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Greeley On The Peace Conference

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Mr. Greeley, iu reply to au article in the N. Y. Timen, on the Niágara pcacc plot, makes the followiiig important coinmcnts: I conceded to the Times tbe closiug word in the discussion of this subject wliich it oommencod some days since, though thoro wcre mistakes in its final statesment which eminently rcquired oxposure ; fcr I apprehended that somc thiu-skinued persons would fear or fancy that furthcr altcreaiion might breed a disturbanee in the fainily. As, however, tin above artiele ro-opens the matter, I have no 'choice Dut to continuo the ventilation. And, if tliis is deemed desirable over the way, I certáinly have no objection. The proposal of tbc Times that L shaH publish all the correspondence on this .subject not already before the public, I would very gladly eomply with, upon due assurance that thiscourse would be acceptable to the President; but I have no copies of my own letters, and may havo mislaid some of the replies. - With the Times' help, I will endeavor to collect the correspondenco and print it. Though niy part of it was written without the fainteat suspiciou that it wonld ever see the light. T have no desire to withhold it from publication. - Meautime, I very gladly agree that I wrote the President (as I uuderstood that otl'.ers did bis premier if not to hint) that certain eminent rebels were iu Canada at or near Niágara Falls, who professed to have authority from Kichmond to propose terms of peace - that they were holding confideutial interviews with leading demócrata from fchisside - that it was eurrently reported that terms of "ï-econBtructton" worc pjropoundód and considered between tliem, and it was further reported that one of thcm, Mr. C. C. Clay, had agreed to address a letter to the Chicago Con vent ion indicating terms of peace and reunión. So mueh T heavd, in comraon, I presume, with many others; and it seetned to w desirable, that if such terina were roffered, the government of tho United States should have the tirst refusal of them. And I recol lect that - in the firet and much the loDgest letter whieh I addressed to the President on tliis suliject- I roughly indicated eertain bases of peace and reunkm wliich I thought it would be expedient to ofFer to the rebels, in case thcir proffer to the government should be - as T feared it would be - one that could not be accepted. The brief reply to this letter was to tliis efiFect: "If any persons duly authorized by the rebels are prepared to offer sueh teraiB of peace and reconstruetion as you set forth. bring them to Washing:on." I at once rejoined, of course: " Mr. President, 1 do not knów what terms the rebel envoya are prepared to offer? How could I knoW? I have no autluirity ana ani forbidden ly law to approach them n the subject; imd liow cnuld I expect them to open tlioir hearts to me on such a matter ? If you astre me to ascertain what sort of a proposition they are prepared to miike, I will do my best, but with faiut hopes of success. My point is not ihat they staud ready to offer teriü tliat yon can accept, but tiiat the}can offer no terms that you will uot strengt-hen the uational cause by mg íuid r-oiisiacriug. (i nu more tffireasonablo and offensive their terms. tho better for our side, provided wc aro uot able to accept them.) There m&v iiave been onc more note on either side, bnt I think not. I write Erom recollection merely, but subject to correetion by the eorrespondence whon published. But I ain not mistaken on the vital point above set forth - that the President finally acquiesced in niy view of tho matter, so far as to consent to receive whatever proposition agents duly accredited from Richinond miglit see fit to offer, and that I went to Niágara fully authorized to proffer a safe conduct and accompany to Washington the persons specified, on the uuderstanding that they were euipowered to súomit, and would submit terras of pacification ; and that there were no conditions beyond these. Oí course, the missive, liïo whom it may concern," brought to Niágara by Major Hay, changed all this. With duo submission, I deem this change & mistake - a very grave misfake - whieh is rather inagnified than obscurcd by the Times1 persistent misrepresentations of the position of Messrs. G. C. Clay and Holeombe, and its irrelevant abuse of suudry others. Messrs. Clay and Holeombe say in their first letter to me: "The safe conduct of tho President of the United States has been tendered us, we regret to state, uuder some misappreheusion of facts. We have not been av eredited to him from Ricbmond as the bearers of proposition looking to the establishment of peaec. "We are, however, in thu conüdential emplovmeut of our government, and ure entirely acquainted with its wishes and opinions on that subject, and wc feel authorized to declare that, if the cireunistances 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 power would be immediately sent to Washington, with the view of hastening a conBummation so muct to be desired, and terminating at the earliest poesiblc moment the calamities of war." Is there any doubt of the truth of these assertions ? And, if they are truc, is it not plain that Messrs. C. aud H. (one a Senalor, th# other a Representativo in the rebel Congress) are quite other than the irresponsible, unauthorizerl, disoreditod persona that the Timn would mate thcm? Thecr niission appears to bo directcd toward the democratie leaders, simply because they bad 110 hope of access to the government, Now, supposo the President had said, "Well, gentlemen, go to Kichmond, it' you wish, by the shortest route; and whenever you or others, duly authorized by the power now warring upon the Union, shall desiro acepss to Washington, therc to propose conditions of peace, you shall havo safe í-onduct and a hearing" - where -would have bt'en the harni? Suppose they had made an intolerable proposition, would not tfaat have aided the national canse? Suppose tlwy had made onc that could be properly and honorably aceepted, who would not have rejoiced? And suppose nothing had come of it, hut the manifostation by our government of x kiudly spirit and an earnest desire for anj honorable pcaco, would not that have been wortli its trifling cost? I ain quite sure the tnistake was not origiually the President's, but tbat of somc oue or moro of the gentlemen who are paid eiglit thousand dollars a year from the treasury for giving hira bad advico; and. from certain car marks, I infer that it had its initial impulse from the War Department. The campaign in Maryland and on the Potomao against Early and Breekinridge, which was consummated simultancously with the issue of 'Towhom it may concern,"' must have had a commou origin with that stroke of stntesmanship. There can hardly bc two different men living cotemporaneously who are equal to these two exhibitions of genius. Nature is not so lavish of lier great achievements. I ccTncIude by asking the Times, should it recur to this subject, to keep the main point stcadily in view. I deny that the overture submitted through Major Hay was the "same oífer" that I had been authomed to makc; I deny that I was ever required to impose any such "conditions" as those cmbodied in Major Hay's rescript. And I rcspectfully aslc all who may see fit to deal with this statement to


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