The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, v5
Abraham Lincoln

Part 7 out of 8

I venture to hope it will appear that we have practiced prudence and
liberality toward foreign powers, averting causes of irritation and
with firmness maintaining our own rights and honor.

Since, however, it is apparent that here, as in every other state,
foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend
that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the
public defenses on every side. While under this general
recommendation provision for defending our seacoast line readily
occurs to the mind, I also in the same connection ask the attention
of Congress to our great lakes and rivers. It is believed that some
fortifications and depots of arms and munitions, with harbor and
navigation improvements, all at well-selected points upon these,
would be of great importance to the national defense and preservation
I ask attention to the views of the Secretary of War, expressed in
his report, upon the same general subject.

I deem it of importance that the loyal regions of east Tennessee and
western North Carolina should be connected with Kentucky and other
faithful parts of the Union by rail-road. I therefore recommend, as
a military measure, that Congress provide for the construction of
such rail-road as speedily as possible. Kentucky will no doubt
co-operate, and through her Legislature make the most judicious
selection of a line. The northern terminus must connect with some
existing railroad, and whether the route shall be from Lexington or
Nicholasville to the Cumberland Gap, or from Lebanon to the Tennessee
line, in the direction of Knoxville, or on some still different line,
can easily be determined. Kentucky and the General Government
co-operating, the work can be completed in a very short time, and
when done it will be not only of vast present usefulness but also a
valuable permanent improvement, worth its cost in all the future.

Some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests of commerce, and
having no grave political importance, have been negotiated, and will
be submitted to the Senate for their consideration.

Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial powers to
adopt a desirable melioration of the rigor of maritime war, we have
removed all obstructions from the way of this humane reform except
such as are merely of temporary and accidental occurrence.

I invite your attention to the correspondence between her Britannic
Majesty's minister accredited to this government and the Secretary of
State relative to the detention of the British ship Perthshire in
June last by the United States steamer Massachusetts for a supposed
breach of the blockade. As this detention was occasioned by an
obvious misapprehension of the facts, and as justice requires that we
should commit no belligerent act not founded in strict right as
sanctioned by public law, I recommend that an appropriation be made
to satisfy the reasonable demand of the owners of the vessel for her

I repeat the recommendation of my predecessor in his annual message
to Congress in December last in regard to the disposition of the
surplus which will probably remain after satisfying the claims of
American citizens against China, pursuant to the awards of the
commissioners under the act of the 3d of March, 1859. If, however,
it should not be deemed advisable to carry that recommendation into
effect, I would suggest that authority be given for investing the
principal, or the proceeds of the surplus referred to, in good
securities, with a view to the satisfaction of such other just claims
of our citizens against China as are not unlikely to arise hereafter
in the course of our extensive trade with that empire.

By the act of the 5th of August last Congress authorized the
President to instruct the commanders of suitable vessels to defend
themselves against and to capture pirates. His authority has been
exercised in a single instance only. For the more effectual
protection of our extensive and valuable commerce in the Eastern seas
especially, it seems to me that it would also be advisable to
authorize the commanders of sailing vessels to recapture any prizes
which pirates may make of United States vessels and their cargoes,
and the consular courts now established by law in Eastern countries
to adjudicate the cases in the event that this should not be objected
to by the local authorities.

If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer in
withholding our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of
Haiti and Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however, to
inaugurate a novel policy in regard to them without the approbation
of Congress, I submit for your consideration the expediency of an
appropriation for maintaining a charge d'affaires near each of those
new States. It does not admit of doubt that important commercial
advantages might be secured by favorable treaties with them.

The operations of the treasury during the period which has elapsed
since your adjournment have been conducted with signal success. The
patriotism of the people has placed at the disposal of the government
the large means demanded by the public exigencies. Much of the
national loan has been taken by citizens of the industrial classes,
whose confidence in their country's faith and zeal for their
country's deliverance from present peril have induced them to
contribute to the support of the government the whole of their
limited acquisitions. This fact imposes peculiar obligations to
economy in disbursement and energy in action.

The revenue from all sources, including loans, for the financial year
ending on the 30th of June, 1861, was $86,835,900.27, and the
expenditures for the same period, including payments on account of
the public debt, were $84,578,834.47, leaving a balance in the
treasury on the 1st of July of $2,257,065.80. For the first quarter
of the financial year ending on the 3oth of September, 1861, the
receipts from all sources, including the balance of the 1st of July,
were $102,532,509.27, and the expenses $98,239733.09, leaving a
balance on the 1st of October, 1861, of $4,292,776.18.

Estimates for the remaining three quarters of the year and for the
financial year 1863, together with his views of ways and means for
meeting the demands contemplated by them, will be submitted to
Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury. It is gratifying to know
that the expenditures made necessary by the rebellion are not beyond
the resources of the loyal people, and to believe that the same
patriotism which has thus far sustained the government will continue
to sustain it till peace and union shall again bless the land.

I respectfully refer to the report of the Secretary of War for
information respecting the numerical strength of the army and for
recommendations having in view an increase of its efficiency and the
well-being of the various branches of the service intrusted to his
care. It is gratifying to know that the patriotism of the people has
proved equal to the occasion, and that the number of troops tendered
greatly exceeds the force which Congress authorized me to call into
the field.

I refer with pleasure to those portions of his report which make
allusion to the creditable degree of discipline already attained by
our troops and to the excellent sanitary condition of the entire

The recommendation of the Secretary for an organization of the
militia upon a uniform basis is a subject of vital importance to the
future safety of the country, and is commended to the serious
attention of Congress.

The large addition to the regular army, in connection with the
defection that has so considerably diminished the number of its
officers, gives peculiar importance to his recommendation for
increasing the corps of cadets to the greatest capacity of the
Military Academy.

By mere omission, I presume, Congress has failed to provide chaplains
for hospitals occupied by volunteers. This subject was brought to my
notice, and I was induced to draw up the form of a letter, one copy
of which, properly addressed, has been delivered to each of the
persons, and at the dates respectively named and stated in a
schedule, containing also the form of the letter, marked A, and
herewith transmitted.

These gentlemen, I understand, entered upon the duties designated at
the times respectively stated in the schedule, and have labored
faithfully therein ever since. I therefore recommend that they be
compensated at the same rate as chaplains in the army. I further
suggest that general provision be made for chaplains to serve at
hospitals, as well as with regiments.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy presents in detail the
operations of that branch of the service, the activity and energy
which have characterized its administration, and the results of
measures to increase its efficiency and power such have been the
additions, by construction and purchase, that it may almost be said a
navy has been created and brought into service since our difficulties

Besides blockading our extensive coast, squadrons larger than ever
before assembled under our flag have been put afloat and performed
deeds which have increased our naval renown.

I would invite special attention to the recommendation of the
Secretary for a more perfect organization of the navy by introducing
additional grades in the service.

The present organization is defective and unsatisfactory, and the
suggestions submitted by the department will, it is believed, if
adopted, obviate the difficulties alluded to, promote harmony, and
increase the efficiency of the navy.

There are three vacancies on the bench of the Supreme Court--two by
the decease of Justices Daniel and McLean and one by the resignation
of Justice Campbell. I have so far forborne making nominations to
fill these vacancies for reasons which I will now state. Two of the
outgoing judges resided within the States now overrun by revolt, so
that if successors were appointed in the same localities they could
not now serve upon their circuits; and many of the most competent men
there probably would not take the personal hazard of accepting to
serve, even here, upon the Supreme bench. I have been unwilling to
throw all the appointments north-ward, thus disabling myself from
doing justice to the South on the return of peace; although I may
remark that to transfer to the North one which has heretofore been in
the South would not, with reference to territory and population, be

During the long and brilliant judicial career of Judge McLean his
circuit grew into an empire-altogether too large for any one judge to
give the courts therein more than a nominal attendance--rising in
population from 1,470,018 in 1830 to 6,151,405 in 1860.

