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[226]

Letter from F. R. Lubbock.

Galveston, March 21st, 1878.
Rev. J. William Jones, Sec. S. H. Society, Richmond, Va.:
Dear sir: I have quite recently seen in the Southern Historical Society Papers, for December last, a communication from the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, purporting to be a rejoinder to a letter of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, appearing in the November number of the Southern Historical Society Papers, in reply to a former communication of Mr. Hunter on the subject of the Peace Commission conference at Hampton Roads.

The paper of Mr. Davis I have not seen, but I desire to advert briefly to some of the statements contained in Mr. Hunter's rejoinder, which I believe my official relations to President Davis, as a member of his staff, not only entitle but qualify me to intelligently consider.

After relating that he had an interview with the President, shortly subsequently to the conference, respecting the urgent necessity of some efforts to procure terms of accommodation from the enemy, Mr. Hunter proceeds to say (page 308):

After we separated I scarcely expected to hear more from the 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 secrecy in these conversations, but from their nature and circumstances discussed, their confidential character was to have been implied and ought to have been respected.

At the time of the alleged interview and subsequently until his capture, I had the honor of being one of the “President's aids,” and was most intimately and cordially associated with him and the remaining members of his official family; and I beg to say, that he never spoke a word to me on the theme suggested by Mr. Hunter; nor did I ever hear a word spoken by one of his “aids” implying any disparagement of Mr. Hunter, or indicating that any facts had been gotten “hold of” respecting the alleged or any other interview with Mr. DaVis.

It is almost incredible to me that any one at all acquainted with the character of Mr. Davis could indulge a suspicion, however faint, that he could have been capable of betraying trust or of breaking faith.. Of all men he is the last to whom such imputation could attach.

It is equally beyond belief that he could have tolerated, much less inspired in his staff, any assault upon the motives or character of Mr. Hunter.

The Confederate President was immeasurably superior to any such thing. Whether Mr. Hunter's great solicitude for “accommodation” became known to the public, I know not — it is not at all unlikely that the views of so distinguished a gentleman were divined by his compeers and associates in Congress.


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