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The Richmond Dispatch, in publishing this letter, says:
The Southern train, which arrived at half-past six o'clock last night, brought Colonel Memminger and his daughter, for whom rooms had been taken at the Ballard House. Colonel Memminger was met at the cars by the joint committee of the General Assembly appointed to receive him as the guest of the State, and conducted to the hotel. He will, we learn, address the Legislature in the hall of the House to-night on the subject of his mission.
Arrived at Richmond and escorted to his elegant domicile at the Ballard House, his first official act was to address the following letter to Governor Letcher:
RICHMOND, January 14, 1860.
His Excellency John Letcher, Governor of the State of Virginia :
DEAR SIR, I have the honor to communicate to you the accompanying resolutions which were unanimously adopted by the General Assembly of South Carolina on the 22d day of December last.
The State of South Carolina has felt with the deepest concern the indignity offered to the State of Virginia, and regards it as a blow aimed equally at herself. Her people desire to express their cordial sympathy with the people of Virginia, and to unite with them in measures of common defense; and they have honored me with the charge of communicating their sentiments.
Permit me, therefore, respectfully to request of your Excellency to indicate the manner in which it will be most acceptable to the authorities of Virginia that I should proceed to discharge the duties entrusted to me.
With highest consideration and respect, I am your obedient servant, [Signed] C. G. MEMMINGER.
This official communication was at once brought to the attention of the Legislature of Virginia, then in session, by the Governor. In answer Mr. Memminger was invited to address the General Assembly of Virginia upon the subject of his mission. In every way that the thoughtful discretion of a cultivated people could suggest he was made the recipient of the most delicate attention, and of that unstinted hospitality for which Virginians have been always distinguished.
The address of Mr. Memminger to the General Assembly of Virginia fully met the expectations of those who had delegated to him the honorable and responsible duty of representing South Carolina, and was equally pleasing to the Virginians, among whom the high character and abilities of Mr. Memminger was now fully known and appreciated.
I present this address in full. It is a state paper of great interest, worthy to rank with the best efforts of our most illustrious statesmen.
RICHMOND, January 21, 1860.
Sir,-We have the honor to enclose to you the accompanying resolution, unanimously adopted by both houses of the General Assembly. Permit us to add our personal solicitation for a compliance, on your part, with the wishes of the General Assembly.
We have the honor to be, with high consideration, your obedient servants,
Hon. C. G. Memminger.
Ro. L. MONTAGUE, President of the Senate.
Resolved by the General Assembly, That the Hon. C. G. Memminger, Commissioner from the State of South Carolina, be requested to furnish for publication the address delivered by him to the General Assembly on his reception by them, and that ten thousand copies be printed for circulation among the people of the State.
Agreed to by House of Delegates, January 20, 1860.
WM. P. GORDON, JR., C. H. D.
Agreed to by Senate, January 21, 1860.
SHELTON C. DAVIS, C. S. RICHMOND, January 27, 1860. Gentlemen,-In pursuance of the request of the General Assembly, I herewith respectfully communicate to you, as nearly as I can recall the same, the address delivered by me before the Assembly on the 19th inst. I would ask leave to tender to the Assembly my respectful acknowledgments of the honor done me in making the request, and to yourselves, gentlemen, my assurance of high consideration.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
C. G. MEMMINGER,
Commissioner of the State of South Carolina.
Hon. R. L. Montague, President of the Senate.
Hon. O. M. Crutchfield, Speaker of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly of Virginia.
Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the General Assembly of Virginia :
When the Athenian orator ascended the bema, before the constituted authorities of his country, it was his custom to invoke the blessing of the gods upon the deliberations of the assembly. If those who worshiped an unknown god so anxiously sought his aid, how much more earnestly should we, to whom that God has been revealed as a Son of Righteousness, with healing in his wings, invoke his assistance upon so momentous an occasion as the present. Most humbly, therefore, do I now beseech His presence in this Assembly, that He may condescend to aid the speaker to discharge aright the important trust confided to him, and to guide the hearers to that result which will advance the best interests of our Southern country.
Before I enter upon the important matter which we are this day to consider, permit me, in the name of the State which I have the honor to represent, to return to his Excellency, the Governor, and to all the now assembled authorities of Virginia, my profound acknowledgment of the courtesy and kindness with which I have been received. The public demonstration of respect and consideration which you have been pleased to exhibit could only be exceeded by the courteous hospitality with which I have been welcomed in private. If my mission should attain no higher results, it will at least show to the world that the States of this Union have a separate and distinct vitality; that they realize the great fact that they may confer with each other to maintain their mutual rights and interests; and, besides all this, I can confidently affirm that such an interchange of kindly feeling as you have exhibited cannot fail to bind together the hearts of our people in closer ties of sympathy and fellowship.
