Imprisonment of Jefferson Davis. 247
thoroughly conversant with the state of Southern opinion at the time it was manifested that the people of the South believed those reports to be trustworthy, and they individually, and through their representatives at Richmond, pressed upon Mr. Davis, as the Executive and as the Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, instant recourse to active measures of retalia- tion, to the end that the supposed cruelties might be stayed.
Mr. Davis's conduct under such urgency, and, indeed, expos- tulation, was a circumstance all-important in determining the probability of this charge as to himself. It was equally and de- cisively manifest, by the same source of information, that Mr. Davis steadily and unflinchingly set himself in opposition to the indulgence of such demands, and declined to resort to any measure of violent retaliation. It impaired his personal influ- ence, and brought much censure upon him from many in the South, who sincerely believed the reports spread among the peo- ple to be really true.
The desire that something should be attempted from which a better care of prisoners could be secured seems to have grown so strong and prevalent, that on July 2, 1863, Mr. Davis accept- ed the proffered service of Mr. Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice-President, to proceed as a military commissioner to Wash- ington. The sole purpose of Mr. Davis in allowing that mission appears, from the said documents, which I read, to have been to place the war on the footing of such as are waged by civil- ized people in modern times, and to divest it of a savage char- acter, which, it was claimed, had been impressed on it in spite of all effort and protest; and alleged instances of such savage con- duct were named and averred. This project was prevented, as Mr. Stephens was denied permission by our Administration to approach Washington, and intercourse with him prohibited. On his return, after this rejected effort to produce a mutual kindness in the treatment of prisoners, Southern feeling became more unquiet on the matter than ever; yet it clearly appears that Mr. Davis would not yield to the demand for retaliation.
The evidence tending to show this to be the true condition of the case as to Mr. Davis himself was brought by me and sub- mitted to Mr. Greeley, and in part to Mr. Wilson. The result