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Pass expedition and the like could succeed. When you got below and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join General Banks, and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong.
Yours very truly,
LETTER TO J. C. CONKLING
August 26, 1863.
My dear Sir: Your letter inviting me to attend a massmeeting of unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital of Illinois on the third day of September, has been received. It would be very agreeable to me to thus meet my old friends
at my own home, but I cannot just now be absent from here so long as a visit there would require.
The meeting is to be of all those who maintain unconditional devotion to the Union; and I am sure my old political friends will thank me for ten.
dering, as I do, the nation's gratitude to those and other noble men whom no partizan malice or partizan hope can make false to the nation's life.
There are those who are dissatisfied with me.
To such I would say : You desire peace, and you blame me that we do not have it. But how can we attain it? There are but three conceivable ways: First, to suppress the rebellion by force of arms. This I am trying to do. Are you for it? If you are, so far we are agreed. If you are not for it, a second way is to give up the Union. against this. Are you for it? If you are, you should say so plainly. If you are
If you are not for force, nor yet for dissolution, there only remains some imaginable compromise. I do not believe any compromise embracing the maintenance of the ironio 1151 ICH 1
Union is now possible. All I learn leads to a directly opposite belief. The strength of the rebellion is its military, its army. That'army dominates all the country and all the people within its range.
Any offer of terms made by any man men within that
range, in opposition to that army, is simply nothing for the present, because such man
men have power whatever to enforce their side of a compromise, if one were made with them.
To illustrate: Suppose refugees from the South and peace men of the North get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a compromise embracing a restoration of the Union. In what way can that compromise be used to keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania? Meade's army can keep Lee's army out of Pennsyl
vania, and, I think, can ultimately drive it out of existence. But no paper compromise to which the controllers of Lee's army are not agreed can at all affect that army.
In an effort at such compromise we should waste time which the enemy would improve to our disadvantage; and that would be all. A compromise, to be effective, must be made either with those who control the rebel army, or with the people first liberated from the domination of that army by the success of our own army.
Now, allow me to assure you that no word or intimation from that rebel army, or from any of the men controlling it, in relation to any peace compromise, has ever come to my knowledge or belief. All charges and insinuations to the contrary are deceptive and groundless. And