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A conversation was held between us after the negotiations had failed at Hampton Roads, and in the course of the conversation he said to me:--

But what shall we do with the negroes after they are free? I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the negroes. Certainly they cannot if we don't get rid of the negroes whom we have armed and disciplined and who have fought with us, to the amount, I believe, of some one hundred and fifty thousand men. I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves.

You have been a stanch friend of the race from the time you first advised me to enlist them at New Orleans. You have had a good deal of experience in moving bodies of men by water,--your movement up the James was a magnificent one. Now, we shall have no use for our very large navy; what, then, are our difficulties in sending all the blacks away?

If these black soldiers of ours go back to the South I am afraid that they will be but little better off with their masters than they were before, and yet they will be free men. I fear a race war, and it will be at least a guerilla war because we have taught these men how to fight. All the arms of the South are now in the hands of their troops, and when we capture them we of course will take their arms. There are plenty of men in the North who will furnish the negroes with arms if there is any oppression of them by their late masters.

I wish you would carefully examine the question and give me your views upon it and go into the figures, as you did before in some degree, so as to show whether the negroes can be exported. I wish also you would give me any views that you have as to how to deal with the negro troops after the war. Some people think that we shall have trouble with our white troops after they are disbanded, but I don't anticipate anything of that sort, for all the intelligent men among them were good citizens or they would not have been good soldiers. But the question of the colored troops troubles me exceedingly. I wish you would do this as soon as you can, because I am to go down to City Point shortly and may meet negotiators for peace there, and I may want to talk this matter over with General Grant if he isn't too busy.

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