Foreign and Colonial IntelligenceThe Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1303, p. 174-175.
February 25, 1865
We have intelligence from New York to the 11th inst., when gold was quoted at 204 1/8.
President Lincoln and President Davis have both communicated to
Page 175their respective Congresses the result of the late Peace Conference at Fort Monroe; and they agree in stating that President Lincoln refused to recognise in any way the Southern Confederacy, or to make peace on any other terms than the unconditional return of the South to the Union.
President Lincoln's account of the negotiations was received in Congress on the 10th. It is of considerable length, and is very complete in its details, narrating the circumstances of Mr. Blair's visit to Richmond, and supplying all the despatches preliminary to the meeting of the President with the Confederate Commissioners in Hampton Roads, as well as giving a report of the proceedings of the Conference itself. Though Mr. Blair went to Richmond with the consent of the Government, he had no authority to speak or act for it. Mr. Davis sent a letter by him expressing his willingness to send or receive Commissioners, and Mr. Lincoln subsequently stated his willingness to receive gentlemen informally chosen on behalf of the Confederates, with the object of securing peace on the basis of an undivided country. Before the Confederate Commissioners were met by the President they were given to understand that the negotiations were to be informal, and that no proposition which in the slightest degree contemplated a recognition of the Confederate States could be for a moment entertained. During the conference Messrs. Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell endeavoured to effect an agreement for an armistice, but were informed by Mr. Lincoln that there could be no suspension of hostilities till the Confederates had disbanded their armies and acknowledged their allegiance to the national Government, and also that there could be no recession on the slavery question. General Grant had been previously instructed not to allow the presence of the Southern agents within his lines to cause any delay in his military operations. President Lincoln's account of the peace mission concludes in the following terms:--
On the morning of the 3rd the three gentlemen, Messrs. Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell, came aboard of our steamer and had an interview with the Secretary of State and myself of several hours' duration. No question of preliminaries to the meeting was then and there made or mentioned. No other person was present, no papers were exchanged or produced, and it was in advance agreed that the conversation was to be informal and verbal merely. On our part, the whole substance of the instructions to the Secretary of State, herein before recited, was stated and insisted upon, and nothing was said inconsistent therewith; while, by the other party, it was not said that in any event or on any condition would they ever consent to reunion; and yet they equally omitted to declare that they would so consent. They seemed to desire a postponement of that question, and the adoption of some other course first, which, as some of them seemed to argue, might or might not lead to reunion, but which course we thought would amount to an indefinite postponement. The conference ended without result. The foregoing, containing, as is believed, all the information sought, is respectfully submitted.
Executive Mansion, Feb. 10, 1865. Abraham Lincoln.
Some of the New York journals have expressed an opinion that the way is now opened to a further and perhaps more successful conference; but the Tribune, the organ of the Government, says that "there is nothing left but a vigorous prosecution of the war, and that, with full ranks and a full treasury, sixty days will suffice to kill the rebellion."
War is equally the cry of the Confederates. At a mass meeting convoked by the Governor of Virginia, held at Richmond, at which President Davis was present, resolutions were unanimously passed spurning the terms proposed by Mr. Lincoln and expressing the determination of the Southern people to maintain the war to the last extremity. Richmond journals scout all ideas of peace, and advocate fighting it through. General Lee has expressed himself as follows:--"Any compromise of our struggle would only prove a truce or armistice, and would only be an unmanly shrinking from present duty that would entail upon our children untold disaster." The Legislature of Texas had passed resolutions declaring their determination to accept no peace that did not guarantee independence.
General Grant's army is no longer mudbound. On the 5th inst. two divisions of his army moved, one along the Weldon Railroad, towards Reams station, the other to the left to Hatcher's Run, a short distance from the Southside Railroad. The Confederates were driven from their rifle-pits, and the Federals intrenched themselves in the position they had won. They captured a large commissariat train. On the 6th and 7th Grant put out his forces to the left still more, and, though they sustained a "temporary repulse," with the loss of more than a thousand men, they succeeded finally in establishing their position, and occupied four miles beyond their former lines. Substantially this is corroborated by General Lee, who adds that General Pegram was killed. A rumour prevailed that this movement was intended as a cover to an advance on Wilmington by General Terry, at the head of a large force.
General Sherman appears to be steadily pushing forward. One of his columns was moving on Branchville, and there was a rumour afloat (lacking confirmation, however) to the effect that it was taken. Another column was moving towards Charleston.
Movements of troops in other parts are rumoured, but nothing definite concerning them is known.
An arrangement had been made for a general exchange of prisoners between the belligerents.
General Lee has appealed to the Southern people for carbines, pistols, revolvers, and saddles for the equipment of an additional cavalry force.
The Confederate Senate has almost unanimously rejected the bill for putting 20,000 negroes into the Confederate army. The Senate has also confirmed the appointment of Mr. Breckinridge as Secretary for War; and has passed a vote of thanks to Mr. John Lancaster, the owner of the Deerhound, for rescuing Captain Semmes and his officers from the Alabama.
Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Maine, in addition to the States mentioned last week, have ratified the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery; but it has been rejected by Delaware. The Governor of Kentucky has recommended its adoption, but thinks the Government should pay Kentucky 34,000,000 dols., the value of the slaves in that state.
President Lincoln has signed the joint resolution to give England notice of the termination of the treaty of 1817 regulating the naval force on the lakes. The resolution is preceded by a declaration that peace on the frontier is endangered by hostile expeditions, which the naval forces of the two countries may be insufficient to prevent.
The Vice-President has officially informed the Federal Congress that Lincoln and Johnson have been elected for four years. 213 electoral votes were cast for Lincoln and Johnson, and twenty-one for M'Clellan and Pendleton.
The Montreal Court has refused to grant further delay in the case of the St. Albans raiders. The refusal is regarded as deciding the case against the prisoners. Their counsel asked for delay on the ground that the messengers sent to Richmond were unable yet to reach their destination. It is unofficially announced that the raiders will, if surrendered, be delivered to the authorities of Vermont for trial, according to the State laws.
A mass meeting has been held at Toronto, at the call of the Mayor, condemning the Government for passing the Alien Bill and for refunding the money taken by the St. Albans raiders. An amendment, sustaining the Government, was adopted by a large majority.