Besides this, the country generally has outgrown our present judicial
system. If uniformity was at all intended, the system requires that
all the States shall be accommodated with circuit courts, attended by
Supreme judges, while, in fact, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas,
Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon have never had any such
courts. Nor can this well be remedied without a change in the
system, because the adding of judges to the Supreme Court, enough for
the accommodation of all parts of the country with circuit courts,
would create a court altogether too numerous for a judicial body of
any sort. And the evil, if it be one, will increase as new States
come into the Union. Circuit courts are useful or they are not
useful. If useful, no State should be denied them; if not useful, no
State should have them. Let them be provided for all or abolished as
to all.

Three modifications occur to me, either of which, I think, would be
an improvement upon our present system. Let the Supreme Court be of
convenient number in every event; then, first, let the whole country
be divided into circuits of convenient size, the Supreme judges to
serve in a number of them corresponding to their own number, and
independent circuit judges be provided for all the rest; or,
secondly, let the Supreme judges be relieved from circuit duties and
circuit judges provided for all the circuits; or, thirdly, dispense
with circuit courts altogether, leaving the judicial functions wholly
to the district courts and an independent Supreme Court.

I respectfully recommend to the consideration of Congress the present
condition of the statute laws, with the hope that Congress will be
able to find an easy remedy for many of the inconveniences and evils
which constantly embarrass those engaged in the practical
administration of them. Since the Organization of the government,
Congress has enacted some 5000 acts and joint resolutions, which fill
more than 6000 closely printed pages and are scattered through many
volumes. Many of these acts have been drawn in haste and without
sufficient caution, so that their provisions are often obscure in
themselves or in conflict with each other, or at least so doubtful as
to render it very difficult for even the best-informed persons to
ascertain precisely what the statute law really is.

It seems to me very important that the statute laws should be made as
plain and intelligible as possible, and be reduced to as small a
compass as may consist with the fullness and precision of the will of
the Legislature and the perspicuity of its language. This well done
would, I think, greatly facilitate the labors of those whose duty it
is to assist in the administration of the laws, and would be a
lasting benefit to the people, by placing before them in a more
accessible and intelligible form the laws which so deeply concern
their interests arid their duties.

I am informed by some whose opinions I respect that all the acts of
Congress now in force and of a permanent and general nature might be
revised and rewritten so as to be embraced in one volume (or at most
two volumes) of ordinary and convenient size; and I respectfully
recommend to Congress to consider of the subject, and if my
suggestion be approved to devise such plan as to their wisdom shall
seem most proper for the attainment of the end proposed.

One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection is
the entire suppression in many places of all the ordinary means of
administering civil justice by the officers and in the forms of
existing law. This is the case, in whole or in part, in all the
insurgent States; and as our armies advance upon and take possession
of parts of those States the practical evil becomes more apparent.
There are no courts or officers to whom the citizens of other States
may apply for the enforcement of their lawful claims against citizens
of the insurgent States, and there is a vast amount of debt
constituting such claims. Some have estimated it as high as
$200,000,000, due in large part from insurgents in open rebellion to
loyal citizens who are even now making great sacrifices in the
discharge of their patriotic duty to support the government.

Under these circumstances I have been urgently solicited to
establish, by military power, courts to administer summary justice in
such cases. I have thus far declined to do it, not because I had any
doubt that the end proposed--the collection of the debts--was just
and right in itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond
the pressure of necessity in the unusual exercise of power. But the
powers of Congress, I suppose, are equal to the anomalous occasion,
and therefore I refer the whole matter to Congress, with the hope
that a plan maybe devised for the administration of justice in all
such parts of the insurgent States and Territories as may be under
the control of this government, whether by a voluntary return to
allegiance and order or by the power of our arms; this, however, not
to be a permanent institution, but a temporary substitute, and to
cease as soon as the ordinary courts can be reestablished in peace.

It is important that some more convenient means should be provided,
if possible, for the adjustment of claims against the government,
especially in view of their increased number by reason of the war.
It is as much the duty of government to render prompt justice against
itself in favor of citizens as it is to administer the same between
private individuals. The investigation and adjudication of claims in
their nature belong to the judicial department. Besides, it is
apparent that the attention of Congress will be more than usually
engaged for some time to come with great national questions. It was
intended by the organization of the Court of Claims mainly to remove
this branch of business from the halls of Congress; but, while the
court has proved to be an effective and valuable means of
investigation, it in great degree fails to effect the object of its
creation for want of power to make its judgments final.

Fully aware of the delicacy, not to say the danger of the subject, I
commend to your careful consideration whether this power of making
judgments final may not properly be given to the court, reserving the
right of appeal on questions of law to the Supreme Court, with such
other provisions as experience may have shown to be necessary.

I ask attention to the report of the Postmaster general, the
following being a summary statement of the condition of the

The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year ending June 30,
1861, including the annual permanent appropriation of $700,000 for
the transportation of "free mail matter," was $9,049,296.40, being
about 2 per cent. less than the revenue for 1860.

The expenditures were $13,606,759.11, showing a decrease of more than
8 per cent. as compared with those of the previous year and leaving
an excess of expenditure over the revenue for the last fiscal year
of $4,557,462.71.

The gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 1863, is estimated at
an increase of 4 per cent. on that of 1861, making $8,683,000, to
which should be added the earnings of the department in carrying free
matter, viz., $700,000, making $9,383,000.

The total expenditures for 1863 are estimated at $12,528,000, leaving
an estimated deficiency of $3,145,000 to be supplied from the
treasury in addition to the permanent appropriation.

The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension of this
District across the Potomac River at the time of establishing the
capital here was eminently wise, and consequently that the
relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the State of
Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration
the expediency of regaining that part of the District and the
restoration of the original boundaries thereof through negotiations
with the State of Virginia.

The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with the accompanying
documents, exhibits the condition of the several branches of the
public business pertaining to that department. The depressing
influences of the insurrection have been specially felt in the
operations of the Patent and General Land Offices. The cash receipts
from the sales of public lands during the past year have exceeded the
expenses of our land system only about $200,000. The sales have been
entirely suspended in the Southern States, while the interruptions to
the business of the country and the diversion of large numbers of men
from labor to military service have obstructed settlements in the new
States and Territories of the Northwest.

The receipts of the Patent Office have declined in nine months about
$100,000.00 rendering a large reduction of the force employed
necessary to make it self-sustaining.

The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely increased by the
insurrection. Numerous applications for pensions, based upon the
casualties of the existing war, have already been made. There is
reason to believe that many who are now upon the pension rolls and in
receipt of the bounty of the government are in the ranks of the
insurgent army or giving them aid and comfort. The Secretary of the
Interior has directed a suspension of the payment of the pensions of
such persons upon proof of their disloyalty. I recommend that
Congress authorize that officer to cause the names of such persons to
be stricken from the pension rolls.

The relations of the government with the Indian tribes have been
greatly disturbed by the insurrection, especially in the southern
superintendency and in that of New Mexico. The Indian country south
of Kansas is in the possession of insurgents from Texas and Arkansas.
The agents of the United States appointed since the 4th of March for
this superintendency have been unable to reach their posts, while the
most of those who were in office before that time have espoused the
insurrectionary cause, and assume to exercise the powers of agents by
virtue of commissions from the insurrectionists. It has been stated
in the public press that a portion of those Indians have been
organized as a military force and are attached to the army of the
insurgents. Although the government has no official information upon
this subject, letters have been written to the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs by several prominent chiefs giving assurance of their loyalty
to the United States and expressing a wish for the presence of
Federal troops to protect them. It is believed that upon the
repossession of the country by the Federal forces the Indians will
readily cease all hostile demonstrations and resume their former
relations to the government.

Agriculture, confessedly the largest interest of the nation, has not
a department nor a bureau, but a clerkship only, assigned to it in
the government. While it is fortunate that this great interest is so
independent in its nature as not to have demanded and extorted more
from the government, I respectfully ask Congress to consider whether
something more cannot be given voluntarily with general advantage.

Annual reports exhibiting the condition of our agriculture, commerce,
and manufactures would present a fund of information of great
practical value to the country. While I make no suggestion as to
details, I venture the opinion that an agricultural and statistical
bureau might profitably be organized.

The execution of the laws for the suppression of the African slave
trade has been confided to the Department of the Interior. It is a
subject of gratulation that the efforts which have been made for the
suppression of this inhuman traffic have been recently attended with
unusual success. Five vessels being fitted out for the slave trade
have been seized and condemned. Two mates of vessels engaged in the
trade and one person in equipping a vessel as a slaver have been
convicted and subjected to the penalty of fine and imprisonment, and
one captain, taken with a cargo of Africans on board his vessel, has
been convicted of the highest grade of offense under our laws, the
punishment of which is death.

The Territories of Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada, created by the last
Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been
inaugurated therein under auspices especially gratifying when it is
considered that the leaven of treason was found existing in some of
these new countries when the Federal officers arrived there.

The abundant natural resources of these Territories, with the
security and protection afforded by organized government, will
doubtless invite to them a large immigration when peace shall restore
the business of the country to its accustomed channels. I submit the
resolutions of the Legislature of Colorado, which evidence the
patriotic spirit of the people of the Territory. So far the
authority of the United States has been upheld in all the
Territories, as it is hoped it will be in the future. I commend
their interests and defense to the enlightened and generous care of

I recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress the interests
of the District of Columbia. The insurrection has been the cause of
much suffering and sacrifice to its inhabitants, and as they have no
representative in Congress that body should not overlook their just
claims upon the government.

At your late session a joint resolution was adopted authorizing the
President to take measures for facilitating a proper representation
of the industrial interests of the United States at the exhibition of
the industry of all nations to be holden at London in the year 1862.
I regret to say I have been unable to give personal attention to this
subject--a subject at once so interesting in itself and so
extensively and intimately connected with the material prosperity of
the world. Through the Secretaries of State and of the Interior a
plan or system has been devised and partly matured, and which will be
laid before you.

Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An act to
confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved
August 6, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and
service of certain other persons have become forfeited, and numbers
of the latter thus liberated are already dependent on the United
States, and must be provided for in some way. Besides this, it is
not impossible that some of the States will pass similar enactments
for their own benefit respectively, and by operation of which persons
of the same class will be thrown upon them for disposal. In such
case I recommend that Congress provide for accepting such persons
from such States, according to some mode of valuation, in lieu, pro
tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other plan to be agreed on with
such States respectively; that such persons, on such acceptance by
the General Government, be at once deemed free, and that in any event
steps be taken for colonizing both classes (or the one first
mentioned if the other shall not be brought into existence) at some
place or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to
consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United
States could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in
such colonization.

To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of
territory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be
expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practised the
acquisition of territory for nearly sixty years, the question of
constitutional power to do so is no longer an open one with us. The
power was questioned at first by Mr. Jefferson, who, however, in the
purchase of Louisiana, yielded his scruples on the plea of great
expediency. If it be said that the only legitimate object of
acquiring territory is to furnish homes for white men, this measure
effects that object, for emigration of colored men leaves additional
room for white men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson, however,
placed the importance of procuring Louisiana more on political and
commercial grounds than on providing room for population.

On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money with
the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to
absolute necessity--that without which the government itself cannot
be perpetuated?

The war continues. In considering the policy to be adopted for
suppressing the insurrection I have been anxious and careful that the
inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a
violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have therefore in
every case thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union
prominent as the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving
all questions which are not of vital military importance to the more
deliberate action of the Legislature.

In the exercise of my best discretion I have adhered to the blockade
of the ports held by the insurgents, instead of putting in force by
proclamation the law of Congress enacted at the late session for
closing those ports.

So also, obeying the dictates of prudence, as well as the obligations
of law, instead of transcending I have adhered to the act of Congress
to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes. If a new
law upon the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety will be
duly considered. The Union must be preserved, and hence all
indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in haste to
determine that radical and extreme measures, which may reach the
loyal as well as the disloyal, are indispensable.

The inaugural address at the beginning of the Administration and the
message to Congress at the late special session were both mainly
devoted to topics domestic controversy out of which the insurrection
and consequent war have sprung. Nothing now occurs to add or
subtract to or from the principles or general purposes stated and
expressed in those documents.

The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably expired at
the assault upon Fort Sumter, and a general review of what has
occurred since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully uncertain
then is much better defined and more distinct now, and the progress
of events is plainly in the right direction. The insurgents
confidently claimed a strong support from north of Mason and Dixon's
line, and the friends of the Union were not free from apprehension on
the point. This, however, was soon settled definitely, and on the
right side. South of the line noble little Delaware led off right
from the first. Maryland was made to seem against the Union. Our
soldiers were assaulted, bridges were burned, and railroads torn up
within her limits, and we were many days at one time without the
ability to bring a single regiment over her soil to the capital. Now
her bridges and railroads are repaired and open to the government;
she already gives seven regiments to the cause of the Union, and none
to the enemy; and her people, at a regular election, have sustained
the Union by a larger majority and a larger aggregate vote than they
ever before gave to any candidate or any question. Kentucky, too,
for some time in doubt, is now decidedly and, I think, unchangeably
ranged on the side of the Union. Missouri is comparatively quiet,
and, I believe, can, not again be overrun by the insurrectionists.
These three States of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, neither of
which would promise a single soldier at first, have now an aggregate
of not less than forty thousand in the field for the Union, while of
their citizens certainly not more than a third of that number, and
they of doubtful whereabouts and doubtful existence, are in arms
against us. After a somewhat bloody struggle of months, winter
closes on the Union people of western Virginia, leaving them masters
of their own country.

An insurgent force of about fifteen hundred, for months dominating
the narrow peninsular region constituting the counties of Accomac and
Northampton, and known as Eastern Shore of Virginia, together with
some contiguous parts of Maryland, have laid down their arms, and the
people there have renewed their allegiance to and accepted the
protection of the old flag. This leaves no armed insurrectionist
north of the Potomac or east of the Chesapeake.

Also we have obtained a footing at each of the isolated points on the
southern coast of Hatteras, Port Royal, Tybee Island (near Savannah),
and Ship Island; and we likewise have some general accounts of
popular movements in behalf of the Union in North Carolina and

These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is advancing
steadily and certainly southward.

Since your last adjournment Lieutenant-General Scott has retired from
the head of the army. During his long life the nation has not been
unmindful of his merit; yet on calling to mind how faithfully, ably,
and brilliantly he has served the country, from a time far back in
our history, when few of the now living had been born, and
thenceforward continually, I cannot but think we are still his
debtors. I submit, therefore, for your consideration what further
mark of recognition is due to him, and to ourselves as a grateful

With the retirement of General Scott came the Executive duty of
appointing in his stead a general-in-chief of the army. It is a
fortunate circumstance that neither in council nor country was there,
so far as I know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person
to be selected. The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment
in favor of General McClellan for the position, and in this the
nation seemed to give a unanimous concurrence. The designation of
General McClellan is therefore in considerable degree the selection
of the country as well as of the Executive, and hence there is better
reason to hope there will be given him the confidence and cordial
support thus by fair implication promised, and without which he
cannot with so full efficiency serve the country.

