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The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Complete by Abraham Lincoln

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You will base no proceedings on parliamentary debates further than to
seek explanations when necessary and communicate them to this
department. [We intend to have a clear and simple record of whatever
issue may arise between us and Great Britain.]

The President [is surprised and grieved] regrets that Mr. Dallas did
not protest against the proposed unofficial intercourse between the
British Government and the missionaries of the insurgents [as well as
against the demand for explanations made by the British Government].
It is due, however, to Mr. Dallas to say that our instructions had
been given only to you and not to him, and that his loyalty and
fidelity, too rare in these times [among our late representatives
abroad, are confessed and] are appreciated.

Intercourse of any kind with the so-called commissioners is liable to
be construed as a recognition of the authority which appointed them.
Such intercourse would be none the less [wrongful] hurtful to us for
being called unofficial, and it might be even more injurious, because
we should have no means of knowing what points might be resolved by
it. Moreover, unofficial intercourse is useless and meaningless if
it is not expected to ripen into official intercourse and direct
recognition. It is left doubtful here whether the proposed
unofficial intercourse has yet actually begun. Your own [present]
antecedent instructions are deemed explicit enough, and it is hoped
that you have not misunderstood them. You will in any event desist
from all intercourse whatever, unofficial as well as official, with
the British Government, so long as it shall continue intercourse of
either kind with the domestic enemies of this country [confining
yourself to a delivery of a copy of this paper to the Secretary of
State. After doing this.] When intercourse shall have been arrested
for this cause, you will communicate with this department and receive
further directions.

Lord John Russell has informed us of an understanding between the
British and French governments that they will act together in regard
to our affairs. This communication, however, loses something of its
value from the circumstance that the communication was withheld until
after knowledge of the fact had been acquired by us from other
sources. We know also another fact that has not yet been officially
communicated to us--namely, that other European States are apprised
by France and England of their agreement, and are expected to concur
with or follow them in whatever measures they adopt on the subject of
recognition. The United States have been impartial and just in all
their conduct toward the several nations of Europe. They will not
complain, however, of the combination now announced by the two
leading powers, although they think they had a right to expect a more
independent, if not a more friendly, course from each of them. You
will take no notice of that or any other alliance. Whenever the
European governments shall see fit to communicate directly with us,
we shall be, as heretofore, frank and explicit in our reply.

As to the blockade, you will say that by [the] our own laws [of
nature] and the laws of nature and the laws of nations, this
Government has a clear right to suppress insurrection. An exclusion
of commerce from national ports which have been seized by the
insurgents, in the equitable form of blockade, is the proper means to
that end. You will [admit] not insist that our blockade is [not] to
be respected if it be not maintained by a competent force; but
passing by that question as not now a practical, or at least an
urgent, one, you will add that [it] the blockade is now, and it will
continue to be so maintained, and therefore we expect it to be
respected by Great Britain. You will add that we have already
revoked the exequatur of a Russian consul who had enlisted in the
military service of the insurgents, and we shall dismiss or demand
the recall of every foreign agent, consular or diplomatic, who shall
either disobey the Federal laws or disown the Federal authority.

As to the recognition of the so-called Southern Confederacy, it is
not to be made a subject of technical definition. It is, of course,
[quasi] direct recognition to publish an acknowledgment of the
sovereignty and independence of a new power. It is [quasi] direct
recognition to receive its ambassadors, ministers, agents, or
commissioners officially. A concession of belligerent rights is
liable to be construed as a recognition of them. No one of these
proceedings will [be borne] pass [unnoticed] unquestioned by the
United States in this case.

Hitherto recognition has been moved only on the assumption that the
so-called Confederate States are de facto a self-sustaining power.
Now, after long forbearance, designed to soothe discontent and avert
the need of civil war, the land and naval forces of the United States
have been put in motion to repress the insurrection. The true
character of the pretended new State is at once revealed. It is seen
to be a power existing in pronunciamento only, It has never won a
field. It has obtained no forts that were not virtually betrayed
into its hands or seized in breach of trust. It commands not a
single port on the coast nor any highway out from its pretended
capital by land. Under these circumstances Great Britain is called
upon to intervene and give it body and independence by resisting our
measures of suppression. British recognition would be British
intervention to create within our own territory a hostile state by
overthrowing this republic itself. [When this act of intervention is
distinctly performed, we from that hour shall cease to be friends,
and become once more, as we have twice before been forced to be,
enemies of Great Britain.]

