Mr. Toombs on Fort Sumter
As Mr. Toomb’s represents below in 1861, it was common knowledge that Lincoln and Seward were well into preparations for war upon their fellow Americans who desired peace, and a government by the consent of the governed.
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Mr. Toombs on Fort Sumter:
From Mr. Toombs, Secretary of State, CSA, April 24, 1861:
(to Hon. W.L. Yancy, P. Rost, Dudley Mann, Commissioners of the Confederate States)
When you left this city (Montgomery) you were aware that Commissioners from this government had been sent to Washington with the view to open negotiations with the government of the United States for the peaceful settlement of all matters in controversy, and for the settlement of relations of amity and good will between the two countries. They promptly made known to the Administration at Washington the object of their mission; gave the most explicit assurance that it was the earnest desire of the President, Congress, and the people of the Confederate States to preserve peace; that they had no demand to make which was not founded on the strictest justice, and that they had no wish to do any act to injure their late confederates, (and) they did not press their demand for a formal reception or a recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. So long as moderation and forbearance were consistent with the honor and dignity of their government, they forebore from taking any steps which could possibly add to the difficulties by which the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln was beset.
(They) received the most positive assurances from Mr. Seward that the policy of his government was peace; that Fort Sumter would be evacuated immediately; that Fort Pickens would soon be abandoned; that no measure was contemplated “to change the existing status of things prejudicially to the Confederate States;” and that, if any change were resolved upon, due notice would be given to the Commissioners.
Incredible as it may seem, it is nevertheless perfectly true that while the Government of the United States was thus addressing the Confederate States with words of conciliation and promises of peace, a large naval and military expedition was being fitted out by its order for the purpose of invading our soil and imposing on us an authority which we have forever repudiated, and which it was well known we would resist to the last extremity.
Having knowledge that a large fleet was expected hourly to arrive at Charleston harbor with orders to force and entrance and attempt to victual and reinforce the fortress, and that the troops of the Confederate States would be thus exposed to a double attack, General Beauregard had no alternative left but to dislodge the enemy and take possession of the fort, and thus command absolutely all the approaches to the port of Charleston, so that the entrance of a hostile fleet would be almost impossible.”
(Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, 1861-1865, James D. Richardson, Editor, US Publishing Company, pp. 13-16)