It has been said that one bad general is better than two good ones,
and the saying is true if taken to mean no more than that an army is
better directed by a single mind, though inferior, than by two
superior ones at variance and cross-purposes with each other.

And the same is true in all joint operations wherein those engaged
can have none but a common end in view and can differ only as to the
choice of means. In a storm at sea no one on hoard can wish the ship
to sink, and yet not unfrequently all go down together because too
many will direct and no single mind can be allowed to control.

It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not
exclusively, 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
arguments 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 possible 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 with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It
is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital;
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 without 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 between 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
protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and
probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital
producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole
labor of 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 others 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 themselves, 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
considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital;
that is, they labor with their own hands and also buy or hire others
to 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

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 awhile, saves a surplus with
which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own
account another 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
progress 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 take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned.
Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already
possess, 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.

From the first taking of our national census to the last are seventy
years, and we find our population at the end of the period eight
times as great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those
other things which men deem desirable has been even greater. We thus
have at one view what the popular principle, applied to government
through the machinery of the States and the Union, has produced in a
given time, and also what if firmly maintained it promises for the
future. There are already among us those who if the Union be
preserved will live to see it contain 200,000,000. The struggle of
to-day is not altogether for to-day; it is for a vast future also.
With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us
proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.



WASHINGTON, December 20, 1861.


I transmit to Congress a letter from the secretary of the executive
committee of the commission appointed to represent the interests of
those American citizens who may desire to become exhibitors at the
industrial exhibition to be held in London in 1862, and a memorial of
that commission, with a report of the executive committee thereof and
copies of circulars announcing the decisions of Her Majesty's
commissioners in London, giving directions to be observed in regard
to articles intended for exhibition, and also of circular forms of
application, demands for space, approvals, etc., according to the
rules prescribed by the British commissioners.

As these papers fully set forth the requirements necessary to enable
those citizens of the United States who may wish to become exhibitors
to avail themselves of the privileges of the exhibition, I commend
them to your early consideration, especially in view of the near
approach of the time when the exhibition will begin.





Dec.31, 1861


DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 23d is received, and I am constrained to say
it is difficult to answer so ugly a letter in good temper. I am, as
you intimate, losing much of the great confidence I placed in you,
not from any act or omission of yours touching the public service, up
to the time you were sent to Leavenworth, but from the flood of
grumbling despatches and letters I have seen from you since. I knew
you were being ordered to Leavenworth at the time it was done; and I
aver that with as tender a regard for your honor and your
sensibilities as I had for my own, it never occurred to me that you
were being "humiliated, insulted, and disgraced"; nor have I, up to
this day, heard an intimation that you have been wronged, coming from
any one but yourself. No one has blamed you for the retrograde
movement from Springfield, nor for the information you gave General
Cameron; and this you could readily understand, if it were not for
your unwarranted assumption that the ordering you to Leavenworth must
necessarily have been done as a punishment for some fault. I thought
then, and think yet, the position assigned to you is as responsible,
and as honorable, as that assigned to Buell--I know that General
McClellan expected more important results from it. My impression is
that at the time you were assigned to the new Western Department, it
had not been determined to replace General Sherman in Kentucky; but
of this I am not certain, because the idea that a command in Kentucky
was very desirable, and one in the farther West undesirable, had
never occurred to me. You constantly speak of being placed in
command of only 3000. Now, tell me, is this not mere impatience?
Have you not known all the while that you are to command four or five
times that many.

I have been, and am sincerely your friend; and if, as such, I dare to
make a suggestion, I would say you are adopting the best possible way
to ruin yourself. "Act well your part, there all the honor lies." He
who does something at the head of one regiment, will eclipse him who
does nothing at the head of a hundred.

Your friend, as ever,



WASHINGTON, D.C., December 31, 1861

GENERAL H. W. HALLECK, St. Louis, Missouri:

General McClellan is sick. Are General Buell and yourself in
concert? When he moves on Bowling Green, what hinders it being
reinforced from Columbus? A simultaneous movement by you on Columbus
might prevent it.


[Similar despatch to Buell same date.]



WASHINGTON CITY, January 1, 1862


General McClellan should not yet be disturbed with business. I think
you better get in concert with General Halleck at once. I write you
to-night. I also telegraph and write Halleck.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, January 1, 1862


General McClellan is not dangerously ill, as I hope, but would better
not be disturbed with business. I am very anxious that, in case of
General Buell's moving toward Nashville, the enemy shall not be
greatly reinforced, and I think there is danger he will be from
Columbus. It seems to me that a real or feigned attack upon Columbus
from up the river at the same time would either prevent this or
compensate for it by throwing Columbus into our hands. I wrote
General Buell a letter similar to this, meaning that he and you shall
communicate and act in concert, unless it be your judgment and his
that there is no necessity for it. You and he will understand much
better than I how to do it. Please do not lose time in this matter.

Yours very truly,



In view of the recent declaration of the people of Maryland of their
adhesion to the Union, so distinctly made in their recent election,
the President directs that all the prisoners who having heretofore
been arrested in that State are now detained in military custody by
the President's authority, be released from their imprisonment on the
following conditions, namely: that if they were holding any civil or
military offices when arrested, the terms of which have expired, they
shall not resume or reclaim such office; and secondly, all persons
availing themselves of this proclamation shall engage by oath or
parole of honor to maintain the Union and the Constitution of the
United States, and in no way to aid or abet by arms, counsel,
conversation, or information of any kind the existing insurrection
against the Government of the United States.

To guard against misapprehension it is proper to state that this
proclamation does not apply to prisoners of war.


WASHINGTON, January 2, 1862


I transmit to Congress a copy of a letter to the Secretary of State
from James R. Partridge, secretary to the executive committee to the
in exhibition to be held in London in the course present year, and a
copy of the correspond which it refers, relative to a vessel for the
of taking such articles as persons in this country may wish to
exhibit on that occasion. As it appears no naval vessel can be spared
for the purpose, I recommend that authority be given to charter a
suitable merchant vessel, in order that facilities similar to those
afforded by the government exhibition of 1851 may also be extended to
citizens of the United States who may desire to contribute to the
exhibition of this year.




WASHINGTON, January 4, 1862.


Have arms gone forward for East Tennessee? Please tell me the
progress and condition of the movement in that direction. Answer.




January 6, 1862.


MY DEAR SIR:--Your despatch of yesterday has been received, and it
disappoints and distresses me. I have shown it to General McClellan,
who says he will write you to-day. I am not competent to criticize
your views, and therefore what I offer is in justification of myself.
Of the two, I would rather have a point on the railroad south of
Cumberland Gap than Nashville. First, because it cuts a great artery
of the enemy's communication, which Nashville does not; and secondly,
because it is in the midst of loyal people who would rally around it,
while Nashville is not. Again, I cannot see why the movement on East
Tennessee would not be a diversion in your favor rather than a
disadvantage, assuming that a movement toward Nashville is the main
object. But my distress is that our friends in East Tennessee are
being hanged and driven to despair, and even now, I fear, are
thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection.
In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South. My
despatch, to which yours is an answer, was sent with the knowledge of
Senator Johnson and Representative Maynard of East Tennessee, and
they will be upon me to know the answer, which I cannot safely show
them. They would despair, possibly resign to go and save their
families somehow, or die with them. I do not intend this to be an
order in any sense, but merely, as intimated before, to show you the
grounds of my anxiety.

