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[192] herein stated have been gathered from the report of the commissioners, bearing date February 5, 1865, from the message of Mr. Davis to the Confederate Senate and House of Representatives, communicated on February 6, 1865, from the message of Mr. Lincoln to the United States House of Representatives, sent in answer to a resolution soon after his return from Fortress Monroe, from conversations held with two of the commissioners and from the narrative of Mr. Stephens published soon after the termination of the war.

The failure of the conference was a great disappointment, not only to the authorities at Richmond, but to the people generally. Mr. Davis1 in his message to the Confederate Senate and House of Representatives transmitting the report of the commissioners accepted the action of President Lincoln and Secretary Seward as showing that they refused to enter into negotiations with the Confederate States, or any of them separately, or to give to our people any other terms or guarantees than those which the conqueror may grant, or to permit us to have peace on any other basis than our unconditional submission to their rule, coupled with the acceptance of their recent legislation on the subject of the relations between the white and black populations of past States. In a public address delivered before a large audience at the African church, in Richmond, soon after the return of the commissioners, he aroused the people to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, and incited them to renewed determination to continue the struggle and stake all upon the issue. His speech was characterized by the boldest and most defiant tone, and was delivered in his loftiest and most captivating style: As a specimen of real oratory it has never been surpassed, not even by the fiery eloquence of Rienzi, when he stirred the hearts of the Romans to their utmost depths, or by the burning words of Demosthenes, when he moved the Athenians to cry out against Philip. There



1 It has been a question of momentous consideration, as to the statement, ever and anon put forward, that Mr. Davis instructed the commissioners to consider no proposition that did not recognize absolutely the independence of the Southern Confederacy—an instruction to be deemed autocratical at least—if he gave such instruction. Our commissioners could scarcely have been so tethered when the gravity of the situation of the Southern Confederacy then, should have impressed—from confronting circumstances—alike President, Commander-in-Chief Lee—(peerless in nobility and sublime in self-immolation) to the private in the van-guard—all-but naked and famishing, but steadfastly holding in check the elate, increasing, perfectly-equipped, encompassing foe.

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