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[182]

Richmond, Va., Jan. 12, 1865.
F. P. Blair, Esq.:
Sir,—I have deemed it proper and probably desirable to you to give you in this form the substance of the remarks made by me to be repeated by you to President Lincoln, etc. I have no disposition to find obstacles in forms, and am willing now, as heretofore, to enter into negotiations for the restoration of peace. I am ready to send a commissioner whenever I have reason to suppose it will be received, or to receive a commission if the United States Government shall choose to send one. Notwithstanding the rejection of our former offers, I would, if you could promise that a commission, minister or other agent would be received, appoint one immediately and renew the effort to enter into a conference with a view to secure peace to the two countries.

Yours, etc.,


On January 18th, Mr. Lincoln delivered to Mr. Blair the following communication, with the understanding that it should be shown to Mr. Davis:

Washington, Jan. 18, 1865.
F. P. Blair, Esq.:
Sir,—You having shown me Mr. Davis' letter to you of the 12th instant, you may say to him that I have constantly been, am now, and shall continue, ready to receive any agent whom he or any other influential person now resisting the national authority, may informally send me, with a view of securing peace to the people of our common country.

Yours, etc.,


After having seen the foregoing letter and after consultation with his Cabinet, Mr. Davis on the 8th of January, appointed Alexander H. Stephens, Robert M. T. Hunter and John A. Campbell as commissioners to proceed to Washington and hold an informal conference with Mr. Lincoln upon the subject referred to in his letter of the 18th of January, addressed to Mr. Blair. It was intended that the affair should be conducted with the utmost secrecy, but the absence of such prominent officials necessarily attracted attention, and the public soon ascertained that an important movement was on foot. Mr. Stephens at that time was Vice-President; Mr. Hunter was


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