Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/275

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Efforts For Reconstruction.

would be discharged. How was a State to comply except through its authorities? Mr. L. wanted prompt, efficient action to terminate a ruinous war, and we must infer that he expected the usual means for the purpose, but besides this he designated the Legislature as the appropriate instrument to be employed. My wishes were consistent with Mr. Lincoln's. I desired peace for a ruined, distressed people. I did not suggest benefits for myself. I did not importune for amnesty or preferment. The so-called leaders had all evacuated Richmond—President, Secretaries, Governor's officials, principal citizens, were all gone, leaving the city in flames, leaving the people panic stricken and despairing.

It was for the people that I made intercession. I counselled the conquerors to use magnanimity, forbearance, kindness, for his own honor and advantage, not, specially for mine.

I asked no boon for myself. I am indebted to you for courtesy and kindness exhibited to Mrs. Campbell and my daughter while they were on a visit to Washington in July, and had occasion to call upon you at your office.

I have no reason to doubt that you will consider with candor, any statement that is made to you and will regret any erroneous or hasty impression that has been made upon you to my prejudice. I appeal to your sense of right in reference to this grave accusation, and to ask you to give me the evidence on which such charges and assertions depend. I have not complained of Mr. Lincoln, alteration of his policy, nor of the order revoking the call of the Virginia Legislature.

Gen. Ord assigned to me as the cause of the change of the order, the change which events had made in the condition of affairs. This change was great and Mr. Lincoln had contracted no debt by any promise or declaration to me which forbade a change in his policy. I held no commission nor power to bind any one. I was but a volunteer, entitled to assert no right under his assertions or acts. This, I took occasion to affirm in a card published in the Richmond papers. But, I have a right to be exempt from all unjust censure and from all misrepresentation of my connection with these events and from all injurious accusations. When Mrs. Campbell was in Washington some