WASHINGTON D. C., January 11, 1861.
MY DEAR SIR: It has not been in my power, as you are aware, to agree with you and with a majority of your constitutional advisers in the measures which have been adopted in reference to the present condition of things in South Carolina; nor do I think it at all probable that I shall be able to concur in the views which you entertain, so far as I understand them, touching the authority, under existing laws, to enforce the collection of the customs at the port of Charleston.
Under such circumstances, after mature consideration, I have concluded that I cannot longer continue in our cabinet without embarrassment to you and an exposure of myself to the just criticism of those who are acquainted with my opinions upon the subject. I therefore deem it proper to tender my resignation of the commission I now hold as Secretary of the Treasury, to take effect when my successor shall be appointed and qualified. In doing so, I avail myself of the occasion to offer you the assurance of the high respect and regard which, personally, I entertain for you, and with which,
I have the honor to be your friend and obedient servant,
PHILIP F. THOMAS
SOURCE: John Bassett Moore, Editor, The works of James Buchanan, comprising his speeches, state papers, and Private Correspondence, Volume 11: 1860-1868, p. 105