Copyright
Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and times : 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, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) online

. (page 10 of 41)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : 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, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ination of all such cases. This proposition was, however,
laid on the table, and the members were not admitted.
This action put to rest all question of the representation of
the State in Congress till the next session.

The cause of the rejection of these Senators and Repre-
sentatives was, that a majority in Congress had not agreed
with the President in reference to the plan of reconstruc-
tion which he proposed. A bill for the reconstruction of
the States was introduced into the Senate, and finally
passed both Houses on the last day of the session. It
provided that the President should appoint, for each of the
States declared in rebellion, a Provisional Governor, who
should be charged with the civil administration of the State i
until a State Government should be organized, and such j
other civil officers as were necessary for the civil adminis- !
(ration of the State; that as soon as military resistance to
the United States should be suppressed and the people had
sufficiently returned to their obedience, the Governor should
make an enrollment of the white male citizens, specifying
which of them had taken the oath to support the Constitu-
tion of the United States, and if those who had taken it
were a majority of the persons enrolled, he should order
an election for delegates to a Constitutional Convention, to
be elected by the loyal white male citizens of the United
States aged twenty-one years and resident in the district
for which they voted, or absent in the army of the United
States, and who had taken the oath of allegiance prescribed
by the act of Congress of July 2, 1862 ; that this convention
should declare, on behalf of the people of the State, their
submission to the Constitution and laws of the United
States, and adopt the following provisions, prescribed by



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM, LINCOLN. 455

Congress in the execution of its constitutional duty to guar-
antee to every State a republican form of government, viz. : —

First. — No person who has held or exercised any office, civil or
military, except offices merely ministerial and military offices below
the grade of colonel, State or Confederate, under the usurping power,
shall vote for or be a member of the Legislature or Governor.

Second. — Involuntary servitude is forever prohibited, and the free-
dom of all persons is forever guaranteed in the State.

Third. — No debt, State or Confederate, created by or under the
sanction of the usuroing power, shall be recognized or paid by the
State.

The bill further provided that when a constitution con-
taining these provisions should have been framed by the
convention and adopted by the popular vote, the Governor
should certify that fact to the President, who, after obtain-
ing the assent of Congress, should recognize this Govern-
ment so established as the Government of the State, and
from that date Senators and Representatives and electors
for President and Vice-President should be elected in the
State. Further provisions were made for the dissolution of
the convention in case it should refuse to frame a constitu-
tion containing the above provisions, and the calling of
another convention by order of the President whenever he
should have reason to believe that the majority were willing
to adopt them; and also for the civil administration of the
State in the meantime, and the abolition of slavery and the
disfranchisement of rebel officers.

This bill thus passed by Congress was presented to the
President just before the close of the session, but was not-
signed by him. The reasons for his refusal to sign it he
afterwards thought fit to make known, which he did by the
following proclamation : —

Whereas, at the late session, Congress passed a bill to guarantee
to certain States whose Governments have been usurped or over-
thrown, a republican form of government, a copy of which is here-
unto annexed. And,

Whereas, the said bill was presented to the President of the United
States for his approval, less than one hour before the sine die ad-
journment of said session, and was not signed by him. And,

Whereas, the said bill contains, among other things, a plan for re-
storing the States in rebellion to their proper practical relation in the
Union, which plan expressed the sense of Congress upon that subject,
and which plan it is now thought fit to lay before the people for their
consideration :



456 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
do proclaim, declare, and make known that while I am, as I was in
December last, when by proclamation I propounded a plan for
restoration, unprepared by a formal approval of this bill to be in-
flexibly committed to any single plan of restoration, and while I am
also unprepared to declare that the Free $tate Constitutions and
Governors already adopted and installed in Arkansas and Louisi-
ana, shall be set aside and held for naught, thereby repelling and
discouraging the loyal citizens who have set up the same as to fur-
ther effort, or to declare a constitutional competency in Congress to
abolish slavery in the States, but am at the same time sincerely hop-
ing and expecting that a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery
throughout the nation may be adopted: nevertheless, I am fully sat-
isfied with the system for restoration contained in the bill, as one
very proper for the loyal people of any State choosing to adopt it,
and that I am, and at all times shall be, prepared to give the Execu-
tive aid and assistance to any such people, so soon as the military
resistance to the United States shall have been suppressed in any
such State, and the people thereof shall have sufficiently returned to
their obedience to the Constitution and the laws of the. United
States — in which cases Military Governors will be appointed, with
directions to proceed according to the bill.

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

Done at the City of Washington, this eighth day of July, in the

[l. s.] year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four,

and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

Abraham Lincoln.

By the President.

Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

The relations of the war carried on to maintain the repub-
lican government of the United States, against the efforts
of the slaveholding oligarchy for its overthrow, to the gen-
eral interests of labor, from time to time enlisted a good
deal of the thoughts of the President, and elicited from him
expressions of his own sentiments on the subject. On the
31st of December, 1863, a very large meeting of working-
men was held at Manchester, England, to express their
opinion in regard to the war in the United States. At that
meeting an address to President Lincoln was adopted, ex-
pressing the kindest sentiments towards this country, and
declaring that, since it had become evident that the destruc-
tion of slavery was involved in the overthrow of the. rebellion,
their sympathies had been thoroughly and heartily with
the Government of the United States in the prosecution of
the war. This a4dress was forwarded to the President



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 457

through the American Minister in London, and elicited the
following reply : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, January 19, 1863.
To the Workingmen of Manchester :

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the address and
resolutions which you sent me on the eve of the new year. When I
came, on the 4th of March, 1861, through a free and constitutional
election, to preside in the Government of the United States, the
country was found at the verge of civil war. Whatever might have
been the cause, or whosoever the fault, one duty, paramount to all
others, was before me, namely, to maintain and preserve at once the
Constitution and the integrity of the Federal Republic. A con-
scientious purpose to perform this duty is the key to all the measures
of administration which have been, and to all which will hereafter
be pursued. Under our frame of government and my official oath, I
could not depart from this purpose if I would. It is not always in

> the power of Governments to enlarge or restrict the scope of moral
results which follow the policies that they may deem it necessary,
for the public safety, from time to time to adopt.

I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation rests solely
with the American people.' But I have at the same time been aware
that favor or disfavor of foreign nations might have a material influ-
ence in enlarging or prolonging the struggle with disloyal men in
which the country is engaged. A fair examination of history has
served to authorize a belief that the past actions and influences of the
United States were generally regarded as having been beneficial to-

: wards mankind. I have, therefore, reckoned upon the forbearance

' of nations. Circumstances — to some of which you kindly allude —
induced me especially to expect that if justice and good faith should
be practised by the United States, they would encounter no hostile

: influence on the part of Great Britain. It is now a pleasant duty to
acknowledge the demonstration you have given of your desire that

I a spirit of amity and peace towards this country may prevail in the
councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in your own

[ country only more than she is by the .kindred nation which has its

[home on this side of the Atlantic.

I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the workingmen
at Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis.
It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to
overthrow this Government, which was built upon the foundation of
human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively
on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of

I Europe. Through the action of our disloyal citizens, the working-
men of Europe have been subjected to severe trials, for the purpose

jof forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under the circumstances,

1 1 cannot but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as
an instance of sublime Christian heroism, which has not been sur-
passed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and
reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth, and of the ulti-
mate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom. I do
not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained



458 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

by your great nation; and on the other hand, I have no hesitation
in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and the
most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people.
I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that
whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your
country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exist be-
tween the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them,
perpetual. Abraham Lincoln.

The workingmen of London held a similar meeting at
about the same time, and took substantially the same action.
The President made the following response to their
address : —

Executive Mansion, February 2, 1863.
To the Workingmen of London :

I have received the New Years Address which you have sent me,
with a sincere appreciation of the exalted and humane sentiments by
which it was inspired.

As these sentiments are manifestly the enduring support of the free
institutions of England, sp I am sure also that they constitute the j
only reliable basis for free institutions throughout the world.

The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are .
very great, and they have consequently succeeded to equally great i
responsibilities. It seems. to have devolved upon them to test whether
a government established on the principles of human freedom can be
maintained against an effort to build one upon the exclusive founda-
tion of human bondage. They will rejoice with me in the new evi-
dences which your proceedings furnish, that the magnanimity they
are exhibiting is justly estimated by the true friends of freedom and
humanity in foreign countries.

Accept my best wishes for your individual welfare, and for the wel- I
fare and happiness of the whole British people.

Abraham Lincoln.

On the 21 st of March, 1864, a committee from the Work-
ingmen's Association of the City of New York waited upon
the President and delivered an address, stating the gen-
eral objects and purposes of the Association, and request-
ing that he would allow his name to be enrolled among its
honorary members. To this address the President made the
following reply: —

Gentlemen of the Committee: — The honorary membership in your
association, as generously tendered, is gratefully accepted.

You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing re-
bellion means more and tends to do more than the perpetuation of
African slavery — that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all work-
ing people. Partly to show that this view has not escaped my atten-
tion, and partly that I cannot better express myself, I read a passage
from the message to Congress in December, 1861 : —



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 459

"It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not ex-
clusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government, the
rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the
most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in
the general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the
abridgment of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the
people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers,
except the legislative, boldly advocated, with labored argument to
prove that large control of the people in government is the source of
all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a possi-
ble refuge from the power of the people.

"In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit
raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

"It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should
be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with
its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a
brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing,
if not above labor, in the structure of government. It is assumed that
labor is available only in connection with canital; that nobody labors
unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it
induces him to, labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether
it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to
work by their own consent, or buy them, and drive them to it with-
out their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded
that all laborers are either hired laborers, or what we call slaves.
And, further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer, is
fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such relation be-
tween capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as
a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer.
Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are
groundless.

