universal in the human heart was manifest. Many were alarmed at the talk of negroes, and mothers, who had shrunk from nothing heretofore, were beginning to flinch at the prospect of seeing their boys of sixteen years of age, or under, exposed to the horrors and hardships such as would then be incurred in military service. Accordingly, the President, in January, 1865, determined to appoint three Commissioners and proposed a conference between them and others to be appointed by the United States Government, on the subject of peace, at some place to be agreed upon between the Governments. The persons appointed were A. H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States, Judge John A. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, and R. M. T. Hunter, Confederate Senator from the State of Virginia. These were expected to meet President Lincoln and Secretary Seward at Old Point, and prepare for the conference. General Lee was directed to pass the Commissioners through his lines to City Point, from which place it was supposed that General Grant would transfer them to the place of meeting at Old Point. Instructions were delivered to them directing, among other things, that they were to treat on the basis of "two countries," thus precluding any idea of reunion, a provision which subsequently gave rise to difficulties in arranging the meeting, and it was rumored that Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, foreseeing this, had endeavored in vain to have it stricken out. We were dispatched at once to Petersburg, and it having gotten out that a Commission of Peace was on its way to Norfolk, we were received everywhere along the line with marks of great interest and curiosity. Of course we did nothing voluntarily to create expectations; and seeing no prospect of negotiating for a settlement of the difficulties between the parties, under our instructions, we did nothing so well calculated to exasperate the difference, as would have been the case had false hopes of peace, wantonly created, been unexpectedly disappointed. But we were not insensible to the manifestations of interest in the question in Petersburg, or that Judge Joynes, on taking leave of us said, as he shook hands, that if we returned with any fair hope of peace, we would be thanked by every man, woman and child in the city.
PASSING THROUGH THE LINES.