Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/274
258 Southern Historical Society Papers.
in the permission and asked the question directly of Gen. W. Mr. Lincoln could not have employed the language he did in his memorandum, his letter to Gen. Weitzel, or his con- versation to me, with such a signification as is attached to it in the charge I am answering. It never entered into my imagina- tion to conceive that he used the word "Legislature"' to express a convention of individuals having no public significance or rela- tions. .Mr. Lincoln did not fully credit the judgment that was expressed as to the condition of Gen. Lee's army. He could not realize the fact that its dissolution was certain in any event ; that its day was spent. He knew if that "very Legislature"" that had been sitting in Richmond were convened and did vote as he desired that it would disorganize and discourage the Confederate army and government. My own information was precise and accurate. There was no motive for concealing the fact that could not be concealed very long. Mr. Lincoln's expressions and plan of settlement were generous, conciliatory and just.
They met the precise conditions of the case. I was willing to co-operate with him on his basis to any limit. I had en- deavored to bring the Confederate authorities to the same point and had failed, because they could not bear to look at the inex- orable facts of their condition.
1 had no motive for concealment nor interest in abusing Mr. Lincoln's confidence. My letter to Gen. Weitzel precedes tho surrender of Gen. Lee. It precedes all information of what took place after the army reached Amelia C. H. We had rumors of great Confederate victories then here, but that letter contains a plain and truthful account of the state of things.
I did not mislead Gen. Weitzel. He heard every word that Mr. Lincoln spoke to me and Mr. Lincoln wrote him, not to my- self. He had intercourse with Mr. Lincoln to which I was not a party. There was no explicit condition in Mr. Lincoln's letter to Gen. Weitzel. Mr. Lincoln authorized him to allow a call of the legislature and to exhibit to me his letter. The legis- lature was to act loyally after it met and if not, to be dispersed. That was all. The memorandum furnished to me only strength- ened the conclusion that the legislature was to be convened a public corporate body. The pledge was if any State would abandon the contest and withdraw its troops, that confiscations