Showing posts with label Peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peace. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jonathan Worth to Dr. C. W. Woolen, May 17, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 17th, 1861.

I have made special inquiry into the cost question against you and the other securities of Daniel Worth—having first taken the pains to examine the authorities.

It is decided by the Supreme Court in the case State vs. Saunders and others, 1 Hawkes, p. 355, that the securities to an appeal bond in a criminal case, where the judgment from which appeal was taken is confirmed, are liable to all the State costs in the Superior Court and the Supreme Court, excepting the prison fee. I have seen S. G. Worth this morning and learn from him that the State Solicitor has at length given up all claims beyond this. At the Spring Term he was authorized to demand all the costs in both cases, and not to receive forfeitures, but to issue execution for them, unless the whole of the costs was paid. I instructed him to disregard this instruction and throw the responsibility on me, and he accordingly received the amount of the forfeiture and the cost of the proceedings and to enforce them and with the assent of the attorneys, prosecuting for the State, he claims only what he is bound to demand according to law, to wit, the State's costs in the Supr. and Supreme Court in the case tried, excluding prison fees. No costs are now claimed on the case not tried, and none of defendant's costs are cither called for and the County has made an order directing the prison fees to be paid out of the forfeitures. The order given by your nephew is not, I understand, for a sum sufficient to pay the costs for which you are liable as security for the appeal to the Supreme Court.

 I am filled with horror at the condition of our country. According to my notions of Government, there is much that is wrong on both sides. The Abolitionists of the Free States ought not to have agitated the slavery question at all, even conceding that their feeling is right. It only tends to make the treatment of slaves more vigorous and to encourage bitterness between the two sections. When it was seized upon as a party question it was easy to see it must soon become sectional and that is purely sectional. have always regarded the dissolution of the Union as the greatest misfortune which could befall the whole nation and the whole human race. Hence I have abhorred the agitation of the slavery question as tending to this result. Acting on that conviction I have used all the efforts in my power to stay what I regarded as the madness of both sections, and in the immediate sphere of my influence have impressed my views upon others. My immediate constituents sustained me with greater unanimity than did the constituents of any other representative. I was the first public man in the State to call on the people to vote down the Convention on the 28th Feb., on the ground that the calling of it would tend to a dissolution of the Union. Everybody attributed to me a larger share of the credit or discredit of defeating the call of a Convention than to any other man in the State. I regarded the result in N. C. and Tenn. as arresting the march of madness. Union men had gained strength up to the proclamation of Lincoln. If he had withdrawn the garrison of Fort Sumter on the principle of a military necessity and in obedience in what seemed to be the will of Congress in refusing to pass the force bill, this State and Tenn. and the other slave States which had not passed the ordinance of Secession, would have stood up for the Union. In the feverish state of the popular mind, if he be a man of good sense, he knew he would crush the Union men in the Slave States by the policy he adopted. All of 118 who had stood by the Union, felt that he had abandoned us and surrendered us to the tender mercies of Democracy & the Devil. He must have known that he was letting loose on us a torrent to which we could oppose no resistance. It may be said, theoretically, that this should not have been the effect. Statesmen should have common sense. All sensible men knew it would be the effect. We are still at a loss to determine whether he is an old goose, as well as each of his advisers, thinking to preserve the Union by his course, or whether he became apprehensive that the Union men were about to gain strength enough in the South to stay Secession and he desired to drive us all into rebellion, in order to make a crusade against slavery and desolate our section. In the former case he is a fool:—in the latter—a devil. He could have adopted no policy so effectual to destroy the Union. Since the issue of that great proclamation, it is unsafe for a Union man in even N. C. to own he is for the Union. The feeling is to resist to the death. Union men feel that just as they had got so they could stand on their legs, Lincoln had heartlessly turned them over to the mercy of their enemies. We feel that his co-operation with the Secessionists left us no alternative but to take arms against our neighbors, or to defend ourself against his aggression.

I am still a Union man, but for military resistance to Lincoln, believing that Lincoln and his cabinet have acted on their mistaken impression that their policy was the best for the preservation of the Union, and that they do not intend to proclaim servile insurrection. If the latter is the design the South can be conquered only by extermination. If his purpose be, as le says, to respect property and discountenance rebellion or insurrection among our servile population, and our people become satisfied of this, many of our people will not willingly take arms.

I see no hope of any good and stable government except in the United government we are pulling down. It can not be united by war. If peace be immediately made, it will soon re-unite, with an anti-secession clause.

Write me again soon. The Quakers here will not believe your statements as to your Quakers volunteering and the floating of the Stars and Stripes over a Quaker Church. 

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 145-8

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Thomas Macon to Jonathan Worth, May 6, 1861

May 6th, 1861.

Having had an acquaintance with your father and formed an attachment to him for the noble and generous principles held by him, I have felt the same attachment for the Worth family and, as you know, have supported them on all occasions. I have been, it seems from my feelings, for some days compelled to pen some thoughts to you that you may know my feelings and anxiety for the preservation of this Union which feels so dear to me. My father and three uncles fought for it, two of whom lost their lives; is there any amongst us who has lost more ancestry blood than myself; then dear friend think it not strange if I entreat you to save the ship, save the ship, save the ship or let not the noble County of Randolph stain her hand in its loss—was not there once a nullification spirit gotten up at the North? Remember the Hartford Convention and how President Monroe treated the commushingers1 sent to him from it, gentlemen I can not receive you only as privet citizens, rather than see him in this capacity they sneak off home, whoted and made fun of in every town through which they passed—the people did not follow there leaders but it seames flew to armes and made peace—by the Vermonters in the affere of Plattsburg and that of Stonington, what next we here that a man by the name of Cooper was sent over to Columbia, South Carolina, as a leader in their College to fill the young students' minds with the seed and doctrine of nullification, which was soon done, and South Carolina nullified and kindled the sire to bust the Union, but it failed. The digest of South Carolina (says a writer) reclaims the name and titles of the King, and his officers so arranged that an uninformed reader from that work would not determine whether she was a state of the Union or a British Province. Hence the old seed of Toryism as a foundation for Nullification Cecession and a combustible to take fire and explode in the land the end at which she has aimed for forty years is at last accomplished; and what has she done, she has filled the country with jealousy, war armies, expenses, murder, rapine with all the horrors concomitant on war—and then Eve-like casts the blame on the North and Old Lincoln—but worse than this, several of the States are now assisting her to fan the flames and consume this once happy country, contrary to Washington's advice and councile, which was to exhume any man an enemy who should mention or intimate a wish to split or divide the Union, observing united we stand, divided we fall. I had an interview with an old man 77 years old the other day near South Caroliny he said his father was born in Virginia come to S. C. and married before the Revolution but in the time of the war the Tories were so bad he had to go back to Virginia and stay til peace was made. Can it be possible that the good and once virtuous people of these Southern States will choose this tyrannical state for their leader? O yes, she has become changed and virtuous enough to be our leader and will lead us on to conquest and to glory but I hope you will use your influence to save the ship—slay not your noble principles bus plead that we follow the example of Kentucky and Tennessee. The treachery of man in the heart and bowels of our country has been very great. O my God, what is to come! Do thou protect the ship: bring to naught the wicked council of the ungodly.

