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Editorial Paragraphs.

The history of our relations with the “record office” at Washington is told in the following card, which has been published in the daily papers, and ought, perhaps, to go into our records:

Richmond, September 26, 1878.
There have been so many inaccurate statements made in reference to the Archive Office at Washington, and its relations to the Southern Historical Society, that I deem it proper to give a brief history of the whole transaction.

At the convention to reorganize our Society, held at the Montgomery White Sulphur Springs in August, 1873, a resolution was adopted instructing the Secretary to make application to the authorities at Washington for access to the Confederate archives collected there. As, however, it was known that all such applications on the part of our Confederate officers had been refused, we hesitated to make the application until in November, 1875, the then Secretary of War, General Belknap, opened a correspondence with our Society, as the result of an interview which the Secretary of the Society had with his private secretary (Dr. Barnard). This correspondence resulted in nothing, as the Secretary of War insisted upon our simply giving him copies of such parts of our archives as he might desire without any equivalent, and our Committee, on the other hand, were unwilling that “the reciprocity should all be on one side,” and insisted upon an exchange of documents. In January, 1877, Dr. Barnard, by the direction of the then Secretary of War, Hon. Don. Cameron, reopened the correspondence; but as no better terms were offered us we again declined to turn over our archives to the inspection and use of the War Department unless there should be full reciprocation.

The course of the War Department very naturally excited the fear that there was no purpose to deal fairly with Confederate documents in the proposed publication of the Official history of the Rebellion.

We were loth to make any further move in the matter, and had not done so, although we had been gratified to learn that Secretary McCrary had been pursuing a more liberal policy towards some of our friends.

Under date of August 7, 1878, however, we received a letter from General Marcus J. Wright, late of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, in which he announced his appointment as “an agent of the War Department for the collection, &c., of the Confederate records of the war,” and stated that he was authorized by the Secretary of War to say “that any duly-accredited agents of the Southern Historical Society will be allowed access to the Confederate archives, to consult them, and to take copies for historical purposes.” This offer, made voluntarily and without conditions, was all that we had ever asked, and was in the highest degree gratifying to our Committee.

We, of course, responded in the same spirit, and cordially reciprocated by tendering the War Department free access to our archives, and the privilege of copying anything they might wish. General Wright at once came to Richmond, and had a very satisfactory interview with the Secretary and other members of our Executive Committee.We went to work to prepare an accurate catalogue of our official documents, carefully arranged in chronological order, so that, by commparison with the catalogue of the War Department, it might be seen what was wanted to complete the files of each collection.

This catalogue was completed on Monday last, and I took it on to Washington, where I had a most satisfactory interview with Adjutant-General [240] Townsend, who now has charge of the whole matter of the archives and their publication; Colonel R. N. Scott, who is in charge of the compilation of the records; Mr. A. P. Tasker, who is keeper of the archives; General Wright, and other gentlemen connected with the “War-record office.”

General Townsend received me with every courtesy and kindness, and we had a long talk on the whole question. He assured me that so far from desiring to suppress. he is exceedingly anxious to obtain, in order to publish,. full files of all of our Confederate reports and other official documents; that he is pushing the work of compilation as rapidly as possible, and that he is ready to give our Society every facility in his power to secure copies of whatever we may wish for historical purposes. In a word, the whole matter has at last been arranged to the satisfaction of both parties, and the work of exchange will be begun just so soon as our lists can be made out.

A visit to the Archive Office impressed me very favorably with the system, order and care with which everything is managed.

General Wright, of course, showed me every courtesy, and I was more than ever impressed with his high qualifications for his position. And surely,. if the “official history” of the great struggle is to be published by the Government, it is to our interest to make the Confederate part of it as full as possible.

J. William Jones, Secretary of Southern Historical Society.

Contributions to the Louisiana division, A. N. V., have been prompt and liberal. Leroy S. Edwards, Esq., Secretary of the Virginia Division, has forwarded $2,788.51, and other amounts of money, together with clothing and provisions, have been forwarded from other points direct to the Treasurer, John H. Murray, Esq., New Orleans, until he now reports. that “no more funds are needed.” It would have been to us a surprise and a grief if the Virginia Divison had not promptly and liberally responded to the call of their needy comrades of the gallant Louisiana Division. We shared our scanty rations during the war, and are ready to divide our last crust or our last dollar now.

Our annual meeting will occur in the hall of the House of Delegates on Tuesday, October 29th, at 8 o'clock P. M., and our next number will contain the annual report of the Executive Committee. Our receipts for the fiscal year have been larger than ever before, and our expenditures less; so. that our financial exhibit is decidedly the best we have ever made.

We have been anxious to increase the size of our Monthly and will do so the earliest moment at which our subscription list will justify, and that will be at a very early day if our friends will only exert themselves a little to send us new subscribers.

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