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

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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 4 of 41)
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to compel the excited people there to let one another alone.

Under your recent order, which I have approved, you will only
arrest individuals, and suppress assemblies or newspapers, when they
may be working palpable injury to the military in your charge^ and
in no other case will you interfere with the expression of opinion
in any form, or allow it to be interfered with violently by others.


In this you have a discretion to exercise with great caution, calmness
and forbearance.

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

Nor am I interfering with what may still seem to you to be neces-
sary restrictions upon trade and intercourse. I think proper, how-
ever, to enjoin upon you the following: Allow no part of the mili-
tary under your command to be engaged in either returning fugitive
slaves, or in forcing or enticing slaves from their homes; and, so far
as practicable, enforce the same forbearance upon the people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


his endeavors to maintain law and re-establish peace, ai
secure prosperity throughout its limits."

Before closing this notice of the perplexities and anno
ances to which the President was subjected by the domest
contentions of Missouri, we may mention, as an illustratic
of the extent to which they were carried, the case of Re
Dr. McPheeters, who had been silenced by General Curt
for preaching disloyalty to his congregation in St. Loui
The incident gave rise to a good deal of excitement whi<
was continued throughout the year. Towards the close
it the President wrote the following letter in reply to '<
appeal for his interference : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, December 23, 1863

I have just looked over a petition signed by some three dozen ci
zens of St. Louis, and their accompanying letters, one by yourse
one by a Mr. Nathan Ranney, and one by a Mr. John D. Coalter, t
whole relating to the Rev. Dr. McPheeters. The petition prays,
the name of justice and mercy, that I will restore Dr. McPheete
to all his ecclesiastical rights.

This gives no intimation as to what ecclesiastical rights are wit
drawn. Your letter states that Provost-Marshal Dick, about a ye
ago,, ordered the arrest of Dr. McPheeters, pastor of the Vine Stre
Church, prohibiting him from officiating, and placed the manageme
of affairs of the church out of the control of the chosen trustees; a}
near the close you state that a certain course "would insure his r
lease." Mr. Ranney's letter says: "Dr. Samuel McPheeters is e
joying all the rights of a civilian, but cannot preach the Gospel
Mr. Coalter, in his letters, asks: "Is it not a strange illustratic
of the condition of things, that the question who shall be allow
to preach in a church in St. Louis shall be decided by the Preside
of the United States?"

Now, all this sounds very strangely; and, withal, a little as if yc
gentlemen, making the application, do not understand the case alik
one affirming that his doctor is enjoying all the rights of a civilia
and another pointing out to me what will secure his release! C
the 2d of January last, I wrote to General Curtis in relation to I
Dick's order upon Dr. McPheeters; and, as I suppose the doct
is enjoying all the rights of a civilian, I only quote that part of n
letter which relates to the church. It was as follows: "But I mu
add that the United States Government must not, as by this orde
undertake to run the churches. When an individual, in a chur<
°u °i Ut j° f !t ' becomes dangerous to the public interest, he must 1
checked; but the churches, as such, must take care of themselve
It will not do for the United States to appoint trustees, supervisoi
or other agents for the churches."

This letter going to General Curtis, then in command, I suppose
of course, it was obeyed, especially as I heard no further complai
from Doctor Mc. or his friends for nearly an entire year. I hai


never interfered, nor thought of interfering, as to who shall or who
shall not preach in any church; nor have I knowingly or believingly
tolerated any one else to interfere by my authority. If any one is so
interfering by color of my authority, I should like to have it specifi-
cally made known to me.

If, after all, what is now sought, is to have me put Dr. Mc back
over the^heads of a majority of his own congregation, that, too, will
be declined. I will not have control of any church on any side.

A. Lincoln.

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

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

The President had been invited by the Republican State
Committee of Illinois to attend the State Convention, to be
held at Springfield on the 3d of September. Finding it im-
possible to accept the invitation, he wrote in reply the fol-
lowing letter, in which several of the most conspicuous fea-
tures of his policy are defended against the censures by
which they had been assailed.

