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 40 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 40 of 46)
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may apply to the President for clemency, like all other offenders, and
their application will receive due consideration.

I do further declare and proclaim that the oath presented in the
aforesaid proclamation of the 8th of December, 18G3, may be taken and
subscribed before any commissioned 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
qualified for administering oaths.


All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized to give
certificates thereof 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 Government.

The Secretary of State will keep a registry thereof, and 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 Wnsh-

[L. S.] ington. the 26th day of March, in the year of our Lord 18G4,
and of the independence of the United States the Eighty- eighth.
By the President : ABRAHAM LINCOLX.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

The action of Congress at this session has not been of special
interest or importance. Public attention continued to be ab
sorbed by military operations, and Congress, at its previous
session, had so fully provided for the emergencies, present and
prospective, of the war, that little in this direction remained
to be done. Resolutions were introduced by members of tho
opposing parties, some approving and others condemning the
policy of the Administration. Attempts were made to amend
the conscription bill, but the two houses failing to agree on
some of the more important changes proposed, the bill, as
finally passed, did not vary essentially from the original law.
The leading topic of discussion in this connection was the em
ployment of colored men, free and slave, as soldiers. The
policy of thus employing them had been previously established
by the action of the Government in all departments ; and all
that remained was to regulate the mode of their enlistment.
A proviso was finally adopted by both houses that colored
troops, "while they shall be credited in the quotas of the sev
eral States or subdivisions of States wherein they are respect
ively drafted, enlisted, or shall volunteer, shall not be assigned


as State troops, but shall be mustered into regiments or com
panies as United States Colored Volunteers."

The general tone of the debates in Congress indicates the
growing conviction on the part of the people of the whole
country, without regard to party distinctions, that the destruc
tion of slavery is inseparable from the victorious prosecution
of the war. Men of all parties have acquiesced in the position
that the days of slavery are numbered, that the rebellion, or
ganized for the purpose of strengthening it, has placed it at the
mercy of the national force, and compelled the Government to
assail its existence as the only means of subduing the rebellion
and preserving the Union. The certainty that the prosecution
of the war must result in the emancipation of the slaves, has
led to the proposal of measures suited to this emergency. On
the 6th of February, a bill was reported in the House for the
establishment of a Bureau of Freedmen s Affairs, which should
determine all questions relating to persons of African descent,
and make regulations for their employment and proper treat
ment on abandoned plantations ; and after a sharp and dis
cursive debate, it was passed by a vote of 69 to 67. A reso
lution has also been adopted to submit to the action of
the several States, an amendment to the Constitution of
the United States, prohibiting the existence of slavery with
in the States and Territories of the Union forever. This prop
osition has encountered but little opposition. The experience
of the last three years has left but little inclination in any
quarter to prolong the existence of slavery, and the political
necessities which formerly gave it strength and protection, have
ceased to exist. At the commencement of the session resolu
tions were offered by several members in both Houses, aiming
at its prohibition by -such an amendment of the Constitution.
This mode of accomplishing the object sought was held to be
free from the objections to which every other is exposed, as it
is unquestionably competent for the people to amend the Con-


stitution, in accordance with the forms prescribed by its own
provisions. One or two Southern senators, Mr. Saulsbury, of
Delaware, and Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, being prominent, have
urged that it is a palpable violation of State rights for the
people thus to interfere with any thing which State laws de
clare to be property; but they were answered by Reverdy
Johnson, of Maryland, who urged that when the Constitution
was originally framed this prohibition of slavery might unques
tionably have been embodied in it, and that it was competent
for the people to do now whatever they might have done then.

A bill was passed in both Houses restoring the grade of
Lieutenant-General, and, on the nomination of the President,
General Grant was appointed by the Senate to that office, and
invested with the command of the armies of the United States.

Toward the close of the year, as the terms of service of
many of the volunteer forces were about to expire, the Presi
dent issued a proclamation for 300,000 volunteers. The mili
tary successes of the season had raised the public courage and
inspired new confidence in the final issue of the contest for the
preservation of the Union ; it was believed, therefore, that an
appeal for volunteers would be responded to with alacrity, and
save the necessity for a resort to another draft. The procla
mation was as follows :


By the President of the United States.

Whereas, the term of service of part of the volunteer forces of the
United States will expire during the coming year ; and, whereas, in ad
dition 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
during 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 navy 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, the quotas of three
hundred thousand men.

I further proclaim that all the volunteers thus called out and duly
eulisted 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 as
signed 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 proportion of said quota, and the said draft
shall commence on the 5th day of January, 18G4.

And I further proclaim that nothing in this proclamation shall inter
fere 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
not yet been commenced.

The quotas 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 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 Gover
nors of the several States, but aiso 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 re-enforce our victorious army
now in the field, and bring our needful military operations to a prosper
ous 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 17th day of October,

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

By the President : ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WM. II. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

By the act of 1861 for raising troops, a government bounty
of one hundred dollars was paid to each volunteer ; and this


amount had been increased from time to time until each soldier
who had already filled his term of service was entitled to re
ceive four hundred dollars on re-enlisting, and each new volun
teer three hundred. After the President s proclamation was
issued, enlistments, especially of men already in the service,
proceeded with great rapidity, and the amount to be paid for
bounties threatened to be very large. Under these circum
stances, Congress adopted an amendment to the enrolment
act, by which the payment of all bounties except those author
ized by the act of 1861, was to cease after the 5th day of Jan
uary. Both the Secretary of War and the Provost-Marshal
General feared that the effect of this, when it came to be gen
erally understood, would be to check the volunteering which
was then proceeding in a very satisfactory manner; and on
the 5th of January, the day when the prohibition was to take
effect, the President sent to Congress the following communi
cation :

WASHINGTON, January 5, 1864.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :

By a joint resolution of your honorable bodies, approved December
23, 1863, the paying of bounties to veteran volunteers, as now practised
by the War Department, is, to the extent of three hundred dollars in
each case, prohibited after the fifth day of the present month. I trans
mit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War,
accompanied by one from the Provost-Marshal General to him, both
relating to the subject above mentioned. I earnestly recommend that
this law be so modified as to allow bounties to be paid as they now are,
at least to the ensuing 1st day of February. I am not without anxiety
lest I appear to be importunate in thus recalling your attention to a sub
ject upon which you have so recently acted, and nothing but a deep
conviction that the public interest demands it could induce me to incur
the hazard of being misunderstood on this point. The executive ap
proval was given by me to the resolution mentioned, and it is now by
a closer attention and a fuller knowledge of facts that I feel constrained
to recommend a reconsideration of the subject.



A resolution extending the payment of bounties, in accord
ance with this recommendation, to the 1st of April, was at
once reported by the Military Committee of the Senate, and
passed by both Houses of Congress.

The action of Congress thus far during the session has re
lated mainly to questions connected with taxation and the cur
rency, and does not call for detailed mention in this connec
tion. Considerable time has been consumed, and a good deal
of ill-feeling created, by a controversy between General F. P.
Blair, junior, of Missouri, whose seat in Congress is contested,
and other members of the Missouri delegation. General Blair
was accused by one of his colleagues of very discreditable
transactions in granting permits to trade within the limits of
his department, from which he was, however, completely ex
onerated by the investigations of a Committee of the House.
After this matter was closed, General Blair resigned his seat in
the House and returned to his post in the army. The House,
by resolution, called upon the President for information as to
the circumstances of his restoration to command, and received
on the 28th of April the following in reply :
To the House of Representatives :

In obedience to the resolution of your honorable body, a copy of which
is herewith returned, I have the honor to make the following brief state
ment, which is believed to contain the information sought.

Prior to and at the meeting of the present Congress, Robert C.
Schenck, of Ohio, and Frank P. Blair, Jr., of Missouri, members elect
thereto, by and with the consent of the Senate, held commissions from
the Executive as Major-Generals in the volunteer army. General
Schenck tendered the resignation of his said commission, and took
his seat in the House of Representatives, at the assembling thereof,
upon the distinct verbal understanding with the Secretary of War and
tbe Executive that he might at any time during the session, at his own
pleasure, withdraw said resignation and return to the field.

