Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Hon. William H. Seward Executive Mansion
Secretary of State Washington, Jan. 31. 1865

You will proceed to Fortress-Monroe, Virginia, there to meet, and informally confer with Messrs. Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell, on the basis of my letter to F. P. Blair, Esq., on Jan. 18. 1865, a copy of which you have.

You will make known to them that three things are indispensable, towit:

1. The restoration of the national authority throughout all the States.

2. No receding, by the Executive of the United States on the Slavery question, from the position assumed thereon, in the late Annual Message to Congress, and in preceding documents.

3. No cessation of hostilities short of an end of the war, and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the government.

You will inform them that all propositions of theirs not inconsistent with the above, will be considered and passed upon in aPage  251 spirit of sincere liberality. You will hear all they may choose to say, and report it to me.

You will not assume to definitely consummate anything. Yours &c. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.