Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/360

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

352 Soiltln rn llistni'n-nl Sorn t ;/

concurrence and sanction of General Weitzell. He assented to the application not to require oaths of allegiance from the citizens. He stated that he would send to General Weitzell his decision upon the question of a government of Virginia.

This letter was received on Thursday, and was read by me. It authorized General Weitzell to grant a safe conduct to the Legisla- ture of Virginia, to meet at Richmond to deliberate, and to return to their homes at the end of their session.

I am informed by General Weitzell that he will isue whatever orders that may be necessary, and will furnish all the facilities of transportation, etc., to the members of the Legislature, to meet in this city; and that the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and public men of the State will be included in the orders.

The object of the invitation is for the Government of Virginia to determine whether they will administer the laws in connection with the authorities of the United States, and under the Constitution of the United States.

I understood from Mr. Lincoln, if this condition be fulfilled, that no attempt would be made to establish or sustain any other authority.

My conversation with President Lincoln upon the terms of settle- ment was answered in writing that is, he left with me a written memorandum of the substance of his answer. He states that, as indispensable conditions of a settlement the restoration of the authority of the United States over the whole of the States, and the cessation of hostilities by the disbanding of the army, and that there shall be no receding on the part of the Executive from his position on the slavery question. The latter proposition was explained to mean that the Executive action on the subject of slavery, so far as it had been declared in messages, proclamations, and other official acts, must pass for what they were worth. That he would not re- cede from his position; but that this would not debar action by other authorities of the government.

I suppose that, if the proclamation of the President be valid as law, that it has already operated and vested rights.

I believe that full confidence may be placed in General Weitzell' s fulfilment of his promise to afford facilities to the Legislature, and that its members may return after they had concluded their business, without interruption. Mr. Lincoln, in his memorandum, referred to w hat would be his action under the confiscation act. He stated that where the property had not been condemned and sold, that he would make a universal release of the forfeitures that had been incurred in