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cated with them. Here I ascertained that Major Eckert had literally complied with his instructions, and I saw for the first time the answer of the Richmond gentlemen to him, which in his dispatch to me of the 1st he characterizes as "not satisfactory." That answer is as follows:


"CITY POINT, VA., Feb. 1, 1865.

"Thomas T. Eckert, Major and A. D. C.:

"MAJOR: Your note delivered by yourself this day has been considered. In reply, we have to say that we were furnished with a copy of a letter of President Lincoln to Francis P. Blair, Esq., of the 18th of January, ult., another copy of which is appended to your note. Our instructions are contained in a letter of which the following is a copy:

"RICHMOND, Jan. 28, 1865.

"In conformity with the letter of Mr. Lincoln, of which the foregoing is a copy, you are to proceed to Washington City for informal conference with him upon the issues involved in the existing war, and for the purpose of securing peace to the two countries.


"The substantial object to be obtained by the informal conference is to ascertain upon what terms the existing war can be terminated honorably.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

"Our instructions contemplate a personal interview between President Lincoln and ourselves at Washington City, but, with explanation, we are ready to meet any person or persons that President Lincoln may appoint, at such place as he may designate. Our earnest desire is that a just and honorable peace may be agreed upon, and we are prepared to receive or submit propositions which may, possibly, lead to the attainment of that end.


"Very respectfully, yours,


A note of these gentlemen, subsequently addressed to Gen. Grant, has already been given in Major Eckert's dispatch of the 1st inst.

I also here saw, for the first time, the following note, addressed by the Richmond gentlemen to Major Eckert:


"CITY POINT, VA., Feb. 2, 1865.

"Thomas T. Eckert, Major and A. D. C.:

"MAJOR: In reply to your verbal statement that your instructions did not allow you to alter the conditions upou which a passport could be given to us, we say that we are willing to proceed to Fortress Monroe and there to have an informal conference with any person or persons that President Lincoln may appoint on the basis of his letter to Francis P. Blair, of the 18th of January ultimo, or upon any other termis or conditions that he may hereafter propose, not inconsistent with the principles of self-government and popular rights, on which our institutions are founded.

"It is our earnest wish to ascertain, after a free interchange of ideas and information, upon what principles and terms, if any, a just and honorable peace can be established without the further effusion of blood, and to contribute our utmost efforts to accomplish such a result.

"We think it better to add that in acccepting your passport we are not to be understood as committing ourselves to anything, but to carry to this informal conference the views and feelings above expressed.


Very respectfully yours, etc.,

“J. A. CAMPBell,
"R. M. T. HUNTER."

"NOTE.-The above communication was delivered to me at Fortress Monroe at 4:30 P. M., February 2d, by Lieut.-Col. Babcock, of General Grant's staff.


"Major and A. D. C."

On the morning of the 3d, the gentlemen, Messrs. Stephens, Hunter and Campbell, came aboard of our steamer and had an interview with the Secretary of State and myself of several hours duration. No question of preliminaries to the meeting was then and there made or mentioned. No other person was present; no papers were exchanged or produced; and it was, in advance, agreed that the conversation was to be informal, and verbal merely.

On our part the whole substance of the instruction to the

Secretary of State, herein before recited, was stated and insisted upon, and nothing was said inconsistent therewith; while by the other party it was not said that, in any event, or on any condition, they ever would consent to re-union, and yet they equally omitted to declare that they never would consent. They seemed to desire a postponement of that question, and the adoption of some other course first, which, as some of them seemed to argue, might or might not lead to re-union, but which course, we thought, would amount to an indefinite postponement. The conference ended without result. The foregoing, containing, as is believed, all the information sought, is respectfully submitted.


