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[211] modification made by the President, gives a correct statement of the case and of the reasons for which that modification was made. It shows that there was no effort made by Mr. Benjamin to have any thing “stricken out,” and that there was no difference whatever between him and the President in any except a minor quession of expediency, and that even this difference disappeared on conference and comparison of views. Nay, if Mr. Hunter has been correctly reported, he himself was at that time of one mind with the President and Secretary of State in regard to this point. In a speech of stirring and patriotic tone, delivered by him in Richmond after his return from Old Point, he is represented (the quotations are from the report given in the Annual Cyclopaedia for 1865) as saying, among other expressions of fiery indignation: “And now, after three years of waste and destruction, we have been lately informed by the President of the United States that there can be no peace except upon the conditions of laying down our arms and absolute submission; to come in as rebels, &c., &c.”

And again, “If anything more was wanting to stir the blood, it was furnished when we were told that the United States would not consent to entertain any proposition coming from us as a people; that Government which makes treaties with the meanest and weakest of nations tells us, a nation of seven millions of men, with arms in their hands, that it cannot entertain any proposition coming from rebels. Even upon the theory that we were rebels, upon what authority could they refuse to treat with us? There has been no civil war of any magnitude which has not been terminated by treating. It would seem possible that Lincoln might have offered something to a people with two hundred thousand soldiers-and such soldiers — under arms.”

The truth is that the phraseology of the instructions to the commissioners constituted no embarrassment to them at all. Vice- President Stephens, who was at the head of the Commission, in his War between the States, (Vol. II, p. 577,) referring to the charge that their hands were so tied with instructions that nothing could be accomplished, with other rumors of the same sort, says they are “utterly unworthy of notice.” Yet this is the charge in substance which Mr. Hunter has revived. In his minute account of the origin, progress, and termination of the conference,


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