Confederate States of America. President.

The messages and papers of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy, including diplomatic correspondence, 1861-1865 (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryConfederate States of America. PresidentThe messages and papers of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy, including diplomatic correspondence, 1861-1865 (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 69)
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A Representative from the State of Tennessee
Compiler and! Editor of "Messages and Papers of the Presidents'

In Two Volumes — Volume II.






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ASTOR, L"»'JOX -,..3

tilDcN rouNDAiroNS
R 19 15 L

Copyright, 1904,


James D. Richardson.

t^ Contents of Volume II.


Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861 „ 3

Biographical Sketch of Robert Toombs 141

Diplomatic Correspondence, 1862 147

Biographical Sketch of Robert IX. T. Hunter 381

Diplomatic Correspondence, 1863 385

Biographical Sketch of Judah P, Benjamin. , 607

Diplomatic Correspondence, 1864 611

Diplomatic Correspondence, 1865 701

Index yi-i^

' (iii)



CoxFEDERATE Capitol AT RICHMOND Fvontispiece

Robert Toombs 140

Robert ^I. T. Hunter 380

JuDAH P. Benjamin 606


Diplomatic Correspondence.


Diplomatic Correspondence.



Department of State, Montgomery, March i6, 1861.
William L. Yancey, Pierre A. Rest, A. Dudley Mann, Esquires.

Gentlemen : You have been appointed by the President, by
and with the advice and consent of Congress, Special Commis-
sioners to Europe. Herewith you will receive your commissions
as such to Great Britain, France, Russia, and Belgium, together
with the usual letters of credence and introduction, accrediting
and empowering you to represent the Confederate States near the
Governments of those countries. In view of the importance of
the mission with which you are charged, it is desirable that you
should proceed to London with all dispatch consistent with your
convenience, and enter upon the discharge of your duties. As
shortly after your arrival at that city as you may deem judicious,
you will seek an interview with Her Britannic Majesty's Principal
Secretary for Foreign Affairs and communicate to him the ob-
ject which you are deputed to accomplish.

You will inform him that the several Commonwealths compris-
ing the Confederate States of America have, by act of their peo-
ple in convention assembled, severed their connection with the
United .States ; have reassumed the powers which they delegated to
the Federal Government for certain specified purposes, under the
compact known as the Constitution of the United States ; and have
formed an independent Government, perfect in all its branches,
and endowed with every attribute of sovereignty and power nec-
essary to entitle them to assume a place among the nations of the
world. Although it will not be necessary to enter into a detailed
statement of the reasons which impelled the people of the Confed-
erate States to dissolve their union with the United States, it may
be well to allude to some of the more prominent of the causes
which produced that result, in order to show that the step was not
taken hastilv or passionately, but after long, patient, and mature


4 Messages and Papers of I he Confederacy.

deliberation, when the people became convinced that their honor,
and social and material welfare, demanded separation as the best
means by which those vital interests could be preserved. You can
point with force to the eflforts which have been persistently made
by the manufacturing States of the North to compel the agricultur-
al interests of the South, out of the proceeds of their industry, to
pay bounties to Northern manufacturers in the shape of high pro-
tective duties on foreign imports. Since the year 1828, whenever
they had the power, the manufacturing Northern States, disre-
garding the obligations of our compact, in violation of the prin-
ciples of justice and fair dealing, and in contempt of all remon-
strance and entreaty, have carried this policy to great extremes,
to the serious detriment of the industry and enterprise of the
South. This policy, the injustice of which is strikingly illus-
trated by the high protective tariff just adopted by the Govern-
ment at Washington, furnishes a strong additional vindication of
the wisdom of the action of the Confederate States, especially in
the estimation of those countries whose commercial interests, like
those of Great Britain, are diametrically opposed to protective
tariffs. When, however, in addition to this system, by which
millions were annually extorted from our people to foster North-
ern monopolies, the attempt was made to overthrow the consti-
tutional barriers by which our prosperity, our social system, and
our right to control our own institutions were protected, separa-
tion from associates who recognized no law but self-interest and
the power of numerical superiority became a necessity dictated by
the instincts of self-preservation. You will not fail to explain
that in withdrawing from the United States the Confederate
States have not violated any obligations of allegiance. They
have merely exercised the sovereignty, which they have possessed
since their separation from Great Britain and jealously guarded,
by revoking the authority which, for defined purposes and within
defined limits, they had voluntarily delegated to the General Gov-
ernment, and by reassuming themselves the exercise of the author-
ity so delegated. In consummating this act of separation, no public
or private interest has suffered the least shock or detriment. No
right has been impaired, no obligation has been forfeited. Every-
where in the Confederate States order and respect for individual
and collective rights have been scrupulously observed.

