President Lincoln Involved in Two Peace Missions

July 16, 1864

From New York City Presidential aide John Hay delivers President Lincoln’s letter to Horace Greeley. Hay telegraphs President Lincoln: “Arrived this morning at 6 AM and delivered your letter few minutes after. Although he thinks some one less known would create less excitement and be less embarrassed by public curiosity, still he will start immediately if he can have an absolute safe conduct for four persons to be named by him.

Your letter he does not think will guard them from arrest and with only those letter he would have to explain the whole matter to any officer who might choose to hinder them. If this meets with your approbation I can write the order in your name as A. A. G. or you can sent it by mail.

President Lincoln telegraphed back to Hay: “Yours received. Write the Safe-conduct, as you propose, without waiting for one by mail from me. If there is, or is not, any thing in the affair, I wish to know it, without unnecessary delay.”

Lincoln ordered: “The President of the United States directs that the four persons whose names follow, towit: Hon. Clement C. Clay Jacob Thompson   Prof. James B. Holcombe George N. Sanders Shall have safe conduct to the City of Washington in company with the Hon. Horace Greeely, and shall be exempt from arrest or annoyance of any kind from any officer of the United States during their journey to the said City of Washington.:

Former Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes in his diary: “Called at the Presidents and spent an hour. Among other things he showed me a letter from Genl Halleck to Mr Stanton demanding that P M Genl Blair should be dismissed from the cabinet for saying the officers in command in Washington were poltroons for permitting the rebels to blockade th4e City and burn private residences almost under our guns. It was sent by Stanton to the President — He read me the letter and his reply, in which he said he should be the sole judge of when, and for what to dismiss a cabinet officers.”

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary:“The President does not yet answer my demand for the revocation of the arbitrary orders of Genls Shepley and Butler, for ab[o]lishing civil law at Norfolk, Va.”

“The President, I fear, is in a most unpleasant dilemma. I am sure he sees and feels the wrong done, but cannot pluck up the spirit to redress the evil, much less to punish the wrong-doers. Well may he say, with King David – ‘These sons of Zeruiah be hard to me.’”

James Gilmore and Colonel James F. Jaquess cross Union lines on way to Richmond for peace talks.

Published in: on July 16, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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