Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/271

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Efforts For Reconstruction.

call Jeff Davis—who says he would not have one, but that most any one can have most anything of the kind for the asking." He said this with emphasis and gesture.

When he had finished this, I told him that the difficulty in making a settlement then was the absence of a competent party. That Gen. Lee had herefore declined to do more than to perform his military duty and would not assume counsel, much less to act upon the question of peace. That Mr. Davis had finally excused himself from the performance of the irksome duty, by saying "He could not commit a suicide, and that the States in convention, only could act." That the Senate had declined, because of the position of the President, and that thus the subject had been neglected and disregarded. That the condition of Gen. Lee's army was precarious and its circumstances, and I was sure that a suspension of hostilities for a few days would bring a peace such as he desired.

I submitted to him the draft of an armistice that I had prepared in February on my return from Hampton Roads, as a plan by which a settlement could be initiated and which had been submitted to Gen. Breckinridge, Sec'y of War, and to Mr. Davis, with a view to induce their action, expecting that there might be company at the interview I had reduced some of my views to writing. Mr. Lincoln took my letter and this paper without further remark. Mr. Lincoln said further, that he had been thinking of a plan for calling the Virginia Legislature, that had been sitting in Richmond, together, and to get them to vote for the restoration of Virginia to the Union. That he had not arranged the matter to his satisfaction and should not decide upon it until after his return to City Point, and he would communicate with Gen. Weitzel. He said, "He deemed it important that the very legislature that had been sitting in Richmond should vote upon the question. That he had a government in Northern form—the Pierpont government—but it had but a small margin and he did not desire to enlarge it."

He said "That the Virginia Legislature was in the condition of a tenant between two contending landlords and that it should attorn to the party that had established the better claim."

Mr. Myers had been a member of the Legislature of Virginia in former years and resided in Richmond.