War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0606 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

A part of what you refer to I fully understand. I gave Doctor Hambleton my views of the position in which the seceders from Charleston stood toward the Baltimore adjourned convention. It was done at his instance freely and cheerfully, but certainly without any idea of what I said being used publicly or having any other influence than the bare statement of the points carried intrinsically in itself, not that I had any secrets on this subject, but I never could have given my consent for my name to have been invoked or used to give force to these points. If they did not have sufficient power to carry conviction of themselves I should have considered all extraneous aids as not only useless but decidedly injurious, and from what you state I am inclined to think probably this was the result by the course adopted; but as your letter found me all in the dark upon the matter you seem to be explaining I should like to hear more fully from you on the subject.

As to the final result at Baltimore I can only add a few words. I feel exceedingly pained and grieved at it. The consequences or effects cannot now be judged of or even conjectured. Madness and folly seemed to have ruled the hour. Why Judge Douglas' friends should have persisted in nominating him after the secession of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia, to say nothing of the other Southern States, I cannot imagine. I have heard no explanation and know nothing of what their calculations or expectamust have known what the seceders intended to do; they must have known that the movement at Charleston, so far from having been checked by the popular feeling at the South, had been strengthened and augmented. This they must have known by consultation with the delegations from Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. If they did not they were very unfit representatives of their prople on such an occasion. And taking it for granted that they did know it, I cannot imagine what object they had in view by the course they took except to put up their man to be beaten to say nothing of breaking up the party at the same time.

As I view the prospect from this point I see no chance for Douglas' election. All he can possibly do will be to carry enough Northern votes to enable Mr. Breckinridge to be borne over him into the House where he may possibly be chosen; I mean Mr. Breckinridge. If Mr. Douglas' friends are satisfied-and with their honor for him they have infinitely less regard for the noble spirit of the man and that favor and distinction which his great merits and talents deserve than I have-his position may be a very useful one to the country. We cannot see results but it can hardly be looked upon as adding to his reputation. Individually he will be but subservient-the stepping-stone of his party rival to elevation and power. By the aid of his back and shoulders Mr. Breckinridge may attain the object of his ambition and the defeat of the Republicans may be achieved.

His I say may be a useful service to the country, but if such service were necessary under existing circumstances I should greatly have preferred to see the duty assigned to some other one-some one who would not have lost reputation by it; some one who would have even gained personal distinction as well as rendered beneficial service to his country. But I can say no more. We have fallen upon evil times. There are I fear but few of our public men nowadays who look to the country through any other medium except themselves and their own ambitious desires.

Yours, respectfully,

ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.