War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1039 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Original Records

the institution of slavery as doomed to extinction. I thought any remark by me on the first would lead to intimation in connection with public men which I preferred not distinctly to hear; then, as manifested in his general remarks on the latter point, for the reasons stated-the inequality of his responsibility and mine-I preferred to have no discussion.

The only difficulty which he spoke of as insurmountable was that of existing engagement between European powers and the Confederate States. This point, when referred to a second time as the dreaded obstacle to secret treaty which would terminate the war, war met by me with a statement that we had now no such complication, were free to act as to us should seem best, and desired to keep State policy and institutions free from foreign control. Throughout the conference Mr. Blair appeared to be animated by a sincere desire to promote a pacific solution of existing difficulty, but claimed no other power than that of serving as a medium of communication between those who had thus far had no intercourse, and were therefore without the cointelligence which might secure and adjustment of their controversy.

To his hopeful anticipation in regard to the restoration of fraternal relations between the sections by the means indicated, I replied, that a cessation of hostilities was the first step toward the substitution of reason for passion, of sense of justice for a desire to injure; and that if the people were subsequently engaged together to maintain a principle recognized by both, if together they should bear sacrifices, share dangers, and gather common renown, that new memories would take the place of those now planted by the events of this war, and might, in the course of time, restore the feeling which pre-existed; but it was for us to deal with the problems before us, and leave to posterity questions which they might solve, though we could not; that in the struggle for independence by our Colonial fathers, had failure, instead of success, attended their effort, Great Britain, instead of a commerce which was largely contributed to her prosperity, would have had the heavy expense of numerous garrisons to hold in subjection a people who deserved to be free and resolved not to be subject.

Our conference ended with no other result than an agreement that he would learn weather Mr. Lincoln would adopt his (Mr. Blair's) project, and send and receive commissioners to negotiate for a peaceful solution of the questions at issue; that he would report to him my readiness to enter upon negotiations, and that I knew of no insurmountable obstacle to such a treaty of peace as would secure greater advantages to both parties than any results which arms could achieve.

JANUARY 14, 1865.

The foregoing memorandum of conversation was this day read to Mr. Blair and altered in so far as he desired in any respect to change the expressions employed.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,

Richmond, Va, January 12, 1865.

General R. E. LEE:

GENERAL: On receiving your telegram relative to supplies, I lost no time in giving to the Quartermaster and Commissary Generals earnest injunctions at once to send out officers on all our lines of railroad, and