Yours very truly,



WASHINGTON, January 7, 1862.


Please name as early a day as you safely can on or before which you
can be ready to move southward in concert with Major-General Halleck.
Delay is ruining us, and it is indispensable for me to have something
definite. I send a like despatch to Major-General Halleck.



WASHINGTON, January 10, 1862


I transmit to Congress a translation of an instruction to the
minister of his Majesty the Emperor of Austria accredited to this
government, and a copy of a note to that minister from the Secretary
of State relative to the questions involved in the taking from the
British steamer Trent of certain citizens of the United States by
order of Captain Wilkes of the United States Navy. This
correspondence may be considered as a sequel to that previously
communicated to Congress relating to the same subject.


JANUARY 10, 1862.

ST. Louis, January 6, 1862.


In reply to your Excellency's letter of the 1st instant, I have to
state that on receiving your telegram I immediately communicated with
General Buell and have since sent him all the information I could
obtain of the enemy's movements about Columbus and Camp Beauregard.
No considerable force has been sent from those places to Bowling
Green. They have about 22,000 men at Columbus, and the place is
strongly fortified. I have at Cairo, Port Holt, and Paducah only
about 15,000, which, after leaving guards at these places, would give
me but little over 10,000 men with which to assist General Buell. It
would be madness to attempt anything serious with such a force, and I
cannot at the present time withdraw any from Missouri without risking
the loss of this State. The troops recently raised in other States
of this department have, without my knowledge, been sent to Kentucky
and Kansas.

I am satisfied that the authorities at Washington do not appreciate
the difficulties with which we have to contend here. The operations
of Lane, Jennison, and others have so enraged the people of Missouri
that it is estimated that there is a majority of 80,000 against the
government. We are virtually in an enemy's country. Price and
others have a considerable army in the southwest, against which I am
operating with all my available force.

This city and most of the middle and northern counties are
insurrectionary,--burning bridges, destroying telegraph lines, etc.,-
-and can be kept down only by the presence of troops. A large
portion of the foreign troops organized by General Fremont are
unreliable; indeed, many of them are already mutinous. They have
been tampered with by politicians, and made to believe that if they
get up a mutiny and demand Fremont's return the government will be
forced to restore him to duty here. It is believed that some high
officers are in the plot I have already been obliged to disarm
several of these organizations, and I am daily expecting more serious
outbreaks. Another grave difficulty is the want of proper general
officers to command the troops and enforce order and discipline, and
especially to protect public property from robbery and plunder. Some
of the brigadier-generals assigned to this department are entirely
ignorant of their duties and unfit for any command. I assure you,
Mr. President, it is very difficult to accomplish much with such
means. I am in the condition of a carpenter who is required to build
a bridge with a dull axe, a broken saw, and rotten timber. It is
true that I have some very good green timber, which will answer the
purpose as soon as I can get it into shape and season it a little.

I know nothing of General Buell's intended operations, never having
received any information in regard to the general plan of campaign.
If it be intended that his column shall move on Bowling Green while
another moves from Cairo or Paducah on Columbus or Camp Beauregard,
it will be a repetition of the same strategic error which produced
the disaster of Bull Run. To operate on exterior lines against an
enemy occupying a central position will fail, as it always has
failed, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. It is condemned by
every military authority I have ever read.

General Buell's army and the forces at Paducah occupy precisely the
same position in relation to each other and to the enemy as did the
armies of McDowell and Patterson before the battle of Bull Run.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General


The within is a copy of a letter just received from General Halleck.
It is exceedingly discouraging. As everywhere else, nothing can be



January 11, 1862


I will be greatly obliged if you will arrange; somehow with General
Butler to officer his two un-officered regiments.





MY DEAR SIR--Your despatch of yesterday is received, in which you
say, "I received your letter and General McClellan's, and will at
once devote my efforts to your views and his." In the midst of my
many cares I have not seen, nor asked to see, General McClellan's
letter to you. For my own views, I have not offered and do not now
offer them as orders; and while I am glad to have them respectfully
considered, I would blame you to follow them contrary to your own
clear judgment, unless I should put them in the form of orders. As
to General McClellan's views, you understand your duty in regard to
them better than I do.

With this preliminary I state my general idea of this war to be, that
we have the greater numbers and the enemy has the greater facility of
concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail
unless we can find some way of making our advantage an overmatch for
his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior
forces at different points at the same time, so that we can safely
attack one or both if he makes no change; and if he weakens one to
strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but
seize and hold the weakened one, gaining so much.

To illustrate: Suppose last summer, when Winchester ran away to
reinforce Manassas, we had forborne to attack Manassas, but had
seized and held Winchester. I mention this to illustrate and not to
criticise. I did not lose confidence in McDowell, and I think less
harshly of Patterson than some others seem to. . . . Applying the
principle to your case, my idea is that Halleck shall menace Columbus
and "down river" generally, while you menace Bowling Green and East
Tennessee. If the enemy shall concentrate at Bowling Green, do not
retire from his front, yet do not fight him there either, but seize
Columbus and East Tennessee, one or both, left exposed by the
concentration at Bowling Green. It is a matter of no small anxiety
to me, and which I am sure you will not overlook, that the East
Tennessee line is so long and over so bad a road.

Yours very truly,


Having to-day written General Buell a letter, it occurs to me to send
General Halleck a copy of it.




MY DEAR SIR:--The Germans are true and patriotic and so far as they
have got cross in Missouri it is upon mistake and misunderstanding.
Without a knowledge of its contents, Governor Koerner, of Illinois,
will hand you this letter. He is an educated and talented German
gentleman, as true a man as lives. With his assistance you can set
everything right with the Germans. . . . My clear judgment is
that, with reference to the German element in your command, you
should have Governor Koerner with you; and if agreeable to you and
him, I will make him a brigadier-general, so that he can afford to
give his time. He does not wish to command in the field, though he
has more military knowledge than some who do. If he goes into the
place, he will simply be an efficient, zealous, and unselfish
assistant to you. I say all this upon intimate personal acquaintance
with Governor Koerner.

Yours very truly,



WASHINGTON, January 17, 1862


I transmit to Congress a translation of an instruction to the
minister of his Majesty the King of Prussia accredited to this
government, and a copy of a note to that minister from the Secretary
of State relating to the capture and detention of certain citizens of
the United States, passengers on board the British steamer Trent, by
order of Captain Wilkes of the United States Navy.




January 20, 1862.


Commanding Armies of the United States:

You or any officer you may designate will in your discretion suspend
the writ of habeas corpus so far as may relate to Major Chase, lately
of the Engineer Corps of the Army of the United States, now alleged
to be guilty of treasonable practices against this government.


By the President:



Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general
movement of the land and the naval forces of the United States
against the insurgent forces.

That especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe, the Army of
the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the army near
Munfordville, Kentucky, the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval
force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready for a movement on that day.

That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective
commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey
additional orders when duly given.

That the heads of departments, and especially the Secretaries of War
and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the
General-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land
and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full
responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.





MY DEAR SIR:--It is my wish that the expedition commonly called the
"Lane Expedition" shall be, as much as has been promised at the
adjutant-general's office, under the supervision of General
McClellan, and not any more. I have not intended, and do not now
intend, that it shall be a great, exhausting affair, but a snug,
sober column of 10,000 or 15,000. General Lane has been told by me
many times that he is under the command of General Hunter, and
assented to it as often as told. It was the distinct agreement
between him and me, when I appointed him, that he was to be under

Yours truly,



Ordered, That all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac,
after providing safely for the defence of Washington, be formed into
an expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a
point upon the railroad southwestward of what is known as Manassas
Junction, all details to be in the discretion of the
commander-in-chief, and the expedition to move before or on the 22d
day of February next.






