Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 419
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 419
to me, for your public men to pursue, would be to adopt such a policy as will avoid, as far as possible, the evils of immediate emancipation. This would be my course if I were in your place.”  26
  Hunter summed up the talk, saying that nothing had been offered them “but unconditional submission to the mercy of the conquerors.” This Seward disclaimed in courteous terms and Lincoln “said that as far as the Confiscation Acts and other penal acts were concerned, their enforcement was left entirely with him and on that point he was perfectly willing to be full and explicit and on his assurance perfect reliance might be placed. He should exercise the power of the Executive with the utmost liberality. He went on to say that he would be willing to be taxed to remunerate the Southern people for their slaves. He believed the people of the North were as responsible for slavery as people of the South, and if the war should then cease, with the voluntary abolition of slavery by the States, he should be in favor, individually, of the Government paying a fair indemnity for the loss to their owners. He said he believed this feeling had an extensive existence at the North. He knew some who were in favor of an appropriation as high as four hundred million dollars for this purpose.… But on this subject he said he could give no assurance—enter into no stipulation. He barely expressed his own feelings and views and what he believed to be the views of others on the subject.” In the President’s report to the House of Representatives he said, “The Conference ended without result.” 1  27
  Two men, Lee and Davis, acting together, could have led the Confederate Congress and the South. Lee’s caution, his deference to his superior and his aversion to assuming a
Note 1. V, 68–71. [back]


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