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deranged business, totally in some locations, and partially in all locations. It has produced a national debt and taxation unprecedented, at least, in this country. It has carried mourning to almost every home, until it may almost be said that " the heavens are hung with black.”
Yet the war continues, and several relieving coincidents have accompanied it from the beginning, which have not been known, as I understand it, in former wars in the history of the world. The Sanitary Commission, with all its benevolent labors; the Christian Commission, with all its benevolent and Christian labors, and the various places, arrangements, institutions, so to speak, that have contributed to the comfort and relief of the soldier. You have two of these places in your city: the Cooper Shop and the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloons; and, lastly, these fairs, which, I believe, began only in last August, if I mistake not, at Chicago, then at Boston, at Cincinnati, at Brooklyn, at New York, at Baltimore, and at the present at St. Louis, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, and, perhaps, at some other places which I do not remember.
The motives and objects that lie at the bottom of all these are the most worthy; for, say what you will, after all, the most is due to the soldier, who takes his life in his hand, and goes to fight the battles of his country. [Loud cheering.] In what is contributed to his comfort as he passes to and fro, from city to city; in what is contributed to him when he is sick and Founded; in whatever shape it comes, whether from the fair hand of woman, or from whatever source it may, it is much, very much. But I think that there is still that which is of much value to him, in the continual reminders he secs in the newspapers, that while he is absent he is yet remembered by the loved ones at home. [Cheers.]
Another view of these various institutions, if I may so call them, is worthy of consideration, I think. They are voluntary contributions, given zealously and earnestly, on top of all the disturbances of business, of all the disorders, of all the taxations, and of all the burdens that the war has imposed upon us, giving proof that the national resources are not at all exhausted; that the national spirit of patriotism is even firmer and stronger than at the commencement of the war.
It is a pertinent question, often asked in the mind privately, and from one to another, when is the war to end ? Surely I feel as great an interest in this question as any other can. But I do not wish to name the day, or the month, or the year with which it is to end. I do not wish to run the risk of sceing the time come without our being ready for the end, for fear of disappointment, because the time had come and not the end.
We accepted this war ; we did not begin it. But we accepted the war for an object, a worthy object, and the war will end when that object is attained, and I hope under God it derer will without [Tumultuous cheering.] Speaking of the present campaign, Gen. Grant is reported to have said: “I am going through on this line if it takes all summer." This war has taken three years. It was begun or accepted on the line of restoring the national authority over all the national domain. And for the American people, as far as my knowledge enables me to speak, I say we are going through on this line if it takes three years more. [Great cheering).
My friends, I did not know but that I might be called upon to say a few words before I got away from here; but I did not know it was coming just here. (Laughter.] I have never been in the habit of making predictions in regard to the war, but I am almost tempted to make one. If I were to hazard it, it is this : That Grant is this evening, with Gen. Meade and Gen. Hancock, of Pennsylvania, and the brave officers and soldiers with him, in a position where he will never be dislodged until Richmond is taken. And I have but one single proposition further to put now, and perhaps I can best put it in the form of an interrogatory.
If I shall discover that Gen. Grant, and the noble officers and men under him, can be greatly facilitated in their work by a sudden pouring forth of armed men to their assistance, will you give them to me? [Cries of "yes." and cheers.] Are you ready to march? Then, I say, stand ready, for I am watching for the chance. [Merriment, and applause.] I thank you, gentlemen.
It will be remembered that Gen. Grant, at the date of this speech, had just advanced beyond the James and appeared before Petersburg.
The details of this movement were then but imperfectly known, but the President's prediction—a cautious one, by no means over sanguine, yet distinct and definite —was strictly fulfilled. It well illustrates the firm confidence, without extravagant anticipations, which he reposed in the Lieutenant-General and the brave men under his command.
The Opposition party, styling itself Democratic, had early in the season called a National Convention, to be assembled at Chicago on the 4th of July, for the purpose of nominating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States. As the time approached, however, the Democratic
leaders, perhaps unable to determine whether it were better to adopt a war or a peace basis, perhaps anxious for the Union of the various elements of opposition to Mr. Lincoln, and certainly willing to afford the fullest scope for the development and strengthening of divisions on the Administration side, by deferring to present any definite opponent or issue, decided to postpone their Convention until the 29th of August.