Now dear friend as I have been in the habit of looking up to you for advice but we have falling on strange times it seems. Saton has turned loose, IIaving great power and authority and has filled the earth full of lies from one end to the other: and fear has taken hold on me so that I know not what to do I fear there are unprincipal men enough to take the lives of men already have been called an old abolitionist—what next.

P. S. I have hoped that the good sense and virtue of the people would save the ship from the rocks, by the superintending Providence of God but it seems gon. O that the American people had cultivated the publick mind, taken good heed to themselves and their Country, we are a ruined people, ruined ruined, what a change. I have written a few unconnected thoughts thinking you are better able to understand than myself and will do your duty. Farewell now to farewell in time and in eternity is to do well.


 1 Commissioners.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 138-40

Jonathan Worth to Henry L. Myrover, May 6, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 6, ’61.

I have just got home to stay two days at our court now sitting. Shall return to Raleigh next Wednesday. I enclose receipts for your papers which reached here after I left for Raleigh. My mind became so painfully embarrassed with the condition of our Country that I forgot to call for your papers. I am still painfully impressed with my total impotence to accomplish anything tending to the preservation of our Country from the calamities of civil war. The best chance I see is to present a united front. I shall therefore on to-morrow use whatever of influence I possess to induce our people to volunteer. I shall take this course as the best to bring about peace. I wish I could hope for the re-establishment of as good a government as that we have overthrown. With sorrow I now cooperate and unite with a majority of my State. 

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 140

Jonathan Worth to Cyrus P. Mendenhall, May 6, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 6, 1861.

Reflection has at last brought me to this conclusion that peace will be preserved, if it can be by any honorable means—and that this is likelier to be attained by unity among ourselves—and determined, united military resistance.

In this view I shall take the stump to-morrow and urge our young men to volunteer.

The painful uncertainty in my mind as to the wisest course to pursue and a deep consciousness that I have not ability to the emergencies of the times, made me determine at one time to resign. I have reconsidered and in fact did so before I left Raleigh.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 140-1

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, July 22, 1864

At the Cabinet-meeting the President read his correspondence with Horace Greeley on the subject of peace propositions from George Saunders and others at Niagara Falls. The President has acquitted himself very well, — if he was to engage in the matter at all, — but I am sorry that he permits himself, in this irregular way, to be induced to engage in correspondence with irresponsible parties like Saunders and Clay or scheming busybodies like Greeley. There is no doubt that the President and the whole Administration are misrepresented and misunderstood on the subject of peace, and Greeley is one of those who has done and is doing great harm and injustice in this matter. In this instance he was evidently anxious to thrust himself forward as an actor, and yet when once engaged he began to be alarmed; he failed to honestly and frankly communicate the President's first letters, as was his duty, but sent a letter of his own, which was not true and correct, and found himself involved in the meshes of his own frail net.

Colonel Jaquess is another specimen of inconsiderate and unwise, meddlesome interference. The President assented to his measure and gave him a card, or passport, to go beyond our lines. There is no doubt that the Colonel was sincere, but he found himself unequal to the task he had undertaken. Instead of persuading Jeff Davis to change his course, Davis succeeded in persuading poor Jaquess that the true course to be pursued was to let Davis & Co. do as they pleased. The result was that Jaquess and his friend Gilmore (alias Kirke), who went to Richmond to shear, came back shorn.

In these peace movements, the President has pursued his usual singular course. Seward was his only confidant and adviser, as usual in matters of the greatest importance. He says that Mr. Fessenden accidentally came in on other business while he was showing Seward the Greeley correspondence, and he was let into a knowledge of what was going on, but no one else. John Hay was subsequently told, before going off, and now, to-day, the Cabinet are made acquainted with what has been done. The President, instead of holding himself open to receive propositions, has imposed conditions and restrictions that will embarrass the parties.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 83-4

Friday, October 2, 2020

Jonathan Worth to his Brother,* March 16, 1861

ASHEBORO, March 16th, 1861.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

In your letter of the 8th inst., I was taken a little by surprise. But I now fear to begin to believe that revolution can't be stayed, and if I consulted the dictates of prudence, would, to some extent, yield to the current. I was surprised because the evidence has seemed to me abundant since the vote of La, and N. C. and the adjournment of Congress, the report of the peace convention, and the inaugural, that revolution was arrested. The votes of La. and N. C. raised a wall between the madness of the South and the uncertain turbulence of Va. which neither could pass. The plan of the peace Congress, when duly considered, will be approved by an increased majority both North and South. It is better for all sections and for the whole country than the Crittenden plan, that is, as to the main question—territory; no more territory would be likely to be acquired at all, and if acquired, the slavery question would be settled simultaneously. Congress having adjourned without passing the force bill and without supplying the executive with men or money to wage war, or even to reinforce Fort Sumter, the Prest., as commander-in-chief of the army, would be compelled in a military point of view, and not in a recognition of the right of Secession, to evacuate Ft. Sumter. Lincoln's inaugural breathes peace to any candid mind. Since the final act of Congress, the President's inaugural and the vote of N. C. against convention reached me, I have considered the Revolution arrested. Reaction must soon follow in the United States. I do not know whether the Prest. has ordered the evacuation of Ft. Sumter, but I presume he has because Congress did not furnish him the means of maintaining the occupation, in which I think Congress acted wisely. As to any other fort, still in the occupation of the national troops, which the Prest. can defend with the means at his command, he would make himself contemptible in the estimation of the world if he should voluntarily surrender them. IIe is bound by his oath to protect the public property and execute the laws so far as the legislative power will furnish him the means. I fear you caught a slight singe of gloom from our quondam friend Geo. Davis.1 I know not how you regard him. You ought not to regard him any longer as a Whig. You have heard Vance's anecdote as to the pet lamb Billy. Say to Davis personally, “Billy.” He has gone over, whatever he may think or say, to Democracy and red Republicanism. Democracy has fought for months with the rope around its neck. Its votaries should now have their coffins made and say their prayers.

Twiggs ought not to be shot. He ought to be hanged and his name for all time to be written in connection and immediately after Benedict Arnold. I am garrulous and will quit.

* Probably B. G. Worth.

* George Davis, a prominent member of the Wilmington bar, had become a secessionist after the Peace Conference. As a member of the Whig party this change greatly incensed many of the party. He was later Confederate Senator and Attorney General in the Confederate Cabinet.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 133-5

Friday, September 25, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 4, 1864

Clear and pretty cold. We have news of another brilliant affair at Kinston, N. C, where Gen. Pickett has beaten the enemy, killing and wounding and taking some 500 men, besides capturing another gun-boat! Thus the campaign of 1864 opens auspiciously.

And Gen. Early has beaten the foe in Hardy County, Northwest Virginia, capturing, it is said, some 800.