Executive Mansion, Washington, August 26, 1863.

Hon. James C. Conkling:

My Dear Sir: — Your letter inviting me to attend a mass meet-
ing of unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital of Illinois,
on the 3d day of September, has been received. It would be very
agreeable for me thus to meet my old friends at my own home; but
fl cannot just now be absent from here so long as a visit there would

The meeting is to be of all those who maintain unconditional
devotion to the Union; and I am sure that my old political friends
will thank me for tendering, as I do, the nation's gratitude to those


other noble men whom no partisan malice or partisan hope can make
false to the nation's life.

There are those who are dissatisfied with me. To such I would
say: You desire peace, and you blame me that we do not have it.
But how can we attain it? There are but three conceivable ways:
First — to suppress the rebellion by force of arms. This I am trying
to do. Are you for it? If you are, so far we are agreed. If you
are not for it, a second way is to give up the Union. I am against
this. Are you for it? If you are, you should say so plainly. If you
are not for force, nor yet for dissolution, there only remains some
imaginable compromise.

I do not believe that any compromise embracing the maintenance
of the Union is now possible. All that I learn leads to a directly
opposite belief. The strength of the rebellion is its military, its army.
That army dominates all the country, and all the people, within its
range. Any offer of terms made by any man or men within that
range, in opposition to that army, is simply nothing for the present;
because such man or men have no power whatever to enforce their
side of a compromise, if one were made with them.

To illustrate : Suppose refugees from the South and peace men of
the North get together in convention and frame and proclaim a com-
promise embracing a restoration of the Union. In what way can
that compromise be used to keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania?
Meade's army can keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania, and, I
think, can ultimately drive it out of existence. But no paper com-
promise to which the controllers of Lee's army are not agreed can
at all affect that army. In an effort at such a compromise we should
waste time, which the enemy would improve to our disadvantage;
and that would be all.

A compromise, to be effective, must be made either with those
who control the rebel army, or with the people, first liberated from
the domination of that army by the success of our own army. Now,
allow me to assure you that no word or intimation from that rebel
army, or from any of the men controlling it, in relation to any
peace compromise, has ever come to my knowledge or belief. All
charges and insinuations to the contrary are deceptive and ground-
less. And I promise you that if any such proposition shall hereafter
come, it shall not be rejected and kept a secret from you. I freely
acknowledge myself to be the servant of the people, according to
the bond of service, the United States Constitution; and that, as
such, I am responsible to them.

But to be plain. You are dissatisfied with me about the negro.
Quite likely there is a difference of opinion between you and myself
upon that subject. I certainly wish that all men could be free, while
you, I suppose, do not. Yet, I have neither adopted nor proposed
any measure which is not consistent with even your view, provided
that you are for the Union. I suggested compensated emancipation;
to which you replied you wished not to be taxed to buy negroes.
But I had not asked you to be taxed to buy negroes, except in such
a way as to save you from greater taxation to save the Union ex-
clusively by other means.

You dislike the Emancipation Proclamation, and perhaps would


have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional. I think differently.
I think the Constitution yivests its Commander-in-Chief with the
law of war in time of war.' The most that can be said, if so much, is,
that slaves are property. Is there, has there ever been, any question
that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may
be taken when needed? And is it not needed whenever it helps us
and hurts the enemy? Armies, the world over, destroy enemies'
property when they cannot use it; and even destroy their own to
keep it from the enemy. Civilized belligerents do all in their power
to help themselves or hurt the enemy, except a few things regarded as
barbarous or cruel. Among the exceptions are the massacre of van-
quished foes and non-combatants, male and female.

But the Proclamation, as law, either is valid or is not valid. If it
is not valid it needs no retraction. If it is valid it cannot be re-
tracted, any more than the dead can be brought to life. Some of
you profess to think its retraction would operate favorably for the
Union. Why better after the retraction than before the issue?
There was more than a year and a half of trial to suppress the re-
bellion before the Proclamation was issued, the last one hundred
days of which passed under an explicit notice that it was coming,
unless averted by those in revolt returning to their allegiance. The
war has certainly progressed as favorably for us since the issue of
the Proclamation as before.

