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[313] its spring, and we may no more expect either seed-time or harvest; but the country must become utterly waste and desolate, a fit subject for such melancholy speculations as travellers some times make over a land wasted and depopulated by the ravages of war. But I will pursue this subject no further.

There is yet another fling made at me which I ought, perhaps, to notice. He says that my opposition to theconscribing of negroes was a chief obstacle to the passage of a bill for it. That my opposition to this bill was some obstacle to its passage I had supposed, but that it was a chief obstacle, I had not imagined. I say this not to avoid the responsibility of opposition to that ill-starred measure. I wish I could have defeated it altogether, for I regard its approach to a passage as a stain upon Confederate history. It afforded, I believe, plausible ground against them for the accusation of falsehood in professing to secede from the United States Government, in part, and mainly on the plea that it was, by reason of their fear that the party in power would emancipate the negroes in defiance of the constitution and in violation of their pledge, which, as we believed, was implied in their adoption of that instrument, by which they bound themselves to protect the institution. And now it would be said we had done the very thing which we professed to fear from them, and without any more constitutional right than they would have had, if they had done the same thirg. I never believed that our cause had the. least chance of success under the Government which proposed the absurd and inischevous law which so nearly passed the Senate. It was viewed, I think, by nearly all considerate people as a confession of despair by the Government, and I think they no longer had the least confidence in it. The effect of its passage, I believed, would be to drive the negro from us into the embraces of the Federals, from a place where he was doing us much good as a laborer, to another in which he would render the enemy some service as a soldier. Had that bill remained long on the statute book we should have had, I think, the same dispute as to negro suffrage which we have lately witnessed, with this difference: the actual dispute was between the conqueror and the conquered, in that which probably would have been produced the character would have been intercenine, and as between neighbors and friends, far more violent and bitter than between enemies; but it was an impracticable

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