It is supposed that Gen. Pickett will push on to Newbern, and probably capture the town. At all events we shall get large supplies from the tide-water counties of North Carolina. General Lee planned the enterprise, sending some 15,000 men on the expedition.

Yesterday the Senate Committee reported against the House bill modifying the act making all men liable to conscription who have hired substitutes. But they are debating a new exemption bill in the House.

It is true Mr. Toombs was arrested at Savannah, or was ejected from the cars because he would not procure a passport.

To-day Mr. Kean, the young Chief of the Bureau of War, has registered all the clerks, the dates of their appointments, their age, and the number of children they have. He will make such remarks as suits him in each case, and submit the list to the Secretary for his action regarding the increased compensation. Will he intimate that his own services are so indispensable that he had better remain out of the field ?

The following "political card" for the Northern Democrats was played yesterday. I think it a good one, if nothing more be said about it here. It will give the Abolitionists trouble in the rear while we assail them in the front.

The following extraordinary resolutions were, yesterday, introduced in the House of Representatives by Mr. Wright of Georgia. The House went into secret session before taking any action upon them.

whereas: The President of the United States, in a late public communication, did declare that no propositions for peace had been made to that government by the Confederate States, when, in truth, such propositions were prevented from being made by the President of the United States, in that he refused to hear, or even to receive, two commissioners, appointed to treat expressly of the preservation of amicable relations between the two governments.

"Nevertheless, that the Confederate States may stand justified in the sight of the conservative men of the North of all parties, and that the world may know which of the two governments it is that urges on a war unparalleled for the fierceness of the conflict, and intensifying into a sectional hatred unsurpassed in the annals of mankind. Therefore,

"Resolved, That the Confederate States invite the United States, through their government at Washington, to meet them by representatives equal to their representatives and senators in their respective Congress at ——, on the —— day of —— next, to consider,

First: Whether they cannot agree upon the recognition of the Confederate States of America.

Second: In the event of such recognition, whether they cannot agree upon the formation of a new government, founded upon the equality and sovereignty of the States; but if this cannot be done, to consider

Third: Whether they cannot agree upon treaties, offensive, defensive, and commercial.

Resolved, In the event of the passage of these resolutions, the President be requested to communicate the same to the Government at Washington, in such manner as he shall deem most in accordance with the usages of nations; and, in the event of their acceptance by that government, he do issue his proclamation of election of delegates, under such regulations as he may deem expedient.”

Eighteen car loads of coffee went up to the army to-day. I have not tasted coffee or tea for more than a year.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 142-4

Friday, June 12, 2020

Frederick Douglass to Theodore Tilton, October 15, 1864

Rochester, Oct . 15, 1864.
My Dear Mr. Tilton:

I am obliged by your favor containing a copy of your recent speech in Latimer halL I had read that speech in the Tribune several days ago, and in my heart thanked you for daring thus to break the spell of enchantment which slavery, though wounded, dying and despised, is still able to bind the tongues of our republican orators. It was a timely word wisely and well spoken, the best and most luminous spark struck from the flint and steel of this canvass. To all appearance we have been more ashamed of the negro during this canvass than those of '56 and '60. The President's “To whom it may concern, frightened his party and his party in return frightened the President. I found him in this alarmed condition when I called upon him six weeks ago — and it is well to note the time. The country was struck with one of those bewilderments which dethrone reason for the moment. Every body was thinking and dreaming of peace — and the impression had gone abroad that the President's antislavery policy was about the only thing which prevented a peaceful settlement with the Rebels. McClellan was nominated and at that time his prospects were bright as Mr. Lincoln's were gloomy. You must therefore, judge the President's words in the light of the circumstances in which he spoke. Atlanta had not fallen; Sheridan had not swept the Shenandoah —and men were ready for peace almost at any price. The President was pressed on every hand to modify his letter “To whom it may concern”— How to meet this pressure he did me the honor to ask my opinion. He showed me a letter written with a view to meet the peace clamour raised against him. The first point made in it was the important fact that no man or set of men authorized to speak for the Confederate Government had ever submitted a proposition for peace to him. Hence the charge that he had in some way stood in the way of peace fell to the ground. He had always stood ready to listen to any such propositions.

The next point referred to was the charge that he had in his Niagara letter committed himself and the country to an abolition war rather than a war for the union, so that even if the latter could be attained by negotiation, the war would go on for Abolition.

The President did not propose to take back what he had said in his Niagara letter but wished to relieve the fears of his peace friends by making it appear that the thing which they feared could not happen and was wholly beyond his power. Even if I would, I could not carry on the war for the abolition of slavery. The country would not sustain such a war and I could do nothing without the support of Congress. I could not make the abolition of slavery an absolute prior condition to the re-establishment of the union. All that the President said on this point was to make manifest his want of power to do the thing which his enemies and pretended friends professed to be afraid he would do. Now the question he put to me was “Shall I send forth this letter?” To which I answered “Certainly not.” It would be given a broader meaning than you intend to convey — it would be taken as a complete surrender of your antislavery policy — and do yon serious damage. In answer to your Copperhead accusers your friends can make this argument of your want of power — but you cannot wisely say a word on that point. I have looked and feared that Mr. Lincoln would say something of the sort, but he has been perfectly silent on that point and I think will remain so. But the thing which alarmed me most was this: The President said he wanted some plan devised by which we could get more of the slaves within our lines. He thought that now was their time— and that such only of them as succeeded in getting within our lines would be free after the war is over. This shows that the President only has faith in his proclamations of freedom during the war and that he believes their operation will cease with the war. We were long together and there was much said—but this is enough.

I gave my address, To the People of the U. S., to the Committee appointed to publish the Minutes of the Convention. It is too lengthy for a newspaper article though of course I should be very glad to see it noticed in the Independent. You may not be aware that I do not see the Independent now-a-days. It was discontinued several months ago. If you were not like myself taxed on every hand both by your own disposition to give and the disposition of others to ask I should ask you to send me the Independent for one year on your own account .

We had Anna Dickinson here on Thursday night. Her speech made a profound impression. Nothing from Phillips, Beecher or yourself could have been more eloquent, and in her masterly handling of statistics she reminded one of Horace Mann in his palmiest days. I never listened to her with more wonder. One thing however I think you can say to her, if you ever get the chance, for it ought to be said and she will hear it and bear it from you, as well or better than from most other persons, and that is Stop that waiting. She walked incessantly— back and forth — from one side the broad platform to the other. It is a new trick and one which I neither think useful or ornamental but really a defect and disfigurement. She would allow me to tell her so, I think, because she knows how sincerely I appreciate both her wonderful talents and her equally wonderful devotion to the cause of my enslaved race.

I am not doing much in this Presidential Canvass for the reason that Republican committees do not wish to expose themselves to the charge of being the "Niggar" party. The negro is the deformed child which is put out of the room when company comes. I hope to speak some after the election, though not much before, and I am inclined to think I shall be able to speak all the more usefully because I have had so little to say during the present canvass. I now look upon the election of Mr. Lincoln as settled.

When there was any shadow of a hope that a man of more decided antislavery convictions and policy could be elected, I was not for Mr. Lincoln, but as soon as the Chicago convention my mind was made up and it is made up still. All dates changed with the Domination of McClellan.

I hope that in listening to Mr. Stanton's version of my visit to the President you kept in mind something of Mr. Stanton's own state of mind concerning public affairs. 1 found him in a very gloomy state of mind, much less hopeful than myself, and yet more cheerful than I expected to find him. I judge from your note that he must have imparted somewhat of the hue of his own mind to my statements. He thinks far less of the President's honesty than I do, and far less of his antislavery than I do. I have not yet come to think that honesty and politics are incompatible. Well, here I am, my Dear Sir, writing you a long letter—needlessly taking up your precious time—and with no better expense for the impertinence than a brief not from you and a knowledge of your good temper and disposition toward me.

Make all the speeches of this Latimer Hall kind you can—They will look better after the election than now—though they bear with them the grace of fitness now. Please remember me kindly to Mrs Tilton—and all the Dear bright eyed little Tiltons—who sparkle like diamonds about your hearth—

Truly yours Always,

P.S. I wish you would drop a line to John S. Rock Esqur asking him to send you advanced sheets of my address to the people of the United States.

He is at 6. Fremont Street—

SOURCES: Descriptive Catalogue of the Gluck Collection of Manuscripts and Autographs in the Buffalo Public Library, p. 35-7; The Frederick Douglass Papers: Series III: Correspondence, Volume 2: 1853-1865, p. 460-3

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Political Situation

[From the Richmond Examiner (opp. Organ) Aug. 15.]

Whatever may turn out to be the meaning of fact, the fact itself begins to shine out clear that Abraham Lincoln is lost; that he will never be president again—not even President of the Yankee remnant of States, to say nothing of the whole six and thirty—or, how many are there, counting “Colorado” and “Idaho,” and other Yahoo commonwealths lately invented?  The obscene ape of Illinois is about to be deposed from the Washington purple, and the White House will echo to his little jokes no more.  It is in no spirit of exultation we contemplate this coming event, for Abraham has been a good Emperor for us; but has served our turn; his policy has settled, established, and made irrevocable the separation of the old Union into nations essentially foreign, and we may be almost sorry to part with him.  He was, in the eyes of all mankind, and unanswerable argument for our secession, for he stood there a living justification, seven feet high, of the steadfast resolution of these States to hold no more political union with a race capable not only of producing such a being, but of making it a ruler and king.

Certainly his elevation to that position astonished the world, but it amazed nobody so much as the creature himself; he knew he was neither rich nor rare, and wondered how the devil he got there, or, as he expressed it himself the other day, to a Canadian editor, “It seems to be strange that I, a boy born, as it were, in the woods, should have drifted into the apex of this great event.”  Why strange?  One may be drifted into any apex if he only embarks upon a chain of circumstances; and those who sneer at Abraham’s figures are desired to observe that Noah’s ark did actually drift to an apex; and it contained, with every other beast of his kind, a pair of baboons.  If they drifted to an apex, so may he.  However that may be, he is certainly now about to come down, and even to be dragged or kicked down.  The prognostications of last spring were infallable, that the “rebellion” must be crushed this year—at least very signal and decided successes must be gained over it, or else the war would no longer be carried on under Lincoln’s government; let what might come of the war and the Union, he would get no more armies to fling into the red pit of Virginia for slaughter.

Now to put aside for the present the total loss of what Yankees fondly believe to be their conquests in the trans-Mississippi; pretermitting also the dead lock to which Sherman’s army has been brought, with all Kentucky, Tennessee and half of Georgia lying between him and his own country, and looking only to this most colossal invasion of Virginia with three large armies all bound for Richmond—the thing is over.  Grant’s army is rapidly going away from our front at Petersburg, and returning to Washington or elsewhere.  Of course Grant will not put up a notice on the shore of the Appomattox that he hereby abandons his enterprise; either will Stanton officially notify that the armies of “the Union” are found wholly unable to advance one yard out of the protection of their ships, and therefore they discontinue the campaign with a loss of one hundred fifty thousand killed, wounded and missing.  This would be unreasonable to expect, nevertheless the enterprise is abandoned.  Richmond is no more to hear the roar of Yankee siege guns under that potentate’s reign.

One cannot but arrive at this conclusion from several indications—from the greatly increasing excitement at the North touching the Chicago Convention, which is to nominate a Democratic President; from the daring violence with which some newspapers counsel resistance in arms against the draft of half a million of men, and from the singular movement of some of Lincoln’s own Black Republican supporters in the Washington Congress.  They waited for the moment when their sovereign’s fortunes were declining from their “apex” to give them a treacherous shove down the hill.  Two of his most vehement and efficient allies, Wade, of Ohio, and Winter Davis, of Maryland, gave him this blow under the fifth rib.  They present, in their official capacity, what almost amounts to a legal impeachment, save in matter of form, against their fond and too indulgent master, now tottering to his fall; charge him with arrogance, usurpation, knavery, in withholding his assent to a bill touching the status of these Confederate States—a matter which though of small importance to us, is of the deepest moment, it seems in that country; inasmuch as he has a plan of his own for readmitting States to the Union on the application of one-tenth of their population; and this would, they say, give him the control of the presidential election.  So they inform him that an election carried by this artifice must be resisted, and that he is inaugurating a civil war for the Presidency.

If Grant had only taken Richmond, would they have dared to set their names to such a document as this?  All the world suddenly, within one week, in short, since the blow up of the campaign at Petersburg, seems to feel instinctively that Abraham’s gave is played; and the New York Herald at once calls for a new National convention at Buffalo to nominate some other men instead of the baboon of Illinois and the tailor of Tennessee, and finds out that “the very winds have been whispering it for weeks”—that is for two weeks, since the Petersburg blow up.  Abe! The Emperor, is a fallen tree; no bird of the air will ever again leather its nest under his branches; a dying gorilla against whom the smallest cur can lift up its leg.

Taking it as certain, then, that the enemy’s present sovereign is as good as gone, next comes the most interesting consideration of who is to be his successor.  It is not very plain in the interest of whom, or what, Wade and Davis have so suddenly found out the enormities of Lincoln; nor whether they mean to aid the Fremont party of impossible ultra-radicals, or lay the pipes for themselves, Wade and Davis; but the most interesting matter to us is the keen and active agitation in the two branches of the Democratic party.  The peace Democrats openly avow that they will labor in the Chicago Convention of this month to get a “platform” of instant and absolute peace. We learn that the War Democrats are beginning, through some of their influential papers, to give their assent to an armistice, as one of the “planks” of the Chicago Convention—an armistice to allow negotiations for reconstruction.  In other words, these war Democrats propose that, leaving the military lines of each party where they now are, the Confederate states should be invited to send delegates to meet the Yankee States in Convention.

