Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/146

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

pur of the Government of the United States had been previously concealed; their odious features now stand fully revealed; the message of their President and the action of their Congress during the present month confess the intention of subjugating these States by war, whose folly is equaled by its wickedness; a war by which it is impossible to attain the proposed result, whilst its dire calamities, not to be avoided by us, will fall with double severity on themselves.

Commencing in March last, with an affectation of ignoring the secession of the seven States which first organized this Government; persisting in April in the idle and absurd assumption of the existence of a riot which was to be dispersed by a posse comitatus; continuing in successive months the false representation that these States intended offensive war, in spite of the conclusive evidence to the contrary, furnished as well by official action as by the very basis on which this Government is constituted, the President of the United States and his advisers succeeded in deceiving the people of those States into the belief that the purpose of this Government was not peace at home, but conquest abroad; not the defense of its own liberties, but the subversion of those of the people of the United States.

The series of maneuvers by which this impression was created: the art with which they were devised, and the perfidy with which they were executed, were already known to you; but you could scarcely have supposed that they would be openly avowed, and their success made the subject of boast and self-laudation in an executive message. Fortunately for the truth of history, however, the President of the United States details with minuteness the attempt to re├źnforce Fort Pickens, in violation of an armistice of which he confesses to have been informed, but "only by rumors too vague and uncertain to fix attention;" the hostile expedition dispatched to supply Fort Sumter, admitted to have been undertaken with a knowledge that its success was impossible; the sending of notice to the Governor of South Carolina of his intention to use force to accomplish his object; and then, quoting from his inaugural address the assurance that there could be no conflict unless these States were the aggressors, he proceeds to declare that his conduct, as just related by himself, was a performance of this promise, "so free from the power of