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 22 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 22 of 41)
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which God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour
of the world is communicated to us through this Book. But for that
Book, we could not know right from wrong. All those things desir-
able to man are contained in it. I return you sincere thanks for this
very elegant copy of this great Book of God which you present.

All knew that Mr. Lincoln was a man of thorough honesty
of speech, and his whole life vindicated his assertion that he
had acted as he believed was just and right, and had done all
he could for the good of mankind. It was not strange, there-
fore, that the churches of the country gathered around such
a leader of such a cause. When the General Conference of
the Methodist Church met in May, 1864, they adopted a
series of resolutions, expressing the loyalty of that church,
and their sympathy with him. These resolutions were pre-
sented to the President, who responded to the accompanying
address as follows : —

Gentlemen: — In response to your address, allow me to attest the
accuracy of its historical statements, indorse the sentiments it ex-
presses, and thank you in the nation's name for the sure promise it
gives. Nobly sustained, as the Government has been, by all the
churches, I would utter nothing which might in the least appear in-
vidious against any. Yet without this, it may fairly be said, that the
Methodist Episcopal Church, not less devoted than the best, is by
its greatest numbers the most important of all. It is no fault in
others that the Methodist Church sends more soldiers to the field,
more nurses to the hospitals, and more prayers to Heaven than any
other. God bless the Methodist Church. Bless all the churches;
and blessed be God, who in this our great trial giveth us the churches.

Similar action was also taken by the Baptist Church, and
to their delegation, on the presentation of the resolutions,
the President spoke as follows : —

In the present very responsible position in which I am engaged, I
have had great cause of gratitude for the support so unanimously
given by all Christian denominations of the country. I have had oc-
casion so frequently to respond to something like this assemblage,


that I have said all I had to say. This particular body is, in all re-
spects, as respectable as any that have been presented to me. The
resolutions I have merely heard read, and I therefore beg to be al-
lowed an opportunity to make a short response in writing.

These expressions were not confined to the religious
bodies ; they came to the President from ail quarters. His
sense of this sympathy on the part of those engaged in the
educational interest was expressed in a letter which he
wrote on learning that Princeton College had given him the
degree of LL. D. The letter was as follows : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, December 27, 1864.

My Dear Sir: — I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of
your note of the 20th of December, conveying the announcement that
the Trustees of the College of New Jersey had conferred upon me the
degree of Doctor of Laws.

The assurance conveyed by this high compliment, that the course
of the Government which I represent has received the approval of a
body of gentlemen of such character and intelligence, in this time of
public trial, is most grateful to me.

Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this
continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the most
gratifying proofs of this conviction is the hearty devotion everywhere
exhibited by our schools and colleges to the national cause.

I am most thankful if my labors have seemed to conduce to the pres-
ervation of those institutions, under which alone we can expect good
government, and in its train sound learning, and the progress of the
liberal arts.

I am, sir, very truly, your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

Dr. John Maclean.

It was no ordinary interest that the "good Christian
people" of the North had in the political campaign. And it
was with satisfaction that they saw the triumph of the cause,
which was so dear to their hearts, secured by the re-election
of a man so true, so pure, so honest, so kindly, so thoroughly
Christian in the true sense of the word, as President Lincoln.





Condition of the Country at the Meeting of Congress.— The Message.
— Proceedings in Congress. — Fort Fisher. — Death of Edward
Everett. — Peace Conference in Hampton Roads. — Military Affairs.

The condition of the country when Congress met in
December, 1864, was in every way encouraging. At the
South, General Sherman, taking advantage of Hood's having
left the way clear for his march to the sea, had destroyed
Atlanta and plunged into the heart of Georgia.

His plans were not positively known, but it was known
that he was making good progress, and the greatest con-
fidence was felt in his accomplishing his designs, whatever
they were. The President described the position of affairs
exactly in the following little speech, which he made, on
December 6th, in response to a serenade : —

Friends and Fellow- Citizens : — I believe I shall never be old
enough to speak without embarrassment when I have nothing to talk
about. I have no good news to tell you, and yet I have no bad news
to tell. We have talked of elections until there is nothing more to
say about them. The most interesting news we now have is from
Sherman. We all know where he went in at, but I ean't tell where he
will come out at. I will now close by proposing three cheers for
General Sherman and his army.

Hood had marched into Tennessee with the hope of over-
running the State, now that Sherman's army was out of his
way, but found General Thomas an opponent not to be de-
spised, and had already, in his terrible repulse at Franklin,
received a foretaste of the defeats which were about to fall
upon him in front of Nashville.

