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[547] was abroad, said he, that ‘a commissioner of the United States was then in Richmond (Mr. Blair) with the confidence and assent of the administration to meet a commissioner on the part of the Confederate authority, and that they had agreed to call a national convention in correspondence with the Chicago platform.’ Mr. Cox did not doubt the power to make this amendment, but he urged with great force the impropriety of raising this impediment to peace. Said he: ‘So long as there is a faint hope of a returning Union I will not place obstacles in the path. I would rather illuminate, cheer and clear the pathway to the old homestead. All I do and all I forbear to do is to save our imperiled government and restore our priceless Union. Show me that, and I will vote for your amendment. But, as it stands to-day, I believe that this amendment may be an obstacle to the rehabilitation of the States.’

This debate went on while Mr. Blair was prosecuting his plan of negotiations. He had returned to President Davis, delivered to him the letter of President Lincoln and on the 18th of January was again in Washington. Immediately after he left, President Davis called Vice-President Stephens into his counsel, informed him concerning all that had passed, and having his concurrence as to the main fact that a commission should be sent to Washington, appointed as that commission Mr. Stephens, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Hunter. These gentlemen proceeded at once on their embassy and reached the headquarters of General Grant on the day that the decisive hour arrived on which the amendment was pressed to vote.

‘Every radical was in his seat and for the amendment.’ The majority favored its passage. But a minority insisted that it was designed to defeat, and would defeat, the peace which Confederate commissioners were at that moment seeking. It is strangely true that at that hour ‘high officials stated that no further negotiations were possible; that so Mr. Blair had reported, who had just ’

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