DEAR SIR--You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement
of the Army of the Potomac--yours to be down the Chesapeake, up the
Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the
railroad on the York River; mine to move directly to a point on the
railroad southwest of Manassas.

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the following questions,
I shall gladly yield my plan to yours.

First. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of
time and money than mine?

Second. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?

Third. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine?

Fourth. In fact, would it not be less valuable in this, that it
would break no great line of the enemy's communications, while mine

Fifth. In case of disaster, would not a retreat be more difficult by
your plan than mine?

Yours truly,

Memorandum accompanying Letter of President Lincoln to General
McClellan, dated February 3,1862.

First. Suppose the enemy should attack us in force before we reach
the Occoquan, what?

Second. Suppose the enemy in force shall dispute the crossing of the
Occoquan, what? In view of this, might it not be safest for us to
cross the Occoquan at Coichester, rather than at the village of
Occoquan? This would cost the enemy two miles of travel to meet us,
but would, on the contrary, leave us two miles farther from our

Third. Suppose we reach Maple Valley without an attack, will we not
be attacked there in force by the enemy marching by the several roads
from Manassas; and if so, what?


February 3, 1862.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Yours of January 30th just received. Do just as you
say about the money matter.

As you well know, I have not time to write a letter of respectable
length. God bless you, says

Your friend,



February 4, 1862

To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:

Whereas it appears that at a term of the Circuit Court of the United
States of America for the Southern District of New York held in the
month of November, A.D. 1861, Nathaniel Gordon was indicted and
convicted for being engaged in the slave trade, and was by the said
court sentenced to be put to death by hanging by the neck, on Friday
the 7th day of February, AD. 1862:

And whereas a large number of respectable citizens have earnestly
besought me to commute the said sentence of the said Nathaniel Gordon
to a term of imprisonment for life, which application I have felt it
to be my duty to refuse:

And whereas it has seemed to me probable that the unsuccessful
application made for the commutation of his sentence may have
prevented the said Nathaniel Gordon from making the necessary
preparation for the awful change which awaits him;

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of
the United States of America, have granted and do hereby grant unto
him, the said Nathaniel Gordon, a respite of the above recited
sentence, until Friday the twenty-first day of February, A.D. 1862,
between the hours of twelve o'clock at noon and three o'clock in the
afternoon of the said day, when the said sentence shall be executed.

In granting this respite, it becomes my painful duty to admonish the
prisoner that, relinquishing all expectation of pardon by human
authority, he refer himself alone to the mercy of the common God and
Father of all men.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto signed my name and caused the
seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this fourth day of February, A.D.
1862, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.


By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON CITY, February 4. 1862


The third section of the "Act further to promote the efficiency of
the Navy," approved December 21, 1862, provides:

"That the President of the United States, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate, shall have the authority to detail from the
retired list of the navy for the command of squadrons and single
ships such officers as he may believe that the good of the service
requires to be thus placed in command; and such officers may, if upon
the recommendation of the President of the United States they shall
receive a vote of thanks of Congress for their services and gallantry
in action against an enemy, be restored to the active list, and not

In conformity with this law, Captain Samuel F. Du Pont, of the navy,
was nominated to the Senate for continuance as the flag-officer in
command of the squadron which recently rendered such important
service to the Union in the expedition to the coast of South

Believing that no occasion could arise which would more fully
correspond with the intention of the law, or be more pregnant with
happy influence as an example, I cordially recommend that Captain
Samuel F. Du Pont receive a vote of thanks of Congress for his
services and gallantry displayed in the capture of Forts Walker and
Beauregard, commanding the entrance of Port Royal Harbor, on the 7th
of November, 1861.



Leavenworth, Kansas:

My wish has been and is to avail the government of the services of
both General Hunter and General Lane, and, so far as possible, to
personally oblige both. General Hunter is the senior officer, and
must command when they serve together; though in so far as he can
consistently with the public service and his own honor oblige General
Lane, he will also oblige me. If they cannot come to an amicable
understanding, General Lane must report to General Hunter for duty,
according to the rules, or decline the service.


February 14,1862.

The breaking out of a formidable insurrection based on a conflict of
political ideas, being an event without precedent in the United
States, was necessarily attended by great confusion and perplexity of
the public mind. Disloyalty before unsuspected suddenly became bold,
and treason astonished the world by bringing at once into the field
military forces superior in number to the standing army of the United

Every department of the government was paralyzed by treason.
Defection appeared in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, in
the Cabinet, in the Federal courts; ministers and consuls returned
from foreign countries to enter the insurrectionary councils of land
or naval forces; commanding and other officers of the army and in the
navy betrayed our councils or deserted their posts for commands in
the insurgent forces. Treason was flagrant in the revenue and in the
post-office service, as well as in the Territorial governments and in
the Indian reserves.

Not only governors, judges, legislators, and ministerial officers in
the States, but even whole States rushed one after another with
apparent unanimity into rebellion. The capital was besieged and its
connection with all the States cut off. Even in the portions of the
country which were most loyal, political combinations and secret
societies were formed furthering tile work of disunion, while, from
motives of disloyalty or cupidity or from excited passions or
perverted sympathies, individuals were found furnishing men, money,
and materials of war and supplies to the insurgents' military and
naval forces. Armies, ships, fortifications, navy yards, arsenals,
military posts, and garrisons one after another were betrayed or
abandoned to the insurgents.

Congress had not anticipated, and so had not provided for, the
emergency. The municipal authorities were powerless and inactive.
The judicial machinery seemed as if it had been designed, not to
sustain the government, but to embarrass and betray it.

Foreign intervention, openly invited and industriously instigated by
the abettors of the insurrection, became imminent, and has only been
prevented by the practice of strict and impartial justice, with the
most perfect moderation, in our intercourse with nations.

The public mind was alarmed and apprehensive, though fortunately not
distracted or disheartened. It seemed to be doubtful whether the
Federal Government, which one year before had been thought a model
worthy of universal acceptance, had indeed the ability to defend and
maintain itself.

Some reverses, which, perhaps, were unavoidable, suffered by newly
levied and inefficient forces, discouraged the loyal and gave new
hopes to the insurgents. Voluntary enlistments seemed about to cease
and desertions commenced. Parties speculated upon the question
whether conscription had not become necessary to fill up the armies
of the United States.

In this emergency the President felt it his duty to employ with
energy the extraordinary powers which the Constitution confides to
him in cases of insurrection. He called into the field such military
and naval forces, unauthorized by the existing laws, as seemed
necessary. He directed measures to prevent the use of the post-
office for treasonable correspondence. He subjected passengers to
and from foreign countries to new passport regulations, and he
instituted a blockade, suspended the writ of habeas corpus in various
places, and caused persons who were represented to him as being or
about to engage in disloyal and treasonable practices to be arrested
by special civil as well as military agencies and detained in
military custody when necessary to prevent them and deter others from
such practices. Examinations of such cases were instituted, and some
of the persons so arrested have been discharged from time to time
under circumstances or upon conditions compatible, as was thought,
with the public safety.

