Return of the peace commissioners — Lincoln's terms.
The great news of the day is the return to Richmond
of our Peace Commissioners, Messrs. Stephens
They returned as they had gone--via Petersburg
— and reached this city Saturday night. The result of their mission was immediately made known: that there is no prospect of peace.
's only terms were unconditional submission to the laws and Constitution of the United States
All the particulars of their trip, and of what passed at the conference between them and Lincoln
, have not transpired.
We will state so much as has come to our knowledge on this subject, and which we know to be authentic:
On reaching Fortress Monroe
, they were met by Mr. Seward
's Secretary of State
; and our commissioners expressing a desire to see Mr. Lincoln
, he was sent for, and came immediately.
Our commissioners had five hours free and unrestrained conversation with him, the all important part of which may be briefly told.
said he had no proposition to make to the people of the South
, except that they must lay down their arms and submit unconditionally to the laws and Constitution of the United States
; the terms upon which they, the people of the North
, would hereafter live together must be settled afterwards.
He would exert himself to make the conditions as favorable to the people of the South
as possible, but he could not interfere with the laws or Constitution of the United States
The question of slavery had passed beyond his control.
Its abolition had been decreed by the Congress of the United States, and would be ratified by the Legislatures of the loyal States without exception.
Having heard this ultimatum, our commissioners returned without delay.
Both Houses of Congress and the Virginia Legislature will to-day request Mr. Stephens
to deliver a public address to-night, or at any other time that may better suit his convenience.
We hope that if the weather will permit, the address will be delivered on the Capitol Square
No room in the city will accommodate one fifth of the people who would crowd to hear Mr. Stephens
An audience of twenty thousand persons may certainly be counted upon, and the African Church, the largest building we have, will not hold more than twenty-five hundred persons.
's delicate health would make it imprudent for him to attempt to speak in the open air at night.
But he might select his own hour--twelve, one or two o'clock in the day. We trust that this suggestion will be considered.
Brigadier-General Henry A. Wise
, by request, addressed the Virginia Legislature and the public generally in the Hall
of the House of Delegates on Saturday night. The hall and rotunda of the capitol
were densely crowded before General Wise
began his address, and hundreds of person who had come to hear him were unable to gain admission to the building.
The address will be published in full.
Abolition of slavery by the United States Congress.
It will be seen by our extracts from Northern journals that the Yankee Congress
have passed an amendment to the Constitution
abolishing slavery throughout the United States
, which, in their acceptation of that term, means also the Confederate States
Before this amendment can become a law of the United States
proper, it must be ratified by the Legislatures of two-thirds of all
the States, including the States of the Confederacy
, or by conventions of two-thirds of all. The Yankees
have twenty-eight States, all of which, their papers say, will ratify the amendment, thus giving it the ratification of the necessary two- thirds.
Whether the law shall ever be carried into effect as regards these Confederate States
remains to be decided by the sword.
Official from the Valley.
reports a recent affair in the Valley
as reflecting great credit upon the officers and men engaged.
About eighty of the enemy surprised our cavalry picket at Edinburg
and captured a lieutenant and fourteen men.--Captain Grandstaff
and Lieutenant Mohler
, with twenty men of the Twelfth Virginia cavalry, pursued and overtook them at Woodstock
, attacked and routed the party, recapturing our men and their officer, and taking sixteen of the enemy, with twenty horses.
There was a report current yesterday that Sherman
had reached, and was destroying, the Augusta railroad at Midway
, ten miles west of Branchville
; but no intelligence in confirmation of this was received by the War Department.--According to official advices, Sherman
was still twenty-five or thirty miles south of Branchville
paper, received yesterday, says that two corps of Sherman
's army are on the Georgia
side of the Savannah river
The Senate, on Saturday, passed a bill adopting a new flag for the Confederate States
, which will be passed by the House
The new flag is as follows: The width two-thirds of its length with the Union
, (now used as the battle flag,) to be in width three-fifths of the width of the flag, and so proportioned as to leave the length of the field on the side of the Union
twice the width below it; to have the ground red, and a broad blue saltier thereon bordered with white and emblazoned with mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding in number to that of the Confederate States
; the field to be white except the outer half from the union which shall be a red bar extending the width of the flag.
The proposed new flag was hoisted on the capitol
Saturday morning, and met with general approval.
It had already received the approbation of a large number of our most distinguished army and navy officers.