Let there be not only an armistice, but a formal renunciation of all right and pretense to coerce these states; and of course  an entire withdrawal of all land and sea forces which occupy any portion of our soil, or blockade any of our ports; and then the Northern States will be in a position to propose to us reconstruction of the Union, or a convention of States for the purpose of negotiating that.  It may safely be promised that such proposals would then be at least considered; at present, one cannot say what would be the result of that consideration; but, it short, let our Northern brethren try us.  With such change in the existing relations, no doubt there may come also a great change over men’s minds?  The hideous apparition of the blood-bolstered Lincoln will be laid; the bayonet will be no longer point at our throats, our dead will have been buried out of our sight, and it is vain as humorous Abraham says, to grieve over spilt milk—for so the facetious man calls blood.  We do not answer for a favorable result of this policy, but the Chicago Democrats will find it worthwhile to try it, seeing that is the only chance they have.

SOURCE: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday, August 16, 1864

Thurlow Weed to William H. Seward, August 22, 1864

New-York, Aug 22
Dear Seward,

When, ten or eleven days since, I told Mr Lincoln that his re-election was an impossibity, I also told him that the information would soon come to him through other channels. It has doubtless, ere this, reached him. At any rate, nobody here doubts it; nor do I see any body from other States who authorises the slightest hope of success.

Mr Raymond, who has, just left me, says that unless some prompt and bold step be now taken, all is lost.

The People are wild for Peace. They are told that the President will only listen to terms of Peace on condition Slavery be “abandoned.”

Mr Sweatt is well informed in relation to the public sentiment. He has seen and heard much. Mr Raymond thinks Commissioners should be immediately sent to Richmond, offering to treat for Peace on the basis of Union. That something should be done and promptly done, to give the Administration a chance for its life, is certain.

T. W.

SOURCE: Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: Thurlow Weed to William H. Seward,Lincoln will not be reelected. 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

Abraham Lincoln to Henry J. Raymond, August 24, 1864 (Draft)

Executive Mansion.               
Washington, August 24. 1864.

You will proceed forthwith and obtain, if possible, a conference for peace with Hon. Jefferson Davis, or any person by him authorized for that purpose—

You will address him in entirely respectful terms, at all events, and in any that may be indispensable to securing secure the conference—

At said conference you will propose, on behalf of this government, that upon the restoration of the Union and the national authority, the war shall cease at once, all remaing remaining questions to be left for adjustment by peaceful modes— If this be accepted hostilities to cease at once—

If it be not accepted, you will then request to be informed what terms, if any embracing the restoration of the Union, would be accepted— If any such be presented you in answer, you will forthwith report the same to this government, and await further instructions.

If the presentation of any terms embracing the restoration of the Union be declined, you will then request to be informed what terms of peace would, be accepted; and on receving any answer, report the same to this government, and await further instructions.

[Endorsed on Envelope by Lincoln:]

H. J. Raymond — about peace.

SOURCE: Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: Abraham Lincoln to Henry J. Raymond, Wednesday,Peace negotiations. 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

Henry J. Raymond to Abraham Lincoln, August 22, 1864


Astor House, New York, Aug 22 1864.
My dear Sir:—

I feel compelled to drop you a line concerning the political condition of the Country as it strikes me. I am in active correspondence with your staunchest friends in every State and from them all I hear but one report. The tide is strongly against us. Hon. E. B. Washburne writes that “were an election to be held now in Illinois we should be beaten”. Mr. Cameron writes that Pennsylvania is against us. Gov. Morton writes that nothing but the most strenous efforts can carry Indiana. This State, according to the best information I can get, would go 50.000 against us to-morrow. And so of the rest.

Nothing but the most resolute and decided action, on the part of the Government and its friends, can save the country from falling into hostile hands.

Two special causes are assigned for this great reaction in public sentiment, — the want of military successes, and the impression in some minds, the fear and suspicion in others, that we are not to have peace in any event under this Administration until Slavery is abandoned. In some way or other the suspicion is widely diffused that we can have peace with Union if we would. It is idle to reason with this belief — still more idle to denounce it. It can only be expelled by some authoritative act, at once bold enough to fix attention and distinct enough to defy incredulity & challenge respect.

Why would it not be wise, under these circumstances, to appoint a Commission, in due form, to make distinct proffers of peace to Davis, as the head of the rebel armies, on the sole condition of acknowledging the supremacy of the Constitution, — all other questions to be settled in convention of the people of all the States? The making of such an offer would require no armistice, no suspension of active war, no abandonment of positions, no sacrifice of consistency.

If the proffer were accepted (which I presume it would not be,) the country would never consent to place the practical execution of its details in any but loyal hands, and in those we should be safe.

If it should be rejected, (as it would be,) it would plant seeds of disaffection in the South, dispel all the peace delusions about peace that previal in the North, silence the clamorous & damaging falsehoods of the opposition, take the wind completely out of the sails of the Chicago craft, reconcile public sentiment to the War, the draft, & the tax as inevitable necessities, and unite the North as nothing since firing on Fort Sumter has hitherto done.

I cannot conceive of any answer which Davis could give to such a proposition which would not strengthen you & the Union cause everywhere. Even your radical friends could not fail to applaud it when they should see the practical strength it would bring to the Union common cause.

I beg you to excuse the earnestness with which I have pressed this matter upon your attention. It seems to me calculated to do good — & incapable of doing harm. It will turn the tide of public sentiment & avert impending evils of the gravest character. It will raise & concentrate the loyalty of the country &, unless I am greatly mistaken, give us an early & a fruitful victory.

Permit me to add that if done at all I think this should be done at once, — as your own spontaneous act. In advance of the Chicago Convention it might render the action of that body, of very little consequence.

I have canvassed this subject very fully with Mr. Swett of Illinois who first suggested it to me & who will seek an opportunity to converse with you upon it.

I am, very respectfully,
Your ob't Serv't
Henry J. Raymond

SOURCE: Abraham Lincoln Papers in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.: Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: Henry J. Raymond to Abraham Lincoln, Monday,Political affairs. 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

John G. Nicolay to Therena Bates, August 28, 1864

Washington, 28 August 1864

. . . I have been rather expecting to make another visit to the West in September, but it is rendered somewhat doubtful by the present rush of affairs.  I think Hay will be back by the middle of September, but it may take both of us to keep the office under proper headway.

I wrote to you that the Republican party was laboring under a severe fit of despondency and discouragement.  During the past week it reached almost the condition of a disastrous panic—a sort of political Bull Run—but I think it has been reached its culmination and will speedily have a healthy and vigorous reaction.  It even went so far as that Raymond, the Chairman of the National Executive Committee wrote a most doleful letter here to the President summing up the various discouraging signs he saw in the country, and giving it as his deliberate opinion that unless something was done, (and he thought that “something” should be the sending Commissioners to Richmond to propose terms of peace to the Rebels, on the basis of their returning to the Union) that we might as well quit and give up the contest.  In this mood he came here to Washington three or four days ago to attend a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Committee.  The President and the strongest half of the Cabinet—Seward, Stanton and Fessenden, held a consultation with him, and showed him that they already thoroughly considered and discussed his proposition; and upon showing him their reasons, he very readily concurred with them in the opinion that to follow his plan of sending commissioners to Richmond, would be worse than losing the Presidential contest—it would be ignominiously surrendering in advance.

