War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0123 Chapter I. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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stated the events, and we said that until some satisfactory explanation of these events was given us, we could not proceed; and then, having made this request for explanation, we added:"And, in conclusion we would urge upon you he immediate withdrawal of the troops from the harbor of Charleston. Under present circumstances, they are a standing menace, which renders negotiation impossible," &c. "Under present circumstances"! What circumstances? Why, clearly, the occupation of Fort Sumter and the dismantling of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson, in the face of your pledges, and without explanation or partial disavowal. And there is nothing in the letter which would or could have prevented you from declining to withdraw the troops, and offering the restoration of the status to which you are pledged, if such had been your desire. It would have been wiser and better, in our opinion, to have withdrawn the troops, and this opinion we urged upon you; but we demanded nothing but such an explanation of the events of the last twenty-four hours as would restore our confidence in the spirit with which the negotiation should be conducted.

In relation to this withdrawal of the troops from the harbor we are compelled, however, to notice one passage of your letter. Referring to it, you say: "This I cannot do; this I will not do. Such an idea was never thought of by me in any possible contingency. No allusion to it had ever been made in any communication between myself and any human being."

In reply to this statement we are compelled to say that you conversation with us left upon our minds the distinct impression that you did seriously contemplate the withdrawal of the troops from Charleston Harbor. And in support of this impression we would add that we have the positive assurance of gentlemen of the highest possible public reputation and the most unsullied integrity-men whose name and fame, secured by long service and patriotic achievement place their testimony beyond cavil-that such suggestions had been made to and urged upon you by them, and had formed the subject of more than one earnest discussion with you. And it was this knowledge that induced us to urge upon you a policy which ad to recommend it its own wisdom and the weight of such authority.

As to the second point, that the authorities of South Carolina, instead of asking explanations and giving you the opportunity to vindicate yourself, took possession of other property of the United States, we would observe-

1. That, even it this were so, it does not avail you for defense, for the opportunity for decision was afforded you before these facts occurred. We arrived in Washington on Wednesday; the news from Major Anderson reached here early on Thursday, and was immediately communicated to you. All that day men of the highest consideration-men who had striven successfully to lift your to great office, who had been your tried and true friends through the troubles of your administration- sought you and entreated you to act, to act at once. They told you that every hour complicated your position. They only asked you to give the assurance that, if the facts were so-that if the commander had acted without and against your orders, and in violation of your pledges-that you would restore the status you had pledged your honor to maintain.

You refused to decide. You Secretary of War-your immediate and proper adviser in this whole matter-waited anxiously for your decision, until he felt that delay was becoming dishonor. More than twelve hours passed, and two Cabinet meetings had adjourned before your knew what the authorities of South Carolina had done, and your prompt