Dij^lomalic Correspondence. 1861. 5

The Confederate States, therefore, present themselves for ad-
mission into the family of independent nations, and ask for that
acknowledgment and friendly recognition which are due to every
people capable of self-government and possessed of the power
to maintain their independence.

The Confederate States have a well-organized Government in-
stituted by the free will of their citizens, in the active exercise of
all the functions of sovereignty, and are capable of defending
themselves. The Constitution* which their Congress has just
unanimously adopted (a copy of which, duly authenticated by this
Department, you will hand to Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary
of Foreign Affairs) is the best proof which you can aflford of the
wisdom, moderation, and justice which have guided their counsels.

One of the Confederate States (Alabama) has, already, by an
almost unanimous vote of her convention, ratified that instru-
ment; and, doubtless, long before you reach your destination all
the other States of the Confederacy will have accepted it with
equal unanimity as their fundamental law. It is the confident
expectation of the President and people of the Confederate States
that the enlightened Government of Great Britain will speedily
acknowledge our independence and welcome us among the na-
tions of the world. The recent course which the British Govern-
ment pursued in relation to the recognition of the right of the
Italian people to change their form of government and choose
their own rulers encourages this Government to hope that they
will pursue a similar policy in regard to the Confederate States.
Reasons no less grave and valid than those which actuated the
people of Sicily and Naples to cast off a government not of their
choice and detrimental to their interests have impelled the people
of the Confederate States to dissolve the compact with the
United States, which, diverted from the just and beneficent
purposes of its founders, had become dangerous to their peace,
prosperity, and interest. Representations ma}-, however, be made
to the British Government by the Government at Washington,
that our existence as an independent country will be of but
temporary duration, and that we can be induced by certain con-
cessions to reenter the Union, from which we recently severed our

*See Vol. I., p. 37.

6 JSIessagcs and Papers of the Confederacy.

connection. If an impression of this kinti has been or shall be
made upon the British Ministry, you will leave no exertions unem-
ployed for its definite removal. I need not assure you that neither
the Government nor the citizens of the Confederate States of
America regard such an occurrence as within the range of pos-

Our experience of the past, our hopes of the future, unite us
cordially in a resolute purpose not again to identify our political
fortunes with the Northern States. If we were not secure in
our rights and property under such an instrument as the Con-
stitution of the United States, we see no reasonable prospect of
securing them by additional guarantees. You will therefore
steadily maintain, in your intercourse with foreign function-
aries and otherwise, that in every contingency the Confederate
States are resolute in their purpose to preserve arid perpetuate
their national independence. The Confederate States assume the
position in the firm conviction that thus alone can they secure their
future happiness and tranquillity, and that they have the moral
and physical strength to hold and cause their position to be re-
spected. Against the only power which is at all likely to ques-
tion our independence and disturb our peace, the United States,
we possess abundant means for successful defense. In the first
place, we are in a condition now to bring into the field 100,000
well-armed troops, and, should they be required, this number
could be increased almost to the extent of our arms-bearing pop-
ulation. Secondly, should the United States, actuated by lust of
dominion, numerical superiority, or the fancied possession of a
right to compel our allegiance to them, determine to invade our
soil or otherwise assail us, they would have to contend not only
against the 5,000,000 of people of the Confederate States, but
against the 8,000,000 also who inhabit the eight other States
allied to us by community of institutions and interest, and by
geographical position, and who, although they have not as yet
resolved to sever their connection with the United States, would
do so immediately, and join us in arms, the moment the first gun
was fired against us by order of the Government of the United
States. The resolutions of the popular conventions of those
States amply attest the accuracy of this calculation. Thirdly, you
are aware that in most, if not all, of the Northern States large

