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[305] (an order which it was rumored that Mr. Benjamin had in vain endeavored to have stricken out,) gave great offence, and a correspondence with that gentleman is introduced to show that he did not ask to have these words stricken out, but had only failed to introduce them in a draft of instructions drawn by himself, and that he agreed to “your insertion of them as a means of protecting your character and honor.”

I did not assert this as a fact in regard to Mr. Benjamin, but merely related it as a “rumor,” which, if true, proved a difference of opinion between that gentleman and Mr. Davis on that subject.

I did not deal with those words critically. I did not pronounce them as right or wrong, but treated them historically, and said they made difficulties in securing an interview. Mr. Davis denies that they did so; but I doubt not but that my colleagues, Messrs. Stephens and Campbell, will confirm my statements.

Mr. Davis asserts that we were instructed to confer at Washington. Whether he means that we had no right to confer anywhere else I know not. If he considered the place as a matter of importance he should have been more specific, and doubtless he would have been obeyed. But we all supposed that the main object of the commission was the conference, and that the place was a matter of little or no importance. Taking the instructions and the circumstances under which they were issued together, no one, I think, would have concluded differently.

None, I think, would have inferred from that conversation that the place was a matter of importance, as the main design of the conference was not to treat of peace, but to ascertain the disposition of the enemy. I thought any limitation of the range of discussion was unwise and inexpedient, but I did not say so in the communication which seems to have given offence. Thus it seems to have been viewe by the other party as an improper limitation on the field of discussion, although I did not anticipate the objection I confess; I suppose from Mr. Benjamin's correspondence that he did also. I considered the objection when made as idle and frivolous. In a matter concerning so deeply the happiness and welfare of a great people, I regarded such small points as absurd and frivolous.

At the time when this debate occurred I considered the introduction unfortunate, but if intended as a restriction upon making

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