As to the treatment of privateers in the insurgent service, you will
say that this is a question exclusively our own. We treat them as
pirates. They are our own citizens, or persons employed by our
citizens, preying on the commerce of our country. If Great Britain
shall choose to recognize them as lawful belligerents, and give them
shelter from our pursuit and punishment, the laws of nations afford
an adequate and proper remedy [and we shall avail ourselves of it.
And while you need not say this in advance, be sure that you say
nothing inconsistent with it.]

Happily, however, her Britannic Majesty's government can avoid all
these difficulties. It invited us in 1856 to accede to the
declaration of the Congress of Paris, of which body Great Britain was
herself a member, abolishing privateering everywhere in all cases and
forever. You already have our authority to propose to her our
accession to that declaration. If she refuse to receive it, it can
only be because she is willing to become the patron of privateering
when aimed at our devastation.

These positions are not elaborately defended now, because to
vindicate them would imply a possibility of our waiving them.

1 We are not insensible of the grave importance of

1 (Drop all from this line to the end, and in lieu of it write, "This
paper is for your own guidance only, and not [sic] to be read or
shown to any one.)

(Secretary Seward, when the despatch was returned to him, added an
introductory paragraph stating that the document was strictly
confidential. For this reason these last two paragraphs remained as
they are here printed.)

this occasion. We see how, upon the result of the debate in which we
are engaged, a war may ensue between the United States and one, two,
or even more European nations. War in any case is as exceptionable
from the habits as it is revolting from the sentiments of the
American people. But if it come, it will be fully seen that it
results from the action of Great Britain, not our own; that Great
Britain will have decided to fraternize with our domestic enemy,
either without waiting to hear from you our remonstrances and our
warnings, or after having heard them. War in defense of national
life is not immoral, and war in defense of independence is an
inevitable part of the discipline of nations.

The dispute will be between the European and the American branches of
the British race. All who belong to that race will especially
deprecate it, as they ought. It may well be believed that men of
every race and kindred will deplore it. A war not unlike it between
the same parties occurred at the close of the last century. Europe
atoned by forty years of suffering for the error that Great Britain
committed in provoking that contest. If that nation shall now repeat
the same great error, the social convulsions which will follow may
not be so long, but they will be more general. When they shall have
ceased, it will, we think, be seen, whatever may have been the
fortunes of other nations, that it is not the United States that will
have come out of them with its precious Constitution altered or its
honestly obtained dominion in any degree abridged. Great Britain has
but to wait a few months and all her present inconveniences will
cease with all our own troubles. If she take a different course, she
will calculate for herself the ultimate as well as the immediate
consequences, and will consider what position she will hold when she
shall have forever lost the sympathies and the affections of the only
nation on whose sympathies and affections she has a natural claim.
In making that calculation she will do well to remember that in the
controversy she proposes to open we shall be actuated by neither
pride, nor passion, nor cupidity, nor ambition; but we shall stand
simply on the principle of self-preservation, and that our cause will
involve the independence of nations and the rights of human nature.

I am, Sir, respectfully your obedient servant,
W. H. S.




MY DEAR SIR:--Why cannot Colonel Small's Philadelphia regiment be
received? I sincerely wish it could. There is something strange
about it. Give these gentlemen an interview, and take their

Yours truly,


WASHINGTON, May 12, 1861


I wish to see you face to face to clear these difficulties about
forwarding troops from New York.





MY DEAR SIR:--Allow me to introduce Col. J. A. McLernand, M.C. of my
own district in Illinois. If he should desire to visit Fortress
Monroe, please introduce him to the captain of one of the vessels in
our service, and pass him down and back.

Yours very truly,



WASHINGTON, D.C., May 25, 1861


MY DEAR SIR AND MADAME:--In the untimely loss of your noble son, our
affliction here is scarcely less than your own. So much of promised
usefulness to one's country, and of bright hopes for one's self and
friends, have never been so suddenly dashed as in his fall. In size,
in years, and in youthful appearance a boy only, his power to command
men was surpassingly great. This power, combined with a fine
intellectual and indomitable energy, and a taste altogether military,
constituted in him, as seemed to me, the best natural talent in that
department I ever knew. And yet he was singularly modest and
deferential in social intercourse. My acquaintance with him began
less than two years ago; yet, through the latter half of the
intervening period, it was as intense as the disparity of our ages
and my engrossing engagements would permit. To me he appeared to
have no indulgences or pastimes, and I never heard him utter a
profane or an intemperate word. What was conclusive of his good
heart, he never forgot his parents. The honors he labored for so
laudably, and for which, in the sad end, he so gallantly gave his
life, he meant for them no less than for himself.

In the hope that it may be no intrusion upon the sacredness of your
sorrow, I have ventured to address you this tribute to the memory of
my young friend and your brave and early fallen son.

May God give you the consolation which is beyond all early power.

Sincerely your friend in common affliction,


WASHINGTON, May 27, 1861

COL. W. A. BARTLETT, New York.

The Naval Brigade was to go to Fort Monroe without trouble to the
government, and must so go or not at all.




The government has already accepted ten regiments from the State of
Indiana. I think at least six more ought to be received from that
State, two to be those of Colonel James W. McMillan and Colonel
William L. Brown, and the other four to be designated by the Governor
of the State of Indiana, and to be received into the volunteer
service of the United States according to the "Plan of Organization"
in the General Orders of the War Department, No.15. When they report
to Major-General McClellan in condition to pass muster according to
that order, and with the approval of the Secretary of War to be
indorsed hereon, and left in his department, I direct that the whole
six, or any smaller number of such regiments, be received.





MY DEAR SIR:--There is, it seems, a regiment in Massachusetts
commanded by Fletcher Webster, and which HON. Daniel Webster's old
friends very much wish to get into the service. If it can be
received with the approval of your department and the consent of the
Governor of Massachusetts I shall indeed be much gratified. Give Mr.
Ashmun a chance to explain fully.

Yours truly,





MY DEAR SIR--I think it is entirely safe to accept a fifth regiment
from Michigan, and with your approbation I should say a regiment
presented by Col. T. B. W. Stockton, ready for service within two
weeks from now, will be received. Look at Colonel Stockton's

Yours truly,




MY DEAR SIR:--With your concurrence, and that of the Governor of
Indiana, I am in favor of accepting into what we call the three
years' service any number not exceeding four additional regiments
from that State. Probably they should come from the triangular
region between the Ohio and Wabash Rivers, including my own old
boyhood home. Please see HON. C. M. Allen, Speaker of the Indiana
House of Representatives, and unless you perceive good reason to the
contrary, draw up an order for him according to the above.

Yours truly,



MY DEAR SIR:--With your concurrence, and that of the Governor of
Ohio, I am in favor of receiving into what we call the three years'
service any number not exceeding six additional regiments from that
State, unless you perceive good reasons to the contrary. Please see
HON. John A. Gurley, who bears this, and make an order corresponding
with the above.

Yours truly,



WASHINGTON, D. C., June 19, 1861

When you wrote me some time ago in reference to looking up something
in the departments here, I thought I would inquire into the thing and
write you, but the extraordinary pressure upon me diverted me from
it, and soon it passed out of my mind. The thing you proposed, it
seemed to me, I ought to understand myself before it was set on foot
by my direction or permission; and I really had no time to make
myself acquainted with it. Nor have I yet. And yet I am unwilling,
of course, that you should be deprived of a chance to make something,
if it can be done without injustice to the Government, or to any
individual. If you choose to come here and point out to me how this
can be done I shall not only not object, but shall be gratified to be
able to oblige you.

Your friend as ever




MY DEAR SIR:--Since you spoke to me yesterday about General J. H.
Lane, of Kansas, I have been reflecting upon the subject, and have
concluded that we need the service of such a man out there at once;
that we had better appoint him a brigadier-general of volunteers
to-day, and send him off with such authority to raise a force (I
think two regiments better than three, but as to this I am not
particular) as you think will get him into actual work quickest.
Tell him, when he starts, to put it through not to be writing or
telegraphing back here, but put it through.

Yours truly,




General Lane has been authorized to raise two additional regiments of

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary o f War.




I somewhat wish to authorize my friend Jesse Bayles to raise a
Kentucky regiment, but I do not wish to do it without your consent.
If you consent, please write so at the bottom of this.

Yours truly,

We consent:

August 5, 1861.

I repeat, I would like for Col. Bayles to raise a regiment of cavalry
whenever the Union men of Kentucky desire or consent to it.


JULY 2, 1861


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 second day of July, A.D. 1861, and of the
independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.


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




MY DEAR SIR:--General Scott had sent me a copy of the despatch of
which you kindly sent one. Thanks to both him and you. Please
assemble the Cabinet at twelve to-day to look over the message and

And now, suppose you step over at once and let us see General Scott
(and) General Cameron about assigning a position to General Fremont.

Yours as ever,

JULY 4, 1861.

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
reinforcements 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 twenty thousand 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 reinforced. 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 despatched, had only too
vague and uncertain rumors to fix attention), had refused to land the
troops. To now reinforce 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 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

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 cannot 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

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 Harper's 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 co-operation 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

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 Virginia.

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 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

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 for 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 Congress.

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 has 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 case 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 cannot 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

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

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 decisive one: that you place at the control of
the government for the work at least four hundred thousand 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 judges 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 afterward, 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 "sovereignty" in the political sense of the term? Would it be
far wrong to define it as "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 or 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

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 herself?

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 for
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

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

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 has 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 the plain people. They understand, without
an argument, that the destroying of 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 cannot 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 guarantee
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 hearts.





MY DEAR SIR:--Please ask the Comr. of Indian Affairs, and of the
Gen'l Land Office to come with you, and see me at once. I want the
assistance of all of you in overhauling the list of appointments a
little before I send them to the Senate.

Yours truly,



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 11, 1861.



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 the
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 16, 1861



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 recommended as
may be necessary to enable the executive to provide for a commissioner
on behalf of the United States:






I have agreed, and do agree, that the two Indian regiments named
within shall be accepted if the act of Congress shall admit it. Let
there be no further question about it.



JULY 23, 1861

1. Let the plan for making the blockade effective be pushed forward
with all possible despatch.

2. Let the volunteer forces at Fort Monroe and vicinity under
General Butler be constantly drilled, disciplined, and instructed
without more for the present.

3. Let Baltimore be held as now, with a gentle but firm and certain

4. Let the force now under Patterson or Banks be strengthened and made
secure in its position.

5. Let the forces in Western Virginia act till further orders
according to instructions or orders from General McClellan.

6. [Let] General Fremont push forward his organization and operations
in the West as rapidly as possible, giving rather special attention
to Missouri.

7. Let the forces late before Manassas, except the three-months men,
be reorganized as rapidly as possible in their camps here and about

8. Let the three-months forces who decline to enter the longer service
be discharged as rapidly as circumstances will permit.

9. Let the new volunteer forces be brought forward as fast as
possible, and especially into the camps on the two sides of the river

When the foregoing shall be substantially attended to:

1. Let Manassas Junction (or some point on one or other of the
railroads near it) and Strasburg be seized, and permanently held,
with an open line from Washington to Manassas, and an open line from
Harper's Ferry to Strasburg the military men to find the way of doing

2. This done, a joint movement from Cairo on Memphis; and from
Cincinnati on East Tennessee.


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 1861


SIR:--Together with the regiments of three years' volunteers which
the government already has in service in your State, enough to make
eight in all, if tendered in a reasonable time, will be accepted, the
new regiments to be taken, as far as convenient, from the three
months' men and officers just discharged, and to be organized,
equipped, and sent forward as fast as single regiments are ready, On
the same terms as were those already in the service from that State.

Your obedient servant,


This order is entered in the War Department, and the Governor of New
Jersey is authorized to furnish the regiments with wagons and horses.

S. CAMERON, Secretary of War.



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 right, I
transmit a report from the Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, July 25, 1861



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 25, 1861.




MR CHASE:--The bearer, Mr._____ , wants ________in the custom house
at Baltimore. If his recommendations are satisfactory, and I
recollect them to have been so, the fact that he is urged by the
Methodists should be in his favor, as they complain of us some.




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 Port 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.





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, I transmit a report from the Secretary
of the Navy.

JULY 30, 1861



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.

July 30, 1861


JULY 31, 1861

The Marshals of the United States in the vicinity of forts where
political prisoners are held will supply decent lodging and
sustenance for such prisoners unless they shall prefer to provide in
those respects for themselves, in which case they will be allowed to
do so by the commanding officer in charge.

Approved, and the Secretary of the State will transmit the order to
the Marshals, to the Lieutenant-General, and the Secretary of the




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 despatch by which it was accompanied.


WASHINGTON, August 2, 1861.



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





MY DEAR SIR:--The within paper, as you see, is by HON. John S. Phelps
and HON. Frank P. Blair, Jr., both members of the present Congress
from Missouri. The object is to get up an efficient force of
Missourians in the southwestern part of the State. It ought to be
done, and Mr. Phelps ought to have general superintendence of it.
I see by a private report to me from the department that eighteen
regiments are already accepted from Missouri. Can it not be arranged
that part of them (not yet organized, as I understand) may be taken
from the locality mentioned and put under the control of Mr. Phelps,
and let him have discretion to accept them for a shorter term than
three years--or the war--understanding, however, that he will get
them for the full term if he can? I hope this can be done, because
Mr. Phelps is too zealous and efficient and understands his ground
too well for us to lose his service. Of course provision for arming,
equipping, etc., must be made. Mr. Phelps is here, and wishes to
carry home with him authority for this matter.

Yours truly,

AUGUST 12, 1861.


A Proclamation.

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"; and

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 offences 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 re-establishment of order, law,
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
[SEAL.] be affixed, this twelfth day of August, A. D.
1861, and of the independence of the United
States of America the eighty-sixth.


By the President

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary o f State.




MY DEAR SIR:--You must make a job for the bearer of this--make a job
of it with the collector and have it done. You can do it for me and
you must.

Yours as ever,




Start your four regiments to St. Louis at the earliest moment
possible. Get such harness as may be necessary for your rifled gums.
Do not delay a single regiment, but hasten everything forward as soon
as any one regiment is ready. Have your three additional regiments
organized at once. We shall endeavor to send you the arms this week.


WASHINGTON, August 15, 1861


Been answering your messages since day before yesterday. Do you
receive the answers? The War Department has notified all the
governors you designate to forward all available force. So
telegraphed you. Have you received these messages? Answer



A Proclamation.

Whereas on the fifteenth day of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-
one, 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 twenty-eighth, seventeen
hundred and ninety-five, 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 whereas the insurgents in all the said States claim
to act under the authority thereof, and such claim is not disclaimed
or repudiated by the persons exercising the functions of government
in such State or States, or in the part or parts thereof in which
such combinations exist, nor has such insurrection been suppressed by
said States:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
in pursuance of an act of Congress approved July thirteen, eighteen
hundred and sixty-one, do hereby declare that the inhabitants of the
said States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and
Florida (except the inhabitants of that part of the State of Virginia
lying west of the Allegheny Mountains, and of such other parts of
that State, and the other States hereinbefore named, as may maintain
a loyal adhesion to the Union and the Constitution, or may be time to
time occupied and controlled by forces of the United States engaged
in the dispersion of said insurgents), are in a state of insurrection
against the United States, and that all commercial intercourse
between the same and the inhabitants thereof, with the exceptions
aforesaid, and the citizens of other States and other parts of the
United States, is unlawful, and will remain unlawful until such
insurrection shall cease or has been suppressed; that all goods and
chattels, wares and merchandise, coming from any of said States, with
the exceptions aforesaid, into other parts of the United States,
without the special license and permission of the President, through
the Secretary of the Treasury, or proceeding to any of said States,
with the exceptions aforesaid, by land or water, together with the
vessel or vehicle conveying the same, or conveying persons to or from
said States, with said exceptions, will be forfeited to the United
States; and that from and after fifteen days from the issuing of this
proclamation all ships and vessels belonging in whole or in part to
any citizen or inhabitant of any of said States, with said
exceptions, found at sea, or in any port of the United States, will
be forfeited to the United States; and I hereby enjoin upon all
district attorneys, marshals, and officers of the revenue and of the
military and naval forces of the United States to be vigilant in the
execution of said act, and in the enforcement of the penalties and
forfeitures imposed or declared by it; leaving any party who may
think himself aggrieved thereby to his application to the Secretary
of the Treasury for the remission of any penalty or forfeiture, which
the said Secretary is authorized by law to grant if, in his judgment,
the special circumstances of any case shall require such remission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand,...................