General Blair was, by temporary agreement of General Sherman,
in command of a corps through the battles in front of Chattanooga,
and in marching to the relief of Knoxville, which occurred in the


latter days of December last, and of course was not present at the as
sembling of Congress. When he subsequently arrived here he sought
and was allowed by the Secretary of War and the Executive the same
conditions and promise as was allowed and made to General Schenck.

General Schenck has not applied to withdraw his resignation; but
when General Grant was made Lieutenant-General, producing some
changes of commanders, General Blair sought to be assignedto the
command of a corps. This was made known to General Grant and
General Sherman, and assented to by them, and the particular corps for
him was designated. This was all arranged and understood, as now re
membered, so much as a month ago; but the formal withdrawal of
General Blair s resignation, and the reissuing of the order assigning him
to the command of a corps, were not consummated at the War Depart
ment until last week, perhaps on the 23d of April instant. As a sum
mary of the whole it may be stated that General Blair holds no military
commission or appointment other than as herein stated, and that it is
believed he is now acting as Major-General upon the assumed validity
of the commission herein stated and not otherwise.

There are some letters, notes, telegrams, orders, entries, and perhaps
other documents, in connection with this subject, which it is believed
would throw no additional light upon it, but which will be cheerfully
furnished if desired. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

April 28, 1864.

On the same day the President sent to Congress the follow
ing Message, which sufficiently explains itself:
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives :

I have the honor to transmit herewith an address to the President of
the United States, and through him to both Houses of Congress, on the
condition of the people of East Tennessee, and asking their attention to
the necessity for some action on the part of the government for their re
lief, and which address is presented by the Committee or Organization,
called " The East Tennessee Relief Association." Deeply commisera
ting the condition of those most loyal people, I am unprepared to make
any specific recommendation for their relief. The military is doing, and
will continue to do, the best for them within its power. Their address
represents that the construction of a direct railroad communication
between Knoxville and Cincinnati, by way of Central Kentucky, would
be of great consequence in the present emergency. It may be remem
bered that in my annual Message of December, 1861, such railroad con-


struction was recommended. I now add that, with the hearty concur
rence of Congress, I would yet be pleased to construct the road, both,
for the relief of those people and for its continuing military importance.


The diplomatic correspondence of the year 1863, which was
transmitted to Congress with the President s Message, was
voluminous and interesting. But it touched few points of
general interest, relating mainly to matters of detail in the
relations between the United States and foreign powers. One
point of importance was gained in the course of our correspond
ence with Great Britain, the issuing of an order by that
Government forbidding the departure of formidable rams
which were building in English ports unquestionably for the
Rebel service. Our minister in London had been unwearied
in collecting evidence of the purpose and destination of these
vessels and in pressing upon the British Government the ab-
solute necessity, if they wished to preserve peaceful relations
with the United States, of not permitting their professedly
neutral ports to be used as naval depots and dock-yards for
the service of the rebels. On the 5th of September, 1863,
Mr. Adams had written to Lord Russell, acknowledging the
receipt of a letter from him in which the deliberate purpose of
the British Government to take no action in regard to these
rams was announced. Mr. Adams had expressed his regret at
such a decision, which he said he could regard as no other
wise than as practically opening to the insurgents free liberty
in Great Britain to prepare for entering and destroying any of
the Atlantic seaports of the United States. " It would be
superfluous in me," added Mr. Adams, " to point out to your
lordship that this is war. No matter what may be the theory
adopted of neutrality in a struggle, when this process is carried
on in the manner indicated, from a territory and with the aid
of the subjects of a third party, that third party to all intents
and purposes ceases to be neutral. Neither is it necessary to


show, that any Government which suffers it to be done, fails
in enforcing the essential conditions of international arnky to
wards the country against whom the hostility is directed. In
my belief it is impossible that any nation, retaining a proper
degree of self-respect, could tamely submit to a continuance
of relations so utterly deficient in reciprocity. I have no idea
that Great Britain would do so for a moment." On the 8th
of September Earl Russell wrote to Mr. Adams, to inform him
that " instructions had been issued which would prevent the
departure of the two iron-clad vessels from Liverpool." The
Earl afterwards explained in Parliament, however, when charged
with having taken this action under an implied menace of
war conveyed in the letter of Mr. Adams, that it was taken in
pursuance of a decision which had been made previous to the
receipt of that letter and in ignorance of its existence.

