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the facts, but joined in ascribing to Mr. Lincoln the failure of negotiations for peace and the consequent prolongation of the war. And, according to Mr. Jewett's statement, Mr. Greeley also authorized him to express to the rebel commissioners his regrets, that the negotiation should have failed in consequence of the President's "change of views."
It is not easy now, any more than it was then, to reconcile Mr. Greeley's action in this matter with fidelity to the Union cause, or with good faith to the Administration, by which alone that cause was maintained. The Opposition press made Mr. Lincoln's alleged tergiversation the ground of fresh and vehement attack, while it was used throughout the rebel States as fresh proof of the faithless character of the Federal Government, and of the absolute impossibility of making peace except by successful war. The commissioners themselves made a very adroit use of the advantage which Mr. Greeley's extraordinary course had placed in their hands, and, in their letter of July 21st, addressed to him, but intended to be a public impeachment of President Lincoln's honor and good faith, made a powerful and effective appeal to the indignant pride of the Southern people and the sympathy of their friends in the Northern States.
The President felt very sensibly the injustice done to himself, and the injury done the country, by Mr. Greeley's suppression of these most essential facts, in his intercourse with the rebel commissioners. As the only mode of placing the whole subject properly before the people, he applied to Mr. Greeley for permission to publish the whole correspondence-omitting only certain passages not at all essential to a full understanding of the subject, and likely seriously to injure the Union cause by infusing into the public mind something of the despondency, which Mr. Greeley himself felt and openly avowed, concerning the prospects of the country. The words which Mr. Lincoln desired to have omitted, in the publication of the correspondence, were the following. In the letter of July 7 :
In the second paragraph: the words "and therefore I venture to remind you that our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country also longs for peace, shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of further wholesale devastations, and of new rivers of human blood, and:"-also the words "now, and is morally certain, unless removed, to do far greater in the approaching elections."
In the fourth paragraph, the words "If only with a view to the momentous election soon to occur in North Carolina and of the draft to be enforced in the Free States, this should be done."
In the last paragraph, the words "It may save us from a Northern insurrection."
In the letter of July 10th, second paragraph, the words "in season for effect on the approaching North Carolina election ;" and in the last paragraph, the words "especially those of North Carolina."
And in the letter of July 13th, last paragraph, the words "that a good influence may even yet be exerted on the North Carolina election next month."
Mr. Greeley declined to give his assent to the publication of the correspondence, unless these phrases should be published also. The President accordingly submitted in silence to the injustice which had been done him, and committed the whole subject, in the following letter, to the judgment of a personal and political friend:
Hon. HENRY J. RAYMOND:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON August 15, 1864.
MY DEAR SIR:-I have proposed to Mr. Greeley that the Niagara correspondence be published, suppressing only the parts of his letters over which the red-pencil is drawn in the copy which I herewith send. He declines giving his consent to the publication of his letters unless these parts be published with the rest. I have concluded that it is better for me to submit, for the time, to the consequences of the false position in which I consider he has placed me, than to subject the country to the consequences of publishing these discouraging and injurious parts. I send you this, and the accompanying copy, not for publication, but merely to explain to you, and that you may preserve them until their proper time shall come. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
This public statement of the facts of this case is deemed by the author due to the memory of Mr. Lincoln. He has been widely censured for entering into communication with rebel agents at all;-but this correspondence shows that Mr. Greeley's assurances, and his pressing entreaties, had made it necessary for him, either to open the way
I have proposed to Mr Greely
that the Niagara conserponclence be publishes, suppressing the parts of his letter over which the pear pencie the copy which I herewith
For me bis consent to the publication of this letters unless the parts be published with the
conchisees that it is
bellow for one to sulmet, for tho
fimw, to the consequences of the falms pontion in whice I
place or sno, than to sugest the country.
to the consequence of publishing then discomaging and civ
copy, not for publication, but prerely to expear to
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by DERBY & MILLER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Southern District of New York.
for peace negotiations or reject the opportunity, which one of the most influential leaders of his own party thus assured him was offered, for an honorable termination of the war. He was charged with having finally insisted upon certain concessions as the basis of an interview, after having first promised it unconditionally; but this correspondence shows that these conditions were distinctly stated at the very outset, but were withheld by. Mr. Greeley from the knowledge of the rebel commissioners. It is due to justice, as well as to Mr. Lincoln, that impressions so injurious and so false should no longer prevail.
The effect of this attempt at negotiation upon the public mind was, for the moment, unfavorable to the Union cause. The people, responding heartily to the demand of the Baltimore Platform, that no peace should be accepted by the Government on any terms short of an unconditional surrender, were distrustful of negotiations which might look to some other issue. The charge of bad faith urged against the President stimulated the Opposition, and, in the absence of the facts, embarrassed his supporters; while the fact that Mr. Lincoln insisted upon the abandonment of slavery as one of the conditions of peace, was cited by the opponents of his Administration as proof that the object of the war was changed, and that it was to be waged hereafter, not solely for the preservation of the Union, but for the emancipation of the slaves. In the absence of any opposing candidate, these and countless other charges were urged against the Administration with marked effect, and added very materially to the popular despondency which the lack of military success had naturally engendered.
Eager to avail themselves to the utmost of this auspicious condition of political affairs, and embarrassed not a little by discordant sentiments in their own ranks, the Democratic party had postponed their National Convention for the nomination of a President from the 22d of June to the 29th of August. But the delay from which they expected so much, in fact, betrayed them into a confidence which proved fatal to their hopes. Their expectations, however, were not without reason. The state of the public mind