Nevertheless the visit of himself and committee here did very great good.  They found the President and Cabinet wide awake to all the necessities of the situation, and went home much encourage and cheered up.  I think that immediately upon the nominations being made at Chicago (it seems now as if McClellan would undoubtedly be the nominee) the whole Republican Party throughout the country will wake up, begin a spirited campaign and win the election.

SOURCE: Michael Burlingame, Editor, With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, p. 153-4

Saturday, May 16, 2020

From the World.

Peace, on the basis of a restored Union, is a consummation so devoutly to be wished that the people will watch with intense interest the faintest indications of its return.  Now that the Government, by authorizing Mr. Greeley’s mission, has turned the public mind in that direction, the country will hardly let the occasion pass without a free expression of opinion on the possibility, method, conditions, and probable consequences of the peace which all but army contractors and abolitionists so ardently desire.  The President having sanctioned the Niagara negotiations, the subject is fairly before the public for such discussion as may seem appropriate.

We are bound to say that we expect no results from the breaking of the diplomatic ice across the Niagara river.  It is, probably, on one side and on the other, a mere politician’s trick.  But it wears the external form of duly authorized preliminaries to a more formal negotiation   On the same side, the presence of the private secretary of the President of the United States is as valid an authentication of Mr. Greeley’s mission as would be a written letter of credentials; and it is to be presumed that the President would not have given the affair this degree of countenance had he not been satisfied that the alleged commissioners on the other side were duly authorized.  The selection of Mr. Greeley as an intermediary was on many accounts politic, and especially as protecting Mr. Lincoln from the kind of imputations put upon Secretary Seward for his informal intercourse with rebel commissioners in the first days of the Administration, previous to the attempt to provision Fort Sumter.

P. S. Since writing the above we have received the papers that passed in this odd negotiation; and, if the subject were not to serious for laughter, we should go into convulsions.  That dancing wind-bag of popinjay conceit, William Cornell Jewett, has achieved the immortality he covets; he has reversed the adage about the mountain in labor bringing forth a ridiculous mouse—the mouse has brought forth this ridiculous mountain of diplomacy.  This is Jewett’s doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes!  He got Greeley and the President’s private secretary to the Falls on a fool’s errand, and made even the President an actor in this comedy; he has bade each of them play the part so well suited to himself, of

———“A tool
That knaves do work with, called a fool.”

Sublime impudence of George Sanders!  Enchanting simplicity of Colorado Jewett!  “But—ah!—him”—how, oh benevolent Horace, shall we struggle with the emotions (of the ridiculous) that choke the utterance of THY name?  Greeley and Jewett—Jewett and Greeley; which is Don Quixote and which is Sancho Panza?

SOURCE: The Daily True Delta, New Orleans, Louisiana, Tuesday, August 2, 1864, p. 1

Friday, May 15, 2020

The N. Y. World on the Peace Plotters.

The Copperhead press out west bloviated in favor of peace, and, and endorsed the Peace Commissioners and the peace programme of the loafing diplomats at Niagara, and denounced the President without stint. But the New York World—which has more sense if not more patriotism than these Copperhead thumb-wipers of Jeff. Davis’s myrmidons—was not to be caught in such a transparent net.  It saw through the rebel scheme of Sanders & Co. to strengthen the peace wing of the party at Chicago, and denounces and ridicules it in unsparing terms.  The World says:

We are convinced that there is no sincerity in any of the parties to this singular transaction.  The rebels naturally feel a deep interest in our presidential election, and their emissaries are in Canada with a view to influence its result.  The unflinching purpose of their leaders is separation, and to this end they are plotting to divide the Democratic party at Chicago, as they divided it at Charleston in 1860.

And the World is anxious to repudiate the entire transaction, and to place the odium of the negotiation upon other parties, and thus closes its editorial on the transaction which constitutes the chief stock in trade of the dunderhead, copperbottomed politicians hereabouts.  The editor of the World says:

Since writing the above we have received the papers that passed in this odd negotiation; and, if the subject were not to serious for laughter, we should go into convulsions.  That dancing wind-bag of popinjay conceit, William Cornell Jewett, has achieved the immortality he covets; he has reversed the adage about the mountain in labor bringing forth a ridiculous mouse—the mouse has brought forth this ridiculous mountain of diplomacy.  This is Jewett’s doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes!  He got Greeley and the President’s private secretary to the Falls on a fool’s errand, and made even the President an actor in this comedy; he has bade each of them play the part so well suited to himself, of

—“A tool
That knaves do work with, called a fool.”

Sublime impudence of George Sanders!  Enchanting simplicity of Colorado Jewett!  “But—ah!—him”—how, oh benevolent Horace, shall we struggle with the emotions (of the ridiculous) that choke the utterance of THY name?  Greeley and Jewett—Jewett and Greeley; which is Don Quixote and which is Sancho Panza?

SOURCE: The Daily Gate City, Keokuk, Iowa, Tuesday, July 26, 1864, p. 1

Diary of Edward Bates: July 22, 1864

In C.[abinet] C[ouncil]—present, Welles, Usher, Blair, Bates, and part of the time, Fessenden. absent Seward and Stanton—

The Prest. gave a minute account of the (pretended) attempt to negotiate for peace, thro' George [N.] Sanders, Clem. C. Clay and Holcolm[be] by the agency of that meddlesome blockhead, Jewitt [Jewett] and Horace Greel[e]y. He read us all the letters.

I am surprised to find the Prest. green enough to be entrapped into such a correspondence; but being in, his letters seem to me cautious and prudent.

Jewitt [Jewett] a crack-brained simpleton (who aspires to be a knave, while he really belongs to a lower order of entities) opens the affair, by a letter and telegram to Greel[e]y; and Greel[e]y carries on the play, by writing to the President, to draw him out, and, if possible, commit him, to his hurt — while the pretended Confederate Commissioners play dumby, — wa[i]ting to avail themselves of some probable blunder, on this side.

I noticed that the gentlemen present were, at first, very chary, in speaking of Greel[e]y, evidently afraid of him and his paper, the Tribune; and so, I said “I cant [sic] yet see the color of the cat, but there is certainly a cat in that mealtub.” The contrivers of the plot counted largely on the Presidents [sic] gullibility, else they never would have started it by the agency of such a mad fellow as Jewitt [Jewett] — perhaps they used him prudently, thinking that if bluffed off, at the start, they might pass it off as a joke.

I consider it a very serious affair — a double trick. — On the part of the Rebel Commissioners (now at Niagara, on the Canada side) the hope might have been entertained that a show of negotiation for peace might produce a truce, relax the war, and give them a breathing spell, at this critical moment of their fate. And as for Greel[e]y, I think he was cunningly seeking to make a pretext for bolting the Baltimore nomination.

The President, I fear, is afraid of the Tribune, and thinks he cant [sic] afford to have it for an enemy. And Usher tries to deepen that impression. But Blair says there is no danger of that; that Greel[e]y is restrained by Hall,1 who controls the paper, and Greel[e]y too, owning 6/10 of the stock, and is a fast friend of the President — (of that? [I question.])