In the East, Grant still held Lee's army with deadly gripe.
He had cut off the Weldon Railroad and was slowly working
to the southward, while Sheridan was undisputed master in


the Shenandoah Valley. In North Carolina a decided advant
age had been gained by the bold exploit of Lieutenant Cush
ing, who, with a torpedo-boat, sunk the rebel ram Albemarle
at her moorings, and opened the way for the recapture of
Plymouth, with many guns.

Many different schemes of the rebels, not precisely mili-
tary in their character according to the ordinary rules of war,
had been found out and foiled. A plot to capture steamers
on the Pacific coast was discovered in time to take measures
not only to break it up, but to capture those who had under-
taken it. Other attempted raids upon cities and towns near
the northern frontier had also been prevented. And a plot
to set fire to the city of New York failed of success, although
fires were set in thirteen of the principal hotels.

The St. Albans raiders were in custody, and reasonable
hopes were entertained that they would be delivered over to
our authorities. The whole condition of the country was fa-
vorable, and the Thanksgiving Day appointed by the Presi-
dent for the 24th of November had been kept with joy and
gladness of heart. Gold, which had been up as high as 280,
had worked down nearly to 200, with every indication of
going steadily lower. The prospects of a relief from any fur-
ther draft were bright. And measures had been taken to
effect the exchange of some ,of our prisoners, whose dreadful
sufferings at the hands of the rebel authorities had shocked
the public heart and given a deeper tone to public indigna-

One slight indication of the progress which we were mak-
ing in the restoration of the authority of the Union was the
opening of the ports of Norfolk, Virginia, and Fernandina,
Florida, by a proclamation issued on November 19th.


Whereas, by my proclamation of the 19th of April, 1861, it was de-
clared that the ports of certain States, including those of Norfolk,
in the State of Virginia, and Fernandina and Pensacola, in the State
of Florida, were for reasons therein set forth intended to be placed
under blockade, and whereas the said ports were subsequently block-
aded accordingly, but having for some time been in the military
possession of the United States, it is deemed advisable that they
should be opened to domestic and foreign commerce.

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President
of the United States, pursuant to the authority in me vested by the
fifth section of the act of Congress approved on the 13th of July,

state: papers of Abraham Lincoln. 57 1

1861, entitled "An act further to provide for the collection of duties
on imports and for other purposes," do hereby declare that the
blockade of the said ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola
shall so far cease and determine, from and after the first day of
December next, that commercial intercourse with those ports, except
to persons, things, and information contraband of war, may from
time to time be carried on, subject to the laws of the United States,
to the limitations and in pursuance of the regulations which may be
prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and to such military and
naval regulations as are now in force or may hereafter be found

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 nineteenth, day of November,

Sn the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and

[I* S.] sixty-four, and ef the independence of the United States the

eighty-ninth. - Abraham Lincoln.

By the President:

William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Our foreign relations were also in a satisfactory condition.
Our relations with Brazil had been for a moment threatened
by the capture of the rebel armed vessel Florida, by the
Wachusett, under Captain Collins, while lying at anchor in
the harbor of Bahia, in the early morning of October 5th.
The act was unauthorized by our Government. It caused a
great outcry from the friends of the rebels abroad, who used
every effort to have the European powers take up the mat-
ter. No apprehension, however, was felt of this by our peo-
ple, and while they regretted that any apparent insult should
have been offered to Brazil, they were not insensible to the
advantage of having thus got rid of one of the rebel pests of
the sea. The vessel was brought to Hampton Roads, where,
owing to injuries received by an accidental collision with a
vessel going out of the harbor, coupled with the damage she
had received when taken by the Wachusett, she sank in spite
of every effort that could be made to save her. Those of her
crew who were on board when she was taken were after-
wards restored to Brazil, and an ample apology made for the

Our relations with the Hawaiian Islands had been drawn
more close by the presence of an envoy extraordinary from
that State. The President, on the nth of Tune, gave aud-
ience to the envoy, Hon. Elisha H. Allen, and in reply to
the address made by him, on presenting his credentials, spoke
as follows : —


Sir: — In every light in which the State of the Hawaiian Islands
can be contemplated, it is an object of profound interest for the
United States. Virtually it was once a colony. It is now a near and
intimate neighbor. It is a haven of shelter and refreshment for our
merchants, fishermen, seamen, and other citizens, when on their law-
ful occasions they are navigating the eastern seas and oceans. Its
people are free, and its laws, language, and religion are largely the
fruit of our own teaching and example. The distinguished part which
you, Mr. Minister, have acted in the history of that interesting
country, is well known here. It gives me pleasure to assure you of
my sincere desire to do what I can to render now your sojourn in
the United States agreeable to yourself, satisfactory to your sover-
eign, and beneficial to the Hawaiian people.

In our relations with the other smaller powers there was
nothing especially worthy of mention.

It was manifest, however, that the Great Powers of Europe
were less inclined to interfere with us than they had ever
been. The St. Albans raid and the proceedings for the extra-
dition of the raiders, were leading to a good deal of diplo-
matic correspondence between our Government and that of
England. But the readiness of the Canadian authorities to
take measures to deliver up the offenders and to prevent such
incursions for the future, gave great encouragement to the
belief that no serious difficulty would arise.

There had been another change in the Cabinet, in addition
to that which occurred upon the resignation of Mr. Blair.
Attorney-General Bates, on the 25th of November, tendered
his resignation, to take effect on December 1st. The post
was afterwards rilled by the appointment of the Hon. James
Speed, of Kentucky.

The death of Chief-Tustice Taney, which occurred on the
12th of October, had left a vacancy in one of the most im-
portant offices in the country. The office was rilled on the 6th
day of December, by the appointment of Mr. Chase, the late
Secretary of the Treasury.

Congress met on Monday, the 5th of December, but the
President's message was not sent in till the next day. It was
as follows : —


Fellow- Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Again the blessings of health and abundant harvests claim our pro-
foundest gratitude to Almighty God.
The condition of our foreign affairs is reasonably satisfactory.


Mexico continues to be a theatre of civil war. While our political
relations with that country have undergone no change, we have at
the same time strictly maintained neutrality between the belligerents.
At the request of the States of Costa Rica and Niearaugua, a compe-
tent engineer has been authorized to make a survey of the River San
Juan and the port of San Juan. It is a source of much satisfaction
that the difficulties which, for a moment, excited some political ap-
prehension, and caused a closing of the. interoceanic transit route,
have been amicably adjusted, and that there is a good prospect that
the route will soon be reopened with an increase of capacity and
adaptation. We could not exaggerate either the commercial or the
political importance of that great improvement. It would be doing
injustice to an important South American State not to acknowledge
the directness, frankness, and cordiality with which the States of
Colombia have entered into intimate relations with this Government.
A claims convention has been constituted to complete the unfinished
work of the one which closed its session in 1861.

The new liberal Constitution of Venezuela having gone into effect
with the universal acquiescence of the people, the Government under
it has been recognized, and diplomatic intercourse with it has been
opened in a cordial and friendly spirit.

The long deferred Aves Island claim has been satisfactorily paid
and discharged. Mutual payments have been made of the claims
awarded by the late joint commission for the settlement of claims
between the United States and Peru. An earnest and cordial friend-
ship continues to exist between the two countries, and such efforts
as were in my power have been used to remove misunderstanding,
and avert a threatened war between Peru and Spain. Our relations
are of the most friendly nature with Chili, the Argentine Republic,
Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, San Salvador, and Hayti. During the
past year no differences of any kind have arisen with any of these
republics, and on the ether hand, their sympathies with the United
States are constantly expressed with cordiality and earnestness.

The claim arising frcm the seizure of the cargo of the brig Mace-
donian in 1821, has been paid in full by the Government of Chili.

Civil war continues in the Spanish part of San Domingo, apparently
without prospect of an early close.

Official correspondence has been freely opened with Liberia, and
it gives us a pleasing view of social and political progress in that
republic. It may be expected to derive new vigor from American^ in-
fluence, improved by the rapid disappearance of slavery in the United

I solicit your authority to furnish to the republic a gunboat, at a
moderate cost, to be reimbursed to the United States by installments.
Such a vessel is needed for the safety of that State against the native
African races, and in Liberian hands it would be more effective in
arresting the African slave-trade than a squadron in our ownhands.
The possession of the least organized naval force would stimulate
a generous ambition in the republic, and the confidence which we
should manifest by furnishing it. would win forbearance and favor
towards the colony from all civilized nations.


The proposed overland telegraph between America and Europe, by
the way of Behring's Straits and Asiatic Russia, which was sanctioned
by Congress at the last session, has been undertaken under very
favorable circumstances by an association of American citizens, with
the cordial good will and support of this Government as of those of
Great Britain and Russia. Assurances have been received from most
of the South American States of their high appreciation of the enter-
prise, and their readiness to co-operate in constructing lines tributary
to that world-encircling communication.

I learn with much satisfaction that the noble design of a tele-
graphic communication between the eastern coast of America and
Great Britain has been renewed, with the full expectation of its early
accomplishment. Thus it is hoped that, with the return of domestic
peace, the country will be able to resume with energy and advantage
her former high career of commerce and civilization.

Our very popular and estimable representative in Egypt died in
April last. An unpleasant altercation, which arose between the tem-
porary incumbent of the office and the Government of the Pacha, re-
sulted in a suspension of intercourse. The evil was promptly cor-
rected on the arrival of the successor in the consulate, and our rela-
tions with Egypt, as well as our relations with the Barbary Powers,
are entirely satisfactory.

The rebellion which has been so long flagrant in China, has at last
been suppressed with the co-operating good offices of this Govern-
ment, and of the other Western commercial States. The judicial con-
sular establishment has become very difficult and onerous, and it will
need legislative revision to adapt it to the extension of our com-
merce, and to the more intimate intercourse which has been instituted
ivith the Government and people of that vast empire. China seems
to be accepting with hearty good will the conventional laws which
regulate commerce and social intercourse among Western nations.

Owing to the peculiar situation of Japan, and the anomalous form of
its government, the action of that empire, in performing treaty stipu-
lations, is inconstant and capricious. Nevertheless, good progress
has been effected by the Western powers, moving with enlightened
concert. Our own pecuniary claims have been allowed or put in
course of settlement and the inland sea has been reopened to com-
merce. There is reason also to believe that these proceedings have
increased rather than diminished the friendship of Japan towards the
United States.

The ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola have been opened
by proclamation. It is hoped that foreign merchants will now con-
sider whether it is not safer and more profitable to themselves, as
well as just to the United States, to resort to them and other open
ports, than it is to pursue, through many hazards, and at vast cost,
a contraband trade with other ports which are closed, if not by actual
military operations, at least by a lawful and effective blockade.

For myself, I have no doubt of the power and duty of the Execu-
tive, under the law of nations, to exclude enemies of the human race
from an asylum in the United States. If Congress should think that
proceedings in such cases lack the authority of law, or ought to be


further regulated by . it, I recommend that provision be made for
effectually preventing foreign slave-traders from acquiring domicile
and facilities for their criminal occupation in our country.

It is possible that if it were a new and open question, the maritime
powers, with the light they now enjoy, would not concede the privi-
leges of a naval belligerent to the insurgents of the United States,
destitute as they are and always have been equally of ships and of
ports and harbors. Disloyal emissaries have been neither less assid-
uous nor more successful during the last year than they were before
that time in their efforts, under favor of that privilege, to embroil
our country in foreign wars. The desire and determination of the
maritime States to defeat that design are believed to be as sincere as,
and cannot be more earnest than, our own. Nevertheless, unforeseen
political difficulties have arisen, especially in Brazilian and British
ports, and on the northern boundary of the United States, which have
required, and are likely to continue to require, the practice of constant
vigilance and a just and conciliatory spirit on the part of the United
States, as well as of the nations concerned and their Governments.
Commissioners have been appointed under the treaty with Great
Britain on the adjustment of the claims of the Hudson's Bay and
Puget's Sound Agricultural Companies in Oregon, and are now pro-
ceeding to the execution of the trust assigned to them.

In view of the insecurity of life in the region adjacent to the
Canadian border by recent assaults and depredations committed by
inimical and desperate persons who are harbored there, it has been
thought proper to give notice that after the expiration of six months,
the period conditionally stipulated in the existing arrangements with
Great Britain, the United States must hold themselves at liberty to
increase their naval armament upon the lakes, if they shall find that
proceeding necessary. The condition of the border will necessarily
come into consideration in connection with the question of continuing
or modifying the rights of transit from Canada through the United
States, as well as the regulation of imports, which were temporarily
established by the Reciprocity Treaty of the 5th of June, 1864.

I desire, however, to be understood, while making this statement,
that the colonial authorities are not deemed to be intentionally un-
just or unfriendly towards the United States; but, on the contrary,
there is every reason to expect that, with the approval of the Imperial
Government, they will take the necessary measures to prevent new
incursions across the border.

The act passed at the last session for the encouragement of immi-
gration has, so far as was possible, been put into operation.

It seems to need amendment which will enable the officers of the
Government to prevent the practice of frauds against the immigrants
while on their way and on their arrival in the ports, so as to secure
them here a free choice of avocations and places of settlement. A
liberal disposition towards this great national policy is manifested by
most of the European States, and ought to be reciprocated on our
part by giving the immigrants effective national protection. I regard
our immigrants as one of the principal replenishing streams which
are appointed by Providence to repair the ravages of internal war
and its wastes of national strength and health. All that is necessary


is to secure the flow of that stream in its present fullness, and to that
end the Government must in every way make it manifest that it
neither needs nor designs to impose involuntary military service upon
those who come from other lands to cast their lot in our country.

The financial affairs of the Government have been successfully ad-
ministered during the last year.

The legislation of the last session of Congress has beneficially
affected the revenue. Although sufficient time has not yet elapsed to
experience the full effect of several of the provisions of the acts of
Congress imposing increased taxation, the receipts during the year,

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 22 of 41)