of the war. A commission of three persons, eminent in position and intelligence, was accordingly appointed to visit Canada with a view to negotiation with such persons in the North as might be relied upon to aid the attainment of peace.
The commission was designed to facilitate such preliminary conditions as might lead to formal negotiations between the two governments, and they were expected to make judicious use of any political opportunity that might be presented.
The commissioners—Messrs. Clay of Alabama, Holcombe of Virginia, and Thompson of Mississippi—established themselves at Niagara Falls in July, and on the 12th commenced a correspondence with Horace Greeley of New York.
Through him they sought a safe conduct to Washington.
Lincoln at first appeared to favor an interview, but finally refused on the ground that the commissioners were not authorized to treat for peace.
His final announcement to them was the following:
Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., July 18,