“During one of his welcome visits to my office,” says Mr. Chittenden, “the President seemed to be buried in thought over some subject of great interest. After long reflection he abruptly exclaimed that he wanted to ask me a question.
“‘Do you know any energetic
contractor?’ he inquired; ’one who
would be willing to take a large contract attended with some
“’I know New England contractors,” I replied, ’who would not be frightened by the magnitude or risk of any contract. The element of prospective profit is the only one that would interest them. If there was a fair prospect of profit, they would not hesitate to contract to suppress the Rebellion in ninety days.”
“’There will be profit and reputation in the contract I may propose,’ said the President. ’It is to remove the whole colored race of the slave States into Texas. If you have any acquaintance who would take that contract, I would like to see him.’
“‘I know a man who would take
that contract and perform it,’ I
replied. ’I would be willing to put you into communication with
him, so that you might form your own opinion about him.’
“By the President’s direction I requested John Bradley, a well-known Vermonter, to come to Washington. He was at my office the morning after I sent the telegram to him. I declined to give him any hint of the purpose of my invitation, but took him directly to the President. When I presented him I said: ’Here, Mr. President, is the contractor whom I named to you yesterday.’
“I left them together. Two hours later Mr. Bradley returned to my office overflowing with admiration for the President and enthusiasm for his proposed work. ‘The proposition is,’ he said, ’to remove the whole colored race into Texas, there to establish a republic of their own. The subject has political bearings of which I am no judge, and upon which the President has not yet made up his mind. But I have shown him that it is practicable. I will undertake to remove them all within a year.’”
It is unnecessary to state that the Black Republic of Texas was a dream that never materialized.
LINCOLN AND EMANCIPATION
Messrs. Nicolay and Hay, who were Mr. Lincoln’s private secretaries during the time he was President, and afterwards the authors of his most elaborate biography, say: “The blessings of an enfranchised race must forever hail him as their liberator.”
Says Francis Curtis in his History of the Republican Party, in speaking of the President’s Emancipation Proclamation: “On the 1st day of January, 1863, the final proclamation of freedom was issued, and every negro slave within the confines of the United States was at last made free.”