Meantime a favorable change of public opinion has occurred. The line
between loyalty and disloyalty is plainly defined. The whole
structure of the government is firm and stable. Apprehension of
public danger and facilities for treasonable practices have
diminished with the passions which prompted heedless persons to adopt
them. The insurrection is believed to have culminated and to be

The President, in view of these facts, and anxious to favor a return
to the normal course of the administration as far as regard for the
public welfare will allow, directs that all political prisoners or
state prisoners now held in military custody be released on their
subscribing to a parole engaging them to render no aid or comfort to
the enemies in hostility to the United States.

The Secretary of War will, however, in his discretion, except from
the effect of this order any persons detained as spies in the service
of the insurgents, or others whose release at the present moment may
be deemed incompatible with the public safety.

To all persons who shall be so released, and who shall keep their
parole, the President grants an amnesty for any past offences of
treason or disloyalty which they may have comminuted.

Extraordinary arrests will hereafter be made under the direction of
the military authorities alone.

By order of the President
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

WASHINGTON CITY, February 15, 1862

The third section of the "Act further to promote the efficiency of
the Navy," approved December 21, 1861, provides

"That the President of the United States, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate, shall have the authority to detail from the
retired list of the navy for the command of squadrons and single
ships such officers as he may believe that the good of the service
requires to be thus placed in command; and such officers may, if upon
the recommendation of the President of the United States they shall
receive a vote of thanks of Congress for their services and gallantry
in action against an enemy, be restored to the active list, and not

In conformity with this law, Captain Louis M. Goldsborough, of the
navy, was nominated to the Senate for continuance as the flag-officer
in command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, which recently
rendered such important service to the Union in the expedition to the
coast of North Carolina.

Believing that no occasion could arise which would more fully
correspond with the intention of the law or be more pregnant with
happy influence as an example, I cordially recommend that Captain
Louis M. Goldsborough receive a vote of thanks of Congress for his
services and gallantry displayed in the combined attack of the forces
commanded by him and Brigadier-General Burnside in the capture of
Roanoke Island and the destruction of rebel gunboats On the 7th, 8th,
and 10th of February, 1862.




February 16, 1862.


You have Fort Donelson safe, unless Grant shall be overwhelmed from
outside; to prevent which latter will, I think, require all the
vigilance, energy, and skill of yourself and Buell, acting in full
co-operation. Columbus will not get at Grant, but the force from
Bowling Green will. They hold the railroad from Bowling Green to
within a few miles of Fort Donelson, with the bridge at Clarksville
undisturbed. It is unsafe to rely that they will not dare to expose
Nashville to Buell. A small part of their force can retire slowly
toward Nashville, breaking up the railroad as they go, and keep Buell
out of that city twenty days. Meanwhile Nashville will be abundantly
defended by forces from all South and perhaps from hers at Manassas.
Could not a cavalry force from General Thomas on the upper Cumberland
dash across, almost unresisted, and cut the railroad at or near
Knoxville, Tennessee? In the midst of a bombardment at Fort
Donelson, why could not a gunboat run up and destroy the bridge at
Clarksville? Our success or failure at Fort Donelson is vastly
important, and I beg you to put your soul in the effort. I send a
copy of this to Buell.



FEBRUARY 27, 1862

It is ordered:

First. That a special commission of two persons, one of military
rank and the other in civil life, be appointed to examine the cases
of the state prisoners remaining in the military custody of the
United States, and to determine whether in view of the public Safety
and the existing rebellion they should be discharged, or remain in
military custody, or be remitted to the civil tribunals for trial.

Second. That Major-General John A. Dix, commanding in Baltimore, and
the HON. Edwards Pierrepont, of New York, be, and they are hereby,
appointed commissioners for the purpose above mentioned; and they are
authorized to examine, hear, and determine the cases aforesaid ex
parte and in a summary manner, at such times and places as in their
discretion they may appoint, and make full report to the War

By order of the President
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


Considering that the existing circumstances of the country allow a
partial restoration of commercial intercourse between the inhabitants
of those parts of the United States heretofore declared to be in
insurrection and the citizens of the loyal States of the Union, and
exercising the authority and discretion confided to me by the act of
Congress, approved July 13, 1861, entitled "An act further to provide
for the collection of duties on imports, and for other purposes," I
hereby license and permit such commercial intercourse in all cases
within the rules and regulations which have been or may be prescribed
by the Secretary of the Treasury for conducting and carrying on the
same on the inland waters arid ways of the United States.

WASHINGTON, February 28, 1862.



MARCH 4, 1862

The United States have no enmities, animosities, or rivalries, and no
interests which conflict with the welfare, safety, and rights or
interests of any other nation. Their own prosperity, happiness, and
aggrandizement are sought most safely and advantageously through the
preservation not only of peace on their own part, but peace among all
other nations. But while the United States are thus a friend to all
other nations, they do not seek to conceal the fact that they cherish
especial sentiments of friendship for, and sympathies with, those
who, like themselves, have founded their institutions on the
principle of the equal rights of men; and such nations being more
prominently neighbors of the United States, the latter are
co-operating with them in establishing civilization and culture on
the American continent. Such being the general principles which
govern the United States in their foreign relations, you may be
assured, sir, that in all things this government will deal justly,
frankly, and, if it be possible, even liberally with Peru, whose
liberal sentiments toward us you have so kindly expressed.


March 6, 1862

I recommend the adoption of a joint resolution by your honorable
bodies which shall be substantially as follows:

"Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State
which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State
pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to
compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by
such change of system."

If the proposition contained in the resolution does not meet the
approval of Congress and the country, there is the end; but if it
does command such approval, I deem it of importance that the States
and people immediately interested should be at once distinctly
notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to
accept or reject it. The Federal Government would find its highest
interest in such a measure, as one of the most efficient means of
self-preservation. The leaders of the existing insurrection
entertain the hope that this government will ultimately be forced to
acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region,
and that all the slave States north of such part will then say, "The
Union for which we have struggled being already gone, we now choose
to go with the Southern section." To deprive them of this hope
substantially ends the rebellion, and the initiation of emancipation
completely deprives them of it as to all the States initiating it.
The point is not that all the States tolerating slavery would very
soon, if at all, initiate emancipation; but that, while the offer is
equally made to all, the more northern shall by such initiation make
it certain to the more southern that in no event will the former ever
join the latter in their proposed confederacy. I say "initiation"
because, in my judgment, gradual and not sudden emancipation is
better for all. In the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member
of Congress with the census tables and treasury reports before him
can readily see for himself how very soon the current expenditures of
this war would purchase, at fair valuation, all the slaves in any
named State. Such a proposition on the part of the General
Government sets up no claim of a right by Federal authority to
interfere with slavery within State limits, referring, as it does,
the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State and its
people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of
perfectly free choice with them.

In the annual message last December, I thought fit to say, "The Union
must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means must be
employed." I said this not hastily, but deliberately. War has been
made and continues to be an indispensable means to this end. A
practical reacknowledgment of the national authority would render the
war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance
continues, the war must also continue; and it is impossible to
foresee all the incidents which may attend and all the ruin which may
follow it. Such as may seem indispensable or may obviously promise
great efficiency toward ending the struggle must and will come.

The proposition now made (though an offer only), I hope it may be
esteemed no offense to ask whether the pecuniary consideration
tendered would not be of more value to the States and private persons
concerned than are the institution and property in it in the present
aspect of affairs.

While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would
be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it
is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important
practical results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God
and to my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the
people to the subject.



SPRINGFIELD, ILL., March 1, 1862

SECRETARY OF WAR, Washington, D. C.

