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" If this country cannot be saved without giving up the principle of Liberty, I was 
about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it." 

From Mr. Lincoln's Speech at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, February 21, 1861. 

"I believe this Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." 

Springfield, Illinois, June, 1858. 

" I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the 
people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which the Revolu- 
tion was made." Trenton, New Jersey, February 21, 1861. 

" Having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew 
our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts." 

Message, July 5, 1861. 

" In giving freedom to the slaves, we assure freedom to the free ; honorable alike in 
what we give and what we preserve." Message, December 1, 1862. 

"I hope peace will come soon, and come, to stayj and so come as to be worth the 
keeping in all future time." Springfield Letter, August 26, 1863. 

" The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here j but it can never 
forget what the brave men, living and dead, did here." 

Speech at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863. 

" I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I 
return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any 
of the Acts of Congress," Amnesty Proclamation, December 8, 1863. 

"I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have con- 
trolled me. Letter to A. G. Hodges, April 4, 1864. 

" With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God 
gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in," 

Last Inaugural, March 4, 1865. 


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in 2012 with funding from 

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'WITH malice towards none.wtth CHARITY FOR AJ.L.W1TH FIRMNESS in the right, as gob GIVES 












" Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, 
Thy God's and truth's ; then if thou fall'st 
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr." 



186 5. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern 

District of Pennsylvania. 








An attempt has been made in the following pages to portray 
Abraham Lincoln, mainly in his relations to the country at large 
during his eventful administration. 

With this view, it has not been deemed necessary to cumber the 
work with the minute details of his life prior to that time. This 
period has, therefore, been but glanced at, with a care to present 
enough to make a connected whole. His Congressional career, 
and his campaign with Senator Douglas are presented in outline, 
yet so, it is believed, that a clear idea of these incidents in his life 
can be obtained. 

After the time of his election as President, however, a different 
course of treatment has been pursued. Thenceforward, to the close 
of his life, especial pains have been taken to present everything 
which should show him as he was — the Statesman persistent, reso- 
lute, free from boasting or ostentation, destitute of hate, never 
exultant, guarded in his prophecies, threatening none at home or 
abroad, indulging in no Utopian dreams of a blissful future, moving 
quietly, calmly, conscientiously, irresistibly on to the end he saw 
with clearest vision. 

Yet, even in what is presented as a complete record of his ad 
ministration, too much must not be expected. It is impossible, for 
example, to thoroughly dissect the events of the great Eebellion in 
a work like the present. Nothing of the kind has been attempted. 
The prominent features only have been sketched ; and that solely 
for the purpose of bringing into the distinct foreground him whose 
life is under consideration. 



Various Speeches, Proclamations, and Letters, not vitally 
essential to the unity of the main body of the work, yet valuable 
as affording illustrations of the man — have been collected in the 

Imperfect as this portraiture must necessarily be, there is one 
conciliatory thought. The subject needs no embellishment. It 
furnishes its own setting. The acts of the man speak for them- 
selves. Only such an arrangement is needed as shall show the 
bearing of each upon the other, the development of each, the pro- 
cesses of growth. 

Those words of the lamented dead which nestle in our hearts so 
tenderly — they call for no explanation. Potent, searching, taking 
hold of our consciences, they will remain with us while reason lasts. 

Nor will the people's interest be but for the moment. The bap- 
tism of blood to which the Nation has been called, cannot be for- 
gotten for generations. And while memories of him abide, there 
will inevitably be associated with them the placid, quiet face, not 
devoid of mirth — its patient, anxious, yet withal hopeful expres- 
sion — the sure, elastic step — the clearly cut, sharply defined speech 
of him, who, under Providence, was to lead us through the trial 
and anguish of those bitter days to the rest and refreshing of a 
peace, whose dawn only, alas ! he was to see. 

Though this work may not rise to the height required, it is 
hoped that it is not utterly unworthy of the subject. Such as it is 
— a labor of love — it is offered to those who loved and labored with 
the patriot and hero, with the earnest desire that it may not be 
regarded an unwarrantable intrusion upon ground on which any 
might hesitate to venture. f. c. 

Philadelphia, June, 1865. 





Preliminary — Birth of Abraham Lincoln — Removal from Kentucky — At Work — Self Edu 
cation — Personal Characteristics — Another Removal — Trip to New Orleans — Becomes 
Clerk — Black Hawk War — Engages in Politics — Successive Elections to the Legisla- 
ture — Anti-Slavery Protest — Commences Practice as a Lawyer — Traits of Character — 
Marriage — Return to Politics — Election to Congress 13 



The Mexican War — Internal Improvements — Slavery in the District of Columbia — Public 
Lands — Retires to Private Life — Kansas-Nebraska Bill — Withdraws in Favor of Senator 
Trumbull — Formation of Republican Party — Nominated for U. S. Senator — Opening 
Speech of Mr. Lincoln — Douglas Campaign — The Canvass — Tribute to the Declaration 
of Independence — Result of the Contest 19 



Speeches in Ohio — Extract from the Cincinnati Speech — Visits the East — Celebrated 
Speech at the Cooper Institute, New York — Interesting Incident 34 



The Republican National Convention — Democratic Convention — Constitutional Union Con- 
vention — Ballotings at Chicago — The Result — Enthusiastic Reception — Visit to Spring- 
field — Address and Letter of Acceptance — The Campaign — Result of the Election — 
South Carolina's Movements — Buchanan's Pusillanimity — Secession of States — Con- 
federate Constitution — Peace Convention — Constitutional Amendments — Terms of the 
Rebels 60 



The Departure — Farewell Remarks — Speech at Toledo — At Indianapolis — At Cincinnati — 
At Columbus — At Steubenville — At Pittsburgh — At Cleveland — At Buffalo — At Albany 
— At Poughkeepsie — At New York — At Trenton — At Philadelphia — At " Independence 
Hall" — Flag Raising — Speech at Harrisburg — Secret Departure for Washington — Com- 
ments 67 



Speeches at Washington — The Inaugural Address — Its Effect — The Cabinet — Commis- 
sioners from Montgomery — Extracts from A. H. Stephens' Speech — Virginia Commis- 
sioners — Fall of Fort Sumter 90 





Effects of Sumter's Fall — President's Call for Troops — Response in the Loyal States — 
In the Border States — Baltimore Riots — Maryland's Position — President's Letter to 
Maryland Authorities — Blockade Proclamation — Additional Proclamation — Comments 
Abroad — Second Call for Troops — Special Order for Florida — Military Movements 108 



Opening of Congress — President's First Message — Its Nature — Action of Congress — Resolu- 
tion Declaring the Object of the War— Bull Run— Its Effect 117 


CLOSE OF 1861. 

Election of the Rebels — Davis' Boast — McClellan appointed Commander of Potomac Army 
— Proclamation of a National Fast — Intercourse with Rebels Forbidden — Fugitive Slaves 
— Gen. Butler's Views — Gen. McClellan's Letter from Secretary Cameron — Act of August 
6th, 1861 — Gen. Fremont's Order — Letter of the President Modifying the Same — Instruc- 
tions to Gen. Sherman — Ball's Bluff — Gen. Scott's Retirement — Army of the Poto- 
mac 137 



The Military Situation — Seizure of Mason and Slidell — Opposition to the Administration — 
President's Message — Financial Legislation — Committee on the Conduct of the War — 
Confiscation BUI.... 148 



Situation of the President — His Policy — Gradual Emancipation — Message — Abolition of 
Slavery in the District of Columbia — Repudiation of Gen. Hunter's Emancipation Order 
— Conference with Congressmen from the Border Slave States — Address to the Same — 
Military Order— Proclamation under the Conscription Act 171 



President's War Order — Reason for the Same — Results in West and Southwest — Army 
of the Potomac — Presidential Orders — Letter to McClellan — Order for Army Corps— 
The Issue of the Campaign — Unfortunate Circumstances— President's Speech at Union 
Meeting — Comments — Operations in Virginia and Maryland — In the West and South- 
west 181 

chapter xrn. 


Tribune Editorial— Letter to Mr. Greeley— Announcement of the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion — Suspension of the Habeas Corpus in certain Cases — Order for Observance of the 
Sabbath — The Emancipation Proclamation 190 



Situation of the Country— Opposition to the Administration— President's Message 199 




Military Successes — Favorable Elections — Emancipation Policy — Letter to Manchester 
(Eng.) Workingmen — Proclamation for a National Fast — Letter to Erastus Corning — 
Letter to a Committee on Recalling Vallandigham 220 



Speech at Washington — Letter to Gen. Grant — Thanksgiving Proclamation — Letter Con- 
cerning the Emancipation Proclamation — Proclamation for Annual Thanksgiving — Dedi- 
catory Speech at Gettysburg 242 



Organization of the House — Different Opinions as to Reconstruction — Provisions for Par- 
Jon of Rebels — President's Proclamation of Pardon — Annual Message — Explanatory 
Proclamation 2o3 



President's Speech at "Washington — Speech to a New York Committee — Speech in Bal 
tlmore — Letter to a Kentuckian — Employment of Colored Troops — Davis' Threat — 
General Order — President's Order on the Subject 275 



Lieut. Gen. Grant — His Military Record — Continued Movements — Correspondence with the 
President — Across the Rapidan — Richmond Invested — President's Letter to a Grant 
Meeting — Meeting of Republican National Convention — The Platform — The Nomination 
— Mr. Lincoln's Reply to the Committee of Notification — Remarks to Union League 
Committee — Speech at a Serenade — Speech to Ohio Troops 285 



President's Speech at Philadelphia — Philadelphia Fair — Correspondence with Committee 
of National Convention — Proclamation of Martial Law in Kentucky — Question of Re- 
construction — President's Proclamation on the Subject — Congressional Plan 298 



Proclamation for a Fast — Speech to Soldiers — Another Speech — "To Whom it may Con- 
cern" — Chicago Convention — Opposition Embarrassed — Resolution No. 2 — McClellan's 
Acceptance — Capture of the Mobile Forts and Atlanta — Proclamation for Thanksgiving 
— Remarks on Employment of Negro Soldiers — Address to Loyal Mary landers 314 



Presidential Campaign of 1864 — Fremont's Withdrawal — Wade and Davis — Peace and War 
Democrats — Rebel Sympathizers — October Election — Result of Presidential Election — 
Speech to Pennsylvanians — Speech at a Serenade — Letter to a Soldier's Mother — Open- 
ing of Congress — Last Annual Message 325 




Speech at a Serenade — Reply to a Presentation Address — Peace Rumors — Rebel Commis- 
sioners — Instructions to Secretary Seward — The Conference in Hampton Roads — 
Result — Extra Session of the Senate — Military Situation — Sherman — Charleston — Col- 
umbia — Wilmington — Fort Fisher — Sheridan — Grant — Rebel Congress — Second Inaug- 
uration — Inaugural — English Comment — Proclamation to Deserters 350 



President Visits City Point — Lee's Failure — Grant's Movement — Abraham Lincoln in 
Richmond — Lee's Surrender — President's Impromptu Speech — Speech on Reconstruc- 
tion — Proclamation Closing Certain Ports — Proclamation Relative to Maritime Rights- 
Supplementary Proclamation — Orders from the War Department — The Traitor Presi- 
dent 362 



Interview with Mr. Colfax — Cabinet Meeting — Incident — Evening Conversation — Possi- 
bility of Assassination — Leaves for the Theatre — In the Theatre — Precautions for the 
Murder — The Pistol Shot — Escape of the Assassin — Death of the President — Pledges 
Redeemed — Situation of the Country — Effect of the Murder — Obsequies at Washington 
—Borne Home — Grief of the People — At Rest 374 



Reasons for His Re-election — What was Accomplisbed — Leaning on the People — State 
Papers — His Tenacity of Purpose — Washington and Lincoln — As a Man — Favorite Poem 
— Autobiography — His Modesty — A Christian — Conclusion 382 


Mr. Lincoln's Speeches in Congress and Elsewhere, Proclamations, Letters, etc., not 
inclnded in the Body of the "Work, 

Speech on the Mexican War, (In Congress, Jan. 12, 1848) 391 

Speech on Internal Improvements, (In Congress, June 20, 1848) 403 

Speech on the Presidency and General Politics, (In Congress, July 27, 1848) 417 

Speech in Reply to Mr. Douglas, on Kansas, the Dred Scott Decision, and the Utah 

Question, (At Springfield, June 26, 1857) 431 

Speech in Reply to Senator Douglas, (At Chicago, July 10, 1858) 442 

Opening Passages of his Speech at Freeport 459 

Letter to Gen. McClellan 464 

Letter to Gen. Schofield Relative to the Removal of Gen. Curtis 466 

Three Hundred Thousand Men Called For 466 

Rev. Dr. McPbeeters — President's Reply to an Appeal for Interference 468 

An Election Ordered in the State of Arkansas 470 

Letter to William Fishback on the Election in Arkansas 471 

Call for Five Hundred Thousand Men 471 

Letter to Mrs. Gurney 473 

The Tennessee Test Oath 474 




Preliminary — Birth of Abraham Lincoln — Removal from Kentucky — At Work — Self 
Education — Personal Characteristics — Another Removal— Trip to New Orleans— Be- 
comes Clerk — Black Hawk War — Engages in Politics — Successive Elections to" the 
Legislature — Anti-Slavery Protest — Commences Practice as a Lawyer — Traits of Charac- 
ter — Marriage — Return to Politics — Election to Congress. 

The leading incidents in the early life of the men who have 
most decidedly influenced the destinies of our republic, pre- 
sent a striking similarity. The details, indeed, differ ; but the 
story, in outline, is the same — " the short and simple annals 
of the poor." 

Of obscure parentage — accustomed to toil from their tender 
years — with few facilities for the education of the school — 
the most struggled on, independent, self-reliant, till by their 
own right hands they had hewed their way to the positions 
for which their individual talents and peculiarities stamped 
them as best fitted. Children of nature, rather than of art, 
they have ever in their later years — amid scenes and associa- 
tions entirely dissimilar to those with which in youth and 
early manhood, they were familiar — retained somewhat in- 
dicative of their origin and training. In speech or in action 
— often in both — they have smacked of their native soil. If 
they have lacked the grace of the courtier, ample compensa- 
tion has been afforded in the honesty of the man. If their 



Where Born. Early Life. Education. 

address was at times abrupt, it was at least frank and unmis- 
takable. Both friend and foe knew exactly where to find 
them. Unskilled in the doublings of the mere politician or 
the trimmer, they have borne themselves straight forward to 
the points whither their judgment and conscience directed. 
Such men may have been deemed fit subjects for the jests 
and sneers of more cultivated Europeans, but they are none 
the less dear to us as Americans — will none the less take their 
place among those whose names the good, throughout the 
world, will not willingly let die. 

Of this class, pre-eminently, was the statesman whose life 
and public services the following pages are to exhibit. 

Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President of the United 
States, son of Thomas and Nancy Lincoln — the former a 
Kentuckian, the latter a Virginian — was born February 12th, 
1809, near Hodgenville,*the county-seat of what is now known 
as La Rue county, Kentucky. He had one sister, two years 
his senior, who died, married, in early womanhood ; and his 
only brother, his junior by two years, died in childhood. 

When nine years of age, he lost his mother, the family 
having, two years previously, removed to what was then the 
territory of Indiana, and settled" in the southern part, near 
the Ohio river, about midway between Louisville and Evans- 
ville. The thirteen years which the lad spent here inured 
him to all the exposures and hardships of frontier life. An 
active assistant in farm duties, he neglected no opportunity 
of strengthening his mind, reading with avidity such instruc- 
tive works as he could procure — on winter evenings, often- 
times, by the light of the blazing fire-place. As satisfaction 
for damage accidentally done to a borrowed copy of Weerns' 
Life of Washington — the only one known to be in the neigh- 
borhood — he pulled fodder for two days for the owner. 

At twenty years of age, he had reached the height of 
nearly six feet and four inches, with a comparatively slender 
yet uncommonly strong, muscular frame — a youthful giant 


Removes to Illinois. Visits New Orleans. Black Hawk War. 

among a race of giants. Morally, he was proverbially honest, 
conscientious, and upright. 

In 1830, his father again emigrated, halting for a year on 
the north fork of the Sangamon river, Illinois, but afterwards 
pushing on to Coles county, some seventy miles to the east- 
ward, on the upper waters of the Kaskaskia and Embarrass, 
where his adventurous life ended in 1851, he being in his 
seventy-third year. The first year in Illinois the son spent 
with the father ; the next he aided in constructing a flat-boat, 
on which, with other hands, a successful trip to New Orleans 
and back was made. This city — then the El Dorado of the 
Western frontiersman — had been visited by the young man, 
in the same capacity, when he was nineteen years of age. 

Returning from this expedition, he acted for a year as 
clerk for his former employer, who was engaged in a store 
and flouring mill at New Salem, twenty miles below Spring- 
field. While thus occupied, tidings reached him of an Indian 
invasion on the western border of the State — since known as 
the Black Hawk war, from an old Sac chief of that name, 
who was the prominent mover in the matter. In New Salem 
and vicinity, a company of volunteers was promptly raised, 
of which young Lincoln was elected captain — his first pro- 
motion. The company, however, having disbanded, he again 
enlisted as a private, and during the three months' service of 
this, his first short military campaign, he faithfully discharged 
his duty to his country, persevering amid peculiar hardships 
and against the influences of older men around him. 

With characteristic humor and sarcasm, while commenting, 
in a Congressional speech during the canvass of 1848, upon 
the efforts of General Cass's biographers to exalt their idol 
into a military hero, he thus alluded to this episode in his 

"By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I am a military 
hero ? Yes, sir, in the days of the Black Hawk war, I fought, 
bled, and came away. Speaking of General Cass's career, 


Speech. Engages in Politics. Elected to the Legislature. 

reminds me of my own. I was not at Stillman's defeat, but 
I was about as near it as Cass to Hull's surrender ; and like 
him, I saw the place very soon afterward. It is quite certain 
I did not break my sword, for I had none to break ; but I 
bent a musket pretty badly on one occasion. If Cass broke 
his sword, the idea is, he broke it in desperation ; I bent the 
musket by accident. If General Cass went in advance of me 
in picking whortleberries, I guess I surpassed him in charges 
upon the wild onions. If he saw any live, fighting Indians, 
it was more than I did, but I had a good many bloody strug- 
gles with the mosquitoes ; and although I never fainted from 
loss of blood, I can truly say I was often very hungry. 

" Mr. Speaker, if I should ever conclude to doff whatever 
our Democratic friends may suppose there is of black-cockade 
Federalism about me, and, thereupon, they should take me 
up as their candidate for the Presidency, I protest they shall 
not make fun of me as they have of General Cass, by attempt- 
ing to write me into a military hero." 

This bit of adventure over, Mr. Lincoln — who had deter- 
mined to become a lawyer, in common with most energetic, 
enterprising young men of that period and section — embarked 
in politics, warmly espousing the cause of Henry Clay, in a 
State at that time decidedly opposed to his great leader, and 
received a gratifying evidence of his personal popularity where 
he was best known, in securing an almost unanimous vote in 
his own precinct in Sangamon county as a candidate for rep- 
resentative in the State Legislature, although a little later in 
the same canvass General Jackson, the Democratic candidate 
for the Presidency, led his competitor, Clay, one hundred and 
fifty-five votes. 

While pursuing his law studies, he engaged in land survey- 
ing as a means of support. In 1834, not yet having been 
admitted to the bar — a backwoodsman in manner, dress, and 
expression — tall, lank, and by no means prepossessing — he 
was first elected to the Legislature of his adopted State, 


Acquaintance with Douglas. His views of Slavery in 1836. 

being the youngest member, with a single exception. During 
this session he rarely took the floor to speak, content to play 
the part of an observer rather than of an actor. It was at 
this period that he became acquainted with Stephen A. 
Douglas, then a recent immigrant from Vermont, in connec- 
tion with whom he was destined to figure so prominently 
before the country. 

In 1836, he was elected for a second term. During this 
session, he put upon record, together with one of his col- 
leagues, his views relative to slavery, in the following pro- 
test, bearing date March 3d, 1837 : — 

" Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having 
passed both branches of the General Assembly, at its present 
session, the undersigned hereby protest against the passage 
of the same. 

" They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on 
both injustice and bad policy ; but that the promulgation of 
abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its 

" They believe that the Congress of the United States has 
no power, under the Constitution, to interfere with the institu- 
tion of slavery in the different States. 

11 They believe that the Congress of the United States has 
the power, under the Constitution, to abolish slavery in the 
District of Columbia ; but that the power ought not to be 
exercised, unless at the request of the people of said district." 

In 1838 and 1840, he was again elected and received the 
vote of his party for the speakership. First elected at 
twenty-five, he had been continued so long as his inclination 
allowed, and until by his kind manners, his ability, and un- 
questioned integrity, he had won a position, when but a little 
past thirty, as the virtual leader of his party in Illinois. His 
reputation as a close and logical debater had been established ; 
his native talent as an orator had been developed ; his earnest 
zeal for his party had brought around him troops of friends ; 


A lawyer. Settles at Springfield. Marriage. 

while his acknowledged goodness of heart had knit many to 
him, who, upon purely political grounds, would have held 
themselves aloof. 

While a member of the Legislature, he had devoted him- 
self, as best he could — considering the necessity he was under 
of eking out a support for himself, and the demands made 
upon his time by his political associates — to mastering his 
chosen profession, and in 1836 was admitted to practice. 
Securing at once a good amount of business, he began to 
rise as a most effective jury advocate, who could readily 
perceive, and promptly avail himself of, the turning points of 
a case. A certain quaint humor, withal, which he was wont 
to employ in illustration — combined with his sterling, prac- 
tical sense, going straight to the core of things — stamped him 
as an original. Disdaining the tricks of the mere rhetorician, 
he spoke from the heart to the heart, and was universally 
regarded by those with whom he came in contact as every 
inch a man, in the best and broadest sense of that term. His 
thoughts, his manner, his address were eminently his own. 
Affecting none of the cant of the demagogue, the people 
trusted him, revered him as one of the best, if not the best, 
among them. Their sympathies were his — their weal his 
desire, their interests a common stock with his own. 

Having permanently located himself at Springfield, the 
seat of Sangamon county — which ever after he called his 
home — he devoted himself to the practice of his profession, 
and on the 4th of November, 1842, married Mary Todd, 
daughter of the Hon. Robert S. Todd, of Lexington, Ken- 
tucky, a lady of accomplished manners and refined social 

Although he had determined to retire from the political 
arena and taste the sweets which a life with one's own fam- 
ily can alone secure, his earnest wishes were at length over- 
ruled by the as earnest demands of that party with the success 
of which he firmly believed his country's best interests iden- 


Elected to Congress. A Whig throughout. Mexican "War. 

tified, and in 1844 he thoroughly canvassed his State in 
behalf of Clay — afterward passing into Indiana, and daily 
addressing immense gatherings until the day of election. 
Over the defeat of the great Kentuckian he sorrowed as one 
almost without hope ; feeling it, indeed, far more keenly than 
his generous nature would have done, had it been a merely 
personal discomfiture. 

Two years later, in 1846, Mr. Lincoln w r as persuaded to 
accept the Whig nomination for Congress in the Sangamon 
district, and was elected by an unprecedently large majority. 
Texas had meanwhile been annexed ; the Mexican war was 
in progress ; the Tariff of 1842 had been repealed. 

With the opening of the Thirtieth Congress — December 
6th, 184*1 — Mr. Lincoln took his seat in the lower house of 
Congress, Stephen A. Douglas also appearing for the first 
time as a member of the Senate. 



The Mexican War — Internal Improvements — Slavery in the District of Columbia — Public 
Lands — Retires to Private Life — Kansas-Nebraska Bill — Withdraws in favor of 
Senator Trumbull — Formation of Republican Party — Nominated for U. S. Senator — 
Opening Speech of Mr. Lincoln — Douglas Campaign — The Canvass — Tribute to the- 
Declaration of Independence — Result of the Contest. 

Mr. Lincoln was early recognized as one of the foremost 
of the Western men upon the floor of the House. His 
Congressional record is that of a Whig of those days. 
Believing that Mr. Polk's administration had mismanaged 
affairs with Mexico at the outset, he, in common with others 
of his party, was unwilling, while voting supplies and favor- 
ing suitable rewards for our gallant soldiers, to be forced 
into an unqualified indorsement of the war w r ith that country 
from its beginning to its close. 


Resolutions of Inquiry. Slavery in the District of Columbia. 

Accordingly, December 22d, 1847, be introduced a series of 
resolutions of inquiry concerning the origin of the war, call- 
ing for definite official information, which were laid over under 
the rule, and never acted upon. Upon a test question on 
abandoning the war, without any material result accom- 
plished, he voted with the minority in favor of laying that 
resolution upon the table. 

In all questions bearing upon the matter of internal 
improvements, he took an active interest. He took manly 
ground in favor of the unrestricted right of petition, and 
favored a liberal policy toward the people in disposing of 
the public lands. He exerted himself during the canvass 
of 1848, to secure the election of General Taylor, delivering 
several effective campaign speeches in New England and 
the West. 

At the second session of the Thirtieth Congress, he voted 
in favor of laying upon the table a resolution instructing the 
Committee on the District of Columbia to report a bill pro- 
hibiting the slave-trade in the District, and subsequently read 
a substitute which he favored. This substitute contained the 
form of a bill enacting that no person not already within the 
District, should be held in slavery therein, and providing for 
the gradual emancipation of the slaves already within the 
District, with compensation to the owners, if a majority of 
the legal voters of the District should assent to the act, at 
an election to be holden for the purpose. It made an excep- 
tion of the right of citizens of the slave-holding States 
coming to the District on public business, to " be attended 
into and out of said District, and while there, by the neces- 
sary servants of themselves and their families." 

In regard to the grant of public lands to the new States, 
to aid in the construction of railways and canals, he favored 
the interests of his own constituents, under such restrictions 
as the proper scope of these grants required. 

Having declined to be a candidate for re-election, he retired 


Kansas-Nebraska Bill. Election of U. S. Senator. Formation of the Republican Party. 

once more to private life, resuming the professional practice 
which had been temporarily interrupted by his public duties, 
and taking no active part in politics through the period of 
General Taylor's administration, or in any of the exciting 
scenes of 1850. 

The introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska bill by Stephen 
A. Douglas, in 1854, aroused him from his repose, and 
summoned him once more to battle for the right. In the 
canvass of that year, he was one of the most active leaders 
of the anti-Nebraska movement, addressing the people re- 
peatedly from the stump, with all his characteristic earnest- 
ness and energy, and powerfully aided in effecting the 
remarkable political changes of that year in Illinois. 

The Legislature that year having to choose a United States 
Senator, and for the first time in the history of the State, the 
election of one opposed to the Democratic party being within 
the reach of possibility, Mr. Lincoln, although the first 
choice of the great body of the opposition, with characteristic 
self-sacrificing disposition, appealed to his old Whig friends 
to go over in a solid body to Mr. Trumbull, a man of Demo- 
cratic antecedents, who could command the full vote of the 
anti-Nebraska Democrats ; and the latter was consequently 
elected. Mr. Lincoln was subsequently offered the nomina- 
tion for Governor of Illinois, but declined the honor in favor 
of Col. William H. Bissell, who was elected by a decisive 

In the formation of the Republican party as such, Mr 
Lincoln bore an active and influential part, his name being 
presented, but ineffectually, at the first National Convention 
of that party, for Vice-President ; laboring earnestly during 
the canvass of 1856, for the election of General Fremont, 
whose electoral ticket he headed. 

After Mr. Douglas had taken ground against Mr. Bu 
chanan's administration relative to the so-called Lecompton 
Constitution of Kansas, and had received the indorsement of 


Nominated for Senator. Opening Speech. The Slavery Agitation. 

the Democratic party of Illinois — his re-election as Senator 
depending upon the result of the State election in 1858 — 
the Republican Convention of that year with shouts of 
applause, unanimously resolved that Abraham Lincoln was 
"the first and only choice of the Republicans of Illinois for 
the United States Senate, as the successor of Stephen A. 
Douglas." At the close of the proceedings, he delivered- the 
following speech, which struck the key-note of his contest 
with Senator Douglas, one of the most exciting and remark- 
able ever witnessed in this country : 

" Gentlemen of the Convention : — If we could first know 
where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then 
better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far 
on into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the 
avowed object, and confident promise of putting an end to 
slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that 
agitation had not only not ceased, but has constantly aug- 
mented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall 
have been reached, and passed. 'A house divided against 
itself can not stand.' I believe this Government can not 
endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not ex- 
pect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to 
fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will be- 
come all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of 
slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where 
the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of 
ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward, till 
it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as 
new — North as well as South.* 

" Have we no tendency to the latter condition ? Let any 
one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost com- 
plete legal combination — piece of machinery, so to speak — 
compounded of the Nebraska doctrine, and the Dred Scott 
decision. Let him consider not only what work the machinery 
is adapted to do, and how well adapted, but also let him study 


Opening Speech. Squatter Sovereignty. Liberty to Amend. 

the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather 
fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design, and concert of 
action, among its chief master-workers from the beginning. 

"But, so far, Congress only had acted ; and an indorsement 
by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable, to save 
the point already gained, and give chance for more. The new 
year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the 
States by State Constitutions, and from most of the national 
territory by Congressional prohibition. Four days later com- 
menced the struggle, which ended in repealing that Congres- 
sional prohibition. This opened all the national territory to 
slavery, and was the first point gained. 

"This necessity had not been overlooked, but had been 
provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of 
1 squatter sovereignty, 1 otherwise called 'sacred right of self - 
government, 1 which latter phrase, though expressive of the 
only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in 
this attempted use of it as to amount to just this : that if any 
one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be 
allowed to object. That argument was incorporated into the 
Nebraska Bill itself, in the language which follows : ' It being 
the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery 
into any Territory or State, nor exclude it therefrom ; but to 
leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate 
their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to 
the Constitution of the United States.' 

" Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of 
' squatter sovereignty,' and ' sacred right of self-government.' 

" ' But,' said opposition members, ' let us be more specific — 
let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the 
people of the territory may exclude slavery.' 'Not we,' said 
the friends of the measure ; and down they voted the amend- 

" While the Nebraska Bill was passing through Congress, 
a law case, involving the question of a negro's freedom, by 


The Dred Scott Case. In the Supreme Court. Buchanan's Election. 

reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a 
free State and then a territory covered by the Congressional 
prohibition, and held him as a slave — for a long time in each — 
was passing through the U. S. Circuit Court for the District 
of Missouri ; and both the Nebraska Bill and law suit were 
brought to a decision in the same month of May, 1854. The 
negro's name was ' Dred Scott,' which name now designates 
the decision finally made in the case. 

" Before the then next Presidential election case, the law 
came to, and was argued in the Supreme Court of the United 
States ; but the decision of it was deferred until after the 
election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the 
floor of the Senate, requests the leading advocate of the 
Nebraska Bill to state his opinion whether a people of a ter- 
ritory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits ; 
and the latter answers, ' That is a question for the Supreme 

" The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the 
indorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second 
point gained. The indorsement, however, fell short of a 
clear popular majority by nearly four hundred thousand votes, 
and so, perhaps, was hot overwhelmingly reliable and satis- 
factory. The outgoing President in his last annual message, 
as impressively as possible echoed back upon the people the 
weight and authority of the indorsement. 

" The Supreme Court met again ; did not announce their 
decision, but ordered a re-argument. The Presidential in- 
auguration came, and still no decision of the court ; but the 
incoming President, nf his Inaugural Address, fervently ex- 
horted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, what- 
ever it might be. Then, in a few days came the decision. 

" This was the third point gained. 

"The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early 
occasion to make a speech at this capitol indorsing the Dred 
Scott decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to 


Trouble between Douglas aud Buchanan. Points of the Dred Scott Decision. 

it. The new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the 
Silliman letter to indorse and strongly construe that decision, 
and to express his astonishment that any different view had 
ever been entertained. At length a squabble springs up 
between the President and the author of the Nebraska Bill 
on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton Consti- 
tution was or was not, in any just sense, made by the people 
of Kansas ; and, in that squabble, the latter declares that all 
he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he cares not 
whether slavery be voted clown or voted up. I do not un- 
derstand his declaration that he cares not whether slavery be 
voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other than as 
an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the 
public mind — the principle for which he declares he has 
suffered much, and is ready to suffer to the end. 

"And well may he cling to that principle. If he has any 
parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle is 
the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine. Under 
the Dred Scott decision, ' squatter sovereignty' squatted out 
of existence, tumbled clown like temporary scaffolding — like 
the mould at the foundry, served through one blast, and fell 
back into loose sand — helped to carry an election, and then 
was kicked to the winds. His late joint struggle with the 
Republicans, against the Lecompton Constitution, involves 
nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine. That struggle 
was made on a point — the right of a people to make their 
own Constitution — upon which he and the Republicans have 
never differed. 

"The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in. connec- 
tion with Senator Douglas's ' care not' policy, constitute the 
piece of machinery in its present state of advancement. The 
working points of that machinery are : 

" First, That no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, 
and no descendant of such, can ever be a citizen of any State, 


Points of the Dred Scott. Decision. The Nebraska Doctrine. 

in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the 
United States. 

" This point is made in order to deprive the negro, in 
every possible event, of the benefit of this provision of the 
United States Constitution, which declares that — ' The citizens 
of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immu- 
nities of citizens in the several States.' 

" Secondly, that ' subject to the Constitution of the United 
States,' neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can 
exclude slavery from any United States Territory. 

" This point is made in order that individual men may fill 
up the Territories with slaves, without danger of losing them 
as property, and thus to enhance the chances of permanency 
to the institution through all the future. 

" Thirdly, that whether the holding a negro in actual 
slavery in a free State makes him free, as against the holder, 
the United States courts will not decide, but will leave it to be 
decided by the courts of any slave State the negro may be 
forced into by the master. 

" This point is made, not to be pressed immediately ; but, 
if acquiesced in for a while, and apparently indorsed by the 
people at an election, then, to sustain the logical conclusion 
that what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred 
Scott, in the free State of Illinois, every other master may 
lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in 
Illinois, or in any other free State. 

"Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, 
the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and 
mould public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to 
care whether slavery is voted down or voted up. 

" This shows exactly where we now are, and partially also, 
whither we are tending. 

" It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back and 
run the mind over the string of historical facts already 
stated. Several things will now appear less dark and 


Objects of the Movers. Singular Result. 

mysterious than they did when they were transpiring. The 
people were to be left " perfectly free," " subject only to the 
Constitution." What the Constitution had to do with it, 
outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough now, it was an 
exactly fitted niche for the Dred Scott decision afterward to 
come in, and declare that perfect freedom of the people to be 
just no freedom at all. g 

" Why was the amendment expressly declaring the right 
of the people to exclude slavery, voted down ? Plainly 
enough now, the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche 
for the Dred Scott decision. 

" Why was the court decision held up ? Why even a 
Senator's individual opinion withheld till after the Presi- 
dential election ? Plainly enough now ; the speaking out 
then would have damaged the " perfectly free" argument 
upon which the election was to be carried. 

"Why the outgoing President's felicitation on the indorse- 
ment ? Why the delay of a re-argument ? Why the in- 
coming President's advance exhortation in favor of the de- 
cision ? These things look like the cautious patting and 
petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him, 
when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And 
why the hasty after-indorsements of the decision, by the 
President and others ? 

" We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adapta- 
tions are the result of pre-concert. But when we see a lot 
of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have 
been gotten out, at different times and places, and by different 
workmen — Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for in- 
stance — and when we see these timbers joined together, and 
see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the 
tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and 
proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their 
respective places, and not a piece too many or too few — not 
omitting even scaffolding — or, if a single piece be lacking, 


First Speech Senatorial Canvass, 1858. • The Nebraska Bill. 

we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared 
to yet bring such piece in — in such a case, we find it impossi- 
ble not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and 
James all understood one another from the beginning, and all 
worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the 
first blow was struck. 

" It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska bill, 
the people of a State as well as Territory, were to be left 
1 perfectly free,'' l subject only to the Constitution.'' Why 
mention a State ? They were legislating for Territories, and 
not for or about States. Certainly the people of a State are 
and ought to be subject to the Constitution of the United 
States ; but why is mention of this lugged into this merely 
territorial law ? Why are the people of a Territory and the 
people of a State therein lumped together, and their relation 
to the Constitution therein treated as being precisely the 
same ? 

" While the opinion of the court, by Chief Justice Taney, 
in the Dred Scott case, and the separate opinions of all the 
concurring judges, expressly declare that the Constitution of 
the United States neither permits Congress nor a Territorial 
Legislature, to exclude slavery from any United States 
Territory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same 
Constitution permits a State, or the people of a State, to 
exclude it. Possibly, this was a mere omission ; but who 
can be quite sure, if McLean or Curtis had sought to get 
into the opinion a declaration of unlimited power in the 
people of a State to exclude slavery from their limits, just as 
Chase and Mace sought to get such declaration, in behalf of 
the people of a Territory, into the Nebraska bill — I ask, who 
can be quite sure that it would not have been voted down, in 
the one case as it had been in the other. 

" The nearest approach to the point of declaring the power 
of a State over slavery, is made by Judge Nelson. He 
approaches it more than once, using the precise idea, and 


First Speech Senatorial Canvass, 1858. --_*„ The power of a State over Slavery. 

almost the language, too, of the Nebraska Act. On one 
occasion his exact language is, 'except in cases where the 
power is restrained by the Constitution of the United States, 
the law of the State is supreme over the subject of slavery 
within its jurisdiction.' 

" In what cases the power of the State is so restrained by 
the United States Constitution, is left an open question, pre- 
cisely as the same question, as to the restraint on the power 
of the Territories was left open in the Nebraska Act. Put 
that and that together, and we have another nice little niche, 
which we may ere long, see filled with another Supreme 
Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United 
States does not permit a State to exclude slavery from its 
limits. And this may especially be expected if the doctrine 
of ' care not whether slavery be voted down or voted up,' 
shall gain upon the public mind sufficiently to give promise 
that such a decision can be maintained when made. 

" Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being 
alike lawful in all the States. Welcome or unwelcome, such 
decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, 
unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met 
and overthrown. We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming 
that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making 
their State free ; and we shall awake to the reality, instead, 
that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State. 

" To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the 
work now before all those who would prevent that consum- 
mation. That is what we have to do. But how can we 
best do it ? 

" There are those who denounce us openly to their own 
friends, and yet whisper softly, that Senator Douglas is the 
aptest instrument there is, with which to effect that object. 
They do not tell us, nor has he told us, that he wishes any 
such object to be effected. They wish us to infer all, from 
the facts that he now has a little quarrel with the present 


First Speech Senatorial Canvass, 1858. The advances of Slavery. 

head of the dynasty ; and that he has regularly voted with 
us, on a single point, upon which he and we have never 

" They remind us that he is a very great man, and that 
the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. 
But 'a living dog is better than a dead lion. 7 Judge 
Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged 
and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of 
slavery ? He don't care anything about it. His avowed 
mission is impressing the ' public heart' to care nothing 
about it. 

"A leading Douglas Democrat newspaper thinks Douglas's 
superior talent will be needed to resist the revival of the 
African slave-trade. Does Douglas believe an effort to 
revive that trade is approaching ? He has not said so. 
Does he really think so ? But if it is, how can he resist it ? 
For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white 
men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. Can he 
possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where 
they can be bought cheapest ? And, unquestionably they 
can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. 

" He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question 
of slavery to one of a mere right of property ; and as such, 
how can he oppose the foreign slave-trade — how can he 
refuse that trade in that ' property' shall be ' perfectly 
free' — unless he does it as a protection to the home produc 
tion ? And as the home producers will probably not ask the 
protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition 

" Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may 
rightfully be wiser to-day than he was yesterday — that 
he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong. But 
can we for that reason run ahead and infer that he will make 
any particular change, of which he himself has given no 
intimation ? Can we safely base our action upon any such 
vague inferences ? 


First Speech Senatorial Canvass, 1858. The great Struggle between the Candidates. 

" Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's 
position, question his motives, or do aught that can be per- 
sonally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can 
come together on principle, so that our great cause may 
have assistance from his great ability, I hope to have inter- 
posed no adventitious obstacle. 

"But clearly, he is not now with us — he does not pretend 
to be — he does not promise ever to be. Our cause, then, 
must be intrusted to, and conducted by its own undoubted 
friends — those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the 
work — who do care for the result. 

" Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered 
over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under 
the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with 
every external circumstance against us. Of strange, dis- 
cordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the 
four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under 
the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud and pampered 
enemy. Did we brave all then to falter now ? — now — when 
that same enemy is wavering, dissevered and belligerent ? 

" The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail — if we 
stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate 
or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure 
to come." 

In this most vigorously prosecuted canvass Illinois was 
stumned throughout its length and breadth by both candidates 
and their respective advocates, and the struggle was watched 
with interest by the country at large. From county to 
county, from township to township, and village to village the 
two champions travelled, frequently in the same car or car- 
riage, and in the presence of immense crowds of men, women, 
and children — for the wives and daughters of the hardy yeo- 
manry were naturally interested — argued, face to face, the 
important points of their political belief, and contended nobly 
for the mastery. 


Tribute to the Declaration of Independence. Its great Principles. 

In one of his speeches during this memorable campaign, 
Mr. Lincoln paid the following tribute to the Declaration of 
Independence : — 

" These communities, (the thirteen colonies,) by their 
representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the world 
of men, ' we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men 
are born equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with 
inalienable rights ; that among these are life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness.' This was their majestic interpretation 
of the economy of the universe. This was their lofty, and 
wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to 
His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the 
whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, no- 
thing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent 
into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted 
by its fellows. They grasped not only the race of men then 
living, but they reached forward and seized upon the furthest 
posterity. They created a beacon to guide their children and 
their children's children, and the countless myriads who 
should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as 
they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed 
tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident 
truths that when, in the distant future, some man, some fac- 
tion, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but 
rich men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon 
white men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declar- 
ation of Independence, and take courage to renew the battle, 
which their fathers began, so that truth, and justice, and 
mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not 
be extinguished from the land ; so that no man would here- 
after dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on 
which the temple of liberty was being built. * 

11 Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines 
conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declaration of 


Declaration of Independence. An Immortal Emblem. Triumph of Judge Douglas. 

Independence ; if you have listened to suggestions which 
would take away from its grandeur, and mutilate the fair 
symmetry of its proportions ; if you have been inclined to be- 
lieve that all men are not created equal in those inalienable 
rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you 
to come back — return to the fountain whose waters spring 
close by the blood of the Revolution. Think nothing of me, 
take no though^ for the political fate of any man whomsoever, 
but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of 

" You may do any thing with me you choose, if you will 
but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat 
me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. 
While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim 
to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an 
anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every paltry and 
insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing ; I 
am nothing ; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy 
that immortal emblem of humanity — the Declaration of Amer- 
ican Independence. 11 

In the election which closed this contest, the Republican 
candidate received 126,084 votes ; the Douglas Democrats, 
121,940 ; and the Lecompton Democrats, 5,091. Mr. 
Douglas was, however, re-elected to the Senate by the Legis- 
lature, in which, owing to the peculiar apportionment of the 
legislative districts his supporters had a majority of eight 
in joint ballot. 


The campaign of 1859. His Cincinnati Speech. Results of a Republican Triumph. 



Speeches in Ohio — Extract from his Cincinnati Speech — Visits the East — Celebrated 
Speech at the Cooper Institute, New York — Interesting Incident. 

The issue of this contest with Douglas, seemingly a defeat, 
was destined in due time to prove a decisive triumph. Mr. 
Lincoln's reputation as a skillful debater and master of polit- 
ical fence was secure, and admitted throughout the land. 
During the year ensuing he again devoted himself almost 
exclusively to professional labors, delivering, however, in the 
campaign of 1859, at the earnest solicitation of the Repub- 
licans of Ohio, two most convincing speeches in that State, 
one at Columbus, and the other at Cincinnati. 

In his speech in the latter city, alluding to the certainty of 
a speedy Republican triumph in the nation, Mr. Lincoln thus 
sketched what he regarded as the inevitable results of such 
a victory : 

" I will tell you, so far as I am authorized to speak for the 
opposition, what we mean to do with you. We mean to 
treat you, as nearly as we possibly can, as Washington, 
Jefferson, and Madison treated you. We mean to leave you 
alone, and in no way interfere with your institution ; to abide 
by all and every compromise of the Constitution ; and, in a 
word, coming back to the original proposition to treat you, 
so far as degenerated men (if we have degenerated) may, 
imitating the example of those noble fathers, Washington, 
Jefferson, and Madison. We mean to remember that you are 
as good as we ; that there is no difference between us other 
than the difference of circumstances. We mean to recognize 


The campaign of 1859. His Cincinnati Speech. Dividing the Union. 

and bear in mind always that you have as good hearts in 
your bosoms as other people, or as we claim to have, and 
treat you accordingly. We mean to marry your girls when 
we have a chance — the white ones I mean— and I have the 
honor to inform you that I once did get a chance in that 

" I have told you what we mean to do. I want to know, 
now, when that thing takes place, what you mean to do. I 
often hear it intimated that you mean to divide the Union 
whenever a Republican, or any thing like it, is elected Pres- 
ident of the United States. [A voice, ' That is so.'] ' That 
is so,' one of them says. I wonder if he is a Kentuckian ? 
[A voice, 'He is a Douglas man.'] Well, then, I want to 
know what you are going to do with your half of it ? Are 
you going to split the Ohio down through, and push your 
half off a piece ? Or are you going to keep it right alongside 
of us outrageous fellows ? Or are you going to build up a wall 
some way between your country and ours, by which that 
movable property of yours can't come over here any more, 
and you lose it ? Do you think you can better yourselves on 
that subject, by leaving us here under no obligation whatever 
to return those specimens of your movable property that 
come hither ? You have divided the Union because we 
would not do right with you, as you think, upon that subject ; 
w T hen we cease to be under obligations to do any thing for 
you, how much better off do you think you will be ? Will 
you make war upon us and kill us all ? Why, gentlemen, I 
think you are as gallant and as brave men as live ; that you 
can fight as bravely in a good cause, man for man, as any 
other people living ; that you have shown yourselves capable 
of this upon various occasions ; but, man for man, you are 
not better than we are, and there are not so many of you as 
there are of us. You will never make much of a hand at 
whipping us. If we were fewer in numbers than you, I 
think that you could whip us \ if we were equal it would 


His Cincinnati Speech. Visits the East. Cooper Institute Speech. 

likely be a drawn battle ; but being inferior in numbers, you 
will make nothing by attempting to master us. 

" I say that we must not interfere with the institution of 
Slavery in the States where it exists, because the Constitution 
forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do 
so. We must not withhold an efficient fugitive slave law, 
because the Constitution requires us, as I understand it, not 
to withhold such a law, but we must prevent the outspread- 
ing of the institution, because neither the constitution nor the 
general welfare requires us to extend it. We must prevent 
the revival of the African slave-trade and the enacting by 
Congress of a Territorial slave code. We must prevent each 
of these things being done by either Congresses or Courts. 
The people of these United States are the rightful 


the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert 
that Constitution." 

In the spring of 1860, Mr. Lincoln yielded to the urgent 
calls which came to him from the East for his aid in the ex- 
citing canvasses then in progress in that section, and spoke 
at various places in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode 
Island, and also in New York city, and was everywhere 
warmly welcomed by immense audiences. 

Without doubt, one of the greatest speeches of his life was 
that delivered by him in the Cooper Institute, in New York, 
on the 27th of February, 1860, in the presence of a crowded 
assembly which received him with the most enthusiastic 
demonstrations. We subjoin a full report of this masterly 
analysis of men and measures. After being introduced in 
highly complimentary terms by the venerable William Cullen 
Bryant, who presided on the occasion, he proceeded : 

" Mr. President and Fellow Citizens of New York : — 
The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old 
and familiar ; nor is there any thing new in the general use 
I shall make of them. If there shall be any novelty, it will 


His Speech at Cooper Institute. The Fathers of the Constitution. 

be in the mode of presenting the facts, and the inferences and 
observations following that presentation. 

" In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported 
in The New York Times, Senator Douglas said : 

" ' Our fathers, when they framed the Government under 
which we live, understood this question just as well, and 
even better than we do now.' 

" I fully indorse this and I adopt it as a text for this dis- 
course. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and 
agreed starting point for the discussion between Republicans 
and that wing of Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It 
simply leaves the inquiry : ' What was the understanding 
those fathers had of the questions mentioned V 

11 What is the frame of Government under which we live ? 

" The answer must be : ' The Constitution of the United 
States.' That Constitution consists of the original, framed 
in 1787 (and under which the present Government first went 
into operation), and twelve subsequently framed amendments, 
the first ten of which were framed in 1789. 

" Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution ? I 
suppose the ' thirty-nine' who signed the original instrument 
may be fairly called our fathers who framed that part of the 
present Government. It is almost exactly true to say they 
framed it, and it is altogether true to say they fairly repre- 
sented the opinion and sentiment of the whole nation at that 
time. Their names being familiar to nearly all, and accessible 
to quite all, need not now be repeated. 

" I take these ' thirty-nine,' for the present, as being ' our 
fathers who framed the Government under which we live.' 

" What is the question which, according to the text, those 
fathers understood just as well, and even better than we do 
now ? 

" It is this : Does the proper division of local from federal 
authority, or any thing in the Constitution, forbid our Federal 
Government control as to slavery in our Federal Territories ? 



Speech at the Cooper Institute. 

Slavery and the Federal Government. 

" Upon this, Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans 
the negative. This affirmative and denial form an issue ; and 
this issue — this question — is precisely what the text declares 
our fathers understood better than we. 

"Let us now inquire whether the 'thirty-nine,' or any of 
them, ever acted upon this question ; and if they did, how 
they acted upon it — how- they expressed that better under- 

"In 1784 — three years before the Constitution — the 
United States then owning the Northwestern Territory, and 
no other — the Congress of the Confederation had before them 
the question of prohibiting slavery in that Territory ; and 
four of the 'thirty-nine' who afterward framed. the Constitu- 
tion were in that Congress, and voted on that question. Of 
these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh William- 
son voted for the prohibition — thus showing that, in their 
understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, 
nor any thing else, properly forbade the Federal Government 
to control as to slavery in federal territory. The other of the 
four — James McHenry — voted against the prohibition, show- 
ing that, for some cause, he thought it improper to vote 
for it. 

"In 178t, still before the Constitution, but while the Con- 
vention was in session framing it, and while the North- 
western Territory still was the only territory owned by the 
United States — the same question of prohibiting slavery in 
the territory again came before the Congress of the Confeder- 
ation ; and three more of the ' thirty-nine' who afterward 
signed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted on 
the question. They were William Blount, William Few, 
and Abraham Baldwin ; and they all voted for the prohibition 
— thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing 
local from federal authority, nor any thing else, properly for- 
bids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in 
federal territory. This time the prohibition became a law, 


Speech at the Cooper Institute. Slavery in the Territories. 

being part of what is now well known as the Ordinance 
of '81. 

" The question of federal control of slavery in the territories, 
seems not to have been directly before the Convention which 
framed the original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded 
that the ' thirty-nine' or any of them, while engaged on that 
instrument, expressed any opinion on that precise question. 

" In 1189, by the First congress which sat under the Con- 
stitution, an act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '81, 
including the prohibition of slavery in the North-western 
Territory. The bill for this act was reported by one of the 
'thirty-nine,' Thomas Fitzsimmons, then a member of the 
House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. It went 
through all its stages without a word of opposition, and 
finally passed both branches without yeas and nays, which is 
equivalent to an unanimous passage. In this Congress there 
were sixteen of the ' thirty-nine' fathers who framed the orig- 
inal Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Gil- 
man, Wm. S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, 
Thos. Fitzsimmons, William Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus 
King, William Patterson, George Clymer, Richard Bassett, 
George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carrol, James Madison. 

" This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing 
local from federal authority, nor any thing in the Constitution, 
properly forbade Congress to prohibit slavery in the federal 
territory ; else both their fidelity to correct principle, and their 
oath to support the Constitution, would have constrained 
them to oppose the prohibition. 

"Again, George Washington, another of the 'thirty-nine,' 
was then President of the United States, and, as such, ap- 
proved and signed the bill, thus completing its validity as a 
law, and thus showing that, in his understanding, no line 
dividing local from federal authority r nor any thing in the 
Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as 
to slavery in Federal territory. 



His Speech at the Cooper Institute. 

Slavery in Mississippi. 

In Louisiana. 

" No great while after the adoption of the original Consti- 
tution, North Carolina ceded to the Federal Government the 
country now constituting the State of Tennessee ; and a few 
years later Georgia ceded that which now constitutes the 
States of Mississippi and Alabama. In both deeds of cession 
it was made a condition by the ceding States that the Federal 
Government should not prohibit slavery in the ceded country. 
Besides this, slavery was then actually in the ceded country. 
Under these circumstances, Congress, on taking charge of 
these countries did not absolutely prohibit slavery within 
them. But they did interfere with it — take control of it — 
even there, to a certain extent. In It 98, Congress organized 
the Territory of Mississippi. In the act of organization they 
prohibited the bringing of slaves into the Territory, from any 
place without the United States, by fine and giving freedom 
to slaves so brought. This act passed both branches of 
Congress without yeas and nays. In that Congress were 
three of the ' thirty-nine' who framed the original Constitution. 
They were John Langdon, George Read, and Abraham 
Baldwin. They all, probably, voted for it. Certainly they 
would have placed their opposition to it upon record, if, in 
their understanding, any line dividing local from Federal 
authority, or any thing in the Constitution, properly forbade 
the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal 

" In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the Louisiana 
country. Our former territorial acquisitions came from 
certain of our own States ; but this Louisiana country was 
acquired from a foreign nation. In 1804, Congress gave a 
territorial organization to that part of it which now consti- 
tutes the State of Louisiana. New Orleans, lying within 
that part, was an old and comparatively large city. There 
were other considerable towns and settlements, and slavery 
was extensively and thoroughly intermingled with the people. 
Congress did not, in the Territorial Act, prohibit slavery; 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Slavery in Louisiana. The Missouri Question. 

but they did interfere with it — take control of it — in a more 
marked and extensive way than they did in the case of Mis- 
sissippi. The substance of the provision therein made, in 
relation to slaves, was : 

"First. That no slave should be imported into the territory 
from foreign parts. 

"Second. That no slave should be carried into it who had 
been imported into the United States since the first day of 
May, 1798. 

"Third. That no slave should be carried into it, except by 
the owner, and for his own use as a settler ; the penalty in all 
the cases being a fine upon the violator of the law, and free- 
dom to the slave. 

" This act also was passed without yeas and nays. In the 
Congress which passed it, there were two of the ' thirty-nine.' 
They were Abraham Baldwin and Jonathan Dayton. As 
stated in the case of Mississippi, it is probable they both 
voted for it. They would not have allowed it to pass without 
recording their opposition to it, if, in their understanding, it 
violated either the line proper dividing local from Federal 
authority or any provision of the Constitution. 

"In 1819-20, came and passed the Missouri question. 
Many votes were taken, by yeas and nays, in both branches 
of Congress, upon the various phases of the general question. 
Two of the 'thirty-nine' — Rums King and Charles Pinckney — 
were members of that Congress. Mr. King steadily voted for 
slavery prohibition and against all compromises, while Mr. 
Pinckney as steadily voted against slavery prohibition and 
against all compromises. By this Mr. King showed that, in 
his understanding, no line dividing local from Federal au- 
thority, nor any thing in the Constitution, was violated by 
Congress prohibiting slavery in Federal territory ; while Mr. 
Pinckney, by his votes, showed that in his understanding 
there was some sufficient reason for opposing such prohibition 
in that case. 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Yiews of the Original " Thirty-Nine." 

" The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the 
' thirty-nine,' or of any of them, upon the direct issue, which 
I have been able to discover. 

" To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being four 
in 1784, three in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 1798, two 
in 1804, and two in 1819-20 — there would be thirty-one of 
them. But this would be counting John Langdon, Roger 
Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, and George Read, each 
twice, and Abraham Baldwin four times. The true number 
of those of the 'thirty-nine' whom I have shown to have 
acted upon the question, which, by the text they understood 
better than we, is twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to 
have acted upon it in any way. 

" Here, then, we have twenty -three out of our ' thirty-nine' 
fathers who framed the government under which we live, 
who have, upon their official responsibility and their corporal 
oaths, acted upon the very question which the text affirms 
they 'understood just as well, and even better than we do 
now;' and twenty-one of them— -a clear majority of the 
' thirty-nine' — so acting upon it as to make them guilty of 
gross political impropriety, and wilful perjury, if, in their 
understanding, any proper division between local and Federal 
authority, or any thing in the Constitution they had made 
themselves, and sworn to support, forbade the Federal 
Government to control as to slavery in the Federal territories. 
Thus the twenty-one acted ; and, as actions speak louder 
than words, so actions under such responsibility speak still 

" Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional 
prohibition of slavery in the Federal Territories, in the 
instances in which they acted upon the question. But for 
what reasons they so voted is not known. They may have 
done so because they thought a proper division of local 
from Federal authority, or some provision or principle of the 
Constitution, stood in the way ; or they may, without any 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Yiews of the "Thirty-Nine" on Slavery. 

such question, have voted against the prohibition, on what 
appeared to them to be sufficient grounds of expediency. No 
one who has sworn to support the Constitution, can con- 
scientiously vote for what he understands to be an unconsti- 
tutional measure, however expedient he may think it ; but 
one may and ought to vote against a measure which he 
deems constitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it inex- 
pedient. It, therefore, would be unsafe to set down even the 
two who voted against the prohibition, as having done so 
because, in their understanding, any proper division of local 
from Federal authority, or any thing in the Constitution, 
forbade the Federal Govornment to control as to slavery in 
Federal Territory. 

"The remaining sixteen of the 'thirty-nine,' so far as I 
have discovered, have left no record of their understanding 
upon the direct question of Federal control of slavery in the 
Federal Territories. But there is much reason to believe 
that their understanding upon that question would not have 
appeared different from that of their twenty-three compeers, 
had it been manifested at all. 

" For the purpose of adhering rigidly to the text, I have 
purposely omitted whatever understanding may have been 
manifested, by any person, however distinguished, other than 
the ' thirty-nine' fathers who framed the original Constitu- 
tion ; and, for the same reason, I have also omitted whatever 
understanding may have been manifested by any of the 
' thirty-nine' even, on any other phase of the general question 
of slavery. If we should look into their acts and declara- 
tions on those other phases, as the foreign slave-trade, and 
the morality and policy of slavery generally, it would appear 
to us that on the direct question of Federal control of slavery 
in Federal Territories, the sixteen, if they had acted at all, 
would probably have acted just as the twenty-three did. 
Among that sixteen were several of the most noted anti- 
slavery men of those times — as Dr. Franklin, Alexander 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Federal control of Slavery. 

Hamilton, and Governeur Morris — while there was not one 
now kno-wn to have been otherwise, unless it may be John 
Rutledge, of South Carolina. 

" The sum of the whole is, that of our ' thirty-nine' fathers 
who framed the original Constitution, twenty-one — a clear 
majority of the whole — certainly understood that no proper 
division of local from Federal authority nor any part of the 
Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control 
slavery in the Federal Territories, while all the rest probably 
had the same understanding. Such, unquestionably, was the 
understanding of our fathers who framed the original Consti- 
tution ; and the text affirms that they understood the question 
better than we. 

"But, so far, I have been considering the understanding of 
the question manifested by the framers of the original Con- 
stitution. In and by the original instrument, a mode was 
provided for amending it ; and, as I have already stated, the 
present frame of government under which we live consists 
of that original, and twelve amendatory articles framed and 
adopted since. Those who now insist that Federal control 
of slavery in Federal territories violates the Constitution, 
point us to the provisions which they suppose it thus violates; 
and, as I understand, they all fix upon provisions in these 
amendatory articles, and not in the original instrument. The 
Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves 
upon the fifth amendment, which provides that 'no person 
shall be deprived of property without due process of law;' 
while Senator Douglas and his peculiar adherents plant 
themselves upon the tenth commandment, providing that 
1 the powers not granted by the Constitution are reserved to 
the States respectively, and to the people.' 

" Now, it so happens that these amendments were framed 
by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution — the 
identical Congress which passed the act already mentioned, 
enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the north-western 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Slavery in the Federal Territories. 

territory. Not only was it the same Congress, but they 
were the identical, same individual men who, at the same 
time within the session, had under consideration, and in pro- 
gress toward maturity, these Constitutional amendments, and 
this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory the nation 
then owned. The Constitutional amendments were intro- 
duced before, and passed after the act enforcing the Ordinance 
of '87 ; so that during the whole pendency of the act 
to enforce the Ordinance, the Constitutional amendments 
were also pending. 

" That Congress, consisting in all of seventy-six members, 
including sixteen of the framers of the original Constitution, 
as before stated, were pre-eminently our fathers who framed 
that part of the government under which we live, which is 
now claimed as forbidding the Federal Government to control 
slavery in the Federal Territories. 

" Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day, to 
affirm that the two things which that Congress deliberately 
framed, and carried to maturity at the same time, are abso- 
lutely inconsistent with each other ? And does not such 
affirmation become impudently absurd when coupled with the 
other affirmation, from the same mouth, that those who did 
the two things alleged to be inconsistent, understood whether 
they were really inconsistent, better than we — better than he 
who affirms that they are inconsistent. 

" It is surely safe to assume that the ' thirty-nine ' framers 
of the original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of 
the Congress which framed the amendments thereto, taken 
together, do certainly include those who may be fairly called 
1 our fathers who framed the government under which we 
live.' And so assuming, I defy any man to show that any 
one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that, in his under- 
standing, any proper division of local from Federal authority, 
or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal govern- 
ment to control as to slavery in the Federal territories. I go 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Slavery in the Federal Territories. 

a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man 
in the whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the 
present century (and I might almost say prior to the begin- 
ning of the last half of the present century) , declare that, in 
his understanding, any proper division of local from Federal 
authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal 
government to control as to slavery in the Federal territories. 
To those who now so declare, I give, not only 'our fathers 
who framed the government under which we live,' but with 
them all other living men within the century in which it was 
framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be able to 
find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them. 

"JSTow, and here, let me guard a little against being mis- 
understood. I do not mean to say we are bound to follow 
implicitly in whatever our fathers did. To do so would 
be to discard all the lights of current experience — we reject 
all progress — all improvement. What 1 do say is, that if we 
would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers in any 
case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and argu- 
ment so clear, that even their great authority, fairly considered 
and weighed, cannot stand ; and most surely not in a case 
whereof we ourselves declare they understood the question 
better than we. 

" If any man, at this day, sincerely believes that a proper 
division of local from Federal authority, or any part of the 
Constitution, forbids the Federal government to control as to 
slavery in the Federal territories, he is right to say so, and to 
enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument 
which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who 
have less access to history and less leisure to study it, into the 
false belief that ' our fathers, who framed the government 
under which we live,' were of the same opinion thus sub- 
stituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and 
fair argument. If any man, at this day, sincerely believes 
1 our fathers, who framed the government under which wo 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. All the Republicans Desire. 

live,' used and applied principles, in other cases, which ought 
to have led them to understand that a proper division of local 
from Federal authority, or some part of the Constitution, for- 
bids the Federal government to control as to slavery in the 
Federal territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at 
the same time, brave the responsibility of declaring that, in 
his opinion, he understands their principles better than they 
did themselves ; and especially should he not shirk that re- 
sponsibility by asserting that they ' understood the question 
just as well, and even better than we do now.' 

" But enough. Let all who believe that ' our fathers, who 
framed the government under which we live, understood this 
question just as well, and even better than we do now,' speak 
as they spoke, and act as they acted upon it. This is all 
Republicans ask, all Republicans desire, in relation to 
slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let it be again marked, 
as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and pro- 
tected only because of and so far as its actual presence among 
us makes that toleration and protection a necessity. Let all 
the guaranties those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly, but 
fnlly and fairly maintained. For this Republicans contend, 
and with this, so far as I know or believe, they will be con- 

" And now, if they would listen — as I suppose they will 
not — I would address a few words to the Southern people. 

" I would say to them : You consider yourselves a reason- 
able and a just people ; and I consider that, in the general 
qualities of reason and justice, you are not inferior to any 
other people. Still, when you speak of us Republicans, you 
do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at the best, as no 
better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or 
murderers, but nothing like it to ' Black Republicans.' In all 
your contentions with one another, each of you deems an un- 
conditional condemnation of 'Black Republicanism' as the 
first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. An Appeal to the South. 

us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to 
speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at 

" Now can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to 
consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to your- 
selves ? 

" Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then 
be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify. 

" You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an 
issue ; and the burden of proof is upon you. You produce 
your proof ; and what is it ? Why, that our party has no 
existence in your section — gets no votes in your section. 
The fact is substantially true ; but does it prove the issue ? 
If it does, then, in case we should, without change of princi- 
ple, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby 
cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion ; 
and yet, are you willing to abide by it ? If you are, you will 
probably soon find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we 
shall get votes in your section this very year. You will then 
begin to discover, as the truth plainly is, that your proof 
does not touch the issue. The fact that we get no votes in 
your section is a fact of your making, and not of ours. And 
if there be fault in that fact, that fault is primarily yours, and 
remains so until you show that we repel you by some wrong 
principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong 
principle or practice, the fault is ours ; but this brings us to 
where you ought to have started — to a discussion of the right 
or wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, 
would wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any 
other object, then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, 
and are justly opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, 
then, on the question of whether our principle, put in practice, 
would wrong your section ; and so meet it as if it were possi- 
ble that something may be said on our side. Do you accept 
the challenge ? IS r o ? Then you really believe that the 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Washington's Warning. Conservatism Defined. 

principle which our fathers, who framed the government under 
which we live, thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and 
indorse it again and again upon their official oaths, is, in fact, 
so clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a 
moment's consideration. 

" Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning 
against sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell 
Address. Less than eight years before Washington gave that 
warning, he had, as President of the United States, approved 
and signed an act of Congress enforcing the prohibition of 
slavery in the Northwestern Territory, which act embodied 
the policy of the government upon that subject, up to and at 
the very moment he penned that warning ; and about one 
year after he penned it he wrote Lafayette that he considered 
that prohibition a wise measure, expressing, in the same con- 
nection, his hope that we should some time have a confederacy 
of free States. 

" Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has 
since arisen upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon 
in your hands against us, or in our hands against you ? 
Could Washington himself speak, would he cast the blame of 
that sectionalism upon us, who sustain his policy, or upon 
you, who repudiate it ? We respect that warning of Wash- 
ington, and we commend it to you, together with his example 
pointing to the right application of it. 

"But you say you are conservative — eminently conserva- 
tive — while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something 
of the sort. What is conservatism ? Is it not adherence to 
the old and tried against the new and untried ? We stick to, 
contend for, the identical old policy on the point in contro- 
versy which was adopted by our fathers who framed the 
government under which we live ; while you, with one 
accord, reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and 
insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree 
among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. An Appeal to the South. John Brown. 

have considerable variety of new propositions and plans, but 
you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy 
of the fathers. Some of you are for reviving the foreign 
slave-trade ; some for a Congressional Slave-Code for the 
Territories ; some for Congress forbidding the Territories to 
prohibit slavery within their limits ; some for maintaining 
slavery in the Territories through the Judiciary ; some for 
the ' gur-reat pur-rinciple' that, ' if one man would enslave 
another, no third man should object,' fantastically called 
'Popular Sovereignty ;' but never a man among you in favor 
of Federal prohibition of slavery in Federal Territories, 
according to the practice of our fathers who framed the 
government under which we live. Not one of all your various 
plans can show a precedent or an advocate in the century 
within which our government originated. Consider, then, 
whether your claim of conservatism for yourselves, and your 
charge of destructivenesss against us, are based on the most 
clear and stable foundations. 

"Again, you say we have made the slavery question more 
prominent than it formerly was. We deny it. We admit 
that it is more prominent, but we deny that we made it so. 
It was not we, but you, who discarded the old policy of the 
fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your innovation ; and 
thence comes the greater prominence of the question. Would 
you have that question reduced to its former proportions ? 
Go back to that old policy. What has been will be again, 
under the same conditions. If you would have the peace of 
the old times, re-adopt the precepts and policy of the old 

" You charge that we stir up insurrections among your 
slaves. We deny it. And what is your proof? Harper's 
Ferry ! John Brown ! John Brown was no Republican ; 
and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his 
Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our party is 
guilty in that matter, you know it, or you do not know it. 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. The Harper's Ferry Affair. 

If you do know it, you are inexcusable to not designate the 
man, and prove the fact. If you do not know it, you are 
inexcusable to assert it, and especially to persist in the asser- 
tion after you have tried and failed to make the proof. You 
need not be told that persisting in a charge which one does 
not know to be true is simply malicious slander. 

" Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided 
or encouraged the Harper's Perry affair ; but still insist that 
our doctrines and declarations necessarily lead to such results. 
"We do not believe it. We know we hold to no doctrine, and 
make no declarations which were not held to and made by 
our fathers who framed the government under which we live. 
You never deal fairly by us in relation to this affair. When 
it occurred, some important State elections were near at 
hand, and you were in evident glee with the belief that, by 
charging the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of 
us in those elections. The elections came, and your expecta- 
tions were not quite fulfilled. Every Republican man knew 
that, as to himself, at least, your charge was a slander, and 
he was not much inclined by it to cast his vote in your favor. 
Republican doctrines and declarations are accompanied with 
a continual protest against any interference whatever with 
your slaves, or with you about your slaves. Surely, this 
does not encourage them to revolt. True, we do, in common 
with our fathers, who framed the government under which 
we live, declare our belief that slavery is wrong ; but the 
slaves do not hear us declare even this. For any thing we 
say or do, the slaves would scarcely know there is a Repub- 
lican party. I believe they would not, in fact, generally know 
it but for your misrepresentations of us in their hearing. In 
your political contest among yourselves, each faction charges 
the other with sympathy with Black Republicanism ; and 
then, to give point to the charge, defines Black Republican- 
ism to simply be insurrection, blood and thunder among the 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Slave Insurrections. The Gunpowder Plot. 

" Slave insurrections are no more common now than they 
were before the Republican party was organized, What in- 
duced the Southampton insurrection, twenty-eight years ago, 
in which, at least, three times as many lives were lost as at 
Harper's Ferry ? You can scarcely stretch your very elastic 
fancy to the conclusion that Southampton was got up by 
Black Republicanism. In the present state of things in the 
United States, I do not think a general, or even a very exten- 
sive slave insurrection, is possible. The indispensable con- 
cert of action cannot be attained. The slaves have no means 
of rapid communication ; nor can incendiary free men, black 
or white, supply it. The explosive materials are everywhere 
in parcels ; but there neither are, nor can be supplied, the 
indispensable connecting trains. 

" Much is said by southern people about the affection of 
slaves for their masters and mistresses ; and a part of it, at 
least, is true. A plot for an uprising could scarcely be de- 
vised and communicated to twenty individuals before some 
one of them, to save the life of a favorite master or mistress, 
would divulge it. This is the rule ; and the slave revolution 
in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case occurring 
under peculiar circumstances. The gunpowder plot of British 
history, though not connected with the slaves, was more in 
point. In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the 
secret ; and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, 
betrayed the plot to that friend, and, by consequence, averted 
the calamity. Occasional poisoning from the kitchen, and 
open or stealthy assassinations in the field, and local revolts 
extending to a score or so, will continue to occur as the natu- 
ral results of slavery ; but no general insurrection of slaves, 
as I think, can happen in this country for a long time. Who- 
ever much fears, or much hopes, for such an event, will be 
alike disappointed. 

" In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, 
• It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. Jefferson's Plan. Fate of Assassins. 

and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that 
the evil will wear off insensibly ; and their places be, pari 
passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, 
it is left to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the 
prospect held up.' 

" Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the 
power of emancipation is in the Federal Government. He 
spoke of Yirginia ; and, as to the power of emancipation, I 
speak of the slaveholding States only. 

" The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the 
power of restraining the extension of the institution — the power 
to insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any 
American soil which is now free from slavery. 

11 John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave 
insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a 
revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to partici- 
pate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their 
ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed. That 
affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with the many attempts, 
related in history, at the assassination of kings and emperors. 
An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people till he 
fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. 
He ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than in his 
own execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and 
John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their phi- 
losophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to cast blame 
on old England in the one case, and on New England in the 
other, does not disprove the sameness of the two things. 

" And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the 
use of John Brown, Helper's book, and the like, break up the 
Republican organization ? Human action can be modified to 
some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. There 
is a judgment and a feeling against slavery in this nation, 
which cast at least a million and a half of votes. You can- 
not destroy that judgment and feeling — that sentiment — by 


His Speech at the Cooper Institute. The "rule or ruin" Policy. 

breaking up the political organization which rallies around 
it. You can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which 
has been formed into order in the face of your heaviest fire ; 
but if you could, how much would you gain by forcing the 
sentiment which created it out of the peaceful channel of the 
ballot-box, into some other channel ? What would that other 
channel probably be ? Would the number of John Browns 
be lessened or enlarged by the operation ? 

" But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a 
denial of your Constitutional rights. 

" That has a somewhat reckless sound ; but it would be 
palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing by the mere 
force of numbers, to deprive you of some right plainly written 
down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing. 

"When you make these declarations, you have a specific 
and well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitutional 
right of yours, to take slaves into the federal territories, and 
* hold them there as property, but no such right is specifically 
written in the Constitution. That instrument is literally silent 
about any such right. We, on the contrary, deny that such 
a right has any existence in the Constitution, even by impli- 

" Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is, that you will 
destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe 
and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in 
dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all 

11 This, plainly stated, is your language to us. Perhaps 
you will say the Supreme Court has decided the disputed 
Constitutional question in your favor. Not quite so. But 
waiving the lawyer's distinction between dictum and decision, 
the Courts have decided the question for you in a sort of 
way. The Courts have substantially said, it is your Consti- 
tutional right to take slaves into the Federal Territories, and 
to hold them there as property. 


Speech at the Cooper Institute. Right of Property in Slaves. 

" When I say the decision was made in a sort of way, I 
mean it was made in a divided Court by a bare majority of 
the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another in 
the reasons for making it ; that it is so made as that its 
avowed supporters disagree with one another about its mean- 
ing, and that it was mainly based upon a mistaken statement 
of fact — the statement in the opinion that 'the right of 
property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the 

"An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right 
of property in a slave is not distinctly and expressly affirmed 
in it. Bear in mind the Judges do not pledge their judicial 
opinion that such right is impliedly affirmed in the Constitu- 
tion ; but they pledge their veracity that it is distinctly and 
expressly affirmed there — ' distinctly' that is, not mingled 
with any thing else — ' expressly' that is, in words meaning 
just that, without the aid of any inference, and susceptible of 
no other meaning. 

" If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that such 
right is affirmed in the instrument by implication, it would 
be open to others to show that neither the word 'slave' nor 
'slavery' is to be found in the Constitution, nor the word 
'property' even, in any connection with language alluding to 
the things slave, or slavery, and that wherever in that instru- 
ment the slave is alluded to, he is called a ' person ;' and 
wherever his master's legal right in relation to him is alluded 
to, it is spoken of as ' service or labor due,' as a ' debt' paya- 
ble in service or labor. Also, it would be open to show, by 
contemporaneous history, that this mode of alluding to slaves 
and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was employed on 
purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that there 
could be property in man. 

" To show all this is easy and certain. 

" When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be brought 
to their notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will 


Speech at the Cooper Institute. False reasoning of the Slave Power. 

withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclu- 
sion based upon it? 

''And then it is to be remembered that ' our fathers, who 
framed the Government under which we live' — the men who 
made the Constitution — decided this same Constitutional 
question in our favor, long ago — decided it without a division 
among themselves, when making the decision ; without divi- 
sion among themselves about the meaning of it after it was 
made, and so far as any evidence is left, without basing it 
upon any mistaken statement of facts. 

" Under all these circumstances, do you really feel your- 
selves justified to break up this Government, unless such a 
court decision as yours is shall be at once submitted to, as a 
conclusive and final rule of political action. 

" But you will not abide the election of a Republican Presi- 
dent. In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the 
Union ; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed 
it will be upon us ! 

" That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, 
and mutters through his teeth, ' stand and deliver, or I shall 
kill you, and then you will be a murderer !' 

" To be sure, what the robber demanded of me — my money 
— was my own ; and I had a clear right to keep it ; but it 
was no more my own than my vote is my own ; and threat 
of death to me, to extort my money, and threat of destruction 
to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished 
in principle. 

"A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly 
desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at 
peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republi- 
cans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, 
let us do nothing through passion and ill-temper. Even 
though the southern people will not so much as listen 
to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them 
if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. 


Speech at the Cooper Institute. Invasion and Insurrections. Conciliation. 

Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and 
nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we 
can, what will satisfy them ? 

" Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally 
surrendered to them ? We know they will not. In all their 
present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely 
mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. 
Will it satisfy them if, in the future, we have nothing to do 
with invasions and insurrections ? We know it will not. 
We so know because we know we never had any thing to do 
with invasions and insurrections ; and yet this total abstaining 
does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation. 

11 The question recurs, what will satisfy them ? Simply 
this : We must not only let them alone, but we must, some- 
how, convince them that we do let them alone. This we 
know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying 
to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, 
but with no success. In 3,11 our platforms and speeches we 
have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone ; but 
this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing 
to convince them is the. fact that they have never detected a 
man of us in any attempt to disturb them. 

" These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, 
what will convince them ? This, and this only : cease to call 
slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this 
must be done thoroughly — done in acts as well as in words. 
Silence will not be tolerated — we must place ourselves 
avowedly with them. Douglas's new sedition law must be 
enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that 
slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in 
pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fu- 
gitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our 
Free- State Constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be 
disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they 
will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us. 


Speech at the Cooper Institute. Southern Demands. The Whole Controversy. 

" I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely 
in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, ' Let 
us alone, do nothing to us, and say w T hat you please about 
slavery.' But we do let them alone — have never disturbed 
them — so that, after all, it is what we say which dissatisfies 
them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until w T e 
cease saying. 

"I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, de- 
manded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet 
those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more 
solemn emphasis than do all other sayings against it ; and 
when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the 
overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and 
nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the 
contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. 
Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they 
can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. 
Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially 
elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recog- 
nition of it, as a legal right and a social blessing. 

" Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save 
our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all 
words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves 
wrong, and should be silenced and swept away. If it is 
right, we cannot justly object to its nationality — its uni- 
versality ; if it is w^rong, they cannot justly insist upon its 
extension — its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily 
grant, if we thought slavery right ; all w T e ask, they could 
as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking 
it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon 
which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as 
they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, 
as being right ; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we 
yield to them ? Can we cast our votes with their view, and 
against our own ? In view of our moral, social, and politi- 
cal responsibilities, can we do this ? 


Speech at the Cooper Institute. Right makes Might. Pleasing Incident. 

" Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it 
alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity 
arising from its actual presence in the nation ; but can we, 
while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the 
National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free 
States ? 

" If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our 
duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none 
of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so indus- 
triously plied and belabored — contrivances such as groping 
for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, 
vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living 
man nor a dead man — such as a policy of ' dont care' on a 
question about which all true men do care — such as Union 
appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, 
reversing the Divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but 
the righteous to repentance — such as invocations to Washing- 
ton, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo 
what Washington did. 

" Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accu- 
sations against us, not frightened from it by menaces of 
destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. 
Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, 
let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." 

It was during this visit to New York that the following 
incident occurred, as related by a teacher in the Five-Points 
House of Industry, in that city : 

" Our Sunday-school in the Five-Points was assembled, 
one Sabbath morning, a few months since, when I noticed a 
tall and remarkable-looking man enter the room and take a 
seat among us. He listened with fixed attention to our ex- 
ercises, and his countenance manifested such genuine interest 
that I approached him and suggested that he might be willing 
to say something to the children. He accepted the invita- 


Yisits a Sunday-school. ' Address. Republican National Convention. 

tion with evident pleasure, and, corning forward, began a 
simple address, which at once fascinated every little hearer, 
and hushed the room into silence. His language was 
strikingly beautiful, and his tones musical with intensest 
feeling. The little faces around would droop into sad con- 
viction as he uttered sentences of warning, and would brighten 
into sunshine as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once 
or twice he attempted to close his remarks, but the imperative 
shout of ' Go on !' ' Oh, do go on !' would compel him to re- 
sume. As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the 
stranger, and marked his powerful head and determined 
features, now touched into softness by the impressions of the 
moment, I felt an irrepressible curiosity to learn something 
more about him, and when he was quietly leaving the room 
I begged to know his name. He courteously replied, ' It is 
Abra'm Lincoln, from Illinois !" 




The Republican National Convention — Democratic Convention — Constitutional Union 
Convention — Ballotings at Chicago — The Result — Enthusiastic Reception — Visit to 
Springfield— Address and Letter of Acceptance — The Campaign — Result of the Election 
—South Carolina's Movements — Buchanan's pusillanimity — Secession of states — Con- 
federate Constitution — Peace Convention — Constitutional Amendments — Terms of the 

On the 16th of May, 1860, the Republican National Con- 
vention met at Chicago, to present candidates for the Presi- 
dency and Yice-Presidency. The Democratic Convention 
had previously adjourned, after a stormy session of some two 
weeks, at which it was apparent that, if Mr. Douglas's friends 
persisted in placing him in nomination, another candidate 
would be presented by the wing opposed to his peculiar views 


Republican National Convention. The Ballot. Mr. Lincoln Nominated. 

on the slavery question, and the great party would thus be 
disrupted. Another convention, claiming to represent, in a 
peculiarly individual manner, the party in favor of the Con- 
stitution and the Union, had met at Baltimore and put in 
nomination John Bell, of Tennessee, and Edward Everett, of 

The aspect seemed favorable for the election of the Repub- 
lican candidates, and that convention, on the morning of the 
18th of May — one day having been spent in organizing and 
another in the adoption of a platform of principles — amid the 
intense excitement of the twelve thousand people inside of 
the " Wigwam" (as the building was styled in which the body 
was in session), voted to proceed at once to ballot for a candi- 
date for President of the United States. 

Seven names were formally presented in the following order : 
William H Seward, of New York ; Abraham Lincoln, of Illi- 
nois ; William L. Dayton, of New Jersey ; Simon Cameron, 
of Pennsylvania ; Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio ; Edward Bates, 
of Missouri ; and John McLean, of Ohio. 

On the first ballot Mr. Seward received 1Y3 votes, Mr. 
Lincoln 102, Mr. Cameron 50, Mr. Chase 49, Mr. Bates 48, 
Mr. Dayton 14, Mr. McLean 12, and there were 16 votes 
scattered among candidates not put in nomination. For a 
choice, 233 votes were required. 

On the second ballot (Mr. Cameron's name having been 
withdrawn) the vote for the several candidates was as follows : 
Mr. Seward 184, Mr. Lincoln 181, Mr. Chase 42, Mr. Bates 
35, Mr. Dayton 10, Mr. McLean 8, scattering 4. 

The third ballot was immediately taken, and, when the call 
of the roll was ended, the footings were as follows : For Mr. 
Lincoln 231, Mr. Seward 180, Mr. Chase 24, Mr. Bates, 22, 
all others 7. Immediately before the result was announced, 
four Ohio delegates changed their votes to Mr. Lincoln, giv- 
ing him a majority. 

The scene which followed—the wild, almost delirious out- 



Wild Applause. 

The Committee. 

The Response. 

burst of applause within and without the building, the con- 
gratulations, the hand-shakings, the various manifestations of 
joy, continued with scarcely any interruption for some three- 
quarters of an hour — was probably never before witnessed 
in a popular assembly. 

The nomination having been made unanimous, the ticket 
was completed by the selection of Senator Hannibal Hamlin, 
of Maine, as "Vice-President. 

The country then felt that the right man had for once 
been put in the right place. As a man of the people, in cor- 
dial sympathy with the masses, Mr. Lincoln enjoyed the 
unhesitating confidence of the sincere friends of free labor, 
regardless of party distinctions. His tried integrity and in- 
corruptible honesty gave promise of a return to the better 
days of the republic. Every man, laboring for the advance- 
ment of his fellow, knew" that in him humanity, irrespective 
of race or condition, had a tried and trusty friend. 

The committee, appointed to apprise him of his nomination, 
found him at his home, in Springfield, a frame two-storied 
house, apparently about thirty-five or forty feet square, stand- 
ing at the corner of two streets. After entering the parlor, 
which was very plainly furnished, though in good taste, a 
brief address was made by the chairman of the convention, 
upon the utterance of the first sentence of which a smile played 
round Mr. Lincoln's large, firm-set mouth, his eyes lit up, 
and his face conveyed to those who then for the first time 
met him, an impression of that sincere, loving nature which 
those who had known him long and well had learned in some 
measure to comprehend and revere. 

In response to this address, Mr. Lincoln said : 

"Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee: I 
tender to you, and through you to the Republican National 
Convention, and all the people represented in it, my pro- 
foundest thanks for the high honor done me, which you now 


. 63 

The Response. 

The Nomination Accepted. 

Platform Approved. 

formally announce. Deeply, and even painfully sensible of 
the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high 
honor — a responsibility which I could almost wish had fallen 
upon some one of the far more eminent men and experienced 
statesmen whose distinguished names were before the Con- 
vention, I shall, by your leave, consider more fully the resolu- 
tions of the Convention, denominated the platform, and with- 
out unnecessary and unreasonable delay, respond to you, Mr. 
Chairman, in writing, not doubting that the platform will be 
found satisfactory, and the nomination gratefully accepted. 
And now I will not longer defer the pleasure of taking you, 
and each of you, by the hand." 

In reply to the formal letter of the President of the Con- 
vention, apprising him of the nomination, Mr. Lincoln ad- 
dressed the following : 

" Springfield, Illinois, May 23d, 1860. 
" Hon. George Ashman, President of the Republican Na- 
tional Convention. 
" Sir : I accept the nomination tendered me by the Con- 
vention over which you presided, and of which I am formally 
apprised in the letter of yourself and others, acting as a Com- 
mittee of the Convention for that purpose. 

" The declaration of principles and sentiments, which ac- 
companies your letter, meets my approval ; and it shall be 
my care not to violate, or disregard it, in any part. 

" Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, and with 
due regard to the views and feelings of all who were repre- 
sented in the Convention ; to the rights of all the States and 
Territories, and people of the nation ; to .the inviolability of 
the Constitution, and the perpetual union, harmony and pros- 
perity of all, I am most happy to co-operate for the practical 
success of the principles declared by the Convention, 
"Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen, 

"Abraham Lincoln." 


Elected President. The Electoral Vote. The coming Storm. 

The breach in the Democratic party, threatened at Charles- 
ton, was subsequently effected by the nomination of Stephen 
A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, by one 
wing, and of John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and Joseph 
Lane, of Oregon, by the other. 

Although the election of Mr. Lincoln was, under the cir- 
cumstances, almost a foregone conclusion, yet the canvass 
which ensued was acrimonious and vindictive in the extreme, 
the choicest selections from the rank Billingsgate vocabularies 
being lavished on the head of Mr. Linclon and his supporters. 

On the 6th of November, 1860, Mr. Lincoln received 
1,866,452 votes, securing the electoral votes of the States of 
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, 
Oregon, and four votes of New Jersey, 180 in all ; Douglas, 
1,375,15*7 votes, and the electoral votes of Missouri, and three 
of New Jersey, 12 in all; Breckenridge, 841,953, and the 
votes of Maryland, Delaware; North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, 
and Texas, 72 in all; and Bell, 590,631, and the votes of 
Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, 39 in all. 

And now was to be tested whether words were to ripen 
into deeds — whether threats would be reduced to practice — 
whether, indeed, there were madness enough in any State or 
States to attempt the life of the republic. Unfortunately, a 
short space of time elapsed before all doubts were at an end. 
Men were to be found — not confined to a single State, but 
representatives of nearly, if not quite all — not to be counted 
by scores or hundreds even, but by thousands, and soon by 
tens of thousands — ready to lay their unhallowed hands upon 
the Union, the ark of our nation's glory and strength. 

To South Carolina belongs the bold, bad eminence of 
taking the initiation in this conspiracy against the interests 
of humanity. While this State — doomed forever after to an 


President Buchanan's Pusillanimity. South Carolina Secedes. Attempts at Compromise. 

ignominy from which centuries of unquestioned loyalty can- 
not free her — was taking the requisite steps toward secession, 
the then President, James Buchanan, with a pusillanimity — 
to use no stronger term — which modern history certainly has 
never paralleled, in his annual message, after having urged 
the unconstitutionality of the proceeding, gave explicit notifi- 
cation that he had no constitutional power to prevent the 
proposed measures being hastened to successful completion. 
Neither, though appealed to, at a still earlier day, by the 
veteran chief of the army, to occupy and hold the United 
States on the Southern coast, could he find any warrant for 
protecting and defending the national property. 

Surely nothing more could the conspirators have desired. 
On the 20th of December, 1860, South Carolina claims to 
secede — Government forts and arsenals are seized, and 
placed under the protection of the flag of the State. Georgia's 
Governor lays hand on the United States forts on the coast 
of that State, on the 3d of January, 1861 ; as did the Execu- 
tive of Alabama on the following day. 

Events of a startling nature follow in rapid succession. 
On the 9th of January, hostile shots are fired upon a vessel 
bringing tardy reinforcements to Fort Sumter, and Mississippi 
assumes to put herself out of the Union. Alabama, Florida, 
and Georgia are not laggard ; nor are Texas and Louisiana 
found wanting. Cabinet officers from the slave States either 
resigned, after having aided the fell work to their utmost, or 
remained only to hasten its consummation. A new constitu- 
tion, "temporary" in its nature, was declared by delegates 
from the seven States then in rebellion, and a President and 
Yice-President appointed. 

Meanwhile a convetition, composed of delegates from most 
of the Free States, and from all the border Slave States, was 
striving, at Washington, to heal existing difficulties by com- 
promise. Of its members some were acting in good faith, 
others were using it as a breakwater for the States already 


Constitutional Amendment Proposed. Davis defines the Eebel position. 

in overt rebellion. A series of resolutions, however, aiming 
at peace on the basis of a preserved Union was agreed to by 
a majority, and the body adjourned on the 1st of March. 

On the 11th of February, moreover, the National House of 
Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution — shortly 
afterward concurred in by the Senate — providing for an 
amendment to the Constitution, forever prohibiting any Con- 
gressional legislation interfering with slavery in any State. 
Some there were, too, who were willing to concede almost 
every "thing and surrender the long mooted question of slavery 
in the territories by the adoption of the so-called Crittenden 
resolutions, which were killed in cold blood by Southern 

But no concession, short of actual national degradation, 
would satisfy the recusants. Jefferson Davis, the head of the 
" Confederacy," on placing himself at the head of the rebellion, 
at Montgomery, Alabama, February 18th, modestly defined 
the position of himself and his co-conspirators thus : 

"If a just perception of neutral interest shall permit us 
peaceably to pursue our separate political career, my most 
earnest desire will have been fulfilled. But if this be denied 
us, and the integrity of our territory and jurisdiction be 
assailed, it will but remain for us with firm resolve to appeal 
to arms, and invoke the blessing of Providence on a just 

This was at once clinched by a recommendation that " a 
well-instructed, disciplined army, more numerous than would 
usually be required, on a peace establishment," should be at 
once organized and put in training for the emergency. 


The Departure. Farewell Remarks. Seeks Divine Assistance. 



The Departure — Farewell Remarks — Speech at Toledo — At Indianapolis — At Cincinnati — 
At Columbus — At Steubenville — At Pittsburgh — At Cleveland — At Buffalo — At Albany 
— At Poughkeepsie — At New York — At Trenton — At Philadelphia — At " Independence 
Hall" — Flag-raising — Speech at Harrisburg — Secret Departure for Washington — Com- 

Thus matters stood — the air filled with mutterings of an 
approaching storm — the most filled with a certain undefina- 
ble anxiety — the hearts of many failing them through fear — 
when, on the morning of the 11th of February, 1861, the 
President elect with his family, bade adieu to that prairie 
home which, alas ! he was never again to see. 

The large throng which had assembled at the railway 
station on the occasion of his departure, he addressed in 
words replete with the pathos of every true manly nature : 

" My Friends : — JSTo one, not in my position, can appreci- 
ate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe 
all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a 
century ; here my children were born, and here one of them 
lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A 
duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater than that 
which has devolved upon any other man since the days of 
Washington. He never could have succeeded except for the 
aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. 
I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid 
which sustained him ; and in the same Almighty being I 
place my reliance for support, and I hope you, my friends, will 
all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without 
which I can not succeed, but with which success is certain. 
Again, I bid you all an affectionate farewell." 


Speech at Toledo. Speech at Indianapolis. "Coercion" and " Invasion" Defined. 

Along the route, multitudes gathered at the stations to 
greet him. At Toledo, Ohio, in reply to repeated calls, he 
appeared on the platform of the car and said : 

" I am leaving you on an errand of national importance, 
attended, as you are aware, with considerable difficulties. 
Let us believe, as some poet has expressed it, ' Behind the 
cloud the sun is shining still.' I bid you an affectionate fare- 

At Indianapolis, on the evening of the same day, in reply 
to an official address of welcome, he gave the first direct 
public intimation of his views concerning the absorbing 
topics of the day, in which homely sense and cheerful 
pleasantry were blended with a skill beyond the power of 
mere art : 

" Fellow Citizens or the State of Indiana : — I am here 
to thank you for this magnificent welcome, and still more for 
the very generous support given by your State to that 
political cause, which, I think, is the true and just cause of 
the whole country, and the whole world. Solomon says, 
'there is a time to keep silence ;' and when men wrangle by 
the mouth, with no certainty that they mean the same thing 
while using the same words, it perhaps were as well if they 
would keep silence. 

" The words ' coercion' and ' invasion' are much used in 
these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let 
us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the 
meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact defi- 
nitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the 
men themselves, who certainly deprecate the things^ they 
would represent by the use of the words. 

" What, then, is coercion ? What is invasion ? Would 
the marching of an army into South Carolina, without 
the consent of her people, and with hostile intent toward 
them, be invasion ? I certainly think it would, and it would 
be coercion also, if the South Carolinians were forced to 


"Coercion" and " Invasion" Defined. The Rights of States. Cincinnati. 

submit. But if the United States should merely hold and 
retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties 
on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from 
places where they were habitually violated, would any or all 
of these things be invasion or coercion ? Do our professed 
lovers of the Union, who spitefully resolve that they will 
resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as 
these, on the part of the United States, would be coercion or 
invasion of a State ? If so, their idea of means to preserve 
the object of their great affection would seem to be exceedingly 
thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homeopathist 
would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, 
the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular 
marriage, but rather a sort of ' free-love' arrangement, to be 
maintained on passional attraction. 

" By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a 
State ? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the 
Union by the Constitution, for that is a bond we all recog- 
nize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of 
the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right 
of a State to rule all which is less than itself, and to ruin all 
which is larger than itself. If a State and a County, 
in a given case, should be equal in number of inhabitants, in 
what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than 
the County ? Would an exchange of name be an exchange 
of rights ? Upon what principle, upon what rightful prin- 
ciple, may a State, being no more than one-fiftieth part of the 
nation in soil and population, break up the nation, and then 
coerce a proportionably large sub-division of itself in the 
most arbitrary way ? What mysterious right to play tyrant 
is conferred on a district or country with its people, by 
merely calling it a State ? Fellow citizens, I am not assert- 
ing any thing. I am merely asking questions for you to 
consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell." 

Proceeding to Cincinnati, he received a most enthusiastic 


To Washington. Speech at Cincinnatti. The Republican Policy. 

welcome. Having been addressed by the mayor of the city, 
and escorted by a civic and military procession to the Burnet 
House, he addressed the assemblage in these words : 

"Fellow- Citizens : I have spoken but once before this in 
Cincinnati. That was a year previous to the late Presidential 
election. On that occasion in a playful manner, but with 
sincere words, I addressed much of what I said to the Ken- 
tuckians. I gave my opinion that we, as Republicans, would 
ultimately beat them as Democrats, but that they could post- 
pone the result longer by nominating Senator Douglas for the 
Presidency than they could in any other way. They did not, 
in any true sense of the word, nominate Mr. Douglas, and the 
result has come certainly as soon as ever I expected. 

" I also told them how I expected they would be treated 
after they should have been beaten, and now wish to call 
their attention to what I then said : 

" ' When we do, as we say we will, beat you, you perhaps 
want to know what we will do with you. I will tell you — 
as far as I am authorized to speak for the opposition — what 
we mean to do with you. We mean to treat you as near as 
we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison 
treated you. We mean to leave you alone, and in no way to 
interfere with your institutions ; to abide by all and every 
compromise of the Constitution. In a word, coming back to 
the original proposition, to treat you, as far as degenerate 
men — if we have degenerated — may, according to the exam- 
ple of those noble fathers, Washington, Jefferson, and Mad- 
ison. We mean to remember that you are as good as we *, 
that there is no difference between us other than the difference 
of circumstances. We mean to recognize and bear in mind 
always that you have as good hearts in your bosoms as other 
people, or as we claim to have, and to treat you accordingly.' 

" Fellow-citizens of Kentucky, friends, brethren : May I 
call you such ? In my new position I see no occasion and 
feel no inclination to retract a word of this. If it shall 


Speech at Columbus. The Ohio Legislature. Reliance on God. 

not be made good be assured that the fault shall not be 

On the next morning he left Cincinnati, and arrived at 
Columbus, where he was received with every demonstration 
of enthusiasm. He visited the Governor in the Executive 
Chamber, and was subsequently introduced to the members 
of the Legislature in joint session, when he was formally 
welcomed by the Lieutenant-Governor, to whom Mr. Lincoln 
•responded in these words : 

" It is true, as has been said by the President of the Senate, 
that very great responsibility rests upon me in the position 
to which the votes of the American people have called me 
I am deeply sensible of that weighty responsibility. I can- 
not but know, what you all know, that without a name — 
perhaps without a reason why I should have a name — there 
has fallen upon me a task such as did not rest upon the 
Father of his Country. And so feeling, I cannot but turn 
and look for the support without which it will be impossible 
for me to perform that great task. I turn, then, and look to 
the American people, and to that God who has never for- 
saken them. 

"Allusion has been made to the interest felt in relation to 
the policy of the new Administration. In this, I have re- 
ceived from some a degree of credit for having kept silence, 
from others some depreciation. I still think I was right. In 
the varying and repeatedly shifting scenes of the present, 
without a precedent which could enable me to judge for the 
past, it has seemed fitting, that before speaking upon the 
difficulties of the country I should have gained a view of the 
whole field. To be sure, after all, I would be at liberty to 
modify and change the course of policy as future events 
might make a change necessary. 

" I have not maintained silence from any want of real anx- 
iety. It is a good thing that there is no more than anxiety, 
for there is nothing going wrong. It is a consoling circum- 


To Washington. Speech at Steubenville. Speech at Pittsburgh, 

stance that when we look out there is nothing that really 
hurts anybody. We entertain different views upon political 
questions, but nobody is suffering any thing. This is a most 
consoling circumstance, and from it I judge that all we want 
is time and patience, and a reliance on that- God who has 
never forsaken this people." 

On the 14th of February, Mr. Lincoln proceeded to Pitts- 
burgh. At Steubenville, on the route, in reply to. an address, 
he said : 

"I fear the great confidence placed in my ability is un- 
founded. Indeed, I am sure it is. Encompassed by vast 
difficulties, as I am, nothing shall be wanted on my part, if 
sustained by the American people and God. I believe the 
devotion to the Constitution is equally great on both sides of 
the river. It is only the different understanding of that in-. 
strument that causes difficulties. The only dispute is ' What 
are their rights V If the majority should not rule who should 
be the judge ? Where is such a judge to be found ? We 
should all be bound by the majority of the American people 
— if not, then the minority must control. Would that be 
right ? Would it be just or generous ? Assuredly not." He 
reiterated, the majority should rule. If he adopted a wrong 
policy, then the opportunity to condemn him would occur in 
four years' time. " Then I can be turned out and a better 
man with better views put in my place." 

The next morning he left for Cleveland, but before his de- 
parture he made an address to the people of Pittsburgh, in 
which he said : 

11 In every short address I have made to the people, and in 
every crowd through which I have passed of late, some al- 
lusion has been made to the present distracted condition of 
the country. It is naturally expected that I should say 
something upon this subject, but to touch upon it at all would 
involve an elaborate discussion of a great many questions 
and circumstances, would require more time than I can at 


Speech at Pittsburgh. Condition of the Country. Crisis an artificial one. 

present command, and would perhaps unnecessarily commit 
me upon matters which have not yet fully developed them- 

" The condition of the country, fellow-citizens, is an ex- 
traordinary one, and fills the mind of every patriot with 
anxiety and solicitude. My intention is to give this subject 
all the consideration which I possibly can before I speak fully 
and definitely in regard to it, so that, when I do speak, I 
may be as nearly right as possible. And when I do speak, 
fellow-citizens, I hope to say nothing in opposition to the 
spirit of the Constitution, contrary to the integrity of the 
Union, or which will in any way prove inimical to the liber- 
ties of the people or to the peace of the whole country. 
And, furthermore, when the time arrives for me to speak on 
this great subject, I hope to say nothing which will disap- 
point the reasonable expectations of any man, or disappoint 
the people generally throughout the country, especially if 
their expectations have been based upon any thing which I 
may have heretofore said. 

" Notwithstanding the troubles across the river [the 
speaker, smiling, pointed southwardly to the Monongahela 
river], there is really no crisis springing from any thing in 
the Government itself. In plain words, there is really no 
crisis except an artificial one. What is there now to warrant 
the condition of affairs presented by our friends ' over the 
river V Take even their own view of the questions involved, 
and there is nothing to justify the course which they are pur- 
suing. I repeat it, then, there is no crisis, except such a one 
as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by 
designing politicians. My advice, then, under such circum- 
stances, is to keep cool. If the great American people will 
only keep their temper on both sides of the line, the trouble 
will come to an end, and the question which now distracts 
the country will be settled just as surely as all other diffi- 
culties of like character which have originated in this 
government have been adjusted. Let the people on both 


To Washington. Speech at Pittsburgh. Speech at Cleveland. 

sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have 
cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation 
shall continue to prosper as heretofore." 

He then referred to the subject of the tariff, and said : 
"According to my political education, I am inclined to 
believe that the people in the various portions of the country 
should have their own views carried out through their repre- 
sentatives in Congress. That consideration of the tariff bill 
should not be postponed until the next session of the Na- 
tional Legislature. No subject should engage your repre- 
sentatives more closely than that of the tariff. If I have 
any recommendation to make, it will be that every man who 
is called upon to serve the people, in a representative ca- 
pacity, should study the whole subject thoroughly, as I intend 
to do myself, looking to all the varied interests of the com- 
mon country, so that, w T hen the time for action arrives, ade- 
quate protection shall be extended to the coal and iron of 
Pennsylvania, and the corn of Illinois. Permit me to express 
the hope that this important subject may receive such con- 
sideration at the hands of your representatives that the 
interests of no part of the country may be overlooked, but 
that all sections may share in the common benefits of a just 
and equitable tariff." 

Mr. Lincoln, upon his arrival in Cleveland, adverted to the 
same subject in the following terms : 

" It is with you, the people, to advance the great cause of 
the Union and the Constitution, and not with any one man. 
It rests with you alone. This fact is strongly impressed on 
my mind at present. In a community like this, whose ap- 
pearance testifies to their intelligence, I am convinced that 
the cause of liberty and the Union can never be in danger. 
Frequent allusion is made to the excitement at present exist- 
ing in national politics. I think there is no occasion for any 
excitement. The crisis, as it is called, is altogether an arti- 
ficial crisis. In all parts of the nation, there are differences 


Speech at Cleveland. The Deputation at Buffalo. Speech at Buffalo. 

of opinion in politics. There are differences of opinion even 
here. You did not all vote for the person who now addresses 
you. And how is it with those who are not here ? Have 
they not all their rights as they ever had ? Do they not have 
their fugitive slaves returned now as ever ? Have they not 
the same Constitution that they have lived under for seventy 
odd years ? Have they not a position as citizens of this 
common country, and have we any power to change that 
position ? What, then, is the matter with them ? Why all 
this excitement ? Why all these complaints ? As I said 
before, this crisis is all artificial. It has no foundation in 
fact. It was ' argued up,' as the saying is, and cannot be 
argued down. Let it alone, and it will go down itself." 

On Saturday he proceeded to Buffalo, where he arrived 
at evening, and was met by an immense concourse of citizens, 
headed by Ex-President Fillmore. 

Arriving at the hotel, Mr. Lincoln was welcomed in a 
brief speech by the acting chief magistrate, to which he made 
a brief reply, as follows : 

"Mr. Mayor and Fellow Citizens : — I am here to thank 
you briefly for this grand reception given to me not personally, 
but as the representative of our great and beloved country. 
Your worthy Mayor has been pleased to mention in his 
address to me, the fortunate and agreeable journey which I 
have had from home — only it is rather a circuitous route to 
the Federal Capitol. I am very happy that he was enabled, 
in truth, to congratulate myself and company on that fact. 
It is true, we have had nothing thus far to mar the pleasure 
of the trip. We have not been met alone by those who 
assisted in giving the election to me ; I say not alone, but by 
the whole population of the country through which we have 
passed. This is as it should be. Had the election fallen to 
any other of the distinguished candidates instead of myself, 
under the peculiar circumstances, to say the least, it would 


To Washington. Speech at Buffalo. Our Difficulties without Precedent. 

have been proper for all citizens to have greeted him as you 
now greet me. It is an evidence of the devotion of the whole 
people to the Constitution, the Union, and the perpetuity of 
the liberties of this country. I am unwilling, on any occa- 
sion, that I should be so meanly thought of as to have it sup- 
posed for a moment that these demonstrations are tendered 
to me personally. They are tendered to the country, to the 
institutions of the country, and to the perpetuity of the liber- 
ties of the country for which these institutions were made and 
created. Your worthy mayor has thought fit to express the 
hope that I may be able to relieve the country from the pre- 
sent, or, I should say, the threatened difficulties. I am sure 
I bring a heart true to the work. For the ability to perform 
it, I trust in that Supreme Being who has never forsaken this 
favored land, through the instrumentality of this great and 
intelligent people. Without that assistance I should surely 
fail ; with it I cannot fail. When we speak of the threatened 
difficulties to the country, it is natural that it should be ex- 
pected that something should be said by myself with regard to 
particular measures. Upon more mature reflection, however, 
I think, — and others will agree with me — that, when it is con- 
sidered that these difficulties are without precedent, and never 
have been acted upon by any individual situated as I am, it 
is most proper that' I should wait and see the developments, 
and get all the light possible, so that, when I do speak 
authoritatively, I may be as near right as possible. When I 
shall speak authoritatively, I hope to say nothing inconsistent 
with the Constitution, the Union, the rights of all the States, . 
of each State, and of each section of the country, and not to 
disappoint the reasonable expectations of those who have 
confided to me their votes. In this connection, allow me to 
say that you, as a portion of the great American people, need 
only to maintain your composure, stand up to your sober 
convictions of right, to your obligations to the Constitution, 
and act in accordance with those sober convictions, and the 


Deputation at Albany. Speech at Albany. Americans one People. 

clouds which now arise in the horizon will be dispelled, and 
we shall have a bright and glorious future ; and, when this 
generation shall have passed away, tens of thousands shall 
inhabit this country where only thousands inhabit it now. I 
do not propose to address you at length. I have no voice for 
it. Allow me a. lin to thank you for this magnificent recep- 
tion, and bid you arewell." 

Mr. Lincoln then proceeded from Buffalo to Albany. Here 
he was met by the Mayor, the City Councils, and the Legis- 
lative Committees, and was conducted to the Capitol, where 
he was welcomed by Governor Morgan, and responded briefly, 
as follows : 

11 Governor Morgan : — I was pleased to receive an invita- 
tion to visit the capital of the great Empire State of this 
nation, while on my way to the Federal capital. I now thank 
you, and you, the people of the capital of the State of New 
York, for this most hearty and magnificent welcome. If I am 
not at fault, the great Empire State at this time contains a 
larger population than did the whole of the United States of 
America at the time they achieved their national indepen- 
dence ; and I was proud to be invited to visit its capital, to 
meet its citizens as I now have the honor to do. I am noti- 
fied by your governor that this reception is tendered by citizens 
without distinction of party. Because of this, I accept it the 
more gladly. In this country, and in any country where free- 
dom of thought is tolerated, citizens attach themselves to poli- 
tical parties. It is but an ordinary degree of charity to attri 
ute this act to the supposition that, in thus attaching them 
selves to the various parties, each man, in his own judgment, 
supposes he thereby best advances the interests of the wholo 
country. And when an election is passed, it is altogether 
befitting a free people that, until the next election, they should 
be one people. The reception you have extended me to-day 
is not given to me personally. It should not be so, but as the 
representative, for the time being, of the majority of the nation. 


To Washington. Speech at Albany. Addresses the Legislature. 

If the election had fallen to any of the more distinguished citi- 
zens, who received the support of the people, this same honor 
should have greeted him that greets me this day, in testimony 
of the unanimous devotion of the whole people to the Consti- 
tution, the Union, and to the perpetual liberties of succeeding 
generations in this country. I have neither the voice nor the 
strength to address you at any greater length. I beg you 
will, therefore, accept my most grateful thanks for this mani- 
fest devotion — not to me but to the institutions of this great 
and glorious country." 

He was then conducted to the Legislative halls, where, in 
reply to an address of welcome, he again adverted to the trou- 
bles of the country in the following terms : 

" Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Legislature op 
the State of New York : — It is with feelings of great diffi- 
dence, and, I may say, feelings even of awe, perhaps greater 
than I have recently experienced, that I meet you here in this 
place. The history of this great State, the renown of its great 
men, who have stood in this chamber, and have spoken their 
thoughts, all crowd around my fancy, and incline me to shrink 
from an attempt to address you. Yet I have some confidence 
given me by the generous manner in which you have invited 
me, and the still more generous manner in which you have re- 
ceived me. You have invited me and received me without dis- 
tinction of party. I could not for a moment suppose that this 
has been done in any considerable degree with any reference 
to my personal self. It is very much more grateful to me 
that this reception and the invitation preceding it were given 
to me as the representative of a free people, than it could pos- 
sibly have been were they but the evidence of devotion to me 
or to any one man. It is true that, while I hold myself, 
without mock-modesty, the humblest of all the individuals 
who have ever been elected President of the United States, I 
yet have a more difficult task to perform than any one of them 
has ever encountered. You have here generously tendered 


New York Legislature. Deputation from N. Y. City. Speech at Poughkeepsie. 

me the support, the united support, of the great Empire State. 
For this, in behalf of the nation — in behalf of the President 
and of the future of the nation — in behalf of the cause of civil 
liberty in all time to come — I most gratefully thank you. I 
do not propose now to enter upon any expressions as to the 
particular line of policy to be adopted with reference to the 
difficulties that stand before us in the opening of the incoming 
administration. I deem that it is just to the country, to my- 
self, to you, that I should see every thing, hear every thing, 
and have every light that can possibly be brought within my 
reach to aid me before I shall speak officially, in order that, 
when I do speak, I may have the best possible means of 
taking correct and true grounds. For this reason, I do not 
now announce any thing in the way of policy for the new 
Administration. When the time comes, according to the cus- 
tom of the Government, I shall speak, and speak as well as I 
am able for the good of the present and of the future of this 
country — for the good of the North and of the South — for the 
good of one and of the other, and of all sections of it. In the 
meantime, if we have patience, if we maintain our equanimity, 
though some may allow themselves to run on 7 in a burst of 
passion, I still have confidence that the Almighty Ruler of 
the Universe, through the instrumentality of this great and 
intelligent people, can and will bring us through this difficulty, 
as he has heretofore brought us through all preceding diffi- 
culties of the country. Relying upon this, and again thanking 
you, as I forever shall, in my heart, for this generous recep- 
tion you have given me, I bid you farewell." 

At Albany, he was met by a delegation from the city 
authorities of New York, and on the 19th started for that 
city. At Poughkeepsie, he was welcomed by the Mayor of 
the city. Mr. Lincoln, in reply, said : 

" I am grateful for this cordial welcome, and I am gratified 
that this immense multitude has come together, not to meet 


To Washington. Speech at Poughkeepsie. Speech in New York. 

the individual man, but the man who, for the time being, will 
humbly but earnestly represent the majesty of the nation. 
These receptions have been given me at other places, and, as 
here, by men of different parties, and not by one party alone. 
It shows an earnest effort on the part of all to save, not the 
country, for the country can save itself, but to save the insti- 
tutions of the country — those institutions under which, for at 
least three-quarters of a century, we have become the 
greatest, the most intelligent, and the happiest people in the 
world. These manifestations show that we all make common 
cause for these objects ; that if some of us are successful in an 
election, and others are beaten, those who are beaten are not 
in favor of sinking the ship in consequence of defeat, but are 
earnest in their purpose to sail it safely through the voyage 
in hand, and, in so far as they may think there has been any 
mistake in the election, satisfying themselves to take their 
chance of setting the matter right the next time. That 
course is entirely right. I am not sure — I do not pretend to 
be sure — that in the election of the individual who has been 
elected this term, the wisest choice has been made. I fear 
it has not. In the purposes and in the principles that have 
been sustained, I have been the instrument selected to carry 
forward the affairs of this Government. I can rely upon you, 
and upon the people of the country ; and with their sustain- 
ing hand, I think that even I shall not fail in carrying the 
Ship of State through the storm." 

The recept' n of 'r sident Lincoln in New York City was 
a most imposing demonstration. Places of business were 
generally closed, and hundreds of thousands were in the 
streets. On the next day, he was welcomed to the city by 
Mayor Wood, and replied as follows : 

" Mr. Mayor : It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I 
make my acknowledgments for the reception given me in the 
great commercial city of New York. I cannot but remember 



Speech in Now York. The Ship of State. Speech at Trenton. 

that this is done by a people who clo not, by a majority, 
agree with me in political sentiment. It is the more grateful, 
because in this I see that, for the great principles of our 
Government, the people are almost unanimous. In regard 
to the difficulties that confront us at this time, and of which 
your Honor has thought fit to speak so becomingly and 
so justly, as I suppose, I can only say that I agree in the 
sentiments expressed. In my devotion to the Union, I hope 
I am behind no man in the nation. In the wisdom with 
which to conduct the affairs tending to the preservation of the 
Union, I fear that too great confidence may have been reposed 
in me ; but I am sure I bring a heart devoted to the work. 
There is nothing that could ever bring me to willingly con- 
sent to the destruction of this Union, under which not only 
the great commercial city of New York, but the whole 
country, acquired its greatness, except it be the purpose for 
which the Union itself was formed. I understand the ship to 
be made for the carrying and the preservation of the cargo, and 
so long as the ship can be saved with the cargo, it should never 
be abandoned, unless it fails the possibility of its preservation, 
and shall cease to exist, except at the risk of throwing over- 
board both freight and passengers. So long, then, as it is 
possible that the prosperity and the liberties of the people be 
preserved in this Union, it shall be my purpose at all times to 
use all my powers to aid in its perpetuation. Again thanking 
you for the reception given me, allow me to come to a close." 

On the next day he left for Philadelphia. At Trenton he 
remained a few hours, and visited both Houses of the Legis- 
lature. On being received in the Senate, he thus addressed 
that body : 

"Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Senate op the 

State of New Jersey : — I am very grateful to you for the 

honorable reception of which I have been the object. I cannot 

but remember the place that New Jersey holds in our early his- 



Speech at Trenton. Early Memories. The Revolutionary Struggle. 

tory. In the early Revolutionary struggle, few of the States 
among the old Thirteen had more of the battle-fields of the 
country within its limits than old New Jersey. May I be par- 
doned, if, upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my 
childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got 
hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members 
have ever seen, ' Weems' Life of Washington.' I remember 
all the accounts there given of the battle-fields and struggles 
for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves 
upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at 
Trenton, New Jersey. The crossing of the river — the 
contest with the Hessians — the great hardships endured 
at that time — all fixed themselves on my memory more than 
any single revolutionary event; and you all know, for 
you have all been boys, how these early impressions last 
longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even 
though I was, that there must have been something more 
than common that those men struggled for. I am exceed- 
ingly anxious that that thing which they struggled for — that 
something even more than National Independence — that 
something that held out a great promise to all the people of 
the world to all time to come — I am exceedingly anxious 
that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the 
people, shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original 
idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most 
happy indeed, if I shall be an humble instrument in the 
hands of the Almighty, and of this, His almost chosen 
people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle. 
You give me this reception, as I understand, without distinc- 
tion of party. I learn that this body is composed of a 
majority of gentlemen who, in the exercise of their best 
judgment in the choice of a Chief Magistrate, did not think 
I was the man. I understand, nevertheless, that they came 
forward here to greet me as the Constitutional President of 
the United States — as citizens of the United States, to meet 


Speech at Trenton. Address to the Legislature. The Whole Country. 

the man who, for the time being, is the representative man of 
the nation, united by a purpose to perpetuate the Union and 
liberties of the people. As such, I accept this reception 
more gratefully than I could do did I believe it was tendered 
to me as an individual." 

He then passed into the Chamber of the Assembly, and 
upon being introduced by the Speaker, addressed that body 
as follows : 

" Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen : — I have just enjoyed the 
honor of a reception by the other branch of this Legislature, 
and I return to you and them my thanks for the reception 
which the people of New Jersey have given, through their 
chosen representatives, to me, as the representative, for the 
time being, of the majesty of the people of the United 
States. I appropriate to myself very little of the demonstra- 
tions of respect with which I have been greeted. I think 
little should be given to any man, but that it should be 
a manifestation of adherence to the Union and the Constitu- 
tion. I understand myself to be received here by the repre- 
sentatives of the people of New Jersey, a majority of whom 
differ in opinion from those with whom I have acted. This 
manifestation is therefore to be regarded by me as expressing 
their devotion to the Union, the Constitution, and the 
liberties of the people. You, Mr. Speaker, have well said, 
that this is the time when the bravest and wisest look with 
doubt and awe upon the aspect presented by our national 
affairs. Under these circumstances, you will readily see why 
I should not speak in detail of the course I shall deem it 
best to pursue. It is proper that I should avail myself of 
all the information and all the time at my command, in order 
that when the time arrives in which I must speak officially, 
I shall be able to take the ground which I deem the best and 
safest, and from which I may have no occasion to swerve. I 
shall endeavor to take the ground I deem most just to the 
North, the East, the West, the South, and the whole country. 


To Washington. New Jersey Legislature. Speech at Philadelphia. 

I take it, I hope, in good temper — certainly with no malice 
towards any section. I shall do all that may be in ray power 
to promote a peaceful settlement of all our difficulties. The 
man does not live who is more deyoted to peace than I am — 
none who would do more to preserve it. But it may be 
necessary to put the foot down firmly. And if I do my duty, 
and do right, you will sustain me, will you not ? Received, 
as I am, by the members of a Legislature, the majority of 
whom do not agree with me in political sentiments, I trust 
that I may have their assistance in piloting the Ship of 
State through this voyage, surrounded by perils as it is ; for 
if it should suffer shipwreck now, there will be no pilot ever 
needed for another voyage." 

On his arrival in Philadelphia, he was received with great 
enthusiasm, and to an address from the Mayor Mr. Lincoln 
replied : 

"Mr. Mayor and Fellow-citizens of Philadelphia: — 
I appear before you to make no lengthy speech but to 
thank you for this reception. The reception you have given 
me to-night is not to me, the man, the individual, but to the 
man who temporarily represents, or should represent, the 
majesty of the nation. It is true, as your worthy Mayor has 
said, that there is anxiety among the citizens of the United 
States at this time. I deem it a happy circumstance that 
this dissatisfied portion of our fellow-citizens do not point us 
to any thing in which they are being injured, or are about to 
be injured ; for which reason I have felt all the while justified 
in concluding that the crisis, the panic, the anxiety of the 
country at this time, is artificial. If there be those who differ 
with me upon this subject, they have not pointed out the 
substantial difficulty that exists. I do not mean to say that 
an artificial panic may not do considerable harm ; that it has 
done such I do not deny. The hope that has been expressed 
by your Mayor, that I may be able to restore peace, harmony, 
and prosperity to the country, is most Worthy of him ; and 


Speech in Philadelphia. Visits Independence Hall. The National Flag. 

happy indeed will I be if I shall be able to verify and fulfil 
that hope. I promise you, in all sincerity, that I bring to 
the work a sincere heart. Whether I will bring a head equal 
to that heart, will be for future times to determine. It were 
useless for me to speak of details or plans now ; I shall speak 
officially next Monday week, if ever. If I should not speak 
then, it were useless for me to do so now. If I do speak 
then, it is useless for me to do so now. When I do speak, I 
shall take such grounds as I deem best calculated to restore 
peace, harmony, and prosperity to the country, and tend to 
the perpetuity of the nation, and the liberty of these States 
and these people. Your worthy Mayor has expressed the 
wish, in which I join with him, that if it were convenient for 
me to remain with your city long enough to consult your 
merchants and manufacturers ; or, as it were, to listen to 
those breathings rising within the consecrated walls wherein 
the Constitution of the United States, and, I will add, the 
Declaration of Independence, were originally framed and 
adopted. I assure you and your Mayor, that I had hoped 
on this occasion, and upon all occasions during my life, that 
I shall do nothing inconsistent with the teachings of these 
holy and most sacred walls. I never asked any thing that 
does not breathe from those walls. All my political warfare 
has been in favor of the teachings that come forth from these 
sacred w r alls. May my right hand forget its cunning, and 
my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if ever I prove 
false to those teachings. Fellow-citizens, now allow me to 
bid you good-night." 

On the next morning Mr. Lincoln visited the old " Inde- 
pendence Hall," for the purpose of raising the national flag 
over it. Here he was received with a warm welcome, and 
made the following address : 

" I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing 
here, in this place, where were collected the wisdom, the 
patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the 


At Independence Hall. Solemn Memories. The Declaration of Independence. 

institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested 
to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to the 
present distracted condition of the country. I can say in 
return, sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have 
been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from 
the sentiments which originated and were given to the world 
from this hall. I have never had a feeling politically that 
did not spring from the sentiments embodied iu the Declara- 
tion of Independence. I have often pondered over the 
dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled 
here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by 
the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that inde- 
pendence. I have often inquired of myself what great prin- 
ciple or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long 
together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of 
the colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the 
Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to 
the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world for all 
future time. It was that which gave promise that in due 
time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. 
This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon 
this basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the 
happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it 
cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. 
But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that 
principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated 
on this spot than surrender it. Now, in my view of the 
present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed or war. 
There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a 
course, and I may say, in advance, that there will be no 
blood shed unless it be forced upon the government, and then 
it will be compelled to act in self-defence. 

" My friends, this is wholly an unexpected speech, and I 


Raising the Flag. Future of our Country. Speech at Harrisburg. 

did not expect to be called upon to say a word when I came 
here. I supposed it was merely to do something towards 
raising the flag. I may, therefore, have said something in- 
discreet. I have said nothing but what I am willing to live 
by, and, if it be the pleasure of Almighty God, to die by." 

The party then proceeded to a platform erected in front 
of the State House, when the President-elect was invited to 
raise the flag. Mr. Lincoln responded in a brief speech, 
stating his cheerful compliance with the request, and alluded 
to the original flag of thirteen stars, saying that the number 
had increased as time rolled on, and we now became a happy 
and a powerful people, each star adding to its prosperity. 
" The future," he added, " is in the hands of the people. It is 
on such an occasion as this that we can reason together, re- 
affirm our devotion to the country and the principles of the 
Declaration of Independence. Let us make up our mind, 
that when we do put a new star upon our banner, it shall be 
a fixed one, never to be dimmed by the horrors of war, but 
brightened by the contentment and prosperity of peace. Let 
us go on to extend the area of our usefulness, add star upon 
star, until their light shall shine upon five hundred millions 
of a free and happy people." 

The President-elect then raised the flag to the top of the 

At half-past 9 o'clock the party left for Harrisburg. Both 
Houses of the Legislature were visited by Mr. Lincoln, and to 
an address of welcome he thus replied : 

" I appear before you only for a very few brief remarks, in 
response to what has been said to me. I thank you most 
sincerely for this reception, and the generous words in which 
support has been promised me upon this occasion. I thank 
your great commonwealth for the overwhelming support it 
recently gave, not to me personally, but the cause, which I 
think a just one, in the late election. Allusion has been 
made to the fact — the interesting fact, perhaps we should say 


Speech at Harrisburg. Allusion to the Flag. 

— that I, for the first time, appear at the Capital of the great 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania upon the birthday of the 
Father of his Country, in connection with that beloved anni- 
versary connected with the history of this country. I have 
already gone through one exceedingly interesting scene this 
morning in the ceremonies at Philadelphia. Under the high 
conduct of gentlemen there, I was, for the first time, allowed 
the privilege of standing in Old Independence Hall, to have 
a few words addressed to me there, and opening up to me an 
opportunity of expressing, with much regret, that I had not 
more time to express something of my own feelings, excited 
by the occasion, somewhat to harmonize and give shape to 
the feelings that had been really the feelings of my whole life. 
Besides this, our friends there had provided a magnificent 
flag of the country. They had arranged it so that I was 
given the honor of raising it to the head of its staff. And 
when it went up I was pleased that it went to its place by 
the strength of my own feeble arm ; when, according to the 
arrangement, the cord was pulled, and it flaunted gloriously 
to the wind without an accident, in the bright glowing sun- 
shine of the morning, I could not help hoping that there was 
in the entire success of that beautiful ceremony at least some- 
thing of an omen of what is to come. Nor could I help 
feeling then, as I often have felt, in the whole of that proceed- 
ing, I was a very humble instrument. I had not provided 
the flag ; I had not made the arrangements for elevating it to 
its place. I had applied but a very small portion of my 
feeble strength in raising it. In the whole transaction I was 
in the hands of the people who had arranged it ; and if I can 
have the same generous cooperation of the people of the 
nation, I think the flag of our country may yet be kept 
flaunting gloriously. I recur for a moment but to repeat 
some words uttered at the hotel in regard to what has been 
said about the military support which the General Govern- 
ment may expect from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 


Military Support. Pennsylvania's Interests. Departure. 

in a proper emergency. To guard against any possible mis- 
take do I recur to this. It is not with any pleasure that I 
contemplate the possibility that a necessity may arise in this 
country for the use of the military arm. While I am exceed- 
ingly gratified to see the manifestation upon your streets of 
your military force here, and exceedingly gratified at your 
promise here to use that force upon a proper emergency — 
while I make these acknowledgements, I desire to repeat, in 
order to preclude any possible misconstruction, that I do 
most sincerely hope that we shall have no use for them ; that 
it will never become their duty to shed blood, and most 
especially never to shed fraternal blood. I promise that, so 
far as I have wisdom to direct, if so painful a result shall in 
any wise be brought about, it shall be through no fault of 
mine. Allusion has also been made by one of your honored 
speakers to some remark recently made by myself at Pitts- 
burg, in regard to what is supposed to be the especial 
interest of this great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I 
now wish only to say, in regard to that matter, that the few 
remarks which I uttered on that occasion were rather care- 
fully worded. I took pains that they should be so. I have 
seen no occasion since to add to them or subtract from them. 
I leave them precisely as they stand, adding only now, that 
I am pleased to have an expression from you, gentlemen of 
Pennsylvania, significant that they are satisfactory to you. 
And now, gentlemen of the General Assembly of the Com- 
monwealth of Pennsylvania, allow me to return you again 
my most sincere thanks." 

Arrangements had been made for his departure from Har- 
risburg on the following morning ; but the timely discovery 
of a plot to assassinate him on his way through Baltimore — a 
plot in which several of the leading citizens of that place 
were believed to be interested, although the work was to be 
done by other hands — caused a change in the schedule, and 
on the evening of the day on which he had been received by 


Arrival at Washington. Pictorial Illustration. Speech at Washington. 

the Legislature, lie left on a special train for Philadelphia, 
and thence proceeded in the sleeping-car attached to the regu- 
lar midnight train to Washington, where he arrived at an 
early hour on the morning of the 23d. 

As an evidence how little the extent to which unscrupulous 
men were prepared to go, was understood at this time, it may- 
be remarked that not a few made themselves very merry over 
this midnight ride — a leading pictorial even indulging itself 
in an attempt at a humorous illustration of it, an act which, 
viewed in the light of a startling event but little more than 
four years later, in which a native of the same city was directly 
concerned, would hardly have been repeated. 



Speeches at Washington — The Inaugural Address — Its Effect — The Cabinet — Commis- 
sioners from Montgomery — Extract from A. H. Stephens's speech — Virginia Commis- 
sioners — Fall of Fort Sumter. 

A few days after his arrival in Washington, the President 
elect was waited upon by the Mayor and other municipal au- 
thorities, welcoming him the city, to whom he made the fol- 
lowing reply : 

" Mr. Mayor : I thank you, and through you the municipal 
authorities of this city who accompany you, for this welcome. 
And as it is the first time in my life since the present phase 
of- politics has presented itself in this country, that I have 
said anything publicly within a region of country where the 
institution of slavery exists, I will take this occasion to say 
that I think very much of the ill feeling which has existed, 
and still exists, between the people in the sections from 
whence T came and the people here, is dependent upon a 
misunderstanding of one another. I therefore avail myself 


Speech at Washington. Remarks at a Serenade. 

of this opportunity to assure you, Mr. Mayor, and all the 
gentlemen present, that I have not now, and never have had, 
any other than as kindly feelings towards you as towards 
the people of my own section. I have not now, nor never 
have had, any disposition to treat you in any respect other- 
wise than as my own neighbors. I have not now any pur- 
pose to withhold from you any of the benefits of the Consti- 
tution, under any circumstances, that I would not feel myself 
constrained to withhold from my neighbors ; and I hope, in a 
word, that when we shall become better acquainted, and I 
say it with great confidence, we shall like each other the 
more. I thank you for the kindness of this reception." 

On the following evening, at the close of a serenade ten- 
dered him by the Republican Association, he thus addressed 
the crowd : 

" My friends : I suppose that I may take this as a compli- 
ment paid to me, and as such please accept my thanks for it. 
I have reached this city of Washington under circumstances 
considerably differing from those under which any other man 
has ever reached it. I am here for the purpose of taking an 
official position amongst the people, almost all of whom were 
politically opposed to me, and are yet opposed to me as I 
suppose. I propose no lengthy address to you. I only pro- 
pose to say, as I did on yesterday, when your worthy Mayor 
and Board of Aldermen called upon me, that I thought much 
of the ill feeling that has existed between you and the people 
of your surroundings and that people from amongst whom I 
came, has depended, and now depends, upon a misunder- 

"1 hope that, if things shall go on as prosperously as I 
believe we all desire they may, I may have it in my power to 
remove something of this misunderstanding, that I may be 
enabled to convince you, and the people of your section of the 
country, that we regard you as in all things our equals, and 
in all things entitled to the same respect and the same treat- 


Constitutional Rights. Anxiety for the Inaugural. 

ment that we claim for ourselves ; that we are in nowise dis- 
posed, if it were in our power, to oppress you, to deprive 
you of any of your rights under the Constitution of the 
United States, or even narrowly to split hairs with you in 
regard to those rights, but are determined to give you, as far 
as lies in our hands, all your rights under the Constitution — 
not grudgingly, but fully and fairly. I hope that, by thus 
dealing with you, we will become better acquainted, and be 
better friends. And now, my friends, with these few re- 
marks, and again returning my thanks for this compliment, 
and expressing my desire to hear a little more of your good 
music, I bid you good-night." 

Never, in the history of the country, has the inaugural 
address of any President been so anxiously' awaited as was 
that of Mr. Lincoln. The most of his countrymen, even in 
States whose loyalty to the Government was beyond sus- 
picion, were certain to be disappointed, whatever that inaug- 
ural might prove to be. An impression prevailed, for which 
no good grounds could be shown, that somehow, in some in- 
explicable way, this particular address would operate as a 
panacea to heal the nation's malady. One class, who knew 
not the man, hoped, almost against hope, that such conces- 
sions would be made to the rebels as would bridge over exist- 
ing difficulties, and restore the good old times when men 
could vend their goods and principles — or what served them 
in lieu thereof — without being annoyed by war or rumor of 
war. Another would be satisfied with nothing short of the 
most positive and unqualified denunciations of the rebels, 
coupled with the details in advance of dealing with them. 
Still another were simply curious in the premises to know 
what could be said. Whisperings, too, that the address would 
be prevented by violence, and hints of assassination were 
heard here and there. 

All necessary precautions, however, having been taken to 
guard against the latter contingencies, Mr. Lincoln appeared 


Inaugural Address. Protection of the South. Chicago Resolution. 

at the east front of the capitol, and received, at the hour ap- 
pointed, the oath of office from Chief Justice Taney. Then 
followed, in a clear, steady tone of voice, in the presence of 
more than ten thousand of his fellow-citizens, the address : 

" Fellow- Citizens of the United States : — In compliance 
with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear be- 
fore you to address you briefly, and to take, in your presence, 
the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States 
to be taken by the President before he enters on the execution 
of his office. 

" I do not consider it necessary, at present, for me to dis- 
cuss those matters of administration about which there is no 
special anxiety or excitement. Apprehension seems to exist 
among the people of the Southern States, that, by the acces- 
sion of a Republican Administration, their property and their 
peace and personal security are to be endangered. There 
has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. 
Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the 
while existed, and been open to their inspection. It is found 
in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses 
you. I do but quote from one of those speeches, when I 
declare that ' I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to in- 
terfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it 
exists.' I believe I have no lawful right to do so ; and I 
have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated and 
elected me, did so with the full knowledge that I had made 
this, and made many similar declarations, and had never 
recanted them. And, more than this, they placed in the 
platform, for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and 
to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read : 

" 'Besolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights 
of the States, and especially the right of each State to order 
and control its own domestic institutions according to its own 
judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power 
on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric 


Inaugural Address. Return of Fugitive Slaves. Congressional Oath. 

depend ; and we denounce the lawless invasion, by armed 
force, of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under 
what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.' 

"I now reiterate these sentiments ; and in doing so I only 
press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence 
of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and 
security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the 
now incoming administration. 

" I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with 
the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully 
given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever 
cause, as cheerfully to one section as to another. 

" There is much controversy about the delivering up of 
fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is 
as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its 
provisions : 

" ' No person held to service or labor in one State under 
the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence 
of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such 
service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the 
party to whom such service or labor may be due.' 

" It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended 
by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugi- 
tive slaves ; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. 

"All members of Congress swear their support to the 
whole Constitution — to this provision as well as any other. 
To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within 
the terms of this clause 'shall be delivered up,' their oaths 
are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good 
temper, could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame 
and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unani- 
mous oath ? 

" There is some difference of opinion whether this clause 
should be enforced by National or by State authority ; but 
surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave 


Inaugural Address. Sixteenth President. Disruption of the Union 

is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to 
him or to others by which authority it is done ; and should 
any one, in any case, be content that this oath shall go un- 
kept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall 
be kept ? 

" Again, in any law upon this subject, ought not all the safe- 
guards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence 
to be introduced, so that a free man be not, in any case, sur- 
rendered as a slave ? And might it not be well at the same 
time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the 
Constitution which guarantees that ' the citizens of each State 
shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens 
in the several States ? ' 

11 1 take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations, 
and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by 
any hypercritical rules ; and while I do not choose now to 
specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I 
do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official 
and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts 
which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, trusting 
to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional. 

" It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a 
President under our National Constitution. During that 
period, fifteen different and very distinguished citizens have in 
succession administered the executive branch of the Govern- 
ment. They have conducted it through many perils, and 
generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope for 
precedent, I now enter upon the same task, for the brief con- 
stitutional term of four years, under great and peculiar diffi- 

" A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only men- 
aced, is now formidably attempted. I hold that in the contem- 
plation of universal law and of the Constitution, the Union of 
these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not ex- 
pressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. 


Inaugural. Union older than Constitution. Secession Illegal. 

It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a pro- 
vision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue 
to execute all the express provisions of our National Consti- 
tution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible 
to destroy it, except by some action not provided for in the 
instrument itself. 

" Again, if the United States be not a government proper, 
but an association of States in the nature of a contract merely, 
can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the 
parties who made it ? One party to a contract may violate 
it — break it, so to speak ; but does it not require all to law- 
fully rescind it? Descending from these general principles, 
we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union 
is perpetual, confirmed by the history of the Union itself. 

" The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was 
formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1TT4. It 
was matured and continued in the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence in ITT 6. It was further matured, and the faith of all 
the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that 
it should be perpetual, by the Articles of the Confederation, in 
1TT8; and, finally, in 1T8T, one of the declared objects for 
ordaining and establishing the Constitution was to form a 
more perfect Union. But if the destruction of the Union by 
one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the 
Union is less than before, the Constitution having lost the vital 
element of perpetuity. 

" It follows from these views that no State, upon its own mere 
motion, can lawfully get out of the Union ; that resolves and 
ordinances to that effect, are legally void ; and that acts of 
violence within any State or States against the authority of 
the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, accord- 
ing to circumstances. 

" I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution and 
the laws, the Union is unbroken, and, to the extent of my 
ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly 


Inaugural. Use of President's Power. Security of tho People. 

enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union shall be faithfully 
executed in all the States. Doing this, which I deem to be 
only a simple duty on my part, I shall perfectly perform it, 
so far as is practicable, unless my rightful masters, the Ameri- 
can people, shall withold the requisition, or in some authori- 
tative manner direct the contrary. 

" I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only 
as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitution- 
ally defend and maintain itself. 

" In doing this there need be no bloodshed or violence, and 
there shall be none unless it is forced upon the National 

" The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and 
possess the property and places belonging to the Government, 
and collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be 
necessary for these objects there will be no invasion, no using 
of force against or among the people anywhere. 

" Where hostility to the United States shall be so great and 
so universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from 
holding Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force ob- 
noxious strangers among the people that object. While the 
strict legal right may exist of the Government to enforce the 
exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so 
irritating, and so nearly impracticable withal, that I deem it 
best to forego, for the time, the uses of such offices. 

" The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in 
all parts of the Union. 

" So far as possible, the people everywhere shall have that 
sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm 
thought and reflection. 

11 The course here indicated will be followed, unless current 
events and experience shall show a modification or change to 
be proper ; and in every case and exigency my best discretion 
will be exercised according to the circumstances actually ex- 
isting, and with a view and hope of a peaceful solution of the 


Inaugural. Appeal to Friends of the Union. Rights of Minorities. 

National troubles, and the restoration of fraternal sympathies 
and affections. 

" That there are persons, in one section or another, who 
seek to destroy the Union at all events, and are glad of any 
pretext to do it, I will neither affirm nor deny. But if there 
be such, I need address no word to them. 

" To those, however, who really love the Union, may I not 
speak, before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruc- 
tion of our National fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, 
and its hopes ? Would it not be well to ascertain why we do 
it ? Will you hazard so desperate a step, while any portion 
of the ills you fly from have no real existence ? Will you, while 
the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones 
you fly from ? Will you risk the commission of so fearful a 
mistake ? All profess to be content in the Union if all con- 
stitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that 
any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been 
denied ? I think not. Happily the human mind is so con- 
stituted, that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. 

" Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly- 
written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. 
If, by the mere force of numbers, a majority should deprive 
a minority of any clearly-written constitutional right, it might, 
in a moral point of view, justify revolution ; it certainly 
would, if such right were a vital one. But such is not our 

"All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so 
plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guar- 
anties and prohibitions in the Constitution, that controversies 
never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever 
be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every 
question which may occur in practical administration. No 
foresight can anticipate, nor any document of reasonable 
length contain, express provisions for all possible questions. 
Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by National or by 


Inaugural Acquiescence Necessary. Secession is Anarchy. 

State authorities ? The Constitution does not expressly say. 
Must Congress protect slavery in the Territories ? The 
Constitution does not expressly say. From questions of this 
class, spring all our constitutional controversies, and we 
divide upon them into majorities and minorities. 

" If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or 
the Government must cease. There is no alternative for 
continuing the Government but acquiescence on the one side 
or the other. If a minority in such a case will secede rather 
than acquiesce, they make a precedent which, in turn, will 
rain and divide them, for a minority of their own will secede 
from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by 
such a minority. For instance, why not any portion of a 
new Confederacy, a year or two hence, arbitrarily secede 
again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim 
to secede from it ? All who cherish disunion sentiments are 
now being educated to the exact temper of doing this. Is 
there such perfect identity of interests among the States to 
compose a new Union as to produce harmony only, and pre- 
vent renewed secession ? Plainly, the central idea of seces- 
sion is the essence of anarchy. 

"A majority held in restraint by constitutional check and 
limitation, and always changing easily with deliberate changes 
of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign 
of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to 
anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible ; the rule 
of a majority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inad- 
missible. So that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy 
or despotism, in some form, is all that is left. 


" I do not forget the position assumed by some that con- 
stitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, 
nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any 
case upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, 
while they are also entitled to a very high respect and con- 
sideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the 


Inaugural. Decision of the Supreme Court. Separation Impossible. 

Government ; and while it is obviously possible that such 
decisiou may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil 
effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with 
the chance that it may be overruled and never become a 
precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the 
evils of a different practice. 

"At the same time the candid citizen must confess that if 
the policy of the Government upon the vital question affecting 
the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions 
of the Supreme Court, the" instant they are made, as in 
ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the 
people will have ceased to be their own masters, unless 
having to that extent practically resigned their Government 
into the hands of that eminent tribunal. 

" Nor is there in this view any assault upon the Court or 
the Judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink, to 
decide cases properly brought before them ; and it is no fault 
of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political pur- 
poses. One section of our country believes slavery is right 
and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong 
and ought not to be extended ; and this is the only substantial 
dispute ; and the fugitive slave clause of the Constitution, and 
the law for the suppression of the foreign slave-trade, are 
each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a 
community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly 
supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide 
by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break 
over in each. This, I think, can not be perfectly cured, and 
it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the 
sections thai! before. The foreign slave-trade, now im- 
perfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived, without 
restriction, in one section ; while fugitive slaves, now only 
partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the 

" Physically speaking we can not separate ; we can not 


Inaugural. People Sovereign. Constitutional Amendment. 

remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an 
impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be 
divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach 
of each other, but the different parts of our country can not 
do this. They can not but remain face to face ; and inter- 
course, either amicable or hostile, must continue between 
them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more 
advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than 
before ? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can 
make laws ? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced be- 
tween aliens than laws can among friends ? Suppose you go 
to war, you can not fight always ; and when, after much loss 
on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the 
identical questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon 

" This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people 
who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the 
existing government, they can exercise their constitutional 
right of amending, or their revolutionary right to dismember 
or overthrow it. I can not be ignorant of the fact that many 
worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the 
National Constitution amended. While I make no recom- 
mendation of amendment, I fully recognize the full authority 
of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in 
either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself, and I 
should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than 
oppose, a fair opportunity being afforded the people to 
act upon it. 

"I will venture to add, that to me the Convention mode 
seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate 
with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them 
to take or reject propositions originated by others not especi- 
ally chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely 
such as they would wish either to accept or refuse. I under- 


Inaugural. President's Duty. Serious Injury Impossible 

stand that a proposed amendment to the Constitution (which 
amendment, however, I have not seen) has passed Congress, 
to the effect that the Federal Government shall never inter- 
fere with the domestic institutions of States, including that 
of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of 
what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of 
particular amendments, so far as to say that, holding such a 
provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no 
objection to its being made express and irrevocable. 

" The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the 
people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix the 
terms for the separation of the States. The people them- 
selves, also, can do this if they choose, but the Executive, 
as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer 
the present government as it came to his hands, and to 
transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor. Why should 
there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of 
the people ? Is there any better or equal hope in the world ? 
In our present differences is either party without faith of 
being in the right ? If the Almighty Ruler of nations, with 
his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, 
or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will 
surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal, the 
American people. By the frame of the government under 
which we live, this same people have wisely given their 
public servants but little power for mischief, and have with 
equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their 
own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain 
their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme 
wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government 
in the short space of four years. 

" My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon 
this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking 


Inaugural. Precipitate Action Unwarrantable. A Government at Last. 

" If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, 
to a step which you would never take deliberately, that 
object will be frustrated by taking time : but no good object 
can be frustrated by it. 

11 Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old 
Constitution unimpaired, and on the sensitive point, the laws 
of your own framing under it ; while the new administration 
will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. 

" If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold 
the right side in the dispute, there is still no single reason for 
precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, 
and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this 
favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, 
all our present difficulties. 

"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and 
not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Gov- 
ernment will not assail you. 

" You can have no conflict without being yourselves tho 
aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to de- 
stroy the Government ; while I shall have the most solemn 
one to ' preserve, protect, and defend' it. 

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. 
We must not be enemies. Though passion may have 
strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. 

" The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battle- 
field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone 
all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the 
Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the 
better angels of our nature." 

One point was established, at least, by this inaugural, 
whatever uncertainties might cluster about it — we had, at 
last, a Government. No Buchanan ruled the hour. Loyal 
men of every shade breathed more freely. At the same time, 
the whole drift was toward securing, if possible, an honorable 
reconciliation. If, after this lucid, temperate statement of 


The New Cabinet. Confederate Commissioners. Stephens's Speech. 

the plans and purposes of the new Administration, the blow 
must fall, which all wished to avoid, it was encouraging to 
feel — as every one who heard Mr. Lincoln on that eventful 
day must have felt — that a man was at the helm who had 
firm faith that the organic law, so far from providing for the 
dissolution of the Union, had vitality and force within itself 
sufficient to defend the nation against dangers from within as 
well as from without. 

The announcement of the President's cabinet, likewise — 
composed, as it was, of the ablest men in his own party, the 
majority of whom had been deemed worthy of presentation 
as candidates for the high office which he held — imparted 
confidence to all who wished well to the country. The able 
pen of the Secretary of State was at once called into requisi- 
tion to communicate, through the newly appointed ministers 
abroad, the true state of affairs to the European powers. As 
speedily as possible the Departments were purged of disloyal 
officials, although the deceptions and subterfuges which consti- 
tuted a goodly portion of the stock in trade of the rebellion ren- 
dered this a work of more time than was satisfactory to many. 

The Davis dynasty, at Montgomery, having, on the 9th of 
March, passed an act to organize a Confederate army, two 
persons — one from Alabama and the other from Georgia — 
announced themselves, three days later, as " Confederate 
Commissioners," accredited for the purpose of negotiating a 
treaty. The President declined to recognize these " Commis- 
sioners," who were referred to a copy of his inaugural en- 
closed for a full statement of his views. 

On the 21st of March, Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, 
Vice-President of the Montgomery traitors, up to that time 
regarded as one of the most moderate — as he certainly was 
one of the ablest — of the conspirators, in a speech at Savan- 
nah, silenced all questionings as to the intent of himself and 

He said on that occasion : 


Early Statesmen Wrong. The Confederate Constitution. Slavery the Foundation. 

11 The new Constitution (that adopted at Montgomery) has 
put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our 
peculiar institutions — African slavery as it exists among us 
— the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. 
This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present 
revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this 
as the rock upon which the old Union would split. He was 
right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. 
But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon 
which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The 
prevailing ideas, entertained by him and most of the leading 
statesmen, at the time of the formation of the old Constitu- 
tion, were, that the enslavement of the African was in viola- 
tion of the laws of nature ; that it was wrong in principle, 
socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew 
not well how to deal with ; but the general opinion of the 
men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of 
Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass 

81W&V "T- -T» 'I s 'T i 5K Sp 5}C 

" Our new Government is founded upon exactly the oppo- 
site ideas. Its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests 
upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white 
man ; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his 
natural and normal condition. This, our new Government, 
is the first in the history of the world based upon this great 
physical, philosophical, and moral truth. * * * * It is 
upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted ; 
and I can not permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of 
a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and 
enlightened world. * * * * This stone, which was re- 
jected by the first builders, ' is become the chief stone of the 
corner' in our new edifice." 

On the 13th of April, the President was waited upon by a 
committee from a Convention of the State of Virginia, which 
Conveution was discussing the question whether to go with 


Virginia Committee. President's Reply. Refers to Inaugural. 

che States already in rebellion, or to remain in the Union, for 
the sake of furthering the ends of the rebels. The object of 
the visit, and its result, may be determined from Mr. Lincoln's 
response : 

" Gentlemen : — As a committee of the Virginia Conven- 
tion, now in session, you present me a preamble and resolu- 
tion, in these words : 

" ' Whereas, In the opinion of this Convention, the uncer- 
tainty which prevails in the public mind as to the policy 
which the Federal Executive intends to pursue towards the 
seceded States is extremely injurious to the industrial and 
commercial interests of the country, tends to keep up an ex- 
citement which is unfavorable to the adjustment of the pend- 
ing difficulties, and threatens a disturbance of the public 
peace ; therefore, 

" Resolved, That a committee of three delegates be ap- 
pointed to wait on the President of the United States, present 
to him this preamble, and respectfully ask him to communi- 
cate to this Convention the policy which the Federal Execu- 
tive intends to pursue in regard to the Confederate States.' 

"In answer, I have to say, that having, at the beginning 
of my official term, expressed my intended policy as plainly 
as I was able, it is with deep regret aud mortification I now 
learn there is great and injurious uncertainty in the public 
mind as to what that policy is, and what course I intend to 
pursue. Not having as yet seen occasion to change, it is now 
my purpose to pursue the course marked out in the inaugural 
address. I commend a careful consideration of the whole 
document as the best expression I can give to my purposes. 
As I then and therein said, I now repeat, ' The power con- 
fided in me, will be used to hold, occupy, and possess prop- 
erty and places belonging to the Government, and to collect 
the duties and imposts ; but beyond what is necessary for 
these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force 


Attack on Sumter. United States Mails. Sumter's Fall. 

against or among the people anywhere.' By the words 
1 property and places belonging to the Government,' I chiefly 
allude to the military posts and property which were in pos- 
session of the government when it came into my hands. But 
if, as now appears to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to drive 
the United States authority from these places, an unprovoked 
assault has been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall hold myself 
at liberty to repossess it, if I can, like places which had been 
seized before the Government was devolved upon me, and in 
any event I shall, to the best of my ability, repel force by 
force. In case it proves true that Fort Sumter has been 
assaulted, as is reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the United 
States mails to be withdrawn from all the States which claim 
to have seceded, believing that the commencement of actual 
war against the Government justifies and possibly demands 
it. I scarcely need to say that I consider the military forts 
and property, situated within the States which claim to have 
seceded, as yet belonging to the Government of the United 
States, as much as they did before the supposed secession. 
Whatever else I may do for the purpose, I shall not attempt 
to collect the duties and imposts by any armed invasion of 
any part of the country — not meaning by this, however, that 
I may not land a force deemed necessary to relieve a fort upon 
the border of the country. From the fact that I have quoted 
a part of the inaugural address, it must not be inferred that I 
repudiate any other part, the whole of which I reaffirm, ex- 
cept so far as what I now say of the mails may be regarded 
as a modification." 

Fort Sumter fell on the day following the reception of these 
commissioners, after every effort, consistent with the means 
at the disposal of the government, had been made to prevent 
what then seemed a catastrophe. This action could bear but 
one interpretation. A reconciliation of difficulties was utterly 
impracticable. An appeal had been made to the sword. 


Effects of Suuiter. Patriots Armed. Call for Troops. 

The power and authority of the United States had been defied 
and insulted. No loyal man could now hesitate. If, how- 
ever, there were any who, even then, clung to the fallacy that 
compromise could save us, Abraham Lincoln was not of the 



Effects of Sumter's Fall — President's Call for Troops — Response in the Loyal States — In 
the Border States — Baltimore Riot — Maryland's Position — President's Letter to Mary- 
land Authorities — Blockade Proclamation — Additional Proclamation — Comments Abroad 
— Second Call for Troops — Special Order for Florida — Military Movements. 

Sumter fell, but the nation arose. With one mind the 
Free States determined that the rebellion must be put down. 
All were ablaze with patriotic fire. The traitors at heart, 
who lurked in the loyal States, found it a wise precaution to 
float with the current. The shrewder ones among them saw 
well how such a course would give them vantage-ground 
when the reaction, which they hoped, and for which in secret 
they labored, should come. But the great mass of the people 
would not have admitted the possibility of any reaction — 
action was to continue the order of the day until the business 
in hand was finished. 

On the 15th of April, 1861, the President issued his first 
proclamation : 

" Whereas, The laws of the United States have been for 
some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution 
thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, 
Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by 
combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary 
course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in 
the marshals by law ; now, therefore, 1, Abraham Lincoln, 


Call for Troops. First Duty. Extra Session of Congress. 

President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me 
vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to 
call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several 
States of the Union to the aggregate number of seventy-five 
thousand, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause 
the laws to be duly executed. 

" The details for this object will be immediately communi- 
cated to the State authorities through the War Department. 
I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this 
effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and existence of 
our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular govern- 
ment, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. 
I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the 
forces hereby called forth, will probably be to repossess the 
forts, places, and property which have been seized from the 
Union ; and in every event the utmost care will be observed, 
consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devasta- 
tion, any destruction of, or interference with property, or any 
disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country ; 
and I hereby command the persons composing the combina- 
tions aforesaid, to disperse and retire peaceably to their 
respective abodes, within twenty days from this date. 

" Deeming that the present condition of public affairs pre- 
sents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the 
power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses 
of Congress. The Senators and Representatives are, there- 
fore, summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at 
twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July 
next, then and there to consider and determine such measures 
as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem 
to demand. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of 
April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred 


Response to the Call. Border Slave States. First Blood Shed. 

and sixty-one, and of the independence of the United States 
the eighty-fifth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

" William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

In response to this proclamation enthusiastic public meet- 
ings were held throughout the loyal States ; all party lines 
seemed obliterated ; enlistments were almost universal ; 
Washington, which was at one time in imminent danger, was 
soon considered amply defended. The majority entertained 
no doubt that with the force summoned the rebellion would 
be nipped in the bud ; the more sagacious minority shook 
their heads, and wished that a million of men had been 

An excellent opportunity was afforded to the border slave 
States for pronouncing their election — whether to stand by 
the Government, or, practically, to furnish aid and comfort to 
the rebels. Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky, was soon heard 
from : ''Kentucky will furnish no troops," said he, "for the 
wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States." 
Letcher, of Yirgiuia : " The militia of Virginia will not be 
furnished to the powers at Washington for any such case or 
purpose as they have in view ;" and on the 17th, the State 
was dragooned into passing, in secret, an ordinance of seces- 
sion, and immediately commenced those warlike preparations, 
whose evil fruits she was destined so soon and in so much 
sorrow to reap. The Executives of Tennessee and North 
Carolina refused compliance ; and those States, together with 
Arkansas, went over to the " Confederacy." 

How was the call for troops received by the rebel conclave 
at Montgomery ? They laughed. 

The first blood shed in the war was in the streets of Balti- 
more, on the 19th of April. Massachusetts troops, passing 
through that city for the defence of the common capitol, were 
attacked by a mob, instigated and encouraged by men of 


Maryland's Position. Letter to Maryland Authorities. 

property and social standing. The State hung trembling in 
the balance between loyalty and treason. Had its geograph- 
ical position been other than it was, it would have undeniably 
embraced the fortune of the South. Its Governor was, how- 
ever, strongly inclined to support the Government, although 
the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed called for 
peculiar tact and dexterity in management. It was seriously 
proposed that no more troops should be sent through Balti- 

The day following this attack, the President sent the 
following letter in reply to a communication broaching this 
modest proposition : 

" Washington, April 20th, 1861. 
" Governor Hicks and Mayor Brown : 

" Gentlemen : — Your letter by Messrs. Bond, Dobbin, and 
Brune, is received. I tender you both my sincere thanks for 
your efforts to keep the peace in the trying situation in which 
you are placed. For the future, troops must be brought here, 
but I make no point of bringing them through Baltimore. 

"Without any military knowledge myself, of course I 
must leave details to General Scott. He hastily said this 
morning in presence of those gentlemen, ' March them around 
Baltimore, and not through it.' 

" I sincerely hope the General, on fuller reflection, will con- 
sider this practical and proper, and that you will not object 
to it. By this a collision of the people of Baltimore with 
the troops will be avoided, unless they go out of the way to 
seek it. I hope you will exert your influence to prevent 
this. Now and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, 
consistently with the maintenance of government. 
" Your obedient servant, 

"A. Lincoln." 

To a delegation of rebel sympathizers from the same 
State, who demanded a cessation of hostilities until Congress 


Reply to Maryland Rebels. Blockade Proclamation. 

should assemble, and accompanied their demand with the 
statement that seventy-five thousand Marylanders would 
dispute the passage of any more United States troops over 
the soil of that State, he quietly remarked that he presumed 
there was room enough in the State to bury that number, and 
declined to accede to their proposal. The Maryland imbroglio 
was, after no great time, adjusted, and ample precautions 
taken to guard against any future trouble in that quarter. 

On the 19th of April, every port of the States in rebellion 
was declared blockaded by the following proclamation : 

"Whereas, An insurrection against the Government of 
the United States has broken out in the States of South 
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, 
and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collec- 
tion of the revenue can not be efficiently executed therein 
conformably to that provision of the Constitution which 
requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States : 

"And whereas, A combination of persons, engaged in 
such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters 
of marque to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults 
on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the 
country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas, and 
in waters of the United States : 

" And whereas, An Executive Proclamation has already 
been issued, requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly 
proceedings to desist therefrom, calling out a militia forco 
for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Con- 
gress in extraordinary session to deliberate and determine 
thereon : 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, with a view to the same purposes before men- 
tioned, and to the protection of the public peace, and the 
lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing 
their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have assembled 
and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or until 


Blockade Proclamation. Additional Proclamation. 

the same shall have ceased, have further deemed it advisable 
to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States afore- 
said, in pursuance of the laws of the United States, and of 
the laws of nations in such cases provided. For this pur- 
pose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent 
entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If, 
therefore, with a view to violate such blockade, a vessel 
shall approach, or shall attempt to leave any of the said 
ports, she will be duly warned by the commander of one of 
the blockading vessels, who will indorse on her register the 
fact and date of such warning ; and if the same vessel shall 
again attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port, she will 
be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port, for such 
proceedings against her and her cargo as prize, as may be 
deemed advisable. 

" And I hereby proclaim and declare, that if any person, 
under the pretended authority of said States, or under any 
other pretence, shall molest a vessel of the United States, 
or the persons or cargo on board of her, such person will be 
held amenable to the laws of the United States for the 
prevention and punishment of piracy. 

11 By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

On the 21th of April, the-following additional proclamation 
w T as issued : 

"Whereas, For the reasons assigned in my proclamation 
of the 19th instant, a blockade of the ports of the States of 
South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mis- 
sissippi, and Texas was ordered to be established; And 
whereas, since that date public property of the United States 
has been seized, the collection of the revenue obstructed, and 
duly commissioned officers of the United States, while en- 



Effects Abroad. Confederate Army. Another call for Men. 

gaged in executing the orders of their superiors, have been 
arrested aDd held in custody as prisoners, or have been 
impeded in the discharge of their official duties, without due 
legal process, by persons claiming to act under authority of 
the States of Virginia and North Carolina, an efficient 
blockade of the ports of these States will therefore also be 

"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this 2?th day of April, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty-one, and of the independence of the United States the 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

This greatly affected the commercial interests of the Euro- 
pean powers, who made haste to announce that the blockade 
must be an effectual one, in order to be respected ; supposing, 
in common with the rebels, that they were demanding what 
would prove to be an impossibility. To say that they erred 
decidedly in this opinion, is but stating a matter of general 
notoriety, and simply adds another to the list of serious mis- 
takes made, during the progress of the war, by the two 
European nations most deeply interested in its issue. 

It was soon perceived that more men would be needed in 
the field, Davis, in a message to his Congress, having pro- 
posed " to organize and hold in readiness for instant action, 
in view of the exigencies of the country, an army of six 
hundred thousand men." On the 3d of May, accordingly, 
another call was made, in anticipation of its ratification at the 
extra session of Congress, which ratification took place, with- 
out opposition. 

"Whereas, Existing exigencies demand immediate and 
adequate measures for the protection of the national Consti- 


Second Call for Troops. Increase of the Navy. 

tutioa and the preservation of the national Union by the 
suppression of the insurrectionary combinations now existing 
in several States for opposing the laws of the Union and ob- 
structing the execution thereof, to which end a military force, 
in addition to that called forth by my Proclamation of the 
fifteenth day of April, in the present year, appears to be in- 
dispensably necessary, now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, 
President of the United States, and Commander-in-chief of 
the Army and Navy thereof, and of the militia of the several 
States, when called into actual service, do hereby call into 
the service of the United States forty-two thousand and 
thirty-four volunteers, to serve for a period of three years, 
unless sooner discharged, and to be mustered into service as 
infantry and cavalry. The proportions of each arm, and the 
details of enrolment and organization will be made known 
through the Department of War ; and I also direct that the 
regular army of the United States be increased by the addi- 
tion of eight' regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, 
and one regiment of artillery, making altogether a maximum 
aggregate increase of twenty-two thousand seven hundred 
and fourteen officers and enlisted men, the details of which 
increase will also be made known through the Department of 
War ; and I further direct the enlistment, for not less than 
one nor more than three years, of eighteen thousand seamen, 
in addition to the present force, for the naval service of the 
United States. The details of the enlistment and organiza- 
tion will be made known through the Department of the 
Xavy. The call for volunteers, hereby made, and the direc- 
tion of the increase of the regular army, and for the enlistment 
of seamen hereby given, together with the plan of organiza- 
tion adopted for the volunteers and for the regular forces 
hereby authorized, will be submitted to Congress as soon as 

" In the meantime, I earnestly invoke the cooperation of 
all good citizens in the measures hereby adopted for the 



Second Call for Troops. 

Habeas Corpus Suspended in Florida. 

effectual suppression of unlawful violence, for the impartial 
enforcement of constitutional laws, and for the speediest pos- 
sible restoration of peace and order, and with those of 
happiness and prosperity throughout our country. 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this third day of May, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

On the 10th of May, 1861, the following proclamation was 
promulgated : 

"Whereas, An insurrection exists in the State of Florida, 
by which the lives, liberty, and property of loyal citizens of 
the United States are endangered. 

"And Whereas, It is deemed proper that all needful mea- 
sures should be taken for the protection of such citizens and 
all officers of the United States in the discharge of their public 
duties in the State aforesaid. 

" Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, 
President of the United States, do hereby direct the com- 
mander of the forces of the United States on the Florida coast 
to permit no person to exercise any office or authority upon 
the islands of Key West, the Tortugas, and Santa Rosa, 
which may be inconsistent with the laws and Constitution of 
the United States, authorizing him at the same time, if he 
shall find it necessary, to suspend there the writ of habeas 
corpus, and to remove from the vicinity of the United States 
fortresses all dangerous or suspected persons. 

"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, an"d 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this tenth day of May, in 


"Volunteering. Extra Session of Congress. Message 

the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty- 
one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty- 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

Volunteers meanwhile presented themselves for the defence 
of the country in numbers greater than could be accepted, 
and the strife was who should secure the coveted distinction 
of a citizen soldier. An early movement upon the rebel 
army in Virginia was contemplated, and it was confidently 
anticipated that to advance was to put the enemies of the 
Government to flight. 



Opening of Congress — President's First Message — Its Nature — Action of Congress — Reso- 
lution Declaring the Object of the "War — Bull Run — Its Effect. 

The first session of Congress during Mr. Lincoln's Admin- 
istration commenced on the 4th of July, 1861, in pursuance 
of his call to that effect. The following message was trans- 
mitted from the Executive : 

" Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives : — Having been convened on an extraordinary 
occasion, as authorized by the Constitution, your attention is 
not called to any ordinary subject of legislation. At the 
beginning of the present Presidential term, four months ago, 
the functions of the Federal Government were found to be 
generally suspended within the several States of South Caro- 
lina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, 
excepting only those of the Post-office Department. 


Message. Seizure of Forts. Resignation of Officers. 

" Within these States, all the Forts, Arsenals, Dock- Yards, 
Custom-Houses, and the like, including the movable and sta- 
tionary property in and about them, had been seized, and 
were held in open hostility to this Government, excepting 
only Forts Pickens, Taylor and Jefferson, on and near the 
Florida coast, and Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, South 
Carolina. The forts thus seized had been put in improved 
condition, new ones had been built, and armed forces had 
been organized, and were organizing, all avowedly with the 
same hostile purpose. 

" The forts remaining in possession of the Federal Govern- 
ment in and near these States were either besieged or menaced 
by warlike preparations, and especially Fort Sumter was 
nearly surrounded by well-protected hostile batteries, with 
guns equal in quality to the best of its own, and outnumber- 
ing the latter as, perhaps, ten to one — a disproportionate 
share of the Federal muskets and rifles had somehow found 
their way into these States, and had been seized to be used 
against the Government. 

"Accumulations of the public revenue lying within them 
had been seized for the same object. The navy was scattered 
in distant seas, leaving but a very small part of it within the 
immediate reach of the Government. 

" Officers of the Federal Army had resigned in great num- 
bers, and of those resigning a large proportion had taken up 
arms against the Government. 

" Simultaneously, and in connection with all this, the pur- 
pose to sever the Federal Union was openly avowed. In 
accordance with this purpose an ordinance had been adopted 
in each of these States, declaring the States respectively to 
be separated from the National Union. A formula for insti- 
tuting a combined Government of those States had been 
promulgated, and this illegal organization, in the character 
of the ' Confederate States,' was already invoking recognition, 
aid and intervention from foreign powers. 


Message. Policy of the Inaugural. Letter from Major Anderson. 

" Finding this condition of things, and believing it to be an 
imperative duty upon the incoming Executive to prevent, if 
possible, the consummation of such attempt to destroy the 
Federal Union, a choice of means to that end became indis- 
pensable. This choice was made and was declared in the 
Inaugural Address. 

" The policy chosen looked to the exhaustion of all peace- 
ful measures before a resort to any stronger ones. It sought 
only to hold the public places and property not already 
wrested from the Government, and to collect the revenue, 
relying for the rest on time, discussion, and the ballot-box. 
It promised a continuance of the mails, at Government 
expense, to the very people who were resisting the Govern- 
ment, and it gave repeated pledges against any disturbances 
to any of the people, or any of their rights, of all that which 
a President might constitutionally and justifiably do in such 
a case ; every thing was forborne, without which it was 
believed possible to keep the Government on foot. 

" On the 5th of March, the present incumbent's first full 
day in office, a letter from Major Anderson, commanding at 
Fort Sumter, written on the 28th of February, and received 
at the War Department on the 4th of March, was by that 
Department placed in his hands. This letter expressed the 
professional opinion of the writer, that reinforcements could 
not be thrown into that fort within the time for its relief 
rendered necessary by the limited supply of provisions, and 
with a view of holding possession of the same, with a force 
less than twenty thousand good and well-disciplined men. 
This opinion was concurred in by all the officers of his com- 
mand, and their memoranda on the subject were made 
inclosures of Major Anderson's letter. The whole was imme- 
diately laid before Lieutenant-General Scott, who at once 
concurred with Major Anderson in his opinion. On reflection, 
however, he took full time, consulting with other officers, bf>th 
of the Army and Navy, and at the end of four days came 


Message. Reinforcement of Pickens Prevented. 

reluctantly but decidedly to the same conclusion as before. 
He also stated at the same time that no such sufficient force 
was then at the control of the Government, or could be raised 
and brought to the ground, within the time when the pro- 
visions in the fort would be exhausted. In a purely military 
point of view, this reduced the duty of the Administration in 
the case to the mere matter of getting the garrison safely out 
of the fort. 

" It was believed, however, that to so abandon that position, 
under the circumstances, would be utterly ruinous ; that the 
necessity under which it was to be done would not be fully 
understood ; that by many it would be construed as a part of 
a voluntary policy ; that at home it would discourage the 
friends of the Union, embolden its adversaries, and go far to 
insure to the latter a recognition abroad ; that, in fact, it 
would be our national destruction consummated. This could 
not be allowed. Starvation was not yet upon the garrison, 
and ere it would be reached, Fort Pickens might be re- 
inforced. This last would be a clear indication of policy, and 
would better enable the country to accept the evacuation of 
Fort Sumter as a military necessity. An order was at once 
directed to be sent for the landing of the troops from the 
steamship Brooklyn into Fort Pickens. This order could not 
go by land, but must take the longer and slower route by 
sea. The first return news from the order was received just 
one week before the fall of Sumter. The news itself was 
that the officer commanding the Sabine, to which vessel the 
troops had been transferred from the Brooklyn, acting upon 
some quasi armistice of the late Administration, and of the 
existence of which the present Administration, up to the time 
the order was dispatched, had only too vague and uncertain 
rumors to fix attention, had refused to land the troops. To 
now reinforce Fort Pickens before a crisis would be reached 
at Fort Sumter, was impossible, rendered so by the near 
exhaustion of provisions at the latter named fort. In pre- 


M<- - Belief of Snmter. Attack Unjtistiflablo. 

caution against such a conjuncture the Government had a 
few days before commenced preparing an expedition, as well 
adapted as might be, to relieve Fort Sumter, which expedi- 
tion was intended to be ultimately used or not, according to 
circumstances. The strongest anticipated case for using it 
was now presented, and it was resolved to send it forward as 
had been intended. In this contingency it was also resolved 
to notify the Governor of South Carolina that he might expect 
an attempt would be made to provision the fort, and that if 
the attempt should not be resisted there would be no attempt 
to throw in men, arms or ammunition, without further notice, 
or in case of an attack upon the fort. This notice was 
accordingly given, whereupon the fort was attacked and 
bombarded to its fall, without even awaiting the arrival of 
the provisioning expedition. 

" It is thus seen that the assault upon and reduction of 
Fort Sumter, was in no sense, a matter of self-defense on 
the part of the assailants. They well knew that the garrison 
in the fort could by no possibility commit aggression upon 
them j they knew they were expressly notified that the giving 
of bread to the few brave and hungry men of the garrison 
was all which would, on that occasion, be attempted, unless 
themselves, by resisting so much, should provoke more. 
They knew that this Government desired to keep the garrison 
in the fort, not to assail them, but merely to maintain visible 
possession, and thus to preserve the Union from actual and 
immediate dissolution ; trusting, as hereinbefore stated, to 
time, discussion, and the ballot-box for final adjustment, and 
they assailed and reduced the fort, for precisely the reverse 
object, to drive out the visible authority of the Federal Union, 
and thus force it to immediate dissolution ; that this was 
their object the Executive well understood, having said to 
them in the Inaugural Address, ' You can have no conflict 
without being yourselves the aggressors.' He took pains not 
only to keep this declaration good, but also to keep the case 


Message. A Distinct Issue. Call for Troops. 

so far from ingenious sophistry as that the world should not 
misunderstand it. By the affair at Fort Sumter, with its 
surrounding circumstances, that point was reached. Then 
and thereby the assailants of the Government began the 
conflict of arms — without a gun in sight, or in expectancy, to 
return their fire, save only the few in the fort sent to that 
harbor years before, for their own protection, and still ready 
to give that protection in whatever was lawful. In this act, 
discarding all else, they have forced upon the country the 
distinct issue, immediate dissolution or blood, and this issue 
embraces more than the fate of these United States. It 
presents to the whole family of man the question whether a 
Constitutional Republic or Democracy, a Government of the 
people, by the same people, can or can not maintain its terri- 
torial integrity against its own domestic foes. It presents 
the question whether discontented individuals, too few in 
numbers to control the Administration according to the 
organic law in any case, can always, upon the pretenses made 
in this case, or any other pretenses, or arbitrarily without any 
pretense, break up their Government, and thus practically put 
an end to free government upon the earth. It forces us to 
ask, ' Is there in all republics this inherent and fatal weak- 
ness V ' Must a Government of necessity be too strong for 
the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its 
own existence V So viewing the issue, no choice was left but 
to call out the war power of the Government, and so to re- 
sist the force employed for its destruction by force for its 
preservation. The call was made, and the response of the 
country was most gratifying, surpassing, in unanimity and 
spirit, the most sanguine expectation. Yet none of the 
States, commonly called Slave States, except Delaware, gave 
a regiment through the regular State organization. A few 
regiments have been organized within some others of those 
States by individual enterprise, and received into the Govern 
ment service. Of course the seceded States, so called, and to 


Message. The Border States' Kesponse. Course of Virginia. 

which Texas had been joined about the time of the inaugura- 
tion, gave no troops to the cause of the Union. The Border 
States, so called, were not uniform in their action, some of 
them being almost for the Union, while in others, as in 'Vir- 
ginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, the Union 
sentiment was nearly repressed and silenced. The course 
taken in Virginia was the most remarkable, perhaps the most 
important. A Convention, elected by the people of that 
State to consider this very question of disrupting the Federal 
Union, was in session at the capitol of Virginia when Fort 
Sumter fell. 

" To this body the people had chosen a large majority of 
professed Union men. Almost immediately after the fall of 
Sumter many members of that majority went over to the 
original disunion minority, and with them adopted an ordin- 
ance for withdrawing the State from the Union. Whether 
this change was wrought by their great approval of the 
assault upon Sumter, or their great resentment at the Gov- 
ernment's resistance to that assault, is not definitely known. 
Although they submitted the ordinance for ratification to a 
vote of the people, to be taken on a day then somewhat more 
than a month distant, the Convention, and the Legislature, 
which was also in session at the same time and place, with 
leading men of the State, not members of either, immediately 
commenced acting as if the State was already out of the 
Union. They pushed military preparations vigorously for- 
ward all over the State. They seized the United States 
Armory at Harper's Ferry, and the Navy Yard at Gosport. 
near Norfolk. They received, perhaps invited into their 
State, large bodies of troops, with their warlike appoint- 
ments, from the so-called seceded States. 

" They formally entered into a treaty of temporary alliance 
with the so-called Confederate States, and sent members to 
their Congress at Montgomery, and finally they permitted 
the insurrectionary Government to be transferred to their 


Message. Armed Neutrality. Action of Government. 

capitol at Richmond. The people of Virginia have thus 
allowed this giant insurrection to make its nest within her 
borders, and this Government has no choice left but to deal 
with it where it finds it, and it has the less to regret as the 
loyal citizens have, in due form, claimed its protection. 
Those loyal citizens this Government is bound to recognize 
and protect as being in Virginia. In the Border States, so 
called, in fact the Middle States, there are those who favor 
a policy which they call armed neutrality, that is, an arming 
of those States to prevent the Union forces passing one way 
or the disunion forces the other, over their soil. This would 
be disunion completed. Figuratively speaking, it would be 
the building of an impassable wall along the line of separa- 
tion, and yet not quite an impassable one, for under the guise 
of neutrality it would tie the hands of the Union men, and 
freely pass supplies from among them to the insurrectionists, 
which it could not do as an open enemy. At a stroke it 
would take all the trouble off the hands of secession, except 
only what proceeds from the external blockade. It would do 
for the disunionists that which of all things they most desire, 
feed them well, and give them disunion, without a struggle 
of their own. It recognizes no fidelity to the Constitution, 
no obligation to maintain the Union, and while very many 
who have fa.vored it are doubtless loyal citizens, it is, never- 
theless, very injurious in effect. 

". Recurring to the action of the Government, it may be 
stated that at first a call was made for seventy-five thousand 
militia, and rapidly following this, a proclamation was issued 
for closing the ports of the insurrectionary districts by pro- 
ceedings in the nature of a blockade. So far all was believed 
to be strictly legal. 

"At this point the insurrectionists announced their purpose 
to enter upon the practice of privateering. 

" Other calls were made for volunteers, to serve three 
years, unless sooner discharged, and also for large additions to 


Message. Habeas Corpus. No Violation of Law. 

the regular army and navy. These measures, whether strictly 
legal or not, were ventured upon under what appeared to be 
a popular demand and a public necessity, trusting then, as 
now, that Congress would ratify them. 

" It is believed that nothing has been done beyond the con- 
stitutional competency of Congress. Soon after the first call 
for militia it was considered a duty to authorize the com- 
manding general, in proper cases, according to his discretion, 
to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus ; or, 
in other words, to arrest and detain, without resort to the 
ordinary processes and forms of law, such individuals as he 
might deem dangerous to the public safety. This authority 
has purposely been exercised, but very sparingly. Never- 
theless, the legality and propriety of what has been done 
under it are questioned, and the attention of the country has 
been called to the proposition, that one who is sworn to take 
care that the laws be faithfully executed should not himself 
violate them. Of course some consideration was given to 
the questions of power and propriety before this matter was 
acted upon. The whole of the laws, which were required to 
be faithfully executed, were being resisted, and failing of ex- 
ecution in nearly one-third of the States. Must they be 
allowed to finally fail of execution, even had it been perfectly 
clear that, by use of the means necessary to their execution, 
some single law, made in such extreme tenderness of the 
citizen's liberty that practically it relieves more of the guilty 
than the innocent, should, to a very great extent, be vio- 
lated ? To state the question more directly, are all the 
laws but one to go unexecuted, and the Government itself to 
go to pieces, lest that one be violated ? Even in such a case 
would not the official oath be broken, if the Government 
should be overthrown when it was believed that disregarding 
the single law would tend to preserve it ? 

" But it was not believed that this question was presented. 
It was not believed that any law was violated. The pro- 


Message. Constitution Silent. Reports of Departments. 

vision of the Constitution, that the privilege of the writ of 
habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases 
of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it, is 
equivalent to a provision that such privilege may be sus- 
pended when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public 
safety does require it. It was decided that we have a case 
of rebellion, and that the public safety does require the" 
qualified suspension of the privilege of the writ, which was 
authorized to be made. Now, it is insisted that Congress, 
and not the Executive, is vested with this power. But the 
Constitution itself is silent as to which or who is to exercise 
the power ; and as the provision was plainly made for a dan- 
gerous emergency, it cannot be believed that the framers of 
the instrument intended that in every case the danger should 
run its course until Congress could be called together, the 
very assembling of which might be prevented, as was in- 
tended in this case by the rebellion. No more extended 
argument is now afforded, as an opinion at some length will 
probably be presented by the Attorney-General. Whether 
there shall be any legislation on the subject, and if so, what, 
is subject entirely to the better judgment of Congress. The 
forbearance of this Government had been so extraordinary, 
and so long continued, as to lead some foreign nations to 
shape their action as if they supposed the early destruction 
of our National Union was probable. While this, on dis- 
covery, gave the Executive some concern, he is now happy to 
say that the sovereignty and rights of the United States are 
now everywhere practically respected by foreign powers, and 
a general sympathy with the country is manifested through- 
out the world. 

" The reports of the Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and 
the Navy, will give the information, in detail, deemed neces- 
sary and convenient for your deliberation and action, while 
the Executive and all the Departments will stand ready 


Message. Men and Money. Secession Denned. 

to supply omissions or to communicate new facts considered 
important for you to know. 

" It is now recommended that you give the legal means for 
making this contest a short and decisive one ; that you place 
at the control of the Government for the work, at least 
400,000 men and $400,000,000 ; that number of men is about 
one-tenth of those of proper ages within the regions where 
apparently all are willing to engage, and the sum is less than 
a twenty-third part of the money value owned by the men 
who seem ready to devote the whole. A debt of $600,000,000 
now is a less sum per head than was the debt of our Revo- 
lution when we came out of that struggle, and the money 
value in the country bears even a greater proportion to what 
it was then than does the population. Surely each man has 
as strong a motive now to preserve our liberties, as each had 
then to establish them. 

"A right result at this time will be worth more to the 
world than ten times the men and ten times the money. The 
evidence reaching us from the country, leaves no doubt that 
the material for the work is abundant, and that it needs only 
the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction, and the hand 
of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. 
One of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to 
avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them ; 
in a word, the people will save their Government if the 
Government will do its part only indifferently well. It might 
seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the 
present movement at the South be called secession or rebel- 
lion. The movers, however, well understand the difference. 
At the beginning they knew that they could never raise their 
treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which 
implies violation of law ; they knew their people possessed 
as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and 
order, and as much pride in its reverence for the history and 
government of their common country, as any other civilized 


Message. Injurious Sophism. State Sovereignty. 

and patriotic people. They knew they could make no ad- 
vancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble 
sentiments. Accordingly they commenced by an insidious 
debauching of the public mind ; they invented an ingenious 
sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical 
steps through all the incidents of the complete destruction of 
the Union. The sophism itself is that any State of the 
Union may, consistently with the nation's Constitution, and 
therefore lawfully and peacefully, withdraw from the Union 
without the consent of the Union or of any other State. 

" The little disguise that the supposed right, is to be exer- 
cised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of 
its justice, is too thin to merit any notice with rebellion. 
Thus sugar-coated, they have been drugging the public mind 
of their section for more than thirty years, and until at 
length they have brought many good men to a willingness to 
take up arms against the Government the day after some 
assemblage of men have enacted the farcical pretence of 
taking their State out of the Union, who could have been 
brought to no such thing the day before. This sophism 
derives much, perhaps the whole of its currency, from the 
assumption that there is some omnipotent and sacred supre- 
macy pertaining to a State, to each State of our Federal 
Union. Our States have neither more nor less power than 
that reserved to them in the Union by the Constitution, no 
one of them ever having been a State out of the Union. 
The original ones passed into the Union before they cast off 
their British Colonial dependence, and the new ones came 
into the Union directly from a condition of dependence, 
excepting Texas, and even Texas, in its temporary indepen- 
dence, was never designated as a State. The new ones only 
took the designation of States on coming into the Union, 
while that name was first adopted for the old ones in and b;y 
the Declaration of Independence. Therein the United Colo- 
nies were declared to be free and independent States. But 


Message. What is Sovereignty ? Union older than the States. 

even then the object plainly was not to declare their inde- 
pendence of one another of the Union, but directly the con- 
trary, as their mutual pledge and their mutual action before, 
at the time, and afterward, abundantly show. The express 
plight of faith by each and all of the original thirteen States 
in the Articles of Confederation two years later that the 
Union shall be perpetual, is most conclusive. Having never 
been States either in substance or in name outside of the 
Union, whence this magical omnipotence of State rights, 
asserting a claim of power to lawfully destroy the Union 
itself ? Much is said about the sovereignty of the States, but 
the word even is not in the National Constitution, nor, as is 
believed, in any of the State constitutions. What is sover- 
eignty in the political sense of the word ? Would it be far 
wrong to define it a political community without a political 
superior ? Tested by this, no one of our States, except 
Texas, was a sovereignty, and even Texas gave up the 
character on coming into the Union, by which act s L 9 acknow- 
ledged the Constitution of the United States ; and the laws 
and treaties of the United States, made in pursuance of 
States, have their status in the Union, made in pursuance of 
the Constitution, to be for her the supreme law. The States 
have their status in the Union, and they have no other legal 
status. If they break from this, they can only do so against 
law and by revolution. The Union and not themselves, 
separately procured their independence and their liberty by 
conquest or purchase. The Union gave each of them what- 
ever of independence and liberty it has. The Union is older 
than any of the States, and, in fact, it created them as States. 
Originally, some dependent Colonies made the Union, and in 
turn the Union threw off their old dependence for them, and 
made them States, such as they are. Not one of them ever 
had a State constitution independent of the Union. Of 
course it is not forgotten that all the new States formed their 
constitutions before they entered the Union ; nevertheless, 


Message. Secession Unconstitutional. Florida and Texas 

dependent upon, and preparatory to coming into the Union 
Unquestionably the States have the powers and rights re- 
served to them in and by the National Constitution. 

" But among these surely are not included all conceivable 
powers, however mischievous or destructive, but at most 
such only as were known in the world at the time as govern- 
mental powers, and certainly a power to destroy the Govern- 
ment itself had never been known as a governmental, as a 
merely administrative power. This relative matter of 
National power and State rights as a principle, is no other 
than the principle of generality and locality. Whatever con- 
cerns the whole should be conferred on the whole General 
Government, while whatever concerns only the State should 
be left exclusively to the State. This is all there is of orig- 
inal principle about it. Whether the National Constitution, 
in defining boundaries between the two, has applied the prin- 
ciple with exact accuracy, is not to be questioned. We are 
all bound by that defining without question. What is now 
combatted is the position that secession is consistent with the 
Constitution, is lawful and peaceful. It is not contended 
that there is any express law for it, and nothing should ever 
be implied as law which leads to unjust or absurd conse- 
quences. The nation purchased with money the countries 
out of which several of these States were formed. Is it just 
that they shall go off without leave and without refunding ? 
The nation paid very large sums in the aggregate, I believe 
nearly a hundred millions, to relieve Florida of the aboriginal 
tribes. Is it just that she shall now be off without consent, 
or without any return ? The nation is now in debt for money 
applied to the benefit of these so-called seceding States, in 
common with the rest. Is it just, either that creditors shall 
go unpaid, or the remaining States pay the whole ? A part 
of the present National debt was contracted to pay the old 
debt of Texas. Is it just that she shall leave and pay no 
part of this herself? Again, if one State may secede, so may 


Message. Seceders' Constitution. Rights of Minorities. 

anotluT, and wlien all shall have seceded none is left to pay 
the debts. Is this quite just to creditors ? Did we notify 
them of this sage view of ours when we borrowed their 
money ? If we now recognize this doctrine by allowing the 
seceders to go in peace, it is difficult to see what we can do 
if others choose to go, or to extort terms upon which they 
will promise to remain. The seceders insist that our Consti- 
tution admits of secession. They have assumed to make a 
National Constitution of their own, in which, of necessity, 
they have either discarded or retained the right of secession, 
as they insist exists in -ours. If they have discarded it, they 
thereby admit that on principle it ought not to exist in ours ; 
if they have retained it, by their own construction of ours 
that shows that to be consistent, they must secede from one 
another whenever they shall find it the easiest way of settling 
their debts, or effecting any other selfish or unjust object. 
The principle itself is one of disintegration, and upon which 
no Government can possibly endure. If all the States save 
one should assert the power to drive that one out of the 
Union, it is presumed the whole class of seceder politicians 
would at once deny the power, and denounce the act as the 
greatest outrage upon State rights. But suppose that pre- 
cisely the same act, instead of being called driving the one 
out, should be called the seceding of the others from that one, 
it would be exactly what the seceders claim to do, unless, 
indeed, they made the point that the one, because it is a 
minority, may rightfully do what the others, because they are 
a majority, may not rightfully do. These politicians are 
subtle, and profound in the rights of minorities. They are 
not partial to that power which made the Constitution, and 
speaks from the preamble, calling itself, 'We, the people.' 
It may be well questioned whether there is to-day a majority 
of the legally qualified voters of any State, except, perhaps, 
South Carolina, in favor of disunion. There is much reason 
to believe that the Union men are the majority in many, if not 


Message. Elections in Virginia and Tennessee. Material of the Armies. 

in every one of the so-called seceded States. The contrary- 
has not been demonstrated in any one of them. It is ven- 
tured to affirm this, even of Virginia and Tennessee, for the 
result of an election held in military camps, where the bayo- 
nets are all on one side of the question voted upon, can 
scarcely be considered as demonstrating popular sentiment. 
At such an election all that large class who are at once for 
the Union and against coercion would be coerced to vote 
against the Union. It may be affirmed, without extrava- 
gance, that the free institutions we enjoy have developed the 
powers and improved the condition of our whole people be- 
yond any example in the world. Of this we now have a 
striking and impressive illustration. So large an army as the 
Government has now on foot was never before known, with- 
out a soldier in it but who has taken his place there of his 
own free choice. But more than this, there are many single 
regiments whose members, one and another, possess full 
practical knowledge of all the arts, sciences, professions, and 
whatever else, whether useful or elegant, is known in the 
whole world, and there is scarcely one from which there could 
not be selected a President, a Cabinet, a Congress, and per- 
haps a Court, abundantly competent to administer the Gov- 
ernment itself. 2sor do I say this is not true also in the army 
of our late friends, now adversaries, in this contest. But it 
is so much better the reason why the Government which has 
conferred such benefits on both them and us should not be 
broken up. "Whoever in any section proposes to abandon 
such a Government, would do well to consider in deference 
to what principle it is that he does it. What better he is 
likely to get in its stead, whether the substitute will give, or 
be intended to give so much of good to the people. There 
are some foreshadowings on this subject. Our adversaries 
have adopted some declarations of independence in which, 
unlike our good old one penned by Jefferson, they omit the 
words, 'all men are created equal.' Why? They have 


Message. A People's Contest. Common Soldiers and Sailors. 

adopted a temporary National Constitution, in the preamble 
of which, unlike our good old one signed by Washington, 
they omit, ' "We, the people,' and substitute, ' We, the depu- 
ties of the sovereign and independent States.' Why ? Why 
this deliberate pressing out of view the rights of men and the 
authority of the people ? This is essentially a people's con- 
test. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintain- 
ing in the world that form and substance of Government 
whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men, to 
lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of 
laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a 
fair chance in the race of life, yielding to partial and tempor- 
ary departures from necessity. This is the leading object of 
the Government for whose existence we contend. 

11 1 am most happy to believe that the plain people under- 
stand and appreciate this. It is worthy of note that while 
in this, the Government's hour of trial, large numbers of those 
in the army and navy who have been favored with the offices, 
have resigned and proved false to the hand which pampered 
them, not one common soldier or common sailor is known to 
have deserted his flag. Great honor is due to those officers 
who remained true despite the example of their treacherous 
associates, but the greatest honor and the most important fact 
of all, is the unanimous firmness of the common soldiers and 
common sailors. To the last man, so far as known, they have 
successfully resisted the traitorous efforts of those whose com- 
mands but an hour before they obeyed as absolute law. This 
is the patriotic instinct of plain people. They understand 
without an argument that the destroying the Government 
which was made by Washington means no good to them. 
Our popular Government has often been called an experiment. 
Two points in it our people have settled : the successful es- 
tablishing and the successful administering of it. One still 
remains. Its successful maintenance against a formidable 
internal attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to 


Message. A Lesson of Peace. Course of the Government. 

demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an 
election, can also suppress a rebellion ; that ballots are the 
rightful and peaceful successors of bullets, and that when bal- 
lots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no 
successful appeal except to ballots themselves at succeeding 
elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace, teaching men 
that' what they cannot take by an election, neither can they 
take by a war, teaching all the folly of being the beginners of 
a war. 

" Lest there should be some uneasiness in the minds of 
candid men as to what is to be the course of the Government 
toward the Southern States after the rebellion shall have been 
suppressed, the Executive deems it proper to say it will be his 
purpose then, as ever, to be guided by the Constitution and the 
laws, and that he probably will have no different understand- 
ing of the powers and duties of the Federal Government rela- 
tively to the rights of the United States and the people under 
the Constitution than that expressed in the Inaugural Address. 
He desires to preserve the Government that it may be admin- 
istered for all, as it was administered by the men who made 
it. Loyal citizens everywhere have a right to claim this of 
their Government, and the Government has no right to with- 
hold or neglect it. It is not perceived that in giving it there 
is any coercion, conquest or subjugation in any sense of these 

" The Constitution provided, and all the States have ac- 
cepted the provision, 'that the United States shall guarantee 
to every State in this Union a Republican form of govern- 
ment,' but if a State may lawfully go out of the Union, 
having done so, it may also discard the Republican form of 
Government. So that to prevent its going out is an indispen- 
sable means to the end of maintaining the guaranty men- 
tioned ; and when an end is lawful and obligatory, the indis- 
pensable means to it are also lawful and obligatory. 

11 It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found 


Message. The War Power. Nature of the Message. 

the duty of employing the war power. In defence of the 
Government forced upon him, he could but perform this duty 
or surrender the existence of the Government. No com- 
promise by public servants could in this case be a cure, not 
that compromises are not often proper, but that no popular 
government can long survive a marked precedent, that those 
who carry an election can only save the Government from 
immediate destruction by giving up the main point upon 
which the people gave the election. The people themselves 
and not their servants can safely reverse their own deliberate 

"As a private citizen the Executive could not have con- 
sented that these institutions shall perish, much less could he, 
in betrayal of so vast and so sacred a trust as these free 
people had confided to him. He felt that he had no moral 
right to shrink, nor even to count the chances of his own life 
in what might follow. 

" In full view of his great responsibility, he has so far done 
w r hat he has deemed his duty. You will now, according to 
your own judgment, perform yours. He sincerely hopes that 
your views and your actions may so accord with his as to as- 
sure all faithful citizens who have been disturbed in their 
rights, of a certain and speedy restoration to them, under the 
Constitution and laws ; and having thus chosen our cause 
without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust 
in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts. 

"July 4, 1861. Abraham Lincoln." 

This document, it will be observed, sets forth in temperate 
language the facts bearing upon the rebellion in its then 
stage — facts so stated that the common people could readily 
comprehend the exact situation of affairs Such a message, 
always in place, was never more needed than at a juncture 
when — as seemed not altogether impossible to many — an 
appeal might yet have to be made again and again to the 
great mass of the people for men and money to maintain the 


Action of Congress. Crittenden Resolution. Bull Run. 

unity of the nation. It may be safely asserted, that the mes- 
sages of none of our Presidents have been so generally read 
and so thoroughly mastered by the average mind, as those of 
Mr. Lincoln, himself the tribune of the people. 

Congress granted five hundred millions in money, and 
directed a call for five hundred thousand volunteers for the 
army ; made provisions for a popular national loan ; revised 
the tariff; passed a direct tax bill; adopted measures, mod- 
erate in their scope, for the confiscation of rebel property ; 
legalized the official acts of the President during the emer- 
gency in which the country had been placed ; and the House 
of Representatives, with but two dissentients, passed the fol- 
lowing resolution : 

11 Resolved, By the House of Representatives of the Con- 
gress of the United States, That the present deplorable civil 
war has been forced upon the country by the disunionists of 
the Southern States, now in revolt against the Constitutional 
Government, and in arms around the capital ; that in this 
national emergency Congress, banishing all feeling of mere 
passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the 
whole country ; that this war is not waged on our part in any 
spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or sub- 
jugation, nor purpose of authorizing or interfering with the 
rights or established institutions of the States, but to defend 
and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to 
preserve the Union, with all the dignities, equality, and 
rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon as 
these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease." 

On the 21st of July, the Army of the Union, under the 
direct command of General McDowell, and the general super- 
vision of the veteran Scott — from whose onward movement 
against the rebels in Yirginia so much had been expected — 
met with a serious reverse at Bull Run. They went forth, 
exulting in victory as certain ; they came back a panic-stricken 
mob. For an instant, despondency took possession of every 

CLOSE OF 1861. 137 

Washington Safe. Bull Run Needed. Davis's Message 

loyal heart ; all manner of vague fears seized the people ; 
Washington would be captured ; the cause was lost. 

It was but for an instant, however. The rebound came. 
Washington, which might easily have been captured and 
sacked, had the rebels known how to improve their success, 
was securely fortified and amply garrisoned. One did not 
then comprehend what now the most concede — that Bull Run 
was a necessary discipline — a school in which all learned 
somewhat — though, unfortunately, not all of us as much as we 
should. That came later. 

i •>•■ > ■ 


CLOSE OF 186 1. 

Elation of the Rebels — Davis's boast— McClellan appointed Commander of Potomac Army 
— Proclamation of a National Fast — Intercourse with rebels forbidden — Fugitive slaves 
— Gen. Butler's views — Gen. MClellan's letter from Secretary Cameron — Act of August 
6th." 1861 — Gen. Fremont's order — Letter of the President modifying the same- 
Instructions to Gen. Sherman — Ball's Bluff— Gen. Scott's retirement — Army of the 

The victory of the conspirators at Bull Run, as was to have 
been expected, elated them no little. Their President in his 
message was supercilious and confident. Lauding the prowess 
and determination of his confederates, he said : 

" To speak of subjugating such a people, so united and 
determined, is to speak in a language incomprehensible to 
them : to resist attack on their rights or their liberties is with 
them an instinct. Whether this war shall last one, or three, 
or five years, is a problem they leave to be solved by the 
enemy alone. It will last till the enemy shall have with- 
drawn from their borders ; till their political rights, their 
altars, and their homes are freed from invasion. Then, and 
then only, will they rest from this struggle to enjoy in peace, 


Gen. McClellan's Appointment. Proclamation for Fast. 

the blessings' which, with the favor of Providence, they have 
secured by the aid of their own strong hearts and steady arms." 

On the 25th, of July, a new commander was assigned to the 
Army of the Potomac, upon the warm recommendation of 
Gen. Scott; George B. McClellan, who had already become 
favorably known from his conducting a successful campaign 
in Western Virginia. With the extravagance so character- 
istic of the American people, this commander — whose laurels 
were yet to be won — was hailed as a young Napoleon, lauded 
to the skies, and failure under him regarded as an utter im- 

And the General betook himself, to the organizing, disci- 
plining, and supplying his army, to which large accessions 
were continually making from week to week. 

On the 12th day of August was issued the following proc- 
lamation : 

" Whereas, A joint committee of both Houses of Congress 
has waited on the President of the United States, and request- 
ed him to ' recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer, 
and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United States 
with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent suppli- 
cations to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these 
States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration 
of peace.' 

" And whereas, It is fit and becoming in all people, at all 
times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government 
of God ; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements ; 
to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions, in the 
full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of 
wisdom, and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the 
pardon of their past offences, and for a blessing upon their 
present and prospective action. 

" And whereas, When our own beloved country, once, by 
the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now 
afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us 

CLOSE OF 18G1. 139 

ProdamatioD for Fast. Non Intercourse. 

to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and, 
in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a 
nation, and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, 
and to pray for His mercy — to pray that we may be spared 
further punishment, though most justly deserved ; that our 
arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establish- 
ment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of 
our country ; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religi- 
ous liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the 
labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its 
original excellence ; 

" Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United 
States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a 
day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of 
the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, 
and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion, of all 
denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and 
keep that day, according to their several creeds and modes of 
worship, in all humility, and with all religious solemnity, to 
the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the 
Throne of Grace, and bring down plentiful blessings upon our 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th 
day of August, a. d. 1861, and of the Independence of the 
United States of America the eighty-sixth. 

" By the President ; Abraham Lincoln. 

" William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

And four days later the following : 

"Whereas, On the 15th day of April, the President of the 
United States, in view of an insurrection against the laws, 
Constitution, and Government of the United States, which 
had broken out within the States of South Carolina, Georgia, 
Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and in 


Non Intercourse Proclamation. West Virginia. 

pursuance of the provisions of an act entitled an act to provide 
for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, 
suppress insurrections and repel invasions, and to repeal the 
act now in force for that purpose, approved February 28th, 
1195, did call forth the militia to suppress said insurrection 
and cause the laws of the Union to be duly executed — and the 
insurgents have failed to disperse by the time directed by the 
President ; and whereas, such insurrection has since broken 
out and yet exists within the States of Yirginia, North Caro- 
lina, Tennessee, and Arkansas ; and whereas, the insurgents 
in all the said States claim to act under authority thereof, and 
such claim is not discarded or repudiated by the persons exer- 
cising the functions of government in such State or States, or 
in the part or parts thereof, in which such combinations exist, 
nor has such insurrection been suppressed by said States. 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, in pursuance of the Act of Congress approved 
July 13th, 1861, do hereby declare that the inhabitants of the 
said States of Georgia^ South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, 
Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida, except 
the inhabitants of that part of the State of Yirginia lying 
west of the Allegheny Mountains, and of such other parts of 
that State and the other States hereinbefore named as may 
maintain a loyal adhesion to the Union and the Constitution, 
or may be, from time to time occupied and controlled by the 
forces of the United States engaged in the dispersion of said 
insurgents, are in a state of insurrection against the United 
States, and that all commercial intercourse between the same 
and the inhabitants thereof, with the exception aforesaid, and 
the citizens of other States and other parts of the United 
States, is unlawful, and will remain unlawful until such insur- 
rection shall cease or has been suppressed ; that all goods and 
chattels, wares and merchandise, coming from any of the said 
States, with the exceptions aforesaid, into other parts of the 
United States, without the special license and permission of 

CLOSE OF 1861. 141 

Non Intercourse. Dealing with Slaves. 

the President, through the Secretary ,of the Treasury, or pro- 
ceeding to any of the said States, with the exception afore- 
said, by land or water, together with the vessel or vehicle 
conveying the same, or conveying persons to and from the 
said States, with the said exceptions, will be forfeited to the 
United States ; and that, from and after fifteen days from the 
issuing of this proclamation, all ships and vessels belonging, 
in whole or in part, to any citizen or inhabitant of any of the 
said States, with the said exceptions, found at sea in any part 
of the United States, will be forfeited to the United States ; 
and I hereby enjoin upon all District Attorneys, Marshals, 
and officers of the revenue of the military and naval forces of 
the United States, to be vigilant in the execution of the said 
act, and in the enforcement of the penalties and forfeitures 
imposed or declared by it, leaving any party who may think 
himself aggrieved thereby, to his application to the Secretary 
of the Treasury for the remission of any penalty or forfeiture, 
which the said Secretary is authorized by law to grant, if in 
his judgment, the special circumstances of any case shall 
require such a remission. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

"Done in the City of Washington, this, the 16th day of 
August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States 
of America the eighty-sixth. 

"By the President: Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

The question as to the disposition to be made of the slaves 
of rebel masters presented itself early in the contest, and it 
was at once perceived that its settlement would be attended 
with no little embarrassment. 


Fugitive Slaves. Gen. Butler. Gen. McClellan. 

As early as May 2Tth, 1861, General Butler, in command 
at Fortress Monroe, had informed the War Department as to 
his views relative to the fugitive slaves — that they were to be 
regarded as " contraband of war" — and Secretary Cameron, 
under date of May 30th, had instructed that commander 
neither to permit any interference by persons under his com- 
mand with the relations of persons held to service under the 
laws of any State ; nor, on the other hand, while such States 
remained in rebellion, to surrender such persons to their 
alleged masters, but to employ them in such service as would 
be most advantageous, keeping an account of the value of 
their labor and the expenses of their support — the question 
of their final disposition to be reserved for future determina- 

At about the same time, General McClellan, advancing into 
Western Virginia to the aid of the loyal men of that section, 
used this language in his address to the people : 

" Notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to 
induce you to believe that our advent among you will be 
signalized by interference with your slaves, understand one 
thing clearly — not only will we abstain from all such inter- 
ference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, 
crush any attempt at insurrection on their part." 

On the 8th of August, Secretary Cameron, in reply to a 
second letter from General Butler upon the same subject, 
said : 

" General : — The important question of the proper disposi- 
tion to be made of fugitives from service in the States in insur- 
rection against the Federal Government, to which you have 
again directed my attention, in your letter of July 20th, has 
received my most attentive consideration. It is the desire 
of the President that all existing rights in all the States be 
fully respected and maintained. The war now prosecuted on 
the part of the Federal Government is a war for the "Onion. 

CLOSE OF 1861. 143 

Sec. Cameron's Letter. Slaves of Loyal Masters. 

for the preservation of all the Constitutional rights of the 
States and the citizens of the States in the Union ; hence no 
question can arise as to fugitives from service within the 
States and Territories in which the authority of the Union is 
fully acknowledged. The ordinary forms of judicial proceed- 
ings must be respected by the military and civil authorities 
alike for the enforcement of legal forms. But in the States 
wholly or in part under insurrectionary control, where the 
laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that 
they can not be effectually enforced, it is obvious that the 
rights dependent upon the execution of these laws must 
temporarily fail, and it is equally obvious that the rights 
dependent on the laws of the States within which military 
operations are conducted must necessarily be subordinate to 
the military exigencies created by the insurrection, if not 
wholly forfeited by the treasonable conduct of the parties 
claiming them. To this the general rule of the right to 
service forms an exception. The act of Congress approved 
August 6, 1861, declares that if persons held to service shall 
be employed in hostility to the United States, the right to 
their services shall be discharged therefrom. It follows of 
necessity that no claim can be recognized by the military 
authority of the Union to the services of such persons when 

"A more difficult question is presented in respect to persons 
escaping from the service of loyal masters. It is quite 
apparent that the laws of the State under which only the 
service of such fugitives can be claimed must needs be wholly 
or almost wholly superseded, as to the remedies, by the 
insurrection and the military measures necessitated by it ; 
and it is equally apparent that the substitution of military for 
judicial measures for the enforcement of such claims must be 
attended by great inconvenience, embarrassments and injuries. 
Under these circumstances, it seems quite clear that the sub- 
stantial rights of loyal masters are still best protected by 


Cameron's Letter. Confiscation Act. 

receiving such fugitives, as well as fugitives from disloyal 
masters, into the service of the United States, and employing 
them under such organizations and in such occupations as 
circumstances may suggest or require. Of course a record 
should be kept showing the names and descriptions of the 
fugitives, the names and characters, as loyal or disloyal, of 
their masters, and such facts as may be necessary to a correct 
understanding of the circumstances of each case. 

" After tranquility shall have been restored upon the return 
of peace, Congress will doubtless properly provide for all the 
persons thus received into the service of the Union, and for a 
just compensation to loyal masters. In this way only, it 
would seem, can the duty and safety of the Government and 
just rights of all be fully reconciled and harmonized. You 
will, therefore, consider yourself instructed to govern your 
future action in respect to fugitives from service by the 
premises herein stated, and will report from time to time, and 
at least twice in each month, your action in the premises to 
this Department You will, however, neither authorize nor 
permit any interference by the troops under your command 
with the servants of peaceable citizens in a house or field, nor 
will you in any manner encourage such citizens to leave the 
lawful service of their masters, nor will you, except in cases 
where the public good may seem to require it, prevent the 
voluntary return of any fugitive to the service from which he 
may have escaped." 

The Act of Congress to which allusion has already been 
made, as providing for the confiscation of the estates of 
persons in open rebellion against the Government, limited the 
penalty to property actually employed in the service of the 
rebellion, with the knowledge and consent of its owners; and, 
instead of emancipating slaves thus employed, left the dis- 
position to be made of them to be determined by the United 
States Courts, or by subsequent legislation 

CLOSE OF 1861. 145 

Fremont's Proclamation. President's Modification. 

General Fremont, in command of the Department of 
Missouri, in an order dated August 30th, declaring martial 
law established throughout that State, used the following 
language : 

" Real and personal property of those who shall take 
up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly 
proven to have taken an active part with their enemies in the 
field, is declared confiscated to public use, and their slaves, 
if any they have, are hereby declared free men." 

This order violated the above-named act, and could only be 
justified upon the ground of imperative military necessity 
Some correspondence which passed between the President 
and General Fremont upon this topic, resulted in the fol- 
lowing official letter, dated Washington, D. C, Sept. 11, 

" Major General John C. Fremont : — 

" Sir, — Yours of the 8th, in answer to mine of the 2d 
inst., is just received. Assured that you, upon the ground, 
could better judge of the necessities of your position than I 
could at this distance, on seeing your proclamation of August 
30, I perceived no general objection to it ; the particular 
clause, however, in relation to the confiscation of property 
and the liberation of slaves, appeared to me to be objection- 
able in its non-conformity to the Act of Congress passed the 
6th of last August, upon the same subjects, and hence I 
wrote you, expressing my wish that that clause should 
be modified accordingly. Your answer just received ex- 
presses the preference on your part that I should make an 
open order for the modification, which I very cheerfully do. 
It is, therefore, ordered that the said clause of the said pro- 
clamation be so modified, held and construed, as to conform 
with, and not to transcend the provisions on the same subject 
contained in the Act of Congress entitled 'An Act to confis- 
cate property used for insurrectionary purposes,' approved 


Sherman's Instructions. Ball's Bluff. 

August 6, 1861, and that said Act be published at length 
with this order. 

" Your obedient servant, 

"A. Lincoln." 

In the instructions from the War Department to General 
Sherman, in command of the land forces destined to operate 
on the South Carolina coast, that commander was directed to 
govern himself relative to this class of persons, by the prin- 
ciples of the letters addressed to General Butler, exercising, 
however, his own discretion as to special cases. If particular 
circumstances seemed to require it, they were to be employed 
in any capacity, with such organization in squads, companies, 
or otherwise, as should be by him deemed most beneficial to 
the service. This, however, not to mean a general arming 
of them for military service. All loyal masters were to be 
assured that Congress would provide just compensation 
to them for any loss of the services of persons so employed. 

This phase — varying and indefinite — at that time did that 
question present, which was at a later period to take, undeT 
the moulding hand of the President, body and form clearly 
defined and unmistakable. 

The battle of Ball's Bluff — the first under the direction oi 
the new commander on the Potomac — fought October 21st ; 
was but Bull Bun repeated ; happily, however, on a some- 
what smaller scale. A convenient scapegoat upon whom to 
throw the responsibility — General Stone — was found, and the 
indignation of the country was measurably, and for the time, 

Directly after this affair, the veteran Scott having asked to 
be relieved from active service, his request was granted in 
the following highly complimentary order : 

" Executive Mansion, Washington, Nov. 1, 1861. 
11 On the 1st day of November, A. D., 1861, upon his own 
application to the President of the United States, Brevet 

CLOSE OF 1861. 147 

Scott's Retirement. Army of the Potomac. 

Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott is ordered to be placed, 
and hereby is placed, upon the list of retired officers of the 
Army of the United States, without reduction in his current 
pay, subsistence, or allowances. 

" The American people will hear with sadness and deep 
emotion that General Scott has withdrawn from the active 
control of the army, while the President and the unanimous 
Cabinet express their own and the nation's sympathy in his 
personal affliction, and their profound sense of the important 
public services rendered by him to his country during his 
long and brilliant career, among which will ever be gratefully 
distinguished his faithful devotion to the Constitution, the 
Union, and the flag, when assailed by a parricidal rebellion. 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

To General McClellan, now the ranking officer of the army, 
the duties of General-in-chief were assigned by the President. 

The autumnal months passed away — gorgeous and golden 
— men thought them made for fighting, if fighting must be ; 
but no fighting for the Army of the Potomac — an occasional 
skirmish only — mainly reviews. 

The winter months came — the dry season had passed. 
The Grand Army being now thoroughly organized, disci 
plined,' and equipped went — to fight ? — no — into winter 

And the people, patient ever and forgiving, when inclina- 
tion impels, forgot Ball's Bluff — forgot what they had hoped 
for — trusted in the prudent caution of the general in commana 
and waited for the springtide. 


Meetins of Congress. Results. Mason and SlMelL 



The Military Situation — Seizure of Mason and Slidell — Opposition to the Administration — 
President's Message — Financial Legislation — Committee on the Conduct of the "War- 
Confiscation Bill. 

At the time of the re-asseinbling of Congress, December 
2d, 1861, the military situation was by no means as promising 
as the liberal expenditure of money and the earnest efforts of 
the Administration toward a vigorous prosecution of the war 
might have led the people to expect. True, the Xational 
Capitol had been protected, and Maryland, West Virginia, 
Kentucky, and Missouri had not. as had been at various times 
threatened, been brought in subjection to the rebels. Xoth- 
ing more, however — though this would have been judged no 
little, had the people been less sanguine of great results im- 
mediately at hand — than this had been accomplished in the 
East ; and in the "West, large rebel forces threatened Kentucky 
and Missouri, and the Mississippi river was in their posses- 
sion from its mouth to within a short distance of the mouth 
of the Ohio. 

The seizure of the emissaries, Mason and Slidell likewise — 
though afterwards disposed of by the Government in such a 
way as to secure the acquiescence of the nation — taken in 
connection with the position assumed by the British Govern- 
ment — in every way unpalatable to the mass of the people — 
seemed likely to entangle us in foreign complications exceed- 
ingly undesirable at that juncture. It was generally believed 
that England and France, while neutral on the surface, were 
in realitv affording very material aid and comfort to the rebel 
cause, our commercial interests being very seriously impaired 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. " 149 

Oppoeiti m Party. Prerident'a M 

by the construction which those powers saw fit to place upon 
their duties as neutrals. 

Efforts, moreover, were making to organize a formidable 
party in antagonism to the Administration, comprising the 
loose ends of every class of malcontents ; those who had 
always opposed the war, though for a time cowed down by 
the outburst which followed the fall of Sumter; those who 
were satisfied that no more progress had been made ; those 
who were inclined, constitutionally, to oppose any thing 
which any Administration, under any circumstances, might 
do ; those who were beginning to tire of the war, and were 
ready to patch matters up in any way, so only that it should 
come to an end ; and those who were on the alert for some 
chance whereby to make capital, political or pecuniary, for 
their own dear selves. 

As a whole, affairs wore by no means a cheering aspect at 
the opening of this Session. 

That the President was fully alive to the true state of the 
case, the views announced in the following message clearly 
show : 

"Fellow-citizens or the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives : — In the midst of unprecedented political troubles, 
we have cause of great gratitude to God for unusual good 
health and most abundant harvests. 

" You will not be surprised to learn that, in the peculiar 
exigences of the times, our intercourse with foreign nations 
has been attended with profound solicitude, chiefly turning 
upon our own domestic affairs. 

"A disloyal portion of the American people have, during the 
whole year, been engaged in an attempt to divide and de- 
stroy the Union. A nation which endures factious domestic 
division, is exposed to disrespect abroad ; and one party, 
if not both, is sure, sooner or later, to invoke foreign inter- 

'• Xations thus tempted to interfere, are not always able to 


Message. Foreign Aid to Rebels. 

resist the counsels of seeming expediency and ungenerous am- 
bition, 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 
offered the ruin of our country, in return for the aid and com- 
fort which they have invoked 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 
selfishly, for the most speedy restoration of commerce, in- 
cluding, especially, the acquisition of cotton, those nations 
appear, as yet, not to have seen their way to their objects 
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 princi- 
ple 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 ex- 
citing foreign nations to hostility against Us, as already in- 
timated, is the embarrassment of commerce. Those nations, 
however, not improbably, saw from the first, that it was the 
Union which made, as well our foreign, as our domestic com- 
merce. They can scarcely have failed to perceive that the 
effort for disunion produces the existing difficulty ; and that 
one strong nation promises more durable peace, and a more 
extensive, 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 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-62. 151 

Message. Foreign Dangers. Military Railroad. 

people. The correspondence itself, with the usual reserva- 
tions, is herewith submitted. 

11 1 venture to hope it will appear that we have practiced 
prudence and liberality toward 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 recommendation, provision for defending 
our sea-coast line readily occurs to the mind, I also, in the 
same connection, ask the attention of Congress to our great 
lakes and rivers. It is believed that some fortifications and 
depots of arms and munitions, with harbor and navigation 
improvements, all at well-selected points upon these, would 
be of great importance to the National defence and preserva- 
tion. 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 
Tennessee and Western North Carolina should be connected 
with Kentucky, 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 Lex 
ington or Nicholasville to the Cumberland Gap, or from 
Lebanon to the Tennessee line, in the direction of Knoxville, 
or on some still different line, can easily be determined. 
Kentucky and the General Government cooperating, 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 


Message. Ship Perthshire. Claims against China. 

valuable permanent improvement, worth its cost in all the 

" Some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests of com- 
merce, and having no grave political importance, have been 
negotiated, and will be submitted to the Senate for their con- 

"Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial 
powers to adopt a desirable amelioration of the rigor of mari- 
time war, we 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 Govern- 
ment, 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 supposed breach of the blockade. 
As this detention was occasioned by an obvious misapprehen- 
sion of the facts, and as justice requires that we should com- 
mit no belligerent act not founded in strict right, as sanc- 
tioned by public law, I recommend that an appropriation 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 the American citizens against 
China, pursuant to the awards of the commissioners under 
he 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 principal, over the proceeds of the surplus referred to, in 
good securities, with a view to the satisfaction of such other 
just claims of our citizens against China as are not unlikely 
to arise hereafter in the course of our extensive trade with 
that empire. 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. 153 

Message. Hayti and Liberia. Treasury Operations. 

" 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 effectual protection of our extensive and valuable 
commerce, in the Eastern seas especially, it seems to me that 
it would also be advisable to authorize the commanders of 
sailing vessels to recapture 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 adjudicate the cases, in the event that thisshould not be 
objected to by the local authorities. 

11 If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer 
in withholding our recognition of the independence and sove- 
reignty of Hayti and Liberia, I am unable to discern it. 
Unwilling, however, to inaugurate 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 ad- 
vantages might be secured by favorable treaties with them. 

11 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 acquisitions. This fact imposes peculiar obliga- 
tions to economy in disbursement, and energy in action. 

" The revenue from all sources, including loans, for the 
financial year ending on the 30th of June, 1861, was eighty- 
six million eight hundred and thirty-five thousand nine 


Message. Revenue. Report of Secretary of War. 

hundred dollars and twenty-seven cents, and the expenditures 
for the same period, including payments on account of the 
public debt, were eighty-four million five hundred and sev- 
enty-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-four dollars and 
forty-seven cents ; leaving a balance in the treasury on the 
1st of 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 of Septem- 
ber, 1861, the receipts from all sources, including the balance 
of the 1st of July, were 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 hundred 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 hun- 
dred and ninety-two thousand seven hundred and seventy- 
six dollars and eighteen cents. 

u Estimates for the remaining three-quarters of the year, 
and for the financial year 1863, together with his views of 
ways and means 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 s istain it till peace and Union shall again bless the land. 

" I respectfully refer to the report of the Secretary of War 
for information respecting the numerical strength of the 
Army, and for recommendations 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 field. 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. 155 

Message. Aruiy Chaplains. Report of Secretary of the Navy. 

"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 im- 
portance to the future safety of the country, and is commended 
to the serious attention of Congress. 

M The large addition to the regular army, in connection 
with the defection that has so considerably diminished the 
number of its officers, gives peculiar importance to his recom- 
mendation for increasing the corps of cadets to the greatest 
capacity of the Military Academy. 

" By mere omission, I presume, Congress has failed to pro- 
vide chaplains 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 herewith transmitted. 

" These gentlemen, I understand, entered upon the duties 
designated, 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 further suggest that general pro- 
vision 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 measures to increase its efficiency and power. Such 
have been the additions, by construction and purchase, that it 
may almost be said a navy has been created and brought into 
service since our difficulties commenced. 

" Besides blockading our extensive coast, squadrons larger 


Message. Supreme Court. Judge McLean. 

than ever before assembled under our flag have been put 
afloat, and performed deeds which have increased our naval 

" I would invite special attention to the recommendation 
of the Secretary 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, pro- 
mote 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 disabling 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 18G0. 

" Besides this, the country generally has outgrown our 
present judicial system. If uniformity was at all intended, 

THE CONGRESS OF 180 1-2. 157 

ige. Supremo Court. Statute Laws, 

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 in the 
system ; because the adding of judges to the Supreme Court, 
enough for the accommodation of all parts of the country, 
with circuit courts, would create a court altogether too nu- 
merous 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 Sta.te 
should have them. Let them be provided for all, or abolished 
as to all. 

II 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 number, 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 circuits. Or, thirdly, dispense 
with circuit courts altogether, leaving the judicial functions 
wholly to the district courts, and an independent Supreme 

II 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 


Message. Abolition of Civil Officers. 

haste and without sufficient caution, so that their provision? 
are often obscure in themselves, or in conflict with each other, 
or at least so doubtful as to render it very difficut 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 fulness 
and precision of the will of the legislature and the perspi- 
cuity of its language. This well done, would, I think. 

t, O O 7 7, 

greatly facilitate the labors of those whose duty it is to assist 
in the administration of the laws, and would be a lasting 
benefit to the people, by placing before them in a more acces- 
sible and intelligible form, the laws which so deeply concern 
their interests and their duties. 

" I 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 ordi- 
nary and convenient size. And I respectfully recommend to 
Congress to consider 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. 

11 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 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 

THE CONGRESS OF 1801-2. 159 

N';«.v Court*. Court of Claims. 

insurgents in open rebellion to loyal citizens, who are even 
now making great sacrifices in the discharge of their patriotic 
duty, to support the Government. 

" Under these circumstances, I have been urgently solicited 
to establish 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 proposed — the collec- 
tion 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 Con- 
gress, I suppose, are equal to the anomalous occasion, and 
therefore 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 permanent institution, 
but a temporary substitute, and to cease as soon as the ordi- 
nary courts can be re-established in peace. 

"It is important that some more convenient means should 
be provided, if possible, for the adjustment of claims against 
the Government, especially in view of their increased number 
by reason of the 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 between private individuals. The 
investigation and adjudication of claims, in their nature, be- 
long 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 investigation, it in a great degree fails to effect the 
object of its creation for want of power to make its judgments 


Message. Report of Postmaster-General. 

" 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 exper- 
ience may have shown to be necessary. 

"I ask attention to the report of the Postmaster General, 
the following being a summary statement of the condition of 
the department : 

" The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year ending 
June 30th, 1861, including the annual permanent appropria- 
tion 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 revenue for 1860. 

" 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-one cents. 

" The gross revenue for the year ending June 30th, 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 depart- 
ment 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, leav- 
ing an estimated deficiency of three million one hundred and 
forty-five thousand dollars to be supplied from the treasury, 
in addition to the permanent appropriation. 

" The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. 161 

Interior Department. Pension Office. 

of this District across the Potomac river, at the time of estab- 
lishing the capital here, was eminently wise, and consequently 
that the relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within 
the State of Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit 
for your consideration the expediency of regaining that part 
of the District, and the restoration of the original boundaries 
thereof, through negotiations with the state of Virginia. 

" The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with the ac- 
companying documents, exhibits the condition of the several 
branches of the public business pertaining to that department. 
The depressing influences of the insurrection have been 
specially 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 dollars. The 
sales have been entirely suspended in the Southern States, 
while the interruptions to the business of the country, and 
the diversions of large numbers of men from labor to military 
service, have obstructed settlements in the new States and 
Territories of the North-west. 

" 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- 

" The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely in- 
creased 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 pensions of 
such persons upon the proof of their disloyalty. I recommend 
that Congress authorize that officer to cause the names of 
such persons to be stricken from the pension rolls 


Message. Indian Troubles. Agricultural Bureau 

" The relations of the Government with the Indian tribes 
have been greatly disturbed by the insurrection, especially in 
the Southern Superintendency and in that of New Mexico 
The Indian country south of Kansas is in the possession of 
insurgents from Texas and Arkansas. The agents of the 
United States appointed since the 4th of March for this super- 
intendency have been unable to reach their posts, while the 
most of those who were in office before that time have es- 
poused the insurrectionary cause, and assume to exercise the 
powers of agents by virtue of commissions from the insurrec- 
tionists. It has been stated in the public press that a portion 
of those Indians have been organized as a military force, and 
are attached to the army of the insurgents. Although the 
Government has no official 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 Federal troops to protect them. It is believed 
that upon the repossession of the country by the Federal 
forces the Indians will readily cease all hostile demonstrations, 
and resume their former relations to the Government. 

"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 whether something 
more can not be given voluntarily with general advantage. 

"Annual reports exhibiting the condition of our agriculture, 
commerce, and manufactures, would present a fund of infor- 
mation of great practical value to the country. While I make 
no suggestion as to details, I venture the opinion that an 
agricultural and statistical bureau might profitably be organ- 

" The execution of the laws for the suppression of the 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. 163 

Message. Slave Trade. New Territories. 

African slave-trade has been confided to the Department of 
the Interior. It is a subject of gratulation that the efforts 
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 im- 
prisonment, 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. 

11 The Territories of Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada, created 
by the last Congress, have been organized, and civil adminis- 
tration 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 security and protection afforded by organized government, 
will doubtless 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 en- 
lightened 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 in- 
habitants, and as they have no representative in Congress, 
that body should not overlook their just claims upon the 

"At your late session a joint resolution was adopted author- 
izing the President to take measures for facilitating a proper 


Message. Confiscation Act. Colonization. 

representation of the industrial interests of the United States 
at the exhibition of the industry of all nations, to be holden in 
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 inti- 
mately connected with the material prosperity of the world. 
Through the Secretaries of State and of the Interior a plan, 
or system, has been devised, and partly matured, and which 
will be laid before you. 

" 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 bene- 
fit 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 valua- 
tion, in lieu, pro tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other 
plan to be agreed on with 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 colonization. 

" 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 acquisition of territory for nearly sixty 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. 165 

Message, Louisiana Purchase. Blockade. 

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 expe- 
diency. If it be said that the only legitimate object of ac- 
quiring territory is to furnish homes for white men, this 
measure effects that object, for the emigration of colored men 
leaves additional room for white men remaining or coming 
here. Mr. Jefferson, however,, placed the importance of pro- 
curing 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 expedi- 
ency amount to absolute necessity — that without which the 
Government itself cannot be perpetuated ? 

11 The war continues. In considering the policy to be 
adopted for suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious 
and careful that the 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 Congress to confiscate property used for insurrec- 
tionary 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 


Message. Maryland. Kentucky. Missouri. 

that radical and extreme measures, which may reach the loyal 
as well as the disloyal, are indispensable. 

" The inaugural address at the beginning of the adminis- 
tration, 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. 

11 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 Delaware 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 regi- 
ment 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 candidate 
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 comparitively quiet, and I 
believe can not 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 

THE CONGRESS OF 1861-2. 167 

Messa Progress of our Arms. Gen.Scott. 

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 
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 the 
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 insurrec- 
tionist 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 accounts of popular movements, in behalf 
of the Union, in North Carolina and Tennessee. 

" These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is 
advancing steadily and certainly southward. 

" Since your last adjournment, Lieut.-Gen. 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 thenceforward continually, I can 
not but think we are still his debtors. I submit, therefore, 
for your consideration, what further mark of recognition is 
due to him, and to ourselves, as a grateful people. 

" With the retirement of Gen. Scott came the Executive 
duty of appointing, in his stead, a General-in-chief of the 
army. It is a fortunate circumstance that neither in council 
nor country was there, so far as I know, any difference of 


Message. Gen. McClellan. Monarchy Possible. 

opinion as to the proper person to be selected. The retiring 
chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in favor of Gen. Mc- 
Clellan for the position, and in this the nation seemed to give 
a unanimous concurrence. The designation of Gen. 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 with- 
out which he can not, 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 trne, if taken to mean no more 
than that an army is better directed by a single mind, though 
inferior, than 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 unfre- 
quently, ail go down together because too many will direct 
and no single mind can be allowed to control. 

" It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if 
not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular gov- 
ernment — the rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of 
this is found in the most grave and maturely-considered pub- 
lic 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 legis- 
lative, 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. 

11 In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I 
to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of re- 
turning despotism. 

THE CONGKESS OF 1861-2. 169 

Message. Labor aud Capital. North and South. 

11 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 connections, not so hackneyed as most 
others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to 
place capital on an equal footing with, if not above labor, in 
the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is 
available only in connection 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 buy them, 
and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded 
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 life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assump- 
tions 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 producing 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 


Message. Change of Laborer's Condition. Population. 

hired. Men, with their families — wives, sons, and daughters — 
work for themselves, on their 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 him- 
self, 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 progress, 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 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 lost. 

" 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 popu- 
lar principle, applied to Government through the machinery of 
the States and the Union, has produced in a given time, and 


M ~-ige. Acts of Congress. Confiscation. 

also what if firmly maintained, it promises for the future. 
There are already among us those who, if the Union be pre- 
served, 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. 

"Abraham Lincoln. 
"Washington, December 3, 1861. " 

At this session, provision was made for the issue of legal 
tender notes, and an internal revenue bill was matured, for 
the purposing of increasing largely the receipts of the Treasury, 
affording a basis for the payment of interest on authorized 
loans, and insuring confidence in the National currency. 

A Congressional committee on the conduct of the war was 
also appointed, the evidence obtained by which was submitted 
to the President for his consideration and eventually given to 
the public. 

A confiscation bill was passed, with a special provision for 
conditional pardon and amnesty, limiting the forfeiture of real 
estate to the lifetime of its rebel owners. 



Situation of the President — His Policy — Gradual Emancipation Message— Abolition of 
Slavery in the District of Columbia — Repudiation of General Hunter's Emancipation 
Order — Conference -with Congressmen from the Border Slave States — Address to the 
same — Military Order — Proclamation under the Confiscation Act. 

What was to be the final disposition of the question of 
slavery could not be thrust aside. The intimate connection 
of this institution with our military operations, was perpetually 


Message. Position touching Slavery. Special Message. 

forcing it upon the attention of the nation. This subject had, 
since it had been rendered patent to all, that it was to be no 
holiday struggle in which we were engaged, but a life and 
death grapple with desperate and determined foes, been ever 
present to Mr. Lincoln's mind. His action was, however, to 
a certain extent, not suffered to be independent. Could he 
have boldly assumed the initiative, assured that the great 
mass of the people were at his back, he could have acted far 
otherwise than he was necessitated to act, considering the 
delicate nature of the question, the utter lack of precedents, 
the intertwining of interests, the dangers resulting from 
a single misstep, the divisions on this point, existing in the 
ranks even of his own political supporters, and the conflict- 
ing views held by men whose loyalty and devotion to the 
country were unimpeachable. 

He chose not to go far ahead of popular indications ; he 
deemed it the wiser statesmanship, in the existing state of 
affairs, to keep in the lead but a little, feeling, so to speak, 
his way along — making haste slowly. That this would dis- 
satisfy many of his political friends he well knew ; but he, 
upon mature deliberation, decided that it was for the interest 
of the country, and that to that consideration everything else 
must yield. 

On the 6th of March, 1862, he sent to the Congress the fol- 
lowing message concerning this question, the resolution 
embodied in which, was passed by both Houses : 

" Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives : — I recommend the adoption of a joint resolu- 
tion by your honorable bodies, which shall be substantially as 
follows : 

11 Resolved, That the United States ought to cooperate with 
any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, 
giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State 
in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public 
and private, produced by such change of system. 


Special m. Gradual Emancipation. 

11 If the proposition contained in the resolution does not 
meet the approval of Congress and the country, there is the 
end ; but if it does command such approval, I deem it of 
importance that the States and people immediately interested, 
should 1)0 at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they 
may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it. The 
Federal Government would find its highest interest in such 
a measure as one of the most efficient means of self-preserva- 
tion. The leaders of the existing insurrection entertain the 
hope that this Government will ultimately be forced to 
acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected 
region, and that all the slave States north of such part will 
then say, 'the Union for which we have struggled being 
already gone, we now choose to go with the southern 
section. ' To deprive them of this hope substantially ends the 
rebellion, and the initiation of emancipation completely de- 
prives them of it as to all the States initiating it. The point 
is not that all the States tolerating slavery would very soon, 
if at all, initiate emancipation, but that, while the offer is 
equally made to all, the more northern shall, by such initia- 
tion, make it certain to the more southern that in no event 
will the former ever join the latter in their proposed con- 
federacy. I say 'initiation,' because in my judgment, 
gradual, and not sudden emancipation, is better for all. In 
the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member of Congress, 
with the census tables and treasury reports before him, can 
readily see for himself how very soon the current expenditures 
of this war would purchase, at fair valuation, all the slaves 
in any named State. Such a proposition on the part of the 
general Government sets up no claim of a right by Federal 
authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, refer- 
ring, as it does, the absolute control of the subject in each 
case to the State and its people immediately interested. It 
is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them. 

" In the annual message last December, I thought fit to 


special Message. Abolition of Slavery in District. 

say, ' the Union must be preserved ; and hence all indispen- 
sable means must be employed.' I said this not hastily, but 
deliberately. War has been made, and continues to be an 
indispensable means to this end. A practical re-acknow- 
edgment of the national authority would render the war un- 
necessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance 
continues, the war must also continue, and it is impossible to 
foresee all the incidents which may attend, and all the ruin 
which may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable, or 
may obviously promise great efficiency toward ending the 
struggle, must and will come. 

11 The proposition now made, though an offer only, I hope 
it may be esteemed no offence to ask whether the pecuniary 
consideration tendered would not be of more value to the 
States and private persons concerned, than are the institu- 
tions and property in it, in the present aspect of affairs. 

" While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolu- 
tion would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a prac- 
tical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would 
soon lead to important practical results. In full view of my 
great responsibility to my God and to my country, I earn- 
estly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the 

"March 6, 1862. Abraham Lincoln." 

A bill abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia having 
passed both Houses of Congress early in April, the President, 
in communicating his approval of the measure, judged it 
necessary to accompany the same with the following message : 

11 Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives : — The act entitled ' An act for the release of 
certain persons held to service or labor in the District of 
Columbia,' has this day been approved and signed. 

" I have never doubted the constitutional authority of Con 
gross to abolish slavery in this District, and I have ever de- 
sired to see the National Capital freed from the institution in 


District of Colombia. Hunter's Proclamation Annulled. 

some satisfactory way. Hence there has never been, in my 
mind, any question upon the subject except the one of expedi- 
ency, arising in view of all the circumstances. If there be 
matters within and about this act which might have taken a 
course or shape more satisfactory to my judgment, I do not 
attempt to specify them. I am gratified that the two prin- 
ciples of compensation and colonization are both recognized 
and practically applied in the act. 

" In the matter of compensation it is provided that claims 
may be presented within ninety days from the passage of the 
act, ' but not thereafter,' and there is no saving for minors, 
femes-covert, insane or absent persons. I presume this is 
an omission by mere oversight, and I recommend that it be 
supplied by an amendatory or supplemental act. 

"April 16, 1862. Abraham Lincoln." 

The President's repudiation, by the following proclamation, 
of an emancipation order of General Hunter, was conclusive 
evidence that he was determined to keep the control of this 
vexed question in his own hands, and to suffer no military 
commander to exercise jurisdiction over it : 

" Whereas, There appears in the public prints what pur- 
ports to be a proclamation of Major-General Hunter, in the 
words and figures following, to wit : 

1 Head- Quarters, Department of the South, 
1 Hilton Head, S. C, May 9th, 1862. 
1 General Orders No. 11. 

* The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, 
comprising the Military Department of the South, having 
deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protec- 
tion of the United States of America, and having taken up 
arms against the said United States, it becomes a military 
necessity to declare them under martial law. This was 
accordingly done on the twenty-fifth day of April, 1862. 
Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether in- 
compatible. The persons in these three States, Georgia, 


Decision Keversed by the President. Special Message. 

Florida, and South Carolina, heretofore held as slaves, are 
therefore declared forever free. 

'David Hunter, Major-General Commanding. 

■ Official : 
'Ed. W Smith, Acting Assistant Adjutant General. 1 

"And "Whereas, The same is producing some excitement 
and misunderstanding, 

" Tlierefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United 
States, proclaim and declare that the government of the United 
States had no knowledge or belief of an intention, on the part 
of General Hunter, to issue such a proclamation, nor has it 
yet any authentic information that the document is genuine ; 
and further, that neither General Hunter nor any other com- 
mander or person has been authorized by the government of 
the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves 
of any State free, and that the supposed proclamation now in 
question, whether genuine 'or false, is altogether void, so far 
as respects such declaration. 

"I further make known, that whether it be competent for 
me as commander-in-chief of the army and navy to declare 
the slaves of any State or States free, and whether at any time, 
or in any case, it shall become a necessity indispensable to the 
maintenance of the Government to exercise such supposed 
power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I reserve 
to myself, and which I cannot feel justified in leaving to the 
decision of commanders in the field. These are totally differ- 
ent questions from those of police regulations in armies and 

" On the sixth day of March last, by a special message, I 
recommended to Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, 
to be substantially as follows : 

"Resolved, That the United States ought to cooperate with 
any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, 
giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State 
in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public 
and private, produced by such change of system.' 


Appeal to Border States. Anticipations. 

'The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopt- 
ed by large majorities in both branches of Congress, and now 
stands an authentic, definite and solemn proposal of the nation 
to the States and people most immediately interested in the 
subject matter. To the people of these States I now earnest- 
ly appeal. I do not argue ; I beseech you to make the argu- 
ments for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind to 
the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged con- 
sideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal 
and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause 
for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts 
not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come 
gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending or wrecking any 
thing. Will you not embrace it ? So much good has not 
been done by one effort in all past time, as in the Providence 
of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast 
future not have to lament that you have neglected it. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this nineteenth day of 
May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-sixth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

A short time before the adjournment of Congress, while the 
country was in a state of great despondency, owing to the 
miscarriage of the Peninsular Campaign, the President, 
knowing that whatever measures events should point out as 
necessary to put down the rebellion must be adopted, and 
anticipating that a blow directed at the institution of slavery 
would, probably, at no distant period have to be dealt, in- 
vited the Senators and Representatives of the Border Slave 
States to a conference, for the purpose of preparing their 


Conference. Appeal to Border States. 

minds for the happening of such a contingency. On this oc- 
casion he read to them the following carefully prepared 
address, to which he received an approving response from but 
nine of the twenty-nine : 

" Gentlemen : — After the adjournment of Congress, now 
near, I shall have no opportunity of seeing you for 
several months. Believing that you of the Border States 
hold more power for good than any other equal number of 
members, 1 feel it a duty which I can not justifiably waive to 
make this appeal to you. 

" I intend no reproach or complaint when I assure you that, 
in my opinion, if you all had voted for the resolution in the 
gradual emancipation message of last March, the war would 
now be substantially ended. And the plan therein proposed 
is yet one of the most potent and swift means of ending it. 
Let the States which are in rebellion see definitely and cer- 
tainly that in no event will the States you represent ever join 
their proposed Confederacy, and they can not much longer 
maintain the contest. But you can not divest them of their 
hope to ultimately have you with them so long as you show 
a determination to perpetuate the institution within your 
own States. Beat them at elections, as you have over- 
whelmingly done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you 
as their own. You and I know what the lever of their power 
is. Break that lever before their faces, and they can shake 
you no more forever. 

" Most of you have treated me with kindness and considera- 
tion, and I trust you will not now think I improperly touch 
what is exclusively your own, when, for the sake of the whole 
country, I ask, ' Can you, for your States, do better than to 
take the course I urge V Discarding 'punctilio and maxims 
adapted to more manageable times, and looking only to the 
unprecedentcdly stern facts of our case, can you do better in 
any possible event ? You prefer that the constitutional rela- 
tions of the States to the nation shall be practically restored 


Conference. Gradual Emancipation. 

without disturbance of the institution ; and, if this were done, 
my whole duty in this respect, under the Constitution and my 
oath of office, would be performed. But it is not done, and 
we are trying to accomplish it by war. The incidents of the 
war can not be avoided. If the war continues long, as it must 
if the object be not sooner attained, the institution in your 
States will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion — 
by the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you 
will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is 
gone already. How much better for you and for your people 
to take the step which at once shortens the war, and secures 
substantial compensation for that which is sure to be wholly 
lost in any other event ! How much better to thus save the 
money which else we sink forever in the war ! How much 
better to do it while we can, lest the war, ere long, render us 
pecuniarily unable to do it ! How much better for you, as 
seller, and the nation, as buyer, to sell out and buy out that 
without which the war could never have been, than to sink 
both the thing to be sold and the price of it, in cutting one 
another's throats 1 

" I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision 
at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America 
for colonization can be obtained cheaply and in abundance, 
and when numbers shall be large enough to be company and 
encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be 
so reluctant to go. 

" I am pressed with a difficulty not yet mentioned — one 
which threatens division among those who, united, are none 
too strong. An instance of it is known to you. General 
Hunter is an honest man. He was, and I hope still is, my 
friend. I valued him none the less for his agreeing with me 
in the general wish that all men everywhere could be freed. 
He proclaimed all men free within certain States, and I repu- 
diated the proclamation. He expected more good and less 
harm from the measure than I could believe would follow. 


Conference. Military Order 

Yet, in repudiating it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offence, to 
manv whose support the country can not afford to lose. And 
this is not the end of it. The pressure in this direction is still 
upon me, and is increasing. By conceding what I now ask 
you can relieve me, and, much more, can relieve the country 
in this important point. 

"Upon these considerations, I have again begged your 
attention to the Message of March last. Before leaving the 
Capitol, consider and discuss it among yourselves. You are 
patriots and statesmen, and as such, I pray you consider this 
proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration 
of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popu- 
lar government for the best people in the world, I beseech 
you that you do in no wise omit this. Our common country 
is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest 
action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of 
government saved to the world, its beloved history and cher- 
ished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully 
assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more 
than to any others, the privilege is given to assure that hap- 
piness, and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names 
therewith forever." 

On the twenty-second of July, the following order was 
issued : 

" War Department, Washington, July 22d, 1862. 

"First. Ordered that military commanders within the 
States of Virginia, Xorth Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an ordinary 
manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which 
may be necessary or convenient for their several commands, 
for supplies, or for other military purposes ; and that while 
property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none 
shall be destroyed in wantonness or malice. 

"Second. That military and naval commanders shall em- 


Confiscation Proclamation. neral War Order. 

ploy as laborers, within and from said States, so many 
persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for 
military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for 
their labor. 

" Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African 
descent, accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in 
detail to show quantities and amounts, and from whom both 
property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon 
which compensation can be made in proper cases ; and the 
several departments of this government shall attend to and 
perform their appropriate parts toward the execution of these 
orders. " By order of the President. 

"Edwin aL Stanton, Secretary of War." 

And on the twenty-fifth of July, by proclamation, the Pre- 
dent warned all persons to cease participating in aiding, 
countenancing, or abetting the rebellion, and to return to 
their allegiance, under penalty of the forfeitures and seizures 
provided by an act " to suppress insurrections, to punish 
treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of 
rebels, and for other purposes," approved July lTth, 1862. 



President's War Order — Reason for the same — Results in West and South-west — Army oi' 
the Potomac— Presidential Orders — Letter to McClellan — Order for Army Corps — Tho 
Issue of the Campaign — Unfortunate Circumstances — President's Speech at Union Meet- 
ing — Comments — Operations in Virginia and Maryland — In the West and South-west. 

Early in 1862 appeared the following : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, January 27th, 1862. 

[President's General War Order, No. 1.] 

" Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day 
for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the 
United States against the insurgent forces. 


Military Successes. Army of the Potomac. 

" That especially the Army at and about Fortress Monroe, 
the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the 
Army near Mumfordsville, Kentucky, the Army and Flotilla 
at Cairo, and a Naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready 
for a movement on that day. 

" That all other forces, both land and naval, with their re- 
spective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and 
be ready to obey additional orders when duly given. 

" That the Heads of Departments, and especially the Sec- 
retaries of War and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, 
and the General-in-chief, with all other commanders and 
subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to 
their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution 
of this order. 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

In thus resuming whatever of his constitutional duties as 
Commander-in-chief of the army and navy might have been 
temporarily devolved upon others, and directing immediate 
and energetic aggressive measures, the President only acted 
as the exponent of the popular feeling, which had become 
manifest, of dissatisfaction at the apparently inexcusable want 
of action in military affairs. 

In the West and South-west followed the successful battle 
at Mill Spring, Kentucky ; the capture of Forts Henry and 
Donelson, compelling the evacuation of Nashville, and ridding 
Kentucky of any organized rebel force ; the hardly contested, 
but successful battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, relieving Mis- 
souri, in a great degree ; victory for our arms wrested from 
the jaws of defeat at Shiloh ; and the occupation of New 
Orleans, giving control of the Mouth of the Mississippi. 

What at the East ? — Roanoke Island. 

Touching the movements of the Army of the Potomac, to 
which the country looked so expectantly for grand results, 
efficiently officered, thoroughly disciplined, and splendidly 
equipped as it was known or supposed to be, the first diffi- 


President's Order. Letter to McClellan. 

eulty was to fix upon a plan. For the purpose of leading 
the attention of its General to something like a definite de- 
cision however, the order of January 2Tth was succeeded by 
the following : 

" Executive Mansion, Washington, January 31st, 1862. 
" Ordered, That all the disposable force of the Army of the 
Potomac, after providing safely for the defence of Washington, 
be formed into an expedition for the immediate object of 
seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad south-west- 
ward of what is known as Manassas Junction ; all details to 
be in the discretion of the Commander-in-chief, and the expe- 
dition to move before, or on the twenty-second day of Feb- 
ruary next. • 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

General McClellan objecting to this movement and earnestly 
urging a plan of advance upon Richmond by the Lower Rap- 
pahannock with Urban a as a base, the President addressed 
him the following letter : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, February 3d, 1862. 
"My Dear Sir: — You and I have distinct and different 
plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac ; yours to 
be done by the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana, 
and across land to the terminus of the railroad on the York 
river ; mine to move directly to a point on the railroad south- 
west of Manassas. 

11 If you will give satisfactory answers to the following 
questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours : 

" First. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger exppn 
diture of time and money than mine ? 

" Second, Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan 
than mine ? 

" Third. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan 
than mine ? 

" Fourth. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this ; 


Organization into Corps. President's War Ordei 

that it would break no great line of the enemy's communica- 
tions, while mine would ? 

" Fifth. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more 
difficult by your plan than mine ? 

11 Yours, truly, A. Lincoln. 

" Major- General McClellan." 

Which plain, practical questions were never directly an- 

This army being without any organization into Army Corps, 
the President, on the 8th of March, as a movement was about 
to be made toward Manassas, issued a peremptory order to 
the Commanding General to attend forthwith to such organiza- 
tion, naming the Corps and their Commanders, according to 
seniority of rank. 

On the same day, the President, who had, against his own 
judgment, yielded the plan for an advance upon Richmond 
which should at the same time cover Washington, wise 
through experience, issued the following : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, March 8th, 1862. 

" Ordered. That no change of the base of operations of 
the Army of the Potomac shall be made without leaving in 
and about Washington such a force as, in the opinion of the 
General-in-chief and the commanders of Army Corps, shall 
leave said city entirely secure. 

" That no more than two Army Corps (about fifty thousand 
troops) of said Army of the Potomac shall be moved en route 
or a new base of operations until the navigation of the 
Potomac, from Washington to the Chesapeake Bay, shall be 
freed from the enemy's batteries, and other obstructions, or 
until the President shall hereafter give express permission. 

" That any movement as aforesaid, en route for a new base 
of operations, which may be ordered by the General-in-chief, 
and which may be intended to move upon Chesapeake Bay, 
shall begin to move upon the bay as early as the 18th of 


Movement. Peninsular Campaign. Results. 

March, instant, and the General-in-chief shall be responsible 
that it moves as early as that day. 

"Ordered, That the Army and Navy cooperate in an 
immediate effort to capture the enemy's batteries upon the 
Potomac between Washington and the Chesapeake Bay. 

"Abraham Lincoln. 

"L. Thomas, Adjutant- General." 

Finally — after delays manifold, correspondence voluminous, 
discussions heated, and patience nearly worn threadbare — 
commenced that military movement, which has passed into 
history as the American Peninsular Campaign ; by virtue of 
which, commencing about the middle of March, 1862, a large 
body of finely disciplined troops — their numbers varying, 
according to various accounts, from one hundred thousand 
nine hundred and seventy, to one hundred and twenty -one 
thousand five hundred men — left Alexandria for Richmond, 
via Yorktown, and succeeded, after sanguinary battles, swamp 
sickness, severe exposures, and terrible hardships, in return- 
ing (how many of them ?) to Alexandria via Harrison's 
Landing, by about the middle of August, 1862. 

That campaign was the most disastrous drawback of the 
war, not merely in the loss of men, nor in the failure to reacn 
the end aimed at, but mainly in its enervating effect upon 
the supporters of the Government. It was Bull Run over 
again, only immensely magnified, indefinitely prolonged. 
Fortune seemed determined never to favor our Eastern 

Into the details of that campaign it is needless to enter 
here. Every schoolboy knows them by heart, so far as they 
are spread upon the record. Equally idle is it to attempt a 
criticism upon the campaign in a military point of view. 
That has been already done to a nauseating extent ; yet will, 
doubtless, continue to be done while the reader lives. 

No details, nor military criticism therefore here. But that 
President Lincoln may fairly be presented in his relations to 


Gen. McClellan. Unfortunate Circumstances. 

this campaign, certain observations must be made. And this 
is the place to make them. 

Conceding to General McClellan all the ability, patriotism, 
and bravery which have been claimed for him by his warmest 
admirers, there still remain some unfortunate' circumstances 
connected with him, by reason of which — even though he, 
personally, were responsible for no single one of them — not 
all the ability, patriotism, and bravery of a Napoleon, Tell, 
and Bayard combined, could have secured in his person what 
this country needed for the rooting out of the great rebellion. 

It was unfortunate for him that, at the very outset — when 
so little was known of him, when he had done so little — 
sycophantic flatterers should have exalted him at once into a 
great military chieftain. Peculiarly unfortunate was this, 
considering that the changeable American people were to 
pass upon him and his actions — that people, in their relations 
to their leading men, with their " Hosannas" to-day and their 
" Crucify him's" to-morrow. The sequel of " going up like a 
rocket" is not generally supposed to be particularly agreeable. 

It was unfortunate for him that the opinion obtained, in the 
minds of many, impartial and competent to judge, that, in his 
case, caution had passed the bounds of prudence and run 
mad. There are emergencies when every thing must be 
risked that nothing be lost. 

It was unfortunate for him that he was made the especial 
pet of those individuals who were most clamorous against an 
Administration which, whatever its short comings, every 
candid man knew was earnestly intent upon ending the war 
upon such a basis as could alone, in its judgment, secure 
permanent peace. If a subordinate general could not agree 
with his superiors, or content himself with matters purely 
military, he should have declined to remain in the service. 

It was unfortunate for him that his especial friends sought, 
in print, and public speech, and private conversation, to 
create the impression that the President did not desire that 


Unfortunate Circumstances. President's Speech. 

he should succeed, owing to a fear that he might prove 
a formidable competitor at the next Presidential election. 
Peculiarly unfortunate, when one remembers that this Presi- 
dent had, at the outbreak of the war, put at the head of three 
important military departments three of the most decided of 
his political opponents — Patterson, Butler, and McClellan — 
that no man ever occupied the Presidential chair, unless it be 
its first occupant, who had less selfishness and more disin- 
terestedness in his composition than President Lincoln. 

It was unfortunate for him that such desperate efforts 
were made by his supporters to fasten the responsibility for 
admitted failures upon other parties. This began at Ball's 
Bluff, as has already been noted. The Secretary of War was 
dragged in, as well as the President, in connection with the 
Peninsular Campaign. As to this last, nothing more to the 
point can be adduced than the words of a man, whose honesty 
and truthfulness were known wherever he was known — 
Abraham Lincoln — in a characteristic speech made by him 
at a Union meeting in Washington, August 6th, 1862, when 
the issue of the campaign was certain : 

" Fellow-citizens : — I believe there is no precedent for my 
appearing before you on this occasion ; but it is also true 
that there is no precedent for your being here yourselves, and 
I offer, in justification of myself and of you, that, upon ex- 
amination, I have found nothing in the Constitution against 
it. I, however, have an impression that there are younger 
gentlemen who will entertain you better, and better address 
your understanding than I will or could, and therefore I pro- 
pose but to detain you a moment longer. 

" I am very little inclined on any occasion to say any thing 
unless I hope to produce some good by it. The only thing I 
think of just now not likely to be better said by some one else 
is a matter in which we have heard some other persons 
blamed for what I did myself. There has been a very wide- 
spread attempt to have a quarrel between General McClellan 


The Secretary of War. Neither Blameable. 

and the Secretary of War. Now, I occupy a position that 
enables me to observe, that at least these two gentlemen are not 
nearly so deep in the quarrel as some pretending to be their 
friends. General McClellan's attitude is such that, in the 
very selfishness of his nature, he cannot but wash to be suc- 
cessful, and I hope he will — and the Secretary of War is in 
precisely the same situation. If the military commanders in 
the field cannot be successful, not only the Secretary of War, 
but myself, for the time being the master of them both, can 
not be but failures. I know that General McClellan wishes 
to be successful, and I know he does not wish it any more 
than the Secretary of War for him, and both of them together 
no more than I wish it. Sometimes we have a dispute about 
how many men General McClellan has had, and those who 
would disparage him say that he has had a very large num- 
ber, and those who would disparage the Secretary of War 
insist that General McClellan has had a very small number. 
The basis for this is, there is always a wide difference, and on 
this occasion perhaps a wider one, between the grand total 
on McClellan's rolls and the men actually fit for duty ; and 
those who would disparage him talk of the grand total on 
paper, and those who would disparage the Secretary of War 
talk of those at present fit for duty. General McClellan has 
sometimes asked for things that the Secretary of War did not 
give him. General McClellan is not to blame for asking 
what he wanted and needed, and the Secretary of War is 
not to blame for not giving when he had none to give. And 
I say here, as far as I know, the Secretary of War has with- 
held no one thing at any time in my power to give him. 
I have no accusation against him. I believe he is a brave 
and able man, and I stand here, as justice requires me to do, 
to take upon myself what has been charged on the Secretary 
of War, as withholding from him. I have talked longer 
than 1 expected to, and now I avail myself of my privilege 
of saying no more." 


After the Campaign. Affairs at the West. 

It was unfortunate for him that the precedents were so 
numerous in American history for making a successful mili- 
tary man President. This must have embarrassed him no 
little, and tempted him into much of that correspondence 
which otherwise he would have avoided. Had it not been 
for these fatal precedents, he, assuredly, would not have 
leisurely seated himself at Harrison's Landing to write to the 
President a lengthy homily on affairs of State at a moment 
when it was doubtful whether he would long have an army 
of which he could be General in command. 

Finally, it was unfortunate for him that he had not, when 
learning to command, learned also to obey. This would have 
spared himself and the country and the cause several entirely 
superfluous inflictions. 

Whoever would form a correct estimate of President Lin- 
coln's connection with the Peninsular campaign and its 
commander, must bear these facts in mind. Aside from all 
considerations of a purely military nature, they are indis- 
pensable in reaching an unbiassed decision. 

What dogged the heels of this unfortunate campaign must 
be briefly told. Vigorous orders from Pope, " headquarters 
in the saddle," turned into most melancholy bombast by his 
failure, occasioned either by want of brains or willful lack of 
cooperation ; a rebel invasion of Maryland ; the battle of 
South Mountain gained under McClellan ; Antietam, not the 
victory it might have been, for which a ream of reasons were 
given ; the withdrawal of the rebels ; Government hard at 
work urging McClellan to follow ; supersedure of the latter 
by the President, who survived his cabinet in clinging to 
him; appointment of Burnside, much against his wishes; 
another defeat at Fredericksburg ; and the Army of the 
Potomac in winter-quarters again. 

Such is the summary in the East for A. D. 1862. 

In the West, the year closed with the opening of the battle 
of Murfreesboro, and Yicksburg still held out against all our 
attempts to take it. 


Tribune Editorial. President" s Reply, 



Tritrane Editorial — Letter to Mr. Greeley — Announcement of the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion — Suspension of the Habeas Corpus in certain cases — Order for Observance of the 
Sabbath — The Emancipation Proclamation. 

An editorial article having appeared in the New York 
Tribune, in the month of August, 1862, in the form of a 
letter addressed to the President, severely criticising his 
action relative to the question of slavery — a letter written in 
ignorance of the fact that a definite policy had already been 
matured, which would be announced at a suitable moment — 
Mr. Lincoln responded as follows : 

" Executive Mansion, "Washington, Aug. 22, 1862. 

Hon. Horace Greeley — Dear Sir : I have just read yours 
of the 19th, addressed to myself through the New York 
Tribune. If there be in it any statements or assumptions of 
fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and 
here controvert them. If there be in it any inference which 
I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here 
argue against them. If there be perceptible in it an impatient 
and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, 
whose heart I have always supposed to be right. 

"As to the policy I ' seem to be pursuing,' as you say, I 
have not meant to leave any one in doubt. 

" I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest 
way under the Constitution. The sooner the National 
authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be 'the 
Union as it was.' If there be those who would not save the 
Union unless they could at the same time save Slavery, I do 
not agree with them. If there be those who w T ould not save 
the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Slavery, 
I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this 


The Union to be Saved. Emancipation Indicated. 

struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or 
destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing 
any slave, I would do it ; and if I could do it by freeing all 
the slaves, I would do it ; and if I could do it by freeing some 
and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do 
about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it 
helps to save this Union ; and what I forbear, I forbear 
because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I 
shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts 
the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing 
more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when 
shown to be errors ; and I shall adopt new views so fast as 
they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my 
purpose according to my view of official duty, and I intend 
no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all 
men, every where, could be free. 

"Yours, A. Lincoln." 

What that policy was, every manly heart learned with de- 
light when the following Proclamation appeared, the most 
important state-paper ever penned by any American Presi- 
dent : 

"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of 
America, and Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy 
thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare, that hereafter, as 
heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of prac- 
tically restoring the constitutional relation between the United 
States aud the people thereof, in those States in which that 
relation is, or may be, suspended or disturbed ; that it is my 
purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to agaiu recom- 
mend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary 
aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all the Slave States, 
so-called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion 
against the United States, and which States may then have 
voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, the 
immediate or gradual abolishment of slavery within their 


Slaves of Rebels to be Free. Article of War. 

respective limits, and that the effort to colonize persons of 
African descent, with their consent, upon the continent or 
elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the gov- 
ernment existing there, will be continued ; that on the first 
day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within 
any State, or any designated part of a State, the people 
whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, 


Executive Government of the United States, including the 
military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and 
maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or 
acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts 
they may make for their actual freedom ; that the Executive 
will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, 
designate the States, and parts of States, if any, in which the 
people thereof respectively shall be in rebellion against 
the United States ; and the fact that any State, or the people 
thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the 
Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto, 
at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such 
State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong 
countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that 
such State and the people thereof have not been in rebellion 
against the United States. 

" That attention is hereby called to an act of Congress, 
entitled, 'An act to make an additional article of war,' ap- 
proved March 13, 1862, and which act is in the words and 
figures following : 

" 'Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That 
hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional 
Article of War for the government of the Army of the United 
States, and shall be observed and obeyed as such. 

11 'Article — . All officers or persons of the military or 


Articles of War Couflrfcation Act. Fugitive Slavee 

naval service of the United States, are prohibited from em- 
ploying any of the forces under their respective commands 
for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor 
who may have escaped from any persons to whom such ser- 
vice or labor is claimed to be due ; and any officer who shall 
be found guilty by a court-martial of violating this article, 
shall be dismissed from the service. 

11 'Section 2. And be it further enacted, That this act shall 
take effect from and after its passage.' 

"Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an act entitled, 
'An act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and re- 
bellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and lor 
other purposes,' approved July 17, 1862, and which sections 
are in the words and figures following : 

11 'Section 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of 
persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against 
the government of the United States, or who shall in any 
way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons 
and taking refuge within the lines of the army ; and ail 
slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them, and 
coming under the control of the government of the United 
States, and all slaves of such persons found on (or being 
within) any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards 
occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed 
captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, 
and not again held as slaves. 

" Section 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave 
escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Co- 
lumbia, from any of the States, shall be delivered up, or in 
any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, 
or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming 
said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom 
the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due, is 
his lawful owner, and has not been in arms against the United 
States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and 


Compensation to Loyal Own- . i Hindering Enlistments. 

comfort thereto ; and no person engaged in the military or 
naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence 
whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of 
any person to the service or labor of any other person, or 
surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of 
being dismissed from the service. 

"And I do hereby enjoin upon, and order all persons 
engaged in the military and naval service of the United 
States to observe, obey and enforce within their respective 
spheres of service, the act and sections above recited. 

11 And the executive will in due time recommend that all 
citizens of the United States who shall have remained loyal 
thereto throughout the rebellion, shall (upon the restoration 
of the constitutional relation between the United States and 
their respective States and people, if the relation shall have 
been suspended or disturbed) be compensated for all losses by 
acts of the United States, including the loss of slaves. 

"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

"Done at the City of Washington, this twenty-second day 
of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the 
United States the eighty-seventh. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

This herald of freedom to millions was, of course, intensely 
disliked by those who omitted no opportunity to cavil at the 
Administration. As efforts were making — not entirely with- 
out success — to embarrass the Government in securing the 
necessary reinforcements for the army, and certain lewd fellows 
of the baser sort holding themselves in readiness to take ad- 
vantage of the bitter prejudices existing in the minds of a 
portion of the people against the negroes among us, 
the following proclamation was issued two days later, that no 


\i Oorptu Suspended. Popular Opinion. 

one might plead ignorance of results, if such treasonable 
practices should be persisted in : 

11 Whereas, It has become necessary to call into service, not 
only volunteers, but also portions of the militia of the States by 
draft, in order to suppress the insurrection existing in the 
United ■ States, and disloyal persons are not adequately re- 
strained by the ordinary processes of law from hindering this 
measure, and from giving aid and comfort in various ways to 
the insurrection : 

" Now, therefore, be it ordered : 

"First. That during the existing insurrection, and as a 
necessary measure for suppressing the same, all rebels and in- 
surgents, their aiders and abettors, within the United States, 
and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting 
militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice affording aid 
and comfort to the rebels against the authority of the United 
States, shall be subject to martial law, and liable to trial and 
punishment by courts-martial or military commission. 

" TJiird. That the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in 
respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter 
during the rebellion shall be imprisoned in any fort, camp, 
arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement, by any 
military authority or by the sentence of any court-martial or 
military commission. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this twenty-fourth day of 
September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hun- 
dred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United 
States the eighty-seventh. 

11 By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

" William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

It would be paying but a poor compliment to the sagacity 
which prompted this proclamation, if one were not obliged to 



Observance of the Sabbath. Washington's Order. 

say that it was exceedingly distasteful to many. Truth, how- 
ever, compels us to add that the evils aimed at ceased, to 
a very great extent, shortly after its appearance. 

The following order, issued November 16th, 1862, is hut 
one among the many evidences of that deep and earnest rev- 
erence for Christianity which formed a noticeable feature, 
not only in most of Mr. Lincoln's official papers, but also in 
the character of the man : 

"The President, Commander-in-chief of the Army and 
Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sab- 
bath, by the officers and men in the "military and naval service. 
The importance, for man and beast, of the prescribed weekly 
rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a be- 
coming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, 
and a due regard for the Divine will, demand that Sunday 
labor in the army and navy be reduced to the measure of strict 

" The discipline and character of the National forces should 
not suffer, nor the cause they defend be imperiled, by the pro- 
fanation of the day or name of the Most High. ■ At this time 
of public distress,' adopting the words of Washington in 
1776, 'men may find enough to do in the service of God and 
their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and im- 
morality.' The first general order issued by the Father of 
his Country, after the Declaration of Independence, indicates 
the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should 
ever be defended : « The General hopes and trusts that every 
officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a 
Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of 
his country.' Abraham Lincoln." 

On the 1st day of January, 1863, appeared that proclama- 
tion which was to supplement that of September 22d, 1S62, 
crowning with complete fullness that great work and giving 
it health and being : 


Emancipation Proclamation. A War Measure. 

" Whereas, On the twenty-second day of September, in 
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty- 
two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the 
United States, containing, among other things, the following, 
to wit : 

" That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord 
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held 
as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, 
the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the 
United States, shall be thenceforward and forever free, and 
the Executive Government of the United States, including 
the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and 
maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or 
acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts 
they may make for their actual freedom. 

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January 
aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of 
States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall 
then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact 
that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in 
good faith represented in the Congress of the United States 
by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of 
the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, 
in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed 
conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof 
are not then in rebellion against the United States. 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, 
in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and 
Government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary 
war measure for repressing said rebellion, do, on this first 
day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose 
so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hun- 


States in Rebellion. Advice to the Freed 

dred days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, 
designate, as the States and parts of States wherein the 
people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against 
the United States, the following, to wit : Arkansas, Texas, 
Louisiana, except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, 
Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, As- 
sumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and 
Orleans, including the city of New Orleans, Mississippi, Ala- 
bama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and 
Yirginia, except the forty-eight counties designated as West 
Yirginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, North- 
ampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, 
including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which 
excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this 
proclamation were not issued. 

"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, 
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within 
said designated States and parts of States are, and hencefor- 
ward shall be free ; and that the Executive Government of 
the United States, including the military and naval authori- 
ties thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said 

"And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be 
free, to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self- 
defence, and I recommend to them, that in all cases, when 
allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. 

"And I further declare and make known that such persons 
of suitable condition will be received into the armed service 
of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and 
other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service. 

"And upon this, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, 
warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I 
invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious 
favor of Almighty God. 

Situati >n of the Country. Attacks upon the Administration. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty- 
three, and of the Independence of the United States the 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"TV. H. Seward, Secretary of State." 



Situation of the Country — Opposition to the Administration — President's Message, 

Dark days for the friends of freedom in this country were 
those at the close of 1862. Prior to the autumn of that year 
the elections had shown a popular indorsement of the acts of 
the Administration. Then came a change. The three lead- 
ing States — New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — through 
manifestations and misrepresentations which it is unnecessary 
here to detail, had been induced to give majorities against 
the Government. Not the least singular of the many remark- 
able instances of inconsistency which our political annals 
afford, was furnished in the State first-named, which had 
actually elected a " Peace" man as its Governor, on the plat- 
form of u a more vigorous prosecution of the war." 

The failure of the Peninsular Campaign was charged upon 
the President. The war, it was asserted, had been perverted 
from its original purpose. It was no longer waged to pre- 
serve the Union, but to free the slave ; or, in the more 
elegant phraseology of the day, it had become " a nigger 
war." With the ignorant and unthinking such statements 
passed as truths. 


The Draft. Firmness of the President. 

The number of those who, never having invested any prin- 
ciple in the struggle, had become tired of the war, had largely 
increased. The expectation of a draft — or a " conscription," 
as it better suited the objects of the disaffected to term it — 
which was passed at the next session of Congress, made the 
lukewarm love of many to wax cold. 

Xewspapers and stump-speakers had the hardihood to 
demand peace upon any terms. It was even claimed that an 
opposition majority had been secured in the lower House of 
the next Congress. Their representatives in the Congress of 
1862 began to re-assume those airs of insolence and defiance 
which they had previously found it convenient to lay aside 
for the time. 

Dark days, indeed, when the Thirty-seventh Congress 
assembled for its last session, on the 1st of December, 1862. 

Yet there was one who never faltered in purpose, however 
discouraging the prospect ; one, who, assured that he was 
right, was determined to follow the right, wherever it might 
lead him. And, though his careworn expression and anxious 
look told plainly how the fearful responsibilities of his office 
weighed upon him, he had ever a cheerful word, a happy 
illustration, a kindly smile, or a look of sympathy for those 
with whom he came in contact. 

The essential portions of his Annual Message on this occa- 
sion are given below : 

" Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives : — Since your last annual assembling, another 
year of health and bountiful harvests has passed. And, 
while it has not pleased the Almighty to bless us with a 
return of peace, we can but press on, guided by the best light 
He gives us, trusting that, in His own good time and wise 
way, all will yet be well 

" If the condition of our relations with other nations is less 
gratifying than it has usually been at former periods, it is cer- 

Animal Message. • Suppression of the Slave Trade. 

tainly more satisfactory than a nation so unhappily distracted 
as we are, might reasonably have apprehended. In the month 
of June last there were some grounds to expect that the mari- 
time powers which, at the beginning of our domestic difficul- 
ties, so unwisely and unnecessarily, as we think, recognized 
the insurgents as a belligerent, would soon recede from that 
position, which has proved only less injurious to themselves 
than to our own country. But the temporary reverses which 
afterward befell the National arms, and which were exagge- 
rated by our own disloyal citizens abroad, have hitherto 
delayed that act of simple justice. 

" The civil war, which has so radically changed, for the 
moment, the occupations and habits of the American people, 
has necessarily disturbed the social condition, and affected 
very deeply the prosperity of the nations with which we have 
carried on a commerce that has been steadily increasing 
throughout a period of half a century. It has, at the same 
time, excited political ambitions and apprehensions which 
have produced a profound agitation throughout the civilized 
world. In this unusual agitation we have forborne from 
taking part in any controversy between foreign States, and 
between parties or factions in such States. We have at- 
tempted no propagandism, and acknowledged no revolution. 
But we have left to every nation the exclusive conduct and 
management of its own affairs. Our struggle has been, of 
course, contemplated by foreign nations with reference less 
to its own merits, than to its supposed, and often exaggerated, 
effects and consequences resulting to those nations themselves. 
Nevertheless, complaint on the part of this Government, even 
if it were just, would certainly be unwise. 

" The treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the 
slave-trade, has been put into operation, with a good prospect 
of complete success. It is an occasion of special pleasure to 
acknowledge that the execution of it, on the part of Her 
Majesty's Government, has been marked with a jealous respect 


Message. Colonization Movements. 

for the authority of the United States, and the rights of their 
moral and loyal citizens 

"Applications hare been made to me by many free Ameri- 
cans of African descent to favor their emigration, with a- view 
to such colonization, as was contemplated in recent acts of 
Congress. Other parties, at home and abroad — some from 
interested motives, others upon patriotic considerations, and 
still others influenced by philanthropic sentiments — have sug- 
gested similar measures ; while, on the other hand, several 
of the Spanish-American republics have protested against 
the sending of such colonies to their respective territories. 
Under these circumstances I have declined to move any such 
colony to any State, without first obtaining the consent of its 
Government, with an agreement on its part to receive and 
protect such emigrants in all the rights of freemen ; and I 
have, at the same time, offered to the several States situated 
within the tropics, or having colonies there, to negotiate with 
them, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, to favor 
the voluntary emigration of persons of that class to their 
respective territories, upon conditions which shall be equal, 
just, and humane. Liberia and Hayti are, as yet, the only 
countries to which colonists of African descent from here, 
could go with certainty of being received and adopted as 
citizens ; and I regret to say such persons, contemplating 
colonization, do not seem so willing to migrate to those 
countries, as to some others, nor so willing as I think their 
interest demands. I believe, however, opinion among them 
in this respect is improving; and that, ere long, there will 
be an augmented and considerable migration to both these 
countries, from the United States 

" I have favored the project for connecting the United 
States with Europe by an Atlantic telegraph, and a similar 
project to extend the telegraph from San Francisco, to con- 
nect by a Pacific telegraph with the line which is being 
extended across the Russian Empire. 






" The Territories of the United States, with unimportant 
exceptions, have remained undisturbed by the civil war; 
and they arc exhibiting such evidence of prosperity as justi- 
fies an expectation that some of them will soon be in a 
condition to be organized as States, and be constitutionally 
admitted into the Federal Union. 

"The immense mineralresourcesof some of those territories 
ought to be developed as rapidly as possible. Every step 
in that direction would have a tendency to improve the 
revenues of the Government, and diminish the burdens of the 
people. It is worthy of your serious consideration whether 
some extraordinary measures to promote that end can not be 
adopted. The means which suggests itself as most likely to 
be effective, is a scientific exploration of the mineral regions 
in those Territories, with a view to the publication of its 
results at home and in foreign countries — results whiob can 
not fail to be auspicious. 

" The condition of the finances will claim your most 
diligent consideration. The vast expenditures incident to 
the military and naval operations required for the suppression 
of the rebellion, have hitherto been met with a promptitude 
and certainty unusual in similar circumstances ; and the public 
credit has been fully maintained. The continuance of the 
war, however, and the increased disbursements made neces- 
sary by the augmented forces now in the field, demand your 
best reflections as to the best modes of providing the neces- 
sary revenue, without injury to business, and with the least 
possible burdens upon labor. 

" The suspension of specie payments by the banks, soon 
after the commencement of your last session, made large 
issues of United States notes unavoidable. In no other way 
could the payment of the troops, and the satisfaction of other 
just demands, be so economically or so well provided for. 
The judicious legislation of Congress, securing the receiva- 
bility of these notes for loans and internal duties, and 


Message. Specie Payments. National Banks. 

making them a legal tender for other debts, has made them 
a universal currency ; and has satisfied, partially at least, 
and for the time, the long felt want of an uniform circulating 
medium, saving thereby to the people immense sums in dis- 
counts and exchanges. 

" A return to specie payments, however, at the earliest 
period compatible with due regard to all interests concerned, 
should ever be kept in view. Fluctuations in the value of 
currency are always injurious, and to reduce these fluctuations 
to the lowest possible point, will always be a leading purpose 
In wise legislation. Convertibility, prompt and certain con- 
vertibility into coin, is generally acknowledged to be the best 
and the surest safeguard against them ; and it is extremely 
doubtful whether a circulation of United States notes, pay- 
able in coin, and sufficiently large for the wants of the people, 
can be permanently, usefully and safely maintained. 

" Is there, then, any other mode in which the necessary 
provision for the public wants can be made, and the great 
advantages of a safe and uniform currency secured ? 

" I know of none which promises so certain results, and is, 
at the same time, so unobjectionable, as the organization of 
banking associations, under a general Act of Congress, well 
guarded in its provisions. To such associations the Govern- 
ment might furnish circulating notes, on the security of the 
United States bonds deposited in the treasury. These notes, 
prepared under the supervision of proper officers, being 
uniform in appearance and security, and convertible always 
into coin, would at once protect labor against the evils of a 
vicious currency, and facilitate commerce by cheap and safe 

" A moderate reservation from the interest on the bonds 
would compensate the United States for the preparation and 
distribution of the notes, and a general supervision of the 
system, and would lighten the burden of that part of the 
public debt employed as securities. The public credit, more- 

Message. Receipts. Expenditures. 

over, would be greatly improved, and the negotiation of new 
loans greatly facilitated by the steady market demand for 
Government bonds which the adoption of the proposed system 
would create. 

11 It is an additional recommendation of the measure of 
considerable weight, in my judgment, that it would reconcile, 
as far as possible, all existing interests, by the opportunity 
offered to existing institutions to reorganize under the act, 
substituting only the secured uniform national circulation for 
the local and various circulation, secured and unsecured, now 
issued by them. 

" The receipts into the treasury, from all sources, including 
loans, and balance from the preceding year, for the fiscal year 
ending on the 30th June, 1862, were $583,885,24? 06, of 
which sum $49,056,397 62 were derived from customs ; 
$1,795,331 73 from the direct tax; from public lands, 
$152,203 77 ; from miscellaneous sources, $931,787 64 ; 
from loans in all forms, $529,692,460 50. The remainder, 
$2,257,065 80, was the balance from last year. 

" The disbursements during the same period were for Con- 
gressional, Executive, and Judicial purposes, $5,939,009 29; 
for foreign intercourse, $1,339,710 35 ; for miscellaneous 
expenses, including the mints, loans, post office deficiencies, 
collection of revenue, and other like charges, $14,129,771 50 ; 
for expenses under the Interior Department, $3,102,985 52 ; 
under the War Department, $394,368,407 36; under the 
Navy Department, $42,674,569 69 ; for interest on publij 
debt, $13,190,324 45 ; and for payment of public debt, in 
eluding reimbursement of temporary loan, and redemptions, 
$96,096, 922 09 ; making an aggregate of $570,841,700 25, 
and leaving a balance in the treasury on the first day of July, 
1862, of $13,043,546 81. 

"It should be observed that the sum of $96,096,922 09, 
expended for reimbursements and redemption of public debt, 
being included also in tho loans made, may be properly 


Message. Compensated Emancipation. Inaugural. 

deducted, both from receipts and expenditures, leaving the 
actual receipts for the year, $481,188,324 97 ; and the expen- 
ditures, $474,744,^8 16 

" On the 22d day of September last a proclamation was 
issued by the Executive, a copy of which is herewith sub- 

" In accordance with the purpose expressed in the second 
paragraph of that paper, I now respectfully call your atten- 
tion to what may be called ' compensated emancipation.' 

"A nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people 
and its laws. The territory is the only part which is of 
certain durability. * One generation passeth away and another 
generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever.' It is of 
the first importance to duly consider, and estimate, this ever- 
enduring part. That portion of the earth's surface which is 
owned and inhabited by the people of the United States, is 
well adapted to be the home of one national family ; and it is 
not well adapted for two or more. Its vast extent, and its 
variety of climate and productions, are of advantage, in this 
age, for one people, whatever they might have been in former 
ages. Steam, telegraphs and intelligence have brought these 
to be an advantageous combination for one united people. 

" In the inaugural address I briefly pointed out the total 
inadequacy of disunion, as a remedy for the differences be- 
tween the people of the two sections. I did so in language 
which I can not improve, and which, therefore, I beg to 
repeat : 

" ' One section of our country believes Slavery is right, and 
ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, 
and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial 
dispute. The fugitive slave clause of the Constitution, and 
the law for the suppression of the foreign slave-trade, are each 
as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a com- 
munity where the moral sense of the people imperfectly 
supports the law itself. The great body of the people 

Message. Extracts from Inaugural 

abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a 
few break over in each. This, I think, can not be 
perfectly cured ; and it would be worse in both cases after 
the separation of the sections, than before. The foreign 
slave-trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately 
revived without restriction in one section ; while fugitive 
slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surren- 
dered at all by the other. 

" ' Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not 
remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an 
impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be 
divorced, and go out of the presence, and beyond the reach 
of each other ; but the different parts of our country can not 
do this. They cannot but remain face to face ; and inter- 
course, either amicable or hostile, must continue between 
them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more 
advantageous, or more satisfactory, after separation than 
before ? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can 
make laws ? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between 
aliens, than laws can among friends ? Suppose you go to 
war, you can not fight always ; and when, after much loss on 
both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the 
identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again 
upon you. 

"'There is no line, straight or crooked, suitable for a 
National boundary, upon which to divide. Trace through, 
from east to west, upon the line between the free and slave 
country, and we shall find a little more than one-third of its 
length are rivers, easy to be crossed, and populated, or soon 
to be populated, thickly, upon both sides ; while nearly all its 
remaining length are merely surveyors' lines, over which 
people may walk back and forth without any consciousness 
of their presence. No part of this line can be made any more 
difficult to pass, by writing it down on paper, or parchment, 
as a national boundary. The fact of separation, if it comes, 


Message. The great Interior Region. 

gives up, on the part of the seceding, the fugitive slave clause, 
along with all other constitutional obligations upon the section 
seceded from, while I should expect no treaty stipulation 
would ever be made to take its place. 

"But there is another difficulty. The great interior region, 
bounded east by the Alleghanies, north by the British Do- 
minions, west by the Rocky Mountains, and south by the 
line along which the culture of corn and cotton meets, and 
which includes part of Virginia, part of Tennessee, all of 
Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, 
Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and The territories of 
Dakota, Nebraska, and part of Colorado, already has above 
ten millions of people, and will have fifty million within fifty 
years, if not prevented by any political folly or mistake. It 
contains more than one-third of the country owned by the 
United States — certainly more than one million of square 
miles. Once half as populous as Massachusetts already is, it 
would have more than seventy-five millions of people. A 
glance at the map shows that, territorially speaking, it is the 
great body of the Republic. The other parts are but margi- 
nal borders to it ; the magnificent region sloping west from 
the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, being the deepest, and 
also the richest, in undeveloped resources. In the production 
of provisions, grains, grasses, and all which proceed from 
them, this great interior region is naturally one of the most 
important in the world. Ascertain from the statistics the 
small proportion of the region which has, as yet, been brought 
into cultivation, and also the large and rapidly increasing 
amount of its products, and we shall be overwhelmed with 
the magnitude of the prospect presented. And yet this 
region has no sea-coast, touches no ocean any where. As 
part of one nation, its people now find, and may forever find, 
their way to Europe by New York, to South America and 
Africa by New Orleans, and to Asia by San Francisco. But 
separate our common country into two nations, as designed 

Messa Dividing Line Impossible. 

by the present rebellion, and every man of this great interior 
region is thereby cut off from some one or more of these 
outlets, not, perhaps, by a physical barrier, but by embarrass- 
ing and onerous trade regulations. 

"And this is true, wherever a dividing or boundary line 
may be fixed. Place it between the now free and slave 
country, or place it south of Kentucky, or north of Ohio, and 
still the truth remains, that none south of it can trade to any 
port or place north of it, and none north of it can trade to any 
port or place south of it, except upon terms dictated by a 
government foreign to them. These outlets, east, west, and 
south, are indispensable to the well-being of the people in- 
habiting, and to inhabit, this vast interior region. WJiich of 
the three may be the best, is no proper question. All are 
better than either ; and all, of right, belong to that people, and 
to their successors forever. True to themselves, they will not 
ask where a line of separation shall be, but will vow, rather, 
that there shall be no such line. Nor are the marginal regions 
less interested in these communications to, and through 
them, to the great outside world. They, too, and each of 
them, must have access to this Egypt of the West, without 
paying toll at the crossing of any National boundary. 

" Our National strife springs not from our permanent part ; 
not from the land we inhabit ; not from our National home- 
stead. There is no possible severing of this, but would mul- 
tiply, and not mitigate, evils among us. In all its adaptations 
and aptitudes, it demands union, and abhors separation. In 
fact, it would, ere long, force reunion, however much of blood 
and treasure the separation might have cost. 

" Our strife pertains to ourselves — to the passing genera- 
tions of men ; and it can, without convulsion, be hushed for- 
ever with the passing of one generation. 

" In this view, I recommend the adoption of the following 
resolution and articles amendatory to the Constitution of the 
United States : 


Message. Constitutional Amendments Recommended. 

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two- 
thirds of both Houses concurring,) That the following articles 
be proposed to the Legislatures (or conventions) of the seve- 
ral States as amendments to the Constitution of the United 
States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three- 
fourths of the said Legislatures (or conventions), to be valid 
as part or parts of the said Constitution, viz. : 

11 Article — . Every State, wherein Slavery now exists, 
which shall abolish the same therein, at any time, or times, 
before the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand and nine hundred, shall receive compensation from 
the United States as follows, to wit : 

" The President of the United States shall deliver, to every 
such States, bonds of the United States, bearing interest at 

the rate of per cent, per annum, to an amount equal to 

the aggregate sum of for each slave shown to 

have been therein, by the eighth census of the United States, 
said bonds to be delivered to such State by installments, or in 
one parcel, at the completion of the abolishment, accordingly 
as the same shall have been gradual, or at one time, within 
such State ; and interest shall begin to run upon any such 
bond, only from the proper time of its delivery as aforesaid. 
Any State, having received bonds as aforesaid, and afterward 
re-introducing or tolerating slavery therein, shall refund to 
the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, 
and all interest paid thereon. 

"Article — . All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual 
freedom by the chances of the war, at any time before the 
end of the rebellion, shall be forever free ; but all owners of 
such, who shall not have been disloyal, shall be compensated 
for them, at the same rates as is provided for States adopting 
abolishment of slavery, but in such way, that no slave shall 
be twice accounted for. 

"Article — . Congress may appropriate money, and other- 


Message. Slavery Question Poiuts of the Amendments. 

wise provide for colonizing free colored persons, with their 
own consent, at any place or places without the United 

" I beg indulgence to discuss these proposed articles at some 
length. Without slavery, the rebellion could never have ex- 
isted ; without slavery, it could not continue. 

"Among the friends of the Union, there is great diversity 
of sentiment, and of policy, in regard to slavery, and the 
African race among us. Some would perpetuate slavery ; 
some would abolish it suddenly, and without compensation; 
some would abolfsh it gradually, and with compensation ; 
some would remove the freed people from us, and some 
would retain them with us ; and there are yet other minor diver- 
sities. Because of these diversities, we waste much strength 
in struggles among ourselves. By mutual concession we 
should harmonize, and act together. This would be com- 
promise ; but it would be compromise among the friends, and 
not with the enemies of the Union. These articles are in- 
tended to embody a plan of such mutual concessions. If the 
plan shall be adopted, it is assumed that emancipation will 
follow, at least in several of the States. 

"As to the first article, the main points are : first, the 
emancipation ; secondly, the length of time for consummating 
it — thirty-seven years ; and thirdly, the compensation. 

' The emancipation will be unsatisfactory to the advocates 
of perpetual slavery ; but the length of time should greatly 
mitigate their dissatisfaction. The time spares both races 
from the evils of sudden derangement — in fact, from the 
necessity of any derangement — while most of those whose 
habitual course of thought will be disturbed by the measure, 
will have passed away before its consummation. They will 
never see it. Another class will hail the prospect of emanci- 
pation, but will deprecate the length of time. They will feel 
that it gives too little to the now living slaves. But it really 
gives them nfuch. It saves them from the vagrant destitution 


Message. The Measure Just. Economy. 

which must largely attend immediate emancipation in local- 
ities where their numbers are very great ; and it gives the 
inspiring assurance that their posterity shall be free forever. 
The plan leaves to each State, choosing to act under it, to 
abolish slavery now, or at the end of the century, or at any 
intermediate time, or by degrees extending over the whole 
or any part of the period ; and it obliges no two States to 
proceed alike. It also provides for compensation, and, gen- 
erally, the mode of making it. This, it would seem, must 
further mitigate the dissatisfaction of those who favor perpet- 
ual slavery, and especially of those who are to receive the 
compensation. Doubtless, some of those who are to pay, and 
not to receive, will object. Yet the measure is both just and 
economical. In a certain sense, the liberation of slaves is the 
destruction of property — property acquired by descent, or by 
purchase, the same as any other property. It is no less true 
for having been often said, that the people of the South are 
not more responsible for the original introduction of this 
property, than are the people of the North ; and when it is 
remembered how unhesitatingly we all use cotton and sugar, 
and share the profits of dealing in them, it may not be quite 
safe to say, that the South has been more responsible than the 
North for its continuance. If, then, for a common object, this 
property is to be sacrificed, is it not just that it be done at a 
common charge ? 

"And if, with less money, or money more easily paid, we 
can preserve the benefits of the Union by this means, than we 
can by the war alone, is it not also economical to do it ? Let 
us consider it then. Let us ascertain the sum we have ex- 
pended in the war since compensated emancipation was pro- 
posed last March, and consider whether, if that measure had 
been promptly accepted, by even some of the slave States, the 
same sum would not have done more to close the war, than 
has been otherwise done. If so, the measure would save 
money, and, in that view, would be a prudent and economical 

Message. Increase of Population. Europe. 

measure. Certainly it is not so easy to pay something as it 
is to pay nothing ; but it is easier to pay a large sum, than it 
is to pay a larger one. And it is easier to pay any sum 
ichen we are able, than it is to pay it before we are able. 
The war requires large sums, and requires them at once. 
The aggregate sum necessary for compensated emancipation, 
of course, would be large. But it would require no ready 
cash ; nor the bonds even, any faster than the emancipation 
progresses. This might not, and probably would not, close 
before the end of the thirty-seven years. At that time we 
shall probably have a hundred millions of people to share the 
burden, instead of thirty-one millions, as now. And not only 
so, but the increase of our population may be expected to 
continue for a long time after that period, as rapidly as be- 
fore ; because our territory will not have become full. I do 
not state this inconsiderately. At the same ratio of increase 
which we have maintained, on an average, from our first 
National census, in 1790, until that of 1860, we should, in 
1900, have a population of one hundred and three million, two 
hundred and eight thousand, four hundred and fifteen. And 
why may we not continue that ratio far beyond that period ? 
Our abundant room — our broad National homestead — is our 
ample resource. Were our territory as limited as are the 
British Isles, very certainly our population could not expand 
as stated. Instead of receiving the foreign born, as now, we 
should be compelled to send part of the native born away. 
But such is not our condition. We have two millions nine 
hundred and sixty-three thousand square miles. Europe has 
three millions and eight hundred thousand, with a population 
averaging seventy-three and one third persons to the square 
mile. Why may not our country, at some time, average as 
many ? Is it less fertile ? Has it more waste surface, by 
mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, or other causes ? Is it in- 
ferior to Europe in any natural advantage ? If, then, we are, 
at some time, to be as populous as Europe, how soon ? As 


Message. Decennial Increase of Population. 

to when this may be, we can judge by the past and the pres- 
ent ; as to when it will be, if ever, depends much on whether 
we maintain the Union. Several of our States are already 
above the average of Europe — seventy-three and a third to 
the square mile. Massachusetts has one hundred and fifty- 
seven ; Rhode Island, one hundred and thirty-three ; Connec- 
ticut, ninety-nine ; New York and New Jersey, each, eighty. 
Also two other great States, Pennsylvania and Ohio, are not 
far below, the former having sixty-three and the latter fifty- 
nine. The States already above the European average, ex- 
cept New York, have increased in as rapid a ratio, since 
passing that point, as ever before ; while no one of them is 
equal to some other parts of our country, in natural capacity 
for sustaining a dense population. 

11 Taking the nation in the aggregate, and we find its pop- 
ulation and ratio of increase, for the several decennial periods, 
to be as follows : 

1790 3,929, 827 

1800 5,305,937 35. 02 per cent, ratio of increase. 

1810 7,239,814 36.45 

1820 9,638,131 33.13 

1830 12,866,020 33.49 

1840 17,069,453 32.67 

1850 23,191,876 35.87 

1860 31,443,790 35.58 

11 This shows an average decennial increase of 34.60 per 
cent, in population through the seventy years from our first 
to our last census yet taken. It is seen that the ratio of in- 
crease, at one of these seven periods, is either two per cent, 
below, or two per cent, above, the average, thus showing how 
inflexible, and, consequently, how reliable, the law of increase, 
in our case is. Assuming that it will continue, gives the fol- 
lowing results : 

1870 42,423,341 

1880 56,967,216 

Mess BoiK'fits of Compensated Emancipation. 

1890 76,677,872 

1900 103,208,415 

1910 138,918,526 

1920 186,984,335 

1930 251,680,914 

" These figures show that our country may be as popu- 
lous as Europe now is, at some point between 1920 and 1930 
— say about 1925 — our territory, at seventy-three and a third 
persons to the square mile, being the capacity to contain 

"And we will reach this, too, if we do not ourselves relin- 
quish the chance, by the folly and evil of disunion, or by long 
and exhausting war, springing from the only great element 
of National discord among us. While it can not be foreseen 
exactly how much one huge example of secession, breeding 
lesser ones indefinitely, would retard population, civilization, 
and prosperity, no one can doubt that the extent of it would 
be very great and injurious. 

"The proposed emancipation would shorten the war, per- 
petuate peace, insure this increase of population, and propor- 
tionately the wealth of the country. With these, we should 
pay all the emancipation would cost, together with our other 
debt, easier than we should pay our other debt, without it. 
If we had allowed our old National debt to run at six per 
cent, per annum, simple interest, from the end of our Revolu- 
tionary struggle until to-day, without paying any thing on 
either principal or interest, each man of us would owe less 
upon that debt now, than each man owed upon it then ; and 
this because our increase of men, through the whole period, 
has been greater than six per cent. ; has run faster than the 
interest upon the debt. Thus, time alone relieves a debtor 
nation, so long as its population increases faster than unpaid 
interest accumulates on its debt. 

"This fact would be no excuse for delaying payment of 
what is justly due ; but it shows the great importance of timo 


Message. Colonization. Displacing White Labor. 

in this connection — the great advantage of a policy by which 
we shall not have to pay until we number a hundred millions, 
what, by a different policy, we would have to pay now, when 
we number but thirty-one millions. In a word, it shows that 
a dollar will be much harder to pay for the war, than will be 
a dollar for emancipation on the proposed plan. And then the 
latter will cost no blood, no precious life. It will be a saving 
of both. 

"As to the second article, I think it would be impracticable 
to return to bondage the class of persons therein contem- 
plated. Some of them, doubtless, in the property sense, be- 
long to loyal owners ; and hence, provision is made in this 
article for compensating such. 

" The third article relates to the future of the freed people. 
It does not oblige, but merely authorizes, Congress to aid in 
colonizing such as may consent. This ought not to be re- 
garded as objectionable, on the one hand, or on the other, in 
so much as it comes to nothing, unless by the mutual consent 
of the people to be deported, and the American voters, 
through their representatives in Congress. 

" I can not make it better known than it already is, that I 
strongly favor colonization. And yet I wish to say there is 
an objection urged against free colored persons remaining in 
the country, which is largely imaginary, if not sometimes 

" It is insisted that their presence would injure, and dis- 
place white labor and white laborers. If there ever could be 
a proper time for mere catch arguments, that time surely is 
not now. In times like the present, men should utter nothing 
for which they would not willingly be responsible through 
time and in eternity. Is it true, then, that colored people can 
displace any more white labor by being free, than by remain 
ing slaves ? If they stay in their old places, they jostle no 
white laborers ; if they leave their old places, they leave them 
open to white laborers. Logically, there is neither more nor 

Message. Law of Supply and Demand. 

less of it. Emancipation, even without deportation, would, 
probably enhance the wages of white labor, and, very surely, 
would not reduce them. Thus, the customary amount of 
labor would still have to be performed ; the freed people 
would surely not do more than their old proportion of it, and 
very probably, for a time, would do less, leaving an increased 
part to white laborers, bringing their labor into greater demand* 
and, consequently, enhancing the wages of it. With deporta- 
tion, even to a limited extent, enhanced wages to white 
labor is mathematically certain. Labor is like any other 
commodity in the market — increase the demand for it, and 
you increase the price of it. Reduce the supply of black 
labor, by colonizing the black laborer out of the country, and, 
by precisely so much you increase the demand for, and wages 
of, white labor. 

"But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth, 
and cover the whole land. Are they not already in the land ? 
Will liberation make them any more numerous ? Equally 
distributed among the whites of the whole country, and there 
would be but one colored to seven whites. Could the one, in 
any way, greatly disturb the seven ? There are many com- 
munities now, having more than one free colored person to 
seven whites ; and this without any apparent consciousness 
of evil from it. The District of Columbia, and the States of 
Maryland and Delaware, are all in this condition. The Dis- 
trict has more than one free colored to six whites ; and yet, 
in its frequent petitions to Congress, I believe it has never 
presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its 
grievances. But why should emancipation South send the 
freed people North ? People, of any color, seldom run, unless 
there be something to run from. Heretofore, colored people, 
to some extent, have fled North from bondage ; and now, 
perhaps, from both bondage and destitution. But if gradual 
emancipation and deportation be adopted, they will have 
neither to flee from. Their old masters will give them wages, 


Message. Kestoring National Authority. 

at least until new laborers can be procured ; and the freed 
men, in turn, will gladly give their labor for the wages, till 
new homes can be found for them, in congenial climes, and 
with people of their own blood and race. This proposition 
can be trusted on the mutual interests involved. And, in any 
event, can not the North decide for itself, whether to receive 

"Again, as practice proves more than theory, in any case, 
has there been any irruption of colored people northward, 
because of the abolishment of slavery in this District last 
spring ? 

"What I have said of the proportion of free colored per- 
sons to the whites, in the District, is from the census of 
1860, having no reference to persons called contrabands, nor 
to those made free by the Act of Congress abolishing slavery 

" The plan consisting of these articles is recommended, not 
but that a restoration of the National authority would be 
accepted without its adoption. 

" Nor will the war, nor proceedings under the proclamation 
of September 22d, 1862, be stayed because of the recom- 
mendation of this plan. Its timely adoption, I doubt not, 
would bring restoration, and thereby stay both. 

"And, notwithstanding this plan, the recommendation that 
Congress provide by law for compensating any State which 
may adopt emancipation, before this plan shall have been 
acted upon, is hereby earnestly renewed. Such would be 
only an advance part of the plan, and the same arguments 
apply to both. 

" This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion 
of, but in addition to, all others for restoring and preserving 
the National authority throughout the Union. The subject 
is presented exclusively in its economical aspect. The plan 
would, I am confident, secure peace more speedily, and main- 
tain it more permanently, than can be done by force alone ; 

Message. Permanent Law. Shortening the War. 

while all it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of 
payment, and times of payment, would be easier paid than 
will be the additional cost of the war, if we rely solely upon 
force. It is much — very much — that it would cost no blood 
at all. 

" The plan is proposed as permanent constitutional law. 
It cannot become such without the concurrence of, first, two- 
thirds of Congress, and, afterward, three-fourths of the States. 
The requisite three-fourths of the States, will necessarily in- 
clude seven of the slave States. Their concurrence, if 
obtained, will give assurance of their severally adopting eman- 
cipation, at no very distant day, upon the new constitutional 
terms. This assurance would end the struggle now, and save 
the Union forever. 

"Ido not forget the gravity which should characterize a 
paper addressed to the Congress of the nation, by the Chief 
Magistrate of the nation. Nor do I forget that some of you 
are my seniors ; nor that many of you have more experience 
than I, in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I trust that, in 
view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will 
perceive no want of respect to yourselves, in any undue 
earnestness I may seem to display. 

" Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, 
would shorten the w T ar, and thus lessen its expenditure 
of money and of blood ? Is it doubted that it would restore 
the national authority and national prosperity, and perpetuate 
both indefinitely ? Is it doubted that we here — Congress and 
Executive — can secure its adoption ? Will not the good 
people respond to a united and earnest appeal from us ? Can 
we, can they, by any other means, so certainly or so speedily 
assure these vital objects ? We can succeed only by concert. 
It is not, ' Can any of us imagine better V but, ' Can we all 
do better ? Object whatsoever is possible, still the question 
recurs, ' Can we do better V The dogmas of the quiet past 
are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled 


Message. Saving the Union. The Tide Turned. 

high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As 
our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We 
must disinthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our 

" Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this 
Congress and this Administration, will be remembered in 
spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignifi- 
cance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial 
through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or 
dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the 
Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We 
know how to save the Union. The world knows we do 
know how to save it. We— even we here — hold the power, 
and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, 
we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we 
give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly 
lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed ; 
this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, 
just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever 
applaud, and God must forever bless. 

Dec. 1, 1862. "Abraham Lincoln." 



Military Successes — Favorable Elections — Emancipation Policy — Letter to Manchester 
(England) Workingmen — Proclamation for a National Fast — Letter to Erastus Corning — 
Letter to a Committee on recalling Vallandigham. 

It had been decreed by a kind Providence that the year 
1863 was to mark a turn in the almost unbroken line of 
reverses which the Union army had experienced for some 
time previous. 



Military Successes. 

v -- ' ---- ■- 

Zi- r. :, ::_!.. y. 

True, Hooker, who had superseded Bumside in command 
of the Army of the Potomac, had been signally repulsed at 
Chancellorsville ; but this was more than compensated by the 
decided victory achieved by the same troops, under Meade, 
over the rebels at Gettysburg. Grant, by the capture of 
Yicksburg, and the surrender of Port Hudson, which was the 
inevitable result, had opened the Mississippi to the Gulf, and 
completely severed the bastard confederacy. We more . 
secured East Tennessee, and by the victories of Lookout 
Mountain and Missionary Ridge, and the repulse of a rebel 
attempt to retake Knoxville, paved the way for an offei 
movement into the vitals of Georgia. 

The sober, second thought of the people was manifest. 
Tallandigham in Ohio, who for his treasonable practices had 
been tried by Bumside 's order, convicted, and ordered South 
to his friends, but who had been suffered to return via Canada, 
and was put forward as the exponent of "Democracy" in 
Ohio, was shelved by some one hundred thousand majority. 
Pennsylvania, likewise, more than redeemed herself. In fact 
every loyal State — except Xew Jersey — showed decided 
majorities for the Administration. 

In this election, be it remembered, the emancipation policy 
of the President had entered largely as an element of discus- 
sion ; and the results were the more gratifying as it estab- 
lished conclusively, that however unfavorable early indica- 
tions might have been, the great pulse of the people beat in 
unison with freedom for man as man. If in a contest like 
that in which the nation was then engaged, all merely merce- 
nary considerations could be overlooked, deep-rooted preju- 
dices mastered, and long withheld rights cheerfully granted, 
there would be, indeed, strong grounds to hope for the 
progress of our race. 

At the beginning of the year, the President received a 
gratifying evidence of the appreciation in which his efforts for 
freedom were held, in a testimonial of sympathy and confi- 


Reply to Manchester Workingmen. Foreign Sympathy. 

dence from the workingmen of Manchester, England ; to 
which address he made the following reply : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, January 19, 1863. 

"To the Workingmen of Manchester: — I have the 
honor to acknowledge the receipt of the address and resolu- 
tions which you sent me on the eve of the new year. 

"When I came, on the 4th of March, 1861, through a free 
and constitutional election, to preside in the Government of 
the United States, the country was found at the verge of 
civil war. Whatever might have been the cause, or whose- 
soever the fault, one duty, paramount to all others, was 
before me, namely, to maintain and preserve at once the Con- 
stitution and the integrity of the Federal Republic. A con- 
scientious purpose to perform this duty is the key to all the 
measures of administration which have been, and to all 
which will hereafter be pursued. Under our frame of govern- 
ment and my official oath, I could not depart from this 
purpose if I would. It is not always in the power of 
governments to enlarge or restrict the scope of moral results 
which follow the policies that they may deem it necessary, 
for the public safety, from time to time to adopt. 

"I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation 
rests solely with the American people. But I have, at the 
same time, been aware that the favor or disfavor of foreign 
nations might have a material influence in enlarging and pro- 
longing the struggle with disloyal men in which the country 
is engaged. A fair examination of history has seemed to 
authorize a belief that the past action and influences of the 
United States were generally regarded as having been bene- 
ficial toward mankind. I have, therefore, reckoned upon the 
forbearance of nations. Circumstances — to some of which 
you kindly allude — induced me especially to expect that, if 
justice and good faith should be practised by the United 
States, they would encounter no hostile influence on the part 
of Great Britain. It is now a pleasant duty to acknowledge 


Manchester Letter Friendly Feelings. 

the demonstration you have given of your desire that a spirit 
of peace and amity toward this country may prevail in the 
councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in 
your own country only more than she is by the kindred nation 
which has its home on this side of the Atlantic. 

" I know, and deeply deplore, the sufferings which the 
workingmen at Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to 
endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously 
represented that the attempt to overthrow this Government, 
which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to 
substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the 
basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of 
Europe. Through the action f)f our disloyal citizens, the 
workingmen of Europe have been subjected to severe trial, 
for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. 
Under these circumstances, I can not but regard your decisive 
utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Chris- 
tian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in 
any country. It is indeed an energetic and reinspiring as- 
surance of the inherent power of truth, and of the ultimate 
and universal triumph of justice, humanity and freedom. I 
do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be 
sustained by your great nation ; and, on the other hand, I 
have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite ad- 
miration, esteem, and the most reciprocal feelings of friend- 
ship among the American people. I hail this interchange of 
sentiment, therefore, as an augury that, whatever else may 
happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my 
own, the peace and friendship which now exist between the 
two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, 
perpetual. Abraham Lincoln." 

On the 30th of March the following proclamation was 
issued in pursuance of a request to that effect from the 
Senate : 

"Whereas, The Senate of the United States, devoutly 


Proclamation for a Fast. National Punishment. 

recognizing the supreme authority and just government of 
Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by 
a resolution requested the President to designate and set 
apart a day for National prayer and humiliation ; 

"And whereas, It is the duty of nations, as well as of 
men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of 
God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, 
yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to 
mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth an- 
nounced in the Holy Scriptures, and proven by all history, 
that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord ; 

"And, insomuch as we know that, by his Divine law, 
nations, like individuals, ai% subjected to punishments and 
chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the 
awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, 
may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptu- 
ous sins, to the needful end of our National reformation as a 
whole people ? "We have been the recipients of the choicest 
bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many 
years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, 
wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But 
we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious 
hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and en- 
riched and strengthened us ; and we have vainly imagined, in 
the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were 
produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. 
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self- 
sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving 
grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us ! 

" It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the 
offended Power, to confess our National sins, and to pray for 
clemency and forgiveness. 

" Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully 
concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my pro- 
clamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the thirteenth 


Lett vrAafs. 

day of April, 1863, as a day of National humiliation, fasting 
and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to 
abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and 
to unite, at their several places of public worship and their 
respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and 
devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper 
to that solemn occasion. 

"All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then 
rest humbly in the hope, authorized by the Divine teachings, 
that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and 
answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our 
National sins, and restoration of our now divided and suffer- 
ing country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, on this thirtieth day of 
March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-seventh. 

" By the President : " Abraham Lincoln. 

" William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

The following letter, which belongs in this place, will ex- 
plain itself: 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, June 13th, 1863. 

"Hon. Erastus Corning and others — Gentlemen: — Your 
letter of May 19th, inclosing the resolutions of a public meet- 
ing held at Albany, New York, on the 16th of the 3ame 
month, was received several days ago. 

" The resolutions, as I understand them, are resolvable into 
two propositions — first, the expression of a purpose to sustain 
the cause of the Union, to secure peace through victory, and 
to support the Administration in every constitutional and 
lawful measure to suppress the rebellion ; and, secondly, a 


Letter to Coming. Military Arrests. 

declaration of censure upon the Administration for supposed 
unconstitutional action, such as the making of military arrests. 
And from the two propositions a third is deduced, which is, 
that the gentlemen composing the meeting are resolved on 
doing their part to maintain our common Government and 
country, despite the folly or wickedness, as they may con- 
ceive, of any Administration. This position is eminently 
patriotic, and as such I thank the meeting and congratulate 
the nation for it. My own purpose is the same ; so that the 
meeting and myself have a common object, and can have no 
difference, except in the choice of means or measures for 
effecting that object. 

"And here I ought to close this paper, and would close it, if 
there were no apprehension that more injurious consequences 
than any merely personal to myself might follow the 'censures 
systematically cast upon me for doing what, in my view of 
duty, I could not forbear. The resolutions promise to sup- 
port me in every constitutional and lawful measure to sup- 
press the rebellion, and I have not knowingly employed, nor 
shall knowingly employ, any other. But the meeting, by 
their resolutions, assert and argue that certain military 
arrests and proceedings following them, for which I am ulti- 
mately responsible, are unconstitutional. I think they are 
not. The resolutions quote from the Constitution the defini- 
tion of treason, and also the limiting safeguards and guaran- 
ties therein provided for the citizen on trial for treason, and 
on his being held to answer for capital, or otherwise infamous 
crimes ; and in criminal prosecutions, his right to a speedy 
and public trial by an impartial jury. They proceed to re- 
solve, ' that these safeguards of the rights of the citizen 
against the pretensions of arbitrary power were intended 
more especially for his protection in times of civil commo- 

"And, apparently to demonstrate the proposition, the 
resolutions proceed : ' They were secured substantially to tho 


Letter to Corning. No Arrests for Treason. 

English people after years of protracted civil war, and were 
adopted into our Constitution at the close of the Revolution.' 
Would not the demonstration have been better if it could have 
been truly said that these safeguards had been adopted and 
applied during the civil wars and during our Revolution, in- 
stead of after the one and at the close of the other ? I, too, 
am devotedly for them after civil war, and before civil war, 
and at all times, ' except when, in cases of rebellion or inva- 
sion, the public safety may require' their suspension. The 
resolutions proceed to tell us that these safeguards ' have 
stood the test of seventy-six years of trial, under our repub- 
lican system, under circumstances which show that, while 
they constitute the foundation of all free government, they 
are the elements of the enduring stability of the Repub- 
lic' No one denies that they have so stood the test up to the 
beginning of the present rebellion, if we except a certain oc- 
currence at New Orleans ; nor does any one question that 
they will stand the same test much longer after the rebellion 
closes. But these provisions of the Constitution have no ap- 
plication to the case we have in hand, because the arrests 
complained of were not made for treason — that is, not for the 
treason denned in the Constitution, and upon conviction of 
which the punishment is death — nor yet were they made to 
hold persons to answer for any capital or otherwise infamous 
crimes ; nor were the proceedings following, in any constitu- 
tional or legal sense, ' criminal prosecutions.' The arrests 
were made on totally different grounds, and the proceedings 
following accorded with the grounds of the arrest. Let 
us consider the real case with which we are dealing, and 
apply to it the parts of the Constitution plainly made for such 

11 Prior to my installation here, it had been inculcated that 
any State had a lawful right to secede from the National 
Union, and that it would be expedient to exercise the right 
whenever the devotees of the doctrine should fail to elect a 


Letter to Corning. Schemes of the Rebels. 

President to their own liking. I was elected contrary to 
their liking, and accordingly, so far as it was legally possible, 
they had taken seven States out of the Union, and had seized 
many of the United States forts, and had fired upon the 
United States flag, all before I was inaugurated, and, of 
course, before I had done any official act whatever. The re- 
bellion thus began soon ran into the present civil war ; and, 
in certain respects, it began on very unequal terms between 
the parties. The insurgents had been preparing for it for 
more than thirty years, while the Government had taken no 
steps to resist them. The former had carefully considered all 
the means which could be turned to their account. It un- 
doubtedly was a well-pondered reliance with them that, in 
their own unrestricted efforts to destroy Union, Constitution, 
and law together, the Government would, in a great degree, 
be restrained by the same Constitution and law from arrest- 
ing their progress. Their sympathizers pervaded all depart- 
ments of the Government, and nearly all communities of the 
people. From this material, under cover of ' liberty of 
speech,' 'liberty of the press,' and 'habeas corpus,' they 
hoped to keep on foot among us a most efficient corps of 
spies, informers, suppliers, and aiders and abettors of their 
cause in a thousand ways. They knew that in times such as 
they were inaugurating, by the Constitution itself, the ' habeas 
corpus' might be suspended ; but they also knew they had 
friends who would make a question as to who was to suspend 
it ; meanwhile, their spies and others might remain at large 
to help on their cause. Or if, as has happened, the Execu- 
tive should suspend the writ, without ruinous waste of time, 
instances of arresting innocent persons might occur, as are 
always likely to occur in such cases, and then a clamor could 
be raised in regard to this which might be, at least, of some 
service to the insurgent cause. It needed no very keen per- 
ception to discover this part of the enemy's programme, so 
soon as, by open hostilities, their machinery was put fairly in 


Letter to Coming. Civil Courts Powerless 

motion. Yet, thoroughly imbued with a reverence for the 
guaranteed rights of individuals, I was slow to adopt the 
strong measures which by degrees I have been forced to re- 
gard as being within the exceptions of the Constitution, and 
as indispensable to the public safety. Nothing is better 
known to history than that courts of justice are utterly incom- 
petent to such cases. Civil courts are organized chiefly for 
trials of individuals, or, at most, a few individuals acting in 
concert, and this in quiet times, and on charges of crimes well 
defined in the law. Even in times of peace, bands of horse- 
thieves and robbers frequently grow too numerous and power- 
ful for the ordinary courts of justice. But what comparison, 
in numbers, have such bands ever borne to the insurgent 
sympathizers even in many of the loyal States ? Again, a 
jury too frequently has at least one member more ready 
to hang the panel, than to hang the traitor. And yet, again 
he who dissuades one man from volunteering, or induces one 
soldier to desert, weakens the Union cause as much as he 
who kills a Union soldier in battle. Yet this dissuasion 
or inducement may be so conducted as to be no defined 
crime of which any civil court would take cognizance. 

" Ours is a case of rebellion — so called by the resolution 
before me — in fact, a clear, flagrant, and gigantic case of 
rebellion ; and the provision of the Constitution that ' the 
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended 
unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public 
safety may require it,' is the provision which specially applies 
to our present case. This provision plainly attests the under- 
standing of those who made the Constitution, that ordinary 
courts of justice are inadequate to ' cases of rebellion' — attests 
their purpose that, in such cases, men may be held in custody 
whom the courts, acting on ordinary rules, would discharge. 
Habeas corpus does not discharge men who are proved to be 
guilty of defined crime ; and its suspension is allowed by the 
Constitution on purpose that men may be arrested and held 


Letter to Corning. A Few Examples 

who can not be proved to be guilty of denned crime, ' when, 
in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require 
it.' This is precisely our present case — a case of rebellion, 
wherein the public safety does require the suspension. In- 
deed, arrests by process of courts, and arrests in cases of 
rebellion, do not proceed altogether upon the same basis. 
The former is directed at the small percentage of ordinary and 
continuous perpetration of crime ; while the latter is directed 
at sudden and extensive uprisings against the Government, 
which at most will succeed or fail in no great length of time. 
In the latter case arrests are made, not so much for what has 
been done as for what probably would be done. The latter 
is more for the preventive and less for the vindictive than the 
former. In such cases the purposes of men are much more 
easily understood than in cases of ordinary crime. The man 
who stands by and says nothing when the peril of his Govern- 
ment is discussed, can not be misunderstood. If not hindered, 
he is sure to help the enemy ; much more, if he talks ambig- 
uously — talks for his country with ' buts,' and ' ifs' and ' ands.' 
Of how little value the constitutional provisions I have 
quoted will be rendered, if arrests shall never be made until 
denned crimes shall have been committed, may be illustrated 
by a few notable examples. General John C. Breckinridge, 
General Robert E. Lee, General Joseph E. Johnston, General 
John B. Magruder, General William B. Preston, General 
Simon B. Buckner, and Commodore Franklin Buchanan, now 
occupying the very highest places in the rebel war service, 
were all within the power of the Government since the rebel- 
lion began, and were nearly as well known to be traitors 
then as now. Unquestionably, if we had seized and held 
them, the insurgent cause would be much weaker. But no 
one of them had then committed any crime denned by law. 
Every one of them, if arrested, would have been discharged 
on habeas corpus, were the writ allowed to operate. In view 
of these and similar cases, I think the time not unlikely to 


Letter to Coining. Where Arrests should be Made. 

come when I shall be blamed for having made too few arrests 
rather than too many. 

" By the third resolution, the meeting indicate their opinion 
that military arrests may be constitutional in localities where 
rebellion actually exists, but that such arrests are unconstitu- 
tional in localities where rebellion or insurrection does not 
actually exist. They insist that such arrests shall not be 
made ' outside of the lines of necessary military occupation 
and the scenes of insurrection.' Inasmuch, however, as the 
Constitution itself makes no such distinction, I am unable to 
believe that there is any such constitutional distinction. I 
concede that the class of arrests complained of can be consti- 
tutional only when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the pub- 
lic safety may require them ; and I insist that in such cases 
they are Constitutional wherever the public safety does re- 
quire them ; as well in places to which they may prevent the 
rebellion extending, as in those where it may be already 
prevailing ; as well where they may restrain mischievous in- 
terference with the raising and supplying of armies to suppress 
the rebellion, as where the rebellion may actually be ; as well 
w T here they may restrain the enticing men out of the army, as 
where they would prevent mutiny in the army ; equally con- 
stitutional at all places where they will conduce to the public 
safety, as against the dangers of rebellion or invasion. Take 
the particular case mentioned by the meeting. It is asserted, 
in substance, that Mr. Vallandigham was, by a military com- 
mander, seized and tried ' for no other reason than words 
addressed to a public meeting, in criticism of the course of 
the Administration, and in condemnation of the military 
orders of the general.' Now, if there be no mistake about 
this ; if this assertion is the truth and the whole truth ; if 
there was no other reason for the arrest, then I concede that 
the arrest was wrong. But the arrest, as I understand, was 
made for a very different reason. Mr. Yallandigham avows 
his hostility to the war on the part of the Union ; and his 


Letter to Corning. Vallandigham's Arrest. 

arrest was made because he was laboring, with some effect, 
to prevent the raising of troops ; to encourage desertion from 
the army, and to leave the rebellion without an adequate mil- 
itary force to suppress it. He was not arrested because he 
was damaging the political prospects of the Administration, 
or the personal interests of the commanding general, but be- 
cause he was damaging the army, upon the existence and 
vigor of which the life of the nation depends. He was war- 
ring upon the military, and this gave the military constitu- 
tional jurisdiction to lay hands upon him. If Mr. Yallandig- 
ham was not damaging the military power of the country, 
then this arrest was made on mistake of fact, which I would 
be glad to correct on reasonably satisfactory evidence. 

" I understand the meeting whose resolutions I am consid- 
ering to be in favor of suppressing the rebellion by military 
force — by armies. Long experience has shown that armies 
cannot be maintained unless desertions shall be punished by 
the severe penalty of death. The case requires, and the law 
and the Constitution sanction, this punishment. Must I 
shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must 
not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert ? 
This is none the less injurious when effected by getting a 
father, or brother, or friend, into a public meeting, and there 
working upon his feelings till he is persuaded to write the 
soldier boy that he is fighting in a bad cause, for a wicked 
Administration of a contemptible Government, too weak to 
arrest and punish him if he shall desert. I think that in such 
a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only 
constitutional, but withal a great mercy. 

" If I be wrong on this question of constitutional power, 
my error lies in believing that certain proceedings are consti- 
tutional when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public 
safety requires them, which would not be constitutional when, 
in the absence of rebellion or invasion, the public safety does 
not require them ; in other words, that the Constitution is not, 


Letter to Corning. Democrats. 

in its application, in all respects the same — in cases of rebel- 
lion or invasion involving the public safety, as it is in time of 
•profound peace and public security. The Constitution itself 
makes the distinction ; and I can no more be persuaded that 
the Government can constitutionally take no strong measures 
in time of rebellion, because it can be shown that the same 
could not be lawfully taken in time of peace, than I can be 
persuaded that a particular drug is not good medicine for a 
sick man, because it can be shown not to be good food for a 
well one. Nor am I able to appreciate the danger appre- 
hended by the meeting, that the American people will, by 
means of military arrests during the rebellion, lose the right 
of public discussion, the liberty of speech and the press, the 
law of evidence, trial by jury, and habeas corpus, throughout 
the indefinite peaceful future, which I trust lies before them, 
any more than I am able to believe that a man could contract 
so strong an appetite for emetics, during temporary illness, as 
to persist in feeding upon them during the remainder of his 
healthful life. 

11 In giving the resolutions that earnest consideration which 
you request of me, I can not overlook the fact that the meet- 
ing speak as 'Democrats.' Nor can I, with full respect for 
their known intelligence, and the fairly presumed deliberation 
with which they prepared their resolutions, be permitted to 
suppose that this occurred by accident, or in any way other 
than that they preferred to designate themselves ' Democrats' 
rather than 'American Citizens.' In this time of National 
peril, I would have preferred to meet you on a level one step 
higher than any party platform ; because I am sure that, from 
such more elevated position, we could do better battle for the 
country we all love than we possibly can from those lower 
ones where, from the force of habit, the prejudices of the past, 
and selfish hopes of the future, we are sure to expend much 
of our ingenuity and strength in finding fault with and aiming 
blows at each other. But, since you have denied me this, I 


Letter to Corning. Gen. Jackson's Course. 

will yet be thankful for the country's sake, that not all Demo- 
crats have done so. He on whose discretionary judgment 
Mr. Yallandigham was arrested and tried is a Democrat, 
having no old party affinity with me ; and the judge who re- 
jected the constitutional view expressed in these resolutions, 
by refusing to discharge Mr. Yallandigham on habeas corpus, 
is a Democrat of better days than these, having received his 
judicial mantle at the hands of President Jackson. And 
still more, of all those Democrats who are nobly exposing 
their lives and shedding their blood on the battle-field, I have 
learned that many approve the course taken with Mr. Yal- 
landigham, while I have not heard of a single one condemning 
it. I can not assert that there are none such. 

"And the name of Jackson recalls an incident of pertinent 

history : After the battle of New Orleans, and while the fact 

that the treaty of peace had been concluded was well known 

in the city, but before official knowledge of it had arrived, 

Gen. Jackson still maintained martial or military law. Now 

that it could be said the war was over, the clamor against 

martial law, which had existed from the first, grew more 

furious. Among other things, a Mr. Louiallier published a 

denunciatory newspaper article. Gen. Jackson arrested him. 

A lawyer by the name of Morrel procured the United States 

Judge Hall to issue a writ of habeas corpus to relieve Mr. 

Louiallier. Gen. Jackson arrested both the lawyer and the 

judge. A Mr. Hollander ventured to say of some part of 

the matter that ' it was a dirty trick.' Gen. Jackson arrested 

him. When the officer undertook to serve the writ of habeas 

corpus, Gen. Jackson took it from him, and sent him away 

with a copy. Holding the judge in custody a few days, the 

general sent him beyond the limits- of his encampment, and 

set him at liberty, with an order to remain till the ratification 

of peace should be regularly announced, or until the British 

should have left the Southern coast. A day or two more 

elapsed, the ratification of a treaty of peace was regularly 


Letter to Coming. Arbitrary Arrests. 

announced, and the judge and others were fully liberated. 
A few days more, and the judge called Gen. Jackson into 
court and fined him $1,000 for having arrested him and the 
others named. The general paid the fine, and there the 
matter rested for nearly thirty years, when Congress re- 
funded principal and interest. The late Senator Douglas, 
then in the House of Representatives, took a leading part in 
the debates, in which the constitutional question was much 
discussed. I am not prepared to say whom the journals 
would show to have voted for the measure. 

" It may be remarked : First, that we had the same Con- 
stitution then as now ; secondly, that we then had a case of 
invasion, and now we have a case of rebellion ; and, thirdly, 
that the permanent right of the people to public discussion, 
the liberty of speech and of the press, the trial by jury, the 
law of evidence, and the habeas corpus, suffered no detriment 
whatever by that conduct of Gen. Jackson, or its subsequent 
approval by the American Congress. 

"And yet, let me say that, in my own discretion, I do not 
know whether I would have ordered the arrest of Mr. Val- 
landigham. While I can not shift the responsibility from 
myself, I hold that, as a general rule, the commander in the 
field is the better judge of the necessity in any particular 
case. Of course, I must practise a general directory and 
revisory power in the matter. 

" One of the resolutions expresses the opinion of the meet- 
ing that arbitrary arrests will have the effect to divide and 
distract those who should be united in suppressing the rebel- 
lion, and I am specifically called on to discharge Mr. Vallan- 
digham. I regard this as, at least, a fair appeal to me on 
the expediency of exercising a constitutional power which I 
think exists. In response to such appeal, I have to say, it 
gave me pain when I learned thafe Mr. Vallandigham had 
been arrested — that is, I was pained that there should have 
seemed to be a necessity for arresting him — and that it will 


Letter to Corning. Letter to Ohio " Democrats." 

afford me great pleasure to discharge him so soon as I can, 
by any means, believe the public safety will not suffer by it. 
I further say that, as the war progresses, it appears to me, 
opinion and action which were in great confusion at first, 
take shape and fall into more regular channels, so that the 
necessity for strong dealing with them gradually decreases. 
I have every reason to desire that it should cease altogether ; 
and far from the least is my regard for the opinions and 
wishes of those who, like the meeting at Albany, declare their 
purpose to sustain the Government in every constitutional 
and lawful measure to suppress the rebellion. Still, I must 
continue to do so much as may seem to be required by the 
public safety. A. Lincoln." 

Mr. Lincoln, having been waited upon by a Committee of 
Ohio " Democrats," who urged him to recall Yallandigham, 
whom they sought to exalt as a "martyr to popular rights," 
addressed the following reply, the quiet sarcasm of which is 
not the least of its many good points : 

"Washington, June 29, 1863. 

11 Gentlemen : — The resolutions of the Ohio Democratic 
State Convention, which you present me, together with your 
introductory and closing remarks, being, in position and 
argument, mainly the same as the resolutions of the Demo- 
cratic meeting at Albany, New York, I refer you to my 
response to the latter as meeting most of the points in the 

" This response you evidently used in preparing your 
remarks, and I desire no more than that it be used with 
accuracy. In a single reading of your remarks, I only dis- 
covered one inaccuracy in matter which I suppose you took 
from that paper. It is where you say, ' The undersigned are 
unable to agree with you in the opinion you have expressed 
that the Constitution is different in time of insurrection or 
invasion r )m what it is in time of peace and public security.' 


Letter to Ohio Democrats. Habeas Corpus. 

"A. recurrence to the paper will show you that I have not 
expressed the opinion you suppose. I expressed the opinion 
that the Constitution is different in its application in cases of 
rebellion or invasion involving the public safety, from what it 
is in times of profound peace and public security. And this 
opinion I adhere to, simply because, by the Constitution itself, 
things may be done in the one case which may not be done 
in the other. 

" I dislike to waste a word on a merely personal point, but 
I must respectfully assure you that you will find yourselves 
at fault should you ever seek for evidence to prove your 
assumption that I ' opposed, in discussions before the people, 
the policy of the Mexican War.' 

" You say : ' Expunge from the Constitution this limitation 
upon the power of Congress to suspend the writ of habeas 
corpus, and yet the other guaranties of personal liberty 
would remain unchanged.' Doubtless, if this clause of the 
Constitution, improperly called, as I think, a limitation upon 
the power of Congress, were expunged, the other guaranties 
would remain the same ; but the question is, not how those 
guaranties would stand with that clause out of the Constitu- 
tion, but how they stand with that clause remaining in it, in 
case of rebellion or invasion involving the public safety. If 
the liberty could be indulged in expunging that clause, letter 
and spirit, I really think the constitutional argument would 
be with you. 

"My general view on this question was stated in the 
Albany response, and hence I do not state it now. I only 
add that, as seems to me, the benefit of the writ of habeas 
corpus is the great means through which the guaranties of 
personal liberty are conserved and made available in the last 
resort ; and corroborative of this view is the fact that Mr. 
Yallancligham, in the very case in question, under the advice 
of able lawyers, saw not where else to go but to the habeas 
corpus. But by the Constitution the benefit of the writ of 


Letter to Ohio Democrats. Who is to Decide. 

habeas corpus itself may be suspended, when, in case of rebel- 
lion or invasion, the public safety may require it. 

" You ask, in substance, whether I really claim that I may 
override all the guaranteed rights of individuals, on the plea 
of conserving the public safety — when I may choose to say 
the public safety requires it. This question, divested of the 
phraseology calculated to represent me as struggling for an 
arbitrary personal prerogative, is either simply a question 
who shall decide, or an affirmation that nobody shall decide, 
what the public safety does require in cases of rebellion or 
invasion. The Constitution contemplates the question as 
likely to occur for decision, but it does not expressly declare 
who is to decide it. By necessary implication, when rebellion 
or invasion comes, the decision is to be made from time to 
time ; and I think the man whom, for the time, the people 
have, under the Constitution, made their Commander-in-chief 
of the Army and Navy, is the man who holds the power and 
bears the responsibility of making it. If he uses the power 
justly, the same people will probably justify him ; if he 
abuses it, he is in their hands, to be dealt with by all the 
modes they have reserved to themselves in the Constitution. 

" The earnestness with which you insist that persons can 
only, in times of rebellion, be lawfully dealt with in accordance 
with the rules for criminal trials and punishments in times of 
peace, induces me to add a word to what I said on that point 
in the Albany response. You claim that men may, if they 
choose, embarrass those whose duty it is to combat a giant 
rebellion, and then be dealt with only in turn as if there were 
no rebellion. The Constitution itself rejects this view. The 
military arrests and detentions which have been made, in- 
cluding those of Mr. Vallandigham, which are not different 
in principle from the other, have been for prevention, and not 
for punishment — as injunctions to stay injury, as proceedings 
to keep the peace — and hence, like proceedings in such cases 
and for like reasons, they have not been accompanied with 


Letter to Ohio Democrats. Vallandigham's Cause. 

indictments, or trial by juries, nor in a single case by any 
punishment whatever beyond what is purely incidental to the 
prevention. The original sentence of imprisonment in Mr. 
Vallandigham's case was to prevent injury to the military 
service only, and the modification of it was made as a less 
disagreeable mode to him of securing the same prevention. 

" I am unable to perceive an insult to Ohio in the case of 
Mr. Vallandigham. Quite surely nothing of this sort was or 
is intended. I was wholly unaware that Mr. Vallandigham 
was, at the time of his arrest, a candidate for the Democratic 
nomination for Governor, until so informed by your reading 
to me the resolutions of the convention. I am grateful to 
the State of Ohio for many things, especially for the brave 
soldiers and officers she has given, in the present national 
trial, to the armies of the Union. 

"You claim, as I understand, that, according to my own 
position in the Albany response, Mr. Vallandigham should be 
released ; and this because, as you claim, he has not damaged 
the military service by discouraging enlistments, encouraging 
desertions, or otherwise ; and that if he had, he should have 
been turned over to the civil authorities under the recent Act 
of Congress. I certainly do not know that Mr. Vallandigham 
has specifically and by direct language advised against enlist- 
ments and in favor of desertions and resistance to drafting. 
We all know that combinations, armed, in some instances, 
to resist the arrest of deserters, began several months ago ; 
that more recently the like has appeared in resistance to the 
enrollment preparatory to a draft ; and that quite a number 
of assassinations have occurred from the same animus. 
These had to be met by military force, and this again has led 
to bloodshed and death. And now, under a sense of respon- 
sibility more weighty and enduring than any which is merely 
official, I solemnly declare my belief that this hindrance 
of the military, including maiming and murder, is due to the 
cause in which Mr. Vallandigham has been engaged, in 


Letter to Ohio Democrats. Against Prosecuting the War. 

a greater degree than to any other cause ; and it is due to 
him personally in a greater degree than to any other one 

" These things have been notorious, known to all, and of 
course known to Mr. Yallandigham. Perhaps I would not 
be wrong to say they originated with his especial friends and 
adherents. With perfect knowledge of them he has fre- 
quently, if not constantly, made speeches in Congress and 
before popular assemblies ; and if it can be shown that, with 
these things staring him in the face, he has ever uttered 
a word of rebuke or counsel against them, it will be a 
fact greatly in his favor with me, and one of which, as 
yet, I am totally ignorant. When it is known that the 
whole burden of his speeches has been to stir up men against 
the prosecution of the war, and that in the midst of re- 
sistance to it he has not been known in any instance to 
counsel against such resistance, it is next to impossible 
to repel the inference that he has counselled directly in favor 
of it, 

" With all this before their eyes, the convention you repre- 
sent have nominated Mr. Yallandigham for Governor of 
Ohio, and both they and you have declared the purpose to 
sustain the National Union by all constitutional means ; but, 
of course, they and you, in common, reserve to yourselves to 
decide what are constitutional means, and, unlike the Albany 
meeting, you omit to state or intimate that, in your opinion, 
an army is a constitutional means of saving the Union against 
a rebellion, or even to intimate that you are conscious of an 
existing rebellion being in progress with the avowed object 
of destroying that very Union. At the same time, your 
nominee for Governor, in whose behalf you appeal, is known 
to you, and to the world, to declare against the use of an 
army to suppress the rebellion. Your own attitude, there- 
fore, encourages desertion, resistance to the draft, and the 
like, because it teaches those who incline to desert and to 


Letter to Obio Democrats. Tkroo Propositions. 

escape the draft, to believe it is your purpose to protect 
them, and to hope that you will become strong enough to 
do so. 

"After a personal intercourse with you, gentlemen of 
the Committee, I can not say I think you desire this effect to 
follow your attitude ; but I assure you that both friends and 
enemies of the Union look upon it in this light. It is a sub- 
stantial hope, and by consequence, a real strength to the 
enemy. If it is a false hope, and one which you would 
willingly dispel, I will make the way exceedingly easy. 
I send you duplicates of this letter, in order that you, or 
a majority of you, may, if you choose, indorse your names 
upon one of them, and return it thus indorsed to me, with 
the understanding that those signing are thereby committed 
to the following propositions, and to nothing else : 

" 1. That there is now a rebellion in the United States, the 
object and tendency of which is to destroy the National 
Union ; and that, in your opinion, an army and navy are 
constitutional means for suppressing that rebellion. 

" 2. That no one of you will do any thing which, in his own 
judgment, will tend to hinder the increase, or favor the 
decrease, or lessen the efficiency of the Army and Navy, 
while engaged in the effort to suppress that rebellion ; and — 

11 3. That each of you will, in his sphere, do all he can to 
have the officers, soldiers, and seamen of the Army and 
Navy, while engaged in the effort to suppress the rebellion, 
paid, fed, clad, and otherwise well provided and supported. 

"And with the further understanding that upon receiving 
the letter and names thus indorsed, I will cause them to be 
published, which publication shall be, within itself, a revoca- 
tion of the order in relation to Mr. Vallandigham. 

" It will not escape observation that I consent to the 

release of Mr. Vallandigham upon terms not embracing any 

pledge from him or from others as to what he will or will not 

do. I do this because he is not present to speak for himself, 



Letter to Ohio Democrats. Speech at Washington. 

or to authorize others to speak for him ; and hence I shall 
expect that on returning he would not put himself practically 
in antagonism with the position of his friends. But I do it 
chiefly because I thereby prevail on other influential gentle- 
men of Ohio to so define their position as to be of immense 
value to the army — thus more than compensating for the con- 
sequences of any mistake in allowing Mr. Yallandigham to 
return, so that, on the whole, the public safety will not have 
suffered by it. Still, in regard to Mr. Yallandigham and all 
others, I must hereafter, as heretofore, do so much as the 
public service may seem to require. 

" I have the honor to be respectfully, yours, etc., 

"Abraham Lincoln." 



Speech at" Washington— Letter to General Grant— Thanksgiving Proclamation— Letter 
concerning the Emancipation Proclamation — Proclamation for Annual Thanksgiving — 
Dedicatory Speech at Gettysburg. 

On the evening of the 4th of July, 1863, having been ser- 
enaded by many of the citizens of Washington, jubilant over 
the defeat of the rebels at Gettysburg, the President acknowl- 
edged the compliment thus : 

" Fellow-citizens : — I am very glad indeed to see you to- 
night, and yet I will not say I thank you for this call ; but I 
do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on 
which you have called. How long ago is it — eighty odd 
years — since, on the 4th of July, for the first time in the his- 
tory of the world, a nation, by its representatives, assembled 
and declared as a self-evident truth, ' that all men are created 
equal V That was the birthday of the United States of Amer- 


Fourth of July. Battle of Gettysburg. 

ica. Since then, the 4th of July has had several very peculiar 
recognitions. The two men most distinguished in the framing 
and support of the Declaration, were Thomas Jefferson and 
John Adams — the one having penned it, and the other sus- 
tained it the most forcibly in debate — the only two, of the 
fifty-five who signed it, who were elected Presidents of the 
United States. Precisely fifty years after they put their 
hands to the paper, it pleased Almighty God to take both 
from this stage of action. This was indeed an extraordinary 
and remarkable event in our history. Another President, 
five years after, was called from this stage of existence on the 
same day and month of the year ; and now, on this last 4th 
of July just passed, when we have a gigantic rebellion, at 
the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow the principle 
that all men were created equal, we have the surrender of a 
most powerful position and army on that very day. And not 
only so, but in a succession of battles in Pennsylvania, near 
to us, through three days, so rapidly fought that they might 
be called one great battle, on the 1st, 2d, and 3d of the month 
of July, and on the 4th the cohorts of those who opposed the 
declaration that all men are created equal, ' turned tail' and 
run. Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme, and the occasion 
for a speech ; but I am not prepared to make one worthy of 
the occasion. I would like to speak in terms of praise due to 
the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the 
cause of the Union and liberties of their country from the 
beginning of the war. These are trying occasions, not only 
in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to mention 
the name of one single officer, lest I might do wrong to those 
I might forget. Pv,ecent events bring up glorious names, and 
particularly prominent ones ; but these I will not mention. 
Having said this much, I will now take the music." 

The following letter, addressed to General Grant after the 
capture of Yicksburg, gives an insight into the transparent 
candor and frankness of the President : 


Letter to Gen. Grant. National Thanksgiving. 

" Executive Mansion, Washington, July 13th, 1863. 
" Major-General U. S. Grant — My Dear General : I do 
not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write 
this now as a grateful acknowledgment of the almost ines- 
timable service you have done the country. I write to say 
a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of 
Vicksburg, I thought you should do what you finally did — 
march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the 
transports, and thus go below ; and I never had any faith, 
except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the 
Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed. When 
you got below, and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicin- 
ity, I thought you should go down the river and join General 
Banks, and when you turned northward, east of the Big 
Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the 
personal acknowledgment, that you were right and I was 
wrong. *" Yours, truly, 

"A. Lincoln." 

The following was issued in commemoration of the victories 
at Vicksburg, Port Hudson, and Gettysburg : 

" By the President of the United States op America. 
— A Proclamation. — It has pleased Almighty God to hearken 
to the supplications and prayers of an afflicted people, and to 
vouchsafe to the Army and Navy of the United States, on the 
land and on the sea, victories so signal and so effective as to 
furnish reasonable grounds for augmented confidence that the 
Union of these States will be maintained, their Constitution 
preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently 
secured ; but these victories have been accorded, not without 
sacrifice of life, limb, and liberty, incurred by brave, patriotic, 
and loyal citizens. Domestic affliction, in every part of the 
country, follows in the train of these fearful bereavements. 
It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of 
the Almighty Father, and the power of his hand equally in 
these triumphs and these sorrows. 


Notional Thanksgiving. Letter to Unconditional Union Men. 

'• Now, therefore, be it known, that I do set apart Thurs- 
day, the Gth day of August next, to be observed as a day for 
National Thanksgiving, praise, and prayer ; and I invite the 
people of the United States to assemble on that occasion in 
their customary places of worship, and in the form approved 
by their own consciences, render the homage due to the 
Divine Majesty, for the wonderful things he has done in the 
Nation's behalf, and invoke the influence of his Holy Spirit, 
to subdue the anger which has produced, and so long sus- 
tained, a needless and cruel rebellion ; to change the hearts 
of the insurgents ; to guide the counsels of the Government 
with wisdom adequate to so great a National emergency, and 
to visit with tender care, and consolation, throughout the 
length and breadth of our land, all those who, through the 
vicissitudes of marches, voyages, battles, and sieges, have 
been brought to suffer in mind, body, or estate ; and finally, 
to lead the whole nation through paths of repentance and 
submission to the Divine will, back to the perfect enjoyment 
of union and fraternal peace. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of 
July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States 
of America the eighty-eighth. 

11 By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

The following letter, written in August, 1863, in answer 
to an invitation to attend a meeting of unconditional Union 
men held in Illinois, gives at length the President's views 
at that timt> on his Emancipation proclamation : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, August 26th, 1863. 
" My Dear Sir : — Your letter inviting me to attend amass 
meeting of unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital 


Letter to Unconditional Union Men. No Compromise Possible. 

of Illinois on the third day of September, has been received. 
It would be very agreeable to me thus to meet my old friends 
at my own home ; but I cannot just now be absent from this 
city so long as a visit there would require. The meeting is 
to be of all those who maintain unconditional devotion to the 
Union ; and I am sure that my old political friends will thank 
me for tendering, as I do, the nation's gratitude to those 
other noble men whom no partisan malice or partisan hope 
can make false to the nation's life. There are those who are 
dissatisfied with me. To such I would say : — You desire 
peace, and you blame me that we do not have it. But how 
can we attain it ? There are but three conceivable ways : — 
First, to suppress the rebellion by force of arms. This I am 
trying to do. Are you for it ? If you are, so far we are 
agreed. If you are not for it, a second way is to give up the 
Union. I am against this. If you are, you should say so, 
plainly. If you are not for force, nor yet for dissolution, there 
only remains some imaginable compromise. I do not believe 
that any compromise embracing the maintenance of the Union 
is now possible. All that I learn leads to a directly opposite 
belief. The strength of the rebellion is its military — its 
army. That army dominates all the country and all the 
people within its range. Any offer of any terms made by 
any man or men within that range in opposition to that army 
is simply nothing for the present, because such man or men 
have no power whatever to enforce their side of a com- 
promise, if one were made with them. To illustrate : Sup- 
pose refugees from the South and peace men of the North 
get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a com- 
promise embracing the restoration of the Union. In what 
way can that compromise be used to keep General Lee's 
army out of Pennsylvania ? General Meade's army can keep 
Lee's army out of Pennsylvania, and I think can ultimately 
drive it out of existence. But no paper compromise to which 
the controllers of General Lee's army are not agreed, can at 


Letter to Union Men. Tho Negro Question. Emancipation. 

all affect that army. In an effort at such compromise we 
would waste time which the enemy would improve to our 
disadvantage, and that would be all. A compromise, to be 
effective, must be made either with those who control the 
rebel army, or with the people, first liberated from the domi- 
nation of that army by the success of our army. Now, allow 
me to assure you that no word or intimation from the rebel 
army, or from any of the men controlling it, in relation to any 
peace compromise, has ever come to my knowledge or belief. 
All charges and intimations to the contrary are deceptive and 
groundless. And I promise you that if any such propositions 
shall hereafter come, it shall not be rejected and kept secret 
from you. I freely acknowledge myself to be the servant of 
the people, according to the bond of service, the United 
States Constitution ; and that, as such, I am responsible to 
them. But, to be plain. You are dissatisfied with me about 
the negro. Quite likely there is a difference of opinion be- 
tween you and myself upon that subject. I certainly wish 
that all men could be free, while you, I suppose, do not. Yet 
I have neither adopted nor proposed any measure which is 
not consistent with even your view, provided you are for the 
Union. I suggested compensated emancipation, to which 
you replied that you wished not to be taxed to buy negroes. 
But I have not asked you to be taxed to buy negroes, except 
in such way as to save you from greater taxation, to save the 
Union exclusively by other means. 

" You dislike the emancipation proclamation, and perhaps 
would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional. I 
think differently. I think that the Constitution invests its 
Commander-in-chief with the law of war in time of war. The 
most that can bo said, if so much, is, that the slaves are 
property. Is there, has there ever been, any question that 
by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may 
be taken when needed ? And is it not needed whenever 
taking it helps us or hurts the enemy ? Armies, the world 


Letter to Union Men. Military Opinions 

over, destroy enemies' property when they cannot use it ; and 
even destroy their own to keep it from the enemy. Civilized 
belligerents do all in their power to help themselves or hurt 
the enemy, except a few things regarded as barbarous or 
cruel. Among the exceptions are the massacre of vanquished 
foes and non-combatants, male and female. But the pro- 
clamation, as law, is valid or is not valid. If it is not valid 
it needs no restriction. If it is valid it cannot be retracted, 
any more than the dead can be brought to life. Some of you 
profess to think that its retraction would operate favorably for 
the Union. Why better after the retraction than before the 
issue ? There was more than a year and a half of trial to 
suppress the rebellion before the proclamation was issued, the 
last one hundred days of which passed under an explicit 
notice, that it was coming unless averted by those in revolt 
returning to their allegiance. The war has certainly pro- 
gressed as favorably for us since the issue of the proclamation 
as before. I know as fully as one can know the opinions of 
others, that some of the commanders of our armies in the 
field, who have given us our most important victories, believe 
the emancipation policy and the aid of colored troops consti- 
tute the heaviest blows yet dealt to the rebellion, and that at 
least one of those important successes could not have been 
achieved when it was but for the aid of black soldiers. 
Among the commanders holding these views are some who 
have never had any affinity with what is called abolition- 
ism or with ' republican party politics,' but who hold them 
purely as military opinions. I submit their opinions as being 
entitled to some weight against the objections often urged that 
emancipation and arming the blacks are unwise as military 
measures, and were not adopted as such in good faith. You 
say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them 
seem to be willing to fight for you — but no matter. Fight 
you, then, exclusively to save the Union. I issued the pro- 
clamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. 


Letter to Union Men. The Mississippi Open. 

Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the 
Union, if T shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an 
apt time then for you to declare that you will not fight to free 
negroes. I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to 
whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, 
to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. 
Do you think differently ? I thought that whatever negroes 
can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white 
soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise 
to you ? But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. 
Why should they do any thing for us if we will do nothing 
for them ? If they stake their lives for us they must be 
prompted by the strongest motive, even the promise of freedom. 
And the promise being made, must be kept. The signs 
look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to 
the sea. Thanks to the great North-west for it. Nor yet 
wholly to them. Three hundred miles up they met New 
England, Empire, Keystone, and Jersey, hewing their way 
right and left. The Sunny South, too, in more colors than 
one, also lent a hand. On the spot, their part of the history 
was jotted down in black and white. The joy was a great 
national one, and let none be banned who bore an honorable 
part in it ; and, while those who have cleared the great river 
may well be proud, even that is not all. It is hard to say 
that any thing has been more bravely and better done than at 
Antietam, Murfreesboro', Gettysburg, and on many fields of 
less note. Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. 
At all the waters' margins they have been present — not only 
on the deep sea, the broad bay, and the rapid river, but also 
up the narrow, muddy bayou ; and wherever the ground was 
a little damp they have been and made their tracks. Thanks 
to all. For the great Republic — for the principles by which 
it lives and keeps alive — for man's vast future — thanks to all. 
Peace does not appear so far distant as it did. I hope it will 
come soon, and come to stay : and so come as to be worth the 


Letter to Union Men. A Sure Peace. Thanksgiving Proclamation , 

keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that 
among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the 
ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are 
sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And then there will 
be some black men who can remember that, with sileut 
tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well poised 
bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consum- 
mation ; while I fear that there will be some white men un- 
able to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech 
they have striven to hinder it. Still let us not be over san- 
guine of a speedy final triumph. Let us be quite sober. Let 
us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just 
God, in his own good time, will give us the rightful result. 
" Yours very truly, Abraham Lincoln." 

Desirous of inaugurating the custom of setting apart each 
year a common day throughout the land for thanksgiving and 
prayer, Mr. Lincoln issued the following : 

"By the President of the United States op America. — 
A Proclamation : — The year that is drawing towards its 
close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and 
healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly 
enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which 
they come, others have been added which are of so extraor- 
dinary a nature that they can not fail to even penetrate and 
soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever 
watchful providence of Almighty Grod. In the midst of a 
civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has 
sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of 
foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, 
order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and 
obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in 
the theatre of military conflict. While that theatre has been 
greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the 
Union, the needful diversion of wealth and strength from the 
fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, has not 


Thanksgiving Proclamation. Blessings Enjoyed, 

arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship. The axe has 
enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as 
well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded 
even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has 
steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been 
made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field ; and the 
country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength 
and vigor, is permitted to expect a continuance of years, with 
a large increase of freedom. JSTo human counsel hath devised, 
nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. 
They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, 
while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless 
remembered mercy. 

" It hath seemed to me fit and proper that they should be 
solemnly, devoutly, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one 
heart and voice, by the whole American people. I do, there- 
fore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United 
States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are 
sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last 
Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and 
prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. 
And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascrip- 
tions justly due to him for such signal deliverances and bless- 
ings, they do also, with humble penitence for our National 
perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care 
all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or 
sufferers, in the lamentable civil strife in which we are 
unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition 
of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and 
to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine 
purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, 
and union. 

"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this, the third day of 


Address at Gettysburg. The Honored Dead. 

October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-eighth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

On the 19th of November, 1863, President Lincoln delivered 
the following dedicatory address upon the occasion of conse- 
crating a National Cemetery at Gettysburg, for the secure 
rest of those brave men who yielded up their lives in behalf 
of their country during the three days' battle at that place : 

" Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth 
upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and 
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether 
that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can 
long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. 
We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting- 
place of those who here gave their lives that that nation 
might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should 
do this. 

" But in a larger sense we can not dedicate, we can not 
consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, 
living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far 
above our power to add or detract. The world will little 
note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never 
forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to 
be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus 
far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedi- 
cated to the great task remaining before us — that from these 
honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for 
which they here gave the last full measure of devotion — that 
we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in 
vain, that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of 
freedom, and that the government of the people, by the 
people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." 


Organization of the House. Different Opinions as to Reconstruction. 



Organization of the House — Different Opinions as to Reconstruction — Provisions for Par- 
don of Rebels — President's Proclamation of Pardon — Annual Message — Explanatory 

Upon the assembling of the Thirty-eighth Congress, De- 
cember 7th, 1863 — that Congress, in the lower branch of 
which the Opposition had counted upon a majority — the sup- 
porters of the Government found no difficulty in electing their 
candidates for Speaker by a majority of twenty, nor a radical 
anti-slavery man as Chaplain, albeit against the latter was 
offered as candidate an Episcopalian Bishop, nameless here, 
who had had the effrontery since the outbreak of the war to 
appear before the public as a defender of the institution upon 
Christian principles. 

With the success of our arms — movements toward an organ- 
ization of the local governments in the States of Tennessee, 
Louisiana, and Arkansas being in progress — the difficult 
question as to the principles upon which such reorganization 
should be effected presented itself for settlement. 

Some took the ground that, by virtue of their rebellion, the 
disloyal States had lapsed into mere territorial organizations, 
and should remain in that condition until again admitted into 
the Union. 

Others contended that this would be, in effect, to recognize 
secession, and maintained that, whatever might have been the 
acts of the inhabitants of any State, the State as such still 
constituted an integral member of the Union, entitled to all 
privileges as such, whenever a sufficient number of loyal 
citizens chose to exercise the right of suffrage — the General 


Different Opinions as to Reconstruction. Proclamation of Pardon. 

Government seeing to it, as was its duty under the Con- 
stitution, that a republican form was guarantied. As to 
what number of loyal inhabitants should suffice, opinions 

Congress had provided, by an act approved July 17, 1862 : 
That the President is hereby authorized, at any time here- 
after, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have 
participated in the existing rebellion in any State or part 
thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions, and at 
such time, and on such conditions, as he may deem expedient 
for the public welfare. 

In accordance with this authority, the following proclama- 
tion was issued by Mr. Lincoln, by which it appeared he held 
himself pledged, before the world and to the persons immedi- 
ately affected by it, to make an adherence to the policy of 
emancipation, inaugurated by him, a condition precedent to 
any act of clemency to be exercised by himself : 

" Whereas, In and by the Constitution of the United 
States, it is provided that the President ' shall have power to 
grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United 
States, except in cases of impeachment;' and whereas, a re- 
bellion now exists whereby the loyal State Governments of 
several States have for a long time been subverted, and many 
persons have committed and are now guilty of treason against 
the United States ; and whereas, with reference to said rebel- 
lion and treason, laws have been enacted by Congress de- 
claring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation 
of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated ; and 
also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at 
any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons 
who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any 
State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such excep- 
tions and at such times and on such conditions as he may 
deem expedient for the public welfare ; and whereas, the 


Proclamation of Pardon. The Oath. Persons Excepted. 

Congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon 
accords with well-established judicial exposition of the par- 
doning power ; and whereas, with reference to said rebellion, 
the President of the United States has issued several procla- 
mations, with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves ; 
and whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore 
engaged in said rebellion, to resume their allegiance to the 
United States, and to reinaugurate loyal State Governments 
within and for their respective States ; therefore, 

" I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do 
proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, 
directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebel- 
lion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is 
hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of 
all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property 
cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and 
upon the condition that every such person shall take and 
subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said 
eath inviolate ; and which oath shall be registered for per- 
manent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect 
following, to-wit : 

" ' I, , do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty 

God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and 
defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union 
of the States thereunder; and that. I will, in like manner, 
abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed 
during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long 
and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, 
or by decision of the Supreme Court ; and that I will, in like 
manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of 
the President made during the existing rebellion having 
reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or 
declared void by decision of the Supreme Court. So help me 

" The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing 


Proclamation of Pardon. Persons Excepted. Reconstruction. 

provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or diplo- 
matic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate Govern- 
ment ; all who have left judicial stations under the United 
States to aid the rebellion ; all who are, or shall have been, 
military or naval officers of the said so-called Confederate 
Government, above the rank of colonel in the army, or of lieu 
tenant in the navy ; all who left seats in the United States 
Congress to aid the rebellion ; all who resigned commissions 
in the Army or Navy of the United States, and afterward 
aided the rebellion ; and all who have engaged in any way in 
treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, 
otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which 
persons may have been found in the United States service as 
soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity. 

"And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that 
whenever, in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South 
Carolina, and North Carolina, a number of persons, not less 
than one-tenth in number of the votes cast in such State at 
the Presidential election of the year of our Lord 1860, each 
having taken the oath aforesaid, and not having since violated 
it, and being a qualified voter by the election law of the State 
existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and 
excluding all others, shall re-establish a State Government 
which shall be republican, and in nowise contravening said 
oath, such shall be recognized as the true Government of the 
State, and the State shall receive thereunder the benefits of 
the constitutional provision which declares that ' the United 
States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a repub- 
lican form of government, and shall protect each of them 
against invasion ; and on application of the Legislature, or 
the Executive, (when the Legislature cannot be convened,) 
against domestic violence. ' 

"And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that 
any provision which may be adopted by such State Govern- 


President's Proclamation. Reconstruction. Suggestions. 

meat in relation to the freed people of such State, which shall 
recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for 
their education, and which may yet be consistent, as a 
temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a 
laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to 
by the National Executive. And it is suggested as not im- 
proper, that, in constructing a loyal State Government in any 
State, the name of the State, the boundary, the subdivisions, 
the Constitution, and the general code of laws, as before the 
rebellion, be maintained, subject only to the modifications 
made necessary by the conditions hereinbefore stated, and 
such others, if any, not contravening said conditions, and 
which may be deemed expedient by those framing the new 
State Government. 

" To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say that 
this proclamation, so far as it relates to State Governments, 
has no reference to States wherein loyal State Governments 
have all the while been maintained. And for the same reason, 
it may be proper to further say that whether members sent to 
Congress from any State shall be admitted to seats constitu- 
tionally, rests exclusively with the respective Houses, and 
not to any extent with the Executive. And still further, that 
this proclamation is intended to present the people of the 
States wherein the National authority has been suspended, 
and loyal State Governments have been subverted, a mode in 
and by which the National authority and loyal State Govern- 
ments may be re-established within said States, or in any of 
them ; and, while the mode presented is the best the Execu- 
tive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be 
understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable. 

" Given under my hand at the city of Washington, the eighth 
day of December, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the 
United States of America the eighty-eighth. 

"Abraham Lincoln " 


Annual Message. African Slave Trade. Rights of Foreigners. 

The Annual Message sent in to Congress on the 9th day 
of December, omitting matters of but temporary interest — is 
as follows : 

" Fellow- Citizens of the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives : — Another year of health and sufficiently abun- 
dant harvests, has passed. For these, and especially for the 
improved condition of our National affairs, our renewed and 
profoundest gratitude to God is due. 

" We remain in peace and friendship with foreign powers. 

" The efforts of disloyal citizens of the United States to 
involve us in foreign wars, to aid an inexcusable insurrection, 
have been unavailing. Her Britannic Majesty's Government, 
as was justly expected, have exercised their authority to pre- 
vent the departure of new hostile expeditions from British 
ports. The Emperor of France has, by a like proceeding, 
promptly vindicated the neutrality which he proclaimed at 
the beginning of the contest. Questions of great intricacy 
and importance have arisen, out of the blockade and other 
belligerent operations, between the Government and several 
of the maritime powers, but they have been discussed, and, 
as far as was possible, accommodated in a spirit of frankness, 
justice, and mutual good will. It is especially gratifying 
that our prize courts, by the impartiality of their adjudica- 
tions, have commanded the respect and confidence of mari- 
time powers. 

" The supplementary treaty between the United States and 
Great Britain for the suppression of the African slave trade, 
made on the 17th of February last, has been duly ratified, 
and carried into execution. It is believed that, so far as 
American ports and American^ citizens are concerned, that 
inhuman and odious traffic has been brought to an end. . . . 

" Incidents occurring in the progress of our civil war have 
forced upon my attention the uncertain state of international 
questions touching the rights of foreigners in this country 
and of United States citizens abroad. In regard to some 


Annual Message. Rights of Foreigners. 

Governments, these rights are at least partially defined 
by treaties. In no instance, however, is it expressly stipu- 
lated that, in the event of civil law, a foreigner residing 
in this country, within the lines of the insurgents, is to 
be exempted from the rule which classes him as a belligerent, 
in whose behalf the Government of his country can not 
expect any privileges or immunities distinct from that 
character. I regret to say, however, that such claims have 
been put forward, and, in some instances, in behalf of 
foreigners who have lived in the United States the greater 
part of their lives. 

" There is reason to believe that many persons born 
in foreign countries, who have declared their intention to 
become citizens, or who have been fully naturalized, have 
evaded the military duty required of them by denying the 
fact, and thereby throwing upon the Government the burden 
of proof. It has been found difficult or impracticable to 
obtain this proof, from the want of guides to the proper 
sources of information. These might be supplied by requir- 
ing clerks of courts, where declarations of intention may be 
made or naturalizations effected, to send, periodically, lists of 
the names of the persons naturalized, or declaring their inten- 
tion to become citizens, to the Secretary of the Interior, in 
whose Department those names might be arranged and 
printed for general information. 

" There is also reason to believe that foreigners frequently 
become citizens of the United States for the sole purpose of 
evading duties imposed by the laws of their native countries, 
to which, on becoming naturalized here, they at once repair, 
and, though never returning to the United States, they 
still claim the interposition of this Government as citizens. 
Many altercations and great prejudices have heretofore arisen 
out of this abuse. It is, therefore, submitted to your serious 
consideration. It might be advisable to fix a limit, beyond 


Annual Message. Condition of the Territories. Immigration. 

which no citizen of the United States residing abroad 
may claim the interposition of his Government. 

" The right of suffrage has often been assumed and exer- 
cised by aliens, under pretences of naturalization, which they 
have* disavowed when drafted into the military service. 
I submit the expediency of such an amendment of the law as 
will make the fact of voting an estoppel against any plea of 
exemption from military service, or other civil obligation, on 
the ground of alienage 

" The condition of the several organized Territories is 
generally satisfactory, although Indian disturbances in New 
Mexico have not been entirely suppressed. The mineral 
resources of Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico, and 
Arizona, are proving far richer than has been heretofore 
understood. I lay before you a communication on this sub- 
ject from the Governor of New Mexico. I again submit to 
your consideration the expediency of establishing a system 
for the encouragement of immigration. Although this source 
of national wealth and strength is again flowing with greater 
freedom than for several years before the insurrection occurred, 
there is still a great deficiency of laborers in every field of 
industry, especially in agriculture and in our mines, as well 
of iron and coal as of the precious metals. While the 
demand for labor is thus increased here, tens of thousands of 
persons, destitute of remunerative occupation, are thronging 
our foreign consulates, and offering, to emigrate to the 
United States if essential, but very cheap, assistance can be 
afforded them. It is easy to see that, under the sharp dis- 
cipline of civil war, the nation is beginning a new life. This 
noble effort demands the aid, and ought to receive the atten- 
tion and support, of the Government. 

" Injuries, unforeseen by the Government and unintended, 
may, in some cases, have been inflicted on the subjects 
or citizens of foreign countries, both at sea and on land, 


Annual Message. Justice to Foreigners. , Incomes of Consuls. 

by persons in the service of the United States. As this 
Government expects redress from other powers when similar 
injuries are inflicted by persons in their service upon citizens 
of the United States, we must be prepared to do justice 
to foreigners. If the existing judicial tribunals are inade- 
quate to this purpose, a special court may be authorized, with 
power to hear and decide such claims of the character 
referred to as may have arisen under treaties and the public 
law. Conventions for adjusting the claims by joint commis- 
sion, have been proposed to some Governments, but no defi- 
nite answer to the propositions has yet been received from 

" In the course of the session, I shall probably have occa- 
sion to request you to provide indemnification to claimants 
where decrees of restitution have been rendered, and damages 
awarded by admiralty courts, and in other cases, where this 
Government may be acknowledged to be liable in principle, 
and where the amount of that liability has been ascertained 
by an informal arbitration. 

" The proper officers of the Treasury have deemed them- 
selves required, by the law of the United States upon the 
subject, to demand a tax upon the incomes of foreign consuls 
in this country. While such demand may not, in strictness, 
be in derogation of public law, or perhaps of any existing 
treaty between the United States and a foreign country, the 
expediency of so far modifying the act as to exempt from tax 
the income of such consuls as are not citizens of the United 
States, derived from the emoluments of their office, or from 
property not situated in the United States, is submitted 
to your serious consideration. I make this suggestion upon 
the ground that a comity which ought to be reciprocated 
exempts our consuls, in all other countries, from taxation to 
the extent thus indicated. The United States, I think, ought 
not to be exceptionably illiberal to international trade and 


Annua 1 Message. Operations of the Treasury. Receipts and Expenditures. 

" The operations of the Treasury during the last year have 
been successfully conducted. The enactment by Congress of 
a National Banking Law has proved a valuable support 
of the public credit ; and the general legislation in relation to 
loans has fully answered the expectations of its favorers. 
Some amendments may be required to perfect existing laws ; 
but no change in their principles or general scope is believed 
to be needed. 

" Since these measures have been in operation, all demands 
on the Treasury, including the pay of the Army and Navy, 
have been promptly met and fully satisfied. No considerable 
body of troops, it is believed, were ever more amply pro- 
vided and more liberally and punctually paid ; and it may be 
added that by no people were the burdens incident to a great 
war ever more cheerfully borne. 

" The receipts during the year from all sources, including 
loans and the balance in the Treasury at its commencement, 
were $901,125,614 86, and the aggregate disbursements, 
$895,796,630 65, leaving a balance on the 1st of July, 1863, 
of $5,329,044 21. Of the receipts there were derived 
.rom customs, $69,059,642 40; from internal revenue, 
$37,640,787 95; from direct tax, $1,485,103 61; from lands, 
$167,617 17; from miscellaneous sources, $3,046,615 35; 
and from loans, $776,682,361 57; making the aggregate, 
$901,125,674 86. Of the disbursements, there were, for the 
civil service, $23,253,922 08; for pensions and Indians, 
$4,216,520 79 ; for interest on public debt, $24,729,846 51 ; 
for the War Department, $599,298,600 83; for the Navy 
Department, $63,211,105 27 ; for payment of funded and 
temporary debt, $181,086,635 07 ; making the aggregate, 
$895,796,630 65; and leaving the balance of $5,329,044 21. 
But the payment of funded and temporary debt, having been 
made from moneys borrowed during the year, must be 
regarded as merely nominal payments, and the moneys 
borrowed to make them as merely nominal receipts ; and 


Annual Message. Receipts and Expenditures. Report of the Secretary of War. 

their amount, $181,086,635 01, should therefore be deducted 
both from receipts and disbursements. This being done, 
there remain as actual receipts, $120,039,039 19 ; and the 
actual disbursements, $114,709,995 58, leaving the balance 
as already stated. 

"The actual receipts and disbursements for the first quarter, 
and the estimated receipts and disbursements for the remain- 
ing three quarters, of the current fiscal year 1864, will 
be shown in detail by the report of the Secretary of the 
Treasury, to which I invite your attention. It is sufficient to 
say here that it is not believed that actual results will exhibit 
a state of the finances less favorable to the country than the 
estimates of that officer heretofore submitted ; while it is 
confidently expected that at the close of the year both dis- 
bursements and debt will be found very considerably less 
than has been anticipated. 

"The report of the Secretary of War is a document of 
great interest. It consists of — 

" 1. The military operations of the year, detailed in the 
report of the General-in-Chief. 

"2. The organization of colored persons into the war 

" 3. The exchange of prisoners, fully set forth in the letter 
of General Hitchcock. 

" 4. The operations under the act for enrolling and calling 
out the National forces, detailed in the report of the Provost 
Marshal General. 

"5. The organization of the Invalid Corps ; and, 

" 6. The operation of the several departments of the Quar- 
termaster General, Commissary General, Paymaster General, 
Chief of Engineers, Chief of Ordnance, and Surgeon Gen- 

" It has appeared impossible to make a valuable summary 
of this report, except such as would be too extended for this 


Annual Message. Efficiency of the Blockade. The Naval Force. 

place, and hence I content myself by asking your careful 
attention to the report itself. 

" The duties devolving on the Naval branch of the service 
during the year, and throughout the whole of this unhappy 
contest, have been discharged with fidelity and eminent suc- 
cess. The ^extensive blockade has been constantly increasing 
in efficiency, and the Navy has expanded ; yet on so long a 
line it has so far been impossible to entirely suppress illicit 
trade. From returns received at the Navy Department, it 
appears that more than one thousand vessels have been cap- 
tured since the blockade was instituted, and that the value of 
prizes already sent in for adjudication, amounts to over thirteen 
million dollars. 

" The naval force of the United States consists, at this time, 
of five hundred and eighty-eight vessels, completed and in the 
course of completion, and of these seventy-five are iron-clad or 
armored steamers. The events of the war give an increased 
interest and importance to the Navy, which will probably ex- 
tend beyond the war itself. 

" The armored vessels in our Navy, completed and in ser- 
vice, or which are under contract and approaching completion, 
are believed to exceed in number those of any other Power. 
But while these may be relied upon for harbor defence and 
coast service, others, of greater strength and capacity, will be 
necessary for cruising purposes, and to maintain our rightful 
position on the ocean. 

11 The change that has taken place in naval vessels and 
naval warfare since the introduction of steam as a motive 
power for ships-of-war, demands either a corresponding 
change in some of our existing navy-yards, or the establish- 
ment of new ones, for the construction and necessary repairs 
of modern naval vessels. No inconsiderable embarrassment, 
delay, and public injury have been experienced from the want 
of such Governmental establishments. The necessity of such 
a navy-yard, so furnished, at some suitable place upop the 


Annual Message. The Navy. Seamen. 

Atlantic seaboard, has, on repeated occasions, been brought 
to the attention of Congress by the Navy Department, and is 
again presented in the report of the Secretary which accom- 
panies this communication. I think it my duty to invite your 
special attention to this subject, and also to that of establishing 
a yard and depot for naval purposes upon one of the Western 
rivers. A naval force has been created on those interior 
waters, and under many disadvantages, within little more than 
two years, exceeding in numbers the whole naval force of the 
country at the commencement of the present Administration. 
Satisfactory and important as have been the performances of 
the heroic men of the Navy at this interesting period, they are 
scarcely more wonderful than the success of our mechanics 
and artisans in the production of war vessels, which has 
created a new form of naval power. 

" Our country has advantages superior to any other nation 
in our resources of iron and timber, with inexhaustible quan- 
tities of fuel in the immediate vicinity of both, and all avail- 
able and in close proximity to navigable waters. Without 
the advantage of public works, the resources of the nation 
have been developed, and its power displayed, in the con- 
struction of a navy of such magnitude, which has, at 
the very period of its creation, rendered signal service to the 

11 The increase of the number of seamen in the public ser- 
vice, from seven thousand five hundred men in the spring of 
1861, to about thirty-four thousand at the present time, has 
been accomplished without special legislation or extraordinary 
bounties to promote that increase. It has been found, how- 
ever, that the operation of the draft, with the high bounties 
paid for army recruits, is beginning to affect injuriously the 
naval service, and will, if not corrected, be likely to impair its 
efficiency, by detaching seamen from their proper vocation 
and inducing them to enter the army. I therefore respect- 
fully suggest that Congress might aid both the army and 


Annual Message. The Navy. Post Office Department. 

naval services by a definite provision on this subject, which 
would at the same time be equitable to the communities more 
especially interested. 

" I commend to your consideration the suggestions of the 
Secretary of the Navy in regard to the policy of fostering and 
training seamen, and also the education of officers and engi- 
neers for the naval service. The Naval Academy is render- 
ing signal service in preparing midshipmen for the highly re- 
sponsible duties which in after-life they will be required to 
perform. In order that the country should not be deprived 
of the proper quota of educated officers for which legal pro- 
vision has been made at the Naval School, the vacancies 
caused by the neglect or omission to make nominations from 
the States in insurrection have been filled by the Secretary of 
the Navy. The school is now more full and complete than at 
any former period, and in every respect entitled to the favor- 
able consideration of Congress. 

" During the past fiscal year the financial condition of the 
Post Office Department has been one of increasing prosperity, 
and I am gratified in being able to state that the actual postal 
revenue has nearly equaled the entire expenditures ; the 
latter amounting to $11,314,206 84, and the former to 
$11,1 63,189 59, leaving a deficiency of but $150,411 25. In 
1860, the year immediately preceding the rebellion, the de- 
ficiency amounted to $5,656,105 49, the postal receipts of 
that year being $2,645,122 19 less than those of 1863. The 
decrease since 1860 in the annual amount of transportation 
has been only about twenty-five per cent., but the annual ex- 
penditure on account of the same has been reduced thirty-five 
per cent. It is manifest, therefore, that the Post Office 
Department may become self-sustaining in a few years, even 
with the restoration of the whole service. 

" The quantity of land disposed of during the last and the 
first quarter of the present fiscal years was 3,841,549 acres, 
of which 161,911 acres were sold for cash, 1,456,514 acres 


Annual Message. The Public Lands. The Indian Tribes. 

were taken up under the homestead law, and the residue dis- 
posed of under laws granting lands for military bounties, for 
railroad and other purposes. It also appears that the sale of 
public lands is largely on the increase. 

" It has long been a cherished opinion of some of our wisest 
statesmen that the people of the United States had a higher 
and more enduring interest in the early settlement and sub- 
stantial cultivation of the public lands than in the amount of 
direct revenue to be derived from the sale of them. This 
opinion has had a controlling influence in shaping legislation 
upon the subject of our National domain. I may cite, as 
evidence of this, the liberal measures adopted in reference to 
actual settlers ; the grants to the States of the overflowed 
lands within their limits ; in order to their being reclaimed 
and rendered fit for cultivation ; the grants to railway com- 
panies of alternate sections of land upon the contemplated 
lines of their roads, which, when completed, will so largely 
multiply the facilities for reaching our distant possessions. 
This policy has received its most signal and beneficent illus- 
tration in the recent enactment granting homesteads to actual 
settlers. Since the 1st day of January last, the before-men- 
tioned quantity of 1,456,514 acres of land have been takeu up 
under its provisions. This fact and the amount of sales fur- 
nish gratifying evidence of increasing settlement upon the 
public lands, notwithstanding the great struggle in which the 
energies of the Nation have been engaged, and which has re- 
quired so large a withdrawal of our citizens from their accus- 
tomed pursuits. 

"The measures provided at your, last session for the re- 
moval of certain Indian tribes, have been carried into effect. 
Sundry treaties have been negotiated which will, in due 
time, be submitted for the constitutional action of the Senate. 
They contain stipulations for extinguishing the possessory 
rights of the Indians to large and valuable tracts of lands. 
It is hoped that the effect of these treaties will result in the 


Annual Message. Indian Tribes. The Country and the War. 

establishment of permanent friendly relations with such of 
these tribes as have been brought into frequent and bloody 
collision with our outlying settlements and emigrants. Sound 
policy and our imperative duty to these wards of the Govern- 
ment demand our anxious and constant attention to their 
material well-being, to their progress in the arts of civiliza- 
tion, and above all, to that moral training which, under the 
blessing of Divine Providence, will confer upon them the 
elevated and sanctifying influences, the hopes and consolations 
of the Christian faith. 

" When Congress assembled a year ago, the war had 
already lasted nearly twenty months ; and there had been 
many conflicts on both land and sea, with varying results. 
The rebellion had been pressed back into reduced limits ; yet 
the tone of public feeling and opinion, at home and abroad, 
was not satisfactory. With other signs, the popular elec- 
tions, then just past, indicated uneasiness among ourselves, 
while, amid much that was cold and menacing, the kindest 
words coming from Europe were uttered in accents of pity 
that we were too blind to surrender a hopeless cause. Our 
commerce was suffering greatly by a few armed vessels built 
upon and furnished from foreign shores ; and we were threat- 
ened with such additions from the same quarter as would 
sweep our trade from the sea and raise our blockade. We 
had failed to elicit from European Governments any thing 
hopeful upon this subject. The preliminary Emancipation 
Proclamation, issued in September, was running its assigned 
period to the beginning of the new year. A month later the 
final proclamation came, including the announcement that 
colored men of suitable condition would be received into the 
war service. The policy of emancipation, and of employing 
black soldiers, gave to the future a new aspect, about which 
hope, and fear, and doubt contended in uncertain conflict. 
According to our political system, as a matter of civil admin- 
istration, the General Government had no lawful power to 


Annual Message. The Country and the "War. The Emancipation Proclamation. 

effect emancipation in any State ; and for a long time it had 
been hoped that the rebellion could be suppressed without 
resorting to it as a military measure. It was all the while 
deemed possible that the necessity for it might come, and 
that, if it should, the crisis of the contest would then be pre- 
sented. It came, and as was anticipated, it was followed by 
dark and doubtful days. Eleven months having now passed, 
we are permitted to take another review. The rebel borders 
are pressed still further back, and by the complete 'opening 
of the Mississippi the country dominated by the rebellion is 
divided into distinct parts, with no practical communication 
between them. Tennessee and Arkansas have been substan- 
tially cleared of insurgent control, and influential citizens in 
each, owners of slaves and advocates of slavery at the begin- 
ning of the rebellion, now declare openly for emancipation 
in their respective States. Of those States not included in 
the Emancipation Proclamation, Maryland and Missouri, 
neither of which, three years ago, would tolerate any restraint 
upon the extension of slavery into new Territories, only dis- 
pute now as to the best mode of removing it within their own 

" Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion, 
full one hundred thousand are now in the United States mili- 
tary service, about one-half of which number actually bear 
arms in the ranks ; thus giving the double advantage of taking 
so much labor from the insurgent cause, and supplying the 
places which otherwise must be filled with so many white 
men. So far as tested, it is difficult to say they are not as 
good soldiers as any. No servile insurrection, or tendency 
to violence or cruelty, has marked the measures of emancipa- 
tion and arming the blacks. These measures have been much 
discussed in foreign countries, and contemporary with such 
discussion the tone of public sentiment there is much im- 
proved. At home the same measures have been fully dis- 
cussed, supported, criticised, and denounced, and the annual 


Annual Message. The Pardoning Power. The Oath. 

elections following are highly encouraging to those whose 
official duty it is to bear the country through this great trial. 
Thus we have the new reckoning. The crisis which threat- 
ened to divide the friends of the Union is past. 

" Looking now to the present and future, and with reference 
to a resumption of the National authority within the States 
wherein that authority has been suspended, I have thought 
fit to issue a proclamation, a copy of which is herewith trans- 
mitted. On examination of this proclamation it will appear, 
as is believed, that nothing is attempted beyond what is 
amply justified by the Constitution. True, the form of an 
oath is given, but no man is coerced to take it. The man is 
only promised a pardon in case he voluntarily takes the oath. 
The Constitution authorizes the Executive to grant or with- 
hold the pardon at his own absolute discretion ; and this 
includes the power to grant on terms, as is fully established 
by judicial and other authorities. 

"It is also proffered that if, in any of the* States named, a 
State Government shall be, in the mode prescribed, set up, 
such Government shall be recognized and guarantied by the 
United States, and that under it the State shall, on the con- 
stitutional conditions, be protected against invasion and do- 
mestic violence. The constitutional obligation of the United 
States to guarantee to every State in the Union a republican 
form of government, and to protect the State, in the cases 
stated, is explicit and full. But why tender the benefits of 
this provision only to a State Government set up in this par- 
ticular way ? This section of the Constitution contemplates 
a case wherein the element within a State favorable to repub- 
lican government, in the Union, may be too feeble for an 
opposite and hostile element external to or even within the 
State ; and such are precisely the cases with which we are 
now dealing. 

"An attempt to guarantee and protect a revived State 
Government, constructed in whole, or in preponderating part, 


Annual Message. The Emancipation Proclamation. • The Freed People. 

from the very elemeDt against whose hostility and violence it 
is to be protected, is simply absurd. There must be a test 
by which to separate the opposing element, so as to build 
only from the sound ; and that test is a sufficiently liberal 
one, which accepts as sound whoever will make a sworn re- 
cantation of his former unsoundness. 

" But if it be proper to require, as a test of admission to the 
political body, an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the 
United States, and to the Union under it, why also to the 
laws and proclamations in regard to slavery ? Those laws 
and proclamations were enacted and put forth for the purpose 
of aiding in the suppression of the rebellion. To give them 
their fullest effect, there had to be a pledge for their main- 
tenance. In my judgment they have aided, and will further 
aid, the cause for which they were intended. To now aban- 
don them would be not only to relinquish a lever of power, 
but would also be a cruel and an astounding breach of faith. 
I may add at this point that, while I remain in my present 
position, I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Eman- 
cipation Proclamation ; nor shall I return to slavery any 
person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by 
any of the acts of Congress. For these and other reasons, it 
is thought best that support of these measures shall be 
included in the oath ; and it is believed the Executive may 
lawfully claim it in return for pardon and restoration of for- 
feited rights, which he has clear constitutional power to 
withhold altogether, or grant upon the terms which he shall 
deem wisest for the public interest. It should be observed, 
also, that this part of the oath is subject to the modifying 
and abrogating power of legislation and supreme judicial 

" The proposed acquiescence of the National Executive in 
any reasonable temporary State arrangement for the freed 
people, is made with the view of possibly modifying the con- 
fusion and destitution which must, at best, attend all classes 


Annual Message. Reconstruction. A Rallying Point. 

by a total revolution of labor throughout whole States. It 
is hoped that the already deeply afflicted people in those 
States may be somewhat more ready to give up the cause of 
their affliction, if, to this extent, this vital matter be left to 
themselves ; while no power of the National Executive to 
prevent an abuse, is abridged by the proposition. 

" The suggestion in the proclamation as to maintaining the 
political framework of the States on what is called recon- 
struction, is made in the hope that it may do good without 
danger of harm.. It will save labor, and avoid great con- 

" But why any proclamation now upon this subject ? This 
question is beset with the conflicting views that the step 
might be delayed too long or be taken too soon. In some 
States the elements for resumption seem ready for action, but 
remain inactive, apparently for want of a rallying point — a 
plan of action. Why shall A adopt the plan of B, rather 
than B that of A ? And if A and B should agree, how can 
they know but that the General Government here will reject 
their plan ? By the proclamation a plan is presented which 
may be accepted by them as a rallying point, and which 
they are assured in advance will not be rejected here. This 
may bring them to act sooner than they otherwise would. 

" The objection to a premature presentation of a plan by 
the National Executive consists in the danger of committals 
on points which could be more safely left to further devel- 
opments. Care has been taken to so shape the document as 
to avoid embarrassment from this source. Saying that, on 
certain terms, certain classes will be pardoned, with rights 
restored, it is not said that other classes or other terms will 
never be included. Saying that reconstruction will be 
accepted, if presented in a specific way, it is not said it will 
never be accepted in any other way. 

" The movements, by State action, for emancipation in 
several of the States, not included in the Emancipation Pro- 


Annual Message. The War Power. Explanatory Proclamation. 

clamation, are matters of profound congratulation. And 
while I do not repeat in detail what I have heretofore so 
earnestly urged upon this subject, my general views and feel- 
ings remain unchanged ; and I trust that Congress will omit 
no fair opportunity of aiding these important steps to a great 

" In the midst of other cares, however important, we must 
not lose sight of the fact that the war power is still our main 
reliance. To that power alone can we look, yet for a time, 
to give confidence to the people in the contested regions that 
the insurgent power will not again overrun them. Until that 
confidence shall be established, little can be done anywhere 
for what is called reconstruction. Hence our chiefest care 
must still be directed to the Army and Navy, who have thus 
far borne their harder part so nobly and well. And it may 
be esteemed fortunate that in giving the greatest efficiency to 
these indispensable arms, we do also honorably recognize the 
gallant men, from commander to sentinel, who compose them, 
and, to whom, more than to others, the world must stand in- 
debted for the home of freedom disenthralled, regenerated, en- 
larged, and perpetuated. 

Dec. 8, 1863. "Abraham Lincoln." 

On the twenty-sixth of March, 1864, the following proc- 
lamation, explanatory of the one issued on the eighth of 
December, 1863, was published : 

" Whereas, It has become necessary to define the cases in 
which insurgent enemies are entitled to the benefits of the 
Proclamation of the President of the United States, which 
was made on the 8th day of December, 1863, and the manner 
in which they shall proceed to avail themselves of these 
benefits ; 

" And whereas, The objects of that proclamation were to 
suppress the insurrection and to restore the authority of the 
United States ; 


Explanatory Proclamation. The Oath. How Administered. 

"And whereas, The amnesty therein proposed by the 
President was offered with reference to these objects alone ; 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the said 
proclamation does not apply to the cases of persons who, at 
the time when they seek to obtain the benefits thereof, by 
taking the oath thereby prescribed, are in military, naval or 
civil confinement or custody, or under bonds or on parole of 
the civil, military or naval authorities or agents of the United 
States, as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offences 
of any kind, either before or after conviction ; and that on the 
contrary, it does apply only to those persons who, being at 
large and free from any arrest, confinement or duress, shall 
voluntarily come forward and take the said oath, with the 
purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national au- 

" Prisoners excluded from the amnesty offered in the said 
proclamation may apply to the President for clemency, like 
all other offenders, and their application will receive due con- 

" I do further declare and proclaim that the oath prescribed 
in the aforesaid proclamation of the 8th of December, 1863, 
may be taken and subscribed to before any commanding 
officer, civil, military or naval, in the service of the United 
States, or any civil or military officer of a State or Territory 
not in insurrection, who, by the laws thereof, may be quali- 
fied for administering oaths. 

"All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized 
to give certificates thereon to the persons respectively by 
whom they are made, and such officers are hereby required to 
transmit the original records of such oaths at as early a day 
as may be convenient to the Department of State, where they 
will be deposited and remain in the archives of the Govern- 

" The Secretary of State will keep a register thereof, and 


How Administered. Speech at Washington. The Women of America. 

will, on application, in proper cases, issue certificates of such 
records in the customary form of official certificates. 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the city of Washington, this twenty-sixth day of 
March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-eighth. 

" By the President : "Abraham Lincoln. 

"W. H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

< • • » » 



President's Speech at Washington — Speech to a New York Committee — Speech in Balti- 
more — Letter to a Kentuckian — Employment of Colored Troops — Davis's Threat — Gen- 
eral Order — President's Order on the Subject. 

On the night of the eighteenth of March, 1864, in response 
to a call from the multitude at a fair held in the Patent 
Office at Washington, in aid of an organization for the relief 
of Union soldiers everywhere, Mr. Lincoln spoke as follows : 

" Ladies and Gentlemen : — I appear, to say but a word. 
This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily 
upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the 
soldier. For it has been said, 'All that a man hath will he 
give for his life ;' and, while all contribute of their substance, 
the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his 
country's cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the 

"In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments 
have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in 
former wars ; and among these manifestations nothing has 


The Women of America. Speech to the Workingmen. 

been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffer- 
ing soldiers and their families. And the chief agents in these 
fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to 
the use of the language of eulogy ; I have never studied the 
art of paying compliments to women ; but I must say, that, 
if all that has been said by orators and poets, since the crea- 
tion of the world, in praise of women, were applied to the 
women of America, it would not do them justice for their 
conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless 
the women of America !" 

Three days later, a committee appointed by the Working- 
men's Democratic Republican Association of New York 
waited on the President, and presented him with an address 
informing him that he had been elected a member of that 
organization. After the chairman had stated the object of 
the visit, Mr. Lincoln made the following reply : 

" Gentlemen of the Committee : — The honorary member- 
ship in your Association so generously tendered is gratefully 
accepted. You comprehend, as your address shows, that the 
existing rebellion means more and tends to more than the 
perpetuation of African slavery — that it is, in fact, a war 
upon the rights of all working people. Partly to show that 
the view has not escaped my attention, and partly that I can- 
not better express myself, I read a passage from the message 
to Congress in December, 1861 : 

" ' It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, 
if not exclusively, 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 in- 
surgents. In those documents we find the abridgement of 
the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the people of 
all right to participate in the selection of public officers, ex- 
cept the legislative body, boldly advocated with labored 


Speech to the Workingmen. Labor and Capital 

argument, to prove that large control of the people in gov- 
ernment is the source of all political evil. Monarchy is 
sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of 
the people. In my present position, I could scarcely be jus- 
tified were I to raising my voice against this approach 
of returning despotism. 

" ' It is not needed or fitting here that a general argument 
should be made in favor of popular institutions ; but there is 
one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most 
others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to 
place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in 
the structure of the Government. It is assumed that labor is 
available only in connection with capital ; that nobody labors 
unless somebody else owning capital somehow, by 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 buy them and drive them to it with- 
out their consent. Having proceeded 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 as- 
sumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed 
for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both of these 
assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are 

" ' Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is 
only the fruit of labor, and never could have existed if labor 
had not first existed. Labor is the support 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 producing mutual benefits. 
The error is in assuming that the whole labor of a community 


Speech to the Workingmen. Sound Principles. The Prudent Beginner. 

exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that 
few avoid labor themselves, and with that 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 States, 
a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their 
families — wives, sons, and daughters — work for themselves 
on their 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 prin- 
ciple stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class. 

" 'Again. As has already been said, there is not of neces- 
sity 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 lands for himself, then labors on his own account an- 
other 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 conse- 
quent ^energy, and progress, and improvement 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 be- 
ware of surrendering a political power which they already 
possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used to 
close the door of advancement against such as they, and to 


Speech to the Workingmen. Property Desirable. Speech in Baltimore. 

fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty 
shall be lost.' 

" The views then expressed remain unchanged — nor have I 
much to add. None are so deeply interested to resist the 
present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware 
of prejudices working disunion and hostility among them- 
selves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your 
city last summer, was the hanging of some working people 
by other working people. It should never be so. The 
strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family re- 
lation, should be one uniting all working people, of all 
nations, tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to 
a war upon property or the owners of property. Property 
is the fruit of labor ; property is desirable ; is a positive good 
in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others 
may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry 
and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the 
house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one 
for himself; thus, by example, assuring that his own shall be 
safe from violence when built." 

And in Baltimore — that Baltimore through which, in 
February, 1861, he had been compelled to pass by stealth, to 
avoid the assassin, on his way to his inauguration — on the 
18th of April, 1864, the anniversary eve of that murder 
of loyal citizens armed in defence of their imperilled country — 
Mr. Lincoln spoke at a similar Fair, and spoke, too, of 
slavery, as of an institution practically annihilated in Mary- 

Truly some advance had been made during those three 
years, so pregnant with events ! 

" Ladies and Gentlemen : — Calling it to mind that we are 
in Baltimore, we cannot fail to note that the world moves. 
Looking upon the many people I see assembled here to serve 
as they best may the soldiers of the Union, it occurs to me 


Speech at Baltimore. Definition of Liberty. 

that three years ago those soldiers could not pass through 
Baltimore. I would say, blessings upon the men who have 
wrought these changes, and the ladies who have assisted 
them. This change which has taken place in Baltimore, is 
part only of a far wider change that is taking place all over 
the country. 

"When the war commenced, three years ago, no one 
expected that it would last this long, and no one supposed 
that the institution of slavery would be materially affected by 
it. But here we are. The war is not yet ended, and 
slavery has been very materially affected or interfered with. 
So true is it that man proposes and God disposes. 

" The world is in want of a good definition of the word 
liberty. We all declare ourselves to be for liberty, but we do 
not all mean the same thing. Some mean that a man can do 
as he pleases with himself and his property. With others, 
it means that some men can do as they please with other 
men and other men's labor. Each of these things are called 
liberty, although they are entirely different. To give an 
illustration : A shepherd drives the wolf from the throat of 
his sheep when attacked by him, and the sheep, of course, 
thanks the shepherd for the preservation of his life ; but the 
wolf denounces him as despoiling the sheep of his liberty — 
especially if it be a black sheep. 

" This same difference of opinion prevails among some of 
the people of the North. But the people of Maryland have 
recently been doing something to properly define the meaning 
of the word, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart 
for what they have done and are doing. 

"It is not very becoming for a President to make a speech 
at great length, but there is a painful rumor afloat in the 
country, in reference to which a few words shall be said. It 
is reported that there has been a wanton massacre of some 
hundreds of colored soldiers at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 
during a recent engagement there, and it is fit to explain 


Massacre at Fort Pillow. President's Policy on Slavery . 

some facts in relation to the affair. It is said by some 
persons that the Government is not, in this matter, doing its 
duty. At the commencement of the war, it was doubtful 
whether black men would be used as soldiers or not. The 
matter was examined into very carefully, and after mature 
deliberation, the whole matter resting as it were with himself, 
he, in his judgment, decided that they should. 

" He was responsible for the act to the American people, 
to a Christian nation, to the future historian, and above all, 
to his God, to whom he would have, one day, to render 
an account of his stewardship. He would now say that 
in his opinion the black soldier should have the same protec- 
tion as the white soldier, and he would have it. It was an 
error to say that the Government was not acting in the 
matter. The Government has no direct evidence to confirm 
the reports in existence relative to this massacre, but he him- 
self believed the facts in relation to it to be as stated. When 
the Government does know the facts from official sources, and 
they prove to substantiate the reports, retribution will be 
surely given." 

Mr. Lincoln's policy upon the question of slavery, is 
tersely presented in the following letter written by him to a 
Kentuckian, dated Executive Mansion, Washington, April 4, 

"A. G. Hodges, Esq., Frankfort, Ky. : 

" My Dear Sir : — You ask me to put in writing the 
substance of what I verbally said the other day in your pre- 
sence, to Governor Bramlette and Senator Dixon. It was 
about as follows : 

"I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, 
nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so 
think and feel. And yet, I have never understood that the 
Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act 
officially upon this judgment and feeling. It was in. the oath 
I took, that I would, to the best of my ability, preserve, pro- 


His Answer to Kentuckians. Slavery Subordinate to the Country. 

tect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I 
could not take the office without taking the oath. Nor was 
it my view, that I might take an oath to get power, and 
break the oath in using the power. I understood, too, that in 
ordinary civil administration, this oath even forbade me to 
practically indulge my primary, abstract judgment, on the 
moral question of slavery. I had publicly declared this many 
times, and in many ways. And I aver that, to this day, I 
have done no official act in mere deference to my abstract 
judgment and feeling on slavery. 

"I did understand, however, that my oath to preserve the 
Constitution to the best of my ability, imposed upon me the 
duty of preserving, by every indispensable means, the Gov- 
ernment — that Nation — of which that Constitution was the 
organic law. Was it possible to lose the Nation, and yet 
preserve the Constitution ? 

" By general law, life and limb must be protected : yet often 
a limb must be amputated to save a life ; but a life is never 
wisely given to save a limb. I feel that measures, otherwise 
unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indis- 
pensable to the preservation of the Constitution, through the 
preservation of the Nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this 
ground and now avow it. I could not feel that to the best 
of my ability I had even tried to preserve the Constitution, if 
to save slavery or any minor matter, I should permit the 
wreck of Government, Country and Constitution, all together 
When early in the war, Gen. Fremont attempted military 
emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it an 
indispensable necessity. When a little later, Gen. Cameron, 
then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I 
objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable 
necessity. When, still later, Gen. Hunter attempted military 
emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think 
the indispensable necessity had come. 

"When, in March, and May, and July, 1862, I made 


His Answer to Kentuckians. Slavery Doomed. 

earnest and successive appeals to the Border States to favor 
compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable 
necessity for military emancipation and arming the blacks 
would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined 
the proposition, and I was, in my best judgment, driven to 
the alternative of either surrendering the Union, and with it 
the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the colored 
element. I chose the latter. In choosing it, I hoped for 
greater gain than loss ; but of this I was not entirely confi- 
dent. More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it, in 
our foreign relations ; none in our home popular sentiment ; 
none in our white military force — no loss by it anyhow or 
anywhere. On the contrary, it shows a gain of quite a 
hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen, and laborers. 
These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there can be 
no caviling. We have the men, and we could not have had 
them without the measure. 

"And now, let any Union man who complains of the 
measure, test himself, by writing down in one line that he is 
for subduing the rebellion by force of arms, and in the next 
that he is for taking these one hundred and thirty thousand 
men from the Union side, and placing them where they 
would be, but for the measure he condemns. If he can not 
face his cause so stated, it is only because he can not face the 

"I add a word, which was not in the verbal conversation., 
In telling this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own 
sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess 
plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of 
three years' struggle, the Nation's condition is not what either 
party or any man devised or expected. God alone can claim 
it. Whither it is tending, seems plain. If God now wills 
the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the 
North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for 
our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find 


Employing Negro Soldiers. Retaliation. President's Order. 

therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness 
of God. Yours truly, 

"A. Lincoln." 

The results of the employment of negro soldiers — a measure 
which, at the time it was first announced, caused no little 
commotion among the over-sensitive in the loyal States, and 
was looked upon with disfavor by many white soldiers, as well 
— as shown in the above letter, precluded further arguments 
upon the question. 

The Davis combination at Richmond, having announced 
that none of the immunities recognized under the laws of war 
would be granted to colored soldiers or their officers, General 
Orders No. 100, under date of April 24, 1863, " previously 
approved by the President," promulgating general instructions 
for the government of our armies, was issued, containing 
the following : 

" The law of nations knows of no distinction of color ; and 
if an enemy of the United .States should enslave and sell any 
captured persons of their army, it would be a case for the 
severest retaliation, if not redressed upon complaint. The 
United States cannot retaliate by enslavement ; therefore, 
death must be the retaliation for this crime against the law 
of nations. 

"All troops of the enemy known or discovered to give no 
quarter in general, or to any portion of the army, will receive 

The following order of the President, issued by him as 
Commander-in-chief, and communicated to the entire army, 
deals with this subject alone : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, July 30, 1863. 
"It is the duty of every Government to give protection to 
its citizens, of whatever class, color or condition, and espe- 
cially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the 
public service. The law of nations, and the usages and cus- 


President's Order. The Flag Protects. Kind of Retaliation. 

toms of war, as carried on by civilized powers, prohibit no 
distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as 
public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person, on 
account of his color, and for no offence against the laws of 
war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime against the civil- 
ization of the age. 

" The Government of the United States will give the same 
protection to all its soldiers ; and if the enemy shall sell or 
enslave any one because of his color, the offence shall be pun- 
ished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our posses- 

" It is therefore ordered, that for every soldier of the United 
States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier 
shall be executed ; and for every one enslaved by the enemy 
or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard 
labor on the public works, and continued at such labor until 
the one shall be released and receive the treatment due to a 
prisoner of war. Abraham Lincoln.''' 



Lieut. Gen. Grant — His Military Record — Continued Movements — Correspondence with the 
President — Across the Rapidan — Richmond Invested — President's Letter to a Grant 
Meeting — Meeting of Republican National Convention — The Platform — The Nomination 
— Mr. Lincoln's Reply to the Committee of Notification — Remarks to Union League 
Committee — Speech at a Serenade — Speech to Ohio Troops. 

In 1864, those grand military combinations were planned, 
and had .their commencement which were to give the quietus 
to that gigantic rebellion, which, as we had been gravely and 
repeatedly assured by patronizing foreigners and ill-wishers 
of the Republic here at home, could never be subdued — to 
which, they being judges, the United States would eventually 
be forced to succumb. 


Lieut. Gen. Grant. His Origin. What he has Done. 

On the 2nd of March, the President approved a bill, passed 
by Congress on the 26th of February, reviving the grade of 
Lieutenant-General in the Army, to which position he at 
once nominated, and the Senate unanimously confirmed, 
Ulysses S. Grant, then Major-General. 

Like the President, Gen. Grant sprang from " plain 
people ;" arose from humble circumstances, and had none of 
those advantages of birth, or family connections, or large 
estate, which have so often furnished such material leverage for 
men who have attained distinction. Entering the army as 
Colonel of an Illinois regiment, on the point of being disbanded, 
which within a month he had made noticeable for its discipline 
and character, even when compared with those noteworthy 
regiments which Illinois has furnished ; promoted to the grade 
of Brigadier-General ; preventing, by the battle of Belmont — 
criticised at the time, but, like many other engagements, 
little understood — the reinforcement of the rebels in Southern 
Missouri by troops from Columbus ; seizing, with a strong 
force, which he had quietly gathered near Smithland, almost 
at one fell swoop, Forts Henry and Donelson — a rebel army, 
with artillery, and material, being captured in each ; starting 
the till then defiant rebels on a run from Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee, which did not end until they reached Corinth ; next 
fighting the battle of Shiloh, a critical point of the war, with 
Sherman as Chief Lieutenant — Shiloh, of which he said, at the 
close of the first day's fight, when every thing seemed against 
us, " Tough work to-day, but we'll beat them to-morrow;" 
superseded by Buell, patiently sitting at the long, unprofitable 
siege of Corinth, until he was transferred to Vicksburg, which 
in due time greeted him with the surrender of another rebel 
army, reopening the Father of Waters to navigation ; then 
Chattanooga, which he ordered Thomas to hold fast, and not 
to give up, if he starved — and it was not given up, and East 
Tennessee was freed from rebels ; these had been the promi- 
nent points of Grant's military career during the rebellion up 


Grant made Lieutenant-General. Sherman. President's Letter. 

to the time when he was summoned to the command of all 
the armies then engaged in its suppression. 

On the 9th of March, being upon official business at Wash- 
ington, the General was invited to the White House, and ad- 
dressed as follows by the President, who handed him his 
commission : 

" General Grant : — -The expression of the nation's appro- 
bation of what you have already done, and its reliance on you 
for what remains to do in the existing great struggle, is now 
presented with this commission, constituting you Lieutenant- 
General of the Army of the United States. 

"With this high honor devolves on you an additional 
responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under 
God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need add, that with 
what I here speak for the country, goes my own hearty per- 
sonal concurrence." 

Sherman having been left in command in the south-west, 
with instructions to capture Atlanta, the vital point in 
Georgia, commenced that grand series of flanking movements, 
which, for a time, seemed to occasion intense satisfaction to 
the rebels, whose commander, Johnston, upon all occasions 
had Sherman exactly where he wished him ; while Grant — 
taciturn, cool, and collected, with no set speeches, no flourish 
of reviews — proceeded with the difficult task which he had 
taken in hand — the annihilation or capture of Lee's army, the 
mainstay of the rebels' military resources, and the occupation 
of Richmond. 

On the 30th of April, the President addressed the following 
letter to the new Commander : 

" Lieutenant- General Grant :— Not expecting to see you 
before the spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this 
way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to 
this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your 
plan I neither know, nor seek to know. You are vigilant 


President's Letter. _ Grant's Reply. Beginning Right. 

and self-reliant ; and pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude 
any restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very 
anxious that any great disaster or capture of our men in 
great numbers shall be avoided, I know that these points are 
less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. 
" If there be any thing wanting which is in my power to 
give, do not fail to let me know it. And now, with a brave 
army and a just cause, may God sustain you ! 

"Yours, very truly, A. Lincoln." 

To which the General, from Culpepper Court House, Va., 
on the 1st of May, thus replied : 

" To The President : — Your very kind letter is just re- 
ceived. The confidence you express for the future and satis- 
faction for the past, in my military administration, is acknowl- 
edged with pride. It shall be my earnest endeavor that you 
and the country shall not be disappointed. 

" From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the 
country to the present day, I have never had cause of com- 
plaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint against 
the Administration, or the Secretary of War, for throwing 
any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting 
what appeared to be my duty. 

"Indeed, since the promotion which placed me in command 
of all the armies, and in view of the great responsibility and 
importance of success, I have been astonished at the readiness 
with which every thing asked for has been yielded, without 
even an explanation being asked. Should my success be less 
than I desire and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is 
not with you. 

" Very truly, your obedient servant, 

"U. S. 'Grant, Lieutenant- General." 

Beginning at the right end — profiting by the experience of 
others — wasting no time nor strength in mere display — 


Army of the Potomac Moves. Rebels Outgeneralled. Grant secures his Position 

promptly breaking up, as an essential preliminary, the cliques 
and cabals which had so long hindered the usefulness of the 
Army of the Potomac — when the Lieutenant-General was at 
last ready, he moved across the Rapidan, was attacked im- 
petuously by Lee with his whole army before he had fairly 
posted his own — " Any other man," said Mr. Lincoln, "would 
have been on this side of the Rapidan after the first three 
days' fighting" — still fought — moved by the left flank — fought 
on — prepared, after six days very heavy work, as he tele- 
graphed the President, "to fight it out on that line, if it 
took all summer" — outgeneralled Lee at Spottsylvania Court 
House — secured his position — and held it till the contemplated 
movements in other quarters should place the prize he aimed 
at within his grasp. 

Holding his ground, undeterred by an attempted diversion, 
in July, in the shape of a rebel raid toward Washington and 
an invasion of Maryland — a favorite summer pastime, in 
those days, for the Confederates — he bided his time, his teeth 
fixed, and the utmost efforts of his wily opponent could not 
induce him to relax that grim hold. Richmond papers 
sneered and scolded and abused — proved that he ought to 
have acted entirely otherwise — asseverated that he was no 
strategist, but simply a lucky blunderer, a butcher on a vast 
scale ; and rebel sympathizers in the North served up, in 
talk and print, approved re-hashes of the same staple, and 
were in the highest dudgeon that General McClellan was not 
recalled instanter to save the Capital at least, if not to take 
Richmond. But Grant still held on — the teeth still set — and 
could not be moved. 

While this campaign was progressing, the President ad- 
dressed the following letter to the Committee of Arrangements 
of a mass meeting in New York, which had been called as a 
testimonial of confidence in General Grant, and of satisfaction 
that his efforts had been crowned with so large a measure 
of success : 


President's Letter. Grant's Remarkable Campaign. Republican National Convention. 

11 Executive Mansion, Washington, June 3d, 1864. 
" Gentlemen : — Your letter inviting me to be present at a 
mass meeting of the loyal citizens to be held at New York 
on the 4th instant, for the purpose of expressing gratitude 
to Lieutenant- General Grant for his signal services, was 
received yesterday. It is impossible for me to attend. I 
approve, nevertheless, whatever may tend to strengthen and 
sustain General Grant and the noble armies now under his 
direction. My previous high estimate of General Grant has 
been maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the 
remarkable campaign he is now conducting ; while the mag- 
nitude and difficulty of the task before him do not prove less 
than I expected. He and his brave soldiers are now in the 
midst of their great trial, and I trust that at your meeting 
you will so shape your good words that they may turn to 
men and guns moving to his and their support. 

"Yours truly, A. Lincoln." 

On the 7th of June, the Republican National Convention 
met at Baltimore for the purpose of nominating candidates for 
the Presidency and Yice-Presidency. 

For some time prior to the assembling of this body, the 
popular voice had pronounced decidedly in favor of the re- 
nomination of Mr. Lincoln. State Legislatures, mass meet- 
ings, State Conventions, the large majority of the loyal press 
demanded that the man, to whose election, constitutionally 
effected, the rebels had refused to submit and who, during 
three years of the most arduous labors, had evinced his 
patriotism, his ability, and his integrity, should have the satis- 
faction of seeing the work commenced by himself as President 
brought to a successful completion while an incumbent of the 
same high office. 

A few, however, in the ranks of the loyal and patriotic, 
were not satisfied that the good work, whose consummation 
they so ardently and perhaps, impatiently, desired, had been 


Republican National Convention. The Nomination. Platform. 

pushed forward as vigorously and earnestly as it might have 
been under other auspices. A portion of these favored the 
postponement of the Convention till a later day, after the 
fourth of July ensuing, in the expectation that the country 
would be in a better condition to judge whether, indeed, 
Mr. Lincoln was the best man for the place. Another 
portion had already assembled at Chicago and put in nomi- 
nation, upon a platform devoted mainly to criticisms of Mr. 
Lincoln's Administration without any practical or pertinent 
suggestion as to the points wherein improvement was to be 
made, General Fremont for the Presidency and General 
Cochrane as Vice-President. The former had therefore re- 
signed his commission in the army, not having been in active 
service for some time, and accepted the nomination con- 
ditionally that the Baltimore Convention nominated no 
other candidate than Mr. Lincoln. 

This opposition, however, was more apparent than real. 
The general feeling throughout the country was to support 
that man heartily who should secure the nomination of the 
Republican Convention, waiving all minor questions for the 
sake of the common weal. 

On the second day, the convention adopted by acclamation 
the following platform : 

"Resolved, That it is the highest duty of every American 
citizen to maintain against all their enemies the integrity of 
the Union and the paramount authority of the Constitution 
and laws of the United States ; and that, laying aside all 
differences of political opinion, we pledge ourselves as Union 
men, animated by a common sentiment, and aiming at a 
common object, to do every thing in our power to aid the 
Government in quelling by force of arms the rebellion now 
raging against its authority, and in bringing to the punish- 
ment due to their crimes, the rebels and traitors arrayed 
against it. 


Republican National Convention. Platform. Slavery. 

"Resolved, That we approve the determination of the Gov- 
ernment of the United States not to compromise with rebels, 
nor to offer any terms of peace except such as may be based 
upon an ' unconditional surrender' of their hostility and a 
return to their just allegiance to the Constitution and laws of 
the United States, and that we call upon the Government to 
maintain this position and to prosecute the war with the 
utmost possible vigor to the complete suppression of the 
rebellion, in full reliance upon the self-sacrifice, the patriotism, 
the heroic valor, and the undying devotion of the American 
people to their country and its free institutions. 

"Resolved, That, as Slavery was the cause, and now con- 
stitutes the strength, of this rebellion, and as it must be 
always and everywhere hostile to the principles of republican 
government, justice and the national safety demand its utter 
and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic ; and 
that we uphold and maintain the acts and proclamations by 
which the Government, in its own defence, has aimed a 
death-blow at this gigantic evil. We are in favor, further- 
more, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made 
by the people in conformity with its provisions, as shall 
terminate and forever prohibit the existence of Slavery within 
the limits of the jurisdiction of the United States. 

"Resolved, That the thanks of the American people are due 
to the soldiers and sailors of the army and of the navy, who 
have perilled their lives in defence of their country, and in 
vindication of the honor of the flag ; that the Nation owes to 
them some permanent recognition of their patriotism and their 
valor, and ample and permanent provision for those of their 
survivors who have received disabling and honorable wounds 
in the service of the country ; and that the memories of those 
who have fallen in its defence shall be held in grateful and 
everlasting remembrance. 

"Resolved, That we approve and applaud the practical 
wisdom, the unselfish patriotism, and unswerving fidelity to 


Republican National Convention. Platform. Administration Endorsed 

the Constitution and the principles of American liberty, with 
which Abraham Lincoln has discharged, under circumstances 
of unparalleled difficulty, the great duties and responsibilities 
of the presidential office ; that we approve and indorse, as 
demanded by the emergency, and essential to the preservation 
of the Nation, and as within the Constitution, the measures 
and acts which he has adopted to defend the Nation againpt 
its open and secret foes ; that we approve especially the 
Proclamation of Emancipation, and the employment as Union 
soldiers of men heretofore held in Slavery ; and that we have 
full confidence in his determination to carry these and all 
other constitutional measures essential to the salvation of the 
country into full and complete effect. 

"Resolved, That we deem it essential to the general welfare 
that harmony should prevail in the National councils, and we 
regard as worthy of public confidence and official trust those 
only who cordially indorse the principles contained in those 
resolutions, and which should characterize the administration 
of the Government. 

"Resolved, That the Government owes to all men employed 
in its armies, without regard to distinction of color, the full 
protection of the laws of war ; and that any violation of these 
laws or of the usages of civilized nations in the time of war by 
the Rebels now in arms, should be made the subject of full 
and prompt redress. 

"Resolved, That the foreign immigration, which in the past 
has added so much to the wealth and development of re- 
sources and increase of power to this Nation, the asylum of 
the oppressed of all nations, should be fostered and encour- 
aged by a liberal and just policy. 

"Resolved, That we are in favor of the speedy construction 
of the railroad to the Pacific. 

"Resolved, That the national faith pledged for the redemp- 
tion of the public debt must be kept inviolate, and that for 
this purpose we recommend economy and rigid responsibility 


Abraham LincolnRenominated. Andrew Johnson for Vice-President. 

in the public expenditures, and a vigorous and just system 
of taxation ; that it is the duty of every loyal State to sustain 
the credit and promote the use of the national currency. 

"Resolved, That we approve the position taken by the 
Government that the people of the United States can never 
regard with indifference the attempt of any European power 
to overthrow by force, or to supplant by fraud the institu- 
tions of any republican government on the Western Conti- 
nent ; and that they will view with extreme jealousy, as 
menacing to the peace and independence of this our country 
the efforts of any such power to obtain new footholds for 
monarchical governments, sustained by a foreign military 
force in near proximity to the United States." 

Upon the first ballot for a candidate for President, Abra- 
ham Lincoln received the vote of every State, except Mis- 
souri, whose delegates voted for Gen. Grant. The nomina- 
tion having, on motion of a Missourian, been made unanimous, 
a scene of the wildest enthusiasm followed, the whole conven- 
tion being on their feet shouting, and the band playing " Hail 

For Vice-President, the following names were presented : 
Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee ; Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine ; 
Gen. L. H. Rousseau, of Kentucky ; and Daniel S. Dickinson, 
of New York. 

As the vote proceeded, it was soon apparent that Andrew 
Johnson was to be the nominee ; and before the result was 
announced the various States whose delegations had been 
divided, commenced changing their votes, and went unani- 
mously for Mr. Johnson, amid the greatest enthusiasm. 

On the 9th of June, Mr. Lincoln was waited on by a com- 
mittee of the convention, and notified of his nomination by 
the chairman, ex-Governor Dennison, of Ohio, who, in the 
course of his address, said : 

" I need not say to you, sir, that the Convention, in thus 


Notified by the Committee. President's Reply. Amendment to the Constitution. 

unanimously nominating you for re-election, but gave utter- 
ance to the almost universal voice of the loyal people of the 
country. To doubt of your triumphant election would be 
little short of abandoning the hope of a final suppression of 
the rebellion and the restoration of the Government over the 
insurgent States. Neither the Convention nor those repre- 
sented by that body entertained any doubt as to the final re- 
sult, under your administration, sustained by the loyal people, 
and by our noble army and gallant navy. Neither did the 
Convention, nor do this Committee doubt the speedy suppres- 
sion of this most wicked and unprovoked rebellion." 

In reply the President said : 

" Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen op the Committee : — I 
will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expres- 
sion of my gratitude that the Union people, through their 
Convention, in the continued effort to save and advance the 
nation, have deemed me not unworthy to remain in my 
present position. I know no reason to doubt that I shall 
accept the nomination tendered ; and yet, perhaps, I should 
not declare definitely before reading and considering what is 
called the platform. 

" I will say now, however, that I approve the declaration 
in favor of so amending the Constitution as to prohibit slavery 
throughout the nation. When the people in revolt, with the 
hundred days explicit notice that they could within those 
days resume their allegiance without the overthrow of their 
institutions, and that they could not resume it afterward, 
elected to stand out, such an amendment of the Constitution 
as is now proposed became a fitting and necessary conclusion 
to the final success of the Union cause. 

" Such alone can meet and cover all cavils. I now per- 
ceive its importance, and embrace it. In the joint name of 
Liberty and Union let us labor to give it legal form and prac- 
tical effect." 


National Union League. President's Reply. Delegation from Ohio. 

On the following day, in reply to a congratulatory address 
from a deputation of the National Union League, the Presi- 
dent said : 

" Gentlemen : — I can only say in response to the remarks 
of your Chairman, I suppose, that I am very grateful for the 
renewed confidence which has been accorded to me, both by 
the Convention and by the National League. I am not in- 
sensible at all to the personal compliment there is in this ; 
yet I do not allow myself to believe that any but a small por- 
tion of it is to be appropriated as a personal compliment 
to me. 

" The Convention and the Nation, I am assured, are alike 
animated by a higher view of the interests of the country for 
the present and the great future, and that part I am entitled 
to appropriate as a compliment is only that which I may lay 
hold of, as being the opinion of the Convention and the 
League, that I am not entirely unworthy to be entrusted with 
the place I have occupied for the last three years. 

" I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that 
I am the best man in the country ; but I am reminded in this 
connection, of the story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked 
to a companion once, that ' it was not best to swop horses 
when crossing streams.' " 

Prolonged and tumultuous laughter followed this last char- 
acteristic remark, given with that telling force which only 
those who had the privilege of meeting Mr. Lincoln in his 
moments of relaxation and semi-abandon can appreciate. 

Having been serenaded, on the 9th, by the delegation from 
Ohio, he addressed the assemblage as follows : 

" Gentlemen : — I am very much obliged to you for this 
compliment. I have just been saying, and will repeat it, 
that the hardest of all speeches I have to answer is a sere- 
nade. I never knew what to say on such occasions. 


Delegation from Ohio. President's Reply. Reply to Ohio Troops. 

" I suppose you have done me this kindness in connection 
with the action of the Baltimore Convention, which has re- 
cently taken place, and with which, of course, I am very well 
satisfied. What we want still more than Baltimore Conven- 
tions or Presidential elections, is success under General 


11 1 propose that you constantly bear in mind that the sup- 
port you owe to the brave officers and soldiers in the field is 
of the very first importance, and we should therefore lend all 
our energies to that point. 

" Now, without detaining you any longer, I propose that 
you help me to close up what I am now saying with three 
rousing cheers for General Grant and the officers and 
soldiers under his command." 

And the cheers were given with a will, the President 
leading off and waving his hat with as much earnestness as 
the most enthusiastic individual present. 

To a regiment of Ohio troops, one hundred days men, vol- 
unteers for the emergency then upon the country, who called, 
on the 11th, upon Mr. Lincoln, he spoke as follows : 

" Soldiers : — I. understand you have just come from Ohio 
— come to help us in this the nation's day of trial, and also 
of its hopes. I thank you for your promptness in responding 
to the call for troops. Your services were never needed 
more than now. I know not where you are going. You 
may stay here and take the places of those who will be sent 
to the front ; or you may go there yourselves. Wherever 
you go, I know you will do your best. Again I thank you. 


Philadelphia Sanitary Fair. President's Speech. War Terrible. 



President's Speech at Philadelphia — Philadelphia Fair — Correspondence with Committee 
of National Convention— Proclamation of Martial Law in Kentucky — Question of Re- 
construction — President's Proclamation on the subject — Congressional Plan. 

On the 16th of June, the President was present at a Fair 
held in Philadelphia in aid of that noble organization, 
the United States Sanitary Commission, which was productive 
of so much good during the war, placing as it did, the 
arrangements for the care and comfort of our brave boys on 
a basis which no nation — not France, not England, though 
experienced in war, and generally of admirable promptitude 
in availing themselves of all facilities to its successful pro- 
secution — had ever before been able to secure. 

On the occasion of this visit, Philadelphia witnessed 
one of her largest crowds. JSTot less than fifteen thousand 
people were straining to get a glimpse of their beloved 
President at one and the same moment. 

After the customary hand-shaking, borne by the victim 
with contagious good humor, a collation was served, at 
the close of which, in acknowledgment of a toast to his 
health, drank with the heartiest sincerity by all present, the 
President said : 

11 1 suppose that this toast is intended to open the way for 
me to say something. War at the best is terrible ; and 
this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most 
terrible the world has ever known. It has deranged business 
totally in many places, and perhaps in all. 

" It has destroyed property, destroyed life, and ruined 
homes. It has produced a national debt and a degree of 



Sanitary and Christian Commissions. President's Prediction. 

taxation unprecedented in the history of this country. It has 
caused mourning among us until the heavens may almost be 
said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. It has had 
accompaniments not before known in the history of the 

11 1 mean the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, with 
their labors for the relief of the soldiers, and the Volunteer 
Refreshment Saloon, understood better by those who hear me 
than by myself. These Fairs, too, first began at Chicago, 
then held in Boston, Cincinnati, and other cities. 

" The motive and object which lies at the bottom of them 
is worthy of the most that we can do for the soldier who 
goes to fight the battles of his country. By the fair and 
tender hand of woman is much, very much, done for the 
soldier, continually reminding him of the care and thought of 
him at home. The knowledge that he is not forgotten is 
grateful to his heart. 

"And the view of these institutions is worthy of thought. 
They are voluntary contributions, giving proof that the 
national resources are not at all exhausted, and that the 
national patriotism will sustain us through all. It is a perti- 
nent question— when is this war to end ? 

"I do not wish to name a day when it will end, lest 
the end should not come at the given time. We accepted 
this war, and did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, 
and when that object is accomplished, the war will end ; 
and I hope to God it will never end until that object 
is accomplished. 

"We are going through with our task, so far as I am 
concerned, if it takes us three years longer. I have not been 
in the habit of making predictions, but I am almost tempted 
now to hazard one. I will. It is that Grant is this evening 
in a position, with Meade and Hancock of Pennsylvania, 
where he can never be dislodged by the enemy until Rich- 
mond is taken. 

Speech at the Sanitary Fair. New York Committee. 

11 If I shall discover that General Grant may be facilitated 
in the capture of Richmond by rapidly pouring to him 
a large number of armed men at the briefest notice, will you 
go? [Cries of 'Yes.'] Will you march on with him? 
[Cries of ' Yes, yes.'] 

"Then I shall call upon you when it is necessary." 

The following correspondence passed between Mr. Lincoln 
and the Committee of the National Convention relative to his 
nomination : 

"New York, June 14, 1864. 
" Hon. Abraham Lincoln : 

" Sir : — The National Union Convention, which assembled 
in Baltimore on June 7, 1864, has instructed us to inform you 
that you were nominated with enthusiastic unanimity, for the 
Presidency of -the United States for four years from the 
4th of March next. 

" The resolutions of the Convention, which we have 
already had the honor of placing in your hands, are a 
full and clear statement of the principles which inspired its 
action, and which, as we believe, the great body of Union men 
in the country heartily approve. Whether those resolutions 
express the national gratitude to our soldiers and sailors, or 
the national scorn of compromise with rebels, and consequent 
dishonor ; or the patriotic duty of Union and success ; whether 
they approve the Proclamation of Emancipation, the Consti- 
tutional amendment, the employment of former slaves as 
Union soldiers, or the solemn obligation of the Government 
promptly to redress the wrongs of every soldier of the 
Union, of whatever color or race ; whether they declare the 
inviolability of the pledged faith of the nation, or offer 
the national hospitality to the oppressed of every land, 
or urge the union, by railroad, of the Atlantic and Pacific 
oceans ; whether they recommend public economy and a 
vigorous taxation, or assert the fixed popular opposition 


Letter of the New York Committee. The People's Platform, 

to the establishment of avowed force of foreign monarchies 
in the immediate neighborhood of the United States, or 
declare that those only are worthy of official trust who 
approve unreservedly the views and policy indicated in 
the resolutions — they were equally hailed with the heartiness 
of profound conviction. 

" Believing with you, sir, that this is the people's war for 
the maintenance of a government which you have justly de- 
scribed as ' of the people, by the people, for the people,' we 
are very sure that you will be glad to know, not only from 
the resolutions themselves, but from the singular harmony 
and enthusiasm with which they were adopted, how warm 
is the popular welcome of every measure in the prosecution 
of the war, which is as vigorous, unmistakable, and unfalter- 
ing as the National purpose itself. No right, for instance, is 
so precious and sacred to the American heart as that of per- 
sonal liberty. Its violation is regarded with just, instant, and 
universal jealousy. Yet in this hour of peril every faithful 
citizen concedes that, for the sake of National existence and 
the common welfare, individual liberty may, as the Constitu- 
tution provides in case of rebellion, be sometimes summarily 
constrained, asking only with painful anxiety that in every 
instance, and to the least detail, that absolutely necessary 
power shall not be hastily or unwisely exercised. 

" We believe, sir, that the honest will of the Union men of 
the country was never more truly represented than in this 
Convention. Their purpose we believe to be the overthrow 
of armed rebels in the field, and the security of permanent 
peace and Union by liberty and justice under the Constitu- 
tion. That these results are to be achieved amid cruel per- 
plexities, they are fully aware. That they are to be reached 
only by cordial unanimity of counsel, is undeniable. That 
good men may sometimes differ as to the means and the time, 
they know. That in the conduct of all human affairs the highest 
duty is to determine, in the angry conflict of passion, how 


Letter of the New York Committee. Nomination Accepted. Platform Approved. 

much good maybe practically accomplished, is their sincere per- 
suasion. They have watched your official course, therefore, 
with unflagging attention ; and amid the bitter taunts of eager 
friends and the fierce denunciations of enemies, now moving 
too fast for some, now too slowly for others, they have seen 
you throughout this tremendous contest patient, sagacious, 
faithful, just, leaning upon the heart of the great mass of the 
people, and satisfied to be moved by its mighty pulsation. 

" It is for this reason that, long before the Convention met, 
the popular instincts had plainly indicated you as its candi- 
date ; and the Convention, therefore, merely recorded the 
popular will. Your character and career proves your un- 
swerving fidelity to the cardinal principles of American 
Liberty and of the American Constitution. In the name of 
that Liberty and Constitution, sir, we earnestly request your 
acceptance of this nomination ; reverently commending our 
beloved country, and you, its Chief Magistrate, with all its 
brave sons who, on sea and land, are faithfully defending the 
good old American cause of equal rights, to the blessings of 
Almighty God, we are, sir, very respectfully, your friends 
and fellow-citizens. 

' ' William Dennison, Ohio, Chairman. 

"And signed by the Committee." 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, June 27th, 1863. 

" Hon. William Dennison and others : 
"A Committee of the National Union Convention : 

" Gentlemen : — Your letter of the 14th inst, formally 
notifying me that I had been nominated by the Convention 
you represent for the Presidency of the United States for four 
years from the 4th of March next, has been received. The 
nomination is gratefully accepted, as the Resolutions of the 
Convention — called the Platform — are heartily approved. 

u While the resolution in regard to the supplanting of Re- 
publican Government upon the Western Continent is fully 


Letter of Acceptance. Martial Law in Kentucky. 

concurred in, there might be misunderstanding were I not to 
say that the position of the Government in relation to the 
action of France in Mexico, as assumed through the State 
Department and endorsed by the Convention, among the 
measures and acts of the Executive, will be faithfully main- 
tained so long as the state of facts shall leave that position 
pertinent and applicable. 

" I am especially gratified that the soldiers and seamen 
were not forgotten by the Convention, as they forever must 
and will be remembered by the grateful country for whose 
salvation they devote their lives. 

" Thanking you for the kind and complimentary terms in 
which you have communicated the nomination and other pro- 
ceedings of the Convention, I subscribe myself, 

" Your obedient servant, Abraham Lincoln." 

On the 5th of July, appeared the following proclamation, 
ordering martial law in Kentucky : 

" Whereas, By a proclamation, which was issued on the 
15th day of April, 1861, the President of the United States 
announced and declared that the laws of the United States 
had been for some time past, and then were, opposed and the 
execution thereof obstructed, in certain States therein men- 
tioned, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the 
ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the power 
vested in the marshals by law ; and, 

" Whereas, Immediately after the issuing of the said pro- 
clamation, the land and naval force of the United States were 
put into activity to suppress the said insurrection and rebel- 
lion ; and, 

" Whereas, The Congress of the United States, by an act 
approved on the 3d day of March, 1863, did enact that during 
the said rebellion the President of the United States, when- 
ever in his judgment the public safety may require it, is 
authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas cor- 


President's Proclamation. Martial Law in Kentucky. 

pus in any case throughout the United States, or any part 
thereof; and, 

" Whereas, The said insurrection and rebellion still con- 
tinues, endangering the existence of the Constitution and 
Government of the United States ; and, 

" Whereas, The military forces of the United States are 
now actively engaged in suppressing the said insurrection and 
rebellion in various parts of the States where the said rebel- 
lion has been successful in obstructing the laws and public 
authorities, especially in the States of Yirginia and Georgia ; 

"Whereas, On the 15th day of September last, the Pres- 
ident of the United States duly issued his proclamation, 
wherein he declared that the privilege of the writ of habeas 
corpus should be suspended throughout the United States, in 
cases where, by the authority of the President of the United 
States, the military, naval, and civil officers of the United 
States, or any of them, hold persons under their command or 
in their custody either as prisoners of war, spies, or aiders or 
abettors of the enemy, or officers, soldiers, or seamen, enrolled, 
or drafted, or mustered, or enlisted in, or belonging to, the 
land or naval forces of the United States, or as deserters 
therefrom, or otherwise amenable to military law or the rules 
and articles of war, or the rules and regulations prescribed 
for the military or naval service by authority of the President 
of the United States, or for resisting a draft, or for any other 
offence against the military or naval service ; and, 

" Whereas, Many citizens of the State of Kentucky have 
joined the forces of the insurgents, have on several occasions 
entered the said State of Kentucky in large force, and not 
without aid and comfort furnished by disaffected and disloyal 
citizens of the United States residing therein, have not only 
greatly disturbed the public peace, but have overborne the 
civil authorities and made flagrant civil war, destroying 
property and life in various parts of the State ; and, 


President's Proclamation. Martial Law in Kentucky. 

"Whereas, It has been made known to the President of the 
United States by the officers commanding the National 
armies, that combinations have been formed in the said State 
of Kentucky, with a purpose of inciting the rebel forces to 
venew the said operations of civil war within the said State, 
and thereby to embarrass the United States armies now oper- 
ating in the said States of Virginia and Georgia, and even to 
endanger their safety ; 

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the 
Constitution and laws, do hereby declare, that in my judg- 
ment the public safety especially requires that the suspension 
of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, so proclaimed 
in the said proclamation of the fifteenth of September, 1863, 
be made effectual, and be duly enforced in and throughout the 
said State of Kentucky, and that martial law be for the pre- 
sent ordered therein. I do therefore hereby require of the 
military officers in the said State that the privilege of the 
writ of habeas corpus be effectually suspended within the said 
State, according to the aforesaid proclamation, and that mar- 
tial law be established therein, to take effect from the date of 
this proclamation, the said suspension and establishment of 
martial law to continue until this proclamation shall be re- 
voked or modified, but not beyond the period when the said 
rebellion shall have been suppressed or come to an end. And 
I do hereby require and command as well military officers as 
all civil officers and authorities existing or found within the 
said State of Kentucky, to take notice of this proclamation 
and to give full effect to the same. The martial law herein 
proclaimed, and the things in that respect herein ordered, 
will not be deemed or taken to interfere with the holding of 
elections, or with the proceedings of the Constitutional Legis- 
lature of Kentucky, or with the administration of justice in 
the courts of law existing therein between citizens of the 
United States in suits or proceedings which do not affect the 


Partial Law in Kentucky. President's Proclamation. Reconstruction. 

military operations or the constituted authorities of the Gov- 
ernment of the United States. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this fifth day of July, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States the 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

The question as to what principles should be adopted in 
reconstructing the rebel States, as fast as the insurrection 
within their limits should be suppressed, had already, as re- 
marked upon a former page, presented itself as one to be met 
and disposed of. Congress having, at almost the last moment 
of its session, passed a bill intended to meet this case, the 
President issued the following proclamation, on the 9th of 
July, practically approving the same and accepting its spirit, 
but making exception in the case of Louisiana and Arkansas, 
which States had been reorganized according to the spirit and 
intent of a previous proclamation, making the will of one- 
tenth of the voters of a State sufficient for its return to alle- 
giance — the bill under notice requiring the votes of a majority : 

" Whereas, At the last session, Congress passed a bill to 
guarantee to certain States whose Governments have been 
usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government, a 
copy of which is hereunto annexed ; and, 

" Whereas, The said bill was presented to the President 
of the United States for his approval, less than one hour 
before the sine die adjournment of said session, and was not 
signed by him ; and, 

" Whereas, The said bill contains, among other things, a 
Dlan for restoring the States in rebellion to the proper prac- 


President's Proclamation. Louisiana and Arkansas. 

tical relation in the Union, which plan presents the sense of 
Congress upon that subject, and which plan it is now thought 
fit to lay before the people for their consideration : 

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known, that, 
while I am, as I was in December last, when by proclama- 
tion I propounded a plan for restoration, unprepared, by a 
formal approval of this bill, to be inflexibly committed to any 
single plan of restoration, and while T am also unprepared 
to declare that the Free State Constitutions and Governments 
already adopted and installed in Arkansas and Louisiana shall 
be set aside and held for naught, thereby repelling and dis- 
couraging the loyal citizens who have set up the same, as to 
further effort, or to declare a constitutional competency in 
Congress to establish slavery in States, but am at the same 
time sincerely hoping and expecting that a constitutional 
amendment abolishing slavery throughout the nation may be 
adopted ; nevertheless I am fully satisfied with the system of 
restoration contained in the bill as one very proper plan for 
the loyal people of any State choosing to adopt it, and that 
I am and at all times shall be prepared to give the Executive 
aid and assistance to any such people, so soon as the military 
resistance to the United States shall have been suppressed in 
any such State, and the people thereof shall have sufficiently 
returned to their obedience to the Constitution and the laws 
of the United States, in which cases military Governors will 
be appointed; with directions to proceed according to the bill. 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, 
and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

"Done at the City of Washington, this eighth day of 
July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty four, and of the Independence of the' United States 
of America the eighty-ninth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 


Reconstruction Bill. Provisional Governor. His Duties. 

The following is the bill, a copy of which was annexed to 
the proclamation : 

"A Bill to guarantee to certain States whose Governments 
have been overthrown or usurped, a Republican form of 

" Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That 
in the States declared in rebellion against the United States, 
the President shall, by and with the advice and consent of 
the Senate, appoint for each a Provisional Governor, whose 
pay and emoluments shall not exceed those of a Brigadier 
General of Volunteers, who shall be charged with the 
civil administration of such State, until a State Government 
therein shall be recognized as hereinafter provided. 

" Section 2. And be it further enacted, That so soon 
as the military resistance to the United States shall have been 
suppressed in any such State, and the people thereof shall 
have sufficiently returned to their obedience to the Constitu- 
tion and laws of the United States, the Provisional Governor 
shall direct the Marshal of the United States, as speedily as 
may be, to name a sufficient number of deputies, and 10 
enroll all white male citizens of the United States, resident 
in the State, in their respective counties, and to require each 
one to take the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States, and in his enrollment to designate those who take and 
those who refuse to take that oath, which rolls shall be forth- 
with returned to the Provisional Governor ; and if the 
persons taking that oath shall amount to a majority of 
the persons enrolled in the State, he shall, by proclamation, 
invite the loyal people of the State to elect delegates to a 
Convention, charged to declare the will of the people of the 
State, relative to the reestablishment of a State Government 
subject to, and in conformity with the Constitution of the 
United States. 


Reconstruction Bill. The Constitution. Votes for Delegates. 

" Section 3. That the Convention shall consist of as many- 
members as both Houses of the last Constitutional State 
Legislature, apportioned by the Provisional Governor among 
the counties, parishes, or districts of the State, in proportion 
to the white population returned as electors by the Marshal, 
in compliance with the provisions of this Act. The Pro- 
visional Governor shall, by proclamation, declare the number 
of delegates to be elected by each county, parish, or election 
district ; name a day of election not less than thirty days 
thereafter; designate the place of voting in each county, 
parish, or election district, conforming as nearly as may 
be convenient, to the places used in the State elections 
next preceding the rebellion ; appoint one or more Commis- 
sioners to hold the election at each place of voting, and pro- 
vide an adequate force to keep the peace during the election. 

" Section 4. That the delegates shall be elected by the 
loyal white male citizens of the United States, of the age of 
twenty-one years, and resident at the time in the county, 
parish, or election district in which they shall offer to 
vote, and enrolled as aforesaid, or absent in the military 
service of the United States, and who shall take and subscribe 
the oath of allegiance to the United States in the form con- 
tained in the Act of Congress of July 2, 1862 ; and all such 
citizens of the United States who are in the military service 
of the United States, shall vote at the head-quarters of their 
respective commands, under such regulations as may be pre- 
scribed by the Provisional Governor for the taking and return 
of their votes ; but no person who has held or exercised any 
office, civil or military, State or Confederate, under the rebel 
usurpation, or who has voluntarily borne arms against the 
United States, shall vote or be eligible to be elected as dele- 
gate at such election. 

" Section 5. That the said Commissioners, or either of 
them, shall hold the election in conformity with this Act, and 
so far as may be consistent therewith, shall proceed in 


Reconstruction Bill. Who shall "Vote. Exceptions. 

the manner used in the State prior to the rebellion. The 
oath of allegiance shall be taken and subscribed on the poll- 
book in the form above described, but every person known by 
or proved to the Commissioners to have held or exercised any 
office, civil or military, State or Confederate, under the rebel 
usurpation, or to have voluntarily borne arms against the 
United States, shall be excluded, though he offer to take the 
oath ; and in case any person who shall have borne arms 
against the United States shall offer to vote, he shall be 
deemed to have borne arms voluntarily, unless he shall prove 
the contrary by the testimony of a qualified voter. The poll- 
book, showing the name and oath of each voter, shall 
be returned to the Provisional Governor by the Com- 
missioner of elections, or the one acting, and the Provisional 
Governor shall canvass such return, and declare the person 
having the highest number of votes elected. 

11 Section 6. That the Provisional Governor shall, by 
proclamation, convene the delegates elected as aforesaid, at 
the Capital of the State, on a day not more than three months 
after the election, fixing at least thirty days' notice of such 
day. In case the said Capital shall in his judgment be unfit, 
he shall in his proclamation appoint another place. He shall 
preside over the deliberations of the Convention, and ad- 
minister to each delegate, before taking his seat in the 
Convention, the oath of allegiance to the United States in 
the form above prescribed. 

" Section 7. That the Convention shall declare, on behalf 
of the people of the State, their submission to the Constitu- 
tion and laws of the United States, and shall adopt the 
following provisions, hereby prescribed by the United States 
in the execution of the Constitutional duty to guarantee a 
republican form of government to every State, and incor- 
porate them in the Constitution of the State ; that is to say : 

" First. No person who has held or exercised any office, 
civil or military, except offices merely ministerial, and mili- 


Reconstruction Bill. Involuntary Servitude Prohibited. No Rebel Debt Paid. 

taiy offices below the grade of Colonel, State or corporate, 
under the usurping power, shall vote for, or be a member of 
the Legislature, or Governor. 

" Second. Involuntary servitude is forever prohibited, 
and the freedom of all persons is guaranteed in said State. 

" Third. No debt, State or corporate, created by or under 
the sanction of the usurping power, shall be recognized or 
paid by the State. 

" Section 8. That when the Convention shall have adopted 
these provisions, it shall proceed to reestablish a republican 
form of Government, and ordain a Constitution containing 
these provisions, which, when adopted, the Convention shall, 
by ordinance, provide for submitting to the people of the 
State entitled to vote under this law, at an election to be held 
in the manner prescribed by the Act for the election of dele- 
gates, but at a time and place named by the Convention, at 
which Election the said Electors, and none others, shall vote 
directly for or against such Constitution and form of State 
government ; and the returns of said election shall be made 
to the Provisional Governor, who shall canvass the same in 
the presence of the electors, and if a majority of the votes 
cast shall be for the Constitution and form of government, he 
shall certify the same, with a copy thereof, to the President 
of the United States, who, after obtaining the assent of Con- 
gress, shall, by proclamation, recognize the government so 
established, and none other, as the Constitutional Govern- 
ment of the State, and from the date of such recognition, and 
not before, Senators, and Representatives, and Electors for 
President and Yice-President may be elected in such State, 
according to the laws of the State and of the United States. 

" Section 9. That if the Convention shall refuse to re- 
establish the State Government on the conditions aforesaid, 
the Provisional Governor shall declare it dissolved ; but it 
shall be the duty of the President, whenever he shall have 
reason to believe that a sufficient number of the people of the 


Reconstruction Bill. Provisional Governor's Duties. Taxes to be Collected. 

State entitled to vote under this Act, in number not less than 
a majority of those enrolled, as aforesaid, are willing to re- 
establish a State Government on the conditions aforesaid, to 
direct the Provisional Governor to order another election of 
delegates to a Convention for the purpose and in the manner 
prescribed in this Act, and to proceed in all respects as here- 
inbefore provided, either to dissolve the Convention, or to 
certify the State Government reestablished by it to the 

" Section 10. That, until the United States shall have 
recognized a republican form of State Government, the 
Provisional Governor in each of said States shall see that 
this Act, and the laws of the United States, and other laws 
of the State in force when the State Government was over- 
thrown by the rebellion, are faithfully executed within the 
State ; but no law or usage whereby any person was hereto- 
fore held in involuntary servitude shall be recognized or 
enforced by any Court or officer in such State, and the laws 
for the trial and punishment of white persons shall extend to 
all persons, and jurors shall have the qualifications of voters 
under this law for delegates to the Convention. The Presi- 
dent shall appoint such officers provided for by the laws of 
the State when its government was overthrown as he may 
find necessary to the civil administration of the State, all 
which officers shall be entitled to receive the fees and emolu- 
ments provided by the State laws for such officers. 

" Section 11. That, until the recognition of a State 
Government, as aforesaid, the Provisional Governor shall, 
under such regulations as he may prescribe, cause to be 
assessed, levied, and collected, for the year eighteen hundred 
and sixty-four, and every year thereafter, the taxes provided 
by the laws of such State to be levied during the fiscal year 
preceding the overthrow of the State Government thereof, in 
the manner prescribed by the laws of the State, as nearly as 
may be ; and the officers appointed, as aforesaid, are vested 


Reconstruction Bill. Slaves Freed. Rebels Disfranchised. 

with all powers of levying and collecting such taxes, by 
distress or sale, as were vested in any officers or tribunal of 
the State Government aforesaid for those purposes. The 
proceeds of such taxes shall be accounted for to the Pro- 
visional Governor, and be by him applied to the expenses of 
the administration of the laws in such State, subject to the 
direction of the President, and the surplus shall be deposited 
in the Treasury of the United States, to the credit of such 
State, to be paid to the State upon an appropriation therefor, 
to be made when a republican form of government shall be 
recognized therein by the United States. 

" Section 12. That all persons held to involuntary servi- 
tude or labor in the States aforesaid, are hereby emancipated 
and discharged therefrom, and they and their posterity shall 
be forever free. And if any such persons or their posterity 
shall be restrained of liberty, under pretence of any claim to 
such service or labor, the Courts of the United States shall, 
on habeas corpus, discharge them. 

" Section 13. That if any person declared free by this Act, 
or any law of the United States, or any proclamation of the 
President, be restrained of liberty, with intent to be held in 
or reduced to involuntary servitude or labor, the person con- 
victed before a Court of competent jurisdiction of such Act. 
shall be punished by fine of not less than one thousand five 
hundred dollars, and be imprisoned for not less than five or 
more than twenty years. 

" Section 14. That every person who shall hereafter hold 
or exercise any office, civil or military, except offices merely 
ministerial, and military offices below the grade of Colonel, 
in the rebel service, State or Corporate, is hereby declared 
not to be a citizen of the United States." 


Proclamation for a Fast. Humiliation and Prayer Recommended. 



Proclamation for a Fast — Speech to Soldiers — Another Speech — " To "Whom it may Con- 
cern" — Chicago Convention — Opposition Embarrassed — Resolution No. 2 — McClellan's 
Acceptance — Capture of the Mobile Forts and Atlanta — Proclamation for Thanksgiving 
Remarks on Employment of Negro Soldiers — Address to Loyal Marylanders. 

On the 7 th of July tne following proclamation for a Na- 
tional Fast appeared : 

" Whereas, The Senate and House of Representatives, at 
their last session, adopted a concurrent ■ resolution which was 
approved on the third day of July instant, and which w T as in 
the words following : 

" ' That the President of the United States is requested to 
appoint a day of humiliation and prayer by the people of the 
United States; that he request his constitutional advisers at 
the head of the Executive Departments to unite with him, as 
Chief Magistrate of the Nation, at the city of Washington, 
and the members of Congress, and all magistrates, all civil, 
military and naval officers, all soldiers, sailors, and marines, 
with all loyal and law-abiding people, to convene at their 
usual places of worship, or wherever they may be, to confess 
and to repent of their manifold sins ; to implore the compas- 
sion and forgiveness of the Almighty, that, if consistent with 
His will, the existing rebellion may be speedily suppressed, 
and the supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the United 
States may be established throughout all the States ; to im- 
plore Him, as the Supreme Ruler of all the world, not to 
destroy us as a people, nor suffer us to be destroyed by the 
hostility or connivance of other nations, or by obstinate adhe- 
sion to our own counsels, which may be in conflict with His 
eternal purposes, and to implore him to enlighten the mind 


Proclamation for a Fast. Humiliation and Prayer Becommended. 

of the Nation to know and to do his will, humbly believing 
that it is not in accord ever with his will that our place should 
be maintained as a wicked people among the family of nations ; 
to implore him to grant to our armed defenders and the 
masses of the people that courage, power of resistance, and 
endurance necessary to secure that result ; to implore him in 
his infinite goodness to soften the hearts, enlighten the minds, 
and quicken the consciences of those in rebellion, that they 
may lay down their arms and speedily return to their allegi- 
ance t<5 the United States, that they may not be utterly de- 
stroyed, that the effusion of blood may be stayed, and that 
unity and fraternity may be restored, and peace established 
throughout all our borders.' 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, cordially concurring with the Congress of the 
United States in the penitential and pious sentiments ex- 
pressed in the aforesaid resolution, and heartily approving of 
the devotional design and purpose thereof, do hereby appoint 
the first Thursday of August next, to be observed by the 
people of the United States as a day of National humiliation 
and prayer. 

"I do hereby further invite and request the heads of the 
Executive Department of this Government, together with all 
legislators, all Judges and magistrates, and all other persons 
exercising authority in the land, whether civil, military, or 
naval, and all soldiers, seamen and marines in the National 
service, and all other loyal and law-abiding people of the 
United States, to assemble in their professed places of public 
worship on that day, and there to render to the Almighty 
and merciful Ruler of the universe such homage and such 
confessions, and to offer him such supplications, as the Con- 
gress of the United States have in their aforesaid resolution 
so solemnly, so earnestly, and so reverently recommended. 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 


Speech to Soldiers. A Great Work. Free Government. 

" Done at the City of Washington, this, the seventh day of 
July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-ninth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

To some Ohio volunteers, about to return home at the ex- 
piration of their term of service, who had called upon the 
President to pay him their respects, he spoke, on the 18th of 
August, thus : 

" Soldiers : You are about to return to your homes and 
your friends, after having, as I learn, performed in camp a 
comparatively short term of duty in this great contest. I am 
greatly obliged to you and to all who have come forward at 
the call of their country. 

" I wish it might be more generally and universally under- 
stood what the country is now engaged in. We have, as all 
will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right 
to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, 
this form of government and every form of human rights is 
endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved 
in this contest than is realized by every one. There is in- 
volved in this struggle the question whether your children 
and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed. 
I say this, in order to impress upon you, if you are not 
already so impressed, that no small matter should divert us 
from our great purpose. 

" There may be some inequalities in the practical working 
of our system. It is fair that each man shall pay taxes in 
exact proportion for the value of his property ; but if we 
should wait, before collecting a tax, to adjust the taxes upon 
each man in exact proportion to every other man, we should 
never collect any tax at all. There may be mistakes made 


Speech to Soldiers. Thanks of the Country. A Great and Free Government. 

somewhere ; things may be done wrong, which the officers of 
Government do all they can to prevent mistakes. 

"But I beg of you, as citizens of this great Republic, not 
to let your minds be carried off from the great work we have 
before us. This struggle is too large for you to be diverted 
from it by any small matter. When you return to your 
homes, rise up to the height of a generation of men, worthy 
of a free government, and we will carry out the great work 
we have commenced. I return you my sincere thanks, sol- 
diers, for the honor you have done me this afternoon." 

And again, on the 22d of August, under similar circum- 
stances : 

" Soldiers : — I suppose you are going home to see your 
families and friends. For the services you have done in this 
great struggle in which we are engaged, I present you sincere 
thanks for myself and the country. 

" I almost always feel inclined, when I say any thing to sol- 
diers, to impress upon them, in a few brief remarks, the impor- 
tance of success in this contest. It is not merely for to-day, 
but for all time to come, that we should perpetuate for our 
children's children that great and free Government which we 
have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not 
merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen temporarily to 
occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that 
any one of your children may look to come here as my father's 
child has. 

" It is in order that each one of you may have, through 
this free Government which we have enjoyed, an open field 
and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelli- 
gence ; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of 
life, with all its desirable human aspirations ; it is for this that 
the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our 
birthrights — not only for one, but for two or three years. 


President's Letter. " To Whom It May Concern." Democratic Convention. 

The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an unques- 
tionable jewel." 

During the excitement accompanying the rebel attempts 
upon the National Capitol, during the month of July, hereto- 
fore noticed, representations were made to the President that 
certain individuals, professing to represent the rebel leaders., 
were in Canada, anxious to enter into negotiations, with a 
view to the restoration of peace. 

In response to this suggestion, Mr. Lincoln issued the fol- 
lowing paper, which was very unsatisfactory to those who 
affected to believe that peace could be secured upon any 
basis short of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy, 
unless the rebels in arms were thoroughly defeated, dated, 
Executive Mansion, Washington, July 18, 1864. 

"To whom it may concern. — Any proposition which em- 
braces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the Union, 
and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and 
with authority that can control the armies now at war against 
the United States, will be received and considered by the 
Executive Government of the United States, and will be met 
by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points, and 
the bearers thereof shall have safe conduct both ways. 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

This ended that attempt to divide the supporters of the 

On the 29th of August, 1864, assembled at Chicago the 
National Convention of the Democratic party. This had been 
preceded by a " Mass Peace Convention," at Syracuse, on the 
18th of August, at which it had been resolved, among other 
things, that it was the duty of the Chicago Convention to 
give expression to a beneficent sentiment of peace and to 
declare as the purpose of the Democratic party, if it should 
recover power, to cause the desolating war to cease by the 
calling of a National Convention, in which all the States 


Democratic National Convention. Two Factions. Gen. McClellan Nominated. 

should be represented in their sovereign capacity ; and that, 
to that end, an immediate armistice should be declared of suf- 
ficient duration to give the States and the people ample time 
and opportunity to deliberate upon and finally conclude a 
form of Union. 

There were two factions represented at Chicago : one, un- 
qualifiedly in favor of peace at any price, upon any terms, 
with any concessions ; the other, disposed to take every pos- 
sible advantage of the mistakes of the Administration, but 
not possessed of effrontery sufficient to pronounce boldly for 
a cessation of hostilities in any and every event. 

Thus embarrassed, what was left of the still great Demo- 
cratic party — that party which had swayed the country 
for so many years, and whose disruption in 1860 was the im- 
mediate occasion of the war that ensued — determined to do what 
it never before, in all its history, had ventured upon. It 
essayed to ride, at one and the same time, two horses going 
in diametrically opposite directions. 

To conciliate whatever feeling in favor of a prosecution of 
the war there might be in their ranks, without at the same 
time going too far in that direction, and to secure as many 
soldiers' votes as possible, they put in nomination for the 
Presidency, Gen. McClellan. To neutralize this apparent 
tendency toward war, they associated the General with George 
H. Pendleton, of Ohio, as a candidate for the Vice-Presi- 
dency — a man, who, during his entire Congressional career as 
member of the National House of Representatives, had avowed 
himself and voted as a Peace-at-any-price individual, from the 
very outset. 

The bane and antidote having thus been blended, as only 
political chemists would have attempted, the candidates were 
placed upon a platform, the second resolution of which was as 
follows : 

"Besolved, That this Convention does explicitly declare, as 


Democratic National Convention. The War a Failure. McClellan's Acceptance. 

the sense of the American people, that, after four years of 
failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during 
which, under the pretence of a military necessity or war 
power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself 
has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and 
private right alike trodden down, and the material pros- 
perity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, 
liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts 
be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ulti- 
mate Convention of all the States, or other peaceable means, 
to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace 
maybe restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the 

This accomplished, the Convention adjourned, having pro- 
vided for its indefinite existence by empowering its chairman 
to reconvene it, whenever, in his judgment, it should be 
thought necessary. 

McClellan accepted the nomination, happy to know that 
when it was made, the record of his public life was kept in 
view. In his letter of acceptance, he talked all around the 
peace proposition, ignored the idea of a cessation of hostilities, 
and went for the whole Union. The document, though suf- 
ficiently general and indefinite to answer the puipose, failed 
to satisfy the ultra-peace men of his party. 

Thus, in the midst of a civil war, unparalleled in the 
world's history, the extraordinary spectacle was presented of 
a great people entering with earnestness upon a political 
campaign, one of whose issues — indeed, the main one — was 
as to the continuance of that war, with all its hardships and 

Just after the adjournment of the Chicago Convention, 
Sherman's occupation of Atlanta and the capture of the forts 
in the harbor of Mobile, were announced, seeming to intimate 
that the war had not been, up to that time, wholly a failure. 
The thanks of the Nation were tendered by the President to 


Capture of Atlanta. Thanksgiving Proclamation. Negroes as Soldiers. 

the officers and men connected with these operations, national 
salutes ordered, and the following proclamation issued, dated 
September 3d, 1864. 

" The signal success that Divine Providence has recently 
vouchsafed to the operations of the United States fleet and 
army in the harbor of Mobile, and the reduction of Fort 
Powell, Fort Gaines, and Fort Morgan, and the glorious 
achievements of the army under Major- General Sherman, in 
the State of Georgia, resulting in the capture of the city of 
Atlanta, call for devout acknowledgment of the Supreme 
Being in whose hands are the destinies of nations. 

"It is therefore requested that on next Sunday, in all 
places of worship in the United States, thanksgiving be 
offered to Him for His mercy in preserving our national 
existence against the insurgent rebels who have been waging 
a cruel war against the Government of the United States for 
its overthrow, and also that prayer be made for Divine pro- 
tection to our brave soldiers and their leaders in the field, 
who have so often and so gallantly perilled their lives in 
battling with the enemy, and for blessing and comfort from 
the Father of Mercies to the sick, wounded, and prisoners, 
and to the orphans and widows of those who have fallen in 
the service of their country, and that He will continue to 
.uphold the Government of the United States against all the 
efforts of public enemies and secret foes. 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

Mr. Lincoln's views relative to the employment of negroes 
as soldiers were again and fully expressed about this time in 
a conversation with leading gentlemen from the West. On 
that occasion he said : 

" The slightest knowledge of arithmetic will prove to any 

man that the rebel armies cannot be destroyed by Democratic 

strategy. It would sacrifice all the white men of the North 

to do it. There are now in the service of the United States 





The President on Democratic Strategy. 

Blacknien Essential to the Union. 



hundred thousand able-bodied colored 



of them under arms, defending and acquiring Union territory. 
The Democratic strategy demands that these forces be dis- 
banded, and that the masters be conciliated by restoring them 
to slavery. The black men, who now assist Union prisoners 
to escape, are to be converted into our enemies, in the vain 
hope of gaining the good- will of their masters. We shall have 
1o fight two nations instead of one. 

" You can not conciliate the South, if you guarantee to 
them ultimate success ; and the experience of the present 
war proves their success is inevitable, if you fling the com- 
pulsory labor of millions of black men into their side of the 
scale. Will you give our enemies such military advantages 
as insure success, and then depend upon coaxing, flattery, 
and concession to get them back into the Union ? Abandon 
all the forts now garrisoned by black men, take two hundred 
thousand men from our side and put them in the battle-field 
or corn-field against us, and we would be compelled to aban- 
don the war in three weeks. 

" We have to hold territory in inclement and sickly places ; 
where are the Democrats to do this ? It was a free fight ; 
and the field was open to the War Democrats to put down 
this rebellion by fighting against both master and slave, long 
before the present policy was inaugurated. 

" There have been men base enough to propose to me to 
return to slavery our black warriors of Port Hudson and 
Olustee, and thus win the respect of the masters they fought. 
Should I do so, I should deserve to be damned in time and 
eternity. Come what will, I will keep my faith with friend 
and foe. My enemies pretend I am now carrying on this 
war for the sole purpose of abolition. So long as I am 
President, it shall be carried on for the sole purpose of restor- 
ing the Union. But no human power can subdue this rebel- 
lion without the use of the Emancipation policy, and every 


What Freedom gives us. How it weakens the Rebellion. Speech. 

other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical 
forces of the rebellion. 

"Ereedom has given us two hundred thousand men raised 
on Southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much 
it has subtracted from the enemy ; and, instead of checking 
the South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling 
growing up between our men and the rank and file of the 
rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that 
the destruction of slavery is not necessary to the restoration 
of the Union. I will abide the issue." 

On the 19th of October, the President having been sere- 
naded by the loyal Marylanders of the District of Columbia, 
said : 

" I am notified that this is a compliment paid me by the 
loyal Marylanders resident in this district. I infer lhat the 
adoption of the new Constitution for the State furnishes the 
occasion, and that in your view the extirpation of slavery 
constitutes the chief merit of the new Constitution. 

" Most heartily do I congratulate you, and Maryland, and 
the Nation, and the world upon the event. I regret that it 
did not occur two years sooner, which, I am sure, would have 
saved to the nation more money than would have met all tne 
private loss incident to the measure ; but it has come at last, 
and I sincerely hope its friends may fully realize all their 
anticir itions of good from it, and that its opponents may, by 
its ef cts, be agreeably and profitably disappointed. 

" l word upon another subject : Something said by the 
Secretary of State, in his recent speech at Auburn, has been 
construed bv some into a threat that, if I shall be beaten at 
the election, I will between then and the end of my consti- 
tutional term do what I may be able to ruin the Government. 
Others regard the fact that the Chicago Convention adjourned, 
not sine die, but to meet again, if called to do so by a par- 
ticular individual, as the ultimatum of a purpose that, if the 


Speech to Loyal Marylanders. The Country and its Liberties. 

nominee shall be elected, he will at once seize control of the 

" I hope the good people will permit themselves to suffer 
no uneasiness on either point. I am struggling to maintain 
the Government, not to overthrow it. I therefore say that, 
if I shall live, I shall remain President until the fourth of 
March. And whoever shall be constitutionally elected, there- 
fore, in November, shall be duly installed as President on the 
fourth of March ; and that, in the interval, I shall do my 
utmost that whoever is to hold the helm for the next voyage, 
shall start with the best possible chance to save the ship. 

" This is due to our people, both on principle and under 
the Constitution. Their will, constitutionally expressed, is 
the ultimate law for all. If they should deliberately resolve 
to have immediate peace, even at the loss of their country 
and their liberties, I know not the power or the right to 
resist them. It is their own business, and they must do as 
they please with their own. 

" I believe, however, that they are all resolved to preserve 
their country and their liberty ; and in this, in office or out 
of it, I am resolved to stand by them. I may add, that in 
this purpose — to save the country and its liberties — no class 
of people seem so nearly unanimous as the soldiers in the field 
and the seamen afloat. Do they not have the hardest of it ? 
Who shall quail, when they do not ? God bless the soldiers 
and seamen and all their brave commanders !" 


Campaign of 1864. An Anomaly. Fremont's Withdrawal. 



Presidential Campaign of 1864 — Fremont's Withdrawal — Wade and Davis — Peace and War 
Democrats — Rebel Sympathizers — October Election — Result of Presidential Election- 
Speech to Pennsylvanians — Speech at a Serenade — Letter to a Soldier's Mother — 
Opening of Congress — Last Annual Message. 

The Presidential campaign of 1864, was, in several of its 
aspects, an anomaly. The amount of low blackguard and 
slang dealt out against the Administration, was perhaps to 
have been expected in a land where personal abuse seems to 
have become regarded as so vital an accompaniment of a 
National Election, that its absence in any exciting canvass 
would give rise to grave fears that positive Constitutional 
requirements had been disregarded. 

Though freedom, in such instances, far too often is wrested 
into the vilest abuse, it was in truth passing strange that an 
Administration should be so violently assailed by its oppo- 
nents as despotic and tyrannical, when the very fact that such 
strictures and comments were passed upon it, without let or 
hindrance, by word of mouth and on the printed page, 
afforded a proof that the despotism, if such there w r ere, was 
either too mild or too weak to enforce even a decent treat- 
ment of itself and its acts. It is safe to say, that, within the 
limits of that section with which we were under any cir- 
cumstances to establish harmonious and peaceful relations, 
according to the requirements of the opposition, not one 
speech in a hundred, not one editorial in a thousand, would 
have been permitted under precisely similar circumstances. 

General Fremont withdrew his name shortly after the 
Chicago nominations, that he might not distract and divide 


Fremont's Withdrawal. Wade and Davis. The Opposition. 

the friends of the Union. In his letter of withdrawal he 
said : 

" The policy of the Democratic party signifies either sepa- 
ration, or reestablishment, with slavery. The Chicago plat- 
form is simply separation. General McClellan's letter of 

acceptance, is reestablishment with slavery The 

Republican candidate, on the contrary, is pledged to the re- 
establishment of Union without slavery." 

Senator Wade and Henry Winter Davis, who had joined 
in a manifesto to the people, bitterly denunciatory of the 
President's course in issuing his reconstruction proclamation, 
entered manfully into the canvass in behalf of the Baltimore 
nominees. The ranks of the supporters of the Government 
closed steadily up, and pressed on to a success, of which they 
could not, with their faith in manhood and republican prin- 
ciples, suffer themselves to doubt. 

The Opposition were not entirely in accord. It was a deli- 
cate position in which the full-blooded Peace Democrat found 
himself, obliged as he was to endorse a man whose only claim 
for the nomination was the reputation which he had made as 
a prominent General engaged in prosecuting an " unnatural, 
unholy war." Nor did it afford much alleviation to his dis- 
tress to remember that this candidate had been loudly assailed 
in the Convention as the first mover in the matter of arbitrary 
arrests, against which a sturdy outcry had long been raised 
by himself and friends. It was unpleasant, moreover, not to 
be able to forget that the same candidate had been the first to 
suggest a draft — or " conscription," as your true peace man 
would call it : that measure so full of horrors, against which 
unconstitutional act such an amount of indignation had been 

Nor was the situation of the War Democrat, if he were 
indeed honestly and sincerely such, much better. He could 
not shut his eyes to the fact, that his candidate's military 
record, whatever else it might have established, did not evince 


Campaign of 1864. The Opposition. The State Elections. 

very remarkable vigor and celerity in his movements, as com- 
pared with other Generals then and since prominently before 
the public. Even had he blundered energetically, in that 
there would have been some consolation. The thought, not 
unpleasant to the Pendletonian, of the possibility of the 
General's death during his term of office, stirred up certain 
other thoughts which he would rather have avoided. 

However, it must be said, that, taken as a whole, the 
Opposition came up to the work more vigorously than might 
have been supposed, and carried on their campaign in as 
blustering and defiant a style as if victory were sure to perch 
upon their banners. There was the usual amount of cheap 
enthusiasm, valiant betting, and an unusual amount, many 
thought, of cheating — at least, the results of investigations at 
Baltimore and Washington, conducted by a military tribunal, 
to a casual observer appeared to squint in that direction. 

Richmond papers were, for a marvel, quite unanimous in 
the desire that Mr. Lincoln should not be reelected. The 
rebel Vice-President declared that the Chicago movement was 
"the only ray of light which had come from the North during 
the war." European sympathizers with the rebellion, like- 
wise, were opposed to Mr. Lincoln's reelection, and their 
organs on the Continent and in the provinces did their best to 
abuse him shockingly. 

The State elections in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, 
occurring in October, created much consternation in the oppo- 
sition ranks — that iu the latter State particularly, which had 
been set down positively as upon their side, but insisted, upon 
that occasion, in common with the first two in pronouncing 
unequivocally in favor of the Administration candidates. 

The result could no longer be doubtful. Yet the most of 
the supporters of McClellan kept up their talk, whatever 
their thoughts may have been. 

No opportunity for talk, even, was afforded when the 
results of the election of November 8th became known. 


Presidential Election. The Result. Speech of Mr. Lincoln. 

Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson — whom an opposi- 
tion journal, with rarest refinement and graceful courtesy, con- 
centrating all its malignity into the intensest sentence possi- 
ble, had characterized as " a rail-splitting buffoon and a 
boorish tailor, both from the backwoods, both growing 
up in uncouth ignorance"-r-these men of the people carried 
every loyal State, except Kentucky, New Jersey, and Dela- 
ware, the vote of soldiers in service having been almost 
universally given to them. 

Of the four million, thirty-four thousand, seven hundred 
and eighty-nine votes cast, Mr. Lincoln received, according 
to official returns, two million, two hundred and twenty- 
three thousand, and thirty-five ; a majority on the aggregate 
popular vote, of four hundred and eleven thousand, two 
hundred and eighty-one. 

The President elect by a plurality in 1860, he was reelected 
in 1864 by a majority decisive and unmistakable. 

Having been serenaded early in the morning following his 
reelection, by Pennsylvanians then in Washington, he thus 
gave utterance to his feelings : 

11 Friends and Fellow- Citizens : — Even before I had been 
informed by you that this compliment was paid me by 
loyal citizens of Pennsylvania friendly to me, I had inferred 
that you were of that portion of my countrymen who think 
that the. best interests of the nation are to be subserved 
by the support of the present administration. I do not pre- 
tend to say that you, who think so, embrace all the patriot- 
ism and loyalty of the country ; but I do believe, and I trust 
without personal interest, that the welfare of the country does 
require that such support and indorsement be given. I 
earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's work, if 
it be as you assume, and as now seems probable, will be 
to the lasting advantage if not to the very salvation of the 
country. I cannot, at this hour, say what has been the 


Presidential Election. Speech to Pennsylvanians. Speech at a Serenade. 

result of the election, but whatever it may be, I have no 
desire to modify this opinion : that all who have labored to- 
day in behalf of the Union organization, have wrought 
for the best interest of their country and the world, not only 
for the present, but for all future ages. I am thankful to God 
for this approval of the people ; but while deeply grateful 
for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, 
my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I 
do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is 
no pleasure to me to triumph over any one, but I give thanks 
to the Almighty for this evidence of the people's resolution 
to stand by free government and the rights of humanity." 

When the result was definitely known, at a serenade given 
in his honor on the night of November 10th, by the various 
Lincoln and Johnson Clubs of the District, he said : 

" It has long been a grave question whether any Govern- 
ment, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can 
be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emer- 
gencies. On this point the present rebellion brought our 
Government to a severe test, and a Presidential election 
occurring in a regular course during the rebellion, added not 
a little to the strain. 

" If the loyal people united were put to the utmost of their 
strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided and 
partially paralyzed by a political war among themselves ? 
But the election was a necessity — we can not have free 
government without elections ; and if the rebellion could force 
us to forego or postpone a national election, it must fairly 
claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife 
of the election is but human nature practically applied to the 
facts of the case. What has occurred in this case must ever 
recur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In 
any future great national trial, compared with the men of 
this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and 


Speech at a Serenade. Gold good, but Men better. His Faith in the Country. 

as wise, as bad and as good. Let us, therefore, study the 
incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, 
and none of them as wrongs to be revenged. 

" But the election, along with its incidental and undesirable 
strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a 
people's government can sustain a national election in the 
midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known 
to the world that this was a possibility. It shows also how 
sound and how strong we still are. It shows that, even 
among the candidates of the same party, he who is most 
devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can 
receive most of the people's votes. It shows also, to the 
extent yet known, that we have more men now than we had 
when the war began. Gold is good in its place ; but living, 
brave, and patriotic men are better than gold. 

" But the rebellion continues ; and now that the election is 
over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a com- 
mon effort to save our common country ? For my own part, 
I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle 
in the way. So long as I have been here I have not wil- 
lingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom. While I am duly 
sensible to the high compliment of a reelection, and duly 
grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my 
countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their good, 
it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may 
be disappointed by the result. 

" May I ask those who have not differed with me to join 
with me in this same spirit toward those who have ? And 
now let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave 
soldiers and seamen and their gallant and skilful com- 

As indicative of Mr. Lincoln's warmth and tenderness of 
heart the following letter will be read with interest. It was 
addressed to a poor widow, in Boston, whose sixth son, then 


Letter to a Widow. Five Sons for her Country. Last Annual Message. 

recently wounded, was lying in a hospital, and bears date 
November 21st, 1864. 

" Dear Madam : — I have been shown in the files of the 
War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of 
Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have 
died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and 
fruitless must be any word of mine, which should attempt to 
beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming ; but I 
cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may 
be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I 
pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of 
your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory 
of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be 
yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of 

" Yours very sincerely and respectfully, 

"Abraham Lincoln." 

The Thirty-eighth Congress commenced its second session 
on the 5th of December, 1864. On the following day Mr. 
Lincoln transmitted what was to be his last annual message : 

"Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Rep- 
resentatives : — Again the blessings of health and abundant 
harvests claim our profoundest gratitude to Almighty God. 

" The condition of our foreign affairs is reasonably satisfac- 

" Mexico continues to be a theatre of civil war. While our 
political relations with that country have undergone no 
change, we have at the same time strictly maintained neutral- 
ity between the belligerents. 

"At the request of the States of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, 
a competent engineer kas been authorized to make a survey 
of the river San Juan and the port of San Juan. It is a 
source of much satisfaction that the difficulties, which for a 


Last Annual Message. Central America. South America. 

moment excited some political apprehension, and caused a 
closing of the inter-oceanic transit route, have been amicably 
adjusted, and that there is a good prospect that the route will 
soon be re-opened with an increase of capacity and adaptation. 

" We could not exaggerate either the commercial or the 
political importance of that great improvement. It would be 
doing injustice to an important South American State not to 
acknowledge the directness, frankness, and cordiality with 
which the United States of Columbia has entered into intimate 
relation with this Government. A Claim Convention has 
been constituted to complete the unfinished work of the one 
which closed its session in 1861. 

" The new liberal Constitution of Yenezuela having gone 
into effect with the universal acquiescence of the people, the 
Government under it has been recognized, and diplomatic in- 
tercourse with it has been opened in a cordial and friendly 

" The long-deferred Avis Island claim has been satisfac- 
torily paid and discharged. Mutual payments have been 
made of the claims awarded by the late Joint Commission for 
the settlement of claims between the United States and Peru 
An earnest and candid friendship continues to exist between 
the two countries ; and such efforts as were in my power have 
been used to prevent misunderstanding, and avert a threat- 
ened war between Peru and Spain. 

" Our relations are of the most friendly nature with Chili, 
the Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, San 
Salvador, and Hayti. During the past year, no differences 
of any kind have arisen with any of these Republics. And, 
on the other hand, their sympathies with the United States 
are constantly expressed with cordiality and earnestness. 

" The claims arising from the seizure of the cargo of the 
brig Macedonian, in 1821, have been paid in full by the Gov- 
ernment of Chili. 


Last Annual Message. Liberia. Overland and Atlantic Telegraph. 

" Civil war continues in the Spanish port of San Domingo, 
apparently without prospect of an early close. 

" Official correspondence has been freely opened with 
Liberia, and it gives us a pleasing view of social and political 
progress in that Republic. It may be expected to derive new 
vigor from American influence, improved by the rapid disap- 
pearance of slavery in the United States. 

" I solicit your authority to promise to the Republic a gun- 
boat, at a moderate cost, to be reimbursed to the United 
States by instalments. Such a vessel is needed for the safety 
of that State against the native African races, and in Liberian 
hands it would be more effective in arresting the African 
slave-trade than a squadron in our own hands. 

" The possession of the least authorized naval force would 
stimulate a generous ambition in the Republic, and the confi- 
dence which we should manifest by furnishing it would win 
forbearance and favor toward the colony from all civilized 
nations. The proposed overland telegraph between America 
and Europe by the way of Behring Strait and Asiatic Russia, 
which was sanctioned by Congress at the last session, has 
been undertaken under very favorable circumstances by an 
association of American citizens, with the cordial good will 
and support as well of this Government as of those of Great 
Britain and Russia. 

".Assurances have been received from most of the South 
Am ican States of their high appreciation of the enterprise 
and their readiness to cooperate in constructing lines tributary 
to that world-encircling communication. 

" I learn with much satisfaction that the noble design of a 
telegraphic ommunication between the eastern coast of 
America ar Great Britain has been renewed with full expec- 
tation of i ... early accomplishment. 

" Thus it is hoped that with the return of domestic peace 
the country will be able to resume with energy and advan- 
tage her former high career of commerce and civilization. 


Annual Message. Chinese Rebellion. Our Relations with Japan. 

Our very popular and able representative in Egypt died in 
April last. 

"An unpleasant altercation which arose between the tem- 
porary incumbent and the Government of the Pacha, resulted 
in a suspension of intercourse. The evil was promptly cor- 
rected on the arrival of the successor in the consulate, and 
our relations with Egypt as well as our relations with the 
Barbary Powers, are entirely satisfactory. 

" The rebellion which has so long been flagrant in China, 
has at last been suppressed with the cooperating good offices 
of this Government and of the other Western Commercial 
States. The judicial consular establishment has become very 
difficult and onerous, and it will need legislative requisition 
to adapt it to the extension of our commerce, and to the more 
intimate intercourse which has been instituted with the Gov- 
ernment and people of that vast empire. 

" China seems to be accepting with hearty good-will the 
conventional laws which regulate commerce and social inter- 
course among the Western nations. 

" Owing to the peculiar situation of Japan, and the anom- 
alous form of its Government, the action of that Empire in 
performing treaty stipulations is inconsistent and capricious 
Nevertheless good progress has been effected by the Western 
Powers, moving with enlightened concert. Our own pecu- 
niary claims have been allowed, or put in course of settlement, 
and the Inland Sea has been reopened to Commerce. 

" There is reason also to believe that these proceedings 
have increased rather than diminished the friendship of Japan 
toward the United States. 

" The ports of Norfolk, Fernandino, and Pensacola have 
been opened by proclamation. 

" It is hoped that foreign merchants will now consider 
whether it is not safer and more profitable to themselves as 
well as just to the United States, to resort to these and other 
open ports, than it is to pursue, through many hazards and at 


Last Annual Message. The Slave Trade. Foreign Complications. 

vast cost, a contraband trade with other ports which are 
closed, if not by actual military operations, at least by a law- 
ful and effective blockade. 

" For myself, I have no doubt of the power and duty of 
the Executive, under the laws of nations, to exclude enemies 
of the human race from an asylum in the United States. If 
Congress should think that proceedings in such cases lack the 
authority of law, or ought to be further regulated by it, I re- 
commend that provision be made for effectually preventing 
foreign slave-traders from acquiring domicil and facilities for 
their criminal occupation in our country. 

" It is possible that if this were a new and open question, 
the maritime powers, with the light they now enjoy, would 
not concede the privileges of a naval belligerent to the insur- 
gents of the United States, destitute as they are and always 
have been, equally of ships, and of ports and harbors. 

" Disloyal enemies have been neither less assiduous nor 
more successful during the last year than they were before 
that time, in their efforts, under favor of that privilege, to 
embroil our country in foreign wars. The desire and deter- 
mination of the maritime States to defeat that design are be- 
lieved to be as sincere as, and cannot be more earnest than 
our own. 

" Nevertheless, unforseen political difficulties have arisen, 
especially in Brazilian and British ports, and on the Northern 
boundary of the United States, which have required and are 
likely to continue to require the practice of constant vigilance, 
and a just and conciliatory spirit on the part of the United 
States, as well as of the nations concerned and their Govern- 
ments. Commissioners have been appointed under the treaty 
with Great Britain, in the adjustment of the claims of the 
Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies in 
Oregon, and are now proceeding to the execution of the trust 
assigned to them. 

" In view of the insecurity of life in the region adjacent to 


Last Annual Message. Condition of the Border. Encouraging Immigration. 

the Canadian border by recent assaults^ and depredations 
committed by inimical and desperate persons who are har- 
bored there, it has been thought proper to give notice that 
after the expiration of six months, the period conditionally 
stipulated in the existing arrangements with Great Britain, 
the United States must hold themselves at liberty to increase 
their naval armament upon the lakes, if they shall find that 
proceeding necessary. 

"The condition of the Border will necessarily come into 
consideration in connection with the continuing or modifying 
the rights of transit from Canada through the United States, 
as well as the regulation of imposts, which were temporarily 
established by the Reciprocity Treaty of the 5th of June, 
1864. I desire, however, to be understood while making 
this statement that the Colonial authorities are not deemed 
to be intentionally unjust or unfriendly toward the United 
States ; but, on the contrary, there is every reason to 
expect that, with the approval of the Imperial Government, 
they will take the necessary measures to prevent new incur- 
sions across the border. 

" The act passed at the last session for the encouragement 
of immigration has, as far as was possible, been put into 

" It seems to need an amendment which will enable the 
officers of the Government to prevent the practice of frauds 
against the immigrants while on their way and on their arrival 
in the ports, so as to secure them here a free choice of avoca- 
cations and place of settlement. 

"A liberal disposition toward this great National policy is 
manifested by most of the European States, and ought to be 
reciprocated on our part by giving the immigrants effective 
National protection. I regard our immigrants as one of the 
principal replenishing streams which are appointed by Provi- 
dence to repair the ravages of internal war, and its wastes of 
National strength and health. 


Annual Message. Immigration. Receipts and Disbursements. 

"All that is necessary is, to secure the flow of that stream 
in its present fullness, and to that end, the Government must, 
in every way, make it manifest that it neither needs nor de- 
signs to impose involuntary military service upon those who 
come from other lands to cast their lot in our country. 

" The financial affairs of the Government have been suc- 
cessfully administered. During the last year the legislation 
of the last session of Congress has beneficially affected the 
revenue, although sufficient time has not yet elapsed to ex- 
perience the full effect of several of the provisions of the act 
of Congress imposing increased taxation. The receipts during 
the year, from all sources, upon the basis of warrants signed 
by the Secretary of the Treasury, including loans and the 
balance in the Treasury on the first day of July, 1863, were 
$1,394,196,001 62, and the aggregate disbursements, upon 
the same basis, were $1,298,056,101 89, leaving a balance in 
the Treasury, as shown by warrants, of $96,139,905 13. 
Deduct from these amounts the amount of the principal of the 
public debt redeemed, and the amount of issues in substitu- 
tion therefor, and the actual cash operations of the Treasury 
were : Receipts, $3,015,646 11 ; disbursements, $865,134, 
081 1Q ; which leaves a cash balance in the Treasury of $18, 
842,558 11. Of the receipts, there were derived from customs, 
$102,316,152 99 ; from lands, $588,333 29 ; from direct taxes, 
$415,648 96 ; from internal revenues, $109,141,134 10; from 
miscellaneous sources, $41,511,448 ; and from loans applied 
to actual expenditures, including former balance, $623,443, 
929 13. There were disbursed for the civil service, $21,505, 
599 46; for pensions and Indians, $1,511,930 91; for the 
War Department, $60,191,842 91 ; for the Navy Department, 
$85,133,292 19 ; for interest of the public debts, $53,685,421 
69 ; making an aggregate of $865,234,081 86, and leaving a 
balance in the Treasury of $18,842,558 if, as before stated. 

"For the actual receipts and disbursements for the first 
quarter, and the estimated receipts and disbursements for the 

o Q 


Ammal Message. Receipts and Disbursements. The Public Debt. 

three remaining quarters of the current fiscal year, aud the 
general operations of the Treasury in detail, I refer you to 
the report of the Secretary of the Treasury. 

" I concur with him in the opinion, that the proportion of 
the moneys required to meet the expenses consequent upon 
the war derived from taxation, should be still further in- 
creased ; and I earnestly invite your attention to this subject, 
to the end that there may be such additional legislation 
as shall be required to meet the just expectations of the 

"The public debt, on the first day of May last, as appears 
by the books of the Treasury, amounted to SI, UO, 690,489 49. 
Probably, should the war continue for another year, that 
amount may be increased by not far from five hundred 
millions. Held, as it is for the most part, by our own people, 
it has become a substantial branch of national, though pri- 
vate property. 

"For obvious reasons, the more nearly this property can 
be distributed among all the people, the better. To forward 
general distribution, greater inducements to become owners, 
might, perhaps, with good effect and without injury, be pre- 
sented to persons of limited means. With this view, I sug- 
gest whether it might not be both expedient and competent 
for Congress to provide that a limited amount of some future 
issue of public securities might be held, by any bond fide 
purchaser, exempt from taxation and from seizure for debt, 
under such restrictions and limitations as might be necessary 
to guard against abuse of so important a privilege. This 
would enable prudent persons to set aside a small annuity 
against a possible day of want. 

" Privileges like these would render the possession of such 
securities, to the amount limited, most desirable to every 
person of small means who might be able to save enough for 
the purpose. The great advantage of citizens being creditors 
as well as debtors, is olwious. Men readily perceive that 


Annual Message. The Public Debt. National Banking System. 

they cannot be much oppressed by a debt which they owe to 

" The public debt on the first day of July last, although 
somewhat exceeding the estimate of the Secretary of the 
Treasury made to Congress at the commencement of last ses- 
sion, falls short of the estimate of that office made in the 
succeeding December as to its probable amount at the be- 
ginning of this year, by the sum of $3,995,079 33. This fact 
exhibits a satisfactory condition and conduct of the operations 
of the Treasury. 

" The National banking system is proving to be acceptable 
to capitalists and the people. On the 25th day of Novem- 
ber, five hundred and eighty-four National Banks had been 
organized, a considerable number of which were conversions 
from State banks. Changes from the State system to the 
National system are rapidly taking place, and it is hoped that 
very soon there will be in the United States no banks of 
issue not authorized by Congress, and no bank-note circu- 
lation not secured by the government. That the government 
and the people will derive general benefit from this change in 
the banking system of the country can hardly be questioned. 

"The National system will create a reliable and perma- 
nent influence in support of the national credit, and protect 
the people against losses in the use of paper money. Whether 
or not any further legislation is advisable for the suppression 
of State bank issues, it will be for Congress to determine. It 
seems quite clear that the Treasury cannot be satisfactorily 
conducted unless the government can exercise restraining 
power over the bank-note circulation of the country. 

" The Report of the Secretary of War, and the accompany- 
ing documents, will detail the campaigns of the armies in the 
field since the date of the last annual Message, and also the 
operations of the several administrative bureaus of the War 
Department during the last year. 

" It will also specify the measures deemed essential for the 


Last Animal Message. The Navy. Prizes. 

national defence, and to keep np and supply the requisite 
military force. 

" The Report of the Secretary of the Navy presents a 
comprehensive and satisfactory exhibit of the affairs of that 
department and of the naval service. It is a subject of con- 
gratulation and laudable pride to our countrymen, that a 
navy of such vast proportions has been organized in so brief 
a period and conducted with so much efficiency and success. 

" The general exhibits of the Navy, including vessels under 
construction, on the first of December, 1864, shows a total 
of 611 vessels, carrying 4,610 guns, and 510,396 tons — being 
an actual increase during the year over and above all losses 
by shipwreck or in battle, of 83 vessels, 167 guns, and 42,427 
tons. The total number at this time in the naval service, 
including officers, is about 51,000. There have been captured 
by the Navy during the year, 324 vessels, and the whole num- 
ber of naval captures since hostilities commenced is 1,379, 
of which 267 are steamers. The gross proceeds arising from 
the sale of condemned prize property, thus far reported, 
amount to $14,396,250 51. 

"A large amount of such proceeds is still under adjudica- 
tion and yet to be reported. The total expenditures of the 
Navy Department, of every description, including the cost of 
the immense squadrons that have been called into existence, 
from the 4th of March, 1861, to the 1st of November, 1864, 
are $238,647,262 35. Your favorable consideration is in- 
vited to the various recommendations of the Secretary of the 
Navy, especially in regard to a navy yard and suitable estab- 
lishment for the construction and repair of iron vessels, and 
the machinery and armature for our ships, to which reference 
was made in my last annual message. 

" Your attention is also invited to the views expressed in 
the report in relation to the legislation of Congress at its last 
session in respect to prizes on our inland waters. 

" I cordially concur in the recommendation of the Secretary 


Last Annual Message. Post-Office Department. The Territories. 

as to the propriety of creating the new rank of Yice-admiral 
in our naval service. 

" Your attention is invited to the report of the Postmaster- 
General, for a detailed account of the operations and financial 
condition of the Post-Office Department. The postal revenues 
for the year ending June 30, 1864, amounted to $12,438,253 18. 
and the expenditures to $12,644,186 20; the excess of ex- 
penditures over receipts being $206,532 42. 

" The views presented by the Postmaster-General on the 
subject of special grants by the Government in aid of the es- 
tablishment of new lines of ocean mail steamships, and the 
policy he recommends for the development of increased com- 
mercial intercourse with adjacent and neighboring countries, 
should receive the careful consideration of Congress. 

"It is of noteworthy interest that the steady expansion of 
population, improvement and governmental institutions over 
the new and unoccupied portions of our country have scarcely 
been checked, much less impeded or destroyed by our great 
civil war, which, at first glance, would seem to have absorbed 
almost the entire energies of the Nation. 

" The organization and admission of the State of Nevada 
has been completed in conformity with law, and thus our 
excellent system is firmly established in the mountains which 
once seemed a barren and uninhabitable waste between the 
Atlantic States and those which have grown up on the coast 
of the Pacific Ocean. 

« rpk e Territories of the Union are generally in a condition 
©f prosperity and growth. Idaho and Montana, by reason of 
their great distance and the interruption of communication 
with them by Indian hostilities, have been only partially 
organized ; but it is understood that those difficulties are 
about to disappear, which will permit their governments, like 
those of the others, to go into speedy and full operation. 

"As intimately connected with and promotive of this mate- 
rial growth of the Nation, I ask the attention of Congress to 


Annual Message. Public Lands. Pacific Railways and Telegraph. 

the valuable information and important recommendation re- 
lating to the public lands, Indian affairs, the Pacific Railroad, 
and mineral discoveries contained in the report of the Secre- 
tary of the Interior, which is herewith transmitted, and which 
report also embraces the subjects of the patents, pensions, 
and other topics of public interest pertaining to his Depart- 

"The quantity of public land disposed of during the five 
quarters ending on the 30th of September last, was 4,221,342 
acres, of which 1,538,614 acres were entered under the Home- 
stead law. The remainder was located with military land 
warrants, agricultural script certified to States for railroads, 
and sold for cash. The cash received from sales and location 
fees was $1,019,446. The income from sales during the fis- 
cal year ending June 30, 1864, was $6^8,00*7 21, against 
$136,011 95, received during the preceding year. The aggre- 
gate number of acres surveyed during the year has been equal 
to the quantity disposed of, and there are open to settlement 
about 133,000,000 acres of surveyed land. 

" The great enterprise of connecting the Atlantic with the 
Pacific States by railways and telegraph lines has been entered 
upon with a vigor that gives assurance of success, notwith- 
standing the embarrassments arising from the prevailing high 
prices of materials and labor. The route of the main line of 
the road has been definitely located for one hundred miles 
westward from the initial point at Omaha City, Nebraska, 
and a preliminary location of the Pacific Railroad of Califor- 
nia has been made from Sacramento eastward to the great 
bend of Mucker river, in Nevada. Numerous discoveries of 
gold, silver and cinnabar mines have been added to the many 
heretofore known, and the country occupied by the Sierra 
Nevada and Rocky Mountains and the subordinate ranges 
now teems with enterprising labor which is richly remunera- 
tive. It is believed that the products of the mines of precious 


Last Annual Message. The Indian System. Pensions. 

metals in that region have, during the year reached, if not 
exceeded, $100,000,000 in value. 

" It was recommended in my last annual message, that our 
Indian system be remoddled. Congress, at its last session, 
acting upon the recommendation, did provide for reorganizing 
the system in California, and it is believed that under the 
present organization the management of the Indians there 
will be attended with reasonable success. Much yet remains 
to be done to provide for the proper government of the Indians 
in other parts of the country, to render it secure for the ad- 
vancing settler and to provide for the welfare of the Indian. 
The Secretary reiterates his recommendations, and to them 
the attention of Congress is invited. 

" The liberal provisions made by Congress for paying 
pensions to invalid soldiers and sailors of the Republic, and 
to the widows, orphans and dependent mothers of those who 
have fallen in battle, or died of disease contracted, or of 
wounds received in the service of their country, have been 
diligently administered. 

" There have been added to the pension rolls during the 
year ending the thirtieth day of June last, the names of 16,710 
invalid soldiers, and of 271 disabled seamen, making the 
present number of army invalid pensioners 22,767, and of 
navy invalid pensioners 712. Of widows, orphans and 
mothers, 22,198 have been placed on the army pension rolls, 
and 248 on the navy rolls. 

" The present number of Army pensioners of this class is 
25,433, and of Navy pensioners 793. At the beginning of 
the year, the number of revolutionary pensioners was 1,430. 
Only twelve of them were soldiers, of whom seven have since 
died. The remainder are those who, under the law, receive 
pensions because of relationship to revolutionary soldiers. 

"During the year ending the thirtieth of June, 1864, 
$4,504,616 92 have been paid to pensioners of all classes. 

'* I cheerfully commend to your continued patronage the 


Last Annual Message. Agricultural Department. The Jlebellion. 

benevolent institutions of the District of Columbia, which 
have hitherto been established or fostered by Congress, and 
respectfully refer for information concerning them, and in 
relation to the Washington Aqueduct, the Capitol, and other 
matters of local interest to the report of the Secretary. 

"The Agricultural Department, under the supervision of 
its present energetic and faithful head, is rapidly commend- 
ing itself to the great and vital interest it was intended to 
advance. It is peculiarly the People's Department, in which 
they feel more directly concerned than in any other, I com- 
mend it to the continued attention and fostering care of Con- 

" The war continues. Since the last annual message, all 
the important lines and positions then occupied by our forces 
have been maintained, and our armies have steadily advanced, 
thus liberating the regions left in the rear, so that Missouri, 
Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of other States have again 
produced reasonably fair crops. 

" The most remarkable feature in the military operations 
of the year, is General Sherman's attempted march of three 
hundred miles directly through insurgent regions. It tends 
to show a great increase of our relative strength, that our 
General-in-chief should feel able to confront and hold in check 
every active force of the enemy, and yet to detach a well- 
appointed, large army to move on such an expedition. The 
result not being yet known, conjecture in regard to it is not 
here indulged. 

" Important movements have also occurred during the 
year to the effect of moulding • society for ductility in the 
Union. Although short of complete success, it is much in 
the right direction that twelve thousand citizens in each of 
the States of Arkansas and Louisiana, have organized loyal 
State governments with free Constitutions, and are earnestly 
struggling to maintain and administer them. 

" The movement in the same direction, more extensive, 


Annual Message. The Kebellion. Abolishing Slavery. 

though less definite, in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, 
should not be overlooked. 

11 But Maryland presents the example of complete success. 
Maryland is secure to liberty and union for all the future. 
The genius of rebellion will no more claim Maryland. Like 
another foul spirit, being driven out, it may seek to tear her 
but it will rule her no more. 

" At the last Session of Congress, a proposed amendment 
of the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United 
States, passed the Senate, but failed, for lack of the requisite 
two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although 
the present is the same Congress, and nearly the same 
members, and without question on the patriotism of those 
who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the con- 
sideration and passage of the measure at the present session. 

" Of course the abstract question is not changed, but an 
intervening election shows almost certainly that the next 
Congress will pass the measure, if this does not. Hence 
there is only a question of time as to when the proposed 
amendment will go to the States for their action ; and as it is 
to go at all events, may we not agree that the sooner the 
better ? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a 
duty on members to change their views or their votes any 
further than as an additional element to be considered. 
Their judgment may be affected by it. 

" It is the voice of the people, now for the first time heard 
upon the question. In a great national crisis like ours, 
unanimity of action among those seeking a common end is 
very desirable, almost indispensable, and yet an approach to 
such unanimity is attainable, only as some deference shall be 
paid to the will of the majority, simply because it is the will 
of the majority. 

"In this case, the common end is the maintenance of the 
Union, and among the means to secure that end, such will, 
through the election, is most clearly declared in favor of such 


Last Annual Message. The Union to be Maintained. 

Constitutional Amendment. The most reliable indication of 
public purpose in this country is derived through our popular 
election. Judging by the recent canvass and its result, the 
purpose of the people within the loyal States to maintain the 
integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more nearly 
unanimous than now. 

" The extraordinary calmness and good order with which 
the millions of voters met and mingled at the polls, give 
strong assurance of this. Not only those who supported the 
' Union Ticket,' so called, but a great majority of the oppos- 
ing party also, may be fairly claimed to entertain and to 
be actuated by the same purpose. It is an unanswerable 
argument to this effect that no candidate to any office what- 
ever, high or low, has ventured to seek votes on the avowal 
that he was for giving up the Union. 

" There has been much impugning of motives, and heated 
controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advanc- 
ing the Union cause, but in the distinct issue of Union or no 
Union, the politicians have shown their distinctive knowledge 
that there is no diversity among the people. In affording 
the people a fair opportunity of showing one to another and 
to the world this firmness and unanimity of purpose, the 
election has been of vast value to the National cause. 

" The election has exhibited another fact not less valuable 
to be known in the fact that we do not approach exhaustion 
in the most important branch of the national resources, that 
of living men. While it is melancholy to reflect that the war 
has filled so many graves, and carried mourning to so many 
hearts, it is some relief to know that, compared with the surviv- 
ing, the fallen have been so few. "While corps, and divisions, 
and brigades, and regiments have formed, and fought and 
dwindled, and gone out of existence, a great majority of the 
men who composed them are still living. The same is true 
of the naval service. The election returns prove this. So 
many votes could not else be found. The States regularly 


Last Annual Message. Increase of Voters. National Resources Inexhaustible. 

holding elections, both now and four years ago, to wit : 
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, 
Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, 
Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New 
York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Yermont, 
West Yirginia, and Wisconsin, cast 3,982,011 votes now, 
against 3,8*70,222 then, to which are to be added 33,T62 
cast now in the new States of Kansas and Nevada, which 
States did not vote in 1860 ; thus swelling the aggregate to 
4,015, 7*73, and the net increase during the three years and a 
half of war to 145,151. 

" To this, again, should be added the number of all soldiers 
in the field from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, 
Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, and California, who, by the laws 
of those States, could not vote away from their homes, and 
which number cannot be less than ninety thousand. Nor yet 
is this all. The number in organized territories is triple now 
what it was four years ago, while thousands, white and black, 
join us as the National army forces back the insurgent lines. 
So much is shown, affirmatively and negatively, by the 

" It is not natural to inquire how the increase has been 
produced, or to show that it would have been greater but for 
the war, which is partially true ; the important fact remaining 
demonstrated, that we have more men now than we had when 
the war began ; that we are not exhausted, nor in process of 
exhaustion ; that we are gaining strength, and may, if need 
be, maintain the contest indefinitely. This as to men. 

" National resources are now more complete and abundant 
than ever ; the National resources, then, are unexhausted, and, 
as we believe, inexhaustible. The public purpose to reestab- 
lish and maintain the National authority is unchanged, and, 
as we believe, unchangeable. The manner of continuing the 
effort remains to choose. On careful consideration of all the 


Last Annual Message. The Distinct Issue. Conditions of Peace. 

evidence accessible, it seems to me that no attempts at nego- 
tiation with the insurgent leader could result in any good. 

" He would accept of nothing short of the severance of the 
Union. His declarations to this effect are explicit and oft- 
repeated. He does not attempt to deceive us. He affords 
us no excuse to deceive ourselves. We cannot voluntarily 
yield it. Between him and us the issue is distinct, simple, 
and inflexible. It is an issue which can only be tried by war, 
and decided by victory. 

"If we yield, we are beaten ; if the Southern people fail 
him, he is beaten — either way, it would be the victory and 
defeat following war What is true, however, of him who 
heads the insurgent cause, is not necessarily true of those who 
follow. Although he cannot reaccept the Union, they can. 
Some of them, we know, already desire peace and reunion. 
The number of such may increase. 

" They can at any moment have peace simply by laying 
down their arms and submitting to the National authority 
under the Constitution. After so much, the Government 
could not, if it would, maintain war against them. The loyal 
people would not sustain, or allow it, If questions should 
remain, we would adjust them by the peaceful means of legis- 
lation, conference, courts, and votes. 

" Operating only in constitutional and lawful channels, some 
certain and other possible questions are and would be be- 
yond the Executive power to adjust ; for instance, the admis- 
sion of members into Congress, and whatever might require 
the appropriation of money. 

" The Executive power itself would be really diminished by 
the cessation of actual war. Pardons and remissions of forfeit- 
ure, however, would still be within Executive control. In 
what spirit and temper this control would be exercised, can 
be fairly judged of by the past. A year ago general pardon 
and amnesty upon specified terms were offered to all except 
certain designated classes, and it was at this same time made 


Last Annual Message. Conditions of Peace. 

known that the excepted classes were still within contempla- 
tion of special clemency. 

" During the year many availed themselves of the general 
provision, and many more would, only that the sign of bad 
faith in some led to such precautionary measures as rendered 
the practical power less easy and certain. During the same 
time, also, special pardons have been granted to individuals 
of excepted classes, and no voluntary individual application 
has been denied. 

" Thus, practically, the door has been for a full year open 
to all, except such as were not in condition to make free 
choice ; that is, such as were in custody or under constraint. 
It is still so open to all ; but the time may come, probably 
will come, when public duty shall demand that it be closed, 
and that, in lieu, more vigorous measures than heretofore 
shall be adopted. 

" In presenting the abandonment of armed resistance to 
the National authority, on the part of the insurgents, as the 
only indispensable condition to ending the war on the part 
of the Government, I retract nothing heretofore said as to 
slavery. I repeat the declaration made a year ago, that 
while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to 
retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I 
return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that 
proclamation or by any of the acts of Congress. 

" If the people should, by whatever mode, or means, make 
it an Executive duty to re-enslave such persons, another, and 
not I, must be their instrument to perform it. 

" In stating a single condition of peace, I mean simply to 
say that the war will cease on the part of the Government 
whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who 
began it. 

"Abraham Lincoln." 


Speech at a Serenade. Reply to a Presentation Address. 



Speech at a Serenade — Reply to a Presentation Address — Peace Rumors — ReberCommis- 
sioners — Instructions to Secretary Seward — The Conference in Hampton Roads — 
Result — Extra Session of the Senate — Military Situation — Sherman — Charleston — Col- 
umbia — Wilmington — Fort Fisher — Sheridan — Grant — Rebel Congress — Second Inaug- 
uration — Inaugural — English Comment — Proclamation to Deserters. 

As illustrative of the genial, pleasant manner of the Presi- 
dent, take the following, in response to a serenade, December 
6th, 1864 : 

" Friends and Fellow-citizens : — I believe I shall never 
be old enough to speak without embarrassment when I have 
nothing to talk about. I have no good news to tell you, 
and yet I have no bad news to tell. We have talked of elec- 
tions until there is nothing more to say about them. The 
most interesting news we now have is from Sherman. We 
all know where he went in at, but I can't tell where he will 
come out at. I will now close by proposing three cheers for 
General Sherman and his army." 

Oji the 24th of January, 1865, having been made the recip- 
ient of a beautiful vase of skeleton leaves, gathered from the 
battle-field of Gettysburg, which had been subscribed for at 
the great Sanitary Fair, held in Philadelphia during the pre- 
vious summer, in reply to the warmly sympathetic and appre- 
ciative address of the Chairman of the Committee entrusted 
with the presentation, he said : 

"Reverend Sir, and Ladies and Gentlemen :— -I accept, 
with emotions of profoundest gratitude, the beautiful gift you 
have been pleased to present to me. You will, of course, 


Reply to a Presentation Address. Women of America. Peace Rumors. 

expect that I acknowledge it. So much has been said about 
Gettysburg, and so well said, that for me to attempt to say 
more may, perhaps, only serve to weaken the force of that 
which has already been said. 

"A most graceful and eloquent tribute was paid to the 
patriotism and self-denying labors of the American ladies, on 
the occasion of the consecration of the National Cemetery at 
Gettysburg, by our illustrious friend, Edward Everett, now, 
alas ! departed from earth. His life was a truly great one, 
and, I think, the greatest part of it was that which crowned 
its closing years. 

"I wish you to read, if you have not already done so, the 
glowing, and eloquent, and truthful words which he then 
spoke of the women of America. Truly the services they 
have rendered to the defenders of our country in this perilous 
time, and are yet rendering, can never be estimated as they 
ought to be. 

" For your kind wishes to me, personally, I beg leave to 
render you, likewise, my sincerest thanks. I assure you they 
are reciprocated. And now, gentlemen and' ladies, may God 
bless you all.' 7 * 

With the opening of the new year, the air — as often before 
— was filled with rumors that the insurgents were anxious to 
negotiate for peace. 

Some there were, even among Mr. Lincoln's friends and 
supporters, who were apprehensive that his " To whom it may 
concern" announcement of the previous year, was somewhat 
too curt and blunt. Without claiming to have as good an 
opportunity as the President for judging in the premises, they 
could not yet divest themselves of the idea that something 
definite and tangible might result from an interview with rep- 
resentatives from rebeldom ; if nothing more, at least a dis- 
tinct understanding that no peace could be attained, without 
separation, unless it were conquered. 


Rebel Commissioners. Secretary Seward's Instructions. 

Thoroughly familiar with the designs and purposes of the 
leading rebels as Mr. Lincoln was, and well aware that any 
such attempt must prove futile, he was nevertheless deter- 
mined that no valid ground for censure should be afforded by 
himself, in case a favorable opening presented itself. 

Accordingly, when he learned — as he did during the last 
week of January, from his friend, Francis P. Blair, who had 
visited Richmond, with the President's permission — that the 
managers there were desirous of sending certain persons as 
commissioners to learn from the United States Government 
upon what terms an adjustment of difficulties could be made, 
and that A. H. Stephens, of Georgia, R. M. T. Hunter, of 
Virginia, and J. A. Campbell, of Alabama, had been sent 
through the enemy's lines by Davis for the purpose of a con- 
ference upon the subject, Mr. Lincoln, not choosing that the 
commissioners should visit Washington, entrusted the matter 
to Secretary Seward, furnishing him with the following letter 
of instructions, dated Executive Mansion, Washington, Jan- 
uary 31st, 1865 : 

" Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State : — You will 
proceed to Fortress Monroe, Yirginia, there to meet and 
informally confer with Messrs. Stephens, Hunter, and Camp- 
bell, on the basis of my letter to F. P. Blair, Esq., of Janu- 
ary 18, 1865, a copy of which you have. 

" You will make known to them that three things are 
indispensable, to wit : 

" 1. The restoration of national authority throughout all 
the States. 

" 2. No receding by the Executive of the United States, 
on the slavery question, from the position assumed thereon 
in the late annual message to Congress, and in preceding 

" 3. No cessation of hostilities short of an end of the war 
and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the Government. 


Secretary Seward's Instructions. Conference in Hampton Roads. Conference Informal . 

" You will inform them that all propositions of theirs not 
inconsistent with the above, will be considered and passed 
upon in a spirit of sincere liberality. 

" You will hear all they may choose to say, and report it to 

" You will not assume to definitely consummate any thing 
"Yours truly, A.Lincoln." 

On the 2d of February, the President himself left for 
the point designated, and on the morning of the 3d, attended 
by Mr. Seward, received Messrs. Stephens, Hunter, and 
Campbell, on board a United States steamer anchored in 
Hampton Roads. 

The conference that ensued was altogether informal. 
There was no attendance of Secretaries, clerks, or witnesses. 
Nothing was written or read. The conversation, although 
earnest and free, was calm and courteous and kind, on both 
sides. The Richmond party approached the discussion 
rather indirectly, and at no time did they make categorical 
demands or tender formal stipulations or absolute refusals ; 
nevertheless, during the conference, which lasted four hours, 
the several points at issue between the Government and 
the insurgents were distinctly raised and discussed fully, 
intelligently, and in an amicable spirit. What the insurgent 
party seemed chiefly to favor was a postponement of the 
question of separation, upon which the war was waged, and 
a mutual direction of the efforts of the Government as well 
as those of the insurgents, to some extraneous policy or 
scheme for a season, during which passions might be expected 
to subside, and the armies be reduced, and trade and inter- 
course between the people of both sections be resumed. 

It was suggested by them that through such postponement 

we might have immediate peace, with some, not very certain, 

prospect of an ultimate satisfactory adjustment of political 

relations between the Government and the States, section or 



Conference in Hampton Roads. The Anti-Slavery Policy. Result. 

people engaged in conflict with it. The suggestion, though 
deliberately considered, was nevertheless regarded by the 
President as one of armistice or truce, and he announced that 
we could agree to no cessation or suspension of hostilities 
except on the basis of the disbandonrnent of the insurgent 
forces, and the restoration of the national authority through- 
out all the States in the Union collaterally, and in subordina- 
tion to the proposition which was thus announced. 

The anti-slavery policy of the United States was reviewed 
in all its bearings, and the President announced that he must 
not be expected to depart from the positions he had heretofore 
assumed in his proclamation of emancipation and other docu- 
ments, as these positions were reiterated in his annual 

It was further declared by the President that the complete 
restoration of the national authority everywhere was an indis- 
pensable condition of any assent on our part to whatever form 
of peace might be proposed. The President assured the 
other party that while he must adhere to these ]^sitions he 
would be prepared, so far as power was lodged with the 
Executive, to exercise liberality. Its power, however, is 
limited by the Constitution, and when peace should be made 
Congress must necessarily act in regard to appropriations of 
money and to the admission of representatives from the insur- 
rectionary States. 

The Richmond party were then informed that Congress had, 
on the 31st of January, adopted, by a constitutional majority, 
a joint resolution submitting to the several States the pro- 
position to abolish slavery throughout the Union, and that 
there was every reason to expect that it would soon be ac- 
cepted by three-fourths of the States, so as to become a part 
of the national organic law. 

The conference came to an end by mutual acquiescence, 
without producing an agreement of views upon the several 
matters discussed, or any of them. 


Peace Conference. President's Proclamation. Senate Convened. 

On the following morning the President and Secretary re- 
turned to Washington, and shortly afterward, in compliance 
with a resolution to that effect, Congress was informed in 
detail of all that had led to the interview and its issue. 

Thus was spiked the last gun bearing upon the terms on 
which the rebels would consent to peace. Whatever might 
have been the impression previously it was then well under- 
stood that to the armies in the field then converging toward 
Richmond, and not to the Executive of the nation, resort was 
to be had for peace upon any basis which loyal men would 

On the nth of February, in accordance with the general 
custom at the expiration of a Presidential term, the Senate 
was convened in active session by the following proclamation : 

" Whereas, objects of interest to the United States require 
that the Senate should be convened at twelve o'clock on the 
fourth of March next, to receive and act upon such communi- 
cations as may be made to it on the part of the Executive — 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, have considered it to be my duty to issue this 
my proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion 
requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the 
transaction of business, at the Capitol, in the city of Wash- 
ington, on the fourth day of March next, at twelve o'clock at 
noon on that day, of which all who shall at that time be 
entitled to act as members of that body are hereby required 
to take notice. 

" Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, 
at Washington, the 17th day of February, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the 
Independence of the United States of America, the eighty 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State. ' : 


The Military Situation. Thomas at Nashville. Sherman at Goldsborough 

At this time, the military situation was very interesting to 
every friend of the Union, whatever might have been the 
feelings it created among those who had so long been in arms 
against the Government. 

Sherman had " come out" at Savannah, capturing it and 
presenting it as a Christmas gift to the nation, after an ex- 
traordinary march from Atlanta — which he had deprived of 
all power for harm — directly through the heart of Georgia ; 
a march as to which the rebel journalists made ludicrous 
efforts to be oracular in advance, predicting all manner of 
mishaps from the Georgia militia and the various " lions" in 
his way. 

Thomas had fallen back leisurely to Nashville, forcing 
Hood, his antagonist, who had supplanted Johnston on ac- 
count of his fighting qualities, to the loss of almost his entire 
army in a sanguinary battle which occurred near that city, 
Thomas being the attacking party. With the remnants of 
his discomfited force, the fighting general had fallen back, 
where was not definitely known, but evidently to some secure 

Sherman having recuperated his army, had left Savannah 
and marched into South Carolina, where, according to the 
beforenamed veracious chroniclers, he was to flounder in 
bogs and quagmires, at the mercy of his valorous foes. He 
floundered on, truly — floundered, so as to flank Charleston, 
that nursery and hot-bed of treason, which had so long in- 
sulted the land — and compel its hurried evacuation ; floun- 
dered, so as to capture and occupy Columbia, the capital of 
the Palmetto State ; floundered, so as to threaten Raleigh, 
the capital of North Carolina; and at the time of which we 
write, had at last floundered to Goldsborough, where he had 
effected a connection with another column, which had pierced 
to that point after the capture of Wilmington, North Carolina, 
the pet port of disinterested blockade-runners — a capture 
rendered certain by the storming of Fort Fisher, commanding 


The Military Situation. Sheridan and Grant. Second Inauguration. 

the entrance to its harbor, in connection with which one 
Major-General was made and another unmade — whether the 
latter result was brought about with or without the coopera- 
tion of the commander of the naval part of the expedition, it 
boots not here to inquire. 

Whither Sherman would flounder next became to all 
rebeldom a question of the very deepest interest. Davis 
having been compelled by his Congress to assign the discarded 
Johnston to a command, and Lee to the command of all the 
rebel armies, Johnston was dispatched to head Sherman off, 
should he be insane enough to attempt to move any nearer 
Richmond — a species of insanity to which, it must be con- 
fessed, he had shown a marked tendency. 

Sheridan, too, having chased Early up and out of the 
Shenandoah Valley — that Early the one of whom his troops 
were wont to remark, that his principal business seemed to 
be "to trade Confederate cannon for Yankee whiskey" — had 
been raiding around Richmond in whatsoever direction he 
listed, severing communications, gobbling up supplies, and 
creating a general consternation. 

And still the bull-dog's teeth were firmly fastened in his 
victim. Not twistings, nor squirmings, nor strugglings, nor 
counterbites could do more than to defer — and that but for a 
short time — the inevitable. 

The rebel congress, at the very last moment of its last 
session, had squeezed through a bill for arming the slaves, 
and Davis had grimly wished them a safe and pleasant 
journey to their respective homes. It was too late, both for 
the slaves and the homes. 

Meantime, on Saturday, March 4th — a day which opened 
unpropitiously, so far as the elements were concerned, but 
which redeemed itself before noontide, becoming bright and 
cheerful — at the hour appointed, the oath of office was for the 
second time administered to Mr. Lincoln — not, however, by 
the same Chief Justice, for Roger B. Taney slept with his 


Second Inauguration. Inaugural Address. 

fathers, and in his place stood Salmon P. Chase — after 
which, on a staging erected at the eastern portico of the 
Capitol, he read in a clear, distinct voice, his second in- 
augural, occupying not more than ten minutes in the act : 

" Fellow-countrymen : — At this second appearing to take 
the 'oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for 
an extended address than there was at the first. Then a 
statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued 
seemed very fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of 
four years, during which public declarations have constantly 
been called forth on every point and phase of the great con- 
test which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the 
energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. 

" The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly 
depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it 
is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. 
With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it 
is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four 
years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an im- 
pending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avoid it. 
While the inaugural address was being delivered from this 
place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, 
insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it, with- 
out war ; seeking to dissolve the Union and divide the effects 
by negotiation. 

"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would 
make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other 
would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. 

" One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, 
not distributed generally over the Union, but located in the 
southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and 
powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow 
the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate and extend 
this interest was the object for which the insurgents would 


Second Inauguration. Inaugural Address. 

rend the Union by war, while the Government claimed no 
right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement 
of it. Neither party expected the magnitude or the duration 
which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the 
cause of the conflict might cease, even before the conflict 
itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a 
result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same 
Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid 
against the other. It may seem strange that any man should 
dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing his bread from 
the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge not, that 
we be not judged. 

" The prayer of both should not be answered. That of 
neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his 
own purposes. ' Woe unto the world because of offences, for 
it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by 
whom the offence cometh.' If we shall suppose that Ame- 
rican slavery is one of these offences which, in the providence 
of God, must needs come, but which, having continued 
through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and 
that he gives to both North and South this terrible war as 
the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we 
discern therein any departure from those Divine attributes 
which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him ? 

" Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray that this 
mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if 
God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the 
bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil 
shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn by the 
lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was 
said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, that 
the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 

"With malice towards none, with charity for all, with 
firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us 
strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's 


Inaugural Address. A Remarkable Production. Proclamation. 

wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and 
for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve 
and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and 
with all nations. " 

Of this address — which was of course made the subject for 
the coarsest comments of those who enjoyed nought so much 
as aiding the pack that hounded Mr. Lincoln while living — 
an English journal, second to none in ability and judgment, 
and leader of the better class of thinkers in that country, 
thus spoke : 

"It is the most remarkable thing of the sort, ever pro- 
nounced by any President of the United States from the first 
day until now. Its Alpha and its Omega is Almighty God, 
the God of justice and the Father of mercies, who is working 
out the purposes of his love. It is invested with a dignity 
and pathos, which lift it high above every thing of the kind, 
whether in the Old World or the New. The whole thing 
puts us in mind of the best men of the English Common- 
wealth ; there is, in fact, much of the 'old prophet about it." 

On the 16th of March, in accordance with an Act of Con- 
gress, grace was extended to deserters by the following pro- 
clamation : 

" Whereas, The twenty-first section of the act of Congress, 
approved on the 3d instant, entitled ' an act to amend the 
several acts heretofore passed to provide for the enrolling and 
calling out of the National forces, and for other purposes/ re- 
quires that, in addition to the other lawful penalties of the 
crime of desertion from the military or naval service, ' all 
persons who have deserted the military or naval service of 
the United States, who shall not return to the said service 
or report themselves to a provost-marshal within sixty days 
after the proclamation hereinafter mentioned, shall be deemed 
and taken to have voluntarily relinquished and forfeited their 


Proclamation to Deserters. Penalties for continued Absence. 

rights to become citizens ; and such deserters shall be forever 
incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under the 
United States, or of exercising any rights of citizens thereof; 
and all persons who shall hereafter desert the military or 
naval service, and all persons who, being duly enrolled, shall 
depart the jurisdiction of the district in which he is enrolled, 
or go beyond the limits of the United States, with the intent 
to avoid any draft into the military or naval service duly or- 
dered, shall be liable to the penalties of this section. And 
the President is hereby authorized and required forthwith, on 
the passage of this act, to issue his proclamation setting forth 
the provisions of this section, in which proclamation the 
President is requested to notify all deserters returning within 
sixty days, as aforesaid, that they shall be pardoned on con- 
dition of returning to their regiments and companies, or to 
such other organizations as they may be assigned to, unless 
they shall have served for a period of time, equal to their 
original term of enlistment' — 

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, do issue this my proclamation, as required by 
said act, ordering and requiring all deserters to return to 
their proper posts, and I do hereby notify them that all 
deserters who shall within sixty days from the date of this 
proclamation, viz.: on or before the tenth day of May, 1865, 
return to service, or report themselves to a provost- marshal, 
shall be pardoned, on condition that they return to their regi- 
ments and companies or such other organizations as they may 
be assigned to, and serve the remainder of their original terms 
of enlistment, and, in addition thereto, a period equal to the 
time lost by desertion. 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the city of Washington, this eleventh day of 
March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 


President goes to the Front. Capture of Petersburg. Richmond. 

and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-ninth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"W. H. Seward, Secretary of State." 



President Visits City Point — Lee's Failure — Grant's Movement — Abraham Lincoln in 
Richmond — Lee's Surrender — President's Impromptu Speech — Speech on Reconstruc- 
tion — Proclamation Closing Certain Ports — Proclamation Relative to Maritime Rights — 
Supplementary Proclamation — Orders from the "War Department — The Traitor President. 

On the afternoon of the 23d of March, 1865, the President, 
accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln, his youngest son, and a few in- 
vited guests, left Washington for an excursion to City Point, 
The trip was taken under advice of his medical attendant, his 
health having become somewhat impaired by his unremitting 
attention to the pressing duties of his office. 

A desperate attempt had been made by Lee to break 
through the lines surrounding him. Assaulting our right 
centre, he had been repulsed with a severe loss. 

Shortly after, Grant determined that the moment had 
arrived for his advance. A movement was ordered along 
the entire line — Petersburg fell — Richmond was abandoned 
in hot haste — and Lee's routed army "driven to the wall." 

During the progress of the movement, the President for- 
warded, from time to time, the particulars — pressed on to 
the evacuated Capital — entered it, conspicuous amid the 
sweeping mass of men, women, and children, black, white, 
and yellow, running, shouting, dancing, swinging their caps, 
bonnets, and handkerchiefs — passed on to the deserted man- 
sion of the rebel chief, cheer upon cheer going up from the 


Lee Surrenders. Terms of Capitulation. Sherman in Motion. 

excited multitude — there held a levee — left the same evening 
for City Point — and soon afterward returned to Washington. 
Lee, hemmed in on every side, soon after surrendered; the 
terms of capitulation, which were dictated by the magnanimous 
President, and dated Appomattox Court House, April ninth, 
1865, being as follows : 

" General Robert E. Lee, Army C. S. : — In accordance 
with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I pro- 
pose to receive the surrender of the army of Northern Vir- 
ginia on the following terms, to wit : Rolls of all the officers 
and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an 
officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such 
officer or officers as you may designate, the officers to give 
their individual paroles not to take up arms against the 
Government of the United States' until properly exchanged, 
and each company or regimental commander to sign a like 
parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery, 
and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned 
over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This 
will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private 
horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be 
allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by 
United States authority so long as they observe their parole 
and the laws in force where they may reside. 
" Yery respectfully, 

"U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General." 

Johnston was next in order ; and toward him Sherman was 
in motion. 

The night following the President's arrival in Washington, 
the workmen of the Navy-yard formed in procession, marched 
to the White House, in front of which thousands were as- 
sembled, bands playing, and the entire throng alive with ex- 

Repeated calls having been made for him, he appeared at 


President's Impromptu Speech. Likes " Dixie." Illumination. 

the window, on the entrance door, calm amid the tumult, and 
was greeted with cheers and waving of hats. 

Comparative silence having been secured, he said : 

" My Friends : — I am very greatly rejoiced that an occa- 
sion has occurred so pleasurable that the people can't restrain 
themselves. I suppose that arrangements are being made 
for some sort of formal demonstration — perhaps this evening 
or to-morrow night. If there should be such a demonstra- 
tion, I, of course, will have to respond to it ; and I will have 
nothing to say if you dribble it out of me. 

" I see you have a band. I propose now closing up by 
requesting you to play a certain piece of music, or a tune — 
I thought ■ Dixie' one of the best tunes I ever heard. 

" I had heard that our adversaries over the way had at- 
tempted to appropriate it. I insisted yesterday we had 
fairly captured it ! I presented the question to the Attorney 
General, and he gave it as his opinion that it is our lawful 
prize. I ask the band to give us a good turn upon it." 

The band accordingly played " Dixie," with extraordinary 
vigor, when " three cheers and a tiger" were given, followed 
by the tune of "Yankee Doodle." The President then pro- 
posed three rousing cheers for Grant and all under his com- 
mand — and next, three cheers for the Navy and all its forces. 

The President then retired, amid cheers, the tune of " Hail 
Columbia," and the firing of cannon. 

On the night of the eleventh of April, the Executive Depart- 
ments, including the President's House, as also many places 
of business and private residences, were illuminated, and 
adorned with transparencies and national flags ; bon-fires 
blazed in various parts of the city ; and rockets were fired. 

In response to the unanimous call of the thousands of 
both sexes who surrounded the Executive Mansion, Mr. Lin- 
coln appeared at an upper window, and when the cheering 

m EICHMOND. 365 

Illumination. President's Last Public Speech. Reconstruction Begun. 

with which he was greeted had subsided, spoke as follows 
in his last public speech : 

" Fellow- Citizens : — We meet this evening, not in sorrow, 
but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and 
Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent 
army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace, whose joy- 
ous expression cannot be restrained. 

" In the midst of this, however, He, from whom all bless- 
ings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a National 
Thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promul- 

" Nor must those, whose harder part gives us the cause of 
rejoicing, be overlooked — and their honors must not be par- 
celled out. With others T myself was near the front, and 
had the high pleasure of transmitting much of the good news 
to you, but no part of the honor, or praise, or execution, is 
mine. To General Grant, his skilful officers and brave men, 
all belongs. The gallant Navy stood ready, but was not in 
reach to take an active part. By these recent successes the 
reinauguration of the national authority, and the reconstruc- 
tion, which has had a large share of thought from the first, 
is pressed much more closely upon our attention. 

" It is fraught with great difficulty. Unlike the case of a 
war between independent nations, there is no authorized 
organ for us to treat with. No one man has authority to 
give up the rebellion for any other man. We simply must 
begin with and mould from disorganized and discordant ele- 
ments. Nor is it a small additional embarrassment, that we, 
the loyal people, differ amongst ourselves as to the mode, 
manner, and measure of reconstruction. 

"As a general rule, I abstain from reading the reports of 
attacks upon myself, wishing not to be provoked by that to 
which I cannot properly offer an answer ; for, spite of this 
precaution, however, it comes to my knowledge that I am 


Last Public Speech. Difficulties of Reconstruction. Louisiana. 

mucb censured from some supposed agency in setting up and 
seeking to sustain the new State Government of Louisiana. 
In this I have done just so much and no more than the pub- 
lic knows. In the annual Message of December, 1863, and 
the accompanying Proclamation, I presented a plan of recon- 
struction, as the phrase goes, which I promised, if adopted 
by any State, should be acceptable to and sustained by the 
Executive Government of the nation. 

" I distinctly stated that this was not the only plan which 
might possibly be acceptable ; and I also distinctly protested 
that the Executive claimed no right to say when or whether 
members should be admitted to seats in Congress from such 
States. This plan was in advance submitted to the then 
Cabinet, and as distinctly approved by every member of it. 
"One of them suggested that I should then, and in that con- 
nection, apply the Emancipation Proclamation to the thereto- 
fore excepted parts of 'Virginia and Louisiana ; that I should 
drop the suggestion about apprenticeship for freed people ; 
and that I should omit the protest against my own power in 
r egard to the admission of members of Congress ; but even he 
approved every part and parcel of the plan which has since 
been employed or touched by the action of Louisiana. The 
new Constitution of Louisiana, declaring emancipation for the 
whole State, particularly applies the proclamation to the part 
previously excepted. It does not adopt apprenticeship for 
freed people, and it is silent — as it could not well be other- 
wise — about the admission of members to Congress ; so that, 
as it applies to Louisiana, every member of the Cabinet fully 
approved the plan. 

" The message went to Congress, and I received many 
commendations of the plan, written and verbal, and not a 
single objection to it by any professed emancipationist came 
to my knowledge until after the news reached Washington 
that the people of Louisiana had begun to move in accordance 
with it. From about July, 1862, I had corresponded with 

m Richmond. 367 

Last Public Speech. Difficulties of Reconstruction. Louisiana. 

different persons supposed to be interested in seeking a re- 
construction of a State Government for Louisiana. When the 
message of 1863, with the plan before mentioned, reached 
N-ew Orleans, and General Banks wrote me that he was con- 
fident the people, with his military cooperation, would recon- 
struct substantially on that plan, I wrote him and some of 
them to try it. They tried it, and the result is known. 

" Such only has been my agency in getting up the Louisi- 
ana Government. As to sustaining it, my promise is out, as 
before stated ; but, as bad promises are better broken than 
kept, I shall treat this as a bad promise, and break it when- 
ever I shall be convinced that keeping it is adverse to the 
public interest. But I have not yet been so convinced. 

" I have been shown a letter on this subject, supposed to 
be an able one, in which the writer expresses regret that my 
mind has not seemed to be definitely fixed on the question 
whether the seceded States, so called, are in the Union or out 
of it. It would, perhaps, add astonishment to his regret 
were he to learn that since I have found professed Union men 
endeavoring to make that a question, I have purposely for- 
borne any public expression upon it, as it appears to me that 
question has not been, nor yet is, a practically material one, 
and that any discussion of it while it thus remains practically 
material could have no effect other than the mischievous one 
of dividing our friends. 

"As yet, whatever it may become hereafter, that question 
is bad, as the basis of a controversy, and good for nothing at 
all, a merely pernicious abstraction. We all agree that the 
seceded States, so-called, are out of their proper practical 
relation with the Union, and that the sole object of the Gov- 
ernment,^ civil and military, in regard to those States, is to 
again get them into that proper practical relation. I believe 
it is not only possible, but in fact easier to do this without 
deciding or even considering whether these States have ever 
been out of the Union, than with it ; finding themselves safely 



Last Public Speech. The Louisiana Government. Difficulties of Reconstruction. 

at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had 
ever been abroad. 

" Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the 
proper practical relations between these States and the Union, 
and each forever after, innocently indulge his own opinion 
whether in doing the acts he brought the States from without 
into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they 
never having been out of it. 

" The amount of constituency, so to speak, on which the 
new Louisiana Government rests, would be more satisfactory 
to all if it contained 50,000, 30,000, or even 20,000, instead 
of only about 12,000, as it does. 

" It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise 
is not given to the colored men. I would myself prefer that 
it were conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who 
serve our cause as soldiers. Still the question is not whether 
the Louisiana Government, as it stands, is quite all that is 
desirable. The question is, will it be wiser to take it as it is, 
and help to improve it, or to reject and disperse it ? Can 
Louisiana be brought into proper practical relation with the 
Union sooner by sustaining or by discarding her new State 
Government ? 

" Some twelve thousand voters in the heretofore slave State 
of Louisiana have sworn allegiance to the Union, assumed to 
be the rightful political power of the State, held elections, 
organized a State government, adopted a free State constitu- 
tion, giving the benefit of public schools equally to black and 
white, and empowering the Legislature to confer the elective 
franchise upon the colored man. Their Legislature has 
already voted to ratify the Constitutional amendment recently 
passed by Congress, abolishing slavery throughout the 
Nation. These twelve thousand persons are thus fully com- 
mitted to the Union, and to perpetual ^freedom in the State — 
committed to the very beings and nearly all the things the 
Nation wants — and they ask the Nation's recognition and 


Last Public Speech. The Louisiana Government. Black Men. 

its assistance to make good their committal. Now, if we 
reject and spurn them, we do our utmost to disorganize and 
disperse them. We, in fact, say to the white man, ' You are 
worthless, or worse ; we will neither help you nor be helped 
by you.' To the blacks we say, 'This cup of liberty which 
your old masters there hold to your lips we will dash from 
you, and leave you to the chances of gathering the spilled 
and scattered contents in some vague and undefined way 
when, where, and how.' If this course, by discouraging and 
paralyzing both white and black, has any tendency to bring 
Louisiana into proper practical relations with the Union, I 
have so far been unable to perceive it. If, on the contrary, 
we recognize and sustain the new Government of Louisiana, 
the converse of all this is made true. 

" We encourage the hearts and nerve the arms of the 
twelve thousand to adhere to their work, and argue for it, and 
proselyte for it, and fight for it, and feed it, and grow it, and 
ripen it, to a complete success. The colored man, too, in 
seeing all united for him, is inspired with vigilance, and 
energy, and daring to the same end. Grant that he desires 
the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving 
the already advanced steps toward it than by running back- 
ward over them ? Concede that the new Government of 
Louisiana is only what it should be, as the egg is to the fowl, 
we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg, than by 
smashing it. [Laughter.] 

"Again, if we reject Louisiana, we also reject our vote in 
favor of the proposed amendment to the National Constitu- 
tion. To meet this proposition, it has been argued that no 
more than three-fourths of those States which have not at- 
tempted secession are necessary to validly ratify the amend- 
ment I do not commit myself against this, further than to 
say that such a ratification would be questionable, and sure 
to be persistently questioned, while a ratification by three- 



Last Public Speech. The Louisiana Government. Proclamation. 

fourths of all the States would be unquestioned and unques- 

" I repeat the question. Can Louisiana be brought into 
proper practical relation with the Union sooner by sustaining 
or by discarding her new State Government ? What has 
been said of Louisiana will apply severally to other States ; 
yet so great peculiarities pertain to each State, and such im- 
portant and sudden changes occur in the same State, and 
withal so new and unprecedented is the whole case, that no 
exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed. As to 
details and collaterals, such an exclusive and inflexible plan 
would surely become a new entanglement. Important prin- 
ciples may and must be inflexible. 

" In the present situation, as the phrase goes, it may be 
my duty to make some new announcement to the people of 
the South. I am considering, and shall not fail to act when 
satisfied that action will be proper." 

On the 11th of April, also, "appeared the following proclam- 
ation : 

" Whereas, By my proclamation of the 19th and 27th days 
of April, 1861, the ports 'of the United States of Virginia, 
North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas were declared to be subject 
to blockade, but whereas the said blockade has, in conse- 
quence of actual military occupation by this Government, 
since then been conditionally set aside or released in respect 
to the ports of Norfolk and Alexandria, in the State of Vir- 
ginia, Beaufort, in the State of North Carolina, Port Royal, 
in the State of South Carolina, Pensacola and Fernandina, in 
the State of Florida, and New Orleans, in the State of Louis- 
iana ; and whereas, by the 4th section of the act of Congress 
approved on the 13th of July, 1861, entitled ' an act further 
to provide for the collection of duties on imports, and for other 


Proclamation closing certain Ports. Proclamation on Maritime Rights. 

purposes,' the President, for the reasons therein set forth, is 
authorized to close certain ports of entry. 

" Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, 
President of the United States, do hereby proclaim that the 
ports of Richmond, Tappahannock, Cherry Stone, Yorktown, 
and Petersburg, in Virginia; of Camden, Elizabeth City, 
Bdenton, Plymouth, Washington, Newbern, Ocracoke, and 
Wilmington, in North Carolina ; of Charleston, Georgetown, 
and Beaufort, in South Carolina ; of Savannah, St. Marys, 
Brunswick, and Darien, in Georgia ; of Mobile, in Alabama ; 
of Pearl river, Shieldsboro', Natchez, and Yicksburg, in Mis- 
sissippi ; of St. Augustine, Key West, St. Marks, Port Leon 
St. Johns, Jacksonville, and Apalachicola, in Florida ; of 
Teche and Franklin, in Louisiana ; of Galveston, La Salle, 
Brazos de Santiago, Point Isabel, and Brownsville, in Texas, 
are hereby closed, and all rights of importation, warehousing, 
and other privileges shall, in respect to the ports aforesaid, 
cease until they shall again have been opened by order of the 
President ; and if, while said ports are so closed, any ship or 
vessel from beyond the United States, or having on board 
any articles subject to duties, shall attempt to enter any such 
port, the same, together with its tackle, apparel, furniture, 
and cargo, shall be forfeited to the United States. 

" In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington this eleventh day of April, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of 
America the eighty-ninth. 

"Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

And on the same day the following : 

11 Whereas, for some time past vessels- of- war of the United 


Proclamation on Maritime Rights. Equality claimed with all Nations. 

States have been refused in certain foreign ports privileges 
and immunities to which they were entitled v by treaty, public 
law, or the comity of nations, at the same time that vessels- 
of-war of the country wherein the said privileges and immu- 
nities have been withheld have enjoyed them fully and unin- 
terruptedly in ports of the United States, which condition of 
things has not always been forcibly resisted by the United 
States, although, on the other hand, they have not at any 
time failed to protest against and declare their dissatisfaction 
with the same. In the view of the United States no 
condition any longer exists which can be claimed to justify 
the denial to them by any one of said nations of cus- 
tomary naval rights, such as has heretofore been so unne- 
cessarily persisted in — 

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, do hereby make known that if after a 
reasonable time shall have elapsed for intelligence of this 
proclamation to have reached any foreign country in whose 
ports the said privileges and immunities shall have been 
refused as aforesaid, they shall continue to be so refused, 
then and thenceforth the same privileges and immunities 
shall be refused to the vessels-of-war of that country in the 
ports of the United States ; and this refusal shall continue 
until war-vessels of the United States shall have been placed 
upon an entire equality in the foreign ports aforesaid with 
vessels of other countries. The United States, whatever 
claim or pretence may have existed heretofore, are now at 
least entitled to claim and concede an entire and friendly 
equality of rights and hospitalities with all maritime 

" In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the city of Washington this eleventh day of 
April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred 


Supplementary Proclamation. Key West. Official Bulletin. 

and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States 
the eighty-ninth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 

And, on the twelfth April, the following supplementary 
proclamation : 

" Whereas, By my proclamation of this date the port of 
Key West, in the State of Florida, was inadvertently in- 
cluded among those which are not open to commerce : 

" Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, 
President of the United States, do hereby declare and make 
known that the said port of Key West is and shall remain 
open to foreign and domestic commerce, upon the same con- 
ditions by which that commerce has hitherto been governed. 

" In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the City of Washington this eleventh day of 
April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States 
of America, the eighty-ninth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State," 

The light in which the administration regarded the position 
of affairs can best be judged from the following official 
bulletin from the War Department, bearing date April thir- 
teenth, 1865 : 

" This Department, after mature consideration and consul- 
tation with the Lieutenant- General upon the results of the 
recent campaigns, has come to the following determination, 
which will be carried into effect by appropriate orders, to be 
immediately issued : 


Official Bulletin. Drafting and Recruiting Stopped. Expenses Curtailed. 

" First. To stop all drafting and recruiting in the loyal 

" Second. To curtail purchases for arms, ammunition, 
quartermaster's and commissary supplies, and reduce the 
expenses of the military establishment and its several 

" Third. To reduce the number of general and staff officers 
to the actual necessities of the service. 

" Fourth. To remove all military restrictions upon trade 
and commerce, so far as maybe consistent with the public 

"As soon as these measures can be put in operation, it 
will be made known by public orders. 

"Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War." 

The Traitor President, who, on the fifth of April, had issued 
a proclamation to the effect that he should hold on to Vir- 
ginia — where was he at this time ? 



Interview with Mr. Colfax — Cabinet Meeting — Incident — Evening Conversation — Possi- 
bility of Assassination — Leaves for the Theatre — In the Theatre — Precautions for the 
Murder — The Pistol Shot — Escape of the Assassin — Death of the President — Pledges 
Redeemed — Situation of the Country — Effect of the Murder — Obsequies at Washington 
— Borne Home — Grief of the People — At Rest. 

On the morning of Friday, April fourteenth, 1865, after an 
interesting conversation with his eldest son, Robert, a captain 
on General Grant's staff, relative to the surrender of Lee, 
with the details of which the son was familiar, the President, 
hearing that Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Repre- 


Cabinet Meeting Held. President's Dream. Inter-view with Mr. Colfax. 

sentatives, was in the Executive Mansion, invited the latter 
to a chat in the reception-room, and daring the following 
hour the talk turned upon his future policy toward the rebel- 
lion — a matter which he was about to submit to his Cabinet. 

After an interview with John P. Hale, then recently 
appointed Minister to Spain, as well as with several Senators 
and Representatives, a Cabinet meeting was held, at eleven 
o'clock, General Grant being present, which proved to be one 
of the most satisfactory and important consultations held 
since his first inauguration. The future policy of the Ad- 
ministration was harmoniously and unanimously agreed upon, 
and upon the adjournment of the meeting the Secretary of 
War remarked that the Government was then stronger than 
at any period since the commencement of the rebellion. 

It was afterwards remembered that at this meeting the 
President turned to General Grant and asked him if he had 
heard from General Sherman. General Grant replied that he 
had not, but was in hourly expectation of receiving dispatches 
from him, announcing the surrender of Johnston. 

".Well," said the President, "you will hear very soon now, 
and the news will be important." 

« Why do you think so ?" said the General. 

"Because," said Mr. Lincoln, "I had a dream last night, 
and ever since the war began I have invariably had the same 
dream before any very important military event has occurred." 
He then instanced Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, etc., and 
said that before each of these events he had had the same 
dream, and turning to Secretary Welles, said : 

" It is in your line, too, Mr. Welles. The dream is that I 
saw a ship sailing very rapidly, and I am sure that it Dor- 
tends some important national event." 

In the afternoon, a long and pleasant conversation was held 
with eminent citizens from Illinois. 

In the evening, during a talk with Messrs. Colfax and 
Ashman — the latter of whom presided at the Chicago Con- 


Possibility of Assassination. Kindness of Heart. Messrs. Ashman and Colfax. 

vention, in 1860 — speaking about his trip to Richmond, when 
the suggestion was made that there was much uneasiness at 
the North while he was at what had been the rebel capital, 
for fear that some traitor might shoot him, Mr. Lincoln 
sportively replied, that he would have been alarmed himself, 
if any other person had been President and gone there, but 
that, as for himself, he did not feel in any danger whatever. 

This possibility of an assassination had been presented 
before to the President's mind, but it had not occasioned him 
a moment's uneasiness. A member of his Cabinet one day 
said to him, " Mr. Lincoln, you are not sufficiently careful of 
yourself. There are bad men in Washington. Did it never 
occur to you that there are rebels among us who are bad 
enough to attempt your life ?" The President stepped to a 
desk and drew from a pigeon-hole a package of letters. 
" There," said he, " every one of these contains a threat to 
assassinate me. I might be nervous, if I were to dwell upon 
the subject, but I have come to this conclusion : there are 
opportunities to kill me every day of my life, if there are 
persons disposed to do it. It is not possible to .avoid 
exposure to such a fate, and I shall not trouble myself 
about it." 

Upon the evening alluded to, while conversing upon a 
matter of business with Mr. Ashman, he saw that the 
latter was surprised at a remark which he had made, when, 
prompted by his well-known desire to avoid any thing offen- 
sive, he immediately said, ''You did not understand me, 
Ashman : I did not mean what you inferred, and I will take 
it all back, and apologize for it." He afterward gave Mr. 
A. a card, admitting himself and friend for a further conver- 
sation early in the morning. 

Turning to Mr. Colfax, he said, " You are going with Mrs. 
Lincoln and me to the theatre, I hope." The President and 
General Grant had previously accepted an invitation to be 
present that evening at Ford's Theatre, but the General had 


Messrs. Ashman and Colfax. Goes to the Theatre. The Assassin's Precautions. 

been obliged to leave for the North. Mr. Lincoln did not 
like to entirely disappoint the audience, as the announcement 
had been publicly made, and had determined to fulfil his 

Mr. Colfax, however, declining on account of other engage- 
ments, Mr. Lincoln said to him, " Mr. Sumner has the gavel 
of the Confederate Congress, which he got at Richmond to 
hand to the Secretary of War. But I insisted then that he 
must give it to you ; and you tell him for me to hand it over." 
Mr. Ashman alluded to the gavel, still in his possession, 
which he had used at Chicago ; and about half an hour after 
the time they had intended to leave for the theatre, the Presi- 
dent and Mrs. Lincoln rose to depart, the former reluctant 
and speaking about remaining at home a half hour longer. 

At the door he stopped and said, " Colfax, do not forget 
to tell the people in the mining regions, as you pass through 
them, what I told you this morning about the development 
when peace comes, and I will telegraph you at San Fran- 
cisco." Having shaken hands with both gentlemen and 
bidden them a pleasant good-bye, the President with his 
party left for the theatre. 

The box occupied by them was on the second tier above 
the stage, at the right of the audience, the entrance to it 
being by a door from the adjoining gallery. One, who had 
planned Mr. Lincoln's assassination with extraordinary pre- 
cautions against any failure, having effected an entrance by 
deceiving the guard, found himself in a dark corridor, of 
which the wall, made an acute angle with the door. The 
assassin had previously gouged a channel from the plaster 
and placed near by a stout piece of board, which he next 
inserted between the wall and the panel of the door. 

Ingress then being rendered impossible, he next turned 
toward the entrances to the President's box, two in number, 
as the box by a sliding partition could, at pleasure, be con- 
verted into two. The door at the bottom of the passage was 


The Assassin's Precautions. The Pistol Shot. The Flight. 

open ; that nearer the assassin was closed. Both had spring- 
locks, but their screws had been carefully loosened so as to 
yield to a slight pressure, if necessary. 

Resort was had to the hither door, in which a small hole 
had been bored, for the purpose of securing a view of the 
interior of the box, the door first described having first been 
fastened, and the discovery made that the occupants had 
taken seats as follows : the President in the arm-chair 
nearest the audience, Mrs. Lincoln next, then, after a con- 
siderable space, a Miss Clara Harris in the corner nearest 
the stage, and a Major H. R. Rathbone on a lounge along 
the further wall. 

The play was, " Our American Cousin." While all were 
intent upon its representation, the report of a pistol first an- 
nounced the presence of the assassin, who uttered the word 
" Freedom !" and advanced toward the front. The Major 
having discerned the murderer through the smoke, and grap- 
pled with him, the latter dropped his pistol and aimed with 
a knife at the breast of his antagonist, who caught the blow 
in the upper part of his left arm, but was unable to detain the 
desperado, though he immediately seized him again. The 
villain, however, leaped some twelve feet down upon the 
open stage, tangling his spur in the draped flag below the 
box and stumbling in his fall. 

Recovering himself immediately, he flourished his dagger, 
shouted "Sic semper tyrannis" and "The South is avenged," 
retreated successfully through the labyrinth of the theatre — 
perfectly familiar to him — to his horse in waiting below. 
Between the deed of blood and the escape there was not the 
lapse of a minute. The hour was about half-past ten. There 
was but one pursuer, and he from the audience, but he was 

The meaning of the pistol-shot was soon ascertained. 
Mr. Lincoln had been shot in the back of the head, behind 
the left ear, the ball traversing an oblique line to the right 


Death of the President. Grief of his Family. Reflections. 

ear. He was rendered instantly unconscious, and never knew 
friends or pain again. Having been conveyed as soon as 
possible to a bouse opposite tbe theatre, he expired there the 
next morning, April fifteenth, 1865, at twenty-two minutes 
past seven o'clock, attended by the principal members of his 
Cabinet and other friends, from all of whom the heart- 
rending spectacle drew copious tears of sorrow. Mrs. Lin- 
coln and her son Robert were in an adjoining apartment — 
the former bowed down with anguish, the latter strong 
enough to sustain and console her. A disconsolate widow 
and two sons now constituted the entire family. Soon after 
nine o'clock, the body was removed to the White House 
under military escort. 

Thus ended the earthly career of Abraham Lincoln, six- 
teenth President of the United States, on the threshold of 
his fifty-seventh year and second Presidential term. 

"Sic semper tyrannisV And this the justification for the 
murder of a ruler who had 

" borne his faculties so meek, had been 

So clear in his great office, that his virtues 
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 
The deep damnation of his taking-oflf." 

11 The South avenged !" And by the cold-blooded murder 
of the best friend that repentant rebels ever had — of one who 
had long withstood the pressing appeals of his warmest per- 
sonal and political friends for less lenity and more rigor in 
dealing with traitors. 

It was written in the decrees of the Immutable that he 
should fall by the bullet — not, indeed, on the battle-field, 
whose sad suggestings he had so often, and so tenderly, 
lovingly heeded — but in the midst of his family, while seek- 
ing relief from the cares of state — and by a murderer's hand ! 
— the first President to meet such a fate — thenceforth our 
martyr-chief ! 

But sorrow was tempered with mercy. He did not fall 


Sorrow tempered with Mercy. Inaugural Redeemed. Flag over Fort Sumter. 

until a benignant Providence had permitted him to enjoy a 
foretaste, at least, of the blessings which he had been instru- 
mental in conferring upon the land he loved so well. 

The pledges of his first Inaugural Address had been amply 
redeemed — those pledges which so many declared impossible 
of fulfilment, which not a few mocked as beyond human 
power to accomplish. The power confided to him had been 
successfully used "to hold, occupy, and possess the property 
and places belonging to the Government." No United States 
fort at the time of his fall flaunted treason in the eyes of the 
land. The day of his murder the old flag had been flung to 
the breeze from Sumter with ceremonies befitting the joyous oc- 
casion, by the very hands that four years before had been com- 
pelled to lower it to arrogant traitors ; and friends of freedom 
for man, irrespective of color or race, walked the streets of 
Charleston — a city of desolation, a skeleton of its former self 
— jubilant that, since God so willed it, in His own good 
time, Freedom was National and Slavery but a thing of the 

When he fell, the Nation, brought by the stern necessities 
of direful war to the discharge of duties befitting a better man- 
hood, passing by all projects for an emancipation of slaves, 
which should be merely gradual, not content even that such 
emancipation had been proclaimed as a measure of military 
necessity, had spoken in favor of such an amendment of the 
Constitution as should forever prohibit any claim of property 
in man. Though the final consummation of that great 
measure had not been reached when our President was re- 
moved, it was given him to feel assured that the end was not 
distant, was even then close at hand. 

When he fell, that body of traitors which had assumed to 
be a Government had fled, one scarcely knew whither, 
with whatever of ill-gotten gains their greedy hands could 
grasp — their main army captive, the residue of their military 
force on the point of surrendering. From what had been their 


The Nation's Sorrow. Houses Draped. Minute Guns Fired. 

capital, in the mansion appropriated to the special use of 
the chiefest among the conspirators, he had been permitted to 
send words of greeting to the nation. 

When he fell, treason throughout the land lay gasping, 

It needed not that dismal, dreary, mid- April day to in- 
tensify the sorrow. As on the wings of lightning the news 
sped through the land — "the President is Shot" — 'Ms 
dying" — "is dead" — men knew scarcely how to credit the 
tale. When the fearful certainty came home to each, strong 
men bowed themselves and wept — maid and matron joined in 
the plaint. With no extraneous prompting, with no impulse 
save that of the heart alone, the common grief took on a com- 
mon garb. Houses were draped — the flag of our country 
hung pensive at half-mast — portraitures of the loved dead 
were found on all. 

And dreary as was the day when first the tidings swept 
through the country, patriot hearts were drearier still. It 
was past analysis. It was as if chaos and dread night had 
come again. 

Meanwhile the honored dead lay in state in the country's 

On that dreamy, hazy nineteenth of April — suggesting, were 
it not for the early green leaves, the fresh springing grass, the 
glad spring caroling of birds, "that sweet autumnal summer 
which the Indian loved so well" — on that day when sleep 
wooed one even in the early morn, his obsequies were cele- 
brated in the country's metropolis. 

And throughout the land, minute guns were fired, bells 
tolled, business suspended, and the thoughtful betook them- 
selves to prayer, if so be that what verily seemed a curse 
might pass from us. 

Thence the funeral cortege moved to the final resting-place 
— the remains of a darling son, earlier called, accompanying 
those of the father — by the route the President had taken 


The Funeral Cortege. Death of the Assassin. Burial at Springfield. 

when first he had been summoned to the chair of State. 
Before half of the mournful task was done, came tidings that 
the assassin had been sent to his final account by the aven- 
ger's hand, gurgling out, as his worthless life ebbed away, 
"useless ! useless !" 

As the sad procession wended its way, where hundreds had 
gathered in '61, impelled by mere curiosity or by partisan 
sympathy, thousands gathered, four years later, through 
affection, through reverence, through deep, abiding sorrow. 

Flowers beautified the lifeless remains — dirges were sung 
— the people's great heart broke out into sobs and sighing. 

And so, home to the prairie they bore him whom, when 
first he was called, the Nation knew not — whom, mid the 
storms and ragings of those years of civil war, they had 
learned, had loved, to call father and friend. 

In the Oak Ridge Cemetery, in his own Springfield, on the 
fourth of May„ 1865, they laid him to rest, at the foot of a 
knoll, in the most beautiful part of the ground, over which 
forest trees — rare denizens of the prairie — look lovingly. 

There all that is mortal of Abraham Lincoln reposes. 

" The immortal ?" Hail, and farewell ! 

■»■»♦» » 



Reasons for His Re-election — What was Accomplished — Leaning on the People — State 
Papers— His Tenacity of Purpose — Washington and Lincoln — As a Man — Favorite Poem 
— Autobiography — His Modesty — A Christian — Conclusion. 

What shall be said, in summing up, of Abraham Lincoln 
as a statesman and a man ? That from such humble begin- 
nings, in circumstances so adverse, he rose to be the Chief 
Magistrate of one of the leading countries of the world, would 

THE MAN. 383 

The President as a Man. Why Re-elected. 

were it in any other country, be evidence of ability of the 
very highest order. 

Here, however, so many from similar surroundings have 
achieved similar results that this fact of itself does not neces- 
sarily unfold the man clearly and fully to us. He might have 
been put forward for that high station as a skillful and ac- 
complished politician, from whose elevation hosts of partisans 
counted upon their own personal advancement and profit. 
Or he might have been a successful general ; or one possess- 
ing merely negative qualities, with no salient points, all 
objectionable angularities rounded off till that desirable availa- 
bility, which has at times been laid hold of for the Presidency 
had been reached ; or, yet again, one who had for a long time 
been in the front ranks of an old and triumphant party, and, 
therefore, as such matters have been managed with us, ad- 
mitted to have strong claims upon such party ; or, lastly, one 
who, having for many years schemed and plotted and labored, 
in season and out of season, for the nomination, at last 
achieved it. 

For such Presidents have been furnished us. But he was 
neither. And yet the highest point to which an American 
may aspire he reached. Clearly, then, there must have been 
something of strength and of worth in the man. 

He was reelected, the first President since Jackson to 
whom that honor had been accorded. And thirty-two years 
had passed — eight Presidential terms — since Jackson's re- 
election. He was, moreover, reelected by a largely increased 

The years covered by his administration were the stormiest 
in American history, "piled high," as he himself said, "with 
difficulties." No President was ever more severely attacked, 
more unsparingly denounced than he. None more belittled 
than he. And yet he was triumphantly reelected. Why ? 
For the same reason that first brought him before the country. 

Primarily and mainly because the mass of the people had 


Devotion to Principle. As a Statesman. Leaning ox> the People. 

unbounded confidence in his honesty and devotion to princi- 
ple. Though these qualities, it is pleasant to say, have been 
by no means rare in our Presidents, yet Abraham Lincoln 
seemed so to speak, so steeped and saturated in them that a 
hold was thereby obtained upon the common mind, the like 
of which no other President since Washington had secured. 
The bitterest opponent of his policy was constrained, if 
candid, to admit, if not the existence of these qualities, at 
least the prevailing popular belief in their existence. 

"What shall be said of him as a statesman ? 

That he found the fabric of our National Government rock- 
ing from turret to foundation stone — that he left it, after four 
years of strife such as, happily, the world rarely witnesses, 
firmly fixed, and sure ; this should serve in some sort, as 
an answer. 

But might not this be owing, or principally so, to the 
ability of the counsellors whom he gathered about him ? 
Beyond a doubt the meed of praise is to be shared. Yet we 
should remember that few Presidents have so uniformly 
acted of and for themselves in matters of state policy, as did 
Air. Lincoln. Upon many questions the opinions of his 
Cabinet were sought — a Cabinet representing the various 
shades of thought, the various stages of progress, through 
which the people, of whom they were the exponents, were 
passing from year to year — after obtaiiring which, he would 
act. But, in most instances, perhaps, he struck out for him- 
self, after careful, conscientious reflection, launching his policy 
upon unknown seas, quietly assured that truth was with 
him and that he could not be mistaken. Xor was he often. 

Having to feel his way along, for the most part — groping 
in the dark — he could not push on so fast and far as to leave 
the people out of breath or staring far in his rear. Still, it 
must not be understood that he never acted against what was 
plainly the popular will. The man was not of that mould. 
Unquestionably in his dealings with the two leading Euro 

THE MAN. 385 

Mr. Lincoln's Self-reliance. Reliance on the People. State Papers. 

pean powers lie often acted in direct opposition to the 
popular wish. Nothing would have been easier than for him 
to have brought a foreign war upon the country ; and in such 
action, for a time at least, he would have been sustained by 
the mass of the people. So, too, as to vindictive measures 
towards the rebels. By adopting these he would, oftentimes, 
have been in harmony with the general wish for vengeance 
and retaliation. In both these instances — to name no others 
— he chose to act counter to the current sentiment. More 
politic, with a more piercing outlook than the mass, he saw 
the end from the beginning, and in the one case chose to 
overlook what was, to his mind, grossly wrong, and in the 
other, to stand up for the general interests of humanity 
through all time rather than to cater to the desire of the 
hour, natural and, perhaps, pardonable though it was. 

What is meant is this — that, in the complications in which 
the country was involved, he invariably acted, where expedi- 
ency simply and not principle was concerned, so as to feel 
sure that the body of the people were with him. If failure 
were to result, he would have them feel that the responsibility 
for it rested as much upon them as upon him. He earnestly 
endeavored to point out what he judged the better way and 
to bring the people to his conviction ; but, if they relucted, he 
waited till they should have advanced where, or nearly where, 
he was. This was generally felt, and it added largely to the 
confidence reposed in him. By means of it, a general acqui- 
escence was procured in many measures earlier than. could 
have been gained by any other course. We Americans are a 
peculiar people in some respects. We dislike to be led by 
any man. Nay, we stoutly deny that we are. We are not — 
when we see the leading strings. 

Mr. Lincoln's state papers in their structure and composi- 
tion were not always what a critical scholar would have 
desired. Some would say they were presented quite too 
often in undress. The people are not profound critics. They 


Mr. Lincoln's State Papers. His Tenacity of Purpose. 

could comprehend every word. They felt that they were ad- 
dressed as fellow-citizens. The ordinarily formal and stilted 
official documents came from his plain pen a talk to them by 
the fireside. He said, moreover, exactly what he meant and 
as he meant, in his own clear cogent way, void of verbiage, 
homely often but always the outgrowth of a profound intelli- 
gent conviction. And, generally, he struck home. His were 
the words to which "the common pulse of man keeps time." 
How studded are his papers with lucid illustration ; how 
transparently honest and candid, like the man, their author ! 
His tenacity of purpose was marked. Signing that im- 
mortal proclamation, which made him the Liberator of 
America, on the afternoon of January 1st, 1863, after hours 
of New Year's hand-shaking, he said to friends that night — 
" The signature looks a little tremulous, for my hand was 
tired, but my resolution was firm. I told them in September, 
if they did not return to their allegiance and cease murdering 
our soldiers, I would strike at this pillar of their strength. 
And now the promise shall be kept ; and not one word of it 
will I ever recall. " In all the varying scenes through which 
as our leader he passed, avoiding the extremes of sudden 
exultation or deep depression, calm and quiet, and resolute 
and determined, he kept on his course, with duty as his 
guiding star, an unwarped conscience his prompter. Feeling 
always that he bore his life in his hands, in the perilous posi- 
tion in which he was placed, as well as he who went forth to 
do duty in the battle-field, he faltered not, swerved not, 
compromised not, retracted not, apologized not, but pursued 
his way with an inflexibility as rare as it is grand and in- 
spiring. Others might doubt — not he. He saw the end toward 
which the nation and himself must strive. That was ever 
present to him, and toward that he ever worked. His mission 
as President was, as he so often and so pointedly stated, to 
save the Union. And he saved it. There may be those who 
will contend that such a result might have been reached by 

THE MAN. 387 

Father of his Country. Personal Characteristics. Favorite Poem. 

other means than those he was impelled to employ. That is 
theory. He reduced his to practice. Tor himself, he could 
work only in his own harness ; and patiently, persistently, 
painfully he worked on till the goal was reached. 

Well has Washington been styled the Father of his Country. 
Yet this arose from veneration rather than from love ; for 
the most felt such an impassable gulf between themselves 
and the patriot-hero, that to them he appeared of quite 
another order of beings than themselves. 

Abraham Lincoln was both Saviour and Father; for he 
preserved whatever was most valuable in the old and created 
a new order of things possessing an inherent dignity and 
importance which the old never had. And such titles the 
people bestow upon him through love. 

The characteristics of the man stood prominently out in 
the statesman. He had not one garb as an official and 
another as a citizen. No change marked his transit from the 
chat of the drawing-room to the consultation of cabinet. 
What he was in the one situation he was in the other. Hi-s 
peculiar humor was not, as those who least knew him judged, 
his habitual disposition. More of melancholy and sadness 
centred in him than most were aware. His favorite poem — 
given below for the sufficient reason that it was his favorite 
— attests the vein of pensiveness which was in him. " There 
is one poem," he remarked in conversation, "that is almost 
continually present with me : it comes in my mind whenever 
I have relief from thought and care." 

Oh, why should the spirit of mortal he proud ? 
Like a swift, fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud, 
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave, 
Man passeth from life to his rest in the grave. 

The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade, 
Be scattered around and together he laid ; 
And the young and the old, and the low and the high, 
Shall moulder to dust and together shall lie. 


His Favorite Poem. His Favorite Poem. 

The infant a mother attended and loved ; 
The mother that infant's affection who proved ; 
The husband that mother and infant who blessed, 
Each, all, are away to their dwellings of Rest. 

The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye, 
Shone beauty and pleasure— her triumphs are by ; 
And the memory of those who loved her and praised, 
Are alike from the minds of the living erased. 

The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne ; 
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn ; 
The eye of the sage and the heart of the brave, 
Are hidden and lost in the depth of the grave. 

The peasant whose lot was to sow and to reap ; 
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep ; 
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread, 
Have faded away like the grass that we tread. 

The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven, 
The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven, 
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just, 
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust. 

So the multitude goes, like the flowers or the weed 
That withers away to let others succeed ; 
So the multitude comes, even those we behold, 
To repeat every tale that has often been told. 

For we are the same our fathers have been ; 
We see the same sights our fathers have seen — 
We drink the same stream and view the same sun — 
And run the same course our fathers have run. 

The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think ; 
From the death we are shrinking our fathers would shrink. 
To the life we are clinging they also would cling ; 
But it speeds for us all, like a bird on the wing. 

They loved, but the story we cannot unfold ; 
They scorned, but the heart of the haughty is cold ; 
They grieved, but no wail from their slumber will come ; 
They joyed, but the tongue of their gladness is dumb. 

THE MAN. 389 

His Favorite Poem. Record of his Life. Always a Learner. 

They died, aye ! they died ; and we things that are now, 

Who walk on the turf that lies over their brow, 

Who make in their dwelling a transient abode, 

Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road. 

Yea ! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain, 
We mingle together in sunshine and rain ; 
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge, 
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge. 

'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath ; 
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death, 
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud — 
Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud ? 

No one was more modest than he. Look at the record of 
his life as furnished by himself, in 1858, for Lanman's 
Dictionary of Congress : 

"Born February 12, 1809, in Hardin county, Kentucky. 
"Education Defective. 
" Profession a lawyer. 

" Have been a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk war. 
" Postmaster at a very small office. 
" Four times a member of the Illinois Legislature. 
" And was a member of the lower House of Congress. 
"Yours, etc., A. Lincoln." 

With no self-conceit, a pupil in the school of events, he 
was never ashamed to confess himself a learner, and as such 
he grew and ripened. Equable in his temperament, never 
wrathful or passionate, none need have been his enemy, un- 
less such an one were intended for an enemy of the human 
race. Mild and forgiving, he never allowed the unmerited 
abuse which was heaped upon him to affect in the least his 
intercourse or dealings with its authors. His very failings 
leaned to mercy's side. There is scarcely a hamlet in the 
loyal States that does not contain some witness of his clem- 
ency and lenity. One of the most touching incidents con- 


Touching Incident. An Avowed Christian. His Reverential Spirit. 

nected with his obsequies at Washington was the placing on 
his coffin of a wreath of flowers, sent from Boston by the 
sister of a young man whom he had pardoned when sentenced 
to death for some military offence. 

Honored as a private citizen, happy in his domestic rela- 
tions, successful as a statesman, he was, moreover, an avowed 
Christian. He often said that his reliance in the gloomiest 
hours was on his God, to whom he appealed in prayer, al- 
though he had never become a professor of religion. To a 
clergyman who asked him if he loved his Saviour, he replied : 

" When I was first inaugurated I did not love him ; when 
God took my son I was greatly impressed, but still I did not 
love him ; but when I stood upon the battle-field of Gettys- 
burg I gave my heart to Christ, and I can now say I do love 
the Saviour." 

Attention has already been called to the reverential spirit 
which pervades his official papers ; and this was the index of 
the man. Leaving home, he invoked the prayers of his 
townsmen and friends ; during the excitements of his Wash- 
ington life, he leaned upon a more than human arm ; against 
his pure moral character not even his bitterest enemy could 
truthfully utter a word. 

Such — imperfectly sketched, and at best but in rude out- 
line — was Abraham Lincoln. The manner of his death in- 
vests his name with a tragic interest. This will be but 
temporary. But the more the man as he was is known, the 
more completely an insight is obtained into his true character, 
the more his private and public life is studied, the more care- 
fully his acts are weighed, the higher will he rise in the 
estimation of all whose esteem is desirable. Coming years 
will detract nought from him. He has passed into history. 
There no lover of honesty and integrity, no admirer of 
firmness and resolution, no sympathizer with conscientious 
conviction, no friend of man need fear to leave — 
Abraham Lincoln. 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. 




{In Committee of the Whole House, January 12, 1848.) 

Mr. Lincoln addressed the Committee as follows : 
" Mr. Chairman : — Some, if not all, of the gentlemen on 
the other side of the House, who have addressed the Com- 
mittee within the last two days, have spoken rather com- 
plainingly, if I have rightly understood them, of the vote 
given a week or ten days ago, declaring that the war with 
Mexico was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced 
by the President. I admit that such a vote should not be 
given in mere party wantonness, and that the one given is 
justly censurable, if it have no other or better foundation. 
I am one of those who joined in that vote ; and did so under 
my best impression of the truth of the case. How I got this 
impression, and how it may possibly be removed, I will now 
try to show. When the war began, it was my opinion that 
all those who, because of knowing too little, or because of 
knowing too much, could not conscientiously approve the 
conduct of the President (in the beginning of it), should, 
nevertheless, as good citizens and patriots, remain silent on 
that point, at least till the war should be ended. Some lead- 
ing Democrats, including ex-President Van Buren, have taken 
this same view, as I understand them ; and I adhered to it, 


Speech in Congl-ess, Jan. 12, 1S4S. On the Mexican War. 

and acted upon it, until since I took my seat here ; and I 
think I should still adhere to it, were it not that the Presi- 
dent and his friends will not allow it to be so. Besides, the 
continual effort of the President to argue every silent vote 
given for supplies into an indorsement of the justice and 
wisdom of his conduct ; besides that singularly candid para- 
graph in his late message, in which he tells us that Congress, 
with great unanimity (only two in the Senate and fourteen in 
the House dissenting) had declared that ' by the act of the 
Republic of Mexico a state of war exists between that Govern- 
ment and the United States;' when the same journals that 
informed him of this, also informed him that, when that 
declaration stood disconnected from the question of supplies, 
sixty-seven in the House, and not fourteen, merely, voted 
against it ; besides this open attempt to prove by telling the 
truth, what he could not prove by telling the whole truth, 
demanding of all who will not submit to be misrepresented, 
in justice to themselves, to speak out ; besides all this, one 
of my colleagues [Mr. Richardson], at a very early day in the 
session, brought in a set of resolutions, expressly indorsing 
the original justice of the war on the part "of the President. 
Upon these resolutions, when they shall be put on their pas- 
sage, I shall be compelled to vote ; so that I can not be silent 
if I would. Seeing this, I went about preparing myself to 
give the vote understanding^, when it should come. I care- 
fully examined the President's messages, to ascertain what he 
himself had said and proved upon the point. The result of 
this examination was to make the impression, that, taking for 
true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of 
proving his justification ; and that the President would have 
gone further with his proof, if it had not been for the small 
matter that the truth would not permit him. Under the im- 
pression thus made I gave the vote before mentioned. I 
propose now to give, concisely, the process of the examina- 
tion I made, and how I reached the conclusion I did. 


Speech in Congress, Jan. 12, 1848. On the Mexican War. 

" The President, in his first message of May, 1846, declares 
that the soil was ours on which hostilities were commenced 
by Mexico ; and he repeats that declaration, almost in the 
same language, in each successive annual message — thus 
showing that he esteems that point a highly essential one. 
In the importance of that point I entirely agree with the 
President. To my judgment, it is the very point upon which 
he should be justified or condemned. In his message of 
December, 1846, it seems to have occurred to him, as is cer- 
tainly true, that title, ownership to soil, or any thing else, is 
not a simple fact, but is a conclusion following one or more 
simple facts ; and that it was incumbent upon him to present 
the facts from which he concluded the soil was ours on which 
the first blood of the war was shed. 

"Accordingly, a little below the middle of page twelve, in 
the message last referred to, he enters upon that task ; form- 
ing an issue and introducing testimony, extending the whole 
to a little below the middle of page fourteen. Now, I pro- 
pose to try to show that the whole of this — issue and evidence 
— is, from beginning to end, the sheerest deception. The 
issue, as he presents it, is in these words : ' But there are 
those who, conceding all this to be true, assume the ground 
that the true western boundary of Texas is the Nueces, 
instead of the Rio Grande ; and that, therefore, in marching 
our army to the east bank of the latter river, we passed the 
Texan line, and invaded the territory of Mexico.' Now, this 
issue is made up of two affirmatives and no negative. The 
main deception of it is, that it assumes as true that one river 
or the other is necessarily the boundary, and cheats the 
superficial thinker entirely out of the idea that possibly the 
boundary is somewhere between the two, and not actually at 
either. A further deception is, that it will let in evidence 
which a true issue would exclude. A true issue made by the 
President would be about as follows : ' I say the soil was ours 


Speech in Congress, Jan. 12, 1848. On the Mexican War. 

on which the first blood was shed ; there are those who say 
it was not.' 

" I now proceed to examine the President's evidence, as 
applicable to such an issue. When that evidence is analyzed 
it is all included in the following propositions : 

" 1. That the Rio Grande was the western boundary of 
Louisiana, as we purchased it of France in 1803. 

" 2. That the Republic of Texas always claimed the Rio 
Grande as her western boundary. 

" 3. That, by various acts, she had claimed it on paper. 

" 4. That Santa Anna, in his treaty with Texas, recognized 
the Rio Grande as her boundary. 

" 5. That Texas before, and the United States after annex- 
ation, had exercised jurisdiction beyond the Nueces, between 
the two rivers. 

" 6. That our Congress understood the boundary of Texas 
to extend beyond the Nueces. 

" Now for each of these in its turn : 

" His first item is, that the Rio Grande was the western 
boundary of Louisiana, as we purchased it of France in 1803 ; 
and, seeming to expect this to be disputed, he argues over the 
amount of nearly a page to prove it true ; at the end of which 
he lets us know that, by the treaty of 1819, we sold to Spain 
the whole country, from the Rio Grande eastward to the 
Sabine. Now, admitting for the present, that the Rio Grande 
was the boundary of Louisiana, what, under heaven, had that 
to do with the present boundary between us and Mexico ? 
How, Mr. Chairman, the line that once divided your land 
from mine can still be the boundary between us after I have 
sold my land to you, is, to me, beyond all comprehension. 
And how any man, with an honest purpose only of proving 
the truth, could ever have thought of introducing such a fact 
to prove such an issue, is equally incomprehensible. The 
outrage upon common right, of seizing as our own what we 
have once sold, merely because it was ours before we sold it, 


Speech in Congress, Jan. 12, 1848. The Boundary of Texas. 

is only equaled by the outrage on common sense of any at- 
tempt to justify it. 

" The President's next piece of evidence is, that ' The Re- 
public of Texas always claimed this river (Rio Grande) as 
her western boundary.' That is not true, in fact. Texas has 
claimed it, but she has not always claimed it. There is, at 
least, one distinguished exception. Her State Constitution — 
the public's most solemn and well-considered act ; that which 
may, without impropriety, be called her last will and testa- 
ment, revoking all others — makes no such claim. But sup- 
pose she had always claimed it. Has not Mexico always 
claimed the contrary ? So that there is but claim against 
claim, leaving nothing proved until we get back of the claims, 
and find which has the better foundation. 

" Though not in the order in which the President presents 
his evidence, I now consider that class of his statements, 
which are, in substance, nothing more than that Texas has 
by various acts of her Convention and Congress, claimed the 
Rio Grande as her boundary — on paper. I mean here what 
he says about the fixing of the Rio Grande as her boundary, 
in her old Constitution (not her State Constitution), about 
forming congressional districts, counties, etc. Now, all this 
is but naked claim; and what I have already said about 
claims is strictly applicable to this. If I should claim your 
land by word of mouth, that certainly would not make it 
mine ; and if I were to claim it by a deed which I had made 
myself, and with which you had nothing to do, the claim 
would be quite the same in substance, or rather in utter 

" I next consider the President's statement that Santa 
Anna, in his treaty with Texas, recognized the Rio Grande as 
the western boundary of Texas. Besides the position so often 
taken that Santa Anna, while a prisoner of war — a captive — 
could not bind Mexico by a treaty, which I deem conclusive ; 
besides this, I wish to say something in relation to this treaty, 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. 

so called by the President, with Santa Anna. If any man 
would like to be amused by a sight at that little thing, which 
the President calls by that big name, he can have it by turn- 
ing to Niles' Register, volume 50, page 386. And if any one 
should suppose that Niles' Register is a curious repository 
of so mighty a document as a solemn treaty between nations, 
I can only say that I learned, to a tolerable degree of cer- 
tainty, by inquiry at the State Department, that the President 
himself never saw it anywhere else. By the way, I believe I 
should not err if I were to declare, that during the first ten 
years of the existence of that document, it was never by any- 
body called a treaty ; that it was never so called till the 
President, in his extremity, attempted, by so calling it, to 
wring something from it in justification of himself in connec- 
tion with the Mexican war. It has none of the distinguishing 
features of a treaty. It does not call itself a treaty. Santa 
Anna does not therein assume to bind Mexico ; he assumes 
only to act as President, Commander-in-chief of the Mexican 
army and navy ; stipulates that the then present hostilities 
should cease, and that he would not himself take up arms, 
nor influence the Mexican people to take up arms, against 
Texas, during the existence of the war of independence. He 
did not recognize the independence of Texas ; he did not as- 
sume to put an end to the war, but clearly indicated his ex- 
pectation of its continuance ; he did not say one word about 
boundary, and most probably never thought of it. It is 
stipulated therein that the Mexican forces should evacuate the 
territory of Texas, passing to the other side of the Rio Grande ; 
and in another article it is stipulated, that to prevent collisions 
between the armies, the Texan army should not approach 
nearer than five leagues — of what is not said — but clearly, 
from the object stated, it is of the Rio Grande. Now, if this 
is a treaty recognizing the Rio Grande as a boundary of 
Texas, it contains the singular feature of stipulating that 
Texas shall not go within five leagues of her own boundary. 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. Characteristic Illustration, 

" Next comes the evidence that Texas before annexation, 
and the United States afterward, exercising jurisdiction be- 
yond the Nueces, and between the two rivers. This actual 
exercise of jurisdiction is the very class or quality of evidence 
we want. It is excellent so far as it goes ; but does it go far 
enough ? He tells us it went beyond the Nueces, but he does 
not tell us it went to the Rio Grande. He tells us jurisdiction 
was exercised between the two rivers, but he does not tell us 
it was exercised over all the territory between them. Some 
simple-minded people think it possible to cross one river and 
go beyond it, without going all the way to the next ; that 
jurisdiction may be exercised between two rivers without 
covering all the country between them. I know a man, not 
very unlike myself, who exercises jurisdiction over a piece of 
land between the Wabash and the Mississippi ; and yet so 
far is this from being all there is between those rivers, that it 
is just one hundred and fifty-two feet long by fifty wide, and 
no part of it much within a hundred miles of either. He has 
a neighbor between him and the Mississippi — that is, just 
across the street, in that direction — whom, I am sure, he 
could neither persuade nor force to give up his habitation ; 
but which, nevertheless he could certainly annex, if it were 
to be done, by merely standing on his own. side of the street 
and claiming it, or even sitting down and writing a deed for it. 

"But next, the President tells us, the Congress of the 
United States understood the State of Texas they admitted 
into the Union to extend beyond the Neuces. Well, I sup- 
pose they did — I certainly so understand it — but how far 
beyond ? That Congress did not understand it to extend 
clear to the Rio Grande, is quite certain by the fact of their 
joint resolutions for admission expressly leaving all questions 
of boundary to future adjustment. And, it may be added, 
that Texas herself is proved to have had the same under- 
standing of it that our Congress had, by the fact of the exact 
conformity of her new Constitution to those resolutions. 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. Boundary Lines. 

" I am now through the whole of the President's evidence ; 
and it is a singular fact, that if any one should declare the 
President sent the army into the midst of a settlement of 
Mexican people, who had never submitted, by consent or by 
force to the authority of Texas or of the United States, and 
that there, and thereby, the first blood of the war was shed, 
there is not one word in all the President has said which 
would either admit or deny the declaration. In this strange 
omission chiefly consists the deception of the President's evi- 
dence — an omission which, it does seem to me, could scarcely 
have occurred but by design. My way of living leads me to 
be about the courts of justice ; and there I have sometimes 
seen a good lawyer, struggling for his client's neck, in a 
desperate case, employing every artifice to work round, befog, 
and cover up with many words some position pressed upon 
him by the prosecution, which he dared not admit, and yet 
could not deny. Party bias may help to make it appear so ; 
but, with all the allowance I can make for such bias, it still 
does appear to me that just such and from just such necessity, 
are the President's struggles in this case. 

" Some time after my colleague (Mr. Richardson) intro- 
duced the resolutions I have mentioned, I introduced a pre- 
amble, resolution, and interrogatories, intended to draw the 
President out, if possible, on this hitherto untrodden ground. 
To show their relevancy, I propose to state my understanding 
of the true rule for ascertaining the boundary betwen Texas 
and Mexico. It is, that wJierever Texas was exercising juris- 
diction was hers ; and wherever Mexico was exercising juris- 
diction was hers : and that whatever separated the actual 
exercise of jurisdiction of the one from that of the other, was 
the true boundary between them. If, as is probably true, 
Texas was exercising jurisdiction along the western bank of 
the Neuces, and Mexico was exercising it along the eastern 
bank of the Rio Grande, then neither river was the boundary, 
but the uninhabited country between the two was. The 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. Right to Revolutionize. 

extent of our territory in that region depended not on any 
treaty -fixed boundary (for no treaty had attempted it), but on 
revolution. Any people anywhere, being inclined and having 
the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing 
government, and form a new one that suits them better. 
This is a most valuable, a most sacred right— a right which, 
we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this 
right confined to cases in which the whole people of an exist- 
ing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of 
such people that can may revolutionize, and make their own 
of so much of their territory as they inhabit. More than 
this, a majority of any portion of such people may revolu- 
tionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near 
about them, who may oppose their movements. Such minority 
was precisely the case of the Tories of our own Revolution. 
It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines,' or old 
laws ; but to break up both and make new ones. As to the 
country now in question, we bought it of France in 1803, 
and sold it to Spain in 1819, according to the President's 
statement. After this, all Mexico, including Texas, revolu- 
tionized against Spain ; and still later, Texas revolutionized 
against Mexico. In my view, just so far as she carried her 
revolution, by obtaining the actual, willing or unwilling sub- 
mission of the people, so far the country was hers, and no 

" Now, sir, for the purpose of obtaining the very best evi- 
dence as to whether Texas had actually carried her revolution 
to the place where the hostilities of the present war com- 
menced, let the President answer the interrogatories I pro- 
posed, as before mentioned, or some other similar ones. Let 
him answer fully, fairly and candidly. Let him answer with 
facts, and not with arguments. Let him remember he sits 
where Washington sat ; and, so remembering, let him answer 
as Washington would answer. As a nation should not, and 
the Almighty will not, be evaded, so let him attempt no 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. 

evasion, no equivocation. And if, so answering, he can show 
that the soil was ours where the first blood of the war was 
shed — that it was not within an inhabited country, or, if 
within such, that the inhabitants had submitted themselves 
to the civil authority of Texas, or of the United States, and 
that the same is true of the site of Fort Brown — then I am 
with him for his justification. In that case, I shall be most 
happy to reverse the vote I gave the other day. I have a 
selfish motive for desiring that the President may do this ; I 
expect to give some votes, in connection with the war, which, 
without his so doing, will be of doubtful propriety, in my 
own judgment, but which will be free from the doubt if he 
does so. But if he can not or will not do this, — if, on any 
pretence, or no pretence, he shall refuse or omit it, — then I 
shall be fully convinced, of what I more than suspect already, 
that he is deeply conscious of being in the wrong ; that he 
feels the blood of this war, like the blood of Abel, is crying 
to heaven against him ; that he ordered General Taylor into 
the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, purposely to 
bring on a war ; that originally having some strong motive — 
what I will not stop now to give my opinion concerning — to 
involve the two countries in a war, and trusting to escape 
scrutiny by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding bright- 
ness of military glory — that attractive rainbow that rises in 
showers of blood — that serpent's eye that charms to destroy — 
he plunged into it, and has swept on and on, till, disappointed 
in his calculation of the ease with which Mexico might be 
subdued, he now finds himself he knows not where. How 
like the half insane mumbling of a fever dream is the whole 
war part of the late message ! At one time telling us that 
Mexico has nothing whatever that we can get but territory ; 
at another, showing us how we can support the war by levy- 
ing contributious on Mexico. At one time urging the national 
honor, the security of the future, the prevention of foreign 
interference, and even the good of Mexico herself, as among 



Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. 

the objects of the war ; at another, telling us that, ' to reject 
indemnity by refusing to accept a cession of territory, would 
be to abandon all our just demands, and to wage the war, 
bearing all its expenses, without a purpose or definite object.'' 
So, then, the national honor, security of the future, and every- 
thing but territorial indemnity, may be considered the no 
purposes and indefinite objects of the war ! But having it 
now settled that territorial indemnity is the only object, we 
are urged to seize, by legislation here, all that he was content 
to take a few months ago, and the whole province of Lower 
California to boot, and to still carrv on the war — to take all 
we are fighting for, and still fight on. Again, the President is 
resolved, under all circumstances, to have full territorial in- 
demnity for the expenses of the war ; but he forgets to tell 
us how we are to get the excess after those expenses shall 
have surpassed the value of the whole of the Mexican terri- 
tory. So, again, he insists that the separate national existence 
of Mexico shall be maintained ; but he does not tell us how 
this can be done after we shall have taken all her territory. 
Lest the question I here suggest be considered speculative 
merely, let me be indulged a moment in trying to show they 
are not. 

" The war has gone on some twenty months ; for the ex- 
penses of which, together with an inconsiderable old score, 
the President now claims about one-half of the Mexican 
territory, and that by far the better half, so far as concerns our 
ability to make any thing out of it. It is comparatively un- 
inhabited ; so that we could establish land offices in it, and 
raise some money in that way. But the other half is already 
inhabited, as I understand it, tolerably densely for the nature 
of the country ; and all its lands, or all that are valuable, 
already appropriated as private property. How, then, are we 
to make any thing out of these lands with this incumbrance 
on them, or how remove the incumbrance ? I suppose no 
one will say that we shall kill the people, or drive them out, 


Speech in Congress. The Mexican War. President's Position Unsatisfactory 

or make slaves of them, or even confiscate their property ? 
How, then, can we make much out of this part of the terri- 
tory ? If the prosecution of the war has, in expenses, already 
equalled the better half of the country, how long its future 
prosecution will be in equalling the less valuable half is not 
a speculative but a practical question, pressing closely upon 
us ; and yet it is a question which the President seems never 
to have thought of. 

"As to the mode of terminating the war and securing 
peace, the President is equally wandering and indefinite. 
First, it is to be done by a more vigorous prosecution of the 
war in the vital parts of the enemy's country ; and, after 
apparently talking himself tired on this point, the President 
drops down into a half despairing tone, and tells us, that 
' with a people distracted and divided by contending factions, 
and a government subject to constant changes, by successive 
revolutions, the continued success of our arms may fail to 
obtain a satisfactory peace. ' Then he suggests the propriety 
of wheedling the Mexican people to desert the counsels of 
their own leaders, and, trusting in our protection, to set up a 
government from which we can secure a satisfactory peace, 
telling us that ' this may become the only mode of obtaining 
such a peace. 1 But soon he falls into doubt of this too, and 
then drops back on to the already half abandoned ground of 
' more vigorous prosecution.' All this shows that the Presi- 
dent is in no wise satisfied with his own positions. First, he 
takes up one, and, in attempting to argue us into it, he argues 
himself out of it ; then seizes another, and goes through the 
same process j and then, confused at being able to think of 
nothing new, he snatches up the old one again, which he has 
some time before cast off. His mind, tasked beyond its'power, 
is running hither and thither, like some tortured creature on 
a burning surface, finding no such position on which it can 
settle down and be at ease. 

" Again, it is a singular omission in this message, that it 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. 

nowhere intimates when the President expects the war to 
terminate. At its beginning, General Scott was, by this same 
President driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, for intimating 
that peace could not be conquered in less than three or four 
months. But now at the end of about twenty months, during 
which time our arms have given us the most splendid suc- 
cesses — every department, and every part, land and water, 
officers and privates, regulars and volunteers, doing all that 
men could do, and hundreds of things which it had ever 
before been thought that men could not do ; after all this, 
this same President gives us a long message without showing 
us that as to the end, he has himself even an imaginary con- 
ception. As I have before said, he knows not where he is. 
He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably-perplexed 
man. God grant he may be able to show that there is not 
something about his conscience more painful than all his 
mental perplexity. 

(In Committee of the Whole House, June 20, 1848.) 

Mr. Lincoln said : 

" Mr. Chairman : — I wish at all times in no way to prac- 
tice any fraud upon the House or the Committee, and I also 
desire to do nothing which may be very disagreeable to any 
of the members. I therefore state, in advance, that my object 
in taking the floor is to make a speech on the general subject 
of internal improvements ; and if I am out of order in doing 
so, I give the Chair an opportunity of so deciding, and I will 
take my seat." 

The Chair. — " I will not undertake to anticipate what the 
gentleman may say on the subject of internal improvements. 
He will, therefore, proceed in his remarks, and if any question 
of order shall be made, the Chair will then decide it." 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. 

Mr. Lincoln. — " At an early day of this session the Presi- 
dent sent to us what may properly be termed an internal 
improvement veto message. The late Democratic Conven- 
tion which sat at Baltimore, and which nominated General 
Cass for the Presidency, adopted a set of resolutions, now 
called the Democratic platform, among which is one in these 
words : 

" ' That the Constitution does not confer upon the General 
Government the power to commence and carry on a general 
system of internal improvements.' 

" General Cass, in his letter accepting the nomination, holds 
this language : 

" ' I have carefully read the resolutions of the Democratic 
National Convention, laying down the platform of our politi- 
cal faith, and I adhere to them as firmly as I approve them 

"These things, taken together, show that the question of 
internal improvements is now more distinctly made — has 
become more intense, than at any former period. It can no 
longer be avoided. The veto message and the Baltimore 
resolution I understand to be, in substance, the same thing ; 
the latter being the more general statement, of which the 
former is the amplification — the bill of particulars. While I 
know there are many Democrats, on this floor and elsewhere, 
who disapprove that message, I understand that all who shall 
vote for General Cass will thereafter be considered as having 
approved it, as having indorsed all its doctrines. I suppose 
all, or nearly all, the Democrats will vote for him. Many of 
them will do so, not because they like his position on this 
question, but because they prefer him, being wrong in this, 
to another, whom they consider further wrong on other 
questions. In this way the internal improvement Democrats 
are to be, by a sort of forced consent, carried over, and 
arrayed against themselves on this measure of policy. Gen- 
eral Cass, once elected, will not trouble himself to make a 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. President's Position Repudiated. 

Constitutional argument, or, perhaps, any argument at all, 
when he shall veto a river or harbor bill. He will consider 
it a sufficient answer to all Democratic murmurs, to point to 
Mr. Polk's message, and to the "Democratic platform." 
This being the case, the question of improvements is verging 
to a final crisis ; and the friends of the policy must now 
battle, and battle manfully, or surrender all. In this view, 
humble as I am, I wish to review, and contest as well as I 
may, the general positions of this veto message. When I 
say general positions, I mean to exclude from consideration 
so much as relates to the present embarrassed state of the 
Treasury, in consequence of the Mexican war. 

" Those general positions are : That internal improvements 
ought not to be made by the General Government : 

" 1. Because they would overwhelm the treasury 

" 2. Because, while their burdens would be general, their 
benefits would be local and partial, involving an obnoxious 
inequality ; 

" 3. Because they would be unconstitutional ; 

" 4. Because the States may do enough by the levy and 
collection of tonnage duties ; or, if not, 

" 5. That the Constitution may be amended. 

" ' Do nothing at all, lest you do something wrong,' is the 
sum of these positions — is the sum of this message ; and this, 
with the exception of what is said about Constitutionality, 
applying as forcibly to making improvements by State au- 
thority as by the national authority. So that we must aban- 
don the improvements of the country altogether, by any and 
every authority, or we must resist and repudiate the doctrines 
of this message. Let us attempt the latter. 

" The first position is, that a system of internal improve- 
ment would overwhelm the treasury. 

" That, in such a system, there is a tendency to undue ex- 
pansion, is not to be denied. Such tendency is founded in the 
nature of the subject. A member of Congress will prefer 


Speech in Congress. President's Position Repudiated. 

voting for a bill which contains an appropriation for his dis- 
trict, to voting for one which does not ; and when a bill shall 
be expanded till every district shall be provided for, that it 
will be too greatly expanded is obvious. But is this any 
more true in Congress than in a State Legislature ? If a 
member of Congress must have an appropriation for his dis- 
trict, so a member of a Legislature must have one for his 
county ; and if one will overwhelm the national treasury, so 
the other will overwhelm the State treasury. Go where we 
will, the difficulty is the same. Allow it to drive us from the 
halls of Congress, and it will just as easily drive us from the 
State Legislatures. Let us, then, grapple with it, and test 
its strength. Let us, judging of the future by the past, 
ascertain whether there may not be, in the discretion of Con- 
gress, a sufficient power to limit and restrain this expansive 
tendency within reasonable and proper bounds. The Presi- 
dent himself values the evidence of the past. He tells us 
that at a certain point of our history, more than two hundred 
millions of dollars had been applied for, to make improve- 
ments, and this he does to prove that the treasury would be 
overwhelmed by such a system. Why did he not tell us 
how much was granted ? Would not that have been better 
evidence ? Let us turn to it, and see what it proves. In 
the message, the President tells us that ' during the four 
succeeding years, embraced by the administration of Presi 
dent Adams, the power not only to appropriate money, but 
to apply it, under the direction and authority of the General 
Government, as well to the construction of roads as to the 
improvement of harbors and rivers, was fully asserted and 

" This, then, was the period of greatest enormity. These, 
if any, must have been the days of the two hundred millions. 
And how much do you suppose was really expended for im- 
provements during those four years ? Two hundred millions ? 
One hundred ? Fifty ? Ten ? Five ? No, sir, less than two 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. 

millions. As shown by authentic documents, the expendi- 
tures on improvements during 1825, 1826, 1821 and 1828, 
amounted to $1,819,621 01. These four years were the 
period of Mr. Adams' administration, nearly, and substan- 
tially. This fact shows that when the power to make im- 
provements was 'fully asserted and exercised,' the Congress 
did keep within reasonable limits ; and what has been done 
it seems to me, can be done again. 

"Now for the second position of the message, namely, that 
the burdens of improvements would be general, while their 
benefits would be local and partial, involving an obnoxious 
inequality. That there is some degree of truth in this posi- 
tion I shall not deny. No commercial object of Government 
patronage can be so exclusively general, as not to be of some 
peculiar local advantage ; but on the other hand, nothing is 
so local as not to be of some general advantage. The navy, 
as I understand it, was established, and is maintained, at a 
great annual expense, partly to be ready for war, when war 
shall come, but partly also, and perhaps chiefly, for the pro- 
tection of our commerce on the high seas. This latter object 
is, for all I can see, in principle, the same as internal improve- 
ments. The driving a pirate from the track of commerce on 
the broad ocean, and the removing a snag from its more 
narrow path in the Mississippi river, can not, I think, be dis- 
tinguished in principle. Each is done to save life and pro- 
perty, and for nothing else. The navy, then, is the most 
general in its benefits of all this class of objects ; and yet even 
the navy is of some peculiar advantage to Charleston, Balti- 
more, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, beyond what it 
is to the interior towns of Illinois. The next most general 
object I can think of, would be improvements on the Missis- 
sippi river and its tributaries. They touch thirteen of our 
States — Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mis^ 
sissippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, 
Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Now, I suppose it will not be 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Compensation in Inequalites. 

denied, that these thirteen States are a little more interested 
in improvements on that great river than are the remaining 
seventeen. These instances of the navy, and the Mississippi 
river show clearly that there is something of local advantage 
in the most general objects. But the converse is also true. 
Nothing is so local as not to be of some general benefit. 
Take, for instance, the Illinois and Michigan canal. Con- 
sidered apart from its effects, it is perfectly local. Every 
inch of it is within the State of Illinois. That canal was first 
opened for business last April. In a very few days we were 
all gratified to learn, among other things, that sugar had been 
carried from New Orleans, through the canal, to Buffalo, in 
New York. This sugar took this route, doubtless, because 
it was cheaper than the old route. Supposing the benefit in 
the reduction of the cost of carriage to be shared between 
seller and buyer, the result is, that the New Orleans mer- 
chant sold his sugar a little dearer, and the people of Buffalo 
sweetened their coffee a little cheaper than before ; a benefit 
resulting from the canal, not to Illinois, where the canal is, 
but to Louisiana and New York, where the canal is not. In 
other transactions Illinois will, of course, have her share, and 
perhaps the larger share too, in the benefits of the canal ; but 
the instance of the sugar clearly shows that the benefits of an 
improvement are by no means confined to the particular 
locality of the improvement itself. 

" The just conclusion from all this is, that if the nation 
refuse to make improvements of the more general kind, 
because their benefits may be somewhat local, a State may, 
for the same reason, refuse to make an improvement of a local 
kind, because its benefits may be somewhat general. A State 
may well say to the Nation : ' If you will do nothing for me, 
I will do nothing for you.' Thus it is seen, that if this 
argument of ' inequality' is sufficient anywhere, it is sufficient 
everywhere, and puts an end to improvements altogether. 
I hope and believe, that if both the Nation and the States 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Coal better than Abstractions. 

would, in faith, in their respective spheres, do what they 
could in the way of improvements, what of inequality might 
be produced in one place might be compensated in another, 
and that the sum of the whole might not be very unequal. 
But suppose, after all, there should be some degree of in- 
equality : inequality is certainly never to be embraced for its 
own sake ; but is every good thing to be discarded which may 
be inseparably connected with some degree of it ? If so, we 
must discard all government. This Capitol is built at the 
public expense, for the public benefit ; but does any one doubt 
that it is of some peculiar local advantage to the property 
holders and business people of Washington ? Shall we re- 
move it for this reason ? And if so, where shall we set it 
down, and be free from the difficulty ? To make sure of our 
object shall we locate it nowhere, and leave Congress here- 
after to hold its sessions as the loafer lodged, 'in spots 
about V I make no special allusion to the present President 
when I say, there are few stronger cases in this world of 
1 burden to the many, and benefit to the few' — of ' inequality' 
— than the Presidency itself is by some thought to be. An 
honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while 
the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a 
day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, 
and yet what a monstrous inequality in the prices ! Does 
the President, for this reason, propose to abolish the Presi- 
dency ? He does not, and he ought not. The true rule, in 
determining to embrace or reject any thing, is not whether 
it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than 
of good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good, 
almost every thing, especially of government policy, is an 
inseparable compound of the two ; so that our best judgment 
of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. 
On this principle, the President, his friends, and the world 
generally, act on most subjects. Why not apply it, then, 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Chancellor Kent's Commentaries. 

upon this question ? Why, as to improvements, magnify the 
evil, and stoutly refuse to see any good in them ? 

" Mr. Chairman, on the third position of the message (the 
Constitutional question) I have not much to say. Being the 
man I am, and speaking when I do, I feel that in any attempt 
at an original, Constitutional argument, I should not be, and 
ought not to be, listened to patiently. The ablest and the 
best of men have gone over the whole ground long ago. I 
shall attempt but little more than a brief notice of what some 
of them have said. In relation to Mr. Jefferson's views, I 
read from Mr. Polk's veto message : 

" ' President Jefferson, in his message to Congress in 1806, 
recommended an amendment of the Constitution, with a view 
to apply an anticipated surplus in the treasury ' to the great 
purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and 
such other objects of public improvements as it may be 
thought proper to add to the Constitutional enumeration of 
the Federal powers.' And he adds: 'I suppose an amend- 
ment to the Constitution, by consent of the States, necessary, 
because the objects now recommended are not among those 
enumerated in the Constitution, and to which it permits the 
public moneys to be applied.' In 1825, he repeated, in his 
published letters, the opinion that no such power had been 
conferred upon Congress.' 

" I introduce this, not to controvert, just now, the Consti 
tutional opinion, but to show, that on the question of expedi- 
ency, Mr. Jefferson's opinion was against the present Presi- 
dent — that this opinion of Mr. Jefferson, in one branch at 
least, is, in the hands of Mr. Polk, like McFingal's gun : 

" 'Bears wide and kicks the owner over.' 

"But, to the Constitutional question. In 1826, Chancellor 
Kent first published his Commentaries on American Law. 
Re devoted a portion of one of the lectures to the question 
of the authority of Congress to appropriate public moneys for 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Justice Story's Commentaries. 

internal improvements. He mentions that the question had 
never been brought under judicial consideration, and proceeds 
to give a brief summary of the discussions it had undergone 
oetween the legislative and executive branches of the Gov- 
ernment. He shows that the legislative branch had usually 
been for, and the executive against, the power, till the period 
of Mr. J. Q. Adams' administration ; at which point he con- 
siders the executive influence as withdrawn from opposition, 
and added to the support of the power. In 1844, the Chan- 
celor published a new edition of his Commentaries, in which 
he adds some notes of what had transpired on the question 
since 1826. I have not time to read the original text, or the 
notes, but the whole may be found on page 26T, and the two 
or three following pages of the first volume of the edition of 
1844. As what Chancellor Kent seems to consider the sum 
of the whole, I read from one of the notes : 

" ' Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, vol. 2, page 429-440, and again, 
page 519-538, has stated at large the arguments for and 
against the proposition that Congress have a Constitutional 
authority to lay taxes, and to apply the power to regulate 
commerce, as a means directly to encourage and protect 
domestic manufactures ; and, without giving any opinion of 
his own on the contested doctrine, he has left the reader to 
draw his own conclusion. I should think, however, from the 
arguments as stated, that every mind which has taken no part 
in the discussions, and felt no prejudice or territorial bias on 
either side of the question, would deem the arguments in 
favor of the Congressional power vastly superior.' 

"It will be seen, that in this extract, the power to make 
improvements is not directly mentioned ; but by examining 
the context, both of Kent and of Story, it will appear that 
the power mentioned in the extract and the power to make 
improvements, are regarded as identical. It is not to be 
denied that many great and good men have been against the 


Speech in CoDgress. Internal Improvements. Tonnage Duties. 

power ; but it is insisted that quite as many, as great, and as 
good, have been for it ; and it is shown that, on a full survey 
of the whole, Chancelor Kent was of opinion that the argu- 
ments of the latter were vastly superior. This is but the 
opinion of a man ; but who was that man ? He was one of 
the ablest and most learned lawyers of his age, or of any 
other age. It is no disparagement to Mr. Polk, nor, indeed, 
to any one who devotes much time to politics, to be placed 
far behind Chancelor Kent as a lawyer. His attitude was 
most favorable to correct conclusions. He wrote coolly and 
in retirement. He was struggling to rear a durable monu- 
ment of fame ; and he well knew that truth and thoroughly 
sound reasoning were the only sure foundations. Can the 
party opinion of a party President, on a law question, as this 
purely is, be at all compared or set in opposition to that of 
such a man, in such an attitude as Chancelor Kent ? 

" This Constitutional question will probably never be better 
settled than it is, until it shall pass under judicial considera- 
tion ; but I do think that no man who is clear on this ques- 
tion of expediency need feel his conscience much pricked 
upon this. 

"Mr. Chairman, the President seems to think that enough 
may be done in the way of improvements, by means of ton- 
nage duties, under State authority, with the consent of the 
General Government. Now, I suppose this matter of tonnage 
duties is well enough in its own sphere. I suppose it may 
be efficient, and perhaps sufficient, to make slight improve- 
ments and repairs in harbors already in use, and not much 
out of repair. But if I have any correct general idea of it, 
it must be wholly inefficient for any generally beneficent pur- 
poses of improvement. I know very little, or rather nothing 
at all, of the practical matter of levying and collecting ton- 
nage duties ; but I suppose one of its principles must be, to 
lay a duty, for the improvement of any particular harbor, 
upon the tonnage coming into that harbor. To do otherwise 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Characteristic Illustration^ 

— to collect money In one harbor to be expended in improve- 
ments in another — would be an extremely aggravated form 
of that inequality which the President so much deprecates. 
If I be right in this, how could we make any entirely new 
improvements by means of tonnage duties ? How make a 
road, a canal, or clear a greatly obstructed river ? The idea 
that we could, involves the same absurdity of the Irish bull 
about the new boots : ' I shall never git 'em on,' says Pat- 
rick, 'till I wear 'em a day or two, and stretch 'em a little.' 
We shall never make a canal by tonnage duties, until it shall 
already have been made awhile, so the tonnage can get 
into it. 

" After all, the President concludes that possibly there 
may be some great objects of improvements which can not be 
effected by tonnage duties, and which, therefore, may be ex- 
pedient for the General Government to take in hand. Ac- 
cordingly, he suggests, in case any such be discovered, the 
propriety of amending the Constitution. Amend it for what ? 
If, like Mr. Jefferson, the President thought improvements 
expedient but not Constitutional, it would be natural enough 
for him to recommend such an amendment ; but hear what 
he says in this very message : 

" 'In view of these portentous consequences, I can not but 
think that this course of legislation should be arrested, even 
were there nothing to forbid it in the fundamental laws of 
our Union. ' 

" For what, then, would he have the Constitution amended ? 
With him it is a proposition to remove one impediment, 
merely to be met by others, which, in his opinion, can not be 
removed — to enable Congress to do what, in his opinion, they 
ought not to do if they could." 

[Here Mr. Meade, of Virginia, inquired if Mr. L. under- 
stood the President to be opposed, on grounds of expediency, 
to any and every improvement ? 

To which Mr. Lincoln answered : "In the very part of his 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Amending the Constitution 

message of which I am now speaking, I understand him as 
giving some vague expressions in favor of some possible 
objects of improvement ; but, in doing so, I understand him 
to be directly in the teeth of his own arguments in other parts 
of it. Xeither the President, nor any one, can possibly 
specify an improvement, which shall not be clearly liable to 
one or another of the objections he has urged on the score of 
expediency; I have shown, and might show again, that no 
work — no object — can be so general, as to dispense its benefits 
with precise equality ; and this inequality is chief among the 
' portentous consequences' for which he declares that im- 
provments should be arrested. Xo, sir ; when the President 
intimates that something in the way of improvements may 
properly be done by the General Government, he is shrink- 
ing; from the conclusions to which his own arguments would 
force him. He feels that the improvements of this broad and 
goodly land are a mighty interest ; and he is unwilling to 
confess to the people, or perhaps to himself, that he has built 
an argument which, when pressed to its conclusion, entirely 
annihilates this interest. 

" I have already said that no one who is satisfied of the 
expediency of making improvements need be much uneasy in 
his conscience about its Constitutionality. I wish now to 
submit a few remarks on the general proposition of amending 
the Constitution. As a General rule, I think we would do 
much better to let it alone. Xo slight occasion should tempt 
us to touch it. Better not take the first step, which may 
lead to a habit of altering it. Better rather habituate our- 
selves to think of it as unalterable. It can scarcely be made 
better than it is. Xew provisions would introduce new diffi- 
culties, and thus create and increase appetite for further 
change. Xo, sir ; let it stand as it is. Xew hands have 
never touched it. The men who made it have done their 
work, and have passed away. Who shall improve on what 
they did ? 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements 

" Mr. Chairman, for the purpose of reviewing this message 
in the least possible time, as well as for the sake of distinct- 
ness, I have analyzed its arguments as well as I could, and 
reduced them to the propositions I have stated. I have now 
examined them in detail. I wish to detain the committee 
only a little while longer, with some general remarks on the 
subject of improvements. That the subject is a difficult one, 
can not be denied. Still, it is no more difficult in Congress 
than in the State legislatures, in the counties or in the 
smallest municipal districts which everywhere exist. All 
can recur to instances of this difficulty in the case of county 
roads, bridges, and the like. One man is offended because a 
road passes over his land ; and another is offended because it 
does not pass over his ; one is dissatisfied because the bridge, 
for which he is taxed, crosses the river on a different road 
from that which leads from his house to town ; another can 
not bear that the county should get in debt for these same 
roads and bridges ; while not a few struggle hard to have 
roads located over their lands, and then stoutly refuse to let 
them be opened, until they are first paid the damages. Even 
between the different wards and streets of towns and cities, 
we find this same wrangling and difficulty. Now, these are 
no other than the very difficulties against which, and out of 
which, the President constructs his objections of ' inequalty,' 
' speculation,' and 'crushing the Treasury.' There is but a 
single alternative about them — they are sufficient, or they 
are not. If sufficient, they are sufficient out of Congress as 
well as in it, and there is ,J;he end. We must reject them 
as insufficient, or lie down and do nothing by any authority. 
Then, difficulty though there be, let us meet and overcome it. 

'Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt; 
Nothing so hard, but search will find it out.' 

"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and 
then we shall find the way. The tendency to undue expan- 


Speech in Congress. Internal Improvements. Value of Statistics. 

sion is unquestionably the chief difficulty. How to do some- 
thing, and still not to do too much, is the desideratum. Let 
each contribute his mite in the way of suggestion. The late 
Silas Wright, in a letter to the Chicago Convention, contrib- 
uted his, which was worth something ; and I now contribute 
mine, which may be worth nothing. At all events, it will 
mislead nobody, and therefore will do no harm. I would not 
borrow money. I am against an overwhelming, crushing 
system. Suppose that at each session, Congress shall first 
determine how much money can, for that year, be spared for 
improvements ; then apportion that sum to the most impor- 
tant objects. So far all is easy ; but how shall we determine 
which are the most important ? On this question comes the 
collision of interests. I shall be slow to acknowledge that 
your harbor or your river is more important than mine, and 
vice versa. To clear this difficulty, let us have that same 
statistical information which the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. 
Vinton] suggested at the beginning of this session. In that 
information we shall have a stern, unbending basis of facts — 
a basis in nowise subject to whim, caprice, or local interest. 
The pre-limited amount of means will save us from doing too 
much, and the statistics will save us from doing what we do 
in wrong places. Adopt and adhere to this course, and, it 
seems to me, the difficulty is cleared. 

" One of the gentlemen from South Carolina (Mr. Rhett) 
very much deprecates these statistics. He particularly ob- 
jects, as I understand him, to counting all the pigs and 
chickens in the land. I do not perceive much force in the 
objection. It is true, that if every thing be enumerated, a 
portion of such statistics may not be very useful to this ob- 
ject. Such products of the country as are to be consumed 
where they are produced, need no roads and rivers, no means 
of transportation, and have no very proper connection with 
this subject. The surplus, that which is produced in one 
place to be consumed in another ; the capacity of each locality 


Speech in Congress. Presidency and General Polities. The Veto Power. 

for producing a greater surplus ; the natural means of trans- 
portation, and their susceptibility of improvement ; the hin- 
drances, delays, and losses of life and property during 
transportation, and the causes of each, would be among the 
most valuable statistics in this connection. From these it 
would readily appear where a given amount of expenditure 
would do the most good. These statistics might be equally 
accessible, as they would be equally useful, to both the Nation 
and the States. In this way, and by these means, let the 
nation take hold of the larger works, and the States the 
smaller ones ; and thus, working in a meeting direction, dis- 
creetly, but steadily and firmly, what is made unequal in one 
place may be equalized in another, extravagance avoided, and 
the whole country put on that career of prosperity, which 
shall correspond with. its extent of territory, its natural re- 
sources, and the intelligence and enterprise of its people." 

{Delivered in the House, July 2t, 1848.) 


"Mr. Speaker: — Our Democratic friends seem to be in 
great distress because they think our candidate for the Pres- 
idency don't suit us. Most of them can not find out that 
General Taylor has any principles at all ; some, however, 
have discovered that he has one, but that that one is entirely 
wrong. This one principle is his position on the veto power. 
TUe gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Stanton) who has just 
taken his seat, indeed, has said there is very little if any dif- 
ference on this question between General Taylor and all the 
Presidents ; and he seems to think it sufficient detraction from 
General Taylor's position on it, that it has nothing new in it. 
But all others whom I have heard speak assail it furiously. 
A new member from Kentucky (Mr. Clarke) of very consid- 


Speech in Congress. The Veto Power. Jefferson's Views. 

erable ability, was in particular concern about it. He thought 
it altogether novel and unprecedented for a President, or a 
Presidential candidate, to think of approving bills whose 
Constitutionality may not be entirely clear to his own mind. 
He thinks the ark of our safety is gone, unless Presidents shall 
always veto such bills as, in their judgment, may be of doubt- 
ful Constitutionality. However clear Congress may be of 
their authority to pass any particular act, the gentleman 
from Kentucky thinks the President must veto it if he has 
doubts about it. Now I have neither time nor inclination to 
argue with the gentleman on the veto power as an original 
question ; but I wish to show that General Taylor, and not 
he, agrees with the earliest statesmen on this question. When 
the bill chartering the first Bank of the United States passed 
Congress, its Constitutionality was questioned ; Mr. Madison, 
then in the House of Representatives, as well as others, had 
opposed it on that ground. General Washington, as Presi- 
dent, was called on to approve or reject it. He sought and 
obtained, on the Constitutional question, the separate written 
opinions of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Edmund Randolph, they 
then being respectively Secretary of State, Secretary of the 
Treasury, and Attorney General. Hamilton's opinion was 
for the power ; while Randolph's and Jefferson's were both 
against it. Mr. Jefferson, in his letter dated February 15th, 
1191, after giving his opinion decidedly against the Constitu- 
tionality of that bill, closed with the paragraph which I now 
read : 

" ' It must be admitted, however, that unless the Presi- 
dent's mind, on a view of every thing which is urged for and 
against this bill, is tolerably clear that it is unauthorized by 
the Constitution ; if the pro and the con hang so even as to 
balance his judgment, a just respect for the wisdom of the 
Legislature would naturally decide the balance in favor of 
their opinion ; it is chiefly for cases where they are clearly 


Speech in Congress. The Veto Power. Gen. Taylor's Views. 

misled by error, ambition, or interest, that the Constitution 
has placed a check in the negative of the President.' 

" General Taylor's opinion, as expressed in his Allison 
letter, is as I now read : 

"'The power given by the veto is a high conservative 
power ; but, in my opinion, should never be exercised, except 
in cases of clear violation of the Constitution, or manifest 
haste and want of consideration by Congress. 

" It is here seen that, in Mr. Jefferson's opinion, if, on the 
Constitutionality of any given bill, the President doubts, he is 
not to veto it, as the gentleman from Kentucky would have 
him to do, but is to defer to Congress and approve it. And 
if we compare the opinions of Jefferson and Taylor, as ex- 
pressed in these paragraphs, we shall find them more exactly 
alike than we can often find any two expressions having any 
literal difference. None but interested fault-finders, can dis- 
cover any substantial variation. 

"But gentlemen on the other side are unanimously agreed 
that Gen. Taylor has no other principle. They are in utter 
darkness as to his opinions on any of the questions of policy 
which occupy the public attention. But is there any doubt 
as to what he will do on the prominent question, if elected ? 
Not the least. It is not possible to know what he will or 
would do in every imaginable case ; because many questions 
have passed away, and others doubtless will arise which none 
of us have yet thought of ; but on the prominent questions of 
currency, tariff, internal improvements, and Wilmot proviso, 
General Taylor's course is at least as well defined as is Gen- 
eral Cass's. Why, in their eagerness to get at General Tay- 
lor, several Democratic members here have desired to know 
whether, in case of his election, a bankrupt law is to be estab- 
lished. 'Can they tell us General Cass's opinion on this 
question? (Some member answered, 'He is against it.') 
Aye, how do you know he is ? There is nothing about it in 
the platform, nor elsewhere, that I have seen. If the gentle- 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency and General Politics. 

man knows any thing which I do not, he can show it. But 
to return : General Taylor, in his Allison letter says : 

" ' Upon the subject of the tariff, the currency, the im- 
provement of our great highways, rivers, lakes, and harbors, 
the will of the people, as expressed through their Represen- 
tatives in Congress, ought to be respected and carried out 
by the Executive. ' 

" Now, this is the whole matter — in substance, it is this : 
The people say to General Taylor, ' If you are elected shall 
we have a Xational bank V He answers, ' Your will, gentle- 
men, not mine.'' ' What about the tariff V ' Say yourselves.' 
' Shall our rivers and harbors be improved ?' ' Just as you 
please.' 'If you desire a bank, an alteration of the tariff, in- 
ternal improvements, any or all, I will not hinder you ; if you 
do not desire them, I will not attempt to force them on you. 
Send up your members of Congress from the various dis- 
tricts, with opinions according to your own, and if they are 
for these measures, or any of them, I shall have nothing to 
oppose ; if they are not for them, I shall not, by any appli- 
ances whatever, attempt to dragoon them into their adoption.' 
Xow, can there be any difficulty in understanding this ? To 
you, Democrats, it may not seem like principle ; but surely 
you can not fail to perceive the position plain enough. The 
distinction between it and the position of your candidate is 
broad and obvious, and I admit you have a clear right to show 
it is wrong, if you can ; but you have no right to pretend you 
can not see it at all. We see it, and to us it appears like 
principle, and the best sort of principle at that — the principle 
of allowing the people to do as they please with their own 
business. My friend from Indiana (Mr. C. B. Smith) has 
aptly asked, 'Are you willing to trust the people V Some of 
you answered, substantially, ' We are willing to trust the 
people ; but the President is as much the representative of 
the people as Congress.' In a certain sense, and to a certain 
extent, he is the representative of the people. He is elected 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency and General Politics. 

by them, as well as Congress is. But can he, in the nature 
of things, know the wants of the people as well as three hun- 
dred other men coming from all the various localities of the 
Nation ? If so, where is the propriety of having a Congress ? 
That the Constitution gives the President a negative on 
legislation, all know ; but that this negative should be sc 
combined with platforms and other appliances as to enable 
him, and, in fact, almost compel him, to take the whole of leg- 
islation into his own hands, is what we object to — is what Gen- 
eral Taylor objects to — and is what constitutes the broad dis- 
tinction between you and us. To thus transfer legislation is 
clearly to take it from those who understand with minuteness 
the interests of the people, and give it to one who does not 
and can not so well understand it. I understand your idea ; 
that if a Presidential candidate avow his opinion upon a 
given question, or rather upon all questions, and the people, 
with full knowledge of this, elect him, they thereby distinctly 
approve all those opinions. This, though plausible, is a most 
pernicious deception. By means of it measures are adopted 
or rejected, contrary to the wishes of the whole of one party, 
and often nearly half of the other. The process is this : 
Three, four, or half a dozen questions are prominent at a 
given time ; the party selects its candidate, and he takes his 
position on each of these questions. On all but one his posi- 
tions have already been indorsed at former elections, and his 
party fully committed to them ; but that one is new, and a 
large portion of them are against it, But what are they to do ? 
The whole are strung together, and they must take all or 
reject all. They can not take what they like and leave the 
rest. What they are already committed to, being the ma- 
jority, they shut their eyes and gulp the whole. Next elec- 
tion, still another is introduced in the same way. If we run 
our eyes along the line of the past, we shall see that almost, 
if not quite, all the articles of the present Democratic creed 
have been at first forced upon the party in this very way. 


Speech in Congress. On the Presidency. 

And just now, and just so, opposition to internal improve- 
ments is to be established if Gen. Cass shall be elected. 
Almost half the Democrats here are for improvements, but 
they will vote for Cass, and if he succeeds, their votes will 
have aided in closing the doors against improvements. Now,' 
this is a process which we think is wrong. We prefer a can- 
didate who, like Gen. Taylor, will allow the people to have 
their own way regardless of his private opinion ; and I should 
think the internal-improvement Democrats at least, ought to 
prefer such a candidate. He would force nothing on them 
which they don't want, and he would allow them to have 
improvements, which their own candidate, if elected, will not. 

11 Mr. Speaker, I have said Gen. Taylor's position is as well 
defined as is that of Gen. Cass. In saying this, I admit 
I do not certainly know what he would do on the Wilmot 
proviso. I am a Northern man, or, rather, a Western free 
State man, with a constituency I believe to be, and with per- 
sonal feelings I know to be, against the extension of slavery. 
As such, and with what information I have, I hope, and be- 
lieve, Gen. Taylor, if elected, would not veto the proviso ; but 
I do not know it. Yet, if I knew he would, I still would 
vote for him. I should do so, because, in my judgment, his 
election alone can defeat Gen. Cass ; and because, should 
slavery thereby go into the territory we now have, just 
so much will certainly happen by the election of Cass ; and, 
in addition, a course of policy leading to new wars, new 
acquisitions of territory, and still further extensions of 
slavery. One of the two is to be President ; which is pre- 
ferable ? 

"But there is as much doubt of Cass .on improvements 
as there is of Taylor on the proviso. I have no doubt my 
self of Gen. Cass on this question, but I know the Democrats 
differ among themselves as to his position. My internal im 
provement colleague (Mr. Wentworth) stated on this floor 
the other day, that he was satisfied Cass was for improve- 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. 

ments, because he had voted for all the bills that he (Mr. 
W.) had. So far so good. But Mr. Polk vetoed some of 
these very bills ; the Baltimore Convention passed a set of 
resolutions, among other things, approving these vetoes, and 
Cass declares, in his letter accepting the nomination, that 
he has carefully read these resolutions, and that he adheres 
to them as firmly as he approves them cordially. In other 
words, Gen. Cass voted for the bills, and thinks the President 
did right to veto them ; and his friends here are amiable 
enough to consider him as being on one side or the other, 
just as one or the other may correspond with their own re- 
spective inclinations. My colleague admits that the platform 
declares against the Constitutionality of a general system of 
improvement, and that Gen. Cass indorses the platform ; but 
he still thinks Gen. Cass is in favor of some sort of improve- 
ments. Well, what are they ? As he is against general 
objects, those he is for, must be particular and local. Now, 
this is taking the subject precisely by the wrong end. Par- 
ticularity — expending the money of the vohole people for an 
object which will benefit only a portion of them, is tne 
greatest real objection to improvements, and has been so held 
by Gen. Jackson, Mr. Polk, and all others, I believe, till now. 
But now, behold, the objects most general, nearest free from 
this objection, are to be rejected, while those most liable to it 
are to be embraced. To return : I can not help believing 
that Gen. Cass, when he wrote his letter of acceptance, well 
understood he was to be claimed by the advocates of both 
sides of this question, and that he then closed the door 
against all further expressions of opinion, purposely to retain 
the benefits of that double position. His subsequent equivo- 
cation at Cleveland, to my mind, proves such to have been 
the case. 

" One word more, and I shall have done with this branch 
of the subject. You Democrats, aud your candidate, in the 
main are in favor of laying down, in advance, a platform — a 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. The Republican Position. 

set of party positions, as a unit ; and then of enforcing the 
people, by every sort of appliance, to ratify them, however 
unpalatable some of them may be. We, and our candidate, 
are in favor of making Presidential elections and the legisla- 
tion of the country distinct matters ; so that the people can 
elect whom they please, and afterward legislate just as they 
please, without any hindrance, save only so much as may 
guard against infractions of the Constitution, undue haste, 
and want of consideration. The difference between us is 
clear as noonday. That we are right we can not doubt 
"We hold the true Republican position. In leaving the 
people's business in their hands we can not be wrong. We 
are willing, and even anxious, to go to the people on this 

" But I suppose I can not reasonably hope to convince you 
that we have any principles. The most I can expect is, to 
assure you that we think we have, and are quite contented 
with them. The other day, one of the gentlemen from 
Georgia (Mr. Iverson), an eloquent man, and a man of 
learning, so far as I can judge, not being learned myself, 
came down upon us astonishingly. He spoke in what the 
Baltimore American calls the 'scathing and withering style.' 
At the end of his second severe flash I was struck blind, and 
found myself feeling with my fingers for an assurance of my 
continued physical existence. A little of the bone was left> 
and I gradually revived. He eulogized Mr. Clay in high 
and beautiful terms, and then declared that we had deserted 
all our principles, and had turned Henry Clay out, like an 
old horse, to root. This is terribly severe. It can not be 
answered by argument ; at least, I can not so answer it. I 
merely wish to ask the gentleman if the Whigs are the only 
party he can think of, who sometimes turn old horses out to 
root ? Is not a certain Martin Van Buren an old horse 
which your own party have turned out to root ? and is he not 
rooting a little to your discomfort about now ? But in not 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. 

nominating Mr. Clay, we deserted our principles, you say. 
Ah ! in what ? Tell us, ye men of principles what principle 
we violated ? We say you did violate principle in discarding 
Van Buren, and we can tell you how. You violated the 
primary, the cardinal, the one great living principle of all 
Democratic representative government — the principle that 
the representative is bound to carry out the known will of his 
constituents. A large majority of the Baltimore Convention 
of 1844 were, by their constituents, instructed to procure 
Van Buren's nomination if they could. In violation, in 
utter, glaring contempt of this, you rejected him — rejected 
him, as the gentlemen from New York (Mr. Birdsall), the 
other day expressly admitted, for availability — that same 
' general availability' which you charge upon us, and daily 
chew over here, as something exceedingly odious and unprin- 
cipled. But the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Iverson), 
gave us a second speech yesterday, all well considered and 
put down in writing, in which Yan Buren was scathed and 
withered a ' few' for his present position and movements. I 
can not remember the gentlemen's precise language, but I do 
remember he put Yan Buren down, down, till he got him 
where he was finally to 'stink' and ' rot.' 

" Mr. Speaker, it is no business or inclination of mine to 
defend Martin Yan Buren. In the war of extermination now 
waging between him and his old admirers, I say, devil take 
the hindmost — and the foremost. But there is no mistaking 
the origin of the breach ; and if the curse of ' stinking' and 
1 rotting' is to fall on the first and greatest violaters of princi- 
ple in the matter, I disinterestedly suggest, that the gentle- 
man from Georgia and his present co-workers are bound to 
take it upon themselves." 

Mr. Lincoln then proceeded to speak of the objections 
against Gen. Taylor as a mere military hero ; retorting with 
effect, by citing the attempt to make out a military record for 
Gen. Cass ; and referring, in a bantering way, to his own ser- 


Speech in Congress, The Presidency. 

vices in the Black Hawk war, as already quoted. He then 
said : 

"While I have Gen. Cass in hand, I wish to say a word 
about his political principles. As a specimen, I take the re- 
cord of his progress on the Wilrnot Proviso. In the Wash- 
ington Union, of March 2, 184?, there is a report of the speech 
of Gen. Cass, made the day before in the Senate, on the 
Wilmot Proviso, during the delivery of which, Mr. Miller, of 
New Jersey, is reported to have interrupted him as follows, 
to wit : 

" ' Mr. Miller expressed his great surprise at the change in 
the sentiments of the Senator from Michigan, who had been 
regarded as the great champion of freedom in the North-west 
of which he was a distinguished ornament. Last year the 
Senator from Michigan was understood to be decidedly in 
favor of the Wilmot Proviso ; and, as no reason had been 
stated for the change, he (Mr. Miller) could not refrain from 
the expression of his extreme surprise.' 

" To this Gen. Cass is reported to have replied as follows, 
to wit : 

" Mr. Cass said, that the course of the Senator from New 
Jersey was most extraordinary. Last year he (Mr. Cass) 
should have voted for the proposition had it come up. But 
circumstances had altogether changed. The honorable Sena- 
tor then read several passages from the remarks as given 
above, which he had committed to writing, in order to refute 
such a charge as that of the Senator from New Jersey. 7 

" In the ' remarks above committed to writing,' is one num- 
bered 4, as follows, to wit : 

" ' 4th. Legislation would now be wholly imperative, be- 
cause no territory hereafter to be acquired can be governed 
without an act of Congress providing for its government. 
And such an act, on its passage, would open the whole sub- 
ject, and leave the Congress, called on to pass it, free to 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. General Cass. 

exercise its own discretion, entirely uncontrolled by any 
declaration found in the statute book.' 

"In Mies' Register, vol. Y3, page 293, there is a letter of 
General Cass to A. 0. P. Nicholson, of Nashville, Tennessee, 
dated December 24, 1847, from which the following are cor 
rect extracts : 

" ' The Wilmot Proviso has been before the country some 
time. It has been repeatedly discussed in Congress, and by 
the public press. I am strongly impressed with the opinion 
that a great change has been going on in the public mind 
upon this subject — in my own as well as others ; and that 
doubts are resolving themselves into convictions, that the 
principle it involves should be kept out of the National Legis- 
lature, and left to the people of the Confederacy in their 
respective local Governments. 

11 ' Briefly, then, I am opposed to the exercise of any juris- 
diction by Congress over this matter ; and I am in favor of 
leaving the people of any territory which may be hereafter 
acquired, the right to regulate it themselves, under the 
general principles of the Constitution. Because, 

" ' 1. I do not see in the Constitution any grant of the 
requisite power to Congress ; and I am not disposed to 
extend a doubtful precedent beyond its necessity — the estab- 
lishment of territorial governments when needed — leaving to 
the inhabitants all the rights compatible with the relations 
they bear to the Confederation.' 

"These extracts show that, in 1846, General Cass was for 
the Proviso at once ; that, in March, 1841, he was still for it, 
but not just then ; and that in December, 184*7, he was against 
it altogether. This is a true index to the whole man. When 
the question was raised in 1846, he was in a blustering hurry 
to take ground for it. He sought to be in advance, and to 
avoid the uninteresting position of a mere follower ; but soon 
he began to see glimpses of the great Democratic ox-gad wav- 
ing in his face, and to hear indistinctly, a voice saying, ' back,' 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. General Cass. 

'back, sir,' 'back a little.' He shakes his head and bats his 
eyes, and blunders back to his position of March, 1841 ; but 
still the gad waves, and the voice grows more distinct, and 
sharper still — ' back, sir !' ' back, I say !' ' further back !' and 
back he goes to the position of December, 1847 ; at which 
the gad is still, and the voice soothingly says — ' So !' ' Stand 
still at that. ' 

" Have no fears, gentlemen, of your candidate ; he exactly 
suits you, and we congratulate you upon it. However much 
you may be distressed about our candidate, you have all 
cause to be contented and happy with your own. If elected, 
he may not maintain all, or even any of his positions pre- 
viously taken ; but he will be sure to do whatever the party 
exigency, for the time being, may require ; and that is pre- 
cisely what you want. He and Van Buren are the same 
'manner of men ;' and like Yan Buren, he will never desert 
you till you first desert him." 

After referring at some length to extra " charges" of General 
Cass upon the Treasury, Mr. Lincoln continued : — 

"But I have introduced General Cass's accounts here, 
chiefly to show the wonderful physical capacities of the man. 
They show that he not only did the labor of several men at 
the same time, but that he often did it, at several places many 
hundred miles apart, at the same time. And at eating, too, 
his capacities are shown to be quite as wonderful. From 
October, 1821, to May, 1822, he ate ten rations a day in 
Michigan, ten rations a day here, in Washington, and nearly 
five dollar's worth a day besides, partly on the road between 
the two places. And then there is an important discovery in 
his example — the art of being paid for what one eats, instead 
of having to pay for it. Hereafter, if any nice young man 
shall owe a bill which he can not pay in any other way, he 
can just board it out. Mr. Speaker, we have all heard of the 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. Mexican War. 

animal standing in doubt between two stacks of hay, and 
starving to death ; the like of that would never happen to 
General Cass. Place the stacks a thousand miles apart, he 
would stand stock-still, midway between them, and eat them 
both at once ; and the green grass along the line would be 
apt to suffer some too, at the same time. By all means, 
make him President, gentlemen. He will feed you boun- 
teously — if if — there is any left after he shall have helped 

"But as General Taylor, is, par excellence, the hero of the 
Mexican war ; and, as you Democrats say we Whigs have 
always opposed the war, you think it must be very awkward 
and embarrassing for us to go for General Taylor. The 
declaration that we have always opposed the war, is true or 
false accordingly as one may understand the term ' opposing 
the war.' If to say 'the war was unnecessarily and uncon- 
stitutionally commenced by the President,' be opposing the 
war, then the Whigs have very generally opposed it. When- 
ever they have spoken at all, they have said this ; and they 
have said it on what has appeared good reason to them : 
The marching an army into the midst of a peaceful Mexican 
settlement, frightening the inhabitants away, leaving their 
growing crops and other property to destruction, to you may 
appear a perfectly amiable, peaceful, unprovoking procedure ; 
but it does not appear so to us. So to call such an act, to 
us appears no other than a naked, impudent absurdity, and 
we speak of it accordingly. But if, when the war had begun, 
and had become the cause of the country, the giving of our 
money and our blood, in common with yours, was support of 
the war, then it is not true that we have always opposed the 
war. With few individual exceptions, you have constantly 
had our votes here for all the necessary supplies. And, more 
than this, you have had the services, the blood, and the lives 
of our political brethren in every trial, and on every field. 
The beardless boy and the mature man — the humble and the 


Speech in Congress. The Presidency. Mexican War. 

distinguished, you have had them. Through suffering and 
death, by disease and in battle, they have endured, and fought, 
and fallen with you. Clay and Webster each gave a son, 
never to be returned. From the State of my own residence, 
besides other worthy but less known Whig names, we sent 
Marshall, Morrison, Baker, and Hardin ; they all fought, and 
one fell, and in the fall of that one, we lost our best Whig- 
man. Nor were the Whigs few in number, or laggard in the 
day of danger. In that fearful, bloody, breathless struggle at 
Buena Yista, where each man's hard task was to beat back 
five foes, or die himself, of the five high officers who perished, 
four were Whigs. 

" In speaking of this, I mean no odious comparison between 
the lion-hearted Whigs and Democrats who fought there. 
On other occasions, and among the lower officers and privates 
on that occasion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I 
wish to do justice to all. I think of all those brave men as 
Americans, in whose proud fame, as an American, I too have 
a share. Many of them, Whigs and Democrats, are my con- 
stituents and personal friends ; and I thank them — more than 
thank them — one and all, for the high, imperishable honor 
they have conferred on our common State. 

"But the distinction between the cause of the President in 
beginning the war, and the cause of the country after it was 
begun, is a distinction which you can not perceive. To you, 
the President and the country seem to be all one. You are 
interested to see no distinction between them ; and I venture 
to suggest that possibly your interest blinds you a little. 
We see the distinction, as we think, clearly enough ; and our 
friends, who have fought in the war, have no difficulty in see- 
ing it also. What those who have fallen would say, were 
they alive and here, of course we can never know ; but with 
those who have returned there is no difficulty. Colonel Has- 
• kell and Major Gaines, members here, both fought in the 
war ; and one of them underwent extraordinary perils and 


Speech in Congress. Speech at Springfield, 111. 

hardships ; still they, like all other Whigs here, vote on the 
record that the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally 
commenced by the President. And even General Taylor him- 
self, the noblest Roman of them all, has declared that, as a 
citizen, and particularly as a soldier, it is sufficient for him to 
know that his country is at war with a foreign nation, to do 
all in his power to bring it to a speedy and honorable termi- 
nation, by the most vigorous and energetic operations, with- 
out inquiring about its justice, or any thing else connected 
with it. 

" Mr. Speaker, let our Democratic friends be comforted with 
the assurance that we are content with our position, content 
with our company, and content with our candidate ; and that 
although they, in their generous sympathy, think we ought to 
be miserable, we really are not, and that they may dismiss the 
great anxiety they have on our account." 


{Delivered at Springfield, III., June 26, 185T.) 

" Fellow- Citizens : — I am here, to-night, partly by the 
invitation of some of you, and partly by my own inclination. 
Two weeks ago Judge Douglas spoke here, on the several 
subjects of Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, and Utah. I 
listened to the speech at the time, and have read the report 
of it since. It was intended to controvert opinions which I 
think just, and to assail (politically, not personally) those 
men who, in common with me, entertain those opinions. For 
this reason I wished then, and still wish to make some an- 
swer to it, which I now take the opportunity of doing. 

" I begin with Utah. If it prove to be true, as is probable, 
tljat the people of Utah are in open rebellion against the 
United States, then Judge Douglas is in favor of repealing 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. Kansas. 

their territorial organization, and attaching them to the ad- 
joining States for judicial purposes. I say, too, if they are 
in rebellion, they ought to be somehow coerced to obedience ; 
and I am not now prepared to admit or deny, that the 
Judge's mode of coercing them is not as good as any. The 
Republicans can fall in with it, without taking back any thing 
they have ever said. To be sure, it would be a considerable 
backing down by Judge Douglas, from his much vaunted 
doctrine of self-government for the territories ; but this is only 
additional proof of what was very plain from the beginning, 
that that doctrine was a mere deceitful pretence for the benefit 
of slavery. Those who could not see that much in the 
Nebraska act itself, which forced Governors, and Secretaries, 
and Judges on the people of the territories, without their 
choice or consent, could not be made to see, though one 
should rise from the dead. 

" But in all this, it is very plain the Judge evades the only 
question the Republicans have ever pressed upon the Democ- 
racy in regard to Utah. That question the Judge well knew 
to be this: 'If the people of Utah shall peacefully form a 
State Constitution tolerating polygamy, will the Democracy 
admit them into the Union V There is nothing in the United 
States Constitution or law against polygamy ; and why is it 
not a part of the Judge's ' sacred right of self-government' 
for the people to have it, or rather to keep it, if they choose ? 
These questions, so far as I know, the Judge never answers. 
It might involve the Democracy to answer them either way, 
and they go unanswered. 

"As to Kansas. The substance of the Judge's speech on 
Kansas, is an effort to put the Free State men in the wrong 
for not voting at the election of delegates to the Constitutional 
Convention. He says : ' There is every reason to hope and 
believe that the law will be fairly interpreted and impartially 
executed, so as to insure to every bona fide inhabitant the 
free and quiet exercise of the elective franchise.' 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. Kansas Elections. 

" It appears extraordinary that Judge Douglas should 
make such a statement. He knows that, by the law, no one 
can vote who has not been registered ; and he knows that the 
Free State men place their refusal to vote on the ground that 
but few of them have been registered. It is possible this is 
not true, but Judge Douglas knows it is asserted to be true 
in letters, newspapers, and public speeches, and borne by 
every mail, and blown by every breeze to the eyes and ears 
of the world. He knows it is boldly declared, that the peo- 
ple of many whole counties, and many whole neighborhoods 
in others, are left unregistered ; yet he does not venture to 
contradict the declaration, or to point out how they can vote 
without being registered ; but he just slips along, not seem- 
ing to know there is any such question of fact, and compla- 
cently declares, ' There is every reason to hope and believe 
that the law will be fairly and impartially executed, so as to 
insure to every bona fide inhabitant the free and quiet exer- 
cise of the elective franchise.' 

"I readily agree that if all had a chance to vote, they 
ought to have voted. If, on the contrary, as they allege, and 
Judge Douglas ventures not particularly to contradict, few 
only of the Free State men had a chance to vote, they were 
perfectly right in staying from the polls in a body. 

" By the way, since the Judge spoke, the Kansas election 
has come off. The Judge expressed his confidence that all 
the Democrats in Kansas would do their duty — including 
' Free State Democrats' of course. The returns received 
here, as yet, are very incomplete ; but, so far as they go, they 
indicate that only about one-sixth of the registered voters, 
have really voted ; and this, too, when not more, perhaps, 
than one-half of the rightful voters have been registered, thus 
showing the thing to have been altogether the most exquisite 
farce ever enacted. I am watching with considerable inter- 
est, to ascertain what figure ' the Free State Democrats' cut 
in the concern. Of course they voted — all Democrats do their 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. Dred Scott Decision. 

duty — and of course they did not vote for Slave State candi- 
dates. We soon shall know how many delegates they elected, 
how many candidates they have pledged to a free State, and 
how many votes were cast for them. 

"Allow me to barely whisper my suspicion, that there 
were no such things in Kansas as ' Free State Democrats' — 
that they were altogether mythical, good only to figure in 
newspapers and speeches in the free States. If there should 
prove to be one real, living free State Democrat in Kansas, I 
suggest that it might be well to catch him, and stuff and pre- 
serve his skin, as an interesting specimen of that soon to be 
extinct variety of the genus Democrat. 

"And now, as to the Dred Scott decision. That decision 
declares two propositions — first, that a negro cannot sue in 
the United States Courts ; and secondly, that Congress can 
not prohibit slavery in the Territories. It was made by a 
divided court — dividing differently on the different points. 
Judge Douglas does not discuss the merits of the decision, 
and in that respect, I shall follow his example, believing I 
could no more improve upon McLean and Curtis, than he 
could on Taney. 

" He denounces all who question the correctness of that 
decision, as offering violent resistance to it. But who resists 
it ? Who has, in spite of the decision, declared Dred Scott 
free, and resisted the authority of his master over him ? 

" Judicial decisions have two uses — first, to absolutely de- 
termine the case decided ; and secondly to indicate to the 
public how other similar cases will be decided when they 
arise. For the latter use, they are called ' precedents' and 
1 authorities.' 

" We believe as much as Judge Douglas (perhaps more) 
in obedience to, and respect for the judicial department of 
Government^ We think its decisions on Constitutional ques 
tions, when fully settled, should control, not only the partic 
ular cases decided, but the general policy of the country 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. Judicial Decisions Reviewed. 

subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitu- 
tion, as provided in that instrument itself. More than this 
would be revolution. But we think the Dred Scott decision 
is erroneous. We know the court that made it has often 
overruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to 
have it overrule this. We offer no resistance to it. 

" Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as pre- 
cedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, 
accords both with common sense, and the customary under- 
standing of the legal profession. 

" If this important decision had been made by the unani- 
mous concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent 
partisan bias, and in accordance with legal public expectation, 
and with the steady practice of the departments, throughout 
our history, and had been in no part based on assumed his- 
torical facts which are not really true ; or, if wanting in some 
of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had 
there been affirmed and re-affirmed through a course of years, 
it then might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revo- 
lutionary, not to acquiesce in it as a precedent. 

" But when, as is true, we find it wanting in all these 
claims to the public confidence, it is not resistance, it is not 
factious, it is not even disrespectful, to treat it as not having 
yet quite established a settled doctrine for the country. But 
Judge Douglas considers this view awful. Hear him : 

" ' The courts are the tribunals prescribed by the Constitu 
tion and created by the authority of the people to determine, 
expound, and enforce the law. Hence, whoever resists the 
final decision of the highest judicial tribunal, aims a deadly 
blow to our whole Republican system of government — a blow 
which, if successful, would place all our rights and liberties at 
the mercy of passion, anarchy and violence. I repeat, there- 
fore, that if resistance to the decisions of the Supreme Court 
of the United States, in a matter like the points decided in 
the Dred Scott case, clearly within their jurisdiction as de 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. A National Bank. 

fined by the Constitution, shall be forced upon the country 
as a political issue, it will become a distinct and naked issue 
between the friends and enemies of the Constitution — the 
friends and enemies of the supremacy of the laws.' 

" Why, this same Supreme Court once decided a national 
bank to be Constitutional ; but General Jackson, as President 
of the United States, disregarded the decision, and vetoed a 
bill for a re-charter, partly on Constitutional ground, declar- 
ing that each public functionary must support the Constitu 
tion, 'as he understands it.' But hear the General's own 
words. Here they are, taken from his veto message : 

" 'It is maintained by the advocates of the bank, that its 
Constitutionality, in all its features, ought to be considered as 
settled by precedent, and by the decision of the Supreme 
Court. To this conclusion I can not assent. Mere precedent 
is a dangerous source of authority, and should not be regarded 
as deciding questions of Constitutional power, except where 
the acquiescence of the people and the States can be consid- 
ered as well settled. So far from this being the case on this 
subject, an argument against the bank might be based on 
precedent. One Congress, in 1791, decided in favor of a 
bank; another, in 1811, decided against it. One Congress, 
in 1815, decided against a bank ; another, in 1816, decided in 
its favor. Prior to the present Congress, therefore, the pre- 
cedents drawn from that source were equal. If we resort to 
the States, the expression of legislative, judicial, and execu- 
tive opinions against the bank have been probably to those 
in its favor as four to one. There is nothing in precedent, 
therefore, which, if its authority were admitted, ought to 
weigh in favor of the act before me.' 

" I drop the quotations merely to remark, that all there ever 
was, in the way of precedent up to the Dred Scott decision, 
on the points therein decided, had been against that decision. 
But hear General Jackson further : 

" ' If the opinion of the Supreme Court covered the whole 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. The Dred Scott Decision. 

ground of this act, it ought not to control the co-ordinate 
authorities of this Government. The Congress, the Executive 
and the Court, must each for itself be guided by its own 
opinion of the Constitution. Each public officer, who takes 
an oath to support the Constitution, swears that he will sup- 
port it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by 

"Again and again have I heard Judge Douglas denounce 
that bank decision, and applaud General Jackson for disre- 
garding it. It would be interesting for him to look over his 
recent speech, and see how exactly his fierce philippics against 
us for resisting Supreme Court decisions, fall upon his own 
head. It will call to mind a long and fierce political war in 
this country, upon an issue which, in his own language, and, 
of course, in his own changeless estimation, was 'a distinct 
issue between the friends and the enemies of the Constitu- 
tion,' and in which war he fought in the ranks of the enemies 
of the Constitution. 

" I have said, in substance, that the Dred Scott decision was, 
in part, based on assumed historical facts which were not 
really true, and I ought not to leave the subject without 
giving some reasons for saying this ; I, therefore, give an 
instance or two, which I think fully sustain me. Chief Jus- 
tice Taney, in delivering the opinion of the majority of the 
Court, insists at great length, that negroes were no part of 
the people who made, or for whom was made, the Declara- 
tion of Independence, or the Constitution of the United 

" On the contrary, Judge Curtis, in his dissenting opinion, 
shows that in five of the then thirteen States, to wit : New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and 
North Carolina, free negroes were voters, and, in proportion 
to their numbers, had the same part in making the Constitu- 
tion that the white people had. He shows this with so much 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. The Black Man's Bondage. 

particularity as to leave no doubt of its truth ; and as a sort 
of conclusion on that point, holds the following language : 

" ' The constitution was ordained and established by the 
people of the United States, through the action, in each State, 
of those persons who were qualified by its laws to act thereon 
in behalf of themselves and all other citizens of the State. 
In some of the States, as we have seen, colored persons were 
among those qualified by law to act on the subject. These 
colored persons were not only included in the body of* ' the 
people of the United States,' by whom the Constitution was 
ordained and established ; but in at least five of the States 
they had the power to act, and, doubtless, did act, by their 
suffrages, upon the question of its adoption.' 

"Again, Chief Justice Taney says : ' It is difficult, at this 
day to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that 
unfortunate race, which prevailed in the civilized and enlight- 
ened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of 
Independence, and when the Constitution of the United 
States was framed and adopted.' And again, after quoting 
from the Declaration, he says : ' The general words above 
quoted would seem to include the whole human family, and 
if they were used in a similar instrument at this day, would 
be so understood.' 

" In these the Chief Justice does not directly assert, but 
plainly assumes, as a fact, that the public estimate of the 
black man is more favorable now than it was in the days of 
the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake. In some 
trifling particulars, the condition of that race has been amelio- 
rated ; but as a whole, in this country, the change between 
then and now is decidedly the other way ; and their ultimate 
destiny has never appeared so hopeless as in the last three or 
four years. In two of the five States — New Jersey and 
North Carolina — that then gave the free negro the right of 
voting, the right has since been taken away ; and in the third 
— New York — it has been greatly abridged ; while it has not 


,peech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. The Black Man's Bondage. 

oeen extended, so far as I know, to a single additional State, 
though the number of the States has more than doubled. In 
those days, as I understand, masters could, at their own 
pleasure, emancipate their slaves ; but since then such legal 
restraints have been made upon emancipation as to amount 
almost to prohibition. In those days ' Legislatures held the 
unquestioned power to abolish slavery ia their respective 
States ; but now it is becoming quite fashionable for State 
Constitutions to withold that power from the Legislatures. 
In those days by common consent, the spread of the black 
man's bondage to the new countries was prohibited ; but now, 
Congress decides that it will not continue the prohibition — 
and the Supreme Court decides that it could not if it would 
In those days our Declaration of Independence was held 
sacred by all, and thought to include all ; but now, to aid in 
making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is 
assailed, sneered at, construed, hawked at, and torn, till, if its 
framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all 
recognize it. All the powers of earth seem rapidly combin- 
ing against him. Mammon is after him ; ambition follows, 
philosophy follows, and the theology of the day is fast join- 
ing the cry. They have him in his prison-house ; they have 
searched his person, and left no prying instrument with him. 
One after another they have closed the heavy iron doors upon 
him ; and now they have him, as it were, bolted in with a 
lock of a hundred keys, which can never be unlocked without 
the concurrence of every key ; the keys in the hands of a hun- 
dred different men, and they scattered to a hundred different 
and distant places ; and they stand musing as to what inven- 
tion, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be pro- 
duced to make the impossibility of his escape more complete 
than it is. 

" It is grossly incorrect to say or assume, that the public 
estimate of the negro is more favorable now than it was at 
the origin of the Government. 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. The Nebraska Bill 

" Three years and a half ago, Judge Douglas brought for- 
ward his famous Nebraska bill. The country was at once in 
a blaze. He scorned all opposition, and carried it through 
Congress. Since then he has seen himself superseded in a 
Presidential nomination, by one indorsing the general doc- 
trine of his measure, but at the same time standing clear of 
the odium of its untimely agitation, and its gross breach of 
national faith ; and he has seen that successful rival Consti- 
tutionally elected, not by the strength of friends, but by the 
division of his adversaries, being in a popular minority of 
nearly four hundred thousand votes. He has seen his chief 
aids in his own State, Shields and Richardson, politely speak- 
ing, successively tried, convicted, and executed, for an offence 
not their own, but his. And now he sees his own case, 
standing next on the docket for trial. 

" There is a natural disgust, in the minds of nearly all white 
people, to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the 
white and black races ; and Judge Douglas evidently is basing 
his chief hope upon the chances of his being able to appro- 
priate the benefit of this disgust to himself. If he can, by 
much drumming and repeating, fasten the odium of that idea 
upon his adversaries, he thinks he can struggle through the 
storm. He, therefore, clings to this hope, as a drowning man 
to the last plank. He makes an occasion for lugging it in 
from the opposition to the Dred Scott decision. He finds the 
Republicans insisting that the Declaration of Independence 
includes all men, black as well as white, and forthwith he 
boldly denies that it includes negroes at all, and proceeds to 
argue gravely that all who contend it does do so only because 
they want to vote, eat and sleep, and marry with negroes 
He will have it that they can not be consistent else. Now, 
I protest against the counterfeit logic which concludes that 
because I do not want a black woman for a slave I mus J 
necessarily want her for a wife. I need not have her fc 
either. I can just leave her alone. In some respects sh 


Speech at Springfield. Reply to Judge Douglas. The Declaration of Independence 

certainly is not my equal ; but in her natural right to eat the 
bread she earns with her own hands, without asking leave of 
any one else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others. 

" Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, 
admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough 
to include the whole human family ; but he and Judge Doug- 
las argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend 
to include negroes, by the fact that they did not at once actu- 
ally place them on an equality with the whites. Now, this 
grave argument comes to just nothing at all, by the other 
fact, that they did not at once, or ever afterward, actually 
place all white people on an equality with one another. And 
this is the staple argument of both the Chief Justice and the 
Senator for doing this obvious violence to the plain, unmis- 
takable language of the Declaration. 

" I think the authors of that notable instrument intended 
to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men 
equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were 
equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social 
capacity. They denned with tolerable distinctness in what 
respects they did consider all men created equal — equal with 
' certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness.' This they said, and this meant. 
They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all 
were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet that they 
were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact, 
they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant 
simply to declare the rigid, so that the enforcement of it 
might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Douglas. 

(At Chicago, on the evening of July 10, 1858.) 

" My Fellow-Citizens : On yesterday evening, upon the 
occasion of the reception given to Senator Douglas, I was 
furnished with a seat very convenient for hearing him, and 
was otherwise very courteously treated by him and his 
Mends, for which I thank him and them. During the course 
of his remarks my name was mentioned in such a way as, I 
suppose, renders it at least not improper that I should make 
some sort of reply to him. I shall not attempt to follow him 
in the precise order in which he addressed the assembled 
multitude upon that occasion, though I shall perhaps do so in 
the main. 

" There was one question to which he asked the attention 
of the crowd, which I deem of somewhat less importance — at 
least of propriety for me to dwell upon — than the others, 
which be brought in near the close of his speech, and which 
I think it would not be entirely proper for me to omit attend- 
ing to, and yet if I were not to give some attention to it now, 
I should probably forget it altogether. While I am upon 
this subject, allow me to say that I do not intend to indulge 
in that inconvenient mode sometimes adopted in public 
speaking, of reading from documents ; but I shall depart from 
that rule so far as to read a little scrap from his speech, 
which notices this first topic of which I shall speak — that is, 
provided I can find it in the paper. [Examines the morning's 
paper. J 

" ' I have made up my mind to appeal to the people against 
the combination that has been made against me ! the Repub- 
lican leaders having formed an alliance, an unholy and un- 
natural alliance, with a portion of unscrupulous federal office- 
holders. I intend to fight that allied army wherever I meet 
them. I know they deny the alliance, but yet these men who 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Douglas. 

are trying to divide the Democratic party for the purpose of 
electing a Republican Senator in my place, are just as much 
the agents and tools of the supporters of Mr. Lincoln. Hence 
I shall deal with this allied army just as the Russians dealt 
with the allies at Sebastopcl — that is, the Russians did not 
stop to inquire, when they fired a broadside, whether it hit 
an Englishman, a Frenchman, or a Turk. Nor will I stop to 
inquire, nor shall I hesitate, whether my blows shall hit these 
Republican leaders or their allies, who are holding the federal 
offices and yet acting in concert with them.' 

" Well, now, gentlemen, is not that very alarming ? Just 
to think of it ! right at the outset of his canvass, I, a poor, 
kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman, I am to be slain in this 
way. Why, my friends, the Judge, is not only, as it turns 
out, not a dead lion, nor even a living one — he is the rugged 
Russian Bear ! 

" But if they will have it — for he says that we deny it — 
that there is any such alliance as he says there is— and I 
don't propose hanging very much upon this question of vera- 
city — but if he will have it that there is such an alliance — that 
the Administration men and we are allied, and we stand in 
the attitude of English, French and Turk, he occupying the 
position of the Russian, in that case, I beg that he will in- 
dulge us while we barely suggest to him that these allies took 

" Gentlemen, only a few more words as to this alliance. For 
my part, I have to say, that whether there be such an alliance, 
depends, so far as I know, upon what may be a right defini- 
tion of the term alliance. If for the Republican party to 
see the other great party to which they are opposed divided 
among themselves, and not try to stop the division and rather 
be glad of it — if that is an alliance, I confess I am in ; but if 
it is meant to be said that the Republicans had formed an 
alliance going beyond that, by which there is contribution of 
money or sacrifice of principle on the one side or the other, 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. Popular Sovereignty. 

so far as the Republican party is concerned, if there be any 
such thing, I protest that I neither know any thing of it, nor 
do I believe it I will, however, say — as I think this branch 
of the argument is lugged in — I would, before I leave it, 
state, for the benefit of those concerned, that one of those 
same Buchanan men did once tell me of an argument that he 
made for his opposition to Judge Douglas. He said that a 
friend of our Senator Douglas had been talking to him, and 
had among other things said to him : ' Why, you don't want 
to beat Douglas?' 'Yes,' said he, 'I do want to beat him, 
and I will tell you why. I believe his original Nebraska Bill 
was right in the abstract, but it was wrong in the time that it 
was brought forward. It was wrong in the application to a 
Territory in regard to which the question had been settled ; 
it was brought forward in a time when nobody asked him ; it 
was tendered to the South when the South had not asked for 
it, but when they could not well refuse it ; and for this same 
reason he forced that question upon our party ; it has sunk 
the best men all over the nation, everywhere ; and now when 
our President, struggling with the difficulties of this man's 
getting up, has reached the very hardest point to turn in the 
case, he deserts him, and I am for putting him where he will 
trouble us no more.' 

" ISTow, gentlemen, that is not my argument — that is not 
my argument at all. I have only been stating to you the 
argument of a Buchanan man. You will judge if there is 
any force in it. 

"Popular sovereignty! everlasting popular sovereignty! 
Let us for a moment inquire into this vast matter of popular 
sovereignty. What is popular sovereignty ? We recollect 
that in an early period in the history of this struggle, there 
was another name for the same thing — Squatter Sovereignty. 
It was not exactly Popular Sovereignty, but Squatter Sover- 
eignty. What do those terms mean ? What do those terms 
mean when used now ? And vast credit is taken by our 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. Squatter Sovereignty. 

friend, the Judge, in regard to his support of it, when he 
declares the last years of his life have been, and all the future 
years of his life shall be, devoted to this matter of popular 
sovereignty. What is it ? Why it is the sovereignty of the 
people ! What was Squatter Sovereignty ? I suppose if it 
had any significance at all it Was the right of the people to 
govern themselves, to be sovereign in their own affairs while 
they were squatted down in a country not their own, while 
they had squatted on a Territory that did not belong to them, 
in the sense that a State belongs to the people who inhabit 
it — when it belonged to the nation — such right to govern 
themselves was called ' Squatter Sovereignty.' 

"Now I wish you to mark. What has become of that 
Squatter Sovereignty ? What has become of it ? Can you 
get any body to tell you now that the people of a Territory 
have any authority to govern themselves, in regard to this 
mooted question of slavery, before they form a State Consti- 
tution ? No such thing at all, although there is a general 
running fire, and although there has been a hurrah made in 
every speech on that side, assuming that policy had given 
the people of a Territory the right to govern themselves upon 
this question ; yet the point is dodged. To-day it has been 
decided — no more than a year ago it was decided by the 
Supreme Court of the United States, as is insisted upon to- 
day, that the people of a Territory have no right to exclude 
slavery from a Territory, that if any one man chooses to take 
slaves into a Territory, all of the rest of the people have no 
right to keep them out. This being so, and this decision 
being made one of the points that the Judge approved, and 
one in the approval of which he says he means to keep me 
down — put me down I should not say, for I have never been 
up. He says he is in favor of it, and sticks to it, and expects 
to win his battle on that decision, which says that there is no 
such thing as Squatter Sovereignty ; but that any one man 
may take slaves into a Territory, and all the other men in the 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. Negro Slavery. 

Territory may be opposed to it, and yet by reason of the 
Constitution they can not prohibit it. When that is so, how 
much is left of this vast matter of Squatter Sovereignty 1 
should like to know ? [A voice — ' It is all gone.'] 

" When we get back, we get to the point of the right of the 
people to make a Constitution. Kansas was settled, for 
example, in 1854. It was a Territory yet, without having 
formed a Constitution, in a very regular way, for three years. 
All this time negro slavery could be taken in by any few 
individuals, and by that decision of the Supreme Court, which 
the Judge approves, all the rest of the people can not keep it 
out ; but when they come to make a Constitution they may 
say they will not have slavery. But it is there ; they are 
obliged to tolerate it some way, and all experience shows it 
will be so — for they will not take negro slaves and abso- 
lutely deprive the owners of them. All experience shows 
this to be so. All that space of time that runs from the 
beginning of the settlement of the Territory until there is 
sufficiency of people to make a State Constitution — all that 
portion of time popular sovereignty is given up. The seal 
is absolutely put down upon it by the Court decision, and 
Judge Douglas puts his on the top of that, yet he is appealing 
to the people to give him vast credit for his devotion to popu- 
lar sovereignty. 

" Again, when we get to the question of the right of the 
people to form a State Constitution as they please, to form it 
with slavery or without slavery — if that is any thing new, I 
confess I don't know it. Has there ever been a time when 
any body said that any other than the people of a Territory 
itself should form a Constitution ? What is now in it that 
Judge Douglas should have fought several years of his life, 
and pledge himself to fight all the remaining years of his 
life for ? Can Judge Douglas find any body on earth that 
said that any body else should form a Constitution for a 
people ? [A voice, 'Yes.'] Well, I should like you to name 



Speech at Chicago. 

Reply to Senator Douglas. 

him ; 

I should 









'John Calhoun.'] 

" No, Sir, I never heard of even John Calhoun saying such 
a thing. He insisted on the same principle as Judge Douglas ; 
but his mode of applying it in fact, was wrong. It is enough 
for my purpose to ask this crowd, when ever a Republican 
said any thing against it ? They never said any thing against 
it, but they have constantly spoken for it ; and whosoever will 
undertake to examine the platform, and the speeches of re- 
sponsible men of the party, and of irresponsible men, too, if 
you please, will be unable to find one word from anybody 
in the Republican ranks, opposed to that Popular Sovereignty 
which Judge Douglas thinks that he has invented. I suppose 
that Judge Douglas will claim in a little while, that he is the 
inventor of the idea that the people should govern them- 
selves ; that nobody ever thought of such a thing until he 
brought it forward. We do remember, that in that old 
Declaration of Independence, it is said that ' We hold these 
truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ; 
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain in- 
alienable rights ; that among these are life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness ; that to secure these rights, govern- 
ments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers 
from the consent of the governed.' There is the origin of 
the Popular Sovereignty Who, then, shall come in at this 
day and claim that he invented it" ? 

After referring, in appropriate terms, to the credit 
claimed by Douglas for defeating the Lecompton policy, Mr. 
Lincoln proceeds : 

"I defy you to show a printed resolution passed in a Demo- 
cratic meeting — I take it upon myself to defy any man to 
show a printed resolution of a Democratic meeting, large or 
small, in favor of Judge Trumbull, or any of the five to one 
Republican who beat the bill. Every thing must be for the 


Speech at Chicago. Heply to Senator Douglas. Negro Slavery. 

Democrats ! They did every thing, and the five to the one 
that really did the thing, they snub over, and they do not 
seem to remember that they have an existence upon the face 
of the earth. 

" Gentlemen, I fear that I shall become tedious. I leave 
this branch of the subject to take hold of another. I take up 
that part of Judge Douglas's speech in which he respectfully 
attended to me. 

" Judge Douglas made two points upon my recent speech 
at Springfield. He says they are to be the issues of this cam- 
paign. The first one of these points he bases upon the lan- 
guage in a speech which I delivered at Springfield, which I 
believe I can quote correctly from memory. I said there that 
1 we are now far on in the fifth year since a policy was insti- 
tuted for the avowed object, and with the confident promise 
of putting an end to slavery agitation ; under the operation 
of that policy, that agitation had not only not ceased, but 
had constantly augmented. I believe it will not cease until a 
crisis shall have been reached and passed. A house divided 
against itself can not stand. I believe this Government can 
not endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not 
expect the Union to be dissolved' — I am quoting from my 
speech — ' I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it 
will cease to be divided. It will come all one thing or the 
other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the spread 
of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the 
belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its ad- 
vocates will push it forward until it shall have become alike 
lawful in all the States, North as well as South.' 

" In this paragraph which I have quoted in your hearing, 
and to which I ask the attention of all, Judge Douglas thinks 
he discovers great political heresy. I want your attention 
particularly to what he has inferred from it. He says I am 
in favor of making all the States of this Union uniform in all 
their internal regulations ; that in all their domestic concerns 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. His Prediction about Slavery. 

I am in favor of making them entirely uniform. He draws 
this inference from the language I have quoted to you. He 
says that I am in favor of making war by the North upon the 
South for the extinction of slavery ; that I am also in favor 
of inviting, as he expresses it, the South to a war upon the 
North, for the purpose of nationalizing slavery. Now, it is 
singular enough, if you will carefully read that passage over, 
that I did not say that I was in favor of any thing in it. I 
only said what I expected would take place. I made a pre- 
diction only — it may have been a foolish one perhaps. I did 
not even say that I desired that slavery should be put in 
course of ultimate extinction. I do say so now, however, so 
there need be no longer any difficulty about that, It may be 
written down in the next speech. 

" Gentlemen, Judge Douglas informed you that this speech 
of mine was probably carefully prepared. I admit that it 
was. I am not master of language ; I have not a fine educa- 
tion ; I am not capable of entering into a disquisition upon 
dialects, as I believe you call it ; but I do not believe the lan- 
guage I employed bears any such construction as Judge 
Douglas puts upon it. But I don't care about a quibble in 
regard to words. I know what I meant, and I will not 
leave this crowd in doubt, if I can explain it to them, what 
I really meant in the use of that paragraph. 

"lam not, in the first place, unaware that this Govern- 
ment has endured eighty-two years, half slave and half free. 
I know that. I am tolerably well acquainted with the history 
of the country, and I know that it has endured eighty-two 
years, half slave and half free. I believe — and that is what I 
meant to allude to there — I believe it has endured, because 
during all that time, until the introduction of the Nebraska 
bill, the public mind did rest all the time in the belief that 
slavery was in course of ultimate extinction. That was what 
gave us the rest that we had through that period of eighty- 
two years j at least, so I believe. I have always hated 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. The Nation's Belief. 

slavery, I think, as much as any Abolitionist. I have been 
an Old Line Whig. I have always hated it, but I have 
always been quiet about it until this new era of the introduc- 
tion of the Nebraska Bill began. I always believed that 
everybody was against it, and that it was in course of ultimate 
extinction. [Pointing to Mr. Browning, who stood near by :] 
Browning thought so ; the great mass of the Nation have 
rested in the belief that slavery was in the course of ultimate 
extinction. They had reason so to believe. 

" The adoption of the Constitution and its attendant history 
led the people to believe so ; and that such was the belief of 
the framers of the Constitution itself. Why did those old 
men, about the time of the adoption of the Constitution, 
decree that slavery should not go into the new territory, 
where it had not already gone ? Why declare that within 
twenty years the African slave-trade, by which slaves are 
supplied, might be cut off by Congress ? Why were all these 
acts ? I might enumerate more of such acts — but enough. 
What were they but a clear indication that the framers of the 
Constitution intended and expected the ultimate extinction of 
that institution ? And now, when I say, as I said in this 
speech that Judge Douglas has quoted from, when I say that 
I think the opponents of slavery will resist the further spread 
of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest with the 
belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, I only mean 
to say, that they will place it where the founders of this 
Government originally placed it. 

" I have said a hundred times, and I have no inclination to 
take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be 
no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into 
the slave States, and to interfere with the question of slavery 
at all. I have said that always. Judge Douglas has heard 
me say it — if not quite a hundred times, at least as good as a 
hundred times ; and when it is said that I am in favor of 
interfering with slavery where it exists, I know that it is 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. His Views on State Rights. 

unwarranted by any thing I have ever intended, and, as I 
believe, by any thing I have ever said. If, by any means, I 
have ever used language which could fairly be so construed 
(as, however, I believe I never have), I now correct it. 

" So much, then, for the inference that Judge Douglas 
draws, that I am in favor of setting the sections at war with 
one another. I know that I never meant any such thing, and 
I believe that no fair mind can infer any such thing from any 
thing I have ever said. 

" Now in relation to his inference that I am in favor of a 
general consolidation of all the local institutions of the various 
States. I will attend to that for a little while, and try to 
inquire, if I can, how on earth it could be that any man could 
draw such an inference from any thing I said. I have said, 
very many times, in Judge Douglas's hearing, that no man 
believed more than I in the principle of self-government ; 
that it lies at the bottom of all my ideas of just government, 
from beginning to end. I have denied that his use of that 
term applies properly. But for the thing itself, I deny that 
any man has ever gone ahead of me in his devotion to the 
principle, whatever he may have done in efficiency in advo- 
cating it. I think that I have said it in your hearing — that I 
believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases 
with himself and with the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no 
wise interferes with any other man's rights — that each com- 
munity, as a State, has a right to do exactly as it pleases 
with all the concerns within that State that interfere with the 
right of no other State, and that the General Government, 
upon principle, has no right to interfere with any thing other 
than that general class of things that does concern the whole. 
I have said that at all times. I have said as illustrations, 
that I do not believe in the right of Illinois to interfere with 
the cranberry laws of Indiana, the oyster laws of Virginia, or 
the liquor laws of Maine. I have said these things over and 
over again, and I repeat them here as my sentiments 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. The Dred Scott Decision. 

" So much then as to my disposition — my wish — to have 
all the State Legislatures blotted out, and to ha^e one con- 
solidated government, and a uniformity of domestic regula- 
tions in all the States ; by which I suppose it is meant, if we 
raise corn here, we must make sugar-cane grow here too, and 
we must make those which grow North grow in the South. 
All this I suppose he understands I am in favor of doing. 
Now, so much for all this nonsense — for I must call it so. 
The Judge can have no issue with me on a question of es- 
tablished uniformity in the domestic regulations of the States. 

"A little now on the other point — the Dred Scott decision. 
Another of the issues he says that is to be made with me, is 
upon his devotion to the Dred Scott decision, and my opposi- 
tion to it. 

" I have expressed heretofore, and I now repeat my oppo- 
sition to the Dred Scott decision, but I should be allowed to 
state the nature of that opposition, and I ask your indulgence 
while I do so. What is fairly implied by the term Judge 
Douglas has used, ' resistance to the decision V I do not 
resist it. If I wanted to take Dred Scott from his master, I 
would be interfering with property, and that terrible diffi- 
culty that Judge Douglas speaks of, of interfering with prop- 
erty would arise. But I am doing no such thing as that, but 
all that I am doing is refusing to obey it as a political rule. 
If I were in Congress, and a vote should come up on a 
question whether slavery should be prohibited in a new Ter- 
ritory, in spite of the Dred Scott decision, I would vote that 
it should. 

" That is what I would do. Judge Douglas said last 
night, that before the decision he might advance his opinion, 
and it might be contrary to the decision when it was made ; 
but after it was made he would abide by it until it was re- 
versed. Just so ! We let this property abide by the de- 
cision, but we will try to reverse that decision. [Loud ap- 
plause.] We will try to put it where Judge Douglas will not 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. The Bred Scott Decision. 

object, for he says he will obey it until it is reversed. Some- 
body has to reverse that decision, since it was made, and we 
mean to reverse it, and we mean to do it peaceably. 

" What are the uses of decisions of courts ? They have 
two uses. As rules of property they have two uses. First — 
they decide upon the question before the court. They decide 
in this case that Dred Scott is a slave. Nobody resists that. 
Not only that, but they say to everybody else, that persons 
standing just as Dred Scott stands, is as he is. That is, they 
say that when a question comes up upon another person, it 
will be so decided again unless the court decides in another 
way, unless the court overrules its decision. Well, we mean 
to do what we can to have the court decide the other way. 
That is one thing we mean to try to do. 

11 The sacredness that Judge Douglas throws around this 
decision, is a degree of sacredness that has never been before 
thrown around any other decision. I have never heard of 
such a thing. Why, decisions apparently contrary to that 
decision, or that good lawyers thought were contrary to that 
decision, have been made by that very court before. It is 
the first of the kind ; it is an astonisher in legal history. It is 
a new wonder of the world. It is based upon falsehoods in 
the main as to the facts — allegation of facts upon which it 
stands are not facts at all in many instances, and no decision 
made on any question — the first instance of a decision made 
under so many unfavorable circumstances — thus placed, has 
ever been held by the profession as law, and it has always 
needed confirmation before the lawyers regarded it as settled 
law. But Judge Douglas will have it that all hands must 
take this extraordinary decision, made under these extraor- 
dinary circumstances, and give their vote in Congress in ac- 
cordance with it, yield to it and obey it in every possible 
sense. Circumstances alter cases. Do not gentlemen here 
remember the case of that same Supreme Court, twenty-five 
or thirty years ago, deciding that a National Bank was Con- 


Speech at Chicago. .Reply to Senator Douglas. All Men Born Free. 

stitutional ? I ask, if somebody does not remember that a 
National Bank was declared to be Constitutional ? Such is 
the truth, whether it be remembered or not. The Bank 
charter ran out, and a re-charter was granted by Congress. 
That re-charter was laid before General Jackson. It was 
urged upon him, when he denied the Constitutionality of the 
Bank, that the Supreme Court had decided that it was Con- 
stitutional ; and that General Jackson then said that the 
Supreme Court had no right to lay down a rule to govern a 
co-ordinate branch of the Government, the members of which 
had sworn to support the Constitution — that each member 
had sworn to support that Constitution as he understood it. 
I will venture here to say, that I have heard Judge Douglas 
say that he approved of General Jackson for that act. 
What has now become of all his tirade about ' resistance to 
the Supreme Court V * * 

"We were often — more than once, at least — in the course 
of Judge Douglas's speech last night, reminded that this 
Government was made for white men — that he believed it 
was made for white men. Well, that is putting it into 
a shape in which no one wants to deny it ; but the Judge 
then goes into his passion for drawing inferences that are not 
warranted. I protest, now, and forever, against that counter- 
feit logic which presumes that because I did not want a negro 
woman for a slave, I do necessarily want her for a wife. My 
understanding is that I need not have her for either ; but, as 
God made us separate, we can leave one another alone, and 
do one another much good thereby. There are white men 
enough to marry all the white women, and enough black men 
to marry all the black women, and in God's name let them 
be so married. The Judge regales us with the terrible 
enormities that take place by the mixture of races ; that is the 
inferior race bears the superior down. Why, Judge, if you 
do not let them get together in the Territories they won't mix 


Speech at Chicago. Reply to Senator Douglas. Fourth of July Gatherings. 

" Now, it happens that we meet together once every year, 
some time about the Fourth of July, for some reason or other. 
These Fourth of July gatherings I suppose have their uses. 
If you will indulge me, I will state what I suppose to be some 
of them. 

We are now a mighty nation ; we are thirty, or about 
thirty millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one- 
fifteenth part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run 
our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty- 
two years, and we discover that, we were then a very small 
people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are 
now, with a vastly less extent of country, with vastly less of 
every thing we deem desirable among men — we look upon 
the change as exceedingly advantageous to us and to our 
posterity, and we fix upon something that happened away 
back, as in some way or other being connected with this rise 
of posterity. We find a race of men living in that day whom 
we olaim as our fathers and grandfathers ; they were iron 
men ; they fought for the principle that they were contending 
for ; and we understood that by what they then did it has 
followed that the degree of prosperity which we now enjoy 
has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind 
ourselves of all the good done in this process of time, of how 
it was done and who did it, and how we are historically con- 
nected with it ; and we go from these meetings in better 
humor with ourselves — we feel more attached the one to the 
other, and more firmty bound to the country we inhabit. In 
every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country 
in which we live, for these celebrations. But after we have 
done all this, we have not yet reached the whole. There is 
something else connected with it. We have, besides these — 
men descended by blood from our ancestors — those among us, 
perhaps, half our people, who are not descendants at all of 
these men ; they are men who have come from Europe — 
German, Irish, French, and Scandinavian — men that have 


Keplj to Douglas. Chicago, July 10, 185S. 

come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors hare come 
hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all 
things. If they look back through this history to trace their 
connection with those days by blood, they find they have 
none ; they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious 
epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us ; but 
when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, 
they find that those old men say that ' we hold these truths 
to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,' and then 
they feel that that moral sentiment, taught on that day, evi- 
dences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all 
moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim 
it as though they were blood of the blood and flesh of the 
flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are. 
That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the 
hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will 
link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom 
exists in the minds of men throughout the world. 

" Now, sirs, for the purpose of squaring things with this 
idea of ' don't care if slavery is voted up or voted down,' for 
sustaining the Dred Scott decision, for holding that the Decla- 
ration of Independence did not mean any thing at all, we have 
Judge Douglas giving his exposition of what the Declaration 
of Independence means, and we have him saying that the 
people of America are equal to the people of England. Ac- 
cording to his construction, you Germans are not connected 
with it. Xow I ask you in all soberness, if all these things, 
if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and indorsed, if taught 
to our children and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out 
the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this 
Government into a government of some other form. These 
arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be 
treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoy- 
ing ; that as much is to be done for them as their condition 
will allow — what are these arguments ? They are the argu- 


Reply to Judge Douglas. Declaration of Independence. 

ments that Kings have made for enslaving the people in all 
ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in 
favor of King-craft were of this class ; they always bestrode 
the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but 
because the people were better off for being ridden. That is 
their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same 
old serpent that says : You work, and I eat, you toil and I 
will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn it whatever way you will — 
whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for 
enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of 
men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another 
race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course 
of argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing 
the public mind that we should not care about this, should be 
granted, it does not stop with the negro. I should like to 
know if, taking this old Declaration of Independence, which 
declares that all men are equal upon principle, you begin 
making exceptions to it, where you will stop ? If one man 
says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does 
not mean some other man ? If that declaration is not the 
truth, let us get the statute book, in which we find it, and 
tear it out ! Who is so bold as to do it ? If it is not true, 
let us tear it out ! [cries of 'no, no,'] ; let us stick to it then; 
let us stand firmly by it then. 

" It may be argued that there are certain conditions that 
make necessities and impose them upon us, and to the extent 
that a necessity is imposed upon a man, he must submit to it. 
I think that was the condition in which we found ourselves 
when we established this Government. We had slaves among 
us ; we could not get our Constitution unless we permitted 
them to remain in slavery ; we could not secure the good we 
did secure if we grasped for more ; and having, by necessity, 
submitted to that much, it does not destroy the principle that 
is the charter of our liberties. Let that charter stand as our 


Reply to Judge Douglas. All Men Created Equal. 

" My friend has said to me that I am a poor hand to quote 
Scripture. I will try it again, however. It is said in one of 
the admonitions of our Lord : ' As your Father in heaven is 
perfect, be ye also perfect.' The Saviour, I suppose, did not 
expect that any human creature could be perfect as the Father 
in Heaven ; but He said : ' As your Father in Heaven is per- 
fect, be ye also perfect.' He set that up as a standard, and 
he who did most toward reaching that standard, attained the 
highest degree of moral perfection. So I say in relation to 
the principle that all men are created equal, let it be as nearly 
reached as we can. If we cannot give freedom to every crea- 
ture, let us do nothing that will impose slavery upon any 
other creature. Let us then turn this Government back into 
the channel in which the framers of the Constitution orig- 
inally placed it. Let us stand firmly by each other. If we 
do not do so we are turning in the contrary direction, that 
our friend Judge Douglas proposes — not intentionally — as 
working in the traces tends to make this one universal slave 
nation. He is one that runs in that direction, and as such I 
resist him. 

"My friends, I have detained you about as long as I de- 
sired to do, and I have only to say, let us discard all this 
quibbling about this man and the other man — this race and 
that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they 
must be placed in an inferior position — discarding our stand- 
ard that we have left us. Let us discard all these things, 
and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall 
once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal. 

" My friends, I could not, without launching off upon some 
new topic, which would detain you too long, continue to-night. 
I thank you for this most extensive audience that you have 
furnished me to-night. I leave you, hoping that the lamp of 
liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer 
be a doubt that all men are created free and equal." 


Speech at Freeport. Interrogatories Answered. 


" Ladies and Gentlemen: — On Saturday last, Judge 
Douglas and myself first met in public discussion. He spoke 
one hour, I an hour and a half, and he replied for half an 
hour. The order is now reversed. I am to speak an hour, 
he an hour and a half, and then I am to reply for half an 
hour. I propose to devote myself during the first hour to 
the scope of what was brought within the range of his half- 
hour speech at Ottawa. Of course there was brought within 
the scope of that half-hour's speech something of his own 
opening speech. In the course of that opening argument 
Judge Douglas proposed to me seven distinct interrogatories. 
In my speech of an hour and a half, I attended to some other 
parts of his speech, and incidentally, as I thought, answered 
one of the interrogatories then. I then distinctly intimated 
to him that I would answer the rest of his interrogatories on 
condition only that he should agree to answer as many for 
me. He made no intimation at the time of the proposition, 
nor did he in his reply allude at all to that suggestion of mine. 
I do him no injustice in saying that he occupied at least half 
of his reply in dealing with me as though I had refused to 
answer his interrogatories. I now propose that I will answer 
any of the interrogatories, upon condition that be will answer 
questions from me not exceeding the same number. I give 
him an opportunity to respond. The judge remains silent. 
I now say that I will answer his interrogatories, whether he 
answers mine or not ; and that after I have done so, I shall 
propound mine to him. 

" I have supposed myself, since the organization of the 
Republican party at Bloomington, in May, 1856, bound as a 
party man by the platforms of the party, then and since. If 
in any interrogatories which I shall answer, I go beyond the 
scope of what is within these platforms, it will be perceived 
that no one is responsible but myself. 


Speech at Freeport. Interrogatories Answered. 

" Having said thus much, I will take up the judge's inter- 
rogatories as I find them printed in the Chicago Times, and 
answer them seriatim. In order that there may be no mis- 
take about it, I have copied the interrogatories in writing, 
and also my answers to them. The first one of these inter- 
rogatories is in these words : 

Question 1. "'I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day 
stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal 
of the Fugitive Slave law V 

Answer. " I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of 
the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law. 

Q. 2. " ' I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged 
to-day, as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more 
slave States into the Union, even if the people want them V 

A. " I do not now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the 
admission of any more slave States into the Union. 

Q. 3. " ' I want to know whether he stands pledged against 
the admission of a new State into the Union with such a Con- 
stitution as the people of that State may see fit to make V 

A. " I do not stand pledged against the admission of a new 
State into the Union, with such a Constitution as the people 
of that State may see fit to make. 

Q. 4. " ' I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged 
to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia V 

A. "I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia. 

Q. 5. " ' I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged 
to the prohibition of the slave-trade between the different 
States V 

A. " I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave- 
trade between the different States. 

Q. 6. " ■ ' I desire to know whether he stands pledged to 
prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United States, 
North as well as South of the Missouri Compromise line V 

A. " I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief 


Speech at Freeport. Interrogatories Answered. Fugitive Slave Law. 

in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all 
the United States Territories. 

Q. 1. " ' I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to 
the acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is first pro- 
hibited therein V 

A. " I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition of 
territory ; and, in any given case, I would or would not 
oppose such acquisition, accordingly as I might think such 
acquisition would or would not agitate the slavery question 
among ourselves. 

" Now, my friends, it will be perceived upon an examina- 
tion of these questions and answers, that so far I have only 
answered that I was not pledged to this, that or the other. 
The judge has not framed his interrogatories to ask me any 
thing more than this, and I have answered in strict accord- 
ance with the interrogatories, and have answered truly that 
I am not pledged at all upon any of the points to which I 
have answered. But I am not disposed to hang upon the 
exact form of his interrogatory. I am rather disposed to take 
up at least some of these questions, and state what I really 
think upon them. 

"As to the first one, in regard to the Fugitive Slave law, I 
have never hesitated to say, and I do not now hesitate to say, 
that I think, under the Constitution of the United States, the 
people of the Southern States are entitled to a Congressional 
Slave law. Having said that, I have had nothing to say in 
regard to the existing Fugitive Slave law, further than that 1 
think it should have been framed so as to be free from some 
of the objections that pertain to it, without lessening its 
efficiency. And inasmuch as we are not now in an agitation 
in regard to an alteration or modification of that law, I would 
not be the man to introduce it as a new subject of agitation 
upon the general question of slavery. 

" In regard to the other question, of whether I am pledged 
to the admission of any more Slave States into the Union, I 


Speech at Freeport. Slavery and^the Slave Trade. 

state to you very frankly that I would be exceedingly sorry 
ever to be put in a position of having to pass upon that ques- 
tion. I should be exceedingly glad to know that there would 
never be another slave State admitted into the Union ; but 
I must add, that if slavery shall be kept out of the Territories 
during the Territorial existence of any one given Territory, 
and then the people shall, having a fair chance and a clear 
field, when they come to adopt the Constitution, do such an 
extraordinary thing as to adopt a slave Constitution, unin- 
fluenced by the actual presence of the institution among them, 
I see no alternative if we own the country, but to admit them 
into the Union. 

11 The third interrogatory is answered by the answer to the 
second, it being, as I conceive, the same as the second. 

" The fourth one is in regard to the abolition of slavery in 
the District of Columbia. In relation to that, I have my mind 
very distinctly made up. I should be exceedingly glad to see 
slavery abolished in the District of Columbia. I believe that 
Congress possesses the constitutional power to abolish it. 
Yet as a member of Congress, I should not with my present 
views, be in favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the 
District of Columbia, unless it would be upon these conditions : 
First, that the abolition should be gradual ; second, that it 
should be on a vote of the majority of qualified voters in the 
District ; and third, that compensation should be made to 
unwilling owners. With these three conditions, I confess I 
would be exceedingly glad to see Congress abolish slavery in 
the District of Columbia, and, in the language of Henry 
Clay, 'sweep from our Capital that foul blot upon our 

" In regard to the fifth interrogatory, I must say here, that 
as to the question of the abolition of the slave-trade between 
the different States, I can truly answer, as I have, that I am 
pledged to nothing about it. It is a subject to which I have 
not given that mature consideration that would make me feel 


Speech at Freeport. Slavei-y and the Slave Trade. 

authorized to state a position so as to hold myself entirely 
bound by it. In other words, that question has never been 
prominently enough before me to induce me to investigate 
whether we really have the Constitutional power to do it. I 
could investigate it if I had sufficient time to bring myself to 
a conclusion upon that subject ; but I have not done so, and 
I say so frankly to you here, and to Judge Douglas. I must 
say, however, that if I should be of opinion that Congress 
does possess the Constitutional power to abolish slave-trad- 
ing among the different States, I should still not be in favor 
of the exercise of that power unless upon some conservative 
principle as I conceive it, akin to what I have said in relation 
to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. 

" My answer as to whether I desire that slavery should be 
prohibited in all Territories of the United States, is full and 
explicit within itself, and can not be made clearer by any 
comments of mine. So I suppose in regard to the question 
whether I am opposed to the acquisition of anymore territory 
unless slavery is first prohibited therein, my answer is such 
that I could add nothing by way of illustration, or making 
myself better understood, than the answer which I have 
placed in writing. 

" Now in all this, the judge has me, and he has me on the 
record. I suppose he had flattered himself that I was really 
entertaining one set of opinions for one place and another set 
for another place — that I was afraid to say at one place what 
I uttered at another. What I am saying here I suppose I 
say to a vast audience as strongly tending to Abolitionism as 
any audience in the State of Illinois, and I believe I am 
saying that which, if it would be offensive to any persons 
and render them enemies to myself, would be offensive to 
persons in this audience. " 


Letter to Gen. McClellan. His Management Criticised, 


"Washington, April 9, 1862. 

" My Dear Sir : Your dispatches, complaining that you are 
not properly sustained, while they do not offend me, do pain 
me very much. 

11 Blenker's division was withdrawn from you before you left 
here, and you know the pressure under which I did it, and, as 
I thought, acquiesced in it — certainly not without reluc- 

"After you left, I ascertained that less than twenty thou- 
sand unorganized men, without a single field battery, were 
all you designed to be left for the defence of Washington and 
Manassas Junction, and part of this even was to go to Gen. 
Hooker's old position. General Banks' corps, once designated 
for Manassas Junction, was diverted and tied up on the line 
of Winchester and Strasburgh, and could not leave it without 
again exposing the Upper Potomac and the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad. This presented, or would present, when 
McDowell and Sumner should be gone, a great temptation to 
the enemy to tarn back from the Rappahannock and sack 
Washington. My explicit order that Washington should, by 
the judgment of all the commanders of army corps, be 
left entirely secure, had been neglected, It was precisely 
this that drove me to detain McDowell. 

" I do not forget that I was satisfied with your arrangement 
to leave Banks at Manassas Junction : but when that arrange- 
ment was broken up, and nothing was substituted for it, of 
course I was constrained to substitute something for it myself. 
And allow me to ask, do you really think I should permit 
the line from Richmond, via Manassas Junction, to this city, 
to be entirely open, except what resistance could be presented 
by less than twenty thousand unorganized troops ? This is 
a question which the country will not allow me to evade. 


Letter to Gen. McClellan. His Management Criticised. 

" There is a curious mystery about the number of troops 
now with you. When I telegraphed you on the 6th, saying 
you had over a hundred thousand with you, I had just obtained 
from the Secretary of War a statement taken, as he said, from 
your own returns, making one hundred and eight thousand 
then with you and en route to you. You say you will have 
but eighty-five thousand when all en route to you shall have 
reached you. How can the discrepancy of twenty-three 
thousand be accounted for ? 

"As to General Wool's command, I understand it is doing 
for you precisely what a like number of your own would have 
to do if that command was away. 

11 1 suppose the whole force which has gone forward for 
you is with you by this time. And if so, I think it is the 
precise time for you to strike a blow. By delay, the enemy 
will relatively gain upon you — that is, he will gain faster by 
fortifications and reinforcement than you can by reinforce- 
ments alone. And once more let me tell you, it is indispen- 
sable to you that you strike a blow. I am powerless to help 
this. You will do me the justice to remember I always in- 
sisted that going down the bay in search of a field, instead of 
fighting at or near Manassas, was only shifting, and not sur- 
mounting a difficulty ; that we would find the same enemy, 
and the same or equal intrenchments, at either place. The 
country will not fail to note, is now noting, that the present 
hesitation to move upon an intrenched enemy is but the story 
of Manassas repeated. 

" I beg to assure you that I have never written you or 
spoken to you in greater kindness of feeling than now, nor 
with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as, in my most 
anxious judgment, I consistently can. But you must act. 

"Yours, very truly, 
"Maj.-Gen. McClellan." A. Lincoln. 



Letter to Gen. Schofield. Gen. Curtis and Gov. Bramble. Proclamation. 



"Executive Mansion, Washington, May 27, 1863. 
" Gen. J. M. Schofield — Dear Sir : Having removed 
Gen. Curtis and assigned you to the command of the Depart- 
ment of the Missouri, I think it may be of some advantage to 
me to state to you why I did it. I did not remove Gen. 
Curtis because of my full conviction that he had done wrong 
by commission or omission. I did it because of a conviction 
in my mind that the Union men of Missouri, constituting, 
when united, a vast majority of the people, have entered into 
a pestilent, factious quarrel among themselves, Gen. Curtis, 
perhaps not of choice, being the head of one faction, and 
Gov. Gamble that of the other. After months of labor to re- 
concile the difficulty, it seemed to grow worse and worse, 
until I felt it my duty to break it up somehow, and as I 
could not remove Gov. Gamble, I had to remove Gen. Curtis. 
Now that you are in the position, I wish you to undo nothing 
merely because Gen. Curtis or Gov. Gamble did it, but to 
exercise your own judgment, and do right for the public in- 
terest. Let your military measures be strong enough to 
repel the invaders and keep the peace, and not so strong as 
to unnecessarily harass and persecute the people. It is a 
difficult role, and so much more will be the honor if you per- 
form it well. If both factions, or neither, shall abuse you, 
you will probably be about right. Beware of being assailed 
by one and praised by the other. 

" Yours, truly, A. Lincoln." 


11 Whereas, The term of service of part of the volunteer 
forces of the United States will expire during the coming 


President's Proclamation. Three Hundred Thousand Men. 

year ; and whereas, in addition to the men raised by the 
present draft, it is deemed expedient to call out three hundred 
thousand volunteers, to serve for three years or the war — not, 
however, exceeding three years. 

" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and 
Navv thereof, and of the militia of the several States when 
called into actual service, do issue this my proclamation, 
calling upon the Governors of the different States to raise and 
have enlisted into the United States service, for the various 
companies and regiments in the field from their respective 
States, their quotas of three hundred thousand men. 

" I further proclaim that all the volunteers thus called out 
and duly enlisted shall receive advance pay, premium and 
bounty, as heretofore communicated to the Governors of 
States by the War Department, through the Provost- Marshal 
General's office, by special letters. 

" I further proclaim that all volunteers received under this 
call, as well as all others not heretofore credited, shall be duly 
credited and deducted from the quotas established for the 
next draft. 

" I further proclaim that, if any State shall fail to raise the 
quota assigned to it by the War Department under this call ; 
then a draft for the deficiency in said quota shall be made in 
said State, or on the districts of said State, for their due pro- 
portion of said quota, and the said draft shall commence on 
the fifth day of January, 1864. 

"And I further proclaim that nothing in this proclamation 
shall interfere with existing orders, or with those which may 
be issued for the present draft in the States where it is now 
in progress or where it has hot yet been commenced. 

" The qoutas of the States and districts will be assigned by 
the War Department, through the Provost-Marshal General's 
office, due regard being had for the men heretofore furnished, 
whether by volunteering or drafting, and the recruiting will 


President's Proclamation. Eev. Dr. M'Pheeters. President's Eeply'. 

be conducted in accordance with such instructions as have 
been or may be issued by that department. 

" In issuing this proclamation I address myself not only to 
the Governors of the several States, but also to the good and 
loyal people thereof, invoking them to lend their cheerful, 
willing and effective aid to the measures thus adopted, with a 
view to reinforce our victorious armies now in the field and 
bring our needful military operations to a prosperous end, 
thus closing forever the fountains of sedition and civil war. 

" In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

" Done at the city of Washington, this seventeenth day of 
October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States 
the eighty-eighth. 

" By the President : "Abraham Lincoln. 

" Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State." 


"Executive Mansion, Washington, December 23, 1863. 

" I have just looked over a petition signed by some three 
dozen citizens of St. Louis, and their accompanying letters, 
one by yourself, one by a Mr. Nathan Ranney, and one by a 
Mr. John D. Coalter, the whole relating to the Rev. Dr. 
McPheeters. The petition prays, in the name of justice and 
mercy, that I will restore Dr. McPheeters to all his ecclesias- 
tical rights. 

" This gives no intimation as to what ecclesiastical rights 
are withdrawn. Your letter states that Provost Marshal 
Dick, about a year ago, ordered the arrest of Dr. McPheeters, 
pastor of the Yine-street Church, prohibited him from offici- 
ating, and placed the management of affairs of the church out 


Rev. Dr. M'Pheeters. President's Reply. 

* ■ 

of the control of the chosen trustees ; and near the close you 
state that a certain course 'would insure his release.' Mr. 
Ranney's letter says : ' Dr. Samuel McPheeters is enjoying 
all the rights of a civilian, but can not preach the gospel !' 
Mr. Coalter, in his letter, asks : ' Is it not a strange illustra- 
tion of the condition of things, that the question who shall be 
allowed to preach in a church in St. Louis shall be decided by 
the President of the United States V 

" Now, all this sounds very strangely ; and, withal, a little 
as if you gentlemen making the application do not understand 
the case alike — one affirming that this doctor is enjoying all 
the rights of a civilian, and another pointing out to me what 
will secure his release ! On the second of January last, I 
wrote to Gen. Curtis in relation to Mr. Dick's order upon Dr. 
McPheeters ; and, as I suppose the Doctor is enjoying all the 
rights of a civilian, I only quote that part of the letter which 
relates to the church. It was as follows : ' But I must add 
that the United States Government must not, as by this order, 
undertake to run the churches. When an individual, in a 
church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest, 
he must be checked ; but the churches, as such, must take 
care of themselves. It will not do for the United States to 
appoint trustees, supervisors, or other agents for the churches.' 

" This letter going to Gen. Curtis, then in command, I 
supposed, of course, it was obeyed, especially as I heard no 
further complaint from Dr. Mc. or his friends for nearly an 
entire year. I have never interfered, nor thought of interfer- 
ing, as to who shall or shall not preach in any church ; nor 
have I knowingly or believingly tolerated any one else to 
interfere by my authority. If any one is so interfering by 
color of my authority, I would like to have it specifically 
made known to me. 

" If, after all, what is now sought is to have me put Dr. 
Mc. back over the heads of a majority of his own congrega- 


Election Ordeied in Arkansas. Gen. Steele's Instructions. 

tion, that, too, will be declined. I will not have control of 
any church on any side. ' A. Lincoln." 


"Executive 3fansion, Washington, January 20, 1864. 
" Ma j. Gen. Steele : Sundry citizens of the State of Ar- 
kansas petition me that an election may be held in that State, 
at which to elect a Governor ; that it be assumed at that 
election, and henceforward, that the Constitution and laws of 
the State, as before the rebellion, are in full force, except that 
the Constitution is so modified as to declare that there shall 
be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except in the 
punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly 
convicted ; that the General assembly may make such provi- 
sions for the freed people as shall recognize and declare their 
permanent freedom, and provide for their education, and which 
may yet be construed as a temporary arrangement, suitable 
to their condition as a laboring, landless, aud homeless class ; 
that said election shall be held on the 28th of March, 1864, at 
all the usual places of the State, or all such as voters may 
attend for that purpose ; that the voters attending at 8 o'clock 
in the morning of said day may choose judges and clerks of 
election for such purpose ; that all persons qualified by said 
Constitution and laws, and taking the oath presented in the 
President's proclamation of December 8, 1863, either before 
or at the election, and none others, may be voters ; that each 
set of judges and clerks may make returns directly to you on 

or before the — th day of next ; that in all other respects 

said election may be conducted according to said Constitution 
and laws ; that on receipt of said returns, when five thousand 
four hundred and six votes shall have been cast, you can re- 
ceive said votes and ascertain all who shall thereby appear to 
have been elected ; that on the — day of next, all persons 


Election Ordered in Arkansas. Letter to Win. Fishback. Proclamation. 

so appearing to have been elected, who shall appear before 
you at Little Rock, and take the oath, to be by you severally 
administered, to support the Constitution of the United 
States, and said modified Constitution of the State of Arkan- 
sas, may be declared by you qualified and empowered to 
immediately enter upon the duties of the offices to which they 
shall have been respectively elected. 

" You will please order an election to take place on the 
28th of March, 1864, and returns to be made in fifteen days 
thereafter. A. Lincoln." 

Later, the President wrote the following letter : 

" William Fishback, Esq. : When I fixed a plan for an 
election in Arkansas, I did it in ignorance that your Conven- 
tion was at the same work. Since I learned the latter fact, I 
have been constantly trying to yield my plan to theirs. I 
have sent two letters to Gen. Steele, and three or four dis- 
patches to you and others, saying that he (Gen. Steele) must 
be master, but that it will probably be best for him to keep 
the Convention on its own plan. Some single mind must be 
master, else there will be no agreement on anything; and 
Gen. Steele, commanding the military, and being on the 
ground, is the best man to be that master. Even now citizens 
are telegraphing me to postpone the election to a later day 
than either fixed by the Convention or me. This discord 
must be silenced. A. Lincoln." 


" Whereas, By the Act approved July 4, 1864, entitled 'An 
Act further to regulate and provide for the enrolling and call- 
ing out the National Forces, and for other purposes,' it is pro- 
vided that the President of the United States may, at his 


President's Proclamation. Five Hundred Thousand Men. 

discretion, at any time hereafter, call for any number of men 
as volunteers, for the respective terms of one, two, or three 
years, for military service, and ' that in case the quota, or any 
part thereof, of any town, township, ward of a city, precinct, 
or election district, or of a county not so subdivided, shall not 
be filled within the space of fifty days after such call, then the 
President shall immediately order a draft for one year to fill 
such quota, or any part thereof, which may be unfilled.' 

"And whereas, The new enrollment heretofore ordered is 
so far completed as that the aforementioned Act of Congress 
may now be put in operation for recruiting and keeping up 
the strength of the armies in the field, for garrisons, and such 
military operations as may be required for the purpose of 
suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority of the 
United States Government in the insurgent States : 

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, do issue this, my call, for five hundred thou- 
sand volunteers for the military service ; provided, neverthe- 
less, that all credits which may be established under Section 
Eight of the aforesaid Act, on account of persons who have 
entered the naval service during the present Rebellion, and 
by credits for men furnished to the military service in excess 
of calls heretofore made for volunteers, will be accepted under 
this call for one, two, or three years, as they may elect, and 
will be entitled to the bounty provided by the law for the 
period of service for which they enlist. 

"And I hereby proclaim, order, and direct, that immedi- 
ately after the fifth day of September, 1864, being fifty days 
from the date of this call, a draft for troops to serve for one 
year, shall be held in every town, township, ward of a city, 
precinct, election district, or a county not so subdivided, to 
fill the quota which shall be assigned to it under this call, or 
any part thereof which may be unfilled by volunteers on the 
said fifth day of September, 1864. 

" In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 


Letter to Mrs. Gurney. The Friends and the War. 

caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at 
the city of Washington, this eighteenth day of July, in the 
year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, 
and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth. 

" By the President : Abraham Lincoln. 

"William H. Seward, Secretary of State." 


This letter was written by the President prior to his re- 
election to Mrs. Eliza P. Gurney, an American lady, the 
widow of the late well-known Friend and philanthropist, 
Joseph John Gurney, one of the wealthiest bankers of 

" My Esteemed Friend : I have not forgotten, probably 
never shall forget, the very impressive occasion when your< 
self and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years 
ago. Nor had your kind letter, written nearly a year later, 
ever been forgotten. In all it has been your purpose to 
strengthen my reliance in God. I am much indebted to the 
good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers 
and consolations, and to no one of them more than to your- 
self. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect and must 
prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately per- 
ceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination 
of this terrible war, long before this, but God knows best, 
and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His 
wisdom and our own errors therein ; meanwhile we must 
work earnestly in the best lights He gives us, trusting that 
so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. 
Surely, He intends some great good to follow this mighty 
convulsion which no mortal could make, and no mortal 
could stay. 


Letter to Mrs. Gurney. Tennessee Test Oath. 

"Your people — the Friends — have had, and are having 
very great trials, on principles and faith opposed to both war 
and oppression. They can only practically oppose oppression 
by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn 
and some the other. 

For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds I have 
done and shall do the best I could, and can, in my own con- 
science under my oath to the law. That you believe this, I 
doubt not, an4 believing it, I shall still receive for our country 
and myself your earnest prayers to our father in Heaven. 

" Your sincere friend, 

"A. Lincoln." 


"Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C, 

Saturday, October 22, 1864. 


" Gentlemen : On the fifteenth day of this month, as I 
remember, a printed paper manuscript, with a few manuscript 
interlineations, called a protest, with your names appended 
thereto, and accompanied by another printed paper, purport- 
ing to be a proclamation by Andrew Johnson, Military 
Governor of Tennessee, and also a manuscript paper purport- 
ing to be extracts from the code of Tennessee, were laid 
before me." 

[The protest is here recited, and also the proclamation of 
Gov. Johnson, dated September 30, to which it refers, to- 
gether with a list of the counties in East, Middle, and West 
Tennessee ; also extracts from the code of Tennessee in rela- 


President's Letter. Tennessee Test Oath. 

tion to electors of President and Yice President, qualifications 
of voters for members of the General Assembly, and places 
of holding elections and officers of popular elections.] 

"At the time these papers were presented as before stated, 
I had never seen either of them, nor heard of the subject to 
which they relate, except in a general way, only one day pre- 

"Up to the present moment, nothing whatever upon the 
subject has passed between Gov. Johnson, or any one else 
connected with the proclamation and myself. 

" Since receiving the papers, as stated, I have given the 
subject such brief consideration as I have been able to do, in 
the midst of so many pressing duties. 

" My conclusion is, that I can have nothing to do with the 
matter, either to sustain the plan as the Convention and Gov. 
Johnson have initiated it, or to modify it as you demand. 
By the Constitution and laws the President is charged with 
no duty in the Presidential election in any State. Nor do I, 
in this case, perceive any military reason for his interference 
in the matter. 

" The movement set a-foot by the Convention and Gov. 
Johnson does not, as seems to be assumed by you, emanate 
from the National Executive. 

" In no proper sense can it be considered other than as an 
independent movement of at least a portion of the loyal people 
of Tennessee. 

" I do not perceive in the plan any menace, or violence, or 
coercion toward any one. 

" Gov. Johnson, like any other loyal citizen of Tennessee 
has the right to form any political plan he chooses, and as 
Military Governor it is his duty to keep the peace among 
and for the loyal people of the State. 

" I cannot discern that by his plan he purposes any more — 
but you object to the plan. 


President's Letter. Tennessee Test Oath. 

" Leaving it alone will be your perfect security against it. 
It is not proposed to force you into it. 

" Do as you please on your own account peaceably and 
loyally, and Gov. Johnson will not molest you, but will pro- 
tect you against violence so far as in his power. 

" I presume that the conducting of a Presidential election 
in Tennessee, in strict accordance with the old code of the 
State, is not now a possibility. 

"It is scarcely necessary to add, that if any election shall 
be had, and any votes shall be cast in the State of Tennessee 
for President and Vice-President of the United States, it will 
belong not to the military agents nor yet to the Executive 
Department, but exclusively to another department of the 
Government, to determine whether they are entitled to be 
counted in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the 
United States. 

" Except it be to give protection against violence, I decline 
to interfere in any way with any Presidential election. 

^'Abraham Lincoln." 





Mailing Notice. — Any of these Books will be sent to any 
address, free of postage, on receipt of price. Address JOHN E. 
POTTER, Publisher, No. 617 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. 

OTJR CAMPAIGNS ; or, the Marches, Bivouacs, Battles, Incidents of Camp 
Life and History of our Regiment during its three years term of service ; 
together with a Sketch of the Army of the Potomac under Generals 
McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, Meade and Grant. By E. M. Woodward, 
Adjutant Second Pennsylvania Reserves. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 

OUR BOYS. The Personal Experiences of a Soldier in the Army of the 
Potomac ; the rich and racy scenes of Army and Camp Life ; the lively, 
piquant, and well-told story of the Battle, the Bivouac, the Picket, and the 
March, as seen and participated in by one of the rank and file, and who has 
himself lost a leg in the service of his country. By A. F. Hill, of the Eighth 
Pennsylvania Reserves. 12mo., paper. Price $1.50; cloth, $2.00. 

Adventures and Hair-breadth Escapes of Soldiers, Scouts, Spies, and 
Refugees; Daring Exploits of Smugglers, Guerrillas, Desperadoes, and 
others ; Tales of Loyal and Disloyal Women ; Stories of the Negro, etc., etc. 
With Incidents of Fun and Merriment in Camp and Field. By a Disabled 
Officer. With colored illustrations. 12mo., paper. Price $1.50; cloth, $2.00. 



the celebrated Union Spy and Scout : comprising her Early History, her 
entry into the Secret Service of the Army of the Cumberland, and Dashing 
Adventures with the Rebel Chieftains and others while within the enemy's 
lines, together with her capture and sentence to death by General Bragg, 
and rescue at Shelbyville, Tenn., by the Union Army under General 
Roseerans. The whole carefully prepared from her notes and memoranda. 
By F. L. Sarmiento, Esq., of the Philadelphia Bar. With a portrait on 
steel, and illustrations on wood. 12mo., paper. Price $1.50 ,• cloth, $2.00. 

ing Desperate Encounters with the Indians, Tories, and Refugees ; Daring 
Exploits of Texan Rangers and others, and Incidents of Guerrilla Warfare ; 
Fearful Deeds of the Gamblers and Desperadoes, Rangers and Regulators 
of the West and Southwest; Hunting Stories, Trapping Adventures, etc., etc. 
By Warren Wildwood, Esq. Illustrated by 200 engravings. 12mo., paper. 
Price $1.50; cloth, $2.00. 

juIFE OF KIT CARSON, the great Western Hunter and Guide : comprising 
Wild and Romantic Exploits as a Hunter and Trapper in the Rocky 
Mountains; Thrilling Adventures and Hair-breadth Escapes among the 
Indians and Mexicans ; his Daring and Invaluable Services as a Guide to 
Scouting and other Parties, etc., etc. With an account of various Govern- 
ment Expeditions to the Far West. By Chas. Burdett. 12mo., illustrated, 
cloth. Price $2.00. 

LIFE OF DANIEL BOONE, the Great Western Hunter and Pioneer : com- 
prising an account of his Early History; his Daring and Remarkable 
Career as the First Settler of Kentucky ; his Thrilling Adventures with the 
Indians ; and his wonderful skill, coolness and sagacity under all the 
hazardous and trying circumstances of Western Border Life. By Cecil B. 
Hartley. To which is added his Autobiography complete, as dictated by 
himself, and showing his own belief that he was an instrument ordained to 
settle the Wilderness. With illustrations. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 

LIFE OF DAVID CROCKETT, the Original Humorist and Irrepressible Back- 
woodsman : comprising his Early History ; his Bear Hunting and other 
Adventures; his Services in the Creek War; his Electioneering Speeches 
and Career in Congress ; with his triumphal tour through the Northern 
States and Services in the Texan War. To which is added an account of 
his glorious death at the Alamo, while fighting in defence of Texan Inde- 
pendence. With illustrations. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 


THE LIFE OF STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS : to which are added his Speeches 
and Reports. By H. M. Flint. With a portrait on steel. 12mo., cloth. 
Price $2.00 ; plain sheep, $2.50. 

THE HORSE AND HIS DISEASES : embracing his History and Varieties, 
Breeding and Management and Vices : with the Diseases to which he is 
subject, and the Remedies best adapted to their Cure. By Robert Jen- 
nings, V. S., Professor of Pathology and Operative Surgery in the Veteri- 
nary College of Philadelphia; Professor of Veterinary Medicine in the late 
Agricultural College of Ohio; Secretary of the American Veterinary Asso- 
ciation of Philadelphia, etc., etc. To which are added Rarey's Method of 
Taming Horses, and the Law of Warranty, as applicable to the purchase 
and sale of the animal. Illustrated by nearly 100 engravings. 12mo., 
cloth. Price $2.00. 

CATTLE AND THEIR DISEASES: embracing their History and Breeds, 
Crossing and Breeding, and Feeding and Management; with the Diseases 
to which they are subject, and the Remedies best adapted to their Cure. 
To which are added a List of the Medicines used in treating Cattle, and the 
Doses of the various remedies requisite. By Robert Jennings, V. S., 
Author of "The Horse and his Diseases," etc., etc. With numerous Illustra- 
tions. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 

SHEEP, SWINE, AND POULTRY : embracing the History and Varieties of 
each; the best modes of Breeding; their Feeding and Management; to- 
gether with the Diseases to which they are respectively subject, and the 
appropriate Remedies for each. By Robert Jennings, V. S., Author of 
"The Horse and his Diseases," "Cattle and their Diseases," etc., etc. With 
numerous illustrations. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 

plain and simple instructions to everybody for transacting their business 
according to law, with legal forms for drawing the various necessary papers 
■ connected therewith ; together with the laws of all the States, for Collec- 
tion of Debts, Property Exempt from Execution, Mechanics' Liens, Execu- 
tion of Deeds and Mortgages, Rights of Married Women, Dower, Usury, 
Wills, etc. By Frank Crosby, Esq., of the Philadelphia Bar. 12mo., law 
half sheep. Price $2.00. 

MODERN COOKERY, in all its branches : embracing a series of plain and 
simple instructions to private families and others, for the careful and judi- 
cious preparation of every variety of food, as drawn from practical observa- 
tion and experience. Embracing upwards of Twelve Hundred recipes, 
appropriately illustrated. By Miss Eliza Acton. The whole carefully re- 
vised by Mrs. S. J. Hale. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 

instructive treatise on the structure and functions of the reproductive organs 
in both sexes; the Diseases peculiar to Females, and the Diseases of Chil- 
dren, with the appropriate Remedies for each, and valuable Directions and 
Recipes for the Toilet, Beautifying the Skin, Cultivating and Arranging 
the Hair, etc., etc. By S. Pancoast, M.D., Professor of Microscopic Anatomy, 
Physiology, and the Institute of Medicine in Penn Medical University, 
Philadelphia. With upwards of 100 illustrations. 12mo., cloth. Price $2.00. 

THE FAMILY DOCTOR: a Counsellor in Sickness, Pain and Distress, for 
Childhood, Manhood, and Old Age; containing in plain language, free from 
medical terms, the Causes, Symptoms, and Cure of Diseases in every form, 
with important Rules for Preserving the Health, and Directions for the 
Sick Chamber, and the Proper Treatment of the Sick; the whole drawn 
from extensive observation and practice. By Professor Henry S. Taylor, 
M.D. Illustrated with numerous engravings of Medicinal Plants and 
Herbs. 12mo., cloth. Price $1.50; plain sheep $2.00. 

THE BEAUTIFUL SPY : an Exciting Story of Army and High Life in New 
York in 1776. By Charles Burdett, Author of " Three Per Cent A Month," 
"Second Marriage," "Marion Desmond," etc., etc. 12mo., paper. Price 
$1.50; cloth $2.00. 

of the Catskills. A Tale of the Revolution of unusual power and interest. 
By Rev. David Murdoch, D.D. 12mo., paper. Price $1.50; cloth $2.00. 

THE HERO GIRL and how she became a Captain in the Army. A Tale of 
the Revolution. By Thrace Talmon. With illustrations'. 12mo., paper. 
Price $1.50 ; cloth $2.00.