<[Note.] Oct [ ]. It appears that Greel[e]y is now ruled in, as Blair said. He is now a sound (?) Lincoln man — Elector at large, for the State of N. Y! Having, vainly, exhausted his strength against Mr. Lincoln's candidacy, he now, adopts the candidate (manifestly forced upon him, by popular demonstration) and plays the next best game, i. e. tries to convert him to his own use, by making him as great a Radical as himself. >

1 Henry Hall, son of a leading New York jurist, was connected with the Tribune for twenty-six years during eighteen of which he was business manager.

SOURCE: Edward Bates, Diary of Edward Bates, p. 388-9

Clement C. Clay Jr. to Judah P. Benjamin, August 11, 1864

August 11, 1864.
Secretary of State Confed. States of America, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I deem it due to Mr. Holcombe and myself to address you in explanation of the circumstances leading to and attending our correspondence with Hon. Horace Greeley,* which has been the subject of so much misrepresentation in the United States, and, if they are correctly copied, of at least two papers in the Confederate States.

We addressed a joint and informal note to the President on this subject, but as it was sent by a messenger under peculiar embarrassments it was couched in very guarded terms and was not so full or explicit as we originally intended or desired to make it. I hope he has already delivered it and has explained its purpose and supplied what was wanting to do us full justice.

Soon after the arrival of Mr. Holcombe, Mr. Thompson, and myself in Canada West it was known in the United States and was the subject of much speculation there as to the object of our visit. Some politicians of more or less fame and representing all parties in the United States came to see Mr. Holcombe and myself—Mr. Thompson being at Toronto and less accessible than we were at the Falls—either through curiosity or some better or worse motive.

They found that our conversation was mainly directed to the mutual injury we were inflicting on each other by war, the necessity for peace in order to preserve whatever was valuable to both sections, and probability of foreign intervention when we were thoroughly exhausted and unable to injure others, and the dictation of a peace less advantageous to both belligerents than they might now make if there was an armistice of sufficient duration to allow passion to subside and reason to resume its sway.

In the meantime Mr. George N. Sanders, who had preceded us to the Falls, was addressing, directly or indirectly, his ancient and intimate party friends and others in the United States supposed to be favorably inclined, assuring them that a peace mutually advantageous to the North and the South might be made, and inviting them to visit us that we might consider and discuss the subject. He informed us that Mr. Greeley would visit us if we would be pleased to see him. Believing from his antecedents that he was a sincere friend of peace, even with separation if necessary, we authorized Mr. Sanders to say that we would be glad to receive him. Mr. Greeley replied, as we were told, through Mr. Jewett, who had been an active and useful agent for communicating with citizens of the United States, that he would prefer to accompany us to Washington City to talk of peace, and would do so if we would go. We did not then believe that Mr. Greeley had authorized this proposal in his name, for neither we nor Mr. Sanders had seen it in any telegram or letter from Mr. Greeley, but had it only from the lips of Mr. Jewett, who is reported to be a man of fervid and fruitful imagination and very credulous of what he wishes to be true. Notwithstanding, after calm deliberation and consultation we thought that we could not in duty to the Confederate States decline the invitation, and directed Mr. Sanders to say that we would go to Washington if complete and unqualified protection was given us.

We did not feel authorized to speak for Mr. Thompson, who was absent, and we moreover deemed it necessary that he or I should remain here to promote the objects that the Secretary of War had given us and another in charge.

Mr. Sanders responded in his own peculiar style, as you have seen, or will see by the inclosed copy of the correspondence, which was published under my supervision. We did not expect to hear from Mr. Greeley again upon the subject, and were greatly surprised by his note from the U.S. side of the Falls, addressed to us as “duly accredited from Richmond as the bearers of propositions looking to the establishment of peace.”

How or by whom that character was imputed to us we do not know. We suspect, however, that we are indebted for the attribution of the high and responsible office to Mr. Jewett, or to that yet more credulous and inventive personage, Dame Rumor. Certainly we are not justly chargeable with having assumed or affected that character, or with having given any one sufficient grounds to infer that we came clothed with any such powers. We never sought or desired a safe-conduct to Washington, or an interview with Mr. Lincoln. We never proposed, suggested, or intimated any terms of peace to any person that did not embrace the independence of the Confederate States. We have been as jealous of the rights, interest, and power of our Government as any of its citizens can be, and have never wittingly compromised them by act, word, or sign. We have not felt it our duty to declare to all who have approached us upon the subject that reunion was impossible under any change of the Constitution or abridgment of the powers of the Federal Government. We have not dispelled the fond delusion of most of those with whom we have conversed—that some kind of common government might at some time hereafter be re-established. But we have not induced or encouraged this idea. On the contrary, when obliged to answer the question—“Will the Southern States consent to reunion?”—I have answered:

Not now. You have shed so much of their best blood, have desolated so many homes, inflicted so much injury, caused so much physical and mental agony, and have threatened and attempted such irreparable wrongs, without justification or excuse, as their believe, that they would now prefer extermination to your embraces as friends and fellow-citizens of the same government. You must wait till the blood of our slaughtered people has exhaled from the soil, till the homes which you have destroyed have been rebuilt, till our badges of mourning have been laid aside, and the memorials of our wrongs are no longer visible on every hand, before you propose to rebuild a joint and common government. But I think the South Will agree to an armistice of six or more months and to a treaty of amity and commerce, securing peculiar and exclusive privileges to both sections, and possibly to an alliance defensive, or even, for some purposes, both defensive and offensive.

If we can credit the asseverations of both peace and war Democrats, uttered to us in person or through the presses of the United States, our correspondence with Mr. Greeley has been promotive of our wishes. It has impressed all but fanatical Abolitionists with the opinion that there can be no peace while Mr. Lincoln presides at the head of the Government of the United States. All concede that we will not accept his terms, and scarcely any Democrat and not all the Republicans will insist on them. They are not willing to pay the price his terms exact of the North. They see that he can reach peace only through subjugation of the South, which but few think practicable; through universal bankruptcy of the North; through seas of their own blood as well as ours; through the utter demoralization of their people, and destruction of their Republican Government; through anarchy and moral chaos—all of which is more repulsive and intolerable than even the separation and independence of the South.

All the Democrat presses denounce Mr. Lincoln's manifesto in strong terms, and many Republican presses (and among them the New York Tribune) admit it was a blunder. Mr. Greeley was chagrined and incensed by it, as his articles clearly show. I am told by those who profess to have heard his private expressions of opinion and feeling, that he curses all fools in high places and regards himself as deceived and maltreated by the Administration. From all that I can see or hear, I am satisfied that the correspondence has tended strongly toward consolidating the Democracy and dividing the Republicans and encouraging the desire for peace. Many prominent politicians of the United States assure us that it is the most opportune and efficient moral instrumentality for stopping the war that could have been conceived or exerted, and beg us to refrain from any vindication of our course or explanation of our purposes.

