New York Herald, 4/13/1865, p. 5, c. 1
TREASON ITS OWN PUNISHMENT.
Intense Hatred of the Leader, Jeff. Davis, by His Late Followers.
LEE GENERALLY RESPECTED.
Virginia Expected to Lead Off in the Return of the Misguided States to the Union.
The Citizens of Richmond Already Moving.
Alleged Iniquities of Head Rebels in Office.
Reconstruction of Railroads Diverging from Richmond.
The Wants of the Poor and the Sick of the City Kindly Provided For by the National Government.
THE PEOPLE GETTING WORK.
Recovery of the Body of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren.
SERIOUS ILLNESS OF MRS. GEN. R. E. LEE.
Interesting Details of the Restoration of Law, Order and Civilization in the Late Rebel Capital, &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Wm. H. Merriam's Despatches.
NEW YORK HERALD ROOM,
CORNER OF TENTH AND CLAY STREETS,
RICHMOND, Va., April 10 – 10 P. M.
PEACE MEASURES OF PROMINENT VIRGINIANS.
During the recent visit of the President of the United States to this city, I may remark that the peace negotiations of which his presence at City Point was said to be the forerunner are now becoming more feasible through the influence of his late sojourn here. It is, perhaps, not generally known that, since the failure of the peace commissioners at Fortress Monroe, Virginia's leading men have been discussing the propriety of boldly inaugurating measures of conciliation and peace on her own account. The fact is derived from a reliable source that the Virginia Legislature, in secret session, appointed a commission to call on Jeff. Davis and ascertain from him whether or not it was his purpose to evacuate Richmond.
DAVIS CHECKS THEM.
Mr. Davis, fearing some evil result from a direct affirmative answer, equivocated by saying that he would be buried beneath to ruins of the city sooner than evacuate. This silenced and soothed the public discontent which the preparatory measures for evacuation and the order for the removal of tobacco and government stores had created.
MR. HUNTER TENDERS HIS SERVICES AS PEACE COMMISSIONER.
But Mr. R. M. T. Hunter, with that shrewdness peculiar to him, instantly saw through the guise, and made a tender of his services to the Legislature to act as commissioner to President Lincoln to negotiate some terms for the readmission of Virginia into the Union. Meanwhile the panic caused by the order for the removal of the tobacco and the public stores had measurably subsided, and entire confidence in the ability of General Lee to hold Richmond revived. Hunter's proffer was not accepted, and entailed upon him the odium of the press and the community to a degree so intense as to cause a popular supposition to become rife that his position before the Confederate people involved his political ruin, if not the added disgrace of treason to his section. The Virginia Legislature, under the assurance of Mr. Davis' response to its commissioners that Richmond was not to be evacuated, took recess covering a period of more than two weeks, to allow the members to look after their interests in the then forthcoming elections. They reassembled on the 20th of last month, with their confidence in the safety of Richmond in no degree diminished.
PROMINENT REBELS GETTING OUT OF THE WAY.
The delusion was still kept up so far as the Legislature and the people were concerned. But those known to be most familiar with the inside operations of the rebel government suddenly disappeared from the city. Hunter, who generally loitered here for months after the adjournment of the so-called Congress, left soon after the doubtful response of Davis to the Virginia commissioners. Thomas J. Semmes, of Louisiana, Davis' organ in the rebel States Senate, took his departure from here in less than a week after the adjournment; not for his own State, Louisiana, but for Texas, where he supposed he would get clear of the crash and the resultant ruins of the already crumbling Confederacy, and avoid the indignation of a people whose ruin he, as the chief fugleman of John Slidell, was in no small degree instrumental in bringing about. The redoubtable Wigfall, and his colleague Oldham, were travelling companions of Semmes, all fleeing Richmond with the determination to risk the hazards of a journey to the Trans-Mississippi country rather than ??? the storm of indignation which their course on ??? was sure to excite.
[paragraph detailing rumors of a scheme in the Trans-Mississippi department was not transcribed. MDG]
VIRGINIA EXPECTED TO LEAD OFF IN THE REUNION OF STATES.
