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A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Lincoln by Compiled by James D. Richardson

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Prefatory Note

The Presidential papers during the period from March 4, 1861, to March
4, 1869, are contained in this volume. No other period of American
history since the Revolution comprises so many events of surpassing
importance. The Administrations of Presidents Lincoln, and Johnson
represent two distinct epochs. That of Abraham Lincoln was dedicated to
the successful prosecution of the most stupendous war of modern times,
while that of Andrew Johnson was dedicated to the reestablishment
of peace and the restoration of the Union as it had existed prior
to the war. Strange to say, it fell to the lot of the kind-hearted
humanitarian, who loved peace and his fellow-man, to wage the bloody
conflict of civil war, and the more aggressive, combative character
directed the affairs of the Government while the land took upon itself
the conditions of peace. Yet who can say that each was not best suited
for his particular sphere of action? A greater lover of his kind has not
filled the office of President since Thomas Jefferson, and no public
servant ever left with the people a gentler memory than Abraham Lincoln.
A more self-willed and determined Chief Executive has not held that
office since Andrew Jackson, and no public servant ever left with the
people a higher character for honesty, integrity, and sincerity of
purpose and action than Andrew Johnson. The life of each of these two
great men had been a series of obscure but heroic struggles; each had
experienced a varied and checkered career; each reached the highest
political station of earth. Their official state papers are of supreme
interest, and comprise the utterances of President Lincoln while he in
four years placed in the field nearly three millions of soldiers; what
he said when victories were won or when his armies went down in defeat;
what treasures of blood and money it cost to triumph; also, the
utterances of President Johnson as he through his eventful term waged
the fiercest political battle of our country's history in his efforts,
along his own lines, for the restoration of peace and the reunion of the

Interesting papers relating to the death and funeral obsequies of
President Lincoln have been inserted, as also the more important papers
and proceedings connected with the impeachment of President Johnson.

Much time and labor have been expended in the compilation of this
volume--more than on any one of the preceding--to the end that all
papers of importance that could be found should be published; and I feel
sure that no other collection of Presidential papers is so thorough and

The perusal of these papers should kindle within the heart of every
citizen of the American Republic, whether he fought on the one side or
the other in that unparalleled struggle, or whether he has come upon the
scene since its closing, a greater love of country, a greater devotion
to the cause of true liberty, and an undying resolve that all the
blessings of a free government and the fullest liberty of the individual
shall be perpetuated.


NOVEMBER 25, 1897.

* * * * *

Abraham Lincoln

March 4, 1861, to April 15, 1865

* * * * *

Abraham Lincoln

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was born in Hardin County, Ky., February 12, 1809. His
earliest ancestor in America was Samuel Lincoln, of Norwich, England,
who settled in Hingham, Mass., where he died, leaving a son, Mordecai,
whose son of the same name removed to Monmouth, N.J., and thence to
Berks County, Pa., where he died in 1735. One of his sons, John, removed
to Buckingham County, Va., and died there, leaving five sons, one of
whom, named Abraham, emigrated to Kentucky about 1780. About 1784 he was
killed by Indians, leaving three sons, Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas, and
two daughters. Their mother then located in Washington County, Ky., and
there brought up her family. The youngest son, Thomas, learned the trade
of a carpenter, and in 1806 married Nancy Hanks, a niece of the man with
whom he learned his trade. They had three children, the second being
Abraham, the future President of the United States. In 1816 Thomas
Lincoln removed to Indiana, and settled on Little Pigeon Creek, not far
distant from the Ohio River, where Abraham grew to manhood. He made the
best use of his limited opportunities to acquire an education and at the
same time prepare himself for business. At the age of 19 years he was
intrusted with a cargo of farm products, which he took to New Orleans
and sold. In 1830 his father again emigrated, and located in Macon
County, Ill. Abraham by this time had attained the unusual stature of
6 feet 4 inches, and was of great muscular strength; joined with his
father in building his cabin, clearing the field, and splitting the
rails for fencing the farm. It was not long, however, before his father
again changed his home, locating this time in Coles County, where he
died in 1851 at the age of 73 years. Abraham left his father as soon as
his farm was fenced and cleared and hired himself to a man named Denton
Offutt, in Sangamon County, whom he assisted to build a flatboat;
accompanied him to New Orleans on a trading voyage and returned with him
to New Salem, Menard County, where Offutt opened a store for the sale of
general merchandise. Mr. Lincoln remained with him for a time, during
which he employed his leisure in constant reading and study. Learned
the elements of English grammar and made a beginning in the study of
surveying and the principles of law. But the next year an Indian war
began, and Lincoln volunteered in a company raised in Sangamon County
and was immediately elected captain. His company was organized at
Richland April 21, 1832; but his service in command of it was brief, for
it was mustered out on May 27. Mr. Lincoln immediately reenlisted as a
private and served for several weeks, being finally mustered out on June
16, 1832, by Lieutenant Robert Anderson, who afterwards commanded Fort
Sumter at the beginning of the civil war. He returned to his home and
made a brief but active canvass for the legislature, but was defeated.
At this time he thought seriously of learning the blacksmith's trade,
but an opportunity was offered him to buy a store, which he did, giving
his notes for the purchase money. He was unfortunate in his selection of
a partner, and the business soon went to wreck, leaving him burdened
with a heavy debt, which he finally paid in full. He then applied
himself earnestly to the study of the law. Was appointed postmaster of
New Salem in 1833, and filled the office for three years. At the same
time was appointed deputy county surveyor. In 1834 was elected to the
legislature, and was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840, after which he
declined further election. In his last two terms he was the candidate of
his party for the speakership of the house of representatives. In 1837
removed to Springfield, where he entered into partnership with John
T. Stuart and began the practice of the law. November 4, 1842, married
Miss Mary Todd, daughter of Robert S. Todd, of Kentucky. In 1846 was
elected to Congress over Rev. Peter Cartwright. Served only one term,
and was not a candidate for reelection. While a member he advocated the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. Was an unsuccessful
applicant for Commissioner of the General Land Office under President
Taylor; was tendered the office of governor of Oregon Territory, which
he declined. Was an able and influential exponent of the principles of
the Whig party in Illinois, and did active campaign work. Was voted for
by the Whig minority in the State legislature for United States Senator
in 1855. As soon as the Republican party was fully organized throughout
the country he became its leader in Illinois. In 1858 he was chosen by
his party to oppose Stephen A. Douglas for the Senate, and challenged
him to a joint debate. The challenge was accepted, and a most exciting
debate followed, which attracted national attention. The legislature
chosen was favorable to Mr. Douglas, and he was elected. In May, 1860,
when the Republican convention met in Chicago, Mr. Lincoln was nominated
for the Presidency, on the third ballot, over William H. Seward, who was
his principal competitor. Was elected on November 6, receiving 180
electoral votes to 72 for John C. Breckinridge, 39 for John Bell, and
12 for Stephen A. Douglas. Was inaugurated March 4, 1861. On June 8,
1864, was unanimously renominated for the Presidency by the Republican
convention at Baltimore, and at the election in November received 212
electoral votes to 21 for General McClellan. Was inaugurated for his
second term March 4, 1865. Was shot by an assassin at Ford's Theater, in
Washington, April 14, 1865, and died the next day. Was buried at Oak
Ridge, near Springfield, Ill.


_Fellow-Citizens of the United States_:

In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear
before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath
prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the
President "before he enters on the execution of his office."

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those
matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that
by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their
peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been
any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample
evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to
their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of
him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches
when I declare that--

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the
institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe
I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had
made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and
more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a
law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I
now read:

_Resolved_, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the
States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its
own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is
essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance
of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by
armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what
pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon
the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is
susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are
to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add,
too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution
and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States
when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause--as cheerfully to one section
as to another.

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from
service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the
Constitution as any other of its provisions:

No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof,
escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation
therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered
up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who
made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the
intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear
their support to the whole Constitution--to this provision as much as
to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come
within the terms of this clause "shall be delivered up" their oaths are
unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they
not with nearly equal unanimity frame and pass a law by means of which
to keep good that unanimous oath?

There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be
enforced by national or by State authority, but surely that difference
is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be
of but little consequence to him or to others by which authority it is
done. And should anyone in any case be content that his oath shall go
unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to _how_ it shall be

Again: In any law upon this subject ought not all the safeguards of
liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so
that a free man be not in any case surrendered as a slave? And might it
not be well at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of
that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that "the citizens of
each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of
citizens in the several States"?

I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations and with no
purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules;
and while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as
proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all,
both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all
those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them trusting
to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.

It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President
under our National Constitution. During that period fifteen different
and greatly distinguished citizens have in succession administered the
executive branch of the Government. They have conducted it through many
perils, and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope of
precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional
term of four years under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of
the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted.

I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution
the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not
expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is
safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its
organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express
provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure
forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not
provided for in the instrument itself.

Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an
association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a
contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it?
One party to a contract may violate it--break it, so to speak--but does
it not require all to lawfully rescind it?

Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that
in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history
of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution.
It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was
matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was
further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly
plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of
Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects
for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "_to form a more
perfect Union_."

But if destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States
be lawfully possible, the Union is _less_ perfect than before the
Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.

It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can
lawfully get out of the Union; that _resolves_ and _ordinances_ to that
effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or
States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or
revolutionary, according to circumstances.

I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the
Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as
the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the
Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to
be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as
practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall
withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the
contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the
declared purpose of the Union that it _will_ constitutionally defend and
maintain itself.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there
shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power
confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property
and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and
imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will
be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.
Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality shall be
so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from
holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious
strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right
may exist in the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices,
the attempt to do so would be so irritating and so nearly impracticable
withal that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts
of the Union. So far as possible the people everywhere shall have that
sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and
reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current
events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper,
and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised,
according to circumstances actually existing and with a view and a hope
of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of
fraternal sympathies and affections.

That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the
Union at all events and are glad of any pretext to do it I will neither
affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them.
To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?

Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our
national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes,
would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will you
hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any
portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will you, while
the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly
from, will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?

All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can
be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right plainly written in the
Constitution has been denied? I think not. Happily, the human mind is
so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this.
Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written
provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force
of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written
constitutional right, it might in a moral point of view justify
revolution; certainly would if such right were a vital one. But such is
not our case. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are
so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties
and prohibitions, in the Constitution that controversies never arise
concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision
specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical
administration. No foresight can anticipate nor any document of
reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions.
Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State
authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. _May_ Congress
prohibit slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly
say. _Must_ Congress protect slavery in the Territories? The
Constitution does not expressly say.

From questions of this class spring all our constitutional
controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities.
If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the Government
must cease. There is no other alternative, for continuing the Government
is acquiescence on one side or the other. If a minority in such case
will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn
will divide and ruin them, for a minority of their own will secede from
them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such minority. For
instance, why may not any portion of a new confederacy a year or two
hence arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present
Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments
are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this.

Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose
a new union as to produce harmony only and prevent renewed secession?

Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy.
A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations,
and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions
and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever
rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity
is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is
wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy
or despotism in some form is all that is left.

I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional
questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that
such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit as
to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high
respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments
of the Government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision
may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it,
being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be
overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be
borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time,
the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government
upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably
fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in
ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will
have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically
resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor
is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is
a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought
before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their
decisions to political purposes.

One section of our country believes slavery is _right_ and ought to be
extended, while the other believes it is _wrong_ and ought not to be
extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive-slave
clause of the Constitution and the law for the suppression of the
foreign slave trade are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can
ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly
supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry
legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I
think, can not be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases
_after_ the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave
trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without
restriction in one section, while fugitive slaves, now only partially
surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other.

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our
respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between
them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and
beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country
can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse,
either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible,
then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory
_after_ separation than _before_? Can aliens make treaties easier than
friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between
aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you can not
fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on
either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of
intercourse, are again upon you.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit
it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they
can exercise their _constitutional_ right of amending it or their
_revolutionary_ right to dismember or overthrow it. I can not be
ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are
desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no
recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority
of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the
modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing
circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being
afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me
the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to
originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to
take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen
for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would
wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to
the Constitution--which amendment, however, I have not seen--has passed
Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never
interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that
of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have
said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments
so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied
constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and

The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they
have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the
States. The people themselves can do this also if they choose, but the
Executive as such has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer
the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it
unimpaired by him to his successor.

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice
of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our
present differences, is either party without faith of being in the
right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and
justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that
truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great
tribunal of the American people.

By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have
wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and
have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their
own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue
and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly
can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and _well_ upon this whole
subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an
object to _hurry_ any of you in hot haste to a step which you would
never take _deliberately_, that object will be frustrated by taking
time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now
dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the
sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new
Administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change
either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the
right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for
precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm
reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still
competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.

In _your_ hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in _mine_,
is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail
_you_. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.
_You_ have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while
_I_ shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be
enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds
of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all
over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again
touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

MARCH 4, 1861.


WASHINGTON, _March 16, 1861_.

_To the Senate_:

The Senate has transmitted to me a copy of the message sent by my
predecessor to that body on the 21st day of February last, proposing to
take its advice on the subject of a proposition made by the British
Government through its minister here to refer the matter in controversy
between that Government and the Government of the United States to the
arbitrament of the King of Sweden and Norway, the King of the
Netherlands, or the Republic of the Swiss Confederation.

In that message my predecessor stated that he wished to submit to the
Senate the precise questions following, namely:

Will the Senate approve a treaty referring to either of the sovereign
powers above named the dispute now existing between the Governments of
the United States and Great Britain concerning the boundary line between
Vancouvers Island and the American continent? In case the referee shall
find himself unable to decide where the line is by the description of it
in the treaty of 15th June, 1846, shall he be authorized to establish a
line according to the treaty as nearly as possible? Which of the three
powers named by Great Britain as an arbiter shall be chosen by the
United States?

I find no reason to disapprove of the course of my predecessor in this
important matter, but, on the contrary, I not only shall receive the
advice of the Senate therein cheerfully, but I respectfully ask the
Senate for their advice on the three questions before recited.


WASHINGTON, _March 26, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received a copy of a resolution of the Senate passed on the
25th instant, requesting me, if in my opinion not incompatible with the
public interest, to communicate to the Senate the dispatches of Major
Robert Anderson to the War Department during the time he has been in
command of Fort Sumter.

On examining the correspondence thus called for I have, with the highest
respect for the Senate, come to the conclusion that at the present
moment the publication of it would be inexpedient.





Whereas the laws of the United States have been for some time past and
now are opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in the States of
South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and
Texas by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary
course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshals
by law:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in
virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have
thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the
several States of the Union to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order
to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed.

The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the
State authorities through the War Department.

I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort
to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National
Union and the perpetuity of popular government and to redress wrongs
already long enough endured.

I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces
hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and
property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event the
utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid,
to avoid any devastation, any destruction of or interference with
property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the

And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to
disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty
days from this date.

Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an
extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested
by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. Senators and
Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective
chambers at 12 o'clock noon on Thursday, the 4th day of July next, then
and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom,
the public safety and interest may seem to demand.

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


Done at the city of Washington, this 15th day of April, A.D. 1861, and
of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has
broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida,
Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for
the collection of the revenue can not be effectually executed therein
conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties
to be uniform throughout the United States; and

Whereas a combination of persons engaged in such insurrection have
threatened to grant pretended letters of marque to authorize the bearers
thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good
citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas
and in waters of the United States; and

Whereas an Executive proclamation has been already issued requiring the
persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom,
calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and
convening Congress in extraordinary session to deliberate and determine

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
with a view to the same purposes before mentioned and to the protection
of the public peace and the lives and property of quiet and orderly
citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have
assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings or until the
same shall have ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot
a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of
the laws of the United States and of the law of nations in such case
provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to
prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If,
therefore, with a view to violate such blockade, a vessel shall approach
or shall attempt to leave either of the said ports, she will be duly
warned by the commander of one of the blockading vessels, who will
indorse on her register the fact and date of such warning, and if the
same vessel shall again attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port
she will be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port for such
proceedings against her and her cargo as prize as may be deemed

And I hereby proclaim and declare that if any person, under the
pretended authority of the said States or under any other pretense,
shall molest a vessel of the United States or the persons or cargo on
board of her, such person will be held amenable to the laws of the
United States for the prevention and punishment of piracy.

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


Done at the city of Washington, this 19th day of April, A.D. 1861, and
of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas, for the reasons assigned in my proclamation of the 19th
instant, a blockade of the ports of the States of South Carolina,
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas was ordered
to be established; and

Whereas since that date public property of the United States has been
seized, the collection of the revenue obstructed, and duly commissioned
officers of the United States, while engaged in executing the orders of
their superiors, have been arrested and held in custody as prisoners or
have been impeded in the discharge of their official duties, without due
legal process, by persons claiming to act under authorities of the
States of Virginia and North Carolina, an efficient blockade of the
ports of those States will also be established.

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


Done at the city of Washington, this 27th day of April, A.D. 1861, and
of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas existing exigencies demand immediate and adequate measures for
the protection of the National Constitution and the preservation of the
National Union by the suppression of the insurrectionary combinations
now existing in several States for opposing the laws of the Union and
obstructing the execution thereof, to which end a military force in
addition to that called forth by my proclamation of the 15th day of
April in the present year appears to be indispensably necessary:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States and
Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy thereof and of the militia of
the several States when called into actual service, do hereby call into
the service of the United States 42,034 volunteers to serve for the
period of three years, unless sooner discharged, and to be mustered into
service as infantry and cavalry. The proportions of each arm and the
details of enrollment and organization will be made known through the
Department of War.

And I also direct that the Regular Army of the United States be
increased by the addition of eight regiments of infantry, one regiment
of cavalry, and one regiment of artillery, making altogether a maximum
aggregate increase of 22,714 officers and enlisted men, the details of
which increase will also be made known through the Department of War.

And I further direct the enlistment for not less than one or more than
three years of 18,000 seamen, in addition to the present force, for the
naval service of the United States. The details of the enlistment and
organization will be made known through the Department of the Navy.

The call for volunteers hereby made and the direction for the increase
of the Regular Army and for the enlistment of seamen hereby given,
together with the plan of organization adopted for the volunteer and for
the regular forces hereby authorized, will be submitted to Congress as
soon as assembled.

In the meantime I earnestly invoke the cooperation of all good citizens
in the measures hereby adopted for the effectual suppression of unlawful
violence, for the impartial enforcement of constitutional laws, and for
the speediest possible restoration of peace and order, and with these of
happiness and prosperity, throughout our country.

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


Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of May, A.D. 1861, and of
the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas an insurrection exists in the State of Florida by which the
lives, liberty, and property of loyal citizens of the United States are
endangered; and

Whereas it is deemed proper that all needful measures should be taken
for the protection of such citizens and all officers of the United
States in the discharge of their public duties in the State aforesaid:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the
United States, do hereby direct the commander of the forces of the
United States on the Florida coast to permit no person to exercise any
office or authority upon the islands of Key West, the Tortugas, and
Santa Rosa which may be inconsistent with the laws and Constitution of
the United States, authorizing him at the same time, if he shall find it
necessary, to suspend there the writ of _habeas corpus_ and to remove
from the vicinity of the United States fortresses all dangerous or
suspected persons.

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


Done at the city of Washington, this 10th day of May, A.D. 1861, and of
the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


WASHINGTON, _April 25, 1861_.

Lieutenant-General SCOTT.

MY DEAR SIR: The Maryland legislature assembles to-morrow at Annapolis,
and not improbably will take action to arm the people of that State
against the United States. The question has been submitted to and
considered by me whether it would not be justifiable, upon the ground of
necessary defense, for you, as General in Chief of the United States
Army, to arrest or disperse the members of that body. I think it would
not be justifiable nor efficient for the desired object.

First. They have a clearly legal right to assemble, and we can not know
in advance that their action will not be lawful and peaceful, and if we
wait until they shall have acted their arrest or dispersion will not
lessen the effect of their action.

Secondly. We can not permanently prevent their action. If we arrest
them, we can not long hold them as prisoners, and when liberated they
will immediately reassemble and take their action; and precisely the
same if we simply disperse them--they will immediately reassemble in
some other place.

I therefore conclude that it is only left to the Commanding General to
watch and await their action, which, if it shall be to arm their people
against the United States, he is to adopt the most prompt and efficient
means to counteract, even, if necessary, to the bombardment of their
cities and, in the extremest necessity, the suspension of the writ of
_habeas corpus_.

Your obedient servant,



You are engaged in suppressing an insurrection against the laws of the
United States. If at any point on or in the vicinity of any military
line which is now or which shall be used between the city of
Philadelphia and the city of Washington you find resistance which
renders it necessary to suspend the writ of _habeas corpus_ for the
public safety, you personally, or through the officer in command at the
point where resistance occurs, are authorized to suspend that writ.

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at the city of
Washington, this 27th day of April, 1861, and of the Independence of the
United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President of the United States:
_Secretary of State_.




_Washington, April 30, 1861_.

The President directs that all officers of the Army, except those who
have entered the service since the 1st instant, take and subscribe anew
the oath of allegiance to the United States of America, as set forth in
the tenth article of war.

Commanding officers will see to the prompt execution of this order, and
report accordingly.

By order:



_To all who shall see these presents, greeting_:

Know ye that, reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism,
valor, fidelity, and ability of Colonel Robert Anderson, United States
Army, I have empowered him, and do hereby empower him, to receive into
the Army of the United States as many regiments of volunteer troops from
the State of Kentucky and from the western part of the State of Virginia
as shall be willing to engage in the service of the United States for
the term of three years upon the terms and according to the plan
proposed by the proclamation of May 3, 1861, and General Orders, No. 15,
from the War Department, of May 4, 1861.

The troops whom he receives shall be on the same footing in every
respect as those of the like kind called for in the proclamation above
cited, except that the officers shall be commissioned by the United
States. He is therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duty
hereby devolved upon him by doing and performing all manner of things
thereunto belonging.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this 7th day of May,
A.D. 1861, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Independence of the
United States.


By the President:
_Secretary of War_.

STATE DEPARTMENT, _June 20, 1861_.


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:


You are engaged in suppressing an insurrection against the laws of the
United States. If at any point on or in the vicinity of any military
line which is now or which shall be used between the city of New York
and the city of Washington you find resistance which renders it
necessary to suspend the writ of _habeas corpus_ for the public safety,
you personally, or through the officer in command at the point where
resistance occurs, are authorized to suspend that writ.


Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at the city of
Washington, this 2d day of July, A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of
the United States the eighty-fifth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


JULY 4, 1861.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Having been convened on an extraordinary occasion, as authorized by the
Constitution, your attention is not called to any ordinary subject of

At the beginning of the present Presidential term, four months ago, the
functions of the Federal Government were found to be generally suspended
within the several States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, excepting only those of the
Post-Office Department.

Within these States all the forts, arsenals, dockyards, custom-houses,
and the like, including the movable and stationary property in and
about them, had been seized and were held in open hostility to this
Government, excepting only Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson, on and
near the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, South
Carolina. The forts thus seized had been put in improved condition,
new ones had been built, and armed forces had been organized and were
organizing, all avowedly with the same hostile purpose.

The forts remaining in the possession of the Federal Government in
and near these States were either besieged or menaced by warlike
preparations, and especially Fort Sumter was nearly surrounded by
well-protected hostile batteries, with guns equal in quality to the
best of its own and outnumbering the latter as perhaps ten to one. A
disproportionate share of the Federal muskets and rifles had somehow
found their way into these States, and had been seized to be used
against the Government. Accumulations of the public revenue lying within
them had been seized for the same object. The Navy was scattered in
distant seas, leaving but a very small part of it within the immediate
reach of the Government. Officers of the Federal Army and Navy had
resigned in great numbers, and of those resigning a large proportion had
taken up arms against the Government. Simultaneously and in connection
with all this the purpose to sever the Federal Union was openly avowed.
In accordance with this purpose, an ordinance had been adopted in each
of these States declaring the States respectively to be separated from
the National Union. A formula for instituting a combined government of
these States had been promulgated, and this illegal organization, in the
character of Confederate States, was already invoking recognition, aid,
and intervention from foreign powers.

Finding this condition of things and believing it to be an imperative
duty upon the incoming Executive to prevent, if possible, the
consummation of such attempt to destroy the Federal Union, a choice of
means to that end became indispensable. This choice was made, and was
declared in the inaugural address. The policy chosen looked to the
exhaustion of all peaceful measures before a resort to any stronger
ones. It sought only to hold the public places and property not already
wrested from the Government and to collect the revenue, relying for the
rest on time, discussion, and the ballot box. It promised a continuance
of the mails at Government expense to the very people who were resisting
the Government, and it gave repeated pledges against any disturbance to
any of the people or any of their rights. Of all that which a President
might constitutionally and justifiably do in such a case, everything was
forborne without which it was believed possible to keep the Government
on foot.

On the 5th of March, the present incumbent's first full day in office,
a letter of Major Anderson, commanding at Fort Sumter, written on the
28th of February and received at the War Department on the 4th of March,
was by that Department placed in his hands. This letter expressed the
professional opinion of the writer that reenforcements could not be
thrown into that fort within the time for his relief rendered necessary
by the limited supply of provisions, and with a view of holding
possession of the same, with a force of less than 20,000 good and
well-disciplined men. This opinion was concurred in by all the officers
of his command, and their memoranda on the subject were made inclosures
of Major Anderson's letter. The whole was immediately laid before
Lieutenant-General Scott, who at once concurred with Major Anderson in
opinion. On reflection, however, he took full time, consulting with
other officers, both of the Army and the Navy, and at the end of four
days came reluctantly, but decidedly, to the same conclusion as before.
He also stated at the same time that no such sufficient force was then
at the control of the Government or could be raised and brought to
the ground within the time when the provisions in the fort would be
exhausted. In a purely military point of view this reduced the duty
of the Administration in the case to the mere matter of getting the
garrison safely out of the fort.

It was believed, however, that to so abandon that position under the
circumstances would be utterly ruinous; that the _necessity_ under which
it was to be done would not be fully understood; that by many it would
be construed as a part of a _voluntary_ policy; that at home it would
discourage the friends of the Union, embolden its adversaries, and go
far to insure to the latter a recognition abroad; that, in fact, it
would be our national destruction consummated. This could not be
allowed. Starvation was not yet upon the garrison, and ere it would be
reached _Fort Pickens_ might be reenforced. This last would be a clear
indication of _policy_, and would better enable the country to accept
the evacuation of Fort Sumter as a military _necessity_. An order was
at once directed to be sent for the landing of the troops from the
steamship _Brooklyn_ into Fort Pickens. This order could not go by land,
but must take the longer and slower route by sea. The first return news
from the order was received just one week before the fall of Fort
Sumter. The news itself was that the officer commanding the _Sabine_,
to which vessel the troops had been transferred from the _Brooklyn_,
acting upon some _quasi_ armistice of the late Administration (and of
the existence of which the present Administration, up to the time the
order was dispatched, had only too vague and uncertain rumors to fix
attention), had refused to land the troops. To now reenforce Fort
Pickens before a crisis would be reached at Fort Sumter was impossible,
rendered so by the near exhaustion of provisions in the latter-named
fort. In precaution against such a conjuncture the Government had a
few days before commenced preparing an expedition, as well adapted as
might be, to relieve Fort Sumter, which expedition was intended to
be ultimately used or not, according to circumstances. The strongest
anticipated case for using it was now presented, and it was resolved to
send it forward. As had been intended in this contingency, it was also
resolved to notify the governor of South Carolina that he might expect
an attempt would be made to provision the fort, and that if the attempt
should not be resisted there would be no effort to throw in men, arms,
or ammunition without further notice, or in case of an attack upon the
fort. This notice was accordingly given, whereupon the fort was attacked
and bombarded to its fall, without even awaiting the arrival of the
provisioning expedition.

It is thus seen that the assault upon and reduction of Fort Sumter was
in no sense a matter of self-defense on the part of the assailants. They
well knew that the garrison in the fort could by no possibility commit
aggression upon them. They knew--they were expressly notified--that the
giving of bread to the few brave and hungry men of the garrison was
all which would on that occasion be attempted, unless themselves, by
resisting so much, should provoke more. They knew that this Government
desired to keep the garrison in the fort, not to assail them, but merely
to maintain visible possession, and thus to preserve the Union from
actual and immediate dissolution, trusting, as hereinbefore stated, to
time, discussion, and the ballot box for final adjustment; and they
assailed and reduced the fort for precisely the reverse object--to drive
out the visible authority of the Federal Union, and thus force it to
immediate dissolution. That this was their object the Executive well
understood; and having said to them in the inaugural address, "You can
have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors," he took pains
not only to keep this declaration good, but also to keep the case so
free from the power of ingenious sophistry as that the world should not
be able to misunderstand it. By the affair at Fort Sumter, with its
surrounding circumstances, that point was reached. Then and thereby the
assailants of the Government began the conflict of arms, without a gun
in sight or in expectancy to return their fire, save only the few in the
fort, sent to that harbor years before for their own protection, and
still ready to give that protection in whatever was lawful. In this act,
discarding all else, they have forced upon the country the distinct
issue, "Immediate dissolution or blood."

And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States.
It presents to the whole family of man the question whether a
constitutional republic, or democracy--a government of the people by the
same people--can or can not maintain its territorial integrity against
its own domestic foes. It presents the question whether discontented
individuals, too few in numbers to control administration according to
organic law in any case, can always, upon the pretenses made in this
case, or on any other pretenses, or arbitrarily without any pretense,
break up their government, and thus practically put an end to free
government upon the earth. It forces us to ask, Is there in all
republics this inherent and fatal weakness? Must a government of
necessity be too _strong_ for the liberties of its own people, or
too _weak_ to maintain its own existence?

So viewing the issue, no choice was left but to call out the war power
of the Government and so to resist force employed for its destruction
by force for its preservation.

The call was made, and the response of the country was most gratifying,
surpassing in unanimity and spirit the most sanguine expectation. Yet
none of the States commonly called slave States, except Delaware, gave a
regiment through regular State organization. A few regiments have been
organized within some others of those States by individual enterprise
and received into the Government service. Of course the seceded States,
so called (and to which Texas had been joined about the time of the
inauguration), gave no troops to the cause of the Union. The border
States, so called, were not uniform in their action, some of them being
almost _for_ the Union, while in others, as Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, and Arkansas, the Union sentiment was nearly repressed and
silenced. The course taken in Virginia was the most remarkable, perhaps
the most important. A convention elected by the people of that State
to consider this very question of disrupting the Federal Union was in
session at the capital of Virginia when Fort Sumter fell. To this body
the people had chosen a large majority of _professed_ Union men. Almost
immediately after the fall of Sumter many members of that majority went
over to the original disunion minority, and with them adopted an
ordinance for withdrawing the State from the Union. Whether this change
was wrought by their great approval of the assault upon Sumter or their
great resentment at the Government's resistance to that assault is not
definitely known. Although they submitted the ordinance for ratification
to a vote of the people, to be taken on a day then somewhat more than
a month distant, the convention and the legislature (which was also in
session at the same time and place), with leading men of the State not
members of either, immediately commenced acting as if the State were
already out of the Union. They pushed military preparations vigorously
forward all over the State. They seized the United States armory
at Harpers Ferry and the navy-yard at Gosport, near Norfolk. They
received--perhaps invited--into their State large bodies of troops,
with their warlike appointments, from the so-called seceded States.
They formally entered into a treaty of temporary alliance and
cooperation with the so-called "Confederate States," and sent members
to their congress at Montgomery; and, finally, they permitted the
insurrectionary government to be transferred to their capital at Richmond.

The people of Virginia have thus allowed this giant insurrection to make
its nest within her borders, and this Government has no choice left but
to deal with it _where_ it finds it; and it has the less regret, as the
loyal citizens have in due form claimed its protection. Those loyal
citizens this Government is bound to recognize and protect, as being

In the border States, so called--in fact, the Middle States--there are
those who favor a policy which they call "armed neutrality;" that is,
an arming of those States to prevent the Union forces passing one way
or the disunion the other over their soil. This would be disunion
completed. Figuratively speaking, it would be the building of an
impassable wall along the line of separation, and yet not quite an
impassable one, for, under the guise of neutrality, it would tie the
hands of the Union men and freely pass supplies from among them to the
insurrectionists, which it could not do as an open enemy. At a stroke it
would take all the trouble off the hands of secession, except only what
proceeds from the external blockade. It would do for the disunionists
that which of all things they most desire--feed them well and give them
disunion without a struggle of their own. It recognizes no fidelity to
the Constitution, no obligation to maintain the Union; and while very
many who have favored it are doubtless loyal citizens, it is,
nevertheless, very injurious in effect.

Recurring to the action of the Government, it may be stated that at
first a call was made for 75,000 militia, and rapidly following this a
proclamation was issued for closing the ports of the insurrectionary
districts by proceedings in the nature of blockade. So far all was
believed to be strictly legal. At this point the insurrectionists
announced their purpose to enter upon the practice of privateering.

Other calls were made for volunteers to serve three years unless sooner
discharged, and also for large additions to the Regular Army and Navy.
These measures, whether strictly legal or not, were ventured upon under
what appeared to be a popular demand and a public necessity, trusting
then, as now, that Congress would readily ratify them. It is believed
that nothing has been done beyond the constitutional competency of

Soon after the first call for militia it was considered a duty to
authorize the Commanding General in proper cases, according to his
discretion, to suspend the privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_,
or, in other words, to arrest and detain without resort to the ordinary
processes and forms of law such individuals as he might deem dangerous
to the public safety. This authority has purposely been exercised but
very sparingly. Nevertheless, the legality and propriety of what has
been done under it are questioned, and the attention of the country has
been called to the proposition that one who is sworn to "take care that
the laws be faithfully executed" should not himself violate them. Of
course some consideration was given to the questions of power and
propriety before this matter was acted upon. The whole of the laws which
were required to be faithfully executed were being resisted and failing
of execution in nearly one-third of the States. Must they be allowed to
finally fail of execution, even had it been perfectly clear that by the
use of the means necessary to their execution some single law, made in
such extreme tenderness of the citizen's liberty that practically it
relieves more of the guilty than of the innocent, should to a very
limited extent be violated? To state the question more directly, Are
all the laws _but one_ to go unexecuted, and the Government itself go
to pieces lest that one be violated? Even in such a case, would not the
official oath be broken if the Government should be overthrown when it
was believed that disregarding the single law would tend to preserve it?
But it was not believed that this question was presented. It was not
believed that any law was violated. The provision of the Constitution
that "the privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_ shall not be
suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public
safety may require it" is equivalent to a provision--is a
provision--that such privilege may be suspended when, in cases of
rebellion or invasion, the public safety _does_ require it. It was
decided that we have a case of rebellion and that the public safety does
require the qualified suspension of the privilege of the writ which was
authorized to be made. Now it is insisted that Congress, and not the
Executive, is vested with this power; but the Constitution itself is
silent as to which or who is to exercise the power; and as the provision
was plainly made for a dangerous emergency, it can not be believed the
framers of the instrument intended that in every case the danger should
run its course until Congress could be called together, the very
assembling of which might be prevented, as was intended in this case,
by the rebellion.

