Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/75

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Let us see as to this. My letter of July 7th was a reply to Mr. R. 11. Rtktr. \\hoquestioned the truthfulness of my dental that such an offer was made. It is also true that a considerable portion of tin- people of the Southern States have been induced to believe that such an offer was made, and was rejected by President Davis and the Confederate authorities. And since the delivery of my address at N.ishville, and the publication of my letter of the 7th instant, I have re- ceived many letters from persons in a number of States, thanking me for having shown that no such an offer was made. And in a lecture delivered by Mr. Watterson, in Kansas City, some two or three years ago, he said, under the heading "New Birth of Freedom," that:

" In the preceding conversation Mr. Lincoln had intimated that payment for the slaves was not outside of a possible agreement for re- union and peace. He based that statement upon a proposal he already had in hand to appropriate $400,000,000 for this purpose. I am not going to tell any tales out of school. I am not here for con- troversy, but when we are dead and gone the private memorabilia of those who know what terms were really offered the Confederacy, within ninety days of its total collapse, will show that in the indi- vidual judgment of all of them the wisdom of the situation said 'Accept.'"

Accept what? Why surely he means the $400,000,000. Had Mr. Watterson forgotten this ? Does not this language show that he meant to charge the Confederate authorities with having refused this offer, and that posterity would say the offer ought to have been accepted ? I think it safe to say that Mr. Watterson, whether he meant to be so understood or not, is, through his newspaper and lectures, more responsible than any other living man for the belief by others of the truth of this fable about the offer of $400,000,000 by Mr. Lincoln and its rejection by the Confederacy.

How does the above queston agree with Mr. Watterson's state- ment that he had never heard it intimated that Mr. Lincoln did make such an offer ? If Mr. Watterson agrees with me that no such offer was made, why did he write four or five columns of editorial to com- bat my statement on this question ? In that I said nothing about Mr. Watterson or his views. I w r as discussing an interesting historical question. Was he indulging in a mere display of dialectics to show how skilfully he could avoid a real issue, or did he mean by it to con- trovert what I had said ?

Mr. Watterson states that the day after Mr. Lincoln's return from