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, August 17, 1861


MY DEAR SIR:--Unless there be reason to the contrary, not known to
me, make out a commission for Simon B. Buckner, of Kentucky, as a
brigadier-general of volunteers. It is to be put into the hands of
General Anderson, and delivered to General Buckner or not, at the
discretion of General Anderson. Of course it is to remain a secret
unless and until the commission is delivered.

Yours truly,

Same day made.




Governor of the State of Kentucky.

SIR:--Your letter of the 19th instant, in which you urge the "removal
from the limits of Kentucky of the military force now organized and
in camp within that State," is received.

I may not possess full and precisely accurate knowledge upon this
subject; but I believe it is true that there is a military force in
camp within Kentucky, acting by authority of the United States, which
force is not very large, and is not now being augmented.

I also believe that some arms have been furnished to this force by
the United States.

I also believe this force consists exclusively of Kentuckians, having
their camp in the immediate vicinity of their own homes, and not
assailing or menacing any of the good people of Kentucky.

In all I have done in the premises I have acted upon the urgent
solicitation of many Kentuckians, and in accordance with what I
believed, and still believe, to be the wish of a majority of all the
Union-loving people of Kentucky.

While I have conversed on this subject with many eminent men of
Kentucky, including a large majority of her members of Congress, I do
not remember that any one of them, or any other person, except your
Excellency and the bearers of your Excellency's letter, has urged me
to remove the military force from Kentucky or to disband it. One
other very worthy citizen of Kentucky did solicit me to have the
augmenting of the force suspended for a time.

Taking all the means within my reach to form a judgment, I do not
believe it is the popular wish of Kentucky that this force shall be
removed beyond her limits; and, with this impression, I must
respectfully decline to so remove it.

I most cordially sympathize with your Excellency in the wish to
preserve the peace of my own native State, Kentucky. It is with
regret I search, and cannot find, in your not very short letter, any
declaration or intimation that you entertain any desire for the
preservation of the Federal Union.

Your obedient servant,





MY DEAR SIR:--Two points in your proclamation of August 30 give me
some anxiety.

First. Should you shoot a man, according to the proclamation, the
Confederates would very certainly shoot our best men in their hands
in retaliation; and so, man for man, indefinitely. It is, therefore,
my order that you allow no man to be shot under the proclamation
without first having my approbation or consent.

Second. I think there is great danger that the closing paragraph, in
relation to the confiscation of property and the liberating slaves of
traitorous owners, will alarm our Southern Union friends and turn
them against us; perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky.
Allow me, therefore, to ask that you will, as of your own motion,
modify that paragraph so as to conform to the first and fourth
sections of the act of Congress entitled "An act to confiscate
property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved August 6, 1861,
and a copy of which act I herewith send you.

This letter is written in a spirit of caution, and not of censure. I
send it by special messenger, in order that it may certainly and
speedily reach you.

Yours very truly,



WAR DEPARTMENT, September 11, 1861.

General Butler proposes raising in New England six regiments, to be
recruited and commanded by himself, and to go on special service.

I shall be glad if you, as governor of ______, will answer by
telegraph if you consent.





SIR:-Yours of the 8th, in answer to mine of the 2d instant, is just
received. Assuming that you, upon the ground, could better judge of
the necessities of your position than I could at this distance, on
seeing your proclamation of August 30 I perceived no general objection
to it. The particular clause, however, in relation to the
confiscation of property and the liberation of slaves appeared to me
to be objectionable in its nonconformity to the act of Congress
passed the 6th of last August upon the same subjects; and hence I
wrote you, expressing my wish that that clause should be modified
accordingly. Your answer, just received, expresses the preference on
your part that I should make an open order for the modification,
which I very cheerfully do. It is therefore ordered that the said
clause of said proclamation be so modified, held, and construed as to
conform to, and not to transcend, the provisions on the same subject
contained in the act of Congress entitled "An act to confiscate
property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved August 6, 1861,
and that said act be published at length with this order.

