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[221] who should be on the same footing as the regular forces of the United States, and whose officers should all be commissioned by himself.

On the day after the introduction of the bill, and before an opportunity was had to examine its provisions, an attempt was made to pass it without debate, under the operation of the previous question. This effort, however, was successfully resisted, and a limited discussion of it was allowed, which lasted, at intervals, until the 1st of March--the Friday before Mr. Lincoln's inauguration-when it was understood that the measure would then be put upon its passage, so that the Senate might have an opportunity to act upon it before the end of the session. Observing Mr. Stanton's anxiety that day to get the floor for the avowed purpose of having the bill disposed of without further delay, and, knowing that if he should call it up, it would be carried by a large majority, inasmuch as the secession of the cotton States, and the consequent withdrawal of their members of Congress, had left the conservatives of both Houses completely in the power of the extremists of the dominant party, I resolved to make a personal appeal to him, in the forlorn hope that, possibly, he might be persuaded to refrain from pressing his measure to a vote. Accordingly, I went over to his desk, and used every argument I could think of to induce him to forego his determination. But all in vain. He was utterly obdurate; and I finally said to him:

Mr. Stanton, your bill is thwarting the efforts of the conservative men of Virginia, who are striving to prevent her secession, and to avert the calamity of civil war. If you persist in its passage, the effect will be to convince our people that the policy of coercion is a foregone conclusion. The secessionists of our State convention at Richmond, though now in a minority, will be enabled thereby to carry their point, and Virginia will be forced out of the Union against her will.

“Well!” said he, folding his arms, and leaning back in his chair, “Well, what if she does go? If that is to be her course, so be it. I have contemplated the possibility of such a contingency for some time past. Governor Winslow, over there, can tell you of a talk I had with him on the subject two years ago. I said then, as I say now, that in the event of a separation of the North and South on the basis of our respective systems of labor-slave and free-I suppose we'll have to submit to it; and I have made up my mind to do so, provided we can keep up our social and commercial intercourse unrestricted between the sections.”

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