Editorial paragraphs.

We Consolidate our May and June numbers, and will be thus enabled to make our issue hereafter the 1st instead of the last of the month, as many of our readers seem to prefer. It is all the same to our subscribers, and they will not object to our issuing the two under one cover since it is a convenience at this time to us.

The Nation has very quietly refused to accept our challenge to a full discussion of the question of the “Treatment of prisoners” during the war. Immediately after the appearance of our last issue containing our reply to its review, we addressed them the following private letter:

office Southern Historical Society, No. 7 State Capitol, Richmond, Virginia, April 27th, 1877.
Editors The Nation:
I send you by this mail a copy of the April number of our monthly “Southern Historical Society Papers,” which is just out.

You will find that we publish in full in this number your reply to our papers on the Treatment of Prisoners, with such comments as we think proper, and that we propose to you a full discussion of the whole question, promising to publish your articles in full if you will reciprocate.

Awaiting your reply, I am, yours very respectfully,

J. William Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society.

To this letter we have received no reply.

But in The Nation for May 10th, we find the following among the notes: “The April number of the Southern Historical Society papers republishes in full the criticism published in these columns of its articles on the ‘Treatment of Prisoners at the South,’ with comments. It proposes a ‘full discussion’ of the ‘whole question,’ promising to ‘publish your [our] articles in full,’ provided ‘you [we] will reciprocate.’ We are compelled to decline this polite offer for want of space.”

“Want of space” is a very good excuse; but there are those (unreasoning “Rebels” the Nation would probably call them) who will be uncharitable enough to conclude that the real reason why this able champion declines the discussion is not so much “want of space” as the want of facts and arguments to put into the space--that The Nation is more fully convinced than it is [302] willing to admit that “the stain upon the National honor” can be best “wiped out,” not by a manly discussion, but by silence and forgetfulness.

For ourselves, while we claim no special experience or skill in the field of polemics, we feel that our position on this question is so impregnably fortified by the facts, that we stand ready to defend it against all comers.

The Philadelphia Weekly times is publishing a series of “annals of the war” written by both Confederate and Federal actors in the great drama. The papers are well written, and exceedingly interesting, and some of them valuable contributions to the history of the stirring events to which they relate. At some future time we propose to notice some of the articles in detail. But we can only say now that Confederates will thank the Times for allowing its readers to see so much of our side of the story (e. g., Judge Ould's able and unanswerable statement of the “Exchange” question). We are very glad to be able to see the other side presented in papers which are, in the main, so courteous, and which are so much fairer than our experience has led us to expect from that side.

The appreciation of competent Judges of the work in which we are engaged has been very gratifying. Not only has the press been warm in its commendation of the interest and value of our work, but we have also received private assurances from leading Confederates, from friends in Europe, and from prominent Northern soldiers, that our publications have been of great historic value. We have rarely alluded to this in our Papers, and do it now only because we feel that we ought to let our readers see the following letter from ex-President Davis, whose opinions in reference to anything pertaining to Confederate history ought to have (and do have) the highest consideration with our people.

We give his letter entire, and beg that our friends will catch its spirit, and give us practical proof of their interest by sustaining us in our work, and asking others to help us.

Mississippi city, Harrison county, Miss., 15th May, 1877.
Rev. J. William Jones, Secretary:
My Dear Sir — I have read with great satisfaction the back numbers of the Papers of the Southern Historical Society. The future historian, to do justice to our cause and conduct, will require the material which can only be furnished by contemporaneous witnesses, and a great debt is due to the Society, and especially to you, for what you have done and are doing to save, while there is yet time, the scattered records and unwritten recollections of the events of the war against the Southern States.

Various causes, and not the least among them, such entire confidence in the rightousness of our cause as gives assurance of a favorable verdict, have prevented our people from presenting, or even carefully preserving, the material on which the verdict must be rendered by future generations. [303]

The Society has done much in exposing and refuting the current slanders in regard to the treatment of prisoners of war. That was most needful for the restoration of good feeling, and should be welcome, beyond the limits of the vindicated, even to all who respect truth and eschew deception.

