Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/78

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ing terms which were never offered to him, and for not terminating the war when he had no power to terminate it on any other terms than unconditional surrender. And if he had by that means ended the war, I do not doubt but that the very class of men who have made war on him for not doing so would have been equally loud- mouthed in charging him with being both coward and traitor.

It may be proper for me to present some testimony showing that Mr. Stephens said that no offer was made by Mr. Lincoln at the Hampton Roads conference of $400,000,000 to pay for the slaves.

A letter was published in the Houston Post of the i6th instant, a leading daily of this State, by Mr. R. G. Latting, Jr., in which, referring to the discussion of this question, he says:

" I have seen a statement from Mr. Stephens on this subject over his own signature. In the year 1869, while living in the State of Mississippi, some of my young men associates and myself, when dis- cussing this very subject, decided that we would get at the facts by writing to the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens in reference to it. The letter was written, asking him if Mr. Lincoln had at any time said that if the South would lay down her arms and return to the Union she would receive pay for her slaves. Mr. Stephens replied that, ' if Mr. Lincoln had ever made a proposition of that kind he had never heard of it.' '

I also quote the following from a letter written by the Hon. Frank B. Sexton, in March, 1895, and published in the newspapers at that time, in which he says:

" On the day after the return of the commissioners from the Fort Monroe conference, I was told by Senator James L. Orr, a close friend of, and certainly in the confidence of Mr. Stephens, that Mr. Stephens had told him the night before, and just after the return of the commissioners, that the conference was utterly fruitless; that Mr. Lincoln offered the Confederate States nothing but unconditional submission; that we now had nothing to do but resist to the last, or surrender at discretion.

" On February 8, 1865 (I am able to give this date from an entry in my diary kept at the time), which was two days after the return of the commissioners, Mr. Stephens in conversation with Hon. Clifford Anderson, of Georgia, and myself, in the Chamber of Representa- tives of the Confederate States, said that Mr. Lincoln offered the Southern States nothing but unconditional submission that it was utterly impossible to effect any peaceful negotiations with him; that