MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 1865 (Journal of the Confederate Congress, Vol. 7, p. 481)
Mr. J[ames]. T. Leach submitted the following series of resolutions:
Whereas the protracted struggle on the part of the Confederate States for their constitutional rights against the Federal Government, who claims the exercise of rights over the States and the property of the citizens not guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States nor the laws of Congress, is just cause of alarm to the friends of civil liberty ; and
Whereas the cruel manner in which the war has been conducted on the part of the Federal authorities In the destruction of the private property of noncombatants and other acts of wantonness not tolerated by the usages of civilized nations justifies the painful apprehension that the Federal authorities are blind to their constitutional obligations, deaf to the demands of justice, the appeals of suffering humanity, the groans of the dying, the cries and tears of hapless mothers and weeping orphans:
Resolved, Therefore, for the purpose of averting. If possible, the further horrors of this bloody fratricidal strife, revolting alike to the feelings of statesmen, patriots, and Christians, and to add moral to our physical strength, that we, the members of the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress. In behalf of justice and suffering humanity, appeal most earnestly to the President and Senators of the Confederate Congress to appoint such number of commissioners as in their judgment the importance of the occasion demands to offer an armistice to the Federal authorities preparatory to negotiations for peace.
Resolved, That should the Federal authorities agree to an armistice and consent to negotiate for peace, that the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, be requested to appoint commissioners for the purpose of conferring with the Federal authorities, and that such terms of peace as may be agreed to by them and ratified by the President and Senate, two-thirds of the Senators concurring, shall constitute the bond of peace between the belligerents.
Resolved, That should the Federal authorities refuse to entertain terms of peace by negotiation, and thereby deny us our constitutional rights, that for the purpose of more effectually maintaining those rights, at the same time to avert, if possible, the fearful and humiliating fate of subjugation, alike revolting to the feelings of freemen and repugnant to the demands of justice, that we. the Representatives of this House, do unanimously pledge the undivided resources of the Confederate States in the defense of our inalienable rights as freemen.
On motion of Mr. [John D. C.] Atkins, the resolutions were referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
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