????herance of this desire, I understand it is contemplated by her Legislature, which summarily left here for Lynchburg on Sunday week, in the darkness of the night, to call a convention, by consent of the Union authorities, if that can be obtained, with a view of repealing the ordinance of secession and negotiating terms of reunion with her former associates at the North. Should this privilege be denied, the next course contemplated is to appoint two or three commissioners to wait on the President of the United States, and confer with him in relation to the terms on which Virginia can be readmitted to the Union. Success in this effort would at once destroy whatever cohesive power may even yet remain in secession under the influence of Virginia's action. All the other States of the late Confederacy would unanimously conclude that this would be the safest and speediest course to be pursued in order to put a period to all their woes. The adjustment of the terms upon which Virginia should be readmitted into the Union ought at least to form the subject of extreme caution, inasmuch as they will form precedents which must foreclose all argument or dissent on the part of the other Southern States, which will undoubtedly follow in Virginia's wake. Separate State action will prove the only means of reunion that can now be regarded as available. The conquest of Virginia will be found to be the initiation of that principle of adjustment, for while any other State similarly circumstanced would scarcely venture to inaugurate such designs, Virginia, in the consciousness of her moral power and influence, would not hesitate to do so. I judge that she does not fear the public opinion of the Southern fire-eaters. She is fully prepared to act on her own responsibility, and they may follow if they choose. It is well known here, and generally admitted, that the States long for a movement in this direction on the part of Virginia, by way of a pretext for a similar movement. In referring to the other Southern States I exclude those on the other side of the Mississippi, for the reasons already referred to an indicated in this despatch. But, as regards trade on this side, it may be comprehensively stated that the course of Virginia will finally determine theirs. Never was there such a revolution in the public sentiment of the South as this war alone has created. The peculiar protégés of the South have become the most obnoxious of all earthly beings to the classes whose influence heretofore gave them position and power. The same great change will mark the social relations of the South. The wealthy farmers and the F. F. V.'s – in verity this statement may be regarded as applicable to this whole section of country – have been suddenly reduced from a condition of ease and opulence to one of labor and poverty. This, even if the Southern cause had succeeded, would involve great peril to social order in the South. Bona fide wealth must seek supremacy, as it does everywhere. Hereditary or lineal power will never again successfully vindicate itself against "the vile encroachment of our cherished rights" so that in the order of relative social standing in the matter of inherited and acquired wealth, an interminable and undying feud was engendered, which nothing but the fortuitous intervention of our influence had been allayed. To suppose that the conquest of the South by our arms is a source of future discontent, is to imagine human nature capable of acquiescence in the transfer of social and political supremacy from the once superior to the inferior class. The great and recent conflagration in Richmond illustrates this view forcibly. It so happened, as if by a peculiar degree of Providence, that the area covered by the fire embraced the opulent part of the city. It occurred in its wealthy and business portion, namely, Carey, Main, Franklin and Canal streets. I have yet to ascertain a single instance in which the house of an inferior family was consumed, and I am equally ignorant of the manifestation of a single instance of discontent or expression of sympathy for the sufferers. On the contrary, the masses rejoice at the happy dispensation which so suddenly deprived "the villainous speculators of the fruits of the ill-gotten gains."
NEW YORK HERALD ROOMS,
RICHMOND, Va., April 11 – 8 A. M.
MEETING OF THE CITIZENS OF RICHMOND.
It is understood that a mass meeting of the citizens of Richmond will be held here to-day, having for its object unconditional submission to the United States authorities, and to make, more especially, a public and formal attestation of their wise purpose. It is said that they are unanimous in favor of this important movement.
AN IMPORTANT INTERVIEW WITH GENERAL WEITZEL.
Judge Campbell, General Duff Green and several others had an interview with General Weitzel yesterday morning, with reference to the interests of the people in the country immediately surrounding Richmond. The General gave them a favorable audience.
Governor Andrew Curtin, of Pennsylvania; Hon. Green Clay Smith, of Kentucky; I. N. Arnold, Esq., of Chicago, Illinois; Captains J. M. B. Critz, Captain Beaumont, Commander Renshaw, of the United States naval fleet in the James, General Thomas, commanding Unites States forces in Manchester, near the city; Captain W. I. Goodrich, Acting Assistant Adjutant General; Colonel W. V. Hutchings, Captain D. L. Neggle, of the Fourth Wisconsin horse batter; Major Nelson Plato, one of the leading quartermasters of the department; Dr. T. E. Hamilton, Assistant Surgeon of the Eighth Connecticut Volunteers; Lieutenant H. S. Merrell, Staff Quartermaster to General Weitzel; Colonel Conover, Acting Medical Director department, were in Richmond yesterday, and among the promenaders in the Capitol grounds, where bands of music were stationed, playing national and operatic airs. Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, and Chevalier Wyckoff are also in the city, engaged, probably, upon diplomatic missions.
Mr. Theodore C. Wilson's Despatches.
RICHMOND, Va., April 11 – 5 A. M.
Prominent citizens are doing all in their power to properly restore law and order in Virginia and revive the civil authority throughout the State.