To John Hay

John Hay. Executive Mansion,
Astor-House, N.Y. Washington, July 16. 1864.

Yours received. Write the Safe-conduct, as you propose, without waiting for one by mail from me. If there is, or is not, any thing in the affair, I wish to know it, without unnecessary delay.
A. LINCOLN

Hay telegraphed Lincoln at 9 A.M. on July 16:

“Arrived this morning at 6 a m and delivered your letter few minutes after.

“Although he thinks some one less known would create less excitement and be less embarrassed by public curiosity, still he will start immediately if he can have an absolute safe conduct for four persons to be named by him.

“Your letter he does not think will guard them from arrest and with only those letters he would have to explain the whole matter to any officer who might choose to hinder them. If this meets with your approbation I can write the order in your name as A A G. or you can send it by mail.

“Please answer me at Astor House”

The safe-conduct issued by Hay at Lincoln’s direction reads as follows:

“Executive Mansion Washington D.C.

“The President of the United States directs that the four persons whose names follow, towit: Hon. Clement C. Clay Jacob Thompson Prof. James B. Holcombe George N. Sanders Shall have safe conduct to the City of Washington in company with the Hon. Horace Greeley, and shall be exempt from arrest or annoyance of any kind from any officer of the United States during their journey to the said City of Washington. By order of the President.

“(signed) JOHN HAY Major & A.G.G.”

On July 17, Hay telegraphed Lincoln:

“Gave the order yesterday. He promised to start at once and I supposed did so. I return this evening if connections can be made.”

 

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