War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0338 CORRESPONDENCE, eTC.

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of the other. In the year 1778 they formed a Union with nine other States under Articles of Confederation. Dissatisfied with that Union, three of them, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, together with eight of the States now members of the United States, seceded from it in 1789, and these eleven seceding States formed a second Union, although by the terms the Articles of Confederation express provision was made that the first Union should be perpetual. Their right to secede, notwithstanding this provision, was neither contested by the States from which they separated nor made the subject of discussion with any third power. When at a later period North Carolina acceded to that second Union, and when, still later, the other sovereign States, now members of this Confederacy, became also members of the same Union, it was upon the recognized footing of equal and independent sovereignties, nor had it then entered into the minds of men that sovereign States could be compelled by force to remain members of a confederation into which they had entered of their own free will, if at a subsequent period the defense of their safety and honor should, in their judgment, justify withdrawal. The experience of the past had evinced the futility of any renunciation of such inherent rights, and accordingly the provision for perpetuity contained in the Articles of Confederation of 1778 was omitted in the Constitution of 1789. When, therefore, in 1861 eleven of the State again thought proper, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, to secede from the second Union and to form a third one under an amended constitution, they exercised a right which, being inherent, required no justification to foreign nations, and which international law did not permit them to question. The usages of intercourse between nations do, however, require that official communication be made to friendly powers of all organic hangers in the constitution of States, and there waety in giving prompt assurance of our desire to continue amicable relations with all mankind. It was under the influence of these considerations that your predecessors, the Provisional Government, took early measures for sending to Europe commissioners charged with the duty of visiting the capitals of the different powers and making arrangements for the opening of more formal diplomatic intercourse. Prior, however, to the arrival abroad of those commissioners the United States had commenced hostilities against the Confederacy by dispatching a secret expedition for the re-enforcement of Fort Sumter, after an express promise to the contrary, and with a duplicity which has been fully unveiled in a former message. They had also addressed communications to the different cabinets of Europe in which they assumed the attitude of being sovereign over this Confederacy, alleging that these independent Stats were in rebellion against the remaining States of the Union, and threatening Europe with manifestations of their displeasure if it should treat the Confederate States as having an independent existence. It soon became known that these pretensions were not considered abroad to be as absurd as they were known to be at home, nor had Europe yet learned what reliance was to be placed on the official statements of the Cabinet at Washington.

The delegation of power granted by these States to the Federal Government to represent them in foreign intercourse had led Europe into the grave error of supposing that their separate sovereignty and independence had been merged into one common sovereignty, and had ceased to have a distinct existence. Under the influence of this error, which all appeals to reason and historical fact were vainly used to dispel, our commissioners were met by the declaration that foreign