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Seward's treachery and duplicity.

I wish I had the time to give here the details of this miserable treachery and duplicity practiced on the Confederate Commissioners by Mr. Seward, with, as he says, the knowledge of Mr. Lincoln. These gentlemen had been sent to Washington, as they stated in their letter to Mr. Seward to treat with him, ‘with a view to a speedy adjustment of all questions growing out of this political separation, upon such terms of amity and good will as the respective interests, geographical contiguity and future welfare of the two nations may render necessary.’

I can only state that although Mr. Seward refused to treat with the Commissioners directly, he did so, through the medium of Justices Campbell and Nelson, of the Supreme Court of the United States; that through these intermediaries the Commissioners were given to understand that Fort Sumter would be evacuated within a few days, and they were kept under that impression up to the 7th of April, 1861, although during that interval of twenty-three days the ‘Relief Squadron’ was being put in readiness for reinforcing Sumter. And even on that date (the day after the Squadron was ordered to sail), Mr. Seward wrote Judge Campbell, ‘Faith as to Sumter full kept, wait and see,’ when he must have known that nothing was further from the truth, and as events then transpiring conclusively showed. Judge Campbell wrote two letters to Mr. Seward, setting out all the details of the deception practiced on the Commissioners through him and Justice Nelson, and asked an explanation of his conduct. But [184] no explanation was ever given, simply because there was none that could be given. And Mr. Seward's own memorandum, made by him at the time, shows that he was acting all through this matter with the knowledge and approval of Mr. Lincoln. History affords but few parallels, if any, to such base conduct on the part of those occupying the high and responsible positions then held by these men. The only excuse that can be given for this conduct, is that they regarded it as a legitimate deception to practice in at war which they had then already inaugurated.


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