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[227]

On the re-assembling of the House that evening, naturally anxious to know what would be the fate of the Force bill, I closely watched the proceedings; some of which, upon a proposition to suspend the rules, to receive the report of the Peace Congress, were of an exciting character, and afforded a significant illustration of the truth of the proverb that “extremes meet;” for when the ayes and nays were called, Abolitionists and Secessionists per se were found voting together against the suspension. It was nearly ten o'clock before Mr. Stanton succeeded in getting the bill up for consideration, and immediately thereupon, a leading Republican member from Mr. Lincoln's own State (Mr. Washburne, our distinguished Minister to France), moved an adjournment; but a question of order having arisen, Mr. Washburne's motion was not entertained. Shortly afterward, Mr. Stanton moved the previous question on the engrossment of the bill, which was followed by another motion to adjourn, made by a prominent Republican from Pennsylvania (Mr. Hickman), which was not put to vote, because the floor had not been yielded to Mr. Hickman by Mr. John Cochrane, of New York, who was entitled to it, but who himself, before taking his seat, renewed the motion for an adjournment; and although it was well understood on both sides of the House that Cochrane's motion involved the fate of the bill, it was finally agreed to by a vote of seventy-seven to sixty. So the House adjourned that evening, and the Thirty-sixth Congress expired on the following Monday, without having given to Mr. Lincoln the power asked for — to call out the militia, and to accept the services of volunteers. Yet, alas! in little more than a month thereafter, he allowed himself to be persuaded to issue his proclamation for that purpose, the sad results of which are recorded on the bloodiest pages of our country's history.

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