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[97] and there is no copy of the paper extant containing these documents. The original papers, however, are in the possession of Mrs. Pickens, at Edgefield, South Carolina, who has carefully preserved all the books and manuscripts collected by her late husband.

This is a most important and interesting fact connected with the unwritten history of the rebellion. It shows how difficult it was even for the most sagacious men to “read the signs of the times,” and the events following proved that the people knew more than their rulers and assumed leaders.

Letter from Judge Campbell.

New Orleans, 11th December, 1878.
Dr. J. William Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society:
My Dear Sir — Your letter of the 4th instant, inclosing a printed copy of a letter addressed to the New York Sun and published as containing “unwritten war history,” and requesting some explanation on the subject, has been received.

The letter represents that after the inauguration of President Lincoln Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, appointed commissioners to visit Washington city, and who opened negotiations with the President, through me, for the surrender of the forts and property of the United States within that State; that there was a fair prospect of success and of a peaceable dissolution of the Union as the result of the negotiations, but the precipitate action of South Carolina troops in bombarding Fort Sumter made such a dissolution impossible and a war inevitable. The letter says I had previously resigned the office of judge of the Supreme Court of the United States because of the secession of Louisiana.

I have no information that will support any portion of this statement as matter of fact. I had no connection with commissioners appointed by Governor Pickens, and do not remember that he appointed any to visit President Lincoln. I conducted no negotiations with President Lincoln to effect a dissolution of the Union at that time, and have no reason to believe that he would have entertained such a proposition at any time. I remained a member of the Supreme Court of the United States until after the surrender of Fort Sumter. My only intercourse with the Executive Department of the United States having reference to the surrender of forts and property was that which Justice Nelson and myself had with Secretary Seward in March, 1861, and which continued on my part until the bombardment of Sumter. The facts in respect to this intercourse I have communicated to the Society, and were published in one of the earliest of its numbers. The determination of President Lincoln to abandon Fort Sumter voluntarily had been changed prior to the bombardment, and the bombardment

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