Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) online

. (page 18 of 42)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 42)
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dent Lincoln, through the Secretary of State, made the
following reply :

DEPARTMENT OF STATS, April 22, 1861.

His Excellency THOMAS H. HICKS, Governor of Maryland :

SIR: I have had the honor to receive your communication of this
morning, in which you inform me that you have felt it to be your duty
to advise the President of the United States to order elsewhere the troops
then off Annapolis, and also that no more may be sent through Maryland ;
and that you have further suggested that Lord Lyons be requested to act
as mediator between the contending parties in our country, to prevent
the effusiou of blood.

The President directs me to acknowledge the receipt of that communi
cation, and to assure you that he has weighed the counsels it contains
with the respect which he habitually cherishes for the Chief Magistrates
of the several States, and especially for yourself. He regrets, as deeply
as any magistrate or citizen of this country can, that demonstrations*
against, the safety of the United States, with very extensive preparations
for the effusion .of blood, have made it his duty to call out the forces to
which you allude.

The force now sought to be brought through Maryland is intended for
nothing but the defence of the O- ipital. The President has neoessnrily
ftoniided th^ choice of the NatioUiU highway which that fore*? shall taice


in coming to this city to the Lieutenant- General commanding the Arm.*
of the United States, who, like his only predecessor, is not less distin
guished for his humanity than for his loyalty, patriotism, and distin
guished public service.

The President instructs me to add, that the National highway thus
selected by the Lieutenant-General has been chosen by him upon connul-
t a* ion with prominent magistrates and citizens of Maryland as the one
which, while a route is absolutely necessary, is farthest removed from the
populous cities of the State, and with the expectation that it would there
fore be the least objectionable one.

The President cannot but remember that there has been a time in the
history of our country wluti a general of the American Union, with forces
designed for the defence of its Capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in
the State of Maryland, and certainly not at Annapolis, then, as now, the
capital of that patriotic State, and then, also, one of the capitals of the

If eighty years could have obliterated all the other noble sentiments of
that age in Maryland, the President would be hopeful, nevertheless, that
there is one that would forever remain there and everywhere. That sen
timent is, that no domestic contention whatever that may arise among the
parties of this Republic ought in any case to be referred to any foreign
arbitrament, least of all to the arbitrament of a European monarchy.

I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, your Excel
lency s obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWAKD.

At the President s request, the Mayor of Baltimore, and
a number of leading influential citizens of Maryland,
waited upon him at Washington, and had an open con
ference upon the condition of affairs in that State. The
Mayor subsequently made the following report of the in
terview :

The President, upon his part, recognized the good faith of the city and
State authorities, and insisted upon his own. He admitted the excited
state of feeling in Baltimore, and his desire and duty to avoid the fata)
consequences of a collision with the people. He urged, on the other
hand, the absolute, irresistible necessity of having a transit through the
State for such troops as might be necessary for the protection of the
Federal Capital. The protection of Washington, he asseverated with great
earnestness, was the sole object of concentrating troops thtre ; and he
protested that none of the troops brought through Maryland were in
tended for any purposes hostile to the State, or aggressive as against the
Southern States. Being now unable to bring them up the Potomac in
security, the Government must either bring them through Maryland 01
the Capital.


lie called on General Scott for his opinion, which the General gave at
length, to the effect that troops might be brought through Maryland,
without going through Baltimore, by either carrying them from Perry s-
ville to Annapolis, and thence by rail to Washington, or by bringing them
to the Relay House on the Northern Central Railroad, and marching them
to the Relay House on the Washington Railroad, and thence by rail to
the Capital. If the people would permit them to go by either of those
routes uninterruptedly, the necessity of their passing through Baltimore
would be avoided. If the people would not permit them a transit thus
remote from the city, they must select their own best route, and, if need
be, fight their way through Baltimore a result which the General ear
nestly deprecated.

