Washington, Xmas Day, 1862.
My Dear Forbes, — Your letter of 23d was on my table when I returned from an interview with the President, where much had been said about the Proclamation. He is now considering how to proclaim on 1st January. It will be done. He says of himself that he is hard to be moved from any position which he has taken. He let me know last evening of his plan to employ African troops to hold the Mississippi River, and also other posts in the warm climates, so that our white soldiers may be employed elsewhere. He seemed much in earnest.
I did not write at once on the receipt of your letter of 18th December, because it found me excessively occupied, and because I had been already assured by the President with regard to the Proclamation. I see no objection to printing the extract from Stephens1 on the sheet with the Proclamation; and I like much the idea of distributing the Proclamation through the army. I have exhorted the President to put into the next Proclamation some sentiment of justice and humanity. He promised at once to consider it.
Why not send to all the hospitals, camps, posts? The more the better.
1 “This stone (slavery), which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief stone of the corner in our new edifice.” (Speech of Alex. H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States, delivered March 31,1861.)
SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 348-9