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[501] the city. It appeared that the silence of the government of the United States and its maintenance of Butler in high office, under its authority, afforded evidence too conclusive that it sanctioned his conduct, and was determined that he should remain unpunished for these crimes. I therefore pronounced and declared the said Butler a felon, deserving capital punishment, and ordered that he be no longer considered and treated as a public enemy of the Confederate States, but as an outlaw and common enemy of mankind; that, in the event of his capture, the officer in command should cause him to be immediately executed by hanging.

These measures of realiation were in conformity with the usages of war, and were adopted to check and punish the cruelties of our adversary.

At length, so many difficulties were raised and so many complaints made in the execution of the cartel, that, for the sake of the unfortunate prisoners, I resolved to seek an adjustment through the authorities at Washington. For this purpose Vice President Stephens offered his services as a commissioner. The following papers will show the proposition we were prepared to make, and illustrate the disposition with which our humane designs were regarded by the enemy:

Sir: Having accepted your patriotic offer to proceed as a military commissioner under flag of truce to Washington, you will receive herewith your letter of authority to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. The letter is signed by me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate land and naval forces.

You will perceive from the terms of the letter that it is so worded as to avoid any political difficulties in its reception. Intended exclusively as one of those communications between belligerents which public law recognizes as necessary and proper between hostile forces, care has been taken to give no pretext for refusing to receive it on the ground that it would involve a tacit recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. Your mission is simply one of humanity, and has no political aspect.

If objection is made to receiving your letter on the ground that it is not addressed to Abraham Lincoln as President, instead of Commander-in-Chief, etc., then you will present the duplicate letter which is addressed to him as President and signed by me as President. To this letter, objection may be made on the ground that I am not recognized to be President of the Confederacy. In this event you will decline any further attempt to confer on the subject of your mission, as such conference is admissible only on the footing of perfect equality.

My recent interviews with you have put you so fully in possession of my views, that it is scarcely necessary to give you any detailed instructions, even were I at this moment well enough to attempt it. My whole purpose is in one word to place this war on the footing of such as are waged by civilized people in modern times, and to divest it of the savage character which has been impressed


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