To this communication I returned the following answer:
Montgomery, Ala., February 3, 1861.
Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON,
Commissioner from the State of Virginia:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, with the preamble and resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of Virginia January 19, 1861. As Chief Magistrate of the State of Alabama, I extend to you a cordial welcome to the seat of government as commissioner from the Commonwealth of Virginia. From your letter and the resolutions referred to, I understand that ex-President John Tyler has been appointed a commissioner to the President of the United States and yourself to "South Carolina and the other States that have seceded or shall secede, with instructions respectfully to request the President of the United states and the authorities of such States to agree to abstain, pending the proceedings contemplated by the action of the General Assembly, from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms between the States and the Government of the United States. " After tendering to the State of Virginia, through you, my thanks for the friendly mediation contemplated by the resolutions of her General Assembly, it gives me pleasure to state that Alabama in her act of secession and in occupying the forts and arsenals within her limits intended no hostility to the Federal Government. Her sole object has been to protect her rights, and honor without disturbing (if possible) her peaceful relations with the Government of the United States. This I feel assured will continue to be the policy of the State unless the Federal authorities should be some hostile act or demonstration make it necessary to adopt a different course for her protection and the protection of the other states that have seceded or may secede. Whilst I feel authorized to assure you [that Alabama will do nothing intended to produce a collision of arms between the Federal Government and herself, I am equally certain that it is her firm determination to resist at all and any hazard any attempt at coercion. Having no power to appoint delegates to the proposed convention at Washington, the resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia will be immediately transmitted to the Legislature of this State where, I have no doubt, they will receive that respectful consideration the high and friendly source from which they come entitles them to. Candor, however, compels me to say that I do not feel authorized to indulge the least hope that concessions will be made affording such guaranties as the secedi will accept. Being satisfied that the State from which emanated the resolutions of '98 and '99 is as determined to maintain her constitutional rights as the seceded States, I do not entertain a doubt that she will be found co-operating with them when she is convinced that those rights cannot be secured in the Federal Union. For the courteous and dignified manner in which you have made known the object of your mission, you will please accept my thanks.
With the highest consideration, I am, your obedient servant,
A. B. MOORE.
The foregoing letter contains my understanding of the intention and policy of the State of Alabama in regard to her position toward the Federal Government. I deem it proper to lay before the Legislature the communication of Judge Robertson to me and my answer thereto, that my views may be fully understood. I have referred the question of the appointment of commissioners to Washington to the Legislature, having no power to make such appointments myself, I drawn from the Federal Union and had appointed delegates to a Southern congress, which is now assembled in this city for the purpose of establishing a new government, I cannot see with what propriety the State could send commissioners to Washington to reconstruct the old Government. Judge Robertson is now in this city. His high character and his friendly mission from the great State of Virginia entitle him to the highest consideration of the authorities of Alabama.
A. B. MOORE.