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[212] Mr. Stephens no where makes any reference to the letter of the insti uctions at all, and it is evident from his account of the conversation with Messrs. Lincoln and Seward that there was no “difficulty” whatever on this score; and finally, how did it happen that the report of the commissioners to the President of the Confederacy contained no reference to embarrassment caused by the terms of their instructions?

With palpable inconsistency it will be observed, that Mr. Hunter first presents the terms of the instructions as the impediment to negotiation, and then shows that Mr. Lincoln refused to treat with us on any terms, or accept any thing less from the Confederate States than a surrender at discretion.

What, then, could a different form of credentials have availed in the matter of negotiation; and why, if it would have availed, was the fact not communicated to the Executive at that time?

Yours respectfully,



Letter from Hon. J. P. Benjamin.

My dear friend: Your letter of the 29th March arrived whilst I was temporarily absent from London, and pressure of engagements interfered with my search for old papers necessary to enable me to answer with any confidence in the accuracy of my statements.

I enclose you herewith a copy-

1st. Of original draft of instructions as prepared by me; 2d. Of instructions as sent after modification by you; 3d. Of the report of the commissioners (I have the original in my possession).

I think you will see, by comparing my draft and your amendment, the cause of Mr. Hunter's statement, which is partially but not entirely accurate.

The instructions were, if my memory does not betray me, discussed in the presence of one or more of the commissioners; but, however that may be, my idea was to make them as vague and


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