Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/77

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ini; about peace. I have only combated the statements that such r was made, and such as the pavmcnt of $400,000,000 were ever made a- any part of an offer to influence the action of the Confed- erate ( io\ eminent.

Mr. Watterson quotes very lengthy statements made by Mr. H'.uells, of Atlanta, Ga., and Mr. Felix G. De Fontaine, of Fifth avenue, New York, in relation to conversations purporting to have occurred between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephens. It will be remem- bered that no one has said, and that there is not a particle of evi- dence to prove, that the private conversations said to have taken place between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephens were known to the other commissioners, or in any way made known to President Davis.

If these gentlemen correctly remember what Mr. Stephens said as to facts occurring thirty years before their papers were written, it does not prove that any such offers were made to the Confederate Commissioners. as were talked of between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephens, or that any such information was ever communicated to the Confederate Government. Mr. Howells may state correctly what Mr. Stephens said about there being a "bitter opposition on the part of the friends of President Davis in the Confederate Con- gress, but finally it was authorized and commissioners selected to attend the conference." I can only say that I never heard of any such condition of feeling, and have never understood that the Presi- dent conferred with Congress about the appointment of their com- mission.

THE ONLY ISSUE.

Allowing that all these statements are true, it does not controvert my statement that no such propositions were made in any form for acceptance or rejection, or that they were made to the Confederate commissioners, or communicated to the Confederate Government, or rejected by it. This is the only issue I have made, and Mr. Watter- son insists that no one ever said such an offer was made, and that in showing that no such offer was made he says I am ' ' fighting a man of straw." So it would seem there is and can be no issue between us. He admits that none such was made, and I have never ques- tioned what was said in private interviews between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephens, but call attention to the fact that all, as far as I know, of the gentlemen who keep -up the statements about what occurred between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephens, somehow manage to leave the impression that President Davis failed of his duty in not accept-