Zebulon Baird Vance to William A. Graham, August 13, 1863
In Governor Zebulon B. Vance’s correspondence to Senator William A. Graham, Vance pronounced his disgust with William W. Holden and his peace campaign in North Carolina. In summation, Vance portrayed Holden as a man who represented all that the Confederacy had declared itself against: military desertion, subjugation to the Union, and the instigation of violent conflicts. With these words serving as persuasive evidence, Vance made it clear that the purpose of this letter was to inquire about the loyalty of Graham with respect to the coming gubernatorial election and whether Vance could count on his old friends and supporters to continue backing him as he prepared to contest Holden.
It is also important to recognize Vance’s clarification of a just and honorable peace after he condemns Holden’s argument for a supposed subjugated and disgraceful peace. Vance proclaims “no living man is more anxious for peace” than he was; so long as it was achieved through the Confederacy’s “separation & independence.”
State of North-Carolina
Raleigh, August 13th. 1863.
My Dear Sir:
I beg to call your attention to the proceedings of many meetings in various parts of the state, in favour of peace--Under all the circumstances, I consider them ruinous, in the last degree.
They will cause the army to melt away by desertion, will create, perhaps, dissensions & civil war at home, and will defeat any & all efforts for peace, unless it be on the basis of absolute submission to our enemies--which is all that has ever been offered us--They will in short serve no purpose whatever, except to encourage our enemies, ruin our army, & hasten our subjugation--With these views, which I have not time to elaborate, my administration will take ground against any such unfortunate & premature movements, and I desire, as far as possible, to know how far, I will be sustained by my friends & former supporters--With this view I earnestly invite an expression of your opinion & advice, fully, freely & confidentially given--
I am anxious, at the same time, /not/ to be misunderstood as to this important issue.
No living man is more anxious for peace than I am, whenever it can, by any possibility, be obtained upon the basis of separation & our independence--I shall only oppose those clamours for peace, originating in a desire for reconstruction,
or which being raised in the hour of our adversity, & in the absence of any proposition from the North, can only mean submission & a giving up of the contest.
Please, at your early leisure, give me your opinion & the sentiments of your community--
Very Truly yours
Z. B. Vance
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