Naturally Lincoln couldn't "officially negociate" until after he was sworen in on March 4th. It was a 'Humanitarian Gesture' on the southerners part of good faith. The actual peace negociation took up most of the time for the assembling of the relief expedition in New York Harbor for Fort Sumter, tying the Confederates hands to those 'Humanitarian Supplies'. When the peace negociation failed and the confederate commissioners return and those supplies were finally cut off, Anderson's Garrison got in pretty dire straits very quickly and informed Lincoln and Gen Winfield Scott that he would have to surrender the Fort by April 14th or 15th. But the relief expedition to force they way into Charleston Harbor and resupply Fort Sumter was already well on the way.
So much for doing a good deed. Ha. And as they say No good deed goes unpunished. As you might say look what it got us. A war that was twisted to look like the southerners started it.