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[501] borne with patience, although it was intended as a notification that his meddling with military affairs must come to an end. But far worse was the bitter necessity put upon him as a sequel to this act, of reappointing General Joseph E. Johnston to the command of the army which was to resist Sherman's victorious march to the north. Mr. Seddon, rebel Secretary of War, thinking his honor impugned by a vote of the Virginia delegation in Congress, resigned. Warnings of serious demoralization came daily from the army, and disaffection was so rife in official circles in Richmond that it was not thought politic to call public attention to it by measures of repression.

It is curious and instructive to note how the act of emancipation had by this time virtually enforced itself in Richmond. The value of slave property was gone. It is true that a slave was still occasionally sold, at a price less than one tenth of what he would have brought before the war, but servants could be hired of their nominal owners for almost nothing-merely enough to keep up a show of vassalage. In effect, any one could hire a negro for his keeping — which was all that anybody in Richmond, black or white, got for his work. Even Mr. Davis had at last become — docile to the stern teaching of events. In his message of November he had recommended the employment of forty thousand slaves in the army — not as soldiers, it is true, save in the last extremity — with emancipation to come.

On December 27, Mr. Benjamin wrote his last important instruction to John Slidell, the Confederate commissioner in Europe. It is nothing less than a cry of despair. Complaining bitterly of the attitude of foreign nations while the South is fighting the battles of England and France against the North, he asks: “Are they determined never to recognize the Southern Confederacy ”

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