War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 1163 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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thereto" has the honor to report that the Senate may properly be referred to a special message of the President bearing upon the subject of the resolution, and transmitted to the House this day.* Appended to this report is a copy of an instruction which has been addressed to Charles Francis Adams, esg. envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States at London, and which is the only correspondence found in this Department touching the subject referred to in the resolution.

Respectfully submitted.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

Numbers 1258.] DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, February 7, 1865.

SIR: It is a truism that in times of peace there are always instigators of war. So soon as a war begins there are citizens who impatiently demand negotiations for peace. The advocates of war, after an agitation, longer or shorter, generally their fearful end, though the war declared is not infrequently unnecessary and unwise. So peace agitators in time of war ultimately bring about an abandonment of the conflict, sometimes without securing the advantages which were originally expected from the conflict.

The agitators for war in time of peace, and for peace in time of war, are not necessarily, or perhaps ordinarily, unpatriotic in their purposes or motives. Results alone determine whether they are wise or unwise. The treaty of peace concluded at Guadalupe Hidalgo was secured by an irregular negotiator, under the ban of the Government. Some of the efforts which have been made to bring about negotiations with a view the end our civil war are known to the whole world, because they have employed foreign as well as domestic agents. Others, with whom you have had to deal confidentially, are known to yourself, although they have not publicly transpired. Other efforts have occurred here which are known only to the persons actually moving in them and to this Government. I am now to give for your information an account of an affair of the same general character, which recently received much attention here, and which, doubtless, will excite inquire abroad.

A few days ago Francis P. Blair, esg., ofd Maryland, obtained from the President a simple leave to pass through our military lines, without definite views known to the Government. Mr. Blair visited Richmond, and on his return he showed to the President a letter which Jefferson Davis had written to Mr. Blair, in which Davis wrote that Mr. Blair was at liberty to say to President Lincoln that Davis was now, as he always been, willing to send commissioners, if assured they would be received or to receild be sent; that he was not disposed to find os. He would send commissioners to confer with the President, with a view to a restoration of peace between the two countries, if he could be assured they would be received. The President thereupon, on the 18th of January, addressed a note to Mr. Blair, in which the President, after acknowledging that the had read the note of Mr. Davis, said that the was, is, and always should be willing to receive any agents that Mr. Davis or another influential person now actually resisting the authority of the Government might send to confer informally with the President, with a view to the restoration of peace to the people of our one common country. Br. Blair visited Richmond with this letter, and them