The President expressed his hearty concurrence in the desire to avoid
a collision, and said that no more troops should be ordered through Balti
more, if they were permitted to go uninterruptedly by either of the other
routes suggested. In thii disposition the Secretary of War expressed his

Mayor Brown assured the President that the city authorities would use
all lawful means to prevent their citizens from leaving Baltimore to attack
the troops in passing at a distance ; but he urged, at the same time, the
impossibility of their being able to promise any thing more than their
best efforts in that direction. The excitement was great, he told the
President ; the people of all classes were fully aroused, and it was impos
sible for any one to answer for the consequences of the presence of North
ern troops anywhere within our borders. He reminded the President,
also, that the jurisdiction of the city authorities was confined to their own
population, and that he could give no promises for the people elsewhere,
because he would be unable to keep them if given. The President frankly
acknowledged this difficulty, and said that the Government would only
ask the city authorities to use their best efforts with respect to those
under their jurisdiction.

The interview terminated with the distinct assurance, on the part of
the President, that no more troops would be sent through Baltimore un
less obstructed in their transit in other direction? , and with the under
standing that the city authorities should do their best to restrain their
own people.

In accordance with this understanding, troops were for
warded to Washington by way of Annapolis, until peace
and orrl or were restored in Baltimore, when the regular
use oi the highway through that city was resumed, and
has been continued without interruption to the present

On the 19th of April the President issued the following
proclamation, blockadin q; the ports of the seceded States :



By the President of the Unitted States.

Whereas, An insurrection against the Government of the United State*
has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Flor
ida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States
for the collection of the revenue cannot be efficiently executed therein
conformable to that provision of the Constitution which required dutiea
to be uniform throughout the United States :

And toherecu, A combination of pei-dons, engaged in such insurrection,
fuve threatened to grant protended letters oi muiqud, tu authorize th
bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of
the 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 been already issued, re
quiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist
therefrom, calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the
same, and convening Congress 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 mentioned, and to the protec
tion of the public peace, and the lives and property of quiet and orderly
citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall havo
assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or until tho
same shall have ceased, havo further deemed it advisable to set on foot a
blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of tho
laws of the United States and of the laws of nations in such cases pro
vided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted, so as to pre
vent 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 againsl hei
and her cargo as prize as may be deemed advisable.

And I hereby proclaim and declare, that if any person, under the pio-
tended authority yf such States, or under any other pretence, shall molest
a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her,
suet persons will be held amenable to the laws of the United States foi
tho prevention and punishment of piracy.

By the President. ABBA.HAM LINCOLN.

WILLIAM FL S&WAKD, Secretary of State.
WASHINGTON, April I 1 / 16 01.


These were the initial steps by which the Government
Bought to repel the attempt of the rebel Confederacy to
overthrow its authority by force of arms. Its action was
at that time wholly defensive. The declarations of rebel
officials, as well as the language of the Southern press.
indicated very clearly their intention to push the war
begun at Sumter into the North. Jefferson Davis had
himself declared, more than a month previous, that when
ever the war should open, the North and not the South
should be the field of battle. At a popular demonstration
held at Montgomery, Ala., on hearing that fire had been
opened upon Sumter, L. P. Walker, the rebel Secretary
of War, had said, that while "no man could tell where
the war would end, he would prophesy that the flag
which now flaunts the breeze here, would float over th<*
dome of the old Capitol at Washington before the first of
May," and that it " might float eventually over Faneul
Hall itself." The rebel Government had gone forward
with great vigor to prepare the means for making good
these predictions. Volunteers were summoned to the
field. Besides garrisoning the fortresses in their posses
sion along the Southern coast, a force of nearly twenty
thousand men was pushed rapidly forward to Yirginia.
A loan of eight millions of dollars was raised, and Davis
issued a proclamation offering letters of marque to all per
sons who might desire to aid the rebel Government and
enrich themselves by depredations upon the rich and ex
tended commerce of the United States. The South thus
plunged openly and boldly into a war of aggression ; and
the President, in strict conformity with the declaration of his
Inaugural, put the Government upon the defensive, and
limited the military operations of the moment to the pro
tection of the Capital.

