Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/278

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272 Southern Historical Society Papers.

caused the minds of not a few to revert to appeals by Rienzi and Demosthenes.

" However much I admired the heroism of the sentiment ex- pressed, yet in his general views or policy to be pursued in the then situation I could not concur. I doubt not that all — the President, the Cabinet and Congt&ss—did the very best they could, from their own convicUons of what was best to be done at the time."

In the same volume, on page 657, Mr. Stephens speaks of me as a man "of very strong convicdons and great earnestness of pur- pose." In a conversation had during the summer of 1863, which was reduced to wridng at the time, Mr. Stephens said :

" The hardships growing out of our military arrangements are not the fault of the President ; * * * they are due to his subor- dinates."

In October of the same year, (" Life of A. H. Stephens," by John- son & Browne, pages 445-47,) he wrote to a friend who had asked what would be his probable course in the event of the death of myself, as follows :

" I should regard the death of the President as the greatest possi- ble pjiblic calamity. What I should do I know not. A large num- ber of prominent and active men in the country * * would dis- trust my ability to conduct affairs successfully. They have now, and would have, 710 confideyice in my judgment or capacity for the position that such an untimely misfortune would cast upon me."

These passages (and others might be selected from the writings of Mr. Stephens since the war) bear voluntary and involunta'"y tes- timony to my character and motives, and more than answer the complaints contained in the letter to Mr. H. V. Johnson, and in the canvass just preceding his death. Mr. Stephens said that the only difference between us during the war was as to the policy of ship- ping the cotton crop of 1861 to Europe. That criticism, when made by another, was fully answered by Mr. Trenholm and Mr. Memmin- ger, the two secretaries of the Confederate States treasury, in which they very clearly showed that the cotton crop of 1861 had been mainly exported before the Confederate government was formed, and that if reference was made to any later crop, the Confederacy had no ships in which to export it, and the blockade prevented, to a great extent, foreign ships from taking the cotton out.

The " secret message," which is printed in this " historical state- ment." was communicated to the Confederate States Congress, and