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Fellow -citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives ;
In the midst of iinprecededted political troubles, we have cause of
great gratitude to God for unusual good health, and most abundant
You will not be surprised to learn that, in the peculiar exigencies
of the times, our intercourse with foreign nations has been attended
with profound solicitude, chiefly turning upon our own domestic
A disloyal portion of the American people have, during the whole
year, been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union.
A nation which endures factious domestic division, is exposed to dis-
respect abroad; and one party, if not both, is sure, sooner or later,
to invoke foreign intervention.
Nations thus tempted to interfere, are not always able to resist the
counsels of seeming expediendy and ungenerous ambition, although
measures adopted under such influences seldom fail to be unfortunate
and injurious to those adopting them.
The disloyal citizens of the United States who have ofi'ered the ruin
of our country, in return for the aid and comfort which they have in-
voked abroad, have received less patronage and encouragement than
they probably expected. If it were just to suppose, as the insurgents
have seemed to assume, that foreign nations, in this case, discarding
all moral, social, and treaty obligations, would act solely, and self-
ishly, for the most speedy restoration of commerce, including, espe-
cially, the acquisition of cotton, those nations appear, as yet, not to
have seen their way to their object more directly, or clearly, through
the destruction, than through the preservation, of the Union. If we
could dare to believe that foreign nations are actuated by no higher
principle than this, I am quite sure a sound argument could be made
to show them that they can reach their aim more readily, and easily,
by aiding to crush this rebellion, than by giving encouragement to it.
The principal lever relied on by the insurgents for exciting foreign
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PEESIDENT.
nations to hostility against us, as already intimated, is the embarrass-
ment of commerce. Those nations, however, not improbably, saw
from the first, that it Avas the Union which made, as well our foreign,
as our domestic commerce. They can scarcely have failed to per-
ceive that the eifort for disunion produces the existing difficulty; and
that one strong nation promises more durable peace, and a more ex-
tensive, valuable and reliable commerce, than can the same nation
broken into hostile fragments.
It is not my purpose to review our discussions with foreign states ;
because whatever might be their wishes, or dispositions, the integrity
of our country, and the stability of our government, mainly depend,
not upon them, but on the loyalty, virtue, patriotism, and intelligence
of the American people. The correspondence itself, with the usual
reservations, is herewith submitted.
I venture to hope it will appear that we have practiced prudence,
and liberality towards foreign powers, averting causes of irritation;
and, with firmness, maintaining our own rights and honor.
Since, however, it is apparent that here, as in every other state,
foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend
that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the
public defences on every side. While, under this general recom-
mendation, provision for defending our sea-coast line readily occurs
to the mind, I also, in the same connexion, ask the attention of Con-
gress to our great lakes and rivers. It is believed that some fortifi-
cations and depots of arms and munitions, with harbor and naviga-
tion improvements, all at well selected points upon these, would be
of great importance to the national defence and preservation. I ask
attention to the views of the Secretary of War, expressed in his
report, upon the same general subject.
I deem it of importance that the loyal regions of East Ten-
nessee and western North Carolina should be connected with Ken-
tucky, and other faithful parts of the Union, by railroad. I therefore
recommend, as a military measure, that Congress provide for the
construction of such road, as speedily as possible. Kentucky, no
doubt, will co-operate, and, through her legislature, make the most
judicious selection of a line. The northern terminus must connect
with some existing railroad; and whether the route shall be from
Lexington, or Nicholasville, to the Cumberland Gap; or from Lebanon
to the Tennessee line, in the direction of Knoxville; or on some still
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 5
different line, can easily be determined. Kentucky and the general
government co-operating, the work can be completed in a very short
time; and when done, it will be not only of vast present usefulness,
but also a valuable permanent improvement, worth its cost in all the
Some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests of commerce, and
having no grave political importance, have been negotiated, and will
be submitted to the Senate for their consideration.
Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial powers
to adopt a desirable melioration of the rigor of maritime war, A^e
have removed all obstructions from the way of this humane reform,
except such as are merely of temporary and accidental occurrence.
