States had made a demand upon the President of the United States for the delivery of a fortress which was in the possession of Federal forces. Upon refusal by the President to deliver the fort as demanded it was naturally anticipated that an attempt to enforce it would be made. Highly irritated (and justly, too) at the perfidious conduct of the Federal Government, the Chief Executive of South Carolina could with difficulty restrain her gallant sons from making an assault which would have purchased the fort at the price of much of the best and noblest blood of the South. A condition of things very similar to this existed at Pensacola, in or own State, with this additional cause for prompt action on the part of the Congress, viz, that re-enforcements were daily expected at Pensacola which would make not only the capture of Fort Pickens a work of difficult undertaking on our part, but which threatened a recapture of the places in our possession. In this condition of things your delegates did not hesitate to put a liberal construction upon the terms of the resolution referred to.
To have refused to "transact any business" connected with this condition of affairs, or to have protested against any action by the Congress at Mongtomery looking to the immediate protection of the people of Florida, even before the formation of a provisional government, we felt constrained to believe would not have met with your approval. We did not hesitate, therefore, to co-operate with the delegates from the other seceded States in any and every measure looking to a speedy preparation for common defense and to the avoidance of unnecessary bloodshed. Amongst the first duties, however, to which the Congress addressed itself was the adoption of a constitution for a provisional government. This necessarily occupied several days. The plan proposed, and which met the approval of a majority of the States, was the one finally adopted, and under which we are now living. By one of its provisions the deputies assembled for its formation constitute the legislative branch of the Provisional Government. As this seemed not to have been anticipated by the State convention of Florida, your delegates voted against it, but were only sustained in that opposition by the vote of the State of Mississippi. We so voted in obedience to the letter of your instructions, yet we cannot well see how even a provisional government could have been formed without it which would have met the crisis. To have called upon the States to elect and send up senators and representatives to constitute the legislative branch of a government which was merely provisional and was to be soon superseded would have caused delay which might have proved disastrous, to say nothing of the expense and trouble to the people attending such an election. Your delegates therefore cheerfully acquiesced in the decision of two-thirds of our sister States, and proceeded at once to assume the duties and responsibilities involved in their new situation. To as faithful discharge of our duties under that constitution we are urgently constrained by a proper sense of obligation to our State and by the sanction of our solemn oaths. The momentous issues at stake furnish the apology for our course.
Relying upon your generous confidence for support, and confident of the final triumph of the cause of our section, we are, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
J. PATTON ANDERSON.
JAS. B. OWENS.