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[559] Taney. The problem of the war was now fast working its own solution. The cruel stain of slavery had been effaced from the national escutcheon, and the rosy morn of peace began to dawn behind the breaking clouds of the great storm.1 Lincoln, firm

1 Bearing on the mission of the celebrated Peace Commission the following bit of inside history is not without interest:

I had given notice that at one o'clock on the 31st of January I would call a vote on the proposed constitutional amendment abolishing slavery in the United States. The opposition caught up a report that morning that Peace Commissioners were on the way to the city or were in the city. Had this been true I think the proposed amendment would have failed, as a number who voted for it could easily have been prevailed upon to vote against it on the ground that the passage of such a proposition would be offensive to the commissioners. Accordingly I wrote the President this note:

House of Representatives, January 31, 1865.
Dear Sir:
The report is in circulation in the House that Peace Commissioners are on their way or in the city, and is being used against us. If it is true, I fear we shall lose the bill. Please authorize me to contradict it, it it is not true.


J. M. Ashley. To the President.

Almost immediately came the reply, written on the back of my note:

So far as I know there are no Peace Commissioners in the city or likely to be in it.

A. Lincoln. January 31, 1865.

Mr. Lincoln knew that the commissioners were then on their way to Fortress Monroe, where he expected to meet them, and afterwards did meet them. You see how he answered my note for my purposes, and yet how truly. You know how he afterwards met the so-called commission, whom he determined at the time he wrote this note should not come to the city. One or two gentlemen were present when he wrote the note, to whom he read it before sending it to me. --J. M. Ashley, M. C., letter, November 23, 1866, Ms.

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