To Colonel E. G. W. Butler

New Orleans, La.

New York, December 6, 1862.

My Dear Sir,— Our mutual friend, Mr. Butler Duncan, has given me your kind message contained in your recent letter to him.

Allow me to thank you most cordially for it in Mrs. Belmont’s name and my own, and to assure you that it was very grateful to our feelings to hear that your lamented son remembered us kindly before his sad and premature death. These sentiments were most sincerely reciprocated by us.

We sympathize deeply with your bereavement, the extent of which we can fully appreciate by the rare qualities of heart and mind of the deceased which have endeared him to all who knew him.

I unite my prayers with yours, that it may please the Almighty to put a stop to this fratricidal war, which has desolated our once so happy country for the last eighteen months.

Unfortunately, designing and selfish politicians have, in both sections of the country, been allowed to falsify public opinion. I know that the vast majority of the Northern people are not Abolitionists, and that they are willing and ready to secure to the South all her Constitutional rights within the Union, under a most liberal construction. Our recent elections are a clear evidence of this, and I hope that the conservative men of the South will so view it. To a separation they will never consent, because they feel that a separation does not mean the formation of two powerful confederacies living alongside each other in peace and amity, but that it would be followed ere long by a total disintegration, and by the creation of half a dozen republics, swayed by military despotism, and soon destined to the same fate as Mexico and Central America.

One has only to look at the map of what two years ago constituted the United States, then the happiest and most prosperous country on the face of the globe, in order to be convinced of the utter impossibility of a separation.

It is true the war which has been raging with so much fury on both sides, has inflicted much woe and suffering both North and South. Nobody deplores this more deeply than I do, and nobody worked harder to avert it.

Cannot the conservative men in both sections prevent a further duration of all this misery ? There have been faults and errors on both sides, and the bitter fruits which they have borne are a sure guaranty against their recurrence.

Both sides have been taught to appreciate each other’s patriotism, endurance, and courage. With all its miseries, this war has revealed to us and to the world the immense power and the inexhaustible resources of our country. We could, if reunited, confidently look forward to a destiny as a nation such as history has not yet witnessed and the brightness of which dazzles the wildest imagination.

And is all this to be sacrificed to sectional passion and prejudice, fanned by designing politicians for their own selfish ends!

Excuse me, I pray, for having allowed myself to be carried away on this topic, but I feel so deeply for our common country that I could not resist the impulse.

A Few Letters and Speeches of the Late Civil War by August Belmont (DNC Chairman)
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