Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/120

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

orandum you say it "was delayed, as was understood, with their [Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford's] consent." This is true; but it is also true that, on the 15th of March, Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford were assured by a person occupying a high official position in the Government, and who, as they believed, was speaking by authority, that Fort Sumter would be evacuated in a very few days, and that no measure changing the existing status prejudicially to the Confederate States, as respects Fort Pickens, was then contemplated, and these assurances were subsequently repeated, with the addition that any contemplated change as respects Pickens would be notified to us. On the 1st of April we were again informed that there might be an attempt to supply Fort Sumter with provisions, but that Governor Pickens should have previous notice of this attempt. There was no suggestion of any reënforcement. The undersigned did not hesitate to believe that these assurances expressed the intentions of the Administration at the time, or at all events of prominent members of that Administration. This delay was assented to for the express purpose of attaining the great end of the mission of the undersigned — to wit, a pacific solution of existing complications. The inference deducible from the date of your memorandum, that the undersigned had, of their own volition and without cause, consented to this long hiatus in the grave duties with which they were charged, is therefore not consistent with a just exposition of the facts of the case. The intervening twenty-three days were employed in active unofficial efforts, the object of which was to smooth the path to a pacific solution, the distinguished personage alluded to coöperating with the undersigned; and every step of that effort is recorded in writing and now in the possession of the undersigned and of their Government. It was only when all those anxious efforts for peace had been exhausted, and it became clear that Mr. Lincoln had determined to appeal to the sword to reduce the people of the Confederate States to the will of the section or party whose President he is, that the undersigned resumed the official negotiation temporarily suspended, and sent their secretary for a reply to their official note of March 12.

It is proper to add that, during these twenty-three days, two gentlemen, of official distinction as high as that of the personage