Mr. Buchanan, while he can discover no authority under the Constitution to justify secession by a State, on the other hand he can find no power to coerce one to return after the right of secession has been exercised. He will not allow entry or clearance of a vessel except through the Custom-house, to be established as soon as secession is declared, upon the deck of a man-of-war off the harbor of Charleston. He will enforce the collection of duties, not by navy, but by a revenue cutter, as our collector now would do if his authority was resisted. I will write to you more fully when I return from New York, where I go to-morrow at daylight, at the suggestion of the Secretary of War, who deems it important that I should go there to make arrangements for shipping the arms (should you still want them) from that point instead of this city ... Do send a copy of the list of arms at the arsenals to H.R. Lawton, Milledgeville, Ga. I am getting some smooth-bored muskets for Georgia, like the specimen I sent you.
[Sidenote] MS. Confederate Archives.
THOS. F. DRAYTON TO GOVERNOR GIST.
WASHINGTON, 23d Nov., 1860.
I arrived here at 6 A.M. from New York, where I had gone at the suggestion of Mr. Floyd to engage Mr. G.B. Lamar, President of the Bank of the Republic, to make an offer to the Secretary for such a number of muskets as we might require. The Secretary at War was reluctant to dispose of them to me, preferring the intermediate agency. Mr. Lamar has consented to act accordingly, and to-day the Secretary has written to the commanding officer [at] Watervliet Arsenal to deliver five or ten thousand muskets (altered from flint to percussion) to Mr. Lamar’s order. Mr. Lamar will pay the United States paymaster for them, and rely upon the State to repay him. I have been most fortunate in having been enabled to meet the payments for the arms through Mr. L., for I feel satisfied that without his intervention we could not have effected the purchase at this time.... I expect to return at daylight to-morrow to New York, for I am very anxious about getting possession of the arms at Watervliet, and forward them to Charleston. The Cabinet may break up at any moment, on differences of opinion with the President as to the rights of secession, and a new Secretary of War might stop the muskets going South, if not already on their way when he comes into office.
I will write to you again by the next mail. The impression here and elsewhere among many Southern men is, that our Senators have been precipitate in resigning; they think that their resignations should have been tendered from their seats after they had announced to the Senate that the State had seceded. Occupying their seats up to this period would have kept them in communication with Senators from the South and assisted very powerfully in shaping to our advantage coming events.