Diplomatic C orres^ondence. 1861. 7

and influential portions of the population have manifested the
most determined opposition to any attempt to force us to reunite
ourselves to our late confederates. Fourthly, you will remember
that the Government of the United States is at this time wholly
destitute of the power and the means to commence an aggressive

The legislative branch of the Government has refused, by
omitting to make the necessary provisions for that purpose, to arm
the Executive with any authority to make war.

It is needless also to point out in what condition the United
States would be placed were they to be entirely cut oflf from our
custom for their manufactures, and our $250,000,000 of produce
for their commerce and exchange. This combination of power-
ful inducements to preserve peace on the part of the United States,
together with the large material strength and resources which
we possess, renders it apparent to every observer that we have no
unusual reasons to fear war. As soon as you shall be received
officially by Great Britain you will propose to negotiate a treaty
of friendship, commerce, and navigation, and you are accordingly
furnished herewith with full powers for that purpose. The prin-
cipal aim of the Confederate States in their policy with foreign
Governments is peace and commerce.

It will be their constant care to employ every means consistent
with honor to maintain the one and extend the other. In their
traffic with foreign countries, they intend to act upon that
wise maxim of political economy : "Buy where you can buy cheap-
est, and sell where you can sell dearest."

Import duties for mere revenue purposes, so moderate as to
closely approximate free trade, will render their markets peculiarly
accessible to the manufactories of Europe, while their liberal nav-
igation system will present valuable attraction to countries largely
engaged in that enterprising pursuit. It must be borne in mind
that nearly one-half of all the Atlantic coast and the whole of
the Mexican Gulf coast lately within the boundaries of the United
States are at present within the boundaries of the Confederate
States. The Confederate States produce nearly nineteen-twen-
tieths of all the cotton grown in the States which recently consti-
tuted the United States. There is no extravagance in the asser-
tion that the gross amount of the annual yield of the manu facto-

8 Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

ries of Great Britain from tlic cotton of the Confederate States
reaches $rxx),ooo,ooo. The British Ministry will comprehend
fully the condition to which the British realm would be reduced if
the supply of our staple should suddenly fail or even be consid-
erably diminished. A delicate allusion to the probability of such
an occurrence might not be unkindly received by the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, an occurrence, I will add, that is inevitable
if this country shall be involved in i)rotracted hostilities with the
North. The President feels no hesitation in authorizing you to
enter into such stipulations as in your judgment will be most
advantageous to this country, subject, of course, to his approval
and that of the coordinate branch of the treaty-making power.
You are further to express to the British Minister the willingness
of this Government to assume the obligations of the treaties con-
cluded between the United States and Great Britain now in force.

The only exception is in reference to the clause of the treaty
of Washington (known as the Ashburton treaty) which obliges
the United States to maintain a naval force on the coast of Africa
for the suppression of the African slave trade. It is not in our
power to comply with this obligation. We have prohibited the
African slave trade, and intend in good faith to prevent it in our
country. But we are not prepared at this time to aid the rest of
the world in promoting that object. When the object of your
mission to London is accomplished, you will proceed to Paris and
thence to Brussels, St. Petersburg, and such other places as
the President may hereafter direct.

