DURING THE EARLY MONTHS OF 1863, GREELEY remained in working harmony with the radicals. Like them, he was hostile to Seward, denounced McClellan and expressed skepticism as to Lincoln's effectiveness as a war leader. He also joined them in an unavailing search for a successor to Lincoln in 1864. Greeley's alliance with Wade, Chandler and their ilk seemed well cemented. 1
These activities of the Tribune's editor were undertaken in the name of an effective prosecution of the war and the destruction of slavery. At the same time, in what looked like a complete contradiction, Greeley was exploring the possibilities of a negotiated peace that, as he freely admitted, might result in giving up the whole project of emancipation.
At the close of 1862, Greeley declared in the Tribune that the North had always been ready for a peace that would restore "the Union as it was," without any new concessions or guarantees to slavery. This was followed by a series of suggestions to the effect that foreign mediation was always proper. If offered, it should be met "in a conciliatory spirit." France and England were too hostile to the Union to make good mediators, but the little republic of Switzerland, a pure and disinterested state, would be completely satisfactory. 2
While these peace soundings were being thrown out in the Tribune, Greeley began corresponding with the Ohio Copperhead, Clement L. Vallandigham and with another peace advocate, William Cornell (Colorado) Jewett, who had just returned from Europe on fire with the idea of mediation by Napoleon III. Vallandigham and Jewett were asked to ascertain through their contacts with the Confederacy whether or not there was any rebel disposition toward such a peace as the Union could grant, or any disposition toward arbitration or mediation by a foreign power. 3