I invite your attention to the correspondence between her Britannic
Majesty's minister accredited to this government, and the Secretary
of State, relative to the detention of the British ship Perthshire in
June last, by the United States steamer Massachusetts, for a sup-
posed breach of the blockade. As this detention was occasioned
by an obvious misapprehension of the facts, and as justice requires
that we should commit no belligerent act not founded in strict
right, as sanctioned by public law, I recommend that an appro-
priation be made to satisfy the reasonable demand of the owners of
the vessel for her detention.
I repeat the recommendation of my predecessor, in his annual
message to Congress in December last, in regard to the disposition of
the surplus which will probably remain after satisfying the claims of
American citizens against China, pursuant to the awards of the com-
missioners under the act of the 3d of March, 1859. If, however, .it
should not be deemed advisable to carry that recommendation into
effect, I would suggest that authority be given for investing the prin-
cipal, over the proceeds of the surplus referred to,in good securities,
with a view to the satisfaction of such other just claims of our citi-
zens against China as are not unlikely to arise hereafter in the course
of our extensive trade with that Empire.
By the act of the 5th of August last. Congress authorized the
President to instruct the commanders of suitable vessels to defend
themselves against, and to capture pirates. This authority has been
exercised in a single instance only. For the more etfectual protec-
tion of our extensive and valuable commerce, in the eastern seas
especially, it seems to me that it would also be advisable to authorize
6 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT.
the commanders of sailing vessels to re-capture any prizes which
pirates may make of United States vessels and their cargoes, and the
consular courts, now established by law in eastern countries, to adju-
dicate the cases, in the event that this should not be objected to by
the local authorities.
If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer in with-
holding our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Hayti
and Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however, to inaugu-
rate a novel policy in regard to them without the approbation of
Congress, I submit for your consideration the expediency of an
appropriation for maintaining a charge d'affaires near each of those
new states. It does not admit of doubt that important commercial
advantages might be secured by favorable treaties with them.
The operations of the treasury during the period which has elapsed
since your adjournment have been conducted with signal success. The
patriotism of the people has placed at the disposal of the government
the large means demanded by the public exigencies. Much of the
national loan has been taken by citizens of the industrial classes,
whose confidence in their country' s faith, and zeal for their country's
deliverance from present peril, have induced them to contribute to
the support of the government the whole of their limited acquisi-
tions. This fact imposes peculiar obligations to economy in disburse-
ment and energy in action.
The revenue from all sources, including loans, for the financial year
ending on the 30th June, 1861, was eighty-six million eight hundred
and thirty-five thousand nine hundred dollars and tw^enty-seven cents,
and the expenditures for the same period, including payments on
account of the public debt, were eighty-four million five hundred and
seventy-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-four dollars and
forty-seven cents; leaving a balance in the treasury, on the 1st July,
of two million two hundred and fifty-seven thousand sixty-five dollars
and eighty cents. For the first quarter of the financial year, ending
on the 30th September, 1861, the receipts from all sources, including
the balance of 1st of July, Avere one hundred and two million five
hundred and thirty-two thousand five hundred and nine dollars and
twenty-seven cents, and the expenses ninety-eight million two hun-
dred and thirty-nine thousand seven hundred and thirty-three dollars
and nine cents; leaving a balance, on the 1st of October, 1861, of four
million two hundred and ninety-two thousand seven hundred and
seventy-six dollars and eighteen cents.
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 7
Estimates for the remaining three quarters of the year, and for the
financial year 1863, together with his views of ways and meana
for meeting the demands contemplated by them, will be submitted
to Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury. It is gratifying to
know that the expenditures made necessary by the rebellion are not
beyond the resources of the loyal people, and to believe that the
same patriotism which has thus far sustained the government will
continue to sustain it till Peace and Union shall again bless the land.
I respectfully refer to the report of the Secretary of War for infor-
mation respecting the numerical strength of the army, and for recom-
mendations having in view an increase of its efficiency and the well
being of the various branches of the service intrusted to his care.
It is gratifying to know that the patriotism of the people has proved
equal to the occasion, and that the number of troops tendered greatly
exceeds the force which Congress authorized me to call into the
I refer with pleasure to those portions of his report which make
allusion to the creditable degree of discipline already attained by our
troops, and to the excellent sanitary condition of the entire army.
The recommendation of the Secretary for an organization of the
militia upon a uniform basis, is a subject of vital importance to the
future safety of the country, and is commended to the serious atten-
tion of Congress.
The large addition to the regular army, in connexion with the
defection that has so considerably diminished the number of its
officers, gives peculiar importance to his recommendation for increas-
ing the corps of 'cadets to the greatest capacity of the Military
By mere omission, I presume. Congress has failed to provide chap-
lains for hospitals occupied by volunteers. This subject was brought
to my notice, and I was induced to draw up the form of a letter, one
copy of which, properly addressed, has been delivered to each of
the persons, and at the dates respectively named and stated, in a
schedule, containing also the form of the letter, marked A, and here-
These gentlemen, I understand, entered upon the duties desig-
nated, at the times respectively stated in the schedule, and have
labored faithfully therein ever since. I therefore recommend that
they be compensated at the same rate as chaplains in the army. I
8 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PEESIDENT.
further suggest that general provision be made for chaplains to serve
at hospitals, as well as with regiments.
The report of the Secretary of the Navy presents in detail the
operations of that branch of the service, the activity and energy
which have characterized its administration, and the results of meas-
ures to increase its efficiency and power. Such have been the addi-
tions, by construction and purchase, that it may almost be said a
navy has been created and brought into service since our difficulties
Besides blockading our extensive coast, squadrons larger than ever
before assembled under our flag have been put afloat and performed
deeds which have increased our naval renown.
I would invite special attention to the recommendation of the Sec-
retary for a more perfect organization of the navy by introducing
additional grades in the service.
The present organization is defective and unsatisfactory, and the
suggestions submitted by the department will, it is believed, if
adopted, obviate the difficulties alluded to, promote harmony, and
increase the efficiency of the navy.
There are three vacancies on the bench of the Supreme Court —
two by the decease of Justices Daniel and McLean, and one by the
resignation of Justice Campbell. I have so far forborne making
nominations to fill these vacancies for reasons which I will now state.
Two of the outgoing judges resided within the States now overrun
by revolt; so that if successors were appointed in the same localities,
they could not now serve upon their circuits; and many of the most
competent men there, probably would not take the personal hazard
of accepting to serve, even here, upon the supreme bench. I have
been unwilling to throw all the appointments northward, thus dis-
abling myself from doing justice to the south on the return of peace;
although I may remark that to transfer to the north one which has
heretofore been in the south, would not, with reference to territory
and population, be unjust.
During the long and brilliant judicial career of Judge McLean his
circuit grew into an empire — altogether too large for any one judge
to give the courts therein more than a nominal attendance — rising in
population from one million four hundred and seventy thousand and
eighteen, in 1830, to six million one hundred and fifty-one thousand
four hundred and five, in 1860.
Besides this, the country generally has outgrown our present judi-
AIWUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 9
cial system. If uniformity was at all intended, the system requires
that all the States shall be accommodated with circuit courts, attended
by supreme judges, while, in fact, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas,
Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon, have never had any such courts.
Nor can this well be remedied without a change of the system; because
the adding of judges to the Supreme Court, enough for the accommoda-
tion of all parts of the country, with circuit courts, would create a
court altogether too numerous for a judicial body of any sort. And
the evil, if it be one, will increase as new States come into the Union.
Circuit courts are useful, or they are not useful. If useful, no State
should be denied them ; if not useful, no State should h^^ve them.
Let them be provided for all, or abolished as to all.