The arguments which you will use with Great Britain to induce
her to establish relations with the Confederate States may be
employed with France and the other countries to which you are
accredited. With each of these countries you will propose to ne-
gotiate treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation similar
to that which you will propose to Great Britain, subject to the same
reservations as to ratification here. You will correspond, as fre-
quently as occasion may require, v/ith this Department, transmit-
ting your dispatches by such conveyances as you may deem the
most safe and expeditious.

I remain, gentlemen, very respectfully yours, R. Toombs.

Diplomatic Correspondence. iS6i, 9


Department of State, Montgomery, March 16, 186 1.
William L. Yancey, Pierre A. Rost, A. Dudley Mann, Esquires.

Gentlemen : Herewith you will receive the following papers,
documents, and books, which will be found necessary or useful to
you in the discharge of the mission to which you have been ap-
pointed :

1. Letters of credence to the Governments of Great Britain,
France, Russia, and Belgium.

2. Letters of introduction to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of
those countries.

3. A special passport for yourselves and the persons of your

4. A set of laws of the United States and pamphlet copies of
recent laws.

5. A copy of Wheaton's International Law.

(These books are for the use of the Commission, and at the
termination of your mission are to remain with the representative
of the Confederate States at London or to be returned to this
Department. )

6. A sample of dispatch paper.

Your allowance, as limited by law, is $1,000 per month for each
of the Commissioners. By a general rule, the salary commences
from the time of the Commissioner's acceptance of his appoint-
ment, and ceases on his receiving notice or permission to return.
The cost of newspapers, gazettes, pamphlets, etc., transmitted to
the Department, of postage, stationery, and other necessary and
customary expenses, is not considered as included under the de-
nomination of personal expenses, and will form, as contingencies
of the Commission, a separate charge in your accounts. But no
contingent expenses are to be incurred without necessity, or in
compliance with the established usages ; and no charge of any
other description will be admitted, unless warranted by express
directions from this Department. Exact vouchers in all cases of
expenditure will be requisite for the settlement of your accounts,
and as some of these incidental charges are of a nature scarcely
admitting of any other sort of voucher for every item, a separate

lO Afcssagcs and Papers of the Confederacy.

account of them should be kept and certified by the Secretary of
the Commission.

These particulars are thus minutely stated that you may be re-
lieved from all doubt on the subject of your accounts, which, you
will remember, are to be regularly transmitted by duplicates for
adjustment at the Treasury at the close of every quarter ending
with June, September, December, and March.

Among the most important of your duties is that of transmit-
ting to this Government accurate information of the policy and
views of the Government to which you are accredited and of the
character and vicissitudes of its important relations witli other
European powers. To acquire this information, and particularly
to discriminate between that which is authentic and that which
is spurious, require steady and impartial observation, a free
though cautious correspondence with the other agents of the Con-
federate States abroad, and friendly social relations with the
members of the diplomatic body at the places where you reside.
In your correspondence with this Department, besides the current
general and particular politics of the country where you are to
reside, you will be mindful, as far as you may find it convenient,
to collect and transmit information of every kind relating to the
government, finances, commerce, arts, sciences, and condition of
the nation, which is not already known, and may be made use-
ful to our own country. Books of travel containing statistical
or other information of political importance, historical works not
before in circulation, authentic maps published by authority of
the State or distinguished by extraordinary reputation, and pub-
lications of new and useful discoveries will always be acceptable
acquisitions to this Department. The expense of procuring and
transmitting them will form in your account a separate charge to
the Department. But no such charge of any considerable amount
is to be incurred in any one account without a previous express
direction for it from this Department.

It is the practice of the European Governments, in the draw-
ing up of their treaties with each other, to vary the order of nam-
ing the parties and of the signatures of the plenipotentiaries in
the counterparts of the same treaty, so that each party is first
named and its plenipotentiary signs first in the copy possessed
and published by itself; and in treaties drawn up between par-

Diplomatic Correspondence. iS6i. ii

ties using different languages, and executed in both, each party
is first named and its plenipotentiary signs first in the copy exe^
cuted in its own language. This practice having been accidentally
omitted on one or two occasions to be observed by the United
States, the omission was followed by indications of a disposition
in certain European Governments to question its application to
them. It became, therefore, proper to insist upon it, as was ac-
cordingly done with effect. As it is understood to involve a prin-
ciple, you will consider it a standing instruction to adhere to this
alternation in the conclusion of any treaty, convention, or other
document to be jointly signed by you with the plenipotentiary of
the other power.