The objects of my mission are set forth in the resolutions of which I am the bearer to this Commonwealth. I respectfully ask leave to have them read:
"Whereas, the State of South Carolina, by her Ordinance of A. D. 1852, affirmed her right to secede from the confederacy whenever the occasion should arise justifying her, in her own judgment, in taking that step; and in the resolution adopted by her convention declared that she forebore the immediate exercise of that right from the considerations of expediency only;
"And, whereas, more than seven years have elapsed since that convention adjourned, and in the intervening time the assaults upon the institutions of slavery, and upon the rights and equality of the Southern States, have unceasingly continued with increasing violence and wider and more alarming forms; be it, therefore,
"1. Resolved, unanimously, That the State of South Carolina, still deferring to her Southern sisters, nevertheless respectfully announces to them that it is the deliberate judgment of this General Assembly that the slave-holding States should immediately meet together to concert measures for united action.
"2. Resolved, unanimously, That the foregoing preamble and resolution be communicated by the Governor to all the slave-holding States, with the earnest request of this State that they will appoint deputies and adopt such measures as in their judgment will promote the said meeting.
"3. Resolved, unanimously, That a special commissioner be appointed by his Excellency the Governor to communicate the foregoing preamble and resolutions to the State of Virginia, and to express to the authorities of that State the cordial sympathy of the people of South Carolina with the people of Virginia and their earnest desire to unite with them in measures of common defense."
Three distinct objects are presented by these resolutions. They direct me
1. To express to the authorities of Virginia the cordial sympathy of the people of South Carolina with the people of Virginia in the trial through which they have lately passed.
2. To express our earnest desire to unite with you in measures of common defense.
3. To request a conference of the slave-holding States and the appointment of deputies or commissioners to the same on the part of Virginia.
The expression of our sympathy is most grateful to our own feelings. Whilst in common with the rest of the Union, we feel our obligation for the large contribution of mind and effort which Virginia has made to the common cause; we of South Carolina are more largely indebted to her for manifestations of particular concern in our welfare, which I shall presently notice. We had supposed that her large contributions to the Union had secured to her the respect and affection of every State of the confederacy. Certainly there is no State to whom more kindly feelings are due. Her statesmen and soldiers had devoted their lives to the service of the country, and their honored remains now hallow her soil. There was the tomb of the Father of his Country. There lay the ashes of Patrick Henry, and of Jefferson, and of Madison, and of a host of others, whose names had given lustre to our country's glory, and the fruit of whose labors was the common inheritance of North and South; and yet all this could not preserve her from the invasion of her soil, the murder of her citizens, and the attempt to involve her in the horrors of servile and civil war. That very North, to whom she had surrendered a territorial empire-who had grown great through her generous confi
dence-sent forth the assassins, furnished them with arms and money, and would fain rescue them from the infamy and punishment due to crimes so atrocious.
To estimate aright the character of the outrage at Harper's Ferry we must realize the intentions of those who planned it. They expected the slaves to rise in mass as soon as the banner of abolition should be unfurled. Knowing nothing of the kindly feeling which exists throughout the South between the master and his slaves, they judged of that feeling by their own hatred, and expected that the tocsin which they sounded would at once arouse to rebellion every slave who heard it. Accordingly they prepared such arms as an infuriate and untrained peasantry could most readily use.
They also expected aid from another element of revolution. They did not believe in the loyalty to the government of Virginia of that part of her population which owned no slaves. They seized upon the armory, and they expected help from its operatives, and from the farming population; and to gain time for combining all these elements of mischief, as they conceived them to be, they seized upon a pass in the mountains well adapted to their purpose. For months had they worked with fiendish and unwearied diligence, and it is hazarding little to conjecture that the banditti, who had been trained in Kansas, were in readiness to obey the summons to new scenes of rapine and murder as soon as a lodgment were effected.
Is it at all surprising that a peaceful village where no sound of war had been heard for half a century should be overcome for the moment at midnight by so unexpected an inroad? The confusion which ensued was a necessity; and it can only be ascribed to the superintendence of a kind Providence that so few innocent lives were sacrificed. It is indeed wonderful that none of the hostages seized by these banditti should have suffered from the attacks which their friends were obliged to make, and that at so early a period the inhabitants recovered from their amazement and reduced their assailants to the five who were entrenched within the brick walls of the engine-house.
The failure to accomplish their purpose cannot lessen its atrocity; neither can their erroneous calculations as to the loyalty of their citizens of the State, or of the slaves to their masters, lessen the crime of these murderers; and they have justly paid the forfeit of their lives. But such a forfeit cannot expiate the blood of peaceful citizens, nor restore the feeling of tranquil security to the families which they have disturbed. The outraged soil of Virginia stands a witness of the wrong, and the unquiet homes which remain agitated along her borders, still call for protection; and as an affectionate mother, the State feels for her children, and is providing that protection. The people of South Carolina cordially sympathize in all these feelings. They regard this