Three modifications occur to me, either of which, I think, would
be an improvement upon our present system. Let the Supreme
Court be of convenient number in every event. Then, first, let the
whole country be divided into circuits of convenient size, the supreme
judges to serve in a number of them corresponding to their own num-
ber, and independent circuit judges be provided for all the rest. Or,
secondly, let the supreme judges be relieved from circuit duties, and
circuit judges provided for all the circufts. Or, thirdly, dispense
with circuit courts altogether, leaving the judicial functions wholly
to the district courts and an independent Supreme Court.
I respectfully recommend to the consideration of Congress the
present condition of the statute laws, with the hope that Congress
will be able to find an easy remedy for many of the inconveniences
and evils which constantly embarrass those engaged in the practical
administration of them. Since the organization of the government,
Congress has enacted some five thousand acts and joint resolutions,
which fill more than six thousand closely printed pages, and are
scattered through many volumes. Many of these acts have been
drawn in haste and without sufficient caution, so that their provisions
are often obscure in themselves, or in conflict with each other, or at
least so doubtful as to render it very difficult for even the best
informed persons to ascertain precisely what the statute law really is.
It seems to me very important that the statute laws should be
made as plain and intelligible as possible, and be reduced to as small
a compass as may consist with the fullness and precision of the will
of the legislature and the perspicuity of its language. This, well
done, would, I think, greatly facilitate the labors of those whose
duty it is to assist in the administration of the laws, and would be a
10 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT.
lasting benefit to the people, by placing before them, in a more
accessible and intelligible form, the laws which so deeply concern
their interests and their duties.
1 am informed by some whose opinions I respect, that all the acts
of Congress now in force, and of a permanent and general nature,
might be revised and re-written, so as to be embraced in one volume
(or at most, two volumes) of ordinary and convenient size. And I
respectfully recommend to Congress to consider of the subject, and,
if my suggestion be approved, to devise such plan as to their wisdom
shall seem most proper for the attainment of the end proposed.
One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection
is the entire suppression, in many places, of all the ordinary means of
administering civil justice by the officers, and in the forms of existing
law. This is the case, in whole or in part, in all the insurgent
States; and as our armies advance upon and take possession of parts
of those States, the practical evil becomes more apparent. There
are no courts nor officers to whom the citizens of other States may
apply for the enforcement of their lawful claims against citizens of
the insurgent States; and there is a vast amount of debt constituting
such claims. Some have 'estimated it as high as two hundred million
dollars, due, in large part, from insurgents, in open rebellion, to
loyal citizens who are, even now, making great sacrifices in the dis-
charge of their patriotic duty to support the government.
Under these circumstances, I have been urgently solicited to estab-
lisli, by military power, courts to administer summary justice in such
cases. I have thus far declined to do it, not because I had any doubt
that the end pi'oposed — the collection of the debts — was just and right
in itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond the pressure
of necessity in the unusual exercise of power. But the powers of
Congress I suppose are equal to the anomalous occasion, and there-
fore I refer the whole matter to Congress, with the hope that a plan
may be devised for the administration of justice in all such parts of
the insurgent States and Territories as may be under the control of
this government, whether by a voluntary return to allegiance and
order, or by the power of our arms. This, however, not to be a per-
manent institution, but a temporary substitute, and to cease as soon
as the ordinary courts can be re-established in peace.
It is important that some more convenient means should be pro-
vided, if possible, for the adjustment of claims against the govern-
ment, especially in view of their increased number by reason of the
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT, 11
war. It is as much the duty of government to render prompt justice
against itself, in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same, be-
tween private individuals. The investigation and adjudication of
claims, in their nature belong to the judicial department ; besides it
is apparent that the attention of Congress, will be more than usually
engaged, for some time to come, with great national questions. It
was intended, by the organization of the court of claims, mainly to
remove this branch of business from the halls of Congress ; but while
the court has proved to be an effective, and valuable means of inves-
tigation, it in great degree fails to effect the object of its creation,
for want of power to make its judgments final.
