Excellent article, and I'm enjoying this thread. I've posted excerpts from the article before, because it does an excellent job of showing just what the Confederates knew and when they knew it and how they responded in the attempts to establish some kind of official relationship with the Lincoln administration. We don't often see their side of the story, as Johnson points out in the opening paragraphs.
1) Seward wanted to usurp Lincoln's power and overreached and over negotiated
2) Seward was secretly represent Lincoln's interest in deception to the South
Honestly those are more Lost Cause aligned than Treasury of Virtue aligned.
I do find these details further interesting though, I'm reserving any personal view adjustments until I can absorb it more though so far It's feeling as if the Confederacy felt they had a stronger hand than they actually had and/or Lincoln and his administration were weaker than they actually were. That the threat of war was their chief weapon to cowing the US into accepting them on their terms, even accepting them as official or unofficial commissioners in an actual "interview" with Lincoln would have been a massive victory for proving their legitimacy. Again I'm still reserving final judgement though I'm starting to wonder if Davis thought attacking Fort Sumter was based on that same premise, of Lincoln and his administration being weak and would avoid responding in kind and would secure their strength and legitimacy. Of course they also seemed fairly paranoid at the same time, so maybe it was a combination of such things.
@jgoodguy I appreciate the efforts to summarize these in milestones.