There are many brilliant exploits, concerning some of which there are no official reports extant. In such cases, the recollection of actors would be a valuable contribution to our war history. You have done so much to excite a willingness to furnish the material for history, that it may be hoped you will be able to draw from those to whom it is rather a dread than a pleasure to see themselves “in print,” special statements, such as any one can prepare who can write a business letter. It is not syle, but facts which are to be regarded.

With the hope that the interest felt by the public in the patriotic work of the Society will be increased by the manifestation of its power for usefulness, and with cordial regard for you personally,

I am, yours faithfully,

Contributions to our archives continue to come in and are always acceptable.

Since our last we acknowledge, among others, the following:

From Yates Snowden, Esq., of Charleston, South Carolina--Bible view of slavery, by Rev. M. J. Raphall, M. A., Ph. Dr., Rabbi preacher at the Synagogue, Green street, New York. Declaration of the causes of the Secession of South Carolina, together with the Ordinance of Secession and its signers. Address of the people of South Carolina to the people of the slave-holding States; printed by order of the Convention in 1860. Fast-day sermon of Rev. James H. Elliott, November 21st, 1860. Report on the address of a portion of the members of the General Assembly of Georgia, 1860. The Battle of Fort Sumpter, April 13th, 1861. The correspondence of the Commissioners of South Carolina and the President of the United States, together with the statement of Messrs. Miles and Keitt. Hon. Jere Black on Wilson and Stanton, and Thurlow Weed on Early Incidents of the Rebellion. Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council of the Protestant Episcopal church in the Confederate States of America, held in Augusta, Georgia, November 12-22, 1862. In Memoriam of George Alfred Trenholm. Ninth Annual Report of the “Home” for the Mothers, Widows and Daughters of the Confederate soldiers. Map of Mobile Bay. Map of Charleston Harbor. Mr. Snowden has been a warm friend of the Society, and a frequent contributor to its archives.

From Graves Renfroe, Esq., of Talladega, Alabama--The Cradle of the Confederacy, or the Times of Troup, Quitman and Yancey, by Joseph Hodgson, of Mobile, Alabama, 1876. Speech of Hon. William L. Yancey, of Alabama, delivered in the National Democratic Convention, Charleston, April 28th, 1860.

From Rev. H. E. Hayden, Brownsville, Pennsylvania--Report of Adjutant-General of Pennsylvania for 1863.

From ex-Governor John Letcher--Report of General Charles Dimmock, Chief of Ordnance of Virginia, of February 9th, 1863. Governor Letcher [304] is constantly placing the Society under obligations for valuable papers and documents, and promises still others in future.

Major J. M. McCue, of Rockingham--Several newspapers of value.

From Graham Daves, Esq., of Wilmington, North Carolina--Roster of the Confederate officers who, while prisoners of war, were placed under fire of dour own guns at Morris Island.

From Colonel William Allan, of Baltimore (former Chief of Ordnance, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia)--Two papers on the battle of Gettysburg-valuable additions to our series.

From Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati--The Washington-Crawford letters concerning Western lands, arranged and annotated by C. W. Butterfield.

From R. M. J. Paynter, Esq., of Richmond--The loan of files of telegrams sent from the Confederate army headquarters on the south side of James river, May, June, August and September, 1864. Many of these telegrams are autographs of Generals R. E. Lee, Beauregard, Ransom, Hoke, Heth, Pickett, &c., and are both interesting and valuable.

From the Wisconsin State Historical Society--“Catalogue” for 1873-1875, in three volumes.

From General C. M. Wilcox--A paper on the defence of Fort Gregg.

From Captain W. L. Ritter, Secretary Society of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States in Maryland--Resolutions passed by the Society on the death of General Cooper.

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