pelled an officer stationed at Fort Sumter to return immediately to the arsenal forty muskets which he had taken to arm his men. You expressed not to one, but to many, of the most distinguished of our public characters, whose testimony will be placed upon the record whenever it is necessary, your anxiety for a peaceful termination of this controversy, and your willingness not to disturb the military status of the forts if commissioners should be sent to the Government, whose communications you promised to submit to Congress. You received acted on assurances from the highest official authorities of South Carolina that no attempt would be made to disturb you possession of the forts and property of the United States if you would not disturb their existing condition until commissioners had been sent and the attempt to negotiate had failed. You took from the members of the House of Representatives a written memorandum that no such attempt should be made,"provided that no re-enforcements shall be sent into those forts, and their relative military status remain as at present." And, although you attach no force to the acceptance of such a paper, although you "considered it as nothing more in effect than the promise of highly honorable gentlemen," as an obligation on one side without corresponding obligation on the other, it must be remembered (if we are rightly informed) that you were pledged, if you ever did send re-enforcements, to return it to those from whom you had received it before you executed your resolution. You sent orders to you officers commanding them strictly to follow a line of conduct in conformity with such an understanding.
Besides all this, you had received formal and official notice from the governor of South Carolina that we had been appointed commissioners, and were on our way to Washington. You knew the implied condition under which we came; our arrival was notified to you, and an hour appointed for an interview. We arrived in Washington on Wednesday at three o'clock, and you appointed an interview with us at once the next day. Early on that day (Thursday) the news was received here of the movement of Major Anderson. That news was communicated to you immediately, and you postponed our meeting until half past two o'clock on Friday in order that you might consult your Cabinet. On Friday we saw you, and we called upon you then to redeem your pledge. You could not deny it.
With the facts we have stated, and in the face of the crowning and conclusive fact that your Secretary of War had resigned his seat in the Cabinet upon the publicly-avowed ground that the action of Major Anderson had violated the pledged faith of the Government, and that unless the pledge was instantly redeemed he was dishonored, denial was impossible. You did not deny it; you do not deny it now; but you seek to escape from its obligation on two grounds; 1st. That we terminated all negotiation by demanding, as preliminary, the withdrawal of the United States troops from the harbor of Charleston; and 2nd. That the authorities of South Carolina, instead of asking explanation, and giving you the opportunity to vindicate yourself, took possession of other property of the United States. We will examine both.
In the first place, we deny positively that we have ever, in any way, made any such demand. Our letter is in your possession; it will stand by this on the record. In it we inform you of the objects of our mission. We say that it would have been our duty to have assured you of our readiness to commence negotiations with the most earnest and anxious desire to settle all questions between us amicably and to our mutual advantage, but that events had rendered that assurance impossible. We