The effect of these preliminary movements upon the
Border Slave States was very decided. The assault upon
Sumter greatly excited the public mind throughout those
States. In Yirginia it was made to inure to the benefit of the
rebels. The State Convention, which had been in session
iince the 13th of February, was composed of a hundred


and fifty-two delegates, a large majority of whom were
Union men. The Inaugural of President Lincoln had
created a good deal of excitement among the members,
and a very animated contest had followed as to its proper
meaning. The secessionists insisted that it announced a
policy of coercion towards the South, and had seized the
occasion to urge the immediate passage of an ordinance of
secession. This gave rise to a stormy debate, in which
the friends of the Union maintained their ascendency.
The news of the attack upon Suniter created a whirlwind
jf excitement, which checked somewhat the Union move
ment ; and, on the 13th of April, Messrs. Preston, Stuart,
and Eandolph, who had been sent to Washington to as
certain the President s intentions towards the South, sent
in their report, which was received just after Governor
Pickens, of South Carolina, had announced the attack
upon Sumter, and had demanded to know what Virginia
intended to do in the war they had just commenced, and
in which they were determined to triumph or perish,
The CommLsioners reported that the President had mad*
the follow"*^; reply to their inquiries :

To Hon. Mestii-a. PRESTON, STUART and RANDOLPH :

GENTLEMEN : As a committee of the Virginia Convention, now in ses
sion, you present me a preamble and resolution in these words :

Wliereas, In the opinion of this Convention, the uncertainty which pre
vails in the public mind as to the policy which the Federal Executive in
tends to pursue towards the seceded States, is extremely injurious to thd
industrial and commercial interests of the country, tends to keep up aa
excitement which is unfavorable to the adjustment of the pending diffi
culties, and threatens a disturbance of the public peace : Therefore,

Resolved, That a committee of three delegates be appointed to wait on
the President of the United States, present to him this preamble, and re
spectfully ask him to communicate to this Convention the policy which
the Federal Executive intends to pursue in regard to the Confederate

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 and mortification I now learn there is great and injurious un
certainty 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.
A commend a careful consideration of the whole document as the best ei-


pression 1 can give to my purposes. As I then and therein said, I now
repeat, "The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and pos
sess property 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 against or among the people any
where." By the words "property and places belonging to the Govern
ment," I chiefly allude to the military posts and property which were in
possession of the Government when it came into my hands. But if, a*
now appears to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to drive the United States
authority from these places, an unprovoked assault lias been made upon
Fort Snmter, I shall hold myself at liberty to repos-jeds it, if I can, lik
places which had been seized before the Government was devolved upoi
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 com
mencement of actual war against the Government justifies and possibly
demands it. I scarcely need to say that I consider the military posts 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 inva
sion 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, except so far as what I now say of the mails
may be regarded as a modification.


On the 17th, two days after this report was presented,
and. immediately after receiving the President s procla
mation calling for troops, the Convention passed an ordi
nance of secession by a vote of eighty-eight to fifty-five ;
and Virginia, being thus the most advanced member of the
rebel Confederacy, became the battle-field of all the earlier
contests which ensued, and on the 21 st of May the capital
of the rebel Government was transferred to Richmond.
Very strenuous efforts were made by the rebel authori
ties to secure the adhesion of Maryland, Kentucky, Ten
nessee, and Missouri to the Confederacy ; but the wise
forbearance of the President in his earlier measures had
checked these endeavors, and held all those States but


aloof from active participation in the secession
s?io verier t

The months of May and June were devoted to the most
active and vigorous preparations on both sides for the
contest which was keen to be inevitable. Over a hundred
thousand troops bad been raised and organized in the
rebel States, and the p v reat mass of them had been pushed
forward towards the Northern border. On the 20th of
April, the Government of the United States seized all the
dispatches which had accumulated in the telegraph offices
during the preceding yc\\r, for the purpose of detecting
movements in aid of the y-ebel conspiracy. On the 27th
of April the blockade of rebel ports was extended by
proclamation to the ports of Xortk Carolina and Virginia.
On the 3d of May the President issued a proclamation
calling into the service of the United States forty-tw
thousand and thirty-four volunteers for three years, ant
ordering an addition of twenty -two thousand one hundred
and fourteen officers and me\.\ to the regular army, and
eighteen thousand seamen to t\ie navy. And on the 16th,
by another proclamation, he directed the commander of
the United States forces in Florida to " permit no person
to exercise any office or authority upon the islands of
Ke7 West, Tortugas, and Santa Eosa, which may be in
consistent with the laws and Constitution of the United
States ; authorizing him, at the same time, if he shall find
it necessary, to suspend the writ of Jiabeas corpus, and to
remove from the vicinity of the United States fortresses
all dangerous and suspected persons."

