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[188] He concluded by saying that this Mexican question might afford a very opportune occasion for reaching a proper solution of our own troubles without any further effusion of fraternal blood. Mr. Seward, while admitting that the views presented by Mr. Stevens had something specious about them in theory, argued at considerable length to show that practically no system of government founded upon them could be successfully worked, and that the Union could never be restored or maintained on that basis. He then inquired of Mr. Stephens as to the details of the plan he had in view for effecting the proposed purpose. Mr. Stephens replied that he had no fixed plan, but there were several which might be suggested. The whole matter might be easily arranged by a military convention known only to the authorities at Washington and Richmond. This convention could be made to embrace not only a suspension of actual hostilities on all the frontier lines but also other matters involving the execution of the laws in States having two sets of authorities, one recognized by the Confederate States and the other adhering to the National Government. All these matters of detail might be easily adjusted if they should first determine upon an armistice for that purpose. Mr. Hunter said that there was not unanimity in the South upon the subject of undertaking the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine, and it was not probable that any arrangement could be made by which the Confederate States would agree to join in sending any portion of their army into Mexico. In that view his colleagues on the commission fully concurred. Mr. Lincoln, while admitting that as President he might properly enter into a military convention for some of the purposes proposed, repeated his determination to do nothing which would suspend military operations, unless it was first agreed that the national authority was to be restored throughout the country. That was the first question to be settled. He could enter into no treaty, convention or stipulation with the Confederate States, jointly or separately, upon that or any other subject but upon the basis first settled, that the Union was to be restored. Any such agreement or stipulation would be a quasi recognition of the States then in array against the National Government as a separate power. That he never could do. Judge Campbell then renewed his inquiry as to how restoration was to take place, supposing that the Confederate States were consenting to it. Mr. Lincoln replied, by disbanding their armies and permitting the National authorities to resume their functions. Mr. Seward then said that Mr. Lincoln could not express himself more clearly or forcibly



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