exercise of that great right of self-government which underlies all our political organizations, declared herself sovereign and independent, we, which you might recognize us. Satisfied that the State had simply exercised here unquestionable right, we were prepared, in order to reach substantial good, to waive the formal consideration which your constitutional scruples might have prevented you from extending. We came here, therefore, expecting to be received as you did receive us, and perfectly content with that entire willingness of the which you assured us, to submit any proposition to Congress which we might have to make upon the subject of the independence of the State.
That willingness was ample recognition of the condition of public affairs which rendered our presence necessary. In this position, however, it is our duty, both to the State which we represent and to ourselves, to correct several important misconceptions of our letter into which you have fallen.
You say:"It was my earnest desire that such a disposition might be made of the whole subject by Congress, who alone possess the power, as to prevent the inauguration of a civil war between the parties in regard to the possession of the Federal forts in the harbor of Charleston, and I therefore deeply regret that, in your opinion, 'the events of the last twenty-four hours render this impossible.'" We expressed no such opinion and the language which you quote as ours is altered in its sense by the omission of a most important part of the sentence. What we did say was, "But the events of the last twenty-four hours render such an assurance impossible." Place that "assurance" as contained in our letter in the sentence, and we are prepared to repeat it.
Again, professing to quote our language, you say:"Thus the authorities of South Carolina, without waiting or asking for any explanation, and doubtless believing, as you have expressed it, that the officer had acted not only without but against my orders," &c. We expressed no such opinion in reference to the belief of the people of South Carolina. The language which you have quoted was applied solely and entirely to our assurance, obtained here, and based, as you well know, upon your own declaration-a declaration which, at that time, it was impossible for the authorities of South Carolina to have known. But without following this letter into all its details, we propose only to meet the chief points of the argument.
Some weeks ago, the State of South Carolina declared her intention in the existing condition of public affairs to secede from the United States. She called a convention of her people to put her declaration in force. The convention met and passed the ordinance of secession. All this you anticipated, and your course of action was thoroughly considered. In your annual message you declared you had no right, and would not attempt, to coerce a seceding State, but that you were bound by your constitutioned oath, and would defend the property of the United States within the borders of South Carolina if an attempt was made to take it by force. Seeing very early that this question of property was a difficult and delicate one, you manifested a desire to settle it without collision. You did not re-enforce the garrisons in the harbor of Charleston. You removed a distinguished and veteran officer from the command of Fort Moultrie because he attempted to increase his supply of ammunition. You refused to send additional troops to the some garrison when applied for by the officer appointed to succeed him. You accepted the resignation of the oldest and most efficient member of your Cabinet rather than allow these garrisons to be strengthened. You com-