Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Pass for Francis P. Blair, Sr. [1]

Allow the bearer, F.P. Blair, Senr. to pass our lines, go South and return A. LINCOLN

Dec. 28. 1864

Annotation

[1]   ADS, DLC-RTL. This card pass is preserved with the autograph document addressed to the House of Representatives, February 10, 1865, infra.

On December 30, 1864, Blair wrote Jefferson Davis two letters, copies of which are among the Lincoln Papers. The covering letter is as follows:

``The loss of some papers of importance . . . which I suppose may have been taken by some persons who had access to my house when Genl Earlys army was in possession of my place induces me to ask the privilege of visiting Richmond & beg the favor of you to facilitate my inquiries in regard to them.''

The second letter sets forth Blair's real purpose:

``The fact stated in the enclosed note may seem to answer inquiries as to the object of my visit, which if allowed by you I would not communicate fully to any one but yourself. The main purpose I have in seeing you is to explain the views I entertain in reference to the state of the affairs of our country & to submit to your consideration ideas which in my opinion you may turn to good & possibly bring to practical results that may not only repair all the ruin the war has brought upon the Nation but contribute to . . . the welfare of other nations that have suffered from it.

``In candor I must say to you in advance that I come to you wholly unaccredited except in so far as I may be by having permission to pass our lines & to offer to you my own suggestions---suggestions which I have submitted to no one in authority on this side & will not without my conversation with you may lead me to suppose they may lead to something practicable. With the hope of such result, if allowed I will confidentially unbosom my heart frankly & withoutPage  189 reserve. You will of course hold in reserve all that is not proper to be said to one coming as I do merely as a private citizen and addressing one clothed with the highest responsibilities

``Unless the great interests now at stake induce you to attribute more importance to my application than it would otherwise command I would not expect that you would invite the intrusion. I venture however to submit the matter to your judgment.''

For Lincoln's report on Blair's mission, see the communication to the House of Representatives, February 10, 1865, infra.