War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 1188 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

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of the State, actuated by a sacred sense of duty and love of country, do deem it necessary to address you in this manner in regard to the dangers and duties of the present time, earnestly praying that it may be conducive to harmony and good will, wherein only is to be found a safe and honorable deliverance from all our troubles. It is known to you all that in the beginning of these troubles North Carolina was so decidedly opposed to imating the secession of her Southern sisters that any attempt to force to do so by even a majority, of her people, prior to the proclamation of Lincoln in 1861, would most likely have resulted in civil war among our own citizens. It pleased God, however, to prevent this calamity and to calm all the fierce passions of party bitternes, and to cause the most perfect unanimity by means of that proclamation, which placed before us the dire necessity of either assisting or slaughtering our own brothers and friends. Interest, honor, and sympathy combined to decide us upon resistance to what united in condemning as a cruel and wicke war upon the homes and liberties of the South. With unexampled zeal we entered into the war, rushed forward our bravest sons, and poured out our richest treasures. With immense sacrifices and varying fortunes we continued the struggle, still with great unanimity, for years. About the end of the third year, however, a portion of our people, in common with many others throughout the South, seeing how our best citizens were falling, and how our fairest lands were desolated, began to urge that peace shoul be sought ons as well as by the sword. They argued that our Confederate authorities, moved by pride of opinion and embittered by the length and fierceness of the conflict, had not made a sufficient trial of statesmanship as a means of stopping the war, that no doubt if properly approached, either by commissioners appointed by our common Government, or by the State separately, supposing diplomatic reasons would prevent the enemy from treatening with the former, that our enemy would grant us better terms than we had supposed, and promising that if a fair and honest effort at negotiations should be spurned by the enemy or rejected, then all classes and conditions of men in the South would unite in an earnest prosecution of the war. This was the first serious approach to a division among our people. Sympathizing with the reasonableness of this demand, though not with all the reasons given for believing in its efficiency, and being as sincerely desirous as it was possible for man to be, to stop the war on honorable terms, I, as your governor, addressed President Davis in December, 1863, and urged this course upon him. In answer thereto, he assured me that three separate and distinct efforts had been made to treat with the enemy without obtaining even a hearing, and that he did not see how a fourth one could be initiated without humiliation to ourselves and injury to our cause. Trusting that Providence would yet open the way the matter rested here for another year. Many, however, of our people, who advanced peace upon such vague and illdefinited terms as to cause doubts of their good faith and loyalty, continued sedulously to diseminate the opinion that our own Government alone was to blame for the continuance of the war; going so far in some instances as to threaten revolutionary measure for wresting the treaty-making power from its hands, and negotiating with the enemy ourselves, alleging that we could certainly get such terms, if the States would act in their sovereign capacity, as would secure our property and slaves by reconstruction. Since the beginning of the present year, however, two individuals from the North, having visited Richmond on a peace mission by the authority of President Lincoln, and