On the llth of July Mr. Seward forwarded a dispatch to
Mr. Adams, elicited by the decision of the British Court in
the case of the Alexandra, which had been seized on suspicion
of having been fitted out in violation of the laws of Great Bri
tain against the enlistment of troops to serve against nations
with which that government was at peace. The decision was
a virtual repeal of the enlistment act as a penal measure of
prevention, and actually left the agents of the Rebels at full
liberty to prepare ships of war in English ports to cruise
against the commerce of the United States. Mr. Seward con
veyed to Mr. Adams the President s views on the extraordinary
state of affairs which this decision revealed. Assuming that
the British Government had acted throughout in perfect good
faith and that the action of its judicial tribunals was not to be
impeached, this dispatch stated that " if the rulings of the
Chief Baron of the Exchequer in the case of the Alexandra
should be affirmed by the Court of last resort, so as to regu
late the action of Her Majesty s Government, the President
would be left to understand that there is no law in Great


Britain which will be effective to preserve mutual relations of
forbearance between the subjects of her Majesty and the Gov
ernment and people of the United States in the only point
where they are exposed to infraction. And the United States
will be without any guarantee whatever against the indiscrimi
nate and unlawful employment of capital, industry and skill
by British subjects, in building, arming, equipping, and send
ing forth ships-of-war from British ports to make war against
the United States." The suggestion was made whether it-
would not be wise for Parliament to amend a law thus proved
to be inadequate to the purpose for which it was intended. If
the law must be left without amendment and be construed by
the Government in . conformity with the rulings in this case
then, said Mr. Seward, "there will be left for the United States
no alternative but to protect themselves and their commerce
against armed cruisers proceeding from British ports as against
the naval forces of a public enemy ; and also to claim and in
sist upon indemnities for the injuries which all such expeditions
have hitherto committed or shall hereafter commit against
this Government and the citizens of the United States." " Can
it be an occasion for either surprise or complaint," asked Mr.
Seward, " that if this condition of things is to remain and re
ceive the deliberate sanction of the British Government, the
navy of the United States will receive instructions to pursue
these enemies into the ports which thus, in violation of the
law of nations and the obligations of neutrality, become har
bors for the pirates ?" Before the receipt of this dispatch, Mr.
Adams had so clearly presented the same views, of the inevi
table results of the policy the British Government seemed to
bo pursuing, to Lord Russell, as to render its transmission to
him unnecessary, Mr. Seward, on the 13th of August, in
forming Mr. Adams that he regarded his " previous commu
nications to Earl Russell on the subject as an execution of his
instructions by way of anticipation."


Our relations with France continued to be friendly ; but
the proceedings of the French in Mexico gave rise to repre
sentations on both sides which may have permanent impor
tance for the welfare of both countries. Rumors were circu
lated from timo to time in France that the government of the
United States had protested, or was about to protest, against
the introduction into Mexico of a monarchical form of govern
ment, under a European prince, to be established and sup
ported by French arms; and these reports derived a good
deal of plausibility from the language of the American press,
representing the undoubted sentiment of a very large portion
of the American people. Various incidental conversations
were had on this subject during the summer of 1863 between
Mr. Dayton, our Minister in Paris, and the French Minister of
Foreign Affairs, in which the latter uniformly assured Mr.
Dayton that France had no thought of conquering Mexico or
establishing there a dominant and permanent power. She
desired simply to enforce the payment of just claims and to
vindicate her honor.) In a conversation reported by Mr.
Dayton in a letter dated August 21, M. Drouyn de 1 IIuys
"took occasion again to say that France had no purpose in
Mexico other than heretofore stated, that she did not mean
to appropriate permanently any part of that country, and that
she should leave it as soon as her griefs were satisfied, and she
could do so with honor." "In the abandon of a conversation
somewhat familiar," adds Mr. Dayton, "I took occasion to
say that in quitting Mexico she might leave a puppet behind
her. He said no; the strings would be too long to work. He
added that they had had enough of colonial experience in
Algeria; that the strength of France was in her compact body
and well-defined boundary. In that condition she had her
resources always at command."

in a dispatch dated September 14, Mr. Dayton reports a
conversation in which the French Minister referred to the

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 40 of 46)