One of the first duties of the new Administration was
to define the position to be taken by the Government of
the United States towards foreign nations in view of the
rebellion. While it is impossible to enter here upon this
very wide branch of the general subject at any consid
erable length, this history would be incomplete if it did
not state, in official language, the attitude which the Presi
dent decided to assume. That is very distinctly set forth
in the letter of instructions prepared by the Secretary of
State for Mr. Adams, on the eve of his departure for


the court of St. James, and dated April 1 in the
following terms :

Before considering the arguments you are to use, it is irv r : riant to in
dicate those which you are not to employ in executing that mission :

First. The President has noticed, as the whole American people have,
with much emotion, the expressions of good-will and friendship towardi
the United States, and of concern for their present embarrassments, which
have been made on apt occasions, by her Majesty and her ministers. YOU
n ill make due acknowledgment for these manifestations, but at the same
time you will not rely on any mere, sympathies or national kindness. You
will make no admissions of weakness in our Constitution, or of apprehen
sion on the part of the Government. You will rather prove, as you easily
can, by comparing the history of our country with that of other States,
that its Constitution and Government are really the strongest and surest
which have ever been erected for the safety of any people. You will in no
case listen to any suggestions of compromise by this Government, under
foreign auspices, with its discontented citizens. If, as the President doea
not at all apprehend, you shall unhappily find her Majesty s Government
tolerating the application of the so-called seceding States, or wavering
about it, you will not leave them to suppose for a moment that they can
grant that application and remain the friends orf the United States. You
may even assure them promptly, in that case, that if they determine to rec
ognize, they may at the same time prepare to enter into alliance with the
enemies of this Republic. You alone will represent your country at Lon
don, and you will represent the whole of it there. When you are asked
to divide that duty with others, diplomatic relations between the Govern
ment of Great Britain and this Government will be suspended, and will
remain so until it shall be seen which of the two is most strongly in
trenched in the confidence of their respective nations and of mankind.

You will not be allowed, however, even if you were disposed, as the
President is sure you will not be, to rest your opposition to the applica
tion of the Confederate States on the ground of any favor this Adminis
tration, or the party which chiefly called it into existence, proposes to
show to Great Britain, or claims that Great Britain ought to show them.
You will not consent to draw into debate before the British Government
any opposing moral principles which may be supposed to lie at the
foundation of the controversy between those States and the Federal

You will indulge in no expressions of harshness or disrespect, or even
impatience, concerning the seceding States, their agents, or their people.
But you will, on the contrary, all the while remember that those States
are now, as they always heretofore have been, and, notwithstanding their
temporary self-delusion, they must always continue to be, equal and
honored members of this Federal Union, and that their citizens through
out all political liiisunderstandings and alienations still are and alwayi


must be our kindred and countrymen. In short, all your arguments must
belong to one of three classes, namely : First. Arguments drawn from
the principles of public law and natural justice, which regulate the inter
course of equal States. Secondly. Arguments which concern equally the
honor, welfare, and happiness of the discontented States, and the honor,
welfare, and happiness of the whole Union. Thirdly. Arguments which
are equally conservative of the rights and interests, and oven sentiments
of the United States, and just in their bearing upon the rights, interests,
and sentiments of Great Britain and all other nations.

Just previous to the arrival of Mr. Adams at Ms post,
the British Government determined, acting in concert
with that of France, to recognize the rebels as a bellige
rent power. Against this recognition our Government
directed Mr. Adams to make a decided and energetic pro
test. On the fifteenth of June the British and French
Ministers at Washington requested an interview with the
Secretary of State for the purpose of reading to him cer
tain instructions they had received on this subject from
their respective governments. Mr. Seward declined to
hear them officially until he knew the nature of the docu
ment, which was accordingly left with him for perusal,
and he afterwards declined altogether to hear it read, 01
receive official notice of it. In a letter to Mr. Adams, on
the 19th, he thus states its character and contents : -

That paper purports to contain a decision at which the British Govern
ment has arrived, to the effect that this country is divided into twa
belligerent parties, of which the Government represents one, and that
Great Britain assumes the attitude of a neutral between them.

This Government could not, consistently with a just regard for the SOT-
ereignty of the United States, permit itself to debate these novel and
extraordinary positions with the Government of her Britannic Majesty ;
much less can we consent that that Government shall announce to us a

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 42)