At all events, we have developed what we desired to in the eyes of our people—that war, with-all its horrors, is less terrible and hateful than the alternative offered by Mr. Lincoln. We hope that none will hereafter be found in North Carolina, or in any other part of the Confederate States, so base as to insist that we shall make any more advances to him in behalf of peace, but that all of our citizens will gird themselves with renewed and redoubled energy and resolution to battle against our foes until our utter extermination, rather than halt to ponder the terms which he haughtily proclaims as his ultimatum. If such be the effect of our correspondence, we shall be amply indemnified for all the misrepresentations which we have incurred or ever can incur.

Mr. Greeley's purpose may have been merely to find out our conditions of peace, but we give him credit for seeking higher objects. While we contemplated and desired something more, yet it was part of our purpose to ascertain Mr. Lincoln's condition of peace. We have achieved our purpose in part; Mr. Greeley has failed altogether. He correctly reports us as having proposed no terms. We never intended to propose any until instructed by our Government. We have suffered ourselves to be falsely reported as proposing certain terms—among them reunion—for reasons that our judgment approved, hoping that we would in due time be fully vindicated at home.

If there is no more wisdom in our country than is displayed in the malignant articles of the Richmond Examiner and Petersburg Register, approving of the ukase of Mr. Lincoln, the war must continue until neutral nations interfere and command the peace. Such articles are copied into all the Republican presses of the United States, and help them more in encouraging the prosecution of the war than anything they can themselves utter.

If I am not deceived, the elements of convulsion and revolution existing in the North have been greatly agitated by the pronunciamento of the autocrat of the White House. Not only Democrats, but Republicans are protesting against a draft to swell an army to fight to free negroes, and are declaring more boldly for State rights and the Union as it was. Many say the draft cannot and shall not be enforced. The Democracy are beginning to learn that they must endure persecution, outrage, and tyranny at the hands of the Republicans, just as soon as they can bring back their armed legions from the South. They read their own fate in that of the people of Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland. They are beginning to lean more on the side of our people as their natural allies and as the champions of State rights and of popular liberty. Many of them would gladly lock arms with our soldiers in crushing their common enemy, the Abolitionists. Many of them would fall into our lines if our armies occupied any States north of the Ohio for a month, or even a week. Many of them are looking to the time when they must flee their country, or fight for their inalienable rights. They are preparing for the latter alternative.

The instructions of the Secretary of War to us and the officer detailed for special service have not been neglected. We have been arranging for the indispensable co-operation. It is promised, and we hope will soon be furnished. Then we will act. We have been disappointed and delayed by causes which I cannot now explain.

I fondly trust that our efforts will not be defeated or hindered by unwise and intemperate declarations of public opinion, by newspaper editors or others who are regarded as its exponents.
We have a difficult role to play, and must be judged with charity until heard in our own defense.
I am much indebted to Mr. Holcombe, Mr. Sanders, and Mr. Tucker for the earnest and active aid they have given me in promoting the objects of Mr. Thompson's and my mission.

Mr. Thompson is at Toronto and Mr. Holcombe is at the Falls. If here, or if I could delay the transmission of this communication, I should submit it to them for some expression of their opinions.

As I expect this to reach the Confederate States by a safe hand, I do not take the time and labor necessary to put it in cipher—if, indeed, there is anything worth concealing from our enemies.

I have the honor to be, &c.,

* See Series III, Vol. IV.
† Not found.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series IV, Volume 3 (Serial No. 129), p. 584-7

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Horace Greeley to Abraham Lincoln, July 7, 1864

New York, July 7th, 1864.
My Dear Sir:

I venture to inclose you a letter and telegraphic dispatch that I received yesterday from our irrepressible friend, Colorado Jewett, at Niagara Falls. I think they deserve attention. Of course, I do no indorse Jewett's positive averment that his friends at the Falls have “full powers” from J. D., though I do not doubt that he thinks they have. I let that statement stand as simply evidencing the anxiety of the Confederates everywhere for peace. So much is beyond doubt.

And thereupon I venture to remind you that our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country also longs for peace — shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of further wholesale devastations, and of new rivers of human blood. And a wide-spread conviction that the Government and its prominent supporters are not anxious for Peace, and do not improve proffered opportunities to achieve it, is doing great harm now, and is morally certain, unless removed, to do far greater in the approaching Elections.

It is not enough that we anxiously desire a true and lasting peace; we ought to demonstrate and establish the truth beyond cavil. The fact that A. H. Stephens was not permitted, a year ago, to visit and confer with the authorities at Washington, has done harms, which the tone of the late National Convention at Baltimore is not calculated to counteract.

I entreat you, in your own time and manner, to submit overtures for pacification to the Southern insurgents which the impartial must pronounce frank and generous. If only with a view to the momentous Election soon to occur in North Carolina, and of the Draft to be enforced in the Free States, this should be done at once.

I would give the safe conduct required by the Rebel envoys at Niagara, upon their parole to avoid observation and to refrain from all communication with their sympathizers in the loyal States; but you may see reasons for declining it. But, whether through them or otherwise, do not, I entreat you, fail to make the Southern people comprehend that you and all of us are anxious for peace, and prepared to grant liberal terms. I venture to suggest the following

Plan of Adjustment.

1. The Union is restored and declared perpetual.

2. Slavery is utterly and forever abolished throughout the same.

3. A complete Amnesty for all political offenses, with a restoration of all the inhabitants of each State to all the privileges of citizens of the United States.

4. The Union to pay $400,000,000 in five per cent. U. S. Stock to the late Slave States, loyal and Secession alike, to be apportioned pro rata according to their Slave population respectively, by the Census of 1860, in compensation for the losses of their loyal citizens by the Abolition of Slavery. Each State to be entitled to its quota upon the ratification, by its Legislature, of this adjustment. The bonds to be at the absolute disposal of the Legislature aforesaid.

5. The said Slaves States to be entitled henceforth to representation in the House on the basis of their total instead of their Federal population — the whole being now Free.

6. A National Convention, to be assembled so soon as may be, to ratify this adjustment and make such changes in the Constitution as shall be deemed advisable.

Mr. President, I fear you do not realize how intently the People desire any Peace consistent with the National integrity and honor, and how joyously they would hail its achievement and bless its authors. With U. S. Stocks worth but forty cents, in gold, per dollars, and drafting about to commence on the third million of Union soldiers, can this be wondered at?

I do not say that a just Peace is now attainable, though I believe it to be so. But I do say that a frank offer by you to the insurgents of terms which the impartial will say ought to be accepted, will, at the worst, prove an immense and sorely-needed advantage to the National cause: it may save us from a Northern insurrection.

Yours truly,
Horace Greeley

P. S. Even though it should be deemed unadvisable to make an offer of terms to the Rebels, I insist that, in any possible way it is desirable that any offer they may be disposed to make should be received and either accepted or rejected. I beg you to write those now at Niagara to exhibit their credentials and submit their ultimatum.

H. G.

SOURCE: Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress: Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: Horace Greeley to Abraham Lincoln, Thursday,Negotiations at Niagara Falls. July 7, 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material.