Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

History of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life online

. (page 33 of 46)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 33 of 46)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

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 re
gard for the opinions and wishes of those who, like the meeting at
Albany, declare their purpose to sustain the Government in every con
stitutional 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.



Similar meetings were held in New York, Philadelphia,
and other cities and towns of the North, and, on the llth of
June, a State Convention of the Democratic party was held at
Columbus, Ohio, for the nomination of State officers. Mr.
Vallandigham was, at that Convention, made the Democratic
candidate for Governor, receiving, on the first ballot, 448 votes
out of 461, the whole number cast. Senator Pugh was nomi
nated for Lieutenant-Governor, and resolutions were adopted
protesting against President LINCOLN S emancipation procla
mation ; condemning martial law in loyal States, where war
does not exist; denouncing the suspension of the writ of
habeas corpus ; protesting very strongly against the banish
ment of Vallandigham, and calling on the President to restore
him to his rights ; declaring that they would hail with delight
the desire of the seceded States to return to their allegiance,
and that they would co-operate with the citizens of those
States in measures for the restoration of peace.

A committee of the Convention visited Washington, and on
the 26th of June presented to the President the resolutions
adopted by the Convention, and urged the immediate recall
and restoration of Mr. Vallandigham, their candidate for
Governor. To this President LINCOLN made the following
reply :

WASHINGTON, June 29, 1863.

GENTLEMEN: The resolutions of the Ohio Democratic State Conven
tion, which you present me, together with your introductory and closing
remarks, being in position and argument mainly the same as the reso
lutions of the Democratic meeting at Albany, New York, I refer you to
my response to the latter as meeting most of the points in the former.

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 discovered one inaccuracy in matter which I
suppose you took from that paper. It is where you say, "The under
signed are unable to agree with you in the opinion you have expressed
that the Constitution is different in time of insurrection or invasion from
what it is in time of peace and public security."


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 Constitu
tion 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 re
spectfully 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 guarantees of personal liberty would remain unchanged." Doubt
less, if this clause of the Constitution, improperly called, as I think, a
limitation upon the power of Congress, were expunged, the other guar
antees would remain the same ; but the question is, not how those
guarantees would stand with that clause out of the Constitution, but
how they stand with that clause remaining in it, in case of rebellion or
invasion, involving tho public safety. If the liberty could be indulged
in expunging that clause, letter and spirit, I really think the constitu
tional 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 guarantees of personal liberty are conserved and made available in
the last resort ; and corroborative of this view is the fact that Mr. Val-
landigham, 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 habeas corpus itself may be sus
pended, when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may re
quire 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 preroragtivo, 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 neces
sary implication, when rebellion or invasion comes, the decision is to bo
made from time to time ; and I think the man whom, for the time, the
people have, under the Constitution, made the commander-in-chief of
their 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

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 prnishments 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 com
bat a giant rebellion, and then be dealt with only in turn as if there
were no rebellion. The Constitution itself rejects this view. The mili
tary arrests and detentions which have been made, including 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
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 pre

I am unable to perceive an insult to Ohio in the case of Mr. Vallan-
digham. 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 of governor, until so informed
by your reading to mo the resolutions of the convention. I arn 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 be
cause, as you claim, he has not damaged the military service by discour
aging enlistments, encouraging desertions, or otherwise ; and that if he
had, ho should have been turned over to the civil authorities under the


recent acts of Congress. I certainly do not know that Mr. Yallandigham
has specifically and by direct language advised against enlistments and
in favor of desertions arid 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 enrolment 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 responsibility more weighty aad
enduring than any which is merely official, I solemnly declare my be
lief that this hindrance of the military, including maiming and murder,
is due to the cause in which Mr. Yallandigham has been engaged, in a
greater degree than to any other cause ; and it is due to him personally
in a greater degree than to any other man.

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 frequently, 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 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 resistance
to it he has not been known in any instance to counsel against such re
sistance, it is next to impossible to repel the inference that he has coun
selled directly in favor of it.

With all this before their eyes, the convention you represent have
nominated Mr. Yallandigham for governor of Ohio, and both they and
you have declared the purpose to sustain the national Union by ah 1 con
stitutional 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, therefore, encourages
desertion, resistance to the draft, and the like, because it teaches those


who incline to desert and to escape the draft to believe it is your pur
pose to protect them, and to hope that you will become strong enough
to do so.

After a short personal intercourse -with you, gentlemen of the com
mittee, I cannot say I think you desire this effect to follow your atti
tude ; but I assure you that both friends and enemies of the Union
look upon it in this light. It is a substantial hope, and by consequence,
a real strength to the enemy. If it is a false hope, and one which you
would wiUingly dispel, I will make the way exceedingly easy. I send
you duplicates of this letter, in order that you, or a majority, 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 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

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 for 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 revocation of the order in relation to
Mr. Vallandigham.

It will not escape observation that I consent to the release of Mr.
Yallandigham 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, 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 gentlemen of Ohio
to so define their position as to be of immense value to the army thus
more than compensating for the consequences of any mistake in allow
ing Mr. VallandiLrham to return, so that, on the whole, the public safety
will not have suffered by it. Still, in regard to Mr. Vallandigham 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, &c.,


The canvass throughout the summer was very animated.
As a matter of course, the opponents of the Administration
in Ohio, as elsewhere throughout the country, made this mat
ter of arbitrary arrests a very prominent point of attack.
Special stress was laid upon the fact that instead of acting
directly and upon his own responsibility in these cases, the
President left them to the discretion of military commanders
in the several departments. This was held to be in -violation
of the law of Congress which authorized the President to sus
pend the writ of habeas corpus, but not to delegate that high
prerogative. To meet this objection, therefore, and also in
order to establish -a uniform mode of action on the subject,
the President issued the following


Whereas, The Constitution of the United States has ordained that
" The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, un
less, when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may re
quire it ; and, whereas, a rebellion was existing on the 3d day of March,
1863, which rebellion is still existing ; and, whereas, by a statute which
was approved on that day, it was enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled, that dur
ing the present insurrection the President of the United States, when
ever, in his judgment, the public safety may require, is authorized to
suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in any case through
out the United States, or any part thereof; and, whereas, in the judg
ment of the President the public safety does require that the privilege
of the said writ shall now be suspended throughout the United States
in cases where, by the authority of the President of the United States,
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, 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 to the rules and articles of war,
or the rules and regulations prescribed for the military or naval services
by the authority of the President of the United States, or for resisting
the draft, or for any other offence against the military or naval service ;
now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States,
do hereby proclaim and make known to all whom it may concern, that
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended throughout the
United States, in the several cases before-mentioned, and that this sus
pension will continue throughout the duration of the said rebellion, or
until this Proclamation shall, by a subsequent one, to be issued by the
President of the United States, be modified and revoked. And I do
hereby require all magistrates, attorneys, and other civil officers within
the United States, and all officers and others in the military and naval
services of the United States, to take distinct notice of this suspension
and give it full effect, and all citizens of the United States to conduct
and govern themselves accordingly, and in conformity with the Consti
tution of the United States, and the laws of Congress in such casea
made and provided.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the
seal of the United States to be affixed, this fifteenth*day of September,
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-

By the President:
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

The act passed by Congress "for enrolling and callino- out
the national forces," commonly called the Conscription Act,
provided that all able-bodied male citizens, and persons of for
eign birth who had declared their intention to become citizens,
between the ages of twenty and forty-five, were liable to be
called into service. The strenuous efforts made by the enemies
of the Administration to arouse the hostility of the people
against its general policy, had proved so far successful as
greatly to discourage volunteer enlistments; and the Gov
ernment was thus compelled to resort to the extraordinary
powers conferred upon it by this act. Questions had been


raised as to the liability of foreigners to be drafted under this
law ; and in order to settle this point the President, on the
8th of May, issued the following


WASHINGTON, May 8, 1863.
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas, The Congress of the United States, at its last session,
enacted a law, entitled " An act for enrolling and calling out the national
forces, and for other purposes," which was approved on the 3d day
of March last ; and

Whereas, It is recited in the said act that there now exists in tho
United States an insurrection and rebellion against the authority thereof,
and it is, under the Constitution of the United States, the duty of the
Government to suppress insubordination and rebellion, to guarantee to
each State a republican form of government, and to preserve tho public
tranquillity ; and

Whereas, For these high purposes, a military force is indispensable,
to raise and support which ah 1 persons ought willingly to contribute ;

Wliereas, No service can be more praiseworthy and honorable than
that which is rendered for the maintenance of the Constitution and the
Union, and the consequent preservation of free government ; and

Whereas, For the reasons thus recited it was enacted by the said stat
ute that all able-bodied male citizens of the United States, and persons
of foreign birth who shall have declared on oath their intentions to
become citizens under and in pursuance of the laws thereof, between
the ages of twenty and forty-five years, with certain exemptions not
necessary to be here mentioned, are declared to constitute the national
forces, and shall be liable to perform military duty in the service of the
United States, when called out by the President for that purpose ; and

Whtreas, It is claimed, on and in behalf of persons of foreign birth,
within the ages specified in said act, who have heretofore declared on oath
their intentions to become citizens under and in pursuance to the laws
of the United States, and who have not exercised the right of suffrage,
or any other political franchise under the laws of the United States,
or of any of the States thereof, that they are not absolutely precluded by
their aforesaid declaration of intention from renouncing their purpose
to become citizens; and that, on the contrary, such persons, under
treaties and the law of nations, retain a right to renounce that purpose,


and to forego the privilege of citizenship and residence within the
United States, under the obligations imposed by the aforesaid act of

Now, therefore, to avoid all misapprehensions concerning the liability
of persons concerned to perform the service required by such enact
ment, and to give it full effect, I do hereby order and proclaim that no
plea of alienage will be received, or allowed to exempt from the obliga
tions imposed by the aforesaid act of Congress any person of foreign
birth who shall have declared on oath his intention to become a citizen
of the United States, under the laws thereof, and who shall be found
within the United States at any time during the continuance of the
present insurrection and rebellion, at or after the expiration of the period
of sixty-five days from the date of this proclamation; nor shall any
such plea of alienage be allowed in favor of any such person who has
so, as aforesaid, declared his intention to become a citizen of the United
States, and shall have exercised at any time the right of suffrage, or
any other political franchise within the United States, under the laws
thereof, or under the laws of any of the several 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 8th day of May, in the year

[L. s.] of our Lord 1863, and of the independence of the United
States the eighty-seventh.

By the President : ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

It was subsequently ordered that the draft should take place
in July, and public proclamation was made of the number
which each State would be required to furnish. Enrolling
officers had been appointed for the several districts of all the
States, and, all the names being placed in a wheel, the number
required were to be publicly drawn, under such regulations as
were considered necessary to insure equal and exact justice.
Very great pains had been taken by the opponents of the Ad
ministration to excite odium against that clause of the law
which fixed the price of exemption from service under the
draft at $300. It was represented that this clause was for the
special benefit of the rich, who could easily pay the sum


required ; while poor men who could not pay it would bo
compelled, at whatever hardships to themselves and their
families, to enter the army. The draft was commenced in the
city of New York on Saturday, July llth, and was conducted
quietly and successfully during that day. On Sunday plots
were formed and combinations entered into to resist it; and
no sooner was it resumed on Monday morning, July 13, than a
sudden and formidable attack was made by an armed mob
upon the office in one of the districts ; the wheel was destroyed,
the lists scattered, and the building set on fire. The excite
ment spread through the city. Crowds gathered everywhere,
with no apparent common object ; but during the day the
movement seemed to be controlled by leaders in two general
directions. The first was an attack upon the negroes ; the
second an assault upon every one who was supposed to be in
any way concerned in the draft, or prominently identified,
officially or otherwise, with the Administration or the Republi
can party. Unfortunately, the militia regiments of the city had
been sent to Pennsylvania to withstand the rebel invasion ; and
the only guardians left for the public peace were the regular
police and a few hundred soldiers who garrisoned the forts.
Both behaved with the greatest rfgor and fidelity, but they
were too few to protect the dozen miles between the extremi
ties of the city. The mob, dispersed in one quarter, would
reassemble at another, and for four days the city seemed given
up to their control. The outrages committed during this
time were numerous and aggravated. Negroes were assaulted,

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 33 of 46)