No more extended argument is now offered, as an opinion at some length
will probably be presented by the Attorney-General. Whether there shall
be any legislation upon the subject, and, if any, what, is submitted
entirely to the better judgment of Congress.

The forbearance of this Government had been so extraordinary and so long
continued as to lead some foreign nations to shape their action as if
they supposed the early destruction of our National Union was probable.
While this on discovery gave the Executive some concern, he is now happy
to say that the sovereignty and rights of the United States are now
everywhere practically respected by foreign powers, and a general
sympathy with the country is manifested throughout the world.

The reports of the Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and the Navy will
give the information in detail deemed necessary and convenient for your
deliberation and action, while the Executive and all the Departments
will stand ready to supply omissions or to communicate new facts
considered important for you to know.

It is now recommended that you give the legal means for making this
contest a short and a decisive one; that you place at the control of the
Government for the work at least 400,000 men and $400,000,000. That
number of men is about one-tenth of those of proper ages within the
regions where apparently _all_ are willing to engage, and the sum is
less than a twenty-third part of the money value owned by the men who
seem ready to devote the whole. A debt of $600,000,000 _now_ is a less
sum per head than was the debt of our Revolution when we came out of
that struggle, and the money value in the country now bears even a
greater proportion to what it was _then_ than does the population.
Surely each man has as strong a motive _now_ to _preserve_ our liberties
as each had _then_ to _establish_ them.

A right result at this time will be worth more to the world than ten
times the men and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the
country leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant, and
that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction and
the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. One
of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to avoid receiving
troops faster than it can provide for them. In a word, the people will
save their Government if the Government itself will do its part only
indifferently well.

It might seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the
present movement at the South be called "secession" or "rebellion." The
movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning they
knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude
by any name which implies _violation_ of law. They knew their people
possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order,
and as much pride in and reverence for the history and Government of
their common country as any other civilized and patriotic people. They
knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these
strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly, they commenced by an insidious
debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism,
which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all
the incidents to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism
itself is that any State of the Union may _consistently_ with the
National Constitution, and therefore _lawfully_ and _peacefully_,
withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other
State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised
only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice,
is too thin to merit any notice.

With rebellion thus sugar coated they have been drugging the public mind
of their section for more than thirty years, and until at length they
have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the
Government the day _after_ some assemblage of men have enacted the
farcical pretense of taking their State out of the Union who could have
been brought to no such thing the day _before_.

This sophism derives much, perhaps the whole, of its currency from the
assumption that there is some omnipotent and sacred supremacy pertaining
to a _State_--to each State of our Federal Union. Our States have
neither more nor less power than that reserved to them in the Union by
the Constitution, no one of them ever having been a State _out_ of the
Union. The original ones passed into the Union even _before_ they cast
off their British colonial dependence, and the new ones each came into
the Union directly from a condition of dependence, excepting Texas; and
even Texas, in its temporary independence, was never designated a State.
The new ones only took the designation of States on coming into the
Union, while that name was first adopted for the old ones in and by the
Declaration of Independence. Therein the "United Colonies" were declared
to be "free and independent States;" but even then the object plainly
was not to declare their independence of _one another_ or of the
_Union_, but directly the contrary, as their mutual pledge and their
mutual action before, at the time, and afterwards abundantly show. The
express plighting of faith by each and all of the original thirteen in
the Articles of Confederation, two years later, that the Union shall be
perpetual is most conclusive. Having never been States, either in
substance or in name, _outside_ of the Union, whence this magical
omnipotence of "State rights," asserting a claim of power to lawfully
destroy the Union itself? Much is said about the "sovereignty" of the
States, but the word even is not in the National Constitution, nor, as
is believed, in any of the State constitutions. What is a "sovereignty"
in the political sense of the term? Would it be far wrong to define it
"a political community without a political superior"? Tested by this,
no one of our States, except Texas, ever was a sovereignty; and even
Texas gave up the character on coming into the Union, by which act she
acknowledged the Constitution of the United States and the laws and
treaties of the United States made in pursuance of the Constitution to
be for her the supreme law of the land. The States have their status in
the Union, and they have no other legal status. If they break from this,
they can only do so against law and by revolution. The Union, and not
themselves separately, procured their independence and their liberty.
By conquest or purchase the Union gave each of them whatever of
independence and liberty it has. The Union is older than any of the
States, and, in fact, it created them as States. Originally some
dependent colonies made the Union, and in turn the Union threw off their
old dependence for them and made them States, such as they are. Not
one of them ever had a State constitution independent of the Union.
Of course it is not forgotten that all the new States framed their
constitutions before they entered the Union, nevertheless dependent
upon and preparatory to coming into the Union.

Unquestionably the States have the powers and rights reserved to them
in and by the National Constitution; but among these surely are not
included all conceivable powers, however mischievous or destructive, but
at most such only as were known in the world at the time as governmental
powers; and certainly a power to destroy the Government itself had never
been known as a governmental--as a merely administrative power. This
relative matter of national power and State rights, as a principle, is
no other than the principle of _generality_ and _locality_. Whatever
concerns the whole should be confided to the whole--to the General
Government--while whatever concerns _only_ the State should be left
exclusively to the State. This is all there is of original principle
about it. Whether the National Constitution in defining boundaries
between the two has applied the principle with exact accuracy is not
to be questioned. We are all bound by that defining without question.

What is now combated is the position that secession is _consistent_ with
the Constitution--is _lawful_ and _peaceful_. It is not contended that
there is any express law for it, and nothing should ever be implied as
law which leads to unjust or absurd consequences. The nation purchased
with money the countries out of which several of these States were
formed. Is it just that they shall go off without leave and without
refunding? The nation paid very large sums (in the aggregate, I believe,
nearly a hundred millions) to relieve Florida of the aboriginal tribes.
Is it just that she shall now be off without consent or without making
any return? The nation is now in debt for money applied to the benefit
of these so-called seceding States in common with the rest. Is it just
either that creditors shall go unpaid or the remaining States pay the
whole? A part of the present national debt was contracted to pay the old
debts of Texas. Is it just that she shall leave and pay no part of this

Again: If one State may secede, so may another; and when all shall have
seceded none is left to pay the debts. Is this quite just to creditors?
Did we notify them of this sage view of ours when we borrowed their
money? If we now recognize this doctrine by allowing the seceders to go
in peace, it is difficult to see what we can do if others choose to go
or to extort terms upon which they will promise to remain.

The seceders insist that our Constitution admits of secession. They
have assumed to make a national constitution of their own, in which
of necessity they have either _discarded_ or _retained_ the right of
secession, as they insist it exists in ours. If they have discarded it,
they thereby admit that on principle it ought not to be in ours. If they
have retained it, by their own construction of ours they show that to be
consistent they must secede from one another whenever they shall find it
the easiest way of settling their debts or effecting any other selfish
or unjust object. The principle itself is one of disintegration, and
upon which no government can possibly endure.

