Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/32

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to Mr. Stephens, for reasons which he attempts to explain. (See Lincoln and Men of War Times, p. 92.)

But again it is claimed that Mr. Lincoln would have been most lenient and kind in his treatment of the people of the South after the termination of the war, and that hence his death was a great calamity to the South. The sole basis of this claim seems to be that when Mr. Lincoln came to Richmond on the 5th of April, 1865, two days after the evacuation by the Confederates, he had a conference with Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War of the Confederacy, and Mr. Gustavus A. Myers, then a member of the Legislature from Richmond, and suggested to them to have the Virginia Legislature re-assemble for the purpose of restoring Virginia to the Union. In a statement published in Vol. 36, page 252, of the "Southern Historical Society Papers," Judge Campbell gives an interesting account of this interview with Mr. Lincoln, and says, among other things:

"Mr. Lincoln desired the Legislature of Virginia to be called together to ascertain and test its disposition to co-operate with him in terminating the war. He desired it to recall the troops of Virginia from the Confederate service, and to attorn to the United States and to submit to the national authority."

Judge Campbell further says that whilst he (Campbell) expressed the opinion that General Lee's army was in such a condition that it could not be held together for many days, "Mr. Lincoln did not fully credit the judgment that was expressed as to the condition of General Lee's army. He could not realize the fact that its dissolution was certain in any event, and that its day was spent. He knew that if the '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."

In our opinion, this was the true and only reason why Mr. Lincoln wanted the Legislature recalled. It was that it might order the withdrawal of the Virginia troops, with General Lee at their head, from the Army of Northern Virginia, and in that way destroy the efficiency of that army.

But whatever may have been Mr. Lincoln's motives and purposes at that time, we know that as soon as he knew that the Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered, and only two days before his