This detailed report of the processes and result of a some time mysterious "negotiation," was quite satisfactory to the country. It demonstrated the futility of the " resources of statesmanship," in an attempt to settle issues that the Rebels. had determined to leave to the arbitrament of arms. It gave a new impulse, throughout the loyal States, to united efforts for a decisive settlement at the tribunal to which the Secession party had been so prompt to appeal. The use made of this conference at the South, and the view publicly given to the affair by the Rebel leaders will appear from their version, which is subjoined, as published in the Richmond Whig of February 7.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States:

Having received a written notification, which satisfied me that the President of the United States was disposed to confer informally with unofficial agents that might be sent by me, with a view to the restoration of peace, I requested the Hon. Alex. H. Stephens, the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, and the Hon. John A. Campbell to proceed through our lines, and to hold conference with Mr. Lincoln, or such persons as he might depute to represent him.

I herewith submit, for the information of Congress, the report of the eminent citizens above named, showing that the enemy refused to enter into negotiations with the Confederate States, or any of them separately, or to give to our people any other terms or guarantees than those which the conqueror may grant, or permit us to have peace upon any other basis than an

unconditional submission to their rule, coupled with the acceptance of their recent legislation, including an amendment to the Constitution for the emancipation of all negro slaves, and with the right on the part of the Federal Congress to legislate on the subject of the relations between the white and black population of each State. Such is, as I understand, the effect of the amendment to the Constitution, which has been adopted by the Congress of the United States.



RICHMOND, February 5, 1865.

To the President of the Confederate States:

SIR Under your letter of appointment of the 28th ultimo, we proceeded to seek an "informal conference" with Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, upon the subject mentioned in the letter.

The conference was granted, and took place on the 30th ult., on board of a steamer anchored in Hampton Roads, where we met President Lincoln and the Hon. Mr. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States. It continued for several hours, and was both full and explicit.


We learn from them that the message of President Lincoln to the Congress of the United States, in December last, explains clearly and distinctly his sentiments as to the terms, conditions, and method of proceeding by which peace can be secured to the people, and we were not informed that they would be modified or altered to obtain that end.

We understood from him that no terms or proposals of any treaty or agreement looking to an ultimate settlement would be entertained or made by him with the authorities of the Confederate States, because that would be a recognition of their existence as a separate power, which under no circumstances would be done; and, for like reasons, that no such terms would be entertained by him from the States separately; that no extended truce or armistice (as at present advised) could be granted or allowed, without a satisfactory assurance, in advance, of a complete restoration of the authority of the Constitution and laws of the United States over all places within the States of the Confederacy; that whatever consequence may follow from the re-establishment of that authority must be accepted. But that individnals subject to pains and penalties under the laws of the United States might rely upon a very liberal use of the power confided to him to remit those pains and penalties, if peace be restored.

During the conference the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, adopted on the 31st ult., was brought to our notice.

The amendment provides that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for crime, should exist within the United States, or any place within their jurisdiction; and that Congress should have power to enforce this amendment by appropriate legislation.

Of all the correspondence that preceded the conference herein mentioned, and leading to the same, you have heretofore been informed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servants,


The account to which the abortive negotiation was turned by the Rebel leaders, will also further appear from the following comment of the special organ of Jefferson Davis-the Richmond Sentinel :

Our advance, though invited, has been met with the most. intolerable of insults. We have been fairly forced to the wall, and it is plain that there is no escape from utter ruin save such as we shall hew out with manful swords. There is literally no retreat but in chains and slavery. There are no peace men among us now. There is no room for one-not an inch of ground for one to stand upon. We are all war men.

As a consequence of sundry propositions and alleged secret movements at Richmond, earlier in the season, looking toward peace by an abandonment of Secession, the Rebel Congress unanimously adopted, in the latter part of January, a concurrent resolution for the appointment of a joint committee to prepare an address to the people of the "Confederate States," informing them of "the unalterable determination of Congress to continue, with all its energy, the struggle for independence, in which," they say, "we are engaged, and assuring them of the final triumph which, in our solemn judgment, must crown our efforts if we stand firm and united together, and wield our resources with strength and wisdom."

About the same time, Mr. Seddon, the Rebel Secretary of

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