Your obedient servant,



September 12, 1861


MY DEAR MADAM:--Your two notes of to-day are before me. I answered
the letter you bore me from General Fremont on yesterday, and not
hearing from you during the day, I sent the answer to him by mail.
It is not exactly correct, as you say you were told by the elder Mr.
Blair, to say that I sent Postmaster-General Blair to St. Louis to
examine into that department and report. Postmaster-General Blair
did go, with my approbation, to see and converse with General Fremont
as a friend. I do not feel authorized to furnish you with copies of
letters in my possession without the consent of the writers. No
impression has been made on my mind against the honor or integrity of
General Fremont, and I now enter my protest against being understood
as acting in any hostility toward him.

Your obedient servant,





DEAR SIR:-Yours of this day in relation to the late proclamation of
General Fremont is received yesterday I addressed a letter to him, by
mail, on the same subject, and which is to be made public when he
receives it. I herewith send you a copy of that letter, which
perhaps shows my position as distinctly as any new one I could write.
I will thank you not to make it public until General Fremont shall
have had time to receive the original.

Your obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 1861.

DEAR SIR:--Since conversing with you I have concluded to request you
to frame an order for recruiting North Carolinians at Fort Hatteras.
I suggest it to be so framed as for us to accept a smaller force--
even a company--if we cannot get a regiment or more. What is
necessary to now say about officers you will judge. Governor Seward
says he has a nephew (Clarence A. Seward, I believe) who would be
willing to go and play colonel and assist in raising the force.
Still it is to be considered whether the North Carolinians will not
prefer officers of their own. I should expect they would.

Yours very truly,



EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 18, 1861

MY DEAR SIR:--To guard against misunderstanding, I think fit to say
that the joint expedition of the army and navy agreed upon some time
since, and in which General T. W. Sherman was and is to bear a
conspicuous part, is in no wise to be abandoned, but must be ready to
move by the 1st of, or very early in, October. Let all preparations
go forward accordingly.

Yours truly,




Governor Morton telegraphs as follows: "Colonel Lane, just arrived by
special train, represents Owensborough, forty miles above Evansville,
in possession of secessionists. Green River is navigable.
Owensborough must be seized. We want a gunboat sent up from Paducah
for that purpose." Send up the gunboat if, in your discretion, you
think it right. Perhaps you had better order those in charge of the
Ohio River to guard it vigilantly at all points.



(Private and Confidential)

SEPTEMBER 22, 1861


MY DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 17th is just received; and coming from you,
I confess it astonishes me. That you should object to my adhering to
a law which you had assisted in making and presenting to me less than
a month before is odd enough. But this is a very small part.
General Fremont's proclamation as to confiscation of property and the
liberation of slaves is purely political and not within the range of
military law or necessity. If a commanding general finds a necessity
to seize the farm of a private owner for a pasture, an encampment, or
a fortification, he has the right to do so, and to so hold it as long
as the necessity lasts; and this is within military law, because
within military necessity. But to say the farm shall no longer
belong to the owner, or his heirs forever, and this as well when the
farm is not needed for military purposes as when it is, is purely
political, without the savor of military law about it. And the same
is true of slaves. If the general needs them, he can seize them and
use them; but when the need is past, it is not for him to fix their
permanent future condition. That must be settled according to laws
made by law-makers, and not by military proclamations. The
proclamation in the point in question is simply "dictatorship." It
assumes that the general may do anything he pleases confiscate the
lands and free the slaves of loyal people, as well as of disloyal
ones. And going the whole figure, I have no doubt, would be more
popular with some thoughtless people than that which has been done,
But I cannot assume this reckless position, nor allow others to
assume it on my responsibility.

You speak of it as being the only means of saving the government. On
the contrary, it is itself the surrender of the government. Can it
be pretended that it is any longer the Government of the United
States--any government of constitution and laws wherein a general or
a president may make permanent rules of property by proclamation? I
do not say Congress might not with propriety pass a law on the point,
just such as General Fremont proclaimed.

I do not say I might not, as a member of Congress, vote for it. What
I object to is, that I, as President, shall expressly or impliedly
seize and exercise the permanent legislative functions of the

So much as to principle. Now as to policy. No doubt the thing was
popular in some quarters, and would have been more so if it had been
a general declaration of emancipation. The Kentucky Legislature
would not budge till that proclamation was modified; and General
Anderson telegraphed me that on the news of General Fremont having
actually issued deeds of manumission, a whole company of our
volunteers threw down their arms and disbanded. I was so assured as
to think it probable that the very arms we had furnished Kentucky

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