Fully aware of the delicacy, not to say the danger, of the subject,
I commend to your careful consideration whether this power of making
judgments final, may not properly be given to the court, reserving
the right of appeal on questions of law to the Supreme Court, with
such other provisions as experience may have shown to be necessary.
I ask atteirtion to the report of the Postmaster General, the follow-
ing being a summary statement of the condition of the department:
The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year ending June
30, 1861, including the annual permanent appropriation of seven
hundred thousand dollars for the transportation of "free mail matter,"
was nine million forty-nine thousand two hundred and ninety-six
dollars and forty cents, being about two per cent, less than the reve-
nue for 1860. I
The expenditures were thirteen million six hundred and six
thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine dollars and eleven cents,
showing a decrease of more than eight per cent, as compared with
those of the previous year, and leaving an excess of expenditure over
the revenue for the last fiscal year of four million five hundred and
fifty-seven thousand four hundred and sixty-two dollars and seventy-
The gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 1863, is estimated
at an increase of four per cent, on that of 1861, making eight million
six hundred and eighty-three thousand dollars, to which should be
added the earnings of the department in carrying free matter, viz:
seven hundred thousand dollars, making nine million three hundred
and eighty-three thousand dollars.
The total expenditures for 1863 are estimated at twelve million
five hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars, leaving an estimated
12 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT.
deficiency of three mil) ion one hundred and forty-five thousand
dollars to be supplied from the treasury, in addition to the permanent
The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension of this
District across the Potomac river, at the time of establishing the
capital here, was eminently wise, and consequently that the relin-
.quishment of that portion of it which lies within the State of Vir-
ginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration
the expediency of regaining that part of the District, and the restora-
tion of the original boundaries thereof, through negotiations with the
State of Virginia.
The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with the accompany-
ing documents, exhibits the condition of the several branches of the
public business pertaining to that department. The depressing influ-
ences of the insurrection have been especially felt in the operations
of the Patent and General Land Offices. The cash receipts from
the sales of public lands during the past year have exceeded the
expenses of our land system only about two hundred thousand dol-
lars. The sales have been entirely suspended in the southern States,
while the interruptions to the business of the country, and the diver-
sion of large numbers of men from labor to military service, have
obstructed settlements in the new States and Territories of the
The receipts of the Patent Office have declined in nine months
about one hundred thousand dollars, rendering a large reduction of
the force employed necessary to make it self-sustaining.
The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely increased by
the insurrection. Numerous applications for pensions, based upon
the casualties of the existing war, have already been made. There
is reason to believe that many who are now upon the pension rolls
and in receipt of the bounty of the government, are in the ranks of
the insurgent army, or giving them aid and comfort. The Secretary
of the Interior has directed a suspension of the payment of the pen-
sions of such persons upon proof of their disloyalty. I recommend
that Congress authorize that officer to cause the names of such per-
sons to be stricken from the pension rolls.
The relations of the government with the Indian tribes have been
greatly disturbed by the insurrection, especially in the southern super-
intendency and in that of New Mexico. The Indian country south of
Kansas is in the possession of insurgents from Texas and Arkansas. The
ANNUAL MESSAGj: OF THE PRESIDENT. 13
agents of the United States appointed since the 4th of March for
this superintendency have been unable to reach their posts, while the
most of those who were in office. before that time have espoused the
insurrectionary cause, and assume to exercise the powers of agents
by virtue of commissions from the insurrectionists. It has been stated
in the public press that a portion of those Indians have been organ-
ized as a military force, and are attached to the army of the insur-
gents. Although the government has no oiScial information upon
this subject, letters have been written to the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs by several prominent chiefs, giving assurance of their loyalty
to the United States, and expressing a wish for the presence of fed-
eral troops to protect them. It is believed that upon the repos-
session of the country by the federal forces the Indians will readily
cease all hostile demonstrations, and resume their former relations to
Agriculture, confessedly the largest interest of the nation, has,
not a department, nor a bureau, but a clerkship only, assigned to it
in the government. While it is fortunate that this great interest is
so independent in its nature as to not have demanded and extorted
more from the government, I respectfully ask Congress to consider
w^hether something more cannot be given voluntarily with general
Annual reports exhibiting the condition of our agriculture, com-
merce and manufactures would present a fund of information of great
practical value to the country. "While I make no suggestion as to
details, I venture the opinion that an agricultural and statistical bu-
reau might profitably be organized.