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only
the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first
existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher
consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of pro-
tection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and prob-
ably always will be, a relation between capital and labor, producing
mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of a
community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and
that few avoid labor themselves, and, with their capital, hire or buy
another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither
class — neither work for others, nor have other working for them.
In most of the Southern States, a majority of the whole people, of
all colors, are neither slaves nor masters; while in the Northern, a
large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their families —
wives, sons, and daughters — work for themselves, on their farms, in
their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to them-
selves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand, nor of hired
laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a consid-
erable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital; that
is, they labor with their own hands, and also buy or hire others to



460 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

labor for them, but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No
principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

"Again, as has already been said, there is not, of necessity, any such
thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life.
Many independent men everywhere in these States, a few years back
in their lives, were hired laborers. The prudent penniless beginner
in the world labors for wages a while, saves a surplus with which
to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account an-
other while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him.
This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens
the way to all — gives hope to all, and consequent energy and prog-
ress, and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more
worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty — none less
inclined to touch or take aught which they have not honestly earned.
Let them beware of surrendering a political power they already pos-
sess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used to close the door
of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and
burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be lost."

The views then expressed remain unchanged, nor have I much to
add. None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as
the working people. Let them beware of prejudices, working divis-
ion and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a
disturbance in your city last summer was the hanging of some work-
ing people by other working people. It should never be so. The
strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation,
should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues,
and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the
owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is de-
sirable ; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich
shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encourage-
ment to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull I
down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build
one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe 1
from violence when built.

The President had always taken a deep interest in the
volunteer movements of benevolent people throughout the
country, for relieving the sufferings of the sick and wounded
among our soldiers. A meeting of one of these organiza-
tions, the Christian Commission, was held at Washington,
on the 226. of February, 1863, to which President Lincoln,
unable to attend and preside, addressed the following-
letter :—

Executive Mansion, February 22, 1863.
Rev. Alexander Reed:

My Dear Sir:— Your note, by which you, as General Superintend-
ent of the United States Christian Commission, invite me to preside
at a meeting to be held this day, at the hall of the House of Repre-
sentatives in this city, is received.



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 461

While, for reasons which I deem sufficient, I must decline to pre-
side, I cannot withhold my approval of the meeting, and its worthy
objects. Whatever shall be, sincerely and in God's name, devised for
the good of the soldiers and seamen in their hard spheres of duty,
can scarcely fail to be blessed. And whatever shall tend to turn our
thoughts from the unreasoning and uncharitable passions, prejudices,
and jealousies incident to a great national trouble such as ours, and
to fix them on the vast and long-enduring consequences, for weal or
for woe, which are to result from the struggle, and especially to
strengthen our reliance on the Supreme Being for the final triumph
of the right, cannot but be well for us all.

The birthday of Washington and the Christian Sabbath coinciding
this year, and suggesting together the highest interests of this life
and of that to come, is most propitious for the meeting proposed.
Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

On the 16th of March, 1864, at the close of a fair in Wash-
ington, given at the Patent Office, for the benefit of the
sick and wounded soldiers of the army, President Lincoln,
happening to be present, in response to loud and continuous
calls, made the following remarks : —

Ladies and Gentlemen : — I appear to say but a word. This extraor-
dinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes
of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been
said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all con-
tribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake, and often
yields it up in his country's cause. The highest merit, then, is due
to the soldier.

In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have mani-
fested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and
among these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than
these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And
the chief agents in these fairs are the women of America.

I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy; I have
never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must
say, that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the crea-
tion of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of
America, it would not do them justice^ for their conduct during this
war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America!

Still another occasion of a similar character occurred at
Baltimore on the 18th of April, at the opening of a fair for
the benefit of the Sanitary Commission. The President
accepted an invitation to attend the opening exercises, and
made the following remarks : —

Ladies and Gentlemen : — Calling to mind that we are in Baltimore,
we cannot fail to note that the world moves. Looking upon these
many people assembled here to serve, as they best may, the soldiers
of the Union, it occurs at once that three years ago the same soldiers



462 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

could not so much as pass through Baltimore. The change from
then till now is both great and gratifying. Blessings on the brave
men who have wrought the change, and the fair women who strive
to reward them for it!

But Baltimore suggests more than could happen within Baltimore.
The change within Baltimore is part only of a far wider change.
When the war began, three years ago, neither party, nor any man,
expected it would last till now. Each looked for the end, in some
way, long ere to-day. Neither did any anticipate that domestic slav-
ery would be much affected by the war. But here we are; the war
has not ended, and slavery has been much affected — how much needs
not now to be recounted. So true is it that man proposes and God
disposes.

But we can see the past, though we may not claim to have directed
it; and seeing it, in this case, we feel more hopeful and confident for
the future.

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and
the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all de-
clare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the
same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to
do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while
with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they
please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here
are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the
same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by
the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible
names — liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which
the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf de-
nounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty, especially
as the sheep was a black one. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are



Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : 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, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 41)