Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/147

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Provisional Congress.

ingenious sophistry as that the world should not be able to misunderstand it;" and in defiance of his own statement that he gave notice of the approach of a hostile fleet, he charges these States with becoming the assailants of the United States, "without a gun in sight or in expectancy to return their fire, save only the few in the fort." He is indeed fully justified in saying that the case "is so free from the power of ingenious sophistry that the world will not be able to misunderstand it."

Under cover of this unfounded pretense that the Confederate States are the assailants, that high functionary, after expressing his concern that some foreign nations "had so shaped their action as if they supposed the early destruction of our National Union was probable," abandons all further disguise, and proposes "to make this contest a short and decisive one," by placing at the control of the Government for the work at least 400,000 men and $400,000,000. The Congress, concurring in the doubt thus intimated as to the sufficiency of the force demanded, has increased it to half a million of men. These enormous preparations in men and money, for the conduct of a war on a scale more gigantic than any which the new world has ever witnessed, is a distinct avowal, in the eyes of civilized man, that the United States are engaged in a conflict with a great and powerful nation; they are at last compelled to abandon the pretense of being engaged in dispersing rioters and suppressing insurrections; and are driven to the acknowledgment that the ancient Union has been dissolved. They recognize the separate existence of these Confederate States, by the interdiction, embargo, and blockade of all commerce between them and the United States, not only by sea, but by land; not only in ships, but in rail cars; not only with those who bear arms, but with the entire population of the Confederate States. Finally, they have repudiated the foolish conceit that the inhabitants of this Confederacy are still citizens of the United States, for they are waging an indiscriminate war upon them all, with a savage ferocity unknown to modern civilization. In this war, rapine is the rule; private residences, in peaceful rural retreats, are bombarded and burnt; grain crops in the field are consumed by the torch; and when the torch is not convenient, careful labor is bestowed to render complete the destruction of every article of use or ornament remaining in private