SIR:--The government at my special request a few months since
contracted for fourteen batteries of the James rifled gun, 6-pounder
calibre, and a limited quantity of the James projectiles, weighing
about fourteen pounds each. The reports showing the superiority of
this gun and projectile, both as regards range, accuracy, and
execution, for field service over that of all others at the battle of
Fort Donelson, leads me to request that there be furnished to the
State of Illinois in the shortest time practicable seven batteries of
12-pounder calibre James rifled guns, with carriages, harness,
implements, etc., complete and ready for field service, together with
the following fixed ammunition to each gun, viz., 225 shells, 225
canister, and 50 solid projectiles, weighing about 24 pounds each,
and also 200 shells, 100 canister, and 100 solid projectiles for each
of the guns of the fourteen batteries named above, weighing about
14 pounds each, all to be of the James model.

Very respectfully,

Governor of Illinois.


March 8, 1862.

The within is from the Governor of Illinois. I understand the seven
additional batteries now sought are to be 6-gun batteries, and the
object is to mix them with the fourteen batteries they already have
so as to make each battery consist of four 6-pounders and two
12-pounders. I shall be very glad to have the requisition filled if
it can be without detriment to the service.




March 8, 1862.

1. That the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac proceed
forthwith to organize that part of the said army destined to enter
upon active operations (including the reserve, but excluding the
troops to be left in the fortifications about Washington) into four
army corps, to be commanded according to seniority of rank, as

First Corps to consist of four divisions, and to be commanded by
Major-General I. McDowell.
Second Corps to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by
Brigadier-General E. V. Sumner.
Third Corps to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by
Brigadier-General S. P. Heintzelman.
Fourth Corps to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by
Brigadier-General E. D. Keyes.

2. That the divisions now commanded by the officers above assigned
to the commands of army corps shall be embraced in and form part of
their respective corps.

3. The forces left for the defense of Washington will be placed in
command of Brigadier-General James S. Wadsworth, who shall also be
military governor of the District of Columbia.

4. That this order be executed with such promptness and dispatch as
not to delay the commencement of the operations already directed to
be underwritten by the Army of the Potomac.

5. A fifth army corps, to be commanded by Major general N. P. Banks,
will be formed from his own and General Shields's (late General
Lander's) divisions.




Ordered: That no change of the base of operations of the Army of the
Potomac shall be made without leaving in and about Washington such a
force as in the opinion of the general-in-chief and the commanders of
all the army corps shall leave said city entirely secure.

That no more than two army corps (about 50,000 troops) of said Army
of the Potomac shall be moved en route for a new base of operations
until the navigation of the Potomac from Washington to the Chesapeake
Bay shall be freed from enemy's batteries and other obstructions, or
until the President shall hereafter give express permission.

That any movements as aforesaid en route for a new base of operations
which may be ordered by the general-in-chief, and which may be
intended to move upon the Chesapeake Bay, shall begin to move upon
the bay as early as the 18th day of March instant, and the
general-in-chief shall be responsible that it so move as early as
that day.

Ordered, That the army and navy co-operate in an immediate effort to
capture the enemy's batteries upon the Potomac between Washington and
the Chesapeake Bay.



"DEAR SIR:--I called, at the request of the President, to ask you to
come to the White House tomorrow morning, at nine o'clock, and bring
such of your colleagues as are in town."

WASHINGTON, March 10, 1862.

Yesterday, on my return from church, I found Mr. Postmaster-General
Blair in my room, writing the above note, which he immediately
suspended, and verbally communicated the President's invitation, and
stated that the President's purpose was to have some conversation
with the delegations of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Virginia, and
Delaware, in explanation of his message of the 6th instant.

This morning these delegations, or such of them as were in town,
assembled at the White House at the appointed time, and after some
little delay were admitted to an audience. Mr. Leary and myself were
the only members from Maryland present, and, I think, were the only
members of the delegation at that time in the city. I know that Mr.
Pearoe, of the Senate, and Messrs. Webster and Calvert, of the
House, were absent.

After the usual salutations, and we were seated, the President said,
in substance, that he had invited us to meet him to have some
conversation with us in explanation of his message of the 6th; that
since he had sent it in several of the gentlemen then present had
visited him, but had avoided any allusion to the message, and he
therefore inferred that the import of the message had been
misunderstood, and was regarded as inimical to the interests we
represented; and he had resolved he would talk with us, and disabuse
our minds of that erroneous opinion.

The President then disclaimed any intent to injure the interests or
wound the sensibilities of the slave States. On the contrary, his
purpose was to protect the one and respect the other; that we were
engaged in a terrible, wasting, and tedious war; immense armies were
in the field, and must continue in the field as long as the war
lasts; that these armies must, of necessity, be brought into contact
with slaves in the States we represented and in other States as they
advanced; that slaves would come to the camps, and continual
irritation was kept up; that he was constantly annoyed by conflicting
and antagonistic complaints: on the one side a certain class
complained if the slave was not protected by the army; persons were
frequently found who, participating in these views, acted in a way
unfriendly to the slaveholder; on the other hand, slaveholders
complained that their rights were interfered with, their slaves
induced to abscond and protected within the lines; these complaints
were numerous, loud and deep; were a serious annoyance to him and
embarrassing to the progress of the war; that it kept alive a spirit
hostile to the government in the States we represented; strengthened
the hopes of the Confederates that at some day the border States
would unite with them, and thus tend to prolong the war; and he was
of opinion, if this resolution should be adopted by Congress and
accepted by our States, these causes of irritation and these hopes
would be removed, and more would be accomplished toward shortening
the war than could be hoped from the greatest victory achieved by
Union armies; that he made this proposition in good faith, and
desired it to be accepted, if at all, voluntarily, and in the same
patriotic spirit in which it was made; that emancipation was a
subject exclusively under the control of the States, and must be
adopted or rejected by each for itself; that he did not claim nor had
this government any right to coerce them for that purpose; that such
was no part of his purpose in making this proposition, and he wished
it to be clearly understood; that he did not expect us there to be
prepared to give him an answer, but he hoped we would take the
subject into serious consideration, confer with one another, and then
take such course as we felt our duty and the interests of our
constituents required of us.

Mr. Noell, of Missouri, said that in his State slavery was not
considered a permanent institution; that natural causes were there in
operation which would at no distant day extinguish it, and he did not
think that this proposition was necessary for that; and, besides
that, he and his friends felt solicitous as to the message on account
of the different constructions which the resolution and message had
received. The New York Tribune was for it, and understood it to mean
that we must accept gradual emancipation according to the plan
suggested, or get something worse.

The President replied that he must not be expected to quarrel with
the New York Tribune before the right time; he hoped never to have to
do it; he would not anticipate events. In respect to emancipation in
Missouri, he said that what had been observed by Mr. Noell was
probably true, but the operation of these natural causes had not
prevented the irritating conduct to which he had referred, or
destroyed the hopes of the Confederates that Missouri would at some
time merge herself alongside of them, which, in his judgment, the
passage of this resolution by Congress and its acceptance by Missouri
would accomplish.

Mr. Crisfield, of Maryland, asked what would be the effect of the
refusal of the State to accept this proposal, and he desired to know
if the President looked to any policy beyond the acceptance or
rejection of this scheme.

The President replied that he had no designs beyond the actions of
the States on this particular subject. He should lament their
refusal to accept it, but he had no designs beyond their refusal of

Mr. Menzies, of Kentucky, inquired if the President thought there was
any power except in the States themselves to carry out his scheme of

The President replied that he thought there could not be. He then
went off into a course of remarks not qualifying the foregoing
declaration nor material to be repeated to a just understanding of
his meaning.

Mr. Crisfield said he did not think the people of Maryland looked
upon slavery as a permanent institution; and he did not know that
they would be very reluctant to give it up if provision was made to
meet the loss and they could be rid of the race; but they did not


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