The execution of the laws for the suppression of the African slave
trade has been confided to the Department of the Interior. It is a
subject of gratulation that the eflbrts which have been made for the
suppression of this inhuman traffic have been recently attended with
unusual success. Five vessels being fitted out for the slave trade
have been seized and condemned. Two mates of vessels engaged in
the trade, and one person in equipping a vessel as a slaver, have been
convicted and subjected to the penalty of fine and imprisonment, and
one captain, taken with a cargo of Africans on board his vessel, has
been convicted of the highest grade of offence under our laws, the
punishment of which is death.
The Territories of Colorado, Dakotah and Nevada, created by the
14 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESmENT.
last Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been
inaugurated therein under auspices especially gratifying, when it is
considered that the leaven of treason was found existing in some of
these new countries when the federal officers arrived there.
The abundant natural resources of these Territories, with the se-
curity and protection afforded by organized government, will doubt-
less invite to them a large immigration when peace shall restore the
business of the country to its accustomed channels. I submit the
resolutions of the legislature of Colorado, which evidence the patriotic
spirit of the people of the Territory. So far the authority of the
United States has been upheld in all the Territories, as it is hoped it
will be in the future. I commend their interests and defence to the
enlightened and generous care of Congress.
I recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress the interests
of the District of Columbia. The insurrection has been the cause of
much suffering and sacrifice to its inhabitants, and as they have no
representative in Congress, that body should not overlook their just
claims upon the government.
At your late session a joint resolution was adopted authorizing the
President to take measures for facilitating a proper representation
of the industrial interests of the United States at the exhibition of
the industry of all nations to be holden at London in the year 1862.
I regret to say I have been unable to give personal attention to this
subject — a subject at once so interesting in itself, and so extensively
and intimately connected with the material prosperity of the world.
Through the Secretaries of State and of the Interior a plan, or sys-
tem, has been devised, and partly matured, and which will be laid
Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled ' ' An act to
confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved
August 6, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and
service of certain other persons have become forfeited ; and numbers
of the latter, thus liberated, are already dependent on the United
States, and must be provided for in some way. Besides this, it is
not impossible that some of the States will pass similar enactments
for their own benefit respectively, and by operation of which, persons
of the same class will be thrown upon them for disposal. In such
case I recommend that Congress provide for accepting such persons
from such States, according to some mode of valuation, in lieu, pro
tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other plan to be agreed on with
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 15
such States respectively ; that such persons, on such acceptance by the
general government, be at once deemed free ; and that, in any event,
steps be taken for colonizing both classes, (or the one first mentioned,
if the other shall not be brought into existence,) at some place, or
places, in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider,
too, whether the free colored people already in the United States
could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colo-
To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of
territory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be
expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practiced the acqui-
sition of territory for nearly sixty years, the question of constitutional
power to do so is no longer an open one with us. The power was
questioned at first by Mr. Jefferson, who, however, in the purchase
of Louisiana, yielded his scruples on the plea of great expediency.
If it be said that the only legitimate object of acquiring territory is
to furnish homes for white men, this measure effects that object ;
for the emigration of colored men leaves additional room foi white
men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson, however, placed the
importance of procuring Louisiana more on political and commercial
grounds than on providing room for population.
On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money
with the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to
absolute necessity — that, without which the government itself can-
not be perpetuated ?
The war continues. In comtidering the policy to be adopted for
suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and careful that
tlie inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a
violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have, therefore,
in every case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union
prominent as the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving
all questions which are not of vital military importance to the more
deliberate action of the legislature.