If all the States save one should assert the power to _drive_ that one
out of the Union, it is presumed the whole class of seceder politicians
would at once deny the power and denounce the act as the greatest
outrage upon State rights. But suppose that precisely the same act,
instead of being called "driving the one out," should be called "the
seceding of the others from that one," it would be exactly what the
seceders claim to do, unless, indeed, they make the point that the one,
because it is a minority, may rightfully do what the others, because
they are a majority, may not rightfully do. These politicians are subtle
and profound on the rights of minorities. They are not partial to that
power which made the Constitution and speaks from the preamble, calling
itself "we, the people."

It may well be questioned whether there is to-day a majority of the
legally qualified voters of any State, except, perhaps, South Carolina,
in favor of disunion. There is much reason to believe that the Union men
are the majority in many, if not in every other one, of the so-called
seceded States. The contrary has not been demonstrated in any one of
them. It is ventured to affirm this even of Virginia and Tennessee; for
the result of an election held in military camps, where the bayonets are
all on one side of the question voted upon, can scarcely be considered
as demonstrating popular sentiment. At such an election all that large
class who are at once, _for_ the Union and _against_ coercion would be
coerced to vote against the Union.

It may be affirmed without extravagance that the free institutions we
enjoy have developed the powers and improved the condition of our whole
people beyond any example in the world. Of this we now have a striking
and an impressive illustration. So large an army as the Government has
now on foot was never before known without a soldier in it but who had
taken his place there of his own free choice. But more than this, there
are many single regiments whose members, one and another, possess full
practical knowledge of all the arts, sciences, professions, and whatever
else, whether useful or elegant, is known in the world; and there is
scarcely one from which there could not be selected a President, a
Cabinet, a Congress, and perhaps a court, abundantly competent to
administer the Government itself. Nor do I say this is not true also in
the army of our late friends, now adversaries in this contest; but if
it is, so much better the reason why the Government which has conferred
such benefits on both them and us should not be broken up. Whoever in
any section proposes to abandon such a government would do well to
consider in deference to what principle it is that he does it; what
better he is likely to get in its stead; whether the substitute will
give, or be intended to give, so much of good to the people. There are
some foreshadowings on this subject. Our adversaries have adopted some
declarations of independence in which, unlike the good old one penned by
Jefferson, they omit the words "all men are created equal." Why? They
have adopted a temporary national constitution, in the preamble of
which, unlike our good old one signed by Washington, they omit "We,
the people," and substitute "We, the deputies of the sovereign and
independent States." Why? Why this deliberate pressing out of view
the rights of men and the authority of the people?

This is essentially a people's contest. On the side of the Union it
is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of
government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men;
to lift artificial weights from all shoulders; to clear the paths of
laudable pursuit for all; to afford all an unfettered start and a
fair chance in the race of life. Yielding to partial and temporary
departures, from necessity, this is the leading object of the Government
for whose existence we contend.

I am most happy to believe that the plain people understand and
appreciate this. It is worthy of note that while in this the
Government's hour of trial large numbers of those in the Army and Navy
who have been favored with the offices have resigned and proved false
to the hand which had pampered them, not one common soldier or common
sailor is known to have deserted his flag.

Great honor is due to those officers who remained true despite the
example of their treacherous associates; but the greatest honor and
most important fact of all is the unanimous firmness of the common
soldiers and common sailors. To the last man, so far as known, they
have successfully resisted the traitorous efforts of those whose
commands but an hour before they obeyed as absolute law. This is the
patriotic instinct of plain people. They understand without an argument
that the destroying the Government which was made by Washington means
no good to them.

Our popular Government has often been called an experiment. Two points
in it our people have already settled--the successful _establishing_ and
the successful _administering_ of it. One still remains--its successful
_maintenance_ against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It
is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly
carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the
rightful and peaceful successors of bullets, and that when ballots have
fairly and constitutionally decided there can be no successful appeal
back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal except to
ballots themselves at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson
of peace, teaching men that what they can not take by an election
neither can they take it by a war; teaching all the folly of being the
beginners of a war.

Lest there be some uneasiness in the minds of candid men as to what is
to be the course of the Government toward the Southern States _after_
the rebellion shall have been suppressed, the Executive deems it proper
to say it will be his purpose then, as ever, to be guided by the
Constitution and the laws, and that he probably will have no different
understanding of the powers and duties of the Federal Government
relatively to the rights of the States and the people under the
Constitution than that expressed in the inaugural address.

He desires to preserve the Government, that it may be administered
for all as it was administered by the men who made it. Loyal citizens
everywhere have the right to claim this of their government, and the
government has no right to withhold or neglect it. It is not perceived
that in giving it there is any coercion, any conquest, or any
subjugation in any just sense of those terms.

The Constitution provides, and all the States have accepted the
provision, that "the United States shall guarantee to every State in
this Union a republican form of government." But if a State may lawfully
go out of the Union, having done so it may also discard the republican
form of government; so that to prevent its going out is an indispensable
_means_ to the _end_ of maintaining the guaranty mentioned; and when an
end is lawful and obligatory the indispensable means to it are also
lawful and obligatory.

It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of
employing the war power in defense of the Government forced upon him.
He could but perform this duty or surrender the existence of the
Government. No compromise by public servants could in this case be a
cure; not that compromises are not often proper, but that no popular
government can long survive a marked precedent that those who carry an
election can only save the government from immediate destruction by
giving up the main point upon which the people gave the election. The
people themselves, and not their servants, can safely reverse their own
deliberate decisions.

As a private citizen the Executive could not have consented that these
institutions shall perish; much less could he in betrayal of so vast and
so sacred a trust as these free people had confided to him. He felt that
he had no moral right to shrink, nor even to count the chances of his
own life, in what might follow. In full view of his great responsibility
he has so far done what he has deemed his duty. You will now, according
to your own judgment, perform yours. He sincerely hopes that your views
and your action may so accord with his as to assure all faithful
citizens who have been disturbed in their rights of a certain and speedy
restoration to them under the Constitution and the laws.

And having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose,
let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly



WASHINGTON, _July 11, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th
instant, requesting a copy of correspondence upon the subject of the
incorporation of the Dominican Republic with the Spanish Monarchy, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution
was referred.


WASHINGTON, _July 19, 1861_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of correspondence between the Secretary
of State and Her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary accredited to this Government, relative to an exhibition
of the products of industry of all nations which is to take place at
London in the course of next year. As citizens of the United States may
justly pride themselves upon their proficiency in industrial arts, it is
desirable that they should have proper facilities toward taking part in
the exhibition. With this view I recommend such legislation by Congress
at this session as may be necessary for that purpose.


WASHINGTON, _July 19, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its advice with a view to a formal
execution of the instrument, the draft of a treaty informally agreed
upon between the United States and the Delaware tribe of Indians,
relative to certain lands of that tribe.


