ing the decision as to designation to a future time when he may again present himself. Meanwhile I doubt not he will be very useful to you. I have not seen Col. Shepley since he has been in Washington which I regret for I should have been very glad to confer with him fully as to matters in New Orleans2. It is too late to seek him now even if propriety did not require that he should first call on me. I say too late because it is only within five minutes that I have learned that if I would get this letter to New York in time for the steamer it must be written forthwith. Hence this long sheet and hurried writing.
Nor have I seen the instructions if any have been prepared which Gen. Sheply is to take back with him to New Orleans; nor has it so happened that I have talked with either the President or Mr. Stanton on the subject of these instructions. All I know of the Presidents views is contained in the two letters enclosed herewith--one for Mr. Bullitt & the other for Mr. Johnston which I have heard read and which the President left with me today to be sent to those gentlemen. All I know positively, I mean; for I have heard intimations from the President that it may possibly become necessary in order to keep the river open below Memphis to convert the heavy black population of its banks into defenders.
You will see from what I have written that in what I have to say on the important topic touched in your letter by way of reply to mine I shall express only my own opinions--opinions however to which I am just as sure that the masses will and politicians must come as I am sure that both politicians & masses have come to opinions expressed by me when they found few concurrents.
I begin with the proposition that we must either abandon the attempt to retain the gulf states in the Union or we must give freedom to every slave within their limits. We cannot maintain the contest with the disadvantages of unacclimated troops, and distant supplies against an enemy enabled to bring one half the population under arms with the other half held to labor with no cost except that of bare subsistence for the armed moiety. Still less can we maintain this contest if all we do must necessarily enrage & alienate the military half while we do nothing to conciliate but very much to disaffect the laboring half.
I have not time to argue this out or even to qualify as might be necessary to avoid captious objection the generality of my statement. Of its substantial accuracy I am certain.
As to the border states even including Arkansas a different rule may be adopted. In these states the Presidents plan of compensated emancipation may be adequate to the solution of the slavery question; though I confess my apprehensions that the slaveholders of these states will delay the acceptance of the proposition until it will become impossible to induce the Congress to vote the compensation. Should compensated