previous next

[308] and failed through the cruelty or vengeance of our enemy, the fact of our having made the attempt would relieve our Government, and particularly the President, from much responsibility that would otherwise attach to us. (Mr. Lincoln came to Richmond just before his death, and spoke of propositions of peace in a conversation with Judge Campbell, which indicated that we might, perhaps, have maintained our autonomy in the states, which would have been vastly better than what did occur after the surrender.) After we separated I scarcely expected to hear more from this conversation; but soon, perhaps the next day after, I heard it was bruited all over Richmond that I had been thoroughly conquered, had submitted, and was disposed to make peace on any terms, with many other disparaging remarks. Amongst others, the President's aids were said to be freely discussing these matters. How did they get hold of them? It is true there was no positive pledge of secresy in these conversations, but, from their nature and the circumstances discussed, their confidential character was to have been implied, and ought to have been respected.

The main reasons which led me to think that the President ought to move in this matter were found in the condition of our resources, which could not be revealed to the world without doing much mischief. Indeed, it was impossible to do it: so that I was taken at a great disadvantage. How the character of the conversation got out I never did know, but always had my suspicions.

It was not very long after this before General Lee came to my room one night to talk upon this subject of peace. It was the last time I ever saw him, and our conversation ran nearly through the night. He said if I thought there was a chance for any peace which would secure better terms than were likely to be given after a surrender at discretion, he thought it my duty to make the effort. I related to him my former effort and its result. I told him it would do no sort of good, for any effort I might make would be misrepresented and laid before the public as soon as it was made, with a view to injure my influence, in which it would probably be suecessful. I told him I would engage in no confidential work with Mr. Davis unless the former affair were satisfactorily explained. For, although I did not know that Mr. Davis had revealed the former conversation, yet the circumstances under which it was reported and the use made of it were suspicious. He again

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson Davis (2)
A. Lincoln (1)
Robert E. Lee (1)
F. L. Campbell (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: