No Alternative But Subjugation
The Hampton Roads conference with Lincoln was a waste of time for people who desired independence and self government—he would have none of it. Lincoln perhaps reveal an inability to understand his own country’s founding in secession for England, as he tells Alexander Stephens that he knew nothing of history. Judge Campbell mentioned below was a former US Supreme Court justice and a witness to Lincoln and Seward’s treachery in March of 1861. 
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
No Alternative But Subjugation:
Diary Entry, February 5, 1865:
"Finally on Thursday they (Hunter, (Alexander H.) Stephens, (Judge John A.) Campbell) were taken down on Grant’s steamboat, getting into the (Hampton) Roads. Lincoln arrived from Washington that evening….but would see them the next day. So next morning they were taken on board the steamer (River Queen) where Lincoln and Seward were, and had a conference of about three hours, in which a great deal was talked over.
Mr. Stephens reminded Lincoln of their intimacy in the time they served on the secret committee together…Mr. Stephens then went into a long discussion of the "Monroe Doctrine" in its relations to this quarrel. After he had proceeded for some time….Lincoln appeared to have become impatient and interrupted with the remark that there was but one ground on which propositions could be made or received, and that was the restoration of the national authority over all the places in the States. This diverted the discussion, but Mr. Seward said he desired to hear Mr. Stephens out; his view was one in which he was interested.
Mr. Stephens cited historical instances of nations at war laying aside their quarrel to take up other matters of mutual interest to both. Mr. Lincoln replied that he knew nothing about history, "You must talk history with Mr. Seward."
On the subject of (Northern reconstruction) penal legislation, Lincoln said we must accept all the consequences….In this connection Judge Campbell remarked that he had never regarded his neck as in danger. Lincoln replied that there were a good many oak trees about the place where he lived, the limbs of which afforded many convenient points from which he might have dangled.
(S)eward produced the vote in the House of Representatives on the (13th) amendment to the Constitution. He said this country was in a revolutionary condition, and as always was the case, the most extreme party succeeds. So in New York, the Tribune which a few years ago was the only abolition political paper supported by the country, was now the most conservative of the Northern press while the Herald leads the abolition party."
(Inside the Confederate Government, The Diary of Robert Garlick Hill Kean, LSU Press, 1993, pp. 194-196)