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“ [85] you go in peace. If a majority votes Union, yours to be bound by it, and to stay in peace. The two governments can contract in this way, and the people, though constitutionally unable to decide on peace or war, can elect which of the two propositions shall govern their rulers. Let Lee and Grant, meanwhile, agree to an armistice. This would sheathe the sword; and if once sheathed, it would never again be drawn by this generation.”

“ The plan is altogether impracticable. If the South were only one State, it might work; but as it is, if one Southern State objected to emancipation, it would nullify the whole thing; for you are aware the people of Virginia cannot vote slavery out of South Carolina, nor the people of South Carolina vote it out of Virginia.”

“But three-fourths of the States can amend the Constitution. Let it be done in that way — in any way, so that it be done by the people. I am not a statesman or a politician, and I do not know just how such a plan could be carried out;. but you get the idea — that the people shall decide the question.”

“ That the majority shall decide it, you mean. We seceded to rid ourselves of the rule of the majority, and this would subject us to it again.

But the majority must rule finally, either with bullets or ballots.

“ I am not so sure of that. Neither current events nor history shows that the majority rules, or ever did rule. The contrary, I think, is true.

Why, sir, the man who should go before the Southern people with such a proposition, with any proposition which implied that the North was to have. a voice in determining the domestic relations of the South, could not live here a day. He would be hanged to the first tree, without judge or jury.

“ Allow me to doubt that. I think it more likely he would be hanged, if he let the Southern people know the majority couldn 't rule,” I replied, smiling.

“I have no fear of that,” rejoined Mr. Davis, also smiling most good-humoredly. “I give you leave to proclaim it from every house-top in the South.”

“ But, seriously, sir, you let the majority rule in a single State; why not let it rule in the whole country?”

“Because the States are independent and sovereign. The country is not. It is only a confederation of States; or rather it was: it is now two confederations.”

“ Then we are not a people--we are only a political partnership?”

“That is all.”

“Your very name, sir, ‘ United States,’ implies that,” said Mr. Benjamin. “But, tell me, are the terms you have named-Emancipation, No Confiscation, and Universal Amnesty — the terms which Mr. Lincoln authorized you to offer us?”

“ No, sir, Mr. Lincoln did not authorize me to offer you any terms. But I think both he and the Northern people, for the sake of peace, would assent to some such conditions.”

“ They are very generous,” replied Mr. Davis, for the first time during the interview showing some angry feelings. “But amnesty, sir, applies to criminals. We have committed no crime. Confiscation is of no account, unless you can enforce it. And emancipation! You have already emancipated nearly two millions of our slaves-and if you will take care of them, you may emancipate the rest. I had a few when the war began. I was of some use to them; they never were of any to me. Against their will you ‘emancipated’ them; and you may ‘emancipate’ every negro in the Confederacy, but we will be free! We will govern ourselves. We will do it, if we have to see every Southern plantation sacked, and every Southern city in flames.”

“ I see, Mr. Davis, it is useless to continue this conversation,” I replied; “and you will pardon us, if we have seemed to press our views with too much pertinacity. We love the old flag, and that must be our apology for intruding upon you at all.”

“ You have not intruded upon me,” he replied, resuming his usual manner. “I am glad to have met you both. I once loved the old flag as well as you do; I would have died for it; but now it is to me only the emblem of oppression.”

“ I hope the day may never come, Mr. Davis, when I say that,” said the Colonel.

A half-hour's conversation on other topics — not of public interest — ensued, and then we rose to go. As we did so, the Rebel President gave me his hand, and, bidding me a kindly good-bye, expressed the hope of seeing me again in Richmond in happier times — when peace should have returned; but with the Colonel his parting was particularly cordial. Taking his hand in both of his, he said to him:

Colonel, I respect your character and your motives, and I wish you well — I wish you every good I can wish you consistently with the interests of the Confederacy.

The quiet, straightforward bearing and magnificent moral courage of our “fighting parson” had evidently impressed Mr. Davis very favorably.

As we were leaving the room, he added:

Say to Mr. Lincoln from me, that I shall at any time be pleased to receive proposals for peace on the basis of our independence. It will be useless to approach me with any other.

When we went out, Mr. Benjamin called Judge Ould, who had been waiting during the whole interview--two hours--at the other end of the hall, and we passed down the stairway together. As I put my arm within that of the Judge, he said to me:

Well, what is the result?

“ Nothing but war — war to the knife.”

“ Ephraim is joined to his idols — let him alone.” added the Colonel, solemnly.

I should like to relate the incidents of the next day, when we visited Castle Thunder, Libby Prison, and the hospitals occupied by our wounded; but the limits of a magazine article will not permit I can only say that at sundown

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