When a conference was held in Hampton Roads on the 3rd of February 1865 between President Lincoln and Secretary Seward on the one side, and A.
This offer President Lincoln (on the 6th of February) declined to consider, Seward replying for him that it would only be entering into diplomatic discussion with the rebels whether the authority of the government should be renounced, and the country delivered over to disunion and anarchy.
This bill was passed by both houses of Congress, just before their adjournment, but President Lincoln withheld his signature, and on the 8th of July issued a proclamation explaining his course and defining his position.
He was one of the commissioners to treat at the Hampton Roads Conference in 1865 (see Lincoln, Abraham), and after the surrender of General Lee was summoned by President Lincoln to Richmond to confer regarding the restoration of Virginia in the Union.
Believing that under existing conditions such a step was both detrimental in present policy and unauthorized in law, President Lincoln directed him (2nd September) to modify the order to make it conform to the Confiscation Act of Congress, and on the 11th of September annulled the parts of the order which conflicted with this act.
Application for admission to the Union was now made to Congress, and on the 31st of December 186 2 an enabling act was approved by President Lincoln admitting the state on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in the Constitution.
His services at this period were recognized and honoured by President Lincoln and others in authority, and the whole country knew that the agitation which made the abolition of slavery feasible and necessary was largely due to his uncompromising spirit and indomitable courage.
In all this Lyon had co-operated closely with Francis P. Blair, Jr., who now obtained from President Lincoln the definitive removal of Harney and the assignment of Lyon to command the Department of the West, with the rank of brigadiergeneral.
The revised instrument was adopted by the people on the 26th of March 1863, and on the 10th of April 1863 President Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of sixty days (June 20, 1863).
On the inauguration of President Lincoln in 1861 he was appointed secretary of the navy, a position which he held until the close of President Andrew Johnson's administration in 1869.