The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

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" it.

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 battle-field 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.

REFUSAL OF SEWARD RESIGNATION

TO WM. H. SEWARD.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 4, 1861.

MY DEAR SIR:--Your note of the 2d instant, asking to withdraw your
acceptance of my invitation to take charge of the State Department,
was duly received. It is the subject of the most painful solicitude
with me, and I feel constrained to beg that you will countermand the
withdrawal. The public interest, I think, demands that you should;
and my personal feelings are deeply enlisted in the same direction.
Please consider and answer by 9 A.M. to-morrow.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

REPLY TO THE PENNSYLVANIA DELEGATION,

WASHINGTON, MARCH 5, 1861

Mr. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE PENNSYLVANIAN DELEGATION:--As I
have so frequently said heretofore, when I have had occasion to
address the people of the Keystone, in my visits to that State, I can
now but repeat the assurance of my gratification at the support you
gave me at the election, and at the promise of a continuation of that
support which is now tendered to me.

Allusion has been made to the hope that you entertain that you have a
President and a government. In respect to that I wish to say to you
that in the position I have assumed I wish to do more than I have
ever given reason to believe I would do. I do not wish you to
believe that I assume to be any better than others who have gone
before me. I prefer rather to have it understood that if we ever
have a government on the principles we profess, we should remember,
while we exercise our opinion, that others have also rights to the
exercise of their opinions, and that we should endeavor to allow
these rights, and act in such a manner as to create no bad feeling.
I hope we have a government and a President. I hope, and wish it to
be understood, that there may he no allusion to unpleasant
differences.

We must remember that the people of all the States are entitled to
all the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the several
States. We should bear this in mind, and act in such a way as to say
nothing insulting or irritating. I would inculcate this idea, so
that we may not, like Pharisees, set ourselves up to be better than
other people.

Now, my friends, my public duties are pressing to-day, and will
prevent my giving more time to you. Indeed, I should not have left
them now, but I could not well deny myself to so large and
respectable a body.

REPLY TO THE MASSACHUSETTS DELEGATION,

WASHINGTON, MARCH 5, 1861

I am thankful for this renewed assurance of kind feeling and
confidence, and the support of the old Bay State, in so far as you,
Mr. Chairman, have expressed, in behalf of those whom you represent,
your sanction of what I have enunciated in my inaugural address.
This is very grateful to my feelings. The object was one of great
delicacy, in presenting views at the opening of an administration
under the peculiar circumstances attending my entrance upon the
official duties connected with the Government. I studied all the
points with great anxiety, and presented them with whatever of
ability and sense of justice I could bring to bear. If it met the
approbation of our good friends in Massachusetts, I shall be
exceedingly gratified, while I hope it will meet the approbation of
friends everywhere. I am thankful for the expressions of those who
have voted with us; and like every other man of you, I like them as
certainly as I do others. As the President in the administration of
the Government, I hope to be man enough not to know one citizen of
the United States from another, nor one section from another. I
shall be gratified to have good friends of Massachusetts and others
who have thus far supported me in these national views still to
support me in carrying them out.

TO SECRETARY SEWARD

EXECUTIVE CHAMBER, MARCH 7, 1861

MY DEAR SIR:--Herewith is the diplomatic address and my reply. To
whom the reply should be addressed--that is, by what title or style--
I do not quite understand, and therefore I have left it blank.

Will you please bring with you to-day the message from the War
Department, with General Scott's note upon it, which we had here
yesterday? I wish to examine the General's opinion, which I have not
yet done.

Yours very truly
A. LINCOLN.

REPLY TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS

WASHINGTON, THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 1861

Mr. FIGANIERE AND GENTLEMEN OF THE DIPLOMATIC BODY:--Please accept my
sincere thanks for your kind congratulations. It affords me pleasure
to confirm the confidence you so generously express in the friendly
disposition of the United States, through me, towards the sovereigns
and governments you respectively represent. With equal satisfaction
I accept the assurance you are pleased to give, that the same
disposition is reciprocated by your sovereigns, your governments, and
yourselves.

Allow me to express the hope that these friendly relations may remain
undisturbed, arid also my fervent wishes for the health and happiness
of yourselves personally.

TO SECRETARY SEWARD

EXECUTIVE MANSION, MARCH 11,1861

HON. SECRETARY OF STATE.
DEAR SIR:--What think you of sending ministers at once as follows:
Dayton to England; Fremont to France; Clay to Spain; Corwin to
Mexico?

