January 30th.—Bright and beautiful, but quite cold; skating in the basin, etc.
The departure of the commissioners has produced much speculation.
The enemy’s fleet has gone, it is supposed to Sherman at Charleston.
No doubt the Government of the United States imagines the “rebellion” in articulo mortis, and supposes the reconstruction of the Union a very practicable thing, and the men selected as our commissioners may confirm the belief. They can do nothing, of course, if independence is the ultimatum given them.
Among the rumors now current, it is stated that the French Minister at Washington has demanded his passports. Mr. Lincoln’s message, in December, certainly gave Napoleon grounds for a quarrel by ignoring his empire erected in Mexico.
Mr. Seddon still awaits his successor. He has removed Col. and Lieut -Col. Ruffin from office.
Mr. Bruce, M. C. from Kentucky, and brother-in-law to Mr. Seddon, is named as Commissary-General.
The President has vetoed another bill, granting the privilege to soldiers to receive papers free of postage, and the Senate has passed it again by a two-thirds vote. Thus the breach widens.
Some of our sensible men have strong hopes of peace immediately, on terms of alliance against European powers, and commercial advantages to the United States. I hope for even this for the sake of repose and independence, if we come off with honor. We owe nothing to any of the European governments. What has Blair been running backward and forward so often for between the two Presidents? Has it not been clearly stated that independence alone will content us? Blair must have understood this, and made it known to his President. Then what else but independence, on some terms, could be the basis for further conference? I believe our people would, for the sake of independence, agree to an alliance offensive and defensive with the United States, and agree to furnish an army of volunteers in the event of a war with France or England. The President has stigmatized the affected neutrality of those powers in one of his annual messages. Still, such a treaty would be unpopular after a term of peace with the United States. If the United States be upon the eve of war with France and England, or either of them, our commissioners abroad will soon have proposals from those governments, which would be accepted, if the United States did not act speedily.