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[210] the subject of suffering prisoners, it was expected that other questions might be reached in the interests of peace. And yet again, Mr. Hunter knew it was the assurance brought by Mr. Blair that a commission sent to discuss the question of establishing amicable relations would be received by the President of the United States that led to the appointment of the commission of which Mr. Hunter was a member, and which he describes as originating in a desire to allay the anxieties of our people, and as being a proposition initiated by the President of the Confederacy for a conference. It is not correct, as stated by Mr. Hunter, that the commissioners were expected to meet Messrs. Lincoln and Seward at “Old point.” It was expected that they would be passed through the lines and received in Washington.

Mr. Hunter's instructions requested him, totidem verbis--“To proceed to Washington city for informal conference” with Mr. Lincoln.

A true-hearted Confederate, it might have been thought reasonably, instead of seeking to put his President in the attitude of renewing efforts for conference after previous rejections without any intervening overtures from the other side indicating a more conciliatory spirit, would the rather have made prominent the fact that it was the assurance of one coming directly from President Lincoln which led to the appointment at that time of the Commission.

With regard to the instructions to the commissioners, Mr. Hunter notices that they were “to treat on the basis of two countries,” thus precluding any idea of “reunion,” a provision which, he says, gave rise to difficulties; and he adds: “It was rumored that Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, foreseeing this, had endeavored in vain to have it stricken out.” If Mr. Hunter then believed all that he now asserts, why did he not frankly state his views to the President and decline to serve on the Commission? If he wished to go for the purpose of promoting “reunion” --that is to say, to surrender the Confederacy-he knew, or might easily have learned, that his views were too little in accord with those of the President for his employment in the confidential service to which he was commissioned.

The letter of Mr. Benjamin, hereunto subjoined, with the copies of his original draft of instructions to the commissioners and the

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