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tter of the commissioners to Seward was written, as we have seen, on March 12.
The oral message above mentioned was obtained and communicated to the commissioners through the agency of two judges of the Supreme Court of the United States—Justices Nelson of New York and Campbell of Alabama.
On March 15, according to the statement of Judge Campbell,
See letter of Judge Campbell to Colonel George W. Munford in Papers of the Southern historical Society, appended to Southern Magazine for February, 1874. Justice Nelson visited the Secretaries of State and of the Treasury and the Attorney General (Seward, Chase, and Bates), to dissuade them from undertaking to put in execution any policy of coercion.
During the term of the Supreme Court he had very carefully examined the laws of the United States to enable him to attain his conclusions, and from time to time he had consulted the Chief Justice [Taney] upon the questions which his examination had suggested.
His conclusion was that, witho
t Secretary of the United States Navy, had proposed a plan for reenforcing and furnishing supplies to the garrison of Fort Sumter in February, during the administration of Buchanan.
In a letter published in the newspapers since the war, he gives an account of the manner in which the proposition was renewed to the new administration and its reception by them, as follows:
On the 12th of March I received a telegram from Postmaster—General Blair to come to Washington.
I arrived there on the 13th. Mr. Blair having been acquainted with the proposition I presented to General Scott, under Mr. Buchanan's Administration, sent for me to tender the same to Mr. Lincoln, informing me that Lieutenant-General Scott had advised the President that the fort could not be relieved, and must be given up. Mr. Blair took me at once to the White House, and I explained the plan to the President.
Thence we adjourned to Lieutenant-General Scott's office, where a renewed discussion of the subject took plac