demand almost superhuman wisdom and virtue to mature the new social and political system and preserve harmony and respect for each other's rights between the two races. Both have not only to learn new lessons of political and social rights and duties, but to unlearn old ones, and it is easier to teach ignorance than to correct error. Any wrong, real or imaginary, even a blunder or erroneous suggestion of overzealous friends in Northern States, may cause scenes of bloodshed such as have lately been exhibited in Jamaica. To borrow Mr. Jefferson's figure, "The South no longer holds the wold by the ears." He is loose and she must keep ever on the watch. Hence the General Government will be necessary as a guardian of the people of the Southern States, especially where there is a large negro population. If such is not the prevailing sentiment now, it will be of necessity ere long.
Entertaining these opinions, I would not if I could coutervail your efforts to reconstruct the Union on the few basis. You offer the best remedy in your judgment (I doubt not) for the present disorganization and disorders of the South. It is bitter to me, I confess; but emancipation being achieved, it is necessary to prevent continual convulsions and preserve what is left.
Now, I do not think these views would disturb the peace and order of Southern society if I should publish them. If not, in your judgment, why should I be kept in close confinement? I am sure I should not break my parole, if my prison bounds were enlarged to the limits of Alabama. The release of other prisoners and your treatment of leading secessionists throughout the South assures me that your official conduct is not controlled by any vindictiveness of spirit. I know no cause of personal bitternes to me, and do not attribute to such feelings my continued close confinement, but to your sense of public duty under unfavorable imprressions created by false accusations. If such be the fact, I think I should be given opportunity to admit or deny them and sustain my answer. I have done nothing that I would deny or conceal. If in your judgment the public interest requires my longer imprisonment I concede that I should not be released. But in that case I hope, in consideration of my asthmatic habit, you will have me removed to some fortress farther south, where I will suffer less bodily pain, because I can enjoy more fresh air. The approaching cold weather will make it necessary in this latitude to keep the doors and windows closed, and consequently the confined air, impregnated with gas from coal and coal-oil, will cause me great distress from oppression of my chest and difficult, respiration, if it do not bring on the agonizing spasms, terrrible as death, under which I so long suffered. I have writtedn this under severe and unremitting pain, and may not have expressed myself as I would have done if well, but I submit it, confiding in your disposition to do me justice, and trusting that you will take some action on my application ere winter begins.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. C. CLAY, Jr.
NEW YORK, November 23, 1865.
GENERAL: I respectfully submit the accompanying statement* in the full belief that the writer is entitled to protection under the convention between Major-General Sherman and myself, approved by you. As you understand better than I the value of the promise of protection
* Not found.