WASHINGTON, _July 19, 1861_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

As the United States have, in common with Great Britain and France,
a deep interest in the preservation and development of the fisheries
adjacent to the northeastern coast and islands of this continent, it
seems proper that we should concert with the Governments of those
countries such measures as may be conducive to those important objects.
With this view I transmit to Congress a copy of a correspondence between
the Secretary of State and the British minister here, in which the
latter proposes on behalf of his Government the appointment of a joint
commission to inquire into the matter, in order that such ulterior
measures may be adopted as may be advisable for the objects proposed.
Such legislation is recommended as may be necessary to enable the
Executive to provide for a commissioner on behalf of the United States.


WASHINGTON, _July 25, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 22d
instant, requesting a copy of the correspondence between this Government
and foreign powers with reference to maritime rights, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, _July 25, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th
instant, requesting a copy of the correspondence between this Government
and foreign powers on the subject of the existing insurrection in the
United States, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, _July 27, 1861_.

_To the Senate_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 25th instant, relative
to the instructions to the ministers of the United States abroad in
reference to the rebellion now existing in the southern portion of the
Union, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, _July 27, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th
instant, asking the grounds, reasons, and evidence upon which the police
commissioners of Baltimore were arrested and are now detained as
prisoners at Fort McHenry, I have to state that it is judged to be
incompatible with the public interest at this time to furnish the
information called for by the resolution.


EXECUTIVE OFFICE, _July 29, 1861_.


_President of the Senate_.

SIR: I transmit herewith, to be laid before the Senate for its
constitutional action thereon, articles of agreement and convention,[1]
with accompanying papers.


[Footnote 1: With confederated tribes of Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indiana
of the Upper Arkansas River.]

JULY 30, 1861.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 19th instant, requesting
information concerning the _quasi_ armistice alluded to in my message
of the 4th instant,[2] I transmit a report from the Secretary of the Navy.


[Footnote 2: See p. 22.]

JULY 30, 1861.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 23d instant, requesting
information concerning the imprisonment of Lieutenant John J. Worden
[John L. Worden], of the United States Navy, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of the Navy.


WASHINGTON, _August 1, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit herewith, for consideration with a view to ratification, a
postal treaty between the United States of America and the United
Mexican States, concluded by their respective plenipotentiaries on the
31st ultimo.


WASHINGTON, _August 2, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of yesterday,
requesting information regarding the imprisonment of loyal citizens
of the United States by the forces now in rebellion against this
Government, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the copy
of a telegraphic dispatch by which it was accompanied.


AUGUST 2, 1861

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The resolution of your honorable body which is herewith returned has
been submitted to the Secretary of the Navy, who has made the report
upon it which I have the honor to inclose herewith.

I have the honor to add that the same rule stated by the Secretary of
the Navy is found in section 5 of the Army Regulations published in
1861. It certainly is competent for Congress to change this rule by law,
but it is respectfully suggested that a rule of so long standing and of so
extensive application should not be hastily changed, nor by any authority
less than the full lawmaking power.


NAVY DEPARTMENT, _August 2, 1861_.


SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the resolution of
the Senate of the 31st ultimo, in relation to the recent nominations of
lieutenants of marines, which nominations were directed to "be returned
to the President and he be informed that the Senate adhere to the
opinion expressed in the resolution passed by them on the 19th of July
instant, and that the Senate are of opinion that rank and position in
the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps should not be decided by lot, but that,
all other things being equal, preference should be given to age."

If I understand correctly the resolution of the Senate, it is an
expression of opinion on the part of that body against the Army
Regulations, which are made applicable to the Marine Corps--regulations
that have been in existence almost from the commencement of the

In the published edition of Army Regulations when Mr. Calhoun was
Secretary of War, section 1, article 3, it is expressly stated that the
questions respecting the rank of officers arising from the sameness of
dates in commissions of the same grade shall be decided, first, by a
reference to the relative rank of the parties in the regular forces
(including the United States Marine Corps) at the time the present
appointments or promotions were made; second, by reference to former
rank therein taken away by derangement or disbandment; third, by
reference to former rank therein given up by resignation; fourth, by

And in the last edition of Army Regulations, before me, published in
1857, it is specified in article 2, section 5, that "when commissions
are of the same date the rank is to be decided between officers of the
same regiment or corps by the order of appointment; between officers of
different regiments or corps, first, by rank in actual service when
appointed; second, by former rank and service in the Army or Marine
Corps; third, by lottery among such as have not been in the military
service of the United States."

The rule here laid down governed in the appointment of the lieutenants
of marines who have been nominated the present session to the Senate.
Their order of rank was determined by lottery, agreeably to the
published Army Regulations, and applied by those regulations
specifically to the Marine Corps.

The gentlemen thus appointed in conformity to regulations have been
mustered into service and done duty under fire. One of the number has
fallen in the rank and place assigned him according to those
regulations, and to set them aside and make a new order in conflict with
the regulations will, I apprehend, be deemed, if not _ex post facto_,
almost invidious.

In this matter the Department has no feeling, but it is desirable that
it should be distinctly settled whether hereafter the Army Regulations
are to govern in the question of rank in the Marine Corps or whether
they are to be set aside by resolution of the Senate.

I have the honor to return the papers and subscribe myself, very
respectfully, your obedient servant,


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _August 5, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of your honorable body of date July 31,
1861, requesting the President to inform the Senate whether the Hon.
James H. Lane, a member of that body from Kansas, has been appointed a
brigadier-general in the Army of the United States, and, if so, whether
he has accepted such appointment, I have the honor to transmit herewith
certain papers, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, which taken together
explain themselves, and which contain all the information I possess upon
the questions propounded.

It was my intention, as shown by my letter of June 20, 1861, to appoint
Hon. James H. Lane, of Kansas, a brigadier-general of United States
Volunteers, in anticipation of the act of Congress since passed for
raising such volunteers; and I have no further knowledge upon the
subject except as derived from the papers herewith inclosed.





Whereas a joint committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the
President of the United States and requested him to "recommend a day of
public humiliation, prayer, and fasting to be observed by the people of
the United States with religious solemnities and the offering of fervent
supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these
States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace;"

Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge
and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission to
His chastisements, to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions
in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of
wisdom, and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of
their past offenses and for a blessing upon their present and
prospective action; and

Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God,
united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil
war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this
terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and
crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and
to pray for His mercy--to pray that we may be spared further punishment,
though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made
effectual for the reestablishment of law, order, and peace throughout
the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil
and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the
labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its
original excellence:

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint
the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and
fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend
to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of
religion of all denominations and to all heads of families, to observe
and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship
in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the
united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring
down plentiful blessings upon our country.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed, this 12th day of August, A.D. 1861, and
of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-sixth.



By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas on the 15th day of April, 1861, the President of the United
States, in view of an insurrection against the laws, Constitution, and
Government of the United States which had broken out within the States
of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana,
and Texas, and in pursuance of the provisions of the act entitled "An
act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the
Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions, and to repeal the
act now in force for that purpose," approved February 28, 1795, did call
forth the militia to suppress said insurrection and to cause the laws'
of the Union to be duly executed, and the insurgents have failed to
disperse by the time directed by the President; and

Whereas such insurrection has since broken out, and yet exists, within
the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas; and

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