We need to have these points guarded as strongly and quickly as
possible. This is suggestion merely, and not dictation.

Your obedient servant,
A. LINCOLN.

TO J. COLLAMER

EXECUTIVE MANSION, MARCH 12, 1861

HON. JACOB COLLAMER.
MY DEAR SIR:--God help me. It is said I have offended you. I hope
you will tell me how.

Yours very truly,
A. LINCOLN.

March 14, 1861.
DEAR SIR:--I am entirely unconscious that you have any way offended
me. I cherish no sentiment towards you but that of kindness and
confidence.
Your humble servant,
J. COLLAMER

[Returned with indorsement:]

Very glad to know that I have n't.
A. LINCOLN.

TO THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, MARCH 13, 1861

HON. P. M. G.

DEAR SIR:--The bearer of this, Mr. C. T. Hempstow, is a Virginian who
wishes to get, for his son, a small place in your Dept. I think
Virginia should be heard, in such cases.

LINCOLN.

NOTE ASKING CABINET OPINIONS ON FORT SUMTER.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, MARCH 15, 1861

THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF WAR.

MY DEAR SIR:--Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort
Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it? Please
give me your opinion in writing on this question.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

[Same to other members of the Cabinet.]

ON ROYAL ARBITRATION OF AMERICAN BOUNDARY LINE

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

The Senate has transmitted to me a copy of the message sent by my
predecessor to that body on the 21st 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 present 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 Vancouver's 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 June 15, 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 thereon cheerfully, but I respectfully ask
the Senate for their advice on the three questions before recited

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
WASHINGTON, March 16, 1861

AMBASSADORIAL APPOINTMENTS

TO SECRETARY SEWARD.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, MARCH 18, 1861

HON. SECRETARY OF STATE.

MY DEAR SIR:--I believe it is a necessity with us to make the
appointments I mentioned last night--that is, Charles F. Adams to
England, William L. Dayton to France, George P. Marsh to Sardinia,
and Anson Burlingame to Austria. These gentlemen all have my highest
esteem, but no one of them is originally suggested by me except Mr.
Dayton. Mr. Adams I take because you suggested him, coupled with his
eminent fitness for the place. Mr. Marsh and Mr. Burlingame I take
because of the intense pressure of their respective States, and their
fitness also.

The objection to this card is that locally they are so huddled up--
three being in New England and two from a single State. I have
considered this, and will not shrink from the responsibility. This,
being done, leaves but five full missions undisposed of--Rome, China,
Brazil, Peru, and Chili. And then what about Carl Schurz; or, in
other words, what about our German friends?

Shall we put the card through, and arrange the rest afterward? What
say you?

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

TO G. E. PATTEN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 19, 1861.

TO MASTER GEO. EVANS PATTEN.

WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:--I did see and talk with Master Geo. Evans
Patten last May at Springfield, Ill.

Respectfully,
A. LINCOLN.

[Written because of a denial that any interview with young Patten,
then a schoolboy, had ever taken place.]

RESPONSE TO SENATE INQUIRY RE. FORT SUMTER

MESSAGE TO THE SENATE.

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:--I have received a copy of the
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 despatches of Major Robert Anderson to
the War Department during the time he has been in command of Fort
Sumter. On examination of 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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WASHINGTON, MARCH 16, 1861

PREPARATION OF FIRST NAVAL ACTION

TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR

EXECUTIVE MANSION, MARCH 29, 1861

HONORABLE SECRETARY OF WAR.

SIR:--I desire that an expedition to move by sea be got ready to sail
as early as the 6th of April next, the whole according to memorandum
attached, and that you cooperate with the Secretary of the Navy for
that object.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

[Inclosure.]

Steamers Pocahontas at Norfolk, Paunee at Washington, Harriet Lane at
New York, to be under sailing orders for sea, with stores, etc., for
one month. Three hundred men to be kept ready for departure from on
board the receiving-ships at New York. Two hundred men to be ready to
leave Governor's Island in New York. Supplies for twelve months for
one hundred men to be put in portable shape, ready for instant
shipping. A large steamer and three tugs conditionally engaged.

TO ______ STUART.

WASHINGTON, March 30, 1861

DEAR STUART:

Cousin Lizzie shows me your letter of the 27th. The question of
giving her the Springfield post-office troubles me. You see I have
already appointed William Jayne a Territorial governor and Judge
Trumbull's brother to a land-office. Will it do for me to go on and