I know, as fully as one can know the opinions of others, that some
of the commanders of our armies in the field, who have given us
our most important victories, believe the Emancipation policy and
the use of colored troops constitute the heaviest blows yet dealt
to the rebellion, and that at least one of those important successes
could not have been achieved when it was but for the aid of black

Among the commanders who hold these views are some who have
never had any affinity with what is called "Abolitionism," or with
"Republican party politics," but who hold them purely as military
opinions. I submit their opinions as entitled to some weight against
the objections often urged that emancipation and arming the blacks
are unwise as military measures, and were not adopted as such in
good faith.

You say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them
seem willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, ex-
clusively, to save the Union. I issued the Proclamation on purpose
to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have con-
quered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue
fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not
fight to free negroes. I thought that in your struggle for the Union,
to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to
that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. Do you
think differently? I thought that whatever negroes can be got to
do as^ soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do
in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But negroes,
like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything
for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for

406 the life, public services, and

us they must be prompted by the strongest motive, even the promise
of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.

The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed
to the sea. Thanks to the great Northwest for it; nor yet wholly to
them. Three hundred miles up they met New England, Empire,
Keystone, and Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The sunny
South, too, in more colors than one, also lent a helping hand. On
the spot, their part of the history was jotted down in black and
white. The job was a great national one, and let none be slighted
who bore an honorable part in it. And while those who have
cleared the great river may well be proud, even that is not all. It
is hard to say that anything has been more bravely and well done
than at Antietam, Murfreesboro', Gettysburg, and on many fields
of less note. Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. At all
the watery margins they have been present, not only on the deep
sea, the broad bay, and the rapid river, but also up the narrow,
muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have
been and made their tracks. Thanks to all. For the great Republic —
for the principle it lives by and keeps alive — for man's vast future —
thanks to all.

Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come
soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping
in all future time. It will then have been proved that among free-
men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet,
and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and
pay the cost. And there will be some black men who can remember
that with silent tongue and clinched teeth, and steady eye, and well-
poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great con-
summation, while I fear there will be some white ones unable to for-
get that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they have striven
to hinder it.

Still, let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy, final triumph. Let
us be quite sober. Let us diligently apply the means, never doubt-
ing that a just God, in His own good time, will give us the rightful
result. Yours very truly A. Lincoln.

The result of the canvass justified the confidence of the
friends of the Administration. Every State in which elec-
tions were held, with the single exception of New Jersey,
voted to sustain the Government; and in all the largest and
most important States the majorities were so large as to
make the result of more than ordinary significance. In Ohio,
Vallandigham, who had been put in nomination mainly on
account of the issue he had made with the Government in
the matter of his arrest, was defeated by a majority of nearly
one hundred thousand. New York, which had elected Gov-
ernor Seymour the year before, and had been still further
distinguished and disgraced by the anti-draft riots of July,
gave a majority of not far from thirty thousand for the


Administration ; and Pennsylvania, in spite of the personal
participation of General McClellan in the canvass against
him, re-elected Governor Curtin by about the same majority.
These results followed a very active and earnest canvass, in
which the opponents of the Administration put forth their
most vigorous efforts for its defeat. The ground taken by
its friends in every State was that which had been held by
the President from the beginning — that the rebellion must be
suppressed and the Union preserved, at whatever cost — that
this could only be done by force, and that it was not only
the right, but the duty, of the Government to use all the
means at its command, not incompatible with the laws of
war and the usages of civilized nations, for the accomplish-
ment of this result. They vindicated the action of the Gov-
ernment in the matter of arbitrary arrests, and sustained
throughout the canvass, in every State, the policy of the
President in regard to slavery and in issuing the Proclama-
tion of Emancipation as a military measure, against the
vehement and earnest efforts of the Opposition. The result
was, therefore, justly claimed, as a decided verdict of the
people in support of the Government. It was so regarded by
all parties throughout the country, and its effect upon their
action was of marked importance. While it gave renewed
vigor and courage to the friends of the Administration every-
where, it developed the division of sentiment in the ranks
of the Opposition, which, in its incipient stages, had largely
contributed to their defeat. The majority of that party were
inclined to acquiesce in the deliberate judgment of the coun-
try, that the rebellion could be subdued only by successful
war, and to sustain the Government in whatever measures
might be deemed necessary for its effectual prosecution : —
but the resolute resistance of some of its more conspicuous
leaders withheld them from open action in this direction.




