U. S. STEAMER WAYANDA, Beaufort Harbor, May 7, 1865.
DEAR GENERAL; Major-General Sherman has shown me your telelgram to him,* on the subject of the reorganization and government of North Carolina, and it has occurred to me that you might like to know the general views of those who think as I do. I cannot, perhaps, put them before you with so little trouble, or more distinctly, than by sending you copies of two letters written by me to President Lincoln, just before he was so foully murdered. Some fifty copies were printed for the information of individuals-not for publication. I ahve, since his accession had several conversations with President Johnson, and think myself authorized to say that he desires the earliest possible loyal reorganization of the late insurgent States. He thinks that this reorganization should be the work of the peole themselves, acting in their original sovereign capacity, and would be willing to aid their action in any proper way, as, for example, by the enrollment of all the loayl citizens, preparatory to the election of delegates to a convention. in this enrollment he would prefer that the old constitutional rule in North Carolina which recognized all freemen as voters, should be followed, rather than the rule the new constitution, which excludes all freemen of color. I think he is clear and settled in the opinion that no civil authority should be recognized which has its source in rebel election or appointment. It may be that he has already issued an address or proclamation stating his views. He hwas considering the subjcet when I left Washington, on the 1st instant. If no such document has appeared the information I now give may be useful to you. Permit me to suggest that you may find conference with General Cox on this class of subjects useful. I have know him well as a civilian, and have the highest opinion of his ability and judgment. Excuse me if you think anything I have written intrusive or superfluous. I write only in the hope of being of some service to you, and from interest in the important work of reorganization.
Yours, very respectfully, and truly,
S. P. CHASE.
BALTIMORE, April 11, 1865.
To the PRESIDENT:
MY DEAR SIR: When all mankind are congratulating you, one voice, heard or not, is of little account; but I add mine. I am very anxious about the future and most about the principles which are to govern reconstruction; for as these principles are sound or unsound, so will be the work and its results. You have no time to read a long letter, nor have I time to write one; so I will be brief.
And first as to Virginia. By the action of every branch of the Government we are committed to the recognition and maintenance of the State organization of which Governor Peirpoint is the head. You know all the facts, and recapitulation would be useless. There will be a pressure for the recognition of the rebel organization on condition of profession of loyalty. It will be far easier and wiser, in my judgment, to stand by the loyal organization already recognized.
And next as to the other rebel States. The easiest and safest way seems to me to be the enrollment of the loyal citizens without regard to
*See May 5, p. 405.