It was somewhat earlier in the season, that a band of Rebel leaders, including Jacob Thompson, Buchanan's Secretary of the Interior, Clement C. Clay, once a Senator from Alabama, J. P. Holcombe, of Virginia, and George N. Sanders, a renegade New Yorker of notorious worthlessness, ran the blockade, safely reaching Bermuda, and embarked from thence to Canada, being, as they subsequently represented, “in the confidential employment” of Jefferson Davis. At the time, their mission was supposed to have more immediate reference to political movements in the loyal States, with a view to a change of the Administration by the election of Peace Democratic candidates. It was then hardly suspected that their purposes extended to such desperate and infamous measures in behalf of the “Confederacy” as have since been associated with their names. These persons, with the exception of Thompson, who appears to have divided his time chiefly between Montreal and Toronto, soon made their appearance at Niagara Falls, whither leading Democrats were reported to be resorting, to hold with them confidential conferences. Sanders, on whose suggestion is not known, addressed a note to the Hon. Horace Greelcy, on the 12th of July, suggesting that Clay, Holcombe, himself “and one other," not named by him, would like “ to go at once to Washington, upon complete and unqualified protection being given, either by the President or Secretary of War." No object is assigned for the proposed journcy. Mr. Greeley assumed that the purpose was to talk of negotiations for peace, an assumption scarcely warranted by the facts then known, and much less in the light of information since disclosed. In a communication written not long after, Mr. Greeley thus refers to this note and its results :
As I saw no reason why the Opposition should be the sole recipients of these gentlemen's overtures, if such there were (and it is stated that Mr. Clay aforesaid is preparing or to prepare an important letter to the Chicago Convention), I wrote the President, urging him to invite the Rebel gentlemen aforesaid to Washington, there to open their budget. expressly that I knew not what they would propose if so invited, but I could imagine no offer that might be made by them which would not conduce, in one way or another, to a restoration of the integrity and just authority of the Union.
The President ultimately acquiesced in this view so far as to consent that the Rebel agents should visit Washington, but directed that I should proceed to Niagara and accompany them thence to the capital. This service I most reluctantly undertook, feeling deeply, and observing that almost any one else might better have been sent on this errand. But time scemed precious, and I immediately started.
In his notes to Clay and others, written after reaching the Falls, Mr. Greeley more clearly indicates the understanding upon which President Lincoln consented that the parties should be thus escorted to Washington. The ingenious efforts of Mr. Greeley to throw into the background the writer who opened the correspondence are noticeable, as well as the inscrtion of Thompson's name, without any warrant, so far as publicly appears :
NIAGARA FALLS, N. Y., July 17, 1864 GENTLEMEN : I am informed that you are duly accredited from Richmond, as the bearers of propositions looking to the establishment of peace ; that you desire to visit Washington in the fulfillment of your mission, and that you farther desire that Mr. George N. Sanders shall accompany you. If my information be thus far substantially correct, I am authorized by the President of the United States to tender you his safe conduct on the journey proposed, and to accompany you at the earliest time that will be agreeable to you. I have the honor to be, gentlemen, yours,
HORACE GREELEY. To Messrs. CLEMENT C. CLAY, Jacob THOMPSON, JAMES P. HOLCOMBE, Clifton House, C. W.
On the next day, Messrs. Holcombe and Clay replied: The safe conduct of the President of the United States has
been tendered us, we regret to state, under some misapprehension of facts. We have not been accredited to him from Richmond as the bearers of propositions looking to the establishment of peace.
We are, however in the confidential employ. ment of our Government, and are entirely familiar with its wishes and opinions on that subject; and we feel authorized to declare that, if the circumstances disclosed in this correspondence were communicated to Richmond, we would be at once invested with the authority to which your letter refers; or other gentlemen, clothed with full powers, would be immediately sent to Washington with the view of hastening a consummation so much to be desired, and terminating at the earliest possible moment the calamities of the war. We respectfully solicit, through your intervention, a safe conduct to Washingington, and thence, by any route which may be designated, through your lines, to Richmond. We would be gratified if Mr. George N. Sanders was embraced in this privilege.
To which Mr. Greeley, after acknowledging their note, rejoins :
The state of facts therein presented being materially different from that which was understood to exist by the President when he intrusted me with the safe conduct required, it seems to me on every account advisable that I should communicate with him by telegraph, and solicit fresh instructions, which I shall at once proceed to do. I hope to be able to transmit the result this afternoon; and at all events I shall do so at the earliest moment.
This last application for a safe conduct for Rebel emissaries to visit Washington, was met by the following memorable passport in President Lincoln's own handwriting:
WASHINGTON, July 18, 1864.) To whom it may concern :
Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on sub. stantial and collateral points; and the bearer thereof shall have safe conduct both ways.