Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/76

This page needs to be proofread.


72 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the Hampton Roads conference, he submitted to his Cabinet the form of a joint resolution empowering him to pay, on the terms pro- posed, $400,000,000 for the slaves, if the Confederate States would abandon the war. And he follows the quotation of that proposed joint resolution by the following statement:

"Thus it will be seen that Mr. Lincoln did, at the Fortress Mon- roe conference, intimate that payment for the slaves might be con- sidered as a basis for reunion and peace, and Mr. Lincoln did embody the proposition in an official document, notwithstanding Judge Reagan's confident assertion that neither President Lincoln nor any other man on the Federal side would have dared to make such an offer at that time."

AN ASSUMPTION.

I must call attention to two views in reference to the foregoing extraordinary statement. The first is that Mr. Watterson assumes that because Mr. Lincoln submitted the form of a joint resolution to his Cabinet, proposing to pay $400,000,000 for the slaves, that this is evidence that he did intimate, at the Hampton Roads conference, payment for the slaves. Is the one evidence of the truth of the other ? What connection is shown between these two facts ? Was this not a mere play on words intended to mislead ? The other is that the submission by Mr. Lincoln of the form of such a joint reso- lution to his Cabinet was a refutation of my statement that no such offer was made at Hampton Roads. What sort of logic is this, com- ing from a great editor and an experienced writer ? Does Mr. Wat- terson expect his readers to believe that because Mr: Lincoln may have submitted such a form of joint resolution to his Cabinet that this is evidence of his having made such a proposition in the confer- ence at Hampton Roads ?

Let us look at another piece of Mr. Watterson' s logic and facts. He says: " Now, let us see how much more accurate and authorita- tive Judge Reagan is, when he flatly contradicts the statement that Mr. Lincoln, in his private interview with Mr. Stephens at Fort Mon- roe, said to Mr Stephens, ' Let me write ' ' Union ' ' at the top of this page, and you may write whatever else you please. ' '

I have never found it necessary to dispute anything which has been said about private interviews between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephens. My position was, and is, that no such statement was made to the Confederate Commissioners as an inducement to bring-