You say I failed to produce the paroles or to give any account or history of them. If you mean that I refused to do so, it is not true. I offered to produce them at any time, and importuned you to agree to some principle by which they could be computed and adjusted. When I last met you at City Point you requested me for the first time to send to you a memorandum of the paroles claimed as valid by me. I furnished you with the list on the 27th instant, that being the first day after your request on which a flag-of-truce boat appeared at City Point.
You say I then proceeded to make a further declaration of exchange, "ignoring the cartel altogether" and resting the whole proceeding, as you suppose, on my 'sense of right. " There, again, you are mistaken. I did not rest the proceeding entirely upon my sense of right. I relied in some measure upon yours, and to that extent its propriety may be doubtful. In communicating to you Exchange Notice Numbers 7, which is the one to which you refer, I wrote to you as follows:
I herewith inclose to you a declaration of exchange which I shall public in a day or two. You will perceive it is based upon the declaration of exchange communicated to me in your letter of the 24th of September last. In my notice I have followed your phraseology. I would have preferred another form of declaration more in accordance with the circumstances of the case. Inasmuch, however, as my declaration to a considerable extent is retaliatory of yours, I have deemed it more appropriate to follow your own form of expression.
Your letter of the 24th of September declared that "all officers and men of the U. S. Army captured and paroled at any time previous to the 1st of September, 1863, are duly exchanged. " On the 16th of October following I declared exchanged "all (Confederate) officers and men captured and paroled at any time previous to the 1st of September, 1863. " If that was "ignoring the cartel," as you charge, I only followed your example. Our declarations of exchange were precisely similar, except that in another part of my notice I reserved from its operation the larger part of the Vicksburg paroles. If I had followed your " sense of right," as I then had, and still claim, the right to do, I would have included all.
The Confederate authorities take it unto themselves as a proud and honorable boast that they have determined all these matters of paroles and exchanges according to their 'sense of right" and not by any views of temporary expediency. In following that guide they have at least shunned some examples furnished by your Government. They have never, in violation of their general orders and without notice to the adverse party, ordered their paroled officers and men to break their solemn covenant, and without exchange lift their arms against their captors. They have therefore escaped the pangs of that retributive justice which made your general order of July 3, 1863, though so well suited to the meridian of Gettysburg, invalidate the paroles given at Port Hudson on the 9th of the same month. Upon further reflection I am sure you will be satisfied that it does not become your authorities, who have chosen, whenever they felt so disposed, without notice or consent from us, to repudiate the established usages of exchange and put new constructions upon the cartel, to complain that others have acted according to their sense of right.
Not content with all the misstatements of fact which I have cited, you have in your letter of the 29th instant descended to a malignant and wanton aspersion of the motives of authorities in making the proposal contained in my letter of the 20th instant. You were asked to agree "that all officer and men on both sides should be released, the excess on one side or the other to be on parole. " It would have been injustice enough to the many thousands of your prisoners in