Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/123

This page has been validated.
95
Provisional Congress.

Governor Pickens and General Beauregard that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter—peaceably, or otherwise by force." This was the 8th of April, at Charleston, the day following your last assurance, and is the last evidence of the full faith I was invited to wait for and see. In the same paper, I read that intercepted dispatches disclosed the fact that Mr. Fox, who had been allowed to visit Major Anderson, on the pledge that his purpose was pacific, employed his opportunity to devise a plan for supplying the Fort by force, and that this plan had been adopted by the Washington Government, and was in process of execution. My recollection of the date of Mr. Fox's visit carries it to a day in March. I learn he is a near connection of a member of the Cabinet. My connection with the commissioners and yourself was superinduced by a conversation with Justice Nelson. He informed me of your strong disposition in favor of peace, and that you were oppressed with a demand of the commissioners of the Confederate States for a reply to their first letter, and that you desired to avoid it if possible at that time.

I told him I might perhaps be of some service in arranging the difficulty. I came to your office entirely at his request and without the knowledge of either of the commissioners. Your depression was obvious to both Judge Nelson and myself. I was gratified at the character of the counsels you were desirous of pursuing and much impressed with your observation that a civil war might be prevented by the success of my mediation. You read a letter of Mr. Weed to show how irksome and responsible the withdrawal of troops from Sumter was. A portion of my communication to Judge Crawford on the 15th of March was founded upon these remarks, and the pledge to evacuate Sumter is less forcible than the words you employed. These words were: "Before this letter reaches you [a proposed letter by me to President Davis], Sumter will have been evacuated."

The commissioners who received those communications conclude they have been abused and overreached. The Montgomery Government hold the same opinion. The commissioners have supposed that my communications were with you, and upon the [that] hypothesis were prepared to arraign you before the country in connection with the President. I placed a peremptory prohibition upon this as being contrary to the terms of my communica-