1865 February 4: More Peace Rumors
The following editorial, reprinted from the St. Paul Press, comes from the February 4, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.
The editor of the St. Paul “Press” in speaking of the present peace rumors, says :
“Harbingers thicken of the approach of peace. Twice and thrice the dove has gone forth out of the tempest-tossed ark—out over the angry flood—and lo now “in her mouth is an olive-leaf plucked off.” Surely the “waters are abating from the face of the earth.” Blair has been twice to Richmond, and now from several sources comes the news of Peace Commissioners following in his wake—Alexander H. Stephens, R. M. T. Hunter and Gustavus W. Smith.
The story is, substantially, that they came within the lines, on the James, and were on their way to Washington, with propositions of peace. Possibly, probably, even, there is some foundation of truth in this. What propositions they may bring, of course, no one knows. But this flying back and forth of peace missions is, of itself, an omen that the waters are decreasing on the top of the mountain, and that Ararat, at least, is near.
We don’t agree with those who decry these missions as useless ; they cannot help but have a wonderful moral, or rather demoralizing effect upon the rebels, and they are rebels, too, which carry with them threads of the old national feeling, and in their going back and forth, weave it up in an ever-growing, ever strengthening bond of peace.
Somewhere we have read a story of the crew and passengers of a ship, wrecked on a rocky ledge, close by a story coast, were saved.—Through the broad belt of surging and angry waves which divided the fated vessel from the shore, a sailor plunged and and swam ashore with the end of a long cord of twine in his teeth. Upon this fragile thread, suspended from ship to shore, a thicker and stronger rope was drawn over the water guff, and upon this one hawser and then another, and so a bridge was made over the sea, upon which the women and children walked safely to land.
And thus, if we mistake not, Blair’s going to and from Richmond brought some slight ligament of peace—such as a spider spins from a limb of a tree—and his second mission braided upon this auoteer strand ; and upon this came Stephens with his hawser—giving hope of bridging the gulf between the nation and the shipwrecked rebellion.
Just now, it is evident, that the anti-Davis party is in the ascendent, if not in numbers, at least in influence. The elevation of Leo to the position of General-in-Chief, the appointment of Jo. Johnson to the command in the West, the resignations of the Departmental Secretaries—are all party triumphs over Davis,—and, probably the Stephens mission grows out of the same opposition. This factious division of the rebel councils, at a crisis which demands the utmost unity and concentration, is a fatal symton [sic], and indicates the speed dissolution of the Confederacy.
But let it not be forgotten that all these peace movements derive their sole impulse from the steady, resistless pressure of our armies upon the rebellion ; and the shortest, the only road to peace is by making and keeping those armies irresistable [sic]. Each man of us who is ablebodied can throw at least one argument into the scale—the bayonet of a volunteer. Let our armies be promptly filled with the men called for by the President, and we shall have peace in sixty days. But if all over the country we seek only how to shirk this duty—to contrive expedients for getting rid of the draft, without raising men—the golden opportunity will be lost, and peace will not come for years.