You are re-requested to provide yourself with a sufficient supply
of dispatch paper, in size and quality corresponding with sample
sent herewith, to be exclusively used in your correspondence with
this Department. It has been found highly convenient and use-
ful to have the original dispatches from our Ministers abroad
bound up in volumes. For this purpose, with a view to uniform-
ity, the dispatches should be regularly numbered, and, with the
copies made at the Commission of all papers transmitted with
them, should be written on paper of the same dimensions, with
the edges uncut, for stitching and cutting off the edges without
injury to the text. Minute as these particulars appear, they are
found to be essential to the good order and convenience of busi-
ness in the Department.

I have the honor to be very respectfully, R. Toombs.


Havana, March 24, 1861.
Hon. S. R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, Montgomery.

Dear Sir: Now that the Southern States have formed a Con-
federacy of their own, the recognition of which by foreign pow-
ers will soon require the mission of diplomatic agents near its
Government, I would be highly gratified if Her Catholic ]\Tajes-
ty's Government would accredit your Senor Du Mariano .Mva-
rez, lately Consul General and Charge d'Affaires at Saint Do-
mingo, and now on his way to Madrid. Mr. Alvarez, who is an

I a J\fcssagcs and Papers of the Confederacy.

intimate friend of your brother-in-law I'^ernando and a gentle-
man of high abihties and most conciliating character and liberal
ideas, has already had an opportunity of knowing the South and
its institutions, with which he sympathizes, having been consul
in Key West for some time, where he has left the pleasantest rec-
ollections of your Government and strengthened more and more
the friendly relations between the two nations. Undoubtedly
Spain naturally is destined to be the warmest friend of the South
in Europe as well as in America, if for nothing else for the
similarity of institutions in its West Indian colonies. Could you
not manage it so that your agent in Madrid should see him? He
has a great deal of credit with the Queen and can get any post
he pleases. Mr. Alvarez lives in Madrid, plaza de Oriente No.
14, Ewarts Principal a la Tyquerdu. My object in taking the
liberty of writing you in this manner is the deep interest I take in
the Southern Republic. Please present my regards to Mrs, Mal-
lory, accept my sincere wishes for the happiness and prosperity of
the new Confederacy, and believe me respectfully and sincerely,
your most obedient servant, Manuel D. Crugat.


No. I. Department of State, Montgomery, April 2, 1861.
William L. Yancey, Pierre A. Rest, A. Dudley Mann, Esquires,

Commissioners of the Confederate States, etc.

Gentlemen: At the date of your departure from this city (the
17th ultimo) the Constitution of the Confederate States, which
had been unanimously adopted by the Congress on the nth of
March, had been ratified by the conventions of but two States of
the Confederacy — namely, Alabama and Georgia. The conven-
tions of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas have since
met and have by almost unanimous votes ratified that instrument.

By Article VII., Sec. I., of the Constitution, it is provided that^
"the ratifications of the conventions of five States shall be suf-',
ficient for the establishment of this Constitution between thci
States so ratifying the same."

The five States already enumerated having thus recorded their I
ratification, the Constitution is, therefore, now the fundamental

Diplomatic Correspondence. i86t, 13

law of the Confederate States. I take special pleasure in com-
municating to you this important fact for your information and
guidance. The conventions of the States of South Carolina and
Florida are now in session, and no doubt is entertained that they

Online LibraryConfederate States of America. PresidentThe messages and papers of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy, including diplomatic correspondence, 1861-1865 (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 69)