In the exercise of my best discretion I have adhered to the blockade
of the ports held by the insurgents, instead of putting in force, by
proclamation, the law of Congress enacted at the late session for
closing those ports.
So, also, obeying the dictates of prudence, as well as the obligations
of law, instead of transcending, I have adhered to the act of
16 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT
Congress to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes.
If a new law upon the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety
will be duly considered. The Union must be preserved; and hence,
all indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in
haste to determine that radical, and extreme measures, Avhich mjiy
reach the loyal as well as the disloyal, are indispensable.
The inaugural address at the beginning of the Administration, and
the message to Congress at the late special session, were both mainly
devoted to the domestic controversy out of which the insurrection
and consequent war have sprung. Nothing now occurs to add or
subtract, to or from, the principles, or general purposes, stated and
expressed, in those documents.
The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably, expired
at the assault upon Fort Sumter; and a general review of what has
occurred since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully
uncertain then, is much better defined and more distinct now;
and the progress of events is plainly in the right direction.
The insurgents confidently claimed a strong support from north of
Mason and Dixon's line; and the friends of the Union were not free
from apprehension on the point. This, however, was soon settled
definitely, and on the right side. South of the line, noble little Dela-
ware led off right from the first. Maryland was made to seem against
the Union. Our soldiers were assaulted, bridges were burned, and
railroads torn up, within her limits; and we were many days, at one
time, without the ability to bring a single regiment over her soil
to the capital. Now, her bridges and railroads are repaired and
open to the government; she already gives seven regiments to
the cause of the Union and none to the enemy; and her people,
at a regular election, have sustained the Union, by a larger majority?
and a larger aggregate vote than they ever before gave to any candi-
date, or any question. Kentucky, too, for some time in doubt, is now
decidedly, and, I think, unchangeably, ranged on the side of the
Union. Missouri is comparatively quiet; and I believe cannot again
be overrun by the insurrectionists. These three States of Maryland,
Kentucky, and Missouri, neither of which would promise a single
soldier at first, have now an aggregate of not less than forty thousand
in the field, for the Union ; while, of their citizens, certainly not
more than a third of that number, and they of doubtful whereabouts,
and doubtful existence, are in arms against it. After a somewhat
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 17
bloody struggle of months, winter closes on the Union people of
western Virginia, leaving them masters of their own country.
An insurgent force of about fifteen hundred, for months dominating
the narrow peninsular region, constituting the counties of Accomac
and Northampton, and known as eastern shore of Virginia, together
with some contiguous parts of Maryland, have laid down their arms;
and the people there have renewed their allegiance to, and accepted
the protection of, the old flag. This leaves no armed insurrectionist
north of the Potomac, or east of the Chesapeake.
Also we have obtained a footing at each of the isolated points, on
the southern coast, of Hatteras, Port Royal, Tybee Island, near
Savannah, and Ship island; and we likewise have some general ac-
counts of popular movements, in behalf of the Union, in North Caro-
lina and Tennessee. I
These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is advancing
steadily and certainly southward.
Since your last adjournment. Lieutenant General Scott has retired
from the head of the army. During his long life, the nation has not
been unmindful of his merit; yet, on calling to mind how faithfully,
ably, and brilliantly he has served the country, from a time far back
in our history, when few of the now living had been born, and thence-
forward continually, I cannot but think we are still his debtors. I
submit, therefore, for your consideration, what further mark of recog-
nition is due to him, and to ourselves, as a grateful people.
With the retirement of General Scott came the executive duty of
appointing, in his stead, a general-in-chief of the army. It is a for-
tunate circumstance that neither in council nor country was there, so
far as I know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person to be
selected. The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in
favor of General McClellan for the position; and in this the nation
seemed to give a unanimous concurrence. The designation of Gene-
ral McClellan is, therefore, in considerable degree, the selection of
the country, as well as of the Executive; and hence there is better
reason to hope there will be given him, the confidence, and cordial
support thus, by fair implication, promised, and without which, he
cannot, with so full efficiency, serve the country.
It has been said that one bad general is better than two good ones;
and the saying is true, if taken to mean no more than that an army
Ex. Doc. 1 2
18 AlWUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT.
is better directed by a single mind, thougb inferior, tlian by two
superior ones, at variance, and cross-purposes with each other.
And the same is true, in all joint operations wherein those engaged,
can have none but a common end in view, and can differ only as to
the choice of means. In a storm at sea, no one on board can wish
the ship to sink; and yet, not unfrequently, all go down together,
because too many will direct, and no single mind can be allowed to
It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not ex-
clusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government — the
rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the
most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in
the general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the
abridgment of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the
people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers,
except the legislative, boldly advocated, with labored arguments to
prove that large control of the people in government, is the source
of all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a
possible refuge from the power of the people.
In my present position, I could scarcely be justified were I to omit
raising a warning voice against this approach of retarning despotism.
It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should
be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with
its connexions, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief
attention. It is the eff'ort to place capital on an equal footing with,
if not above lahor^ in the structure of government. It is assumed
that labor is available only in connexion with capital; that nobody
labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of
it, induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether
it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to
work by their own consent, or huy them, and drive them to it Avithout
their consent. Having proceded so far, it is naturally concluded that
all laborers are either hired laborers, or what we call slaves. And
further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer, is fixed in
that condition for life.
Now, there is no such relation between capital and labor as
assumed; nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for
ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 19
life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are
false, and all inferences from them are groundless.
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the
fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first
existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the
higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of
protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and
probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital, pro-
ducing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole
labor of community exists within that relation. A few men own
capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and, with their capital,
hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong
to neither class — neither work for others, nor have others working for
them. In most of the southern States, a majority of the whole people
of all colors, are neither slaves nor masters; while in the northern,
a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their
families — wives, sons, and daughters — work for themselves, on
tlaeir farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole
product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one
hand, nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten
that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with
capital — that is, they labor with their own hands, and also buy or
hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed, and not a
distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of
this mixed class.
Again: as has already been said, there is not, of necessity, any
such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for
life. Many independent men everywhere in these States, a few years
back in their lives, were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless
beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with
which to buy tools or land for himself; then labors on his own account
another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him.
This is the just, and generous, and prosperous system, which opens
the way to all — gives hope to all, and consequent energy, and. pro-
gress, and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more
worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty — none less
inclined to take, or touch, aught which they have not honestly
earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which
20 ANNUAL MESSAGE OF THE PEESIDENT.
they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used
to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix
new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be
From the first taking of our National Census to the last, are seventy
years; and we find our population, at the end of the period, eight
times as great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those
other things, which men deem desirable, has been even greater. "We
thus have, at one view, what the popular principle, applied to gov-
ernment, thi ough the machinery of the States and the Union, has
produced in a given time; and also what, if firmly maintained, it
promises for the future. There are already among us those who, if
the Union be preserved, will live to see it contain two hundred and
fifty millions. The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day —
it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence, all the
more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events
have devolved upon us.
Washington, December 3, 1861.
Washington, D. C, 1861.
Sir: Having been solicited by Christian ministers, and other pious
people, to appoint suitable persons to act as chaplains at the hospitals
for our sick and wounded soldiers, and feeling the intrinsic propriety
of having such persons to so act, and yet believing there is no law
conferring the power upon me to appoint them, I think fit to say that
if you will voluntarily enter upon and perform the appropriate duties
of such position, I will recommend that Congress make compensation
therefor at the same rate as chaplains in the army are compensated.
The following are the names and dates, respectively, of the persons
and times to whom and when such letters were delivered :
Rev. G. G. Goss September 25, 1861.
Rev. John G. Butler September 25, 1861.
Rev. Henry Bopkins September 25, 1861.
Rev. F. M. Magrath October 30, 1861.
Rev. F. E. Boyle October 30, 1861.
Rev. John C. Smith November 7, 1861. -^
Rev. Wm. Y. Brown November 7, 1861.
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