The President's Message. — The Proclamation of Amnesty. — Ex-
planatory Proclamation. — Debate on Slavery. — Call for Troops. —
General Blair's Resignation. — Diplomatic Correspondence. — Our
Relations with England. — France and Mexico. — The President and
the Monroe Doctrine.

Congress met on Monday, December 7, 1863. The House
of Representatives was promptly organized by the election
of Hon. Schuyler Colfax, a Republican from Indiana, to be
Speaker — he receiving one hundred and one votes out of
one hundred and eighty-one, the whole number cast. Mr.
Cox, of Ohio, was the leading candidate of the Democratic
opposition, but he received only fifty-one votes, the remain-
ing twenty-nine being divided among several Democratic
members. In the Senate, the Senators from West Virginia
were admitted to their seats by a vote of thirty-six to five.

On the 9th, the President transmitted to both Houses the
following Message : —

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Another year of health and of sufficiently abundant harvests has
passed. For these, and especially for the improved condition of our
national affairs, our renewed and profoundest gratitude to God is due.
We remain in peace and friendship with foreign Powers. The efforts
of disloyal citizens of the United States to involve us in foreign
wars to aid an inexcusable insurrection have been unavailing. Her
Britannic Majesty's Government, as was justly expected, have exer-
cised their authority to prevent the departure of new hostile expedi-
tions from British ports.

The Emperor of France has, by a lijce proceeding, promptly vin-
dicated the neutrality which he proclaimed at the beginning of the

Questions of great intricacy and importance have arisen out of the
blockade, and other belligerent operations, between the Government
and several of the maritime Powers, but they have been discussed,


and, as far as was possible, accommodated in a spirit of frankness,
justice, and mutual good-will.

It is especially gratifying that our prize courts, by the impartiality
of their adjudications, have commanded the respect and confidence
of maritime Powers.

The supplemental treaty between the United States and Great
Britain for the suppression of the African slave-trade, made on the
17th day of February last, has been duly ratified and carried into
execution. It is believed that so far as American ports and Ameri-
can citizens are concerned, that inhuman and odious traffic has been
brought to an end.

I have thought it proper, subject to the approval of the Senate, to
concur with the interested commercial powers, in an arrangement
for the liquidation of the Scheldt dues, upon the principles which
have been heretofore adopted in regard to the imposts upon naviga-
tion in the waters of Denmark.

The long-pending controversy between this Government and that
of Chili, touching the seizure at Sitana, in Peru, by Chilian officers,
of a large amount in treasure, belonging to citizens of the United
States, has been brought to a close by the award of His Majesty the-
King of the Belgians, to whose arbitration the question was re-
ferred by the parties.

The subject was thoroughly and patiently examined by that justly
respected magistrate, and although the sum awarded to the claim-
ants may not have been as large as they expected, there is no reason
to distrust the wisdom of His Majesty's decision. That decision was
promptly complied with by Chili when intelligence in regard to it
reached that country.

The Joint Commission, under the act of the last session for carry-
ing into effect the Convention with Peru on the subject of claims,
has been organized at Lima, and is engaged in the business in-
trusted to it.

Difficulties concerning interoceanic transit through Nicaragua are
in course of amicable adjustment.

In conformity with principles set forth in my last Annual Message,
I have received a representative from the United States of Columbia,
and have accredited a Minister to that Republic.

Incidents occurring in the progress of our civil war have forced
upon my attention the uncertain state of international questions
touching the rights of foreigners in this country and of United States
citizens abroad. -

In regard to some Governments, these rights are at least partially

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 4 of 41)