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 37 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 37 of 46)
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was liable to great abuse in administration, was equally clear. Agents to
execute it, contrary to the great prayer, were led into temptation. Some
might, while others would not resist that temptation. It was not possi
ble to hold any to a very strict accountability ; and those yielding to the
temptation, would sell permits and passes to those who would pay most,
and most readily for them ; and would seize property and collect levies
in the aptest way to fill their own pockets. Money being the object, the
man having money, whether loyal or disloyal, would be a victim. This
practice doubtless existed to some extent, and it was a real additional
evil, that it could be, and was plausibly charged to exist in greater ex
tent than it did.

When General Curtis took command of the department, Mr. Dick,
against whom I never knew anything to allege, had general charge of this
system. A controversy in regard to it rapidly grew into almost unman
ageable proportions. One side ignored the necessity and magnified the
evils of the system, while the other ignored the evils and magnified the
necessity ; and each bitterly assailed the other. I could not fail to see
that the controversy enlarged in the same proportion as the professed
Union men there distinctly took sides in two opposing political parties.
I exhausted my wits, and very nearly my patience also, in efforts to con
vince both that the evils they charged on each other were inherent in the
case, and could not be cured by giving either party a victory over the

Plainly, the irritating system was not to be perpetual ; and it was
plausibly urged that it could be modified at once with advantage. The
case could scarcely be worse, and whether it could be made better could
only be determined by a trial. In this view, and not to ban, or brand
General Curtis, or to give a victory to any party, I made the change of
commander for the department. I now learn that soon after this change
Mr. Dick was removed, and that Mr. Broadhead, a gentleman of no less
good character, was put in the place. The mere fact of this change is
more distinctly complained of than is any conduct of the new officer, or
other consequence of the change.

I gave the new commander no instructions as to the administration of
the system mentioned, beyond what is contained in the private letter
afterward surreptiously published, in which I directed him to act solely
for the public good, and independently of both parties. Neither any
thing you have presented me, nor anything I have otherwise learned, has
convinced me that he has been unfaithful to this charge.


Imbecility is urged as one cause for removing General Schoficld, and
the late massacre at Lawrence, Kansas, is pressed as evidence of that im
becility. To my mind that fact scarcely tends to prove the proposition.
That massacre is only an example of what Grierson, John Morgan, and
many others, might have repeatedly done on their respective raids, had
they chosen to incur the personal hazard, and possessed the fiendish hearts
to do it.

The charge is made that General Schofield, on purpose to protect the
Lawrence murderers, would not allow them to be pursued into Missouri.
While no punishment could be too sudden or too severe for those mur
derers, I am well satisfied that the preventing of the threatened remedial
raid into Missouri was the only way to avoid an indiscrimate massacre
there, including probably more innocent than guilty. Instead of con
demning, I therefore approve what I understand Geneva! Schofield did in
that respect.

The charge that General Schofield has purposely withheld protection
from loyal people, and purposely facilitated the objects of the disloyal,
are altogether beyond my power of belief. I do not arraign the veracity
of gentlemen as to the facts complained of; but I do more than question
the judgment which would infer that these facts occurred in accordance
with the purposes of General Schofield.

With my present views, I must decline to remove General Schofield.
In this I decide nothing against General Butler. I sincerely wish it were
convenient to assign him a suitable command.

In order to meet some existing evils, I have addressed a letter of in
struction to General Schofield, a copy of which I inclose to you. As to
the "Enrolled Militia," I shall endeavor to ascertain, better than I now
know, what is its exact value. Let me say now, however, that your pro
posal to substitute national force for the " Enrolled Militia," implies that,
in your judgment, the latter is doing something which needs to be done ;
and if so, the proposition to throw that force away, and to supply its
place by bringing other forces from the field where they are urgently
needed, seems to me very extraordinary. Whence shall they come?
Shall they be withdrawn from Banks, or Grant, or Stcele, or Rosecrans ?

Few things have been so grateful to my anxious feelings, as when, in
June last, the local force in Missouri aided General Schofield to so prompt
ly send a large general force to the relief of General Grant, then investing
Vicksburg, and menaced from without by General Johnston. Was this
all wrong ? Should the Enrolled Militia then have been broken up, and
General Heron kept from Grant, to police Missouri ? So far from finding
cause to object, I confess to a sympathy for whatever relieves our general
force in Missouri, and allows it to serve elsewhere.

I therefore, aa at present advised, cannot attempt the destruction of
the Enrolled Militia of Missouri. I may add, that the force being under


the national military control, it is also within the proclamation with re
gard to the habeas corpus.

I concur in the propriety of your request in regard to elections, and
have, as you see, directed General Schofield accordingly. I do not feel
justified to enter upon the broad field you present in regard to the politi
cal differences between Radicals and Conservatives. From time to time
I have done and said what appeared to me proper to do and say. The
public knows it well. It obliges nobody to follow me, and I trust it
obliges me to follow nobody. The Radicals and Conservatives each
agree with me in some things and disagree in others. I could wish both
to agree with me in all things; for then they would agree with each
other, and would be too strong for any foe from any quarter. They, how
ever, choose to do otherwise, and I do not question their right. I, too,
shall do what seems to be my duty. I hold whoever commands in Mis
souri or elsewhere responsible to me, and not to either Radicals or Conserv
atives. It is my duty to hear all ; but, at last, I must, within my sphere,
judge what to do and what to forbear.

Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.



There is no organized military force in avowed opposition to the Gene
ral Government now in Missouri, and if any shall reappear, your duty in
regard to it will be too plain to require any special instruction. Still, the
condition of things, both there and elsewhere, is such as to render it in
dispensable to maintain, for a time, the United States military establish
ment in that State, as well as to rely upon it for a fair contribution of
support to that establishment generally. Your immediate duty in regard
to Missouri now is to advance the efficiency of that establishment, and to
so use it, as far as practicable, to compel the excited people there to let
one another alone.

Under your recent order, which I have approved, you will only arrest
individuals, and suppress assemblies or newspapers, when they may be
working palatable injury to the military in your charge ; and in no other
case will you interfere with the expression of opinion in any form, or al
low it to be interfered with violently by others. In this you have a dis
cretion to exercise with great caution, calmness, and forbearance.

With the matter of removing the inhabitants of certain counties en
masse, and of removing certain individuals from time to time, who are-
supposed to be mischievous, I am not now interfering, but am leaving
to your own discretion.

Nor am I interfering with what may btill seem to you to be necessary


restrictions upon trade and intercourse. I think proper, however, to
enjoin upon you the following : Allow no part of the military under your
command to be engaged in either returning fugitive slaves, or in forcing
or enticing slaves from their homes ; and, so far as practicable, enforce
the same forbearance upon the people.

Report to me your opinion upon the availability for good of the en
rolled militia of the State. Allow no one to enlist colored troops, ex
cept upon orders from you, or from here through you.

Allow no one to assume the functions of confiscating property, under
the law of Congress, or otherwise, except upon orders from here.

At elections see that those and only those, are allowed to vote, who are
entitled to do so by the laws of Missouri, including as of those laws the
restrictions laid by the Missouri Convention upon those who may have
participated in the rebellion.

So far as practicable, you will, by means of your military force, expel
guerrillas, marauders, and murderers, and all who are known to harbor,
aid, .or abet them. But in like manner you will repress assumptions of
unauthorized individuals to perform the same service, because under pre
tence of doing this they become marauders and murderers themselves.

To now restore peace, let the military obey orders ; and those not of
the military leave each other alone, thus not breaking the peace them

In giving the above directions, it is not intended to restrain you in
other expedient and necessary matters not falling within their range.
Tour obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.

The condition of affairs in this department continued to be
greatly disturbed by political agitations, and the personal con
troversies to which they gave rise ; and after a lapse of some
months the President deemed it wise to relieve General Scho-
field from further command in this department. This was
done by an order from the War Department, dated January
24th, 1864, by which, also, General liosecrans was appointed
in his place. In his order assuming command, dated January
30th, General Rosecrans paid a very high compliment to his
predecessor, for the admirable order in which he found the
business of the Department, and expressed the hope that he
might receive " the honest, firm, and united support of all true
national and Union men of- the Department, without regard
to politics, creed, or party, in his endeavors to maintain law


and re-establish peace, and secure prosperity throughout its

Before closing this notice of the perplexities and annoy
ances to which the President was subjected by the domestic
contentions of Missouri, we may mention, as an illustration
of the extent to which they were carried, the case of Rev.
Dr. MePheeters, who had been silenced by General Curtis for
preaching disloyalty to his congregation in St. Louis. The
incident gave rise to a good deal of excitement, which was
continued throughout the year. Toward the close of it the
President wrote the following letter in reply to an appeal for
his interference :


I have just looked over a petition signed by some three dozen citi
zens 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. MePheeters. The petition prays, in the name
of justice and mercy, that 1 will restore Dr. MePheeters to all his
ecclesiastical rights.

This gives no intimation as to what ecclesiastical rights are with
drawn. Your letter states that Provost-Marshal Dick, about a year
ago, ordered the arrest of Dr. MePheeters, Pastor of the Vine Street
Church, prohibited him from officiating, and placed the management of
affairs of the church out of the control of the chosen trustees ; and
near the close you state that a certain course " would insure Ms re
lease." Mr. Ranney s letter says : " Dr. Samuel MePheeters is enjoy
ing all the rights of a civilian, but cannot preach the gospel!" Mr.
Coalter, in his letter, asks : " Is it not a strange illustration of the con
dition 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 r

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 his doctor is enjoying all the rights of a civilian, and
another pointing out to me what will secure his release ! On the 2d of
January last, I wrote to General Curtis hi relation to Mr. Dick s order
upon Doctor MePheeters ; and, as I suppose the doctor is enjoying all


the rights of a civilian, I only quote that part of my letter which re
lates 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 General Curtis, then in command, I supposed, of
course, it was obeyed, especially as I heard no further complaint from
Doctor Me. or his friends for nearly an entire year. I have never inter
fered, nor thought of interfering, 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 Doctor Me. back
over the heads of a majority of his own congregation, that, too, will
be declined. I will not have control of any church or any side.


The Presbytery, the regular church authority in the matter,
subsequently decided that Dr. McPheeters could not return
to his pastoral charge.

The victories of the Union arms during the summer of 1863
the repulse of the rebels at Gettysburg, the capture of
Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and the consequent restoration
of the Mississippi to the commerce of the nation, produced
the most salutary effect upon the public sentiment of the
country. There was a good deal of partisan opposition to
specific measures of the Administration, and in some quarters
this took the form of open hostility to the further prosecution
of the war. But the spirit and determination of the people
were at their height, and the Union party entered upon the
political contests of the Autumn of 1863, in the several States,
with confidence and courage.

The President had been invited by the Republican State


Committee of Illinois to attend the State Convention, to be
held at Springfield on the 3d of September. Finding it im
possible to accept the invitation, he wrote in reply the following
letter, in which several of the most conspicuous features of his
policy are defended against the censures by which they had
been assailed :


MY DEAR SIR : Your letter inviting me to attend a mass meeting of
unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital of Illinois, on the 3d
day of September, has been received. It would be very agreeable for me
thus to meet my old friends at my own home ; but I cannot just now be
absent from here 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

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 arras. 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. Are you for it ? 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 terms made by any man or men within that range, in op
position to that army, is simply nothing for the present ; because such
man or men have no power whatever to enforce their side of a compro
mise, if one were made with them.

To illustrate : Suppose refugees froto the South and peace men of the
North get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a compromise
embracing a restoration of the Union. In what way can that compromise
be used to keep Lee s army out of Pennsylvania ? 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 Lee s
army are not agreed can at 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 arm)-, or with the people, first liberated from the domi
nation of that army by the success of our own army. Now, allow me to
assure you that no word or intimation from that 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 insinuations to the
contrary are deceptive and groundless. And I promise you that if any
such proposition shall hereafter come, it shall not be rejected and kept a
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 between you and myself upon
that subject. I certainly wish that all men could be free, while you, ]
suppose, do not. Yet, I have neither adopted nor proposed any measure
which is not consistent with even your view, provided that you are for
the Union. I suggested compensated emancipation ; to which you re
plied you wished not be taxed to buy negroes. But I had 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
the Constitution invests its Commauder-in-Chief with the law of war in
time of war. The most that can be said, if so much, is, that 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 it helps us and hurts the enemy ? Armies,
the world 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 Proclamation, as law, either is valid or is not valid. If it is
not valid it needs no retraction. If it is valid it cannot be retracted, any
more than the dead can be brought to life. Some of you profess to think
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 progressed as favorably for us since
6he 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 use of
colored troops constitute 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 who hold these views are some who have
never had any affinity with what is called "Abolitionism," or with
"Republican party politics," but who hold them purely as military
opinions. I submit their opinions as 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

You say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem
willing to fight for you ; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively, to
save the Union. I issued the Proclamation on purpose to aid you in
saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to
the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time
then for you to declare 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 re
sistance 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 Northwest 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 helping hand. On the spot, their part of the
history was jotted down in black and white. The job was a great national
one, and let none be slighted 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
well 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 watery 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 principle
it iivis by and keeps alive for man s vast future thanks to all.


Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon
and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the 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 there will
be some black men who can remember that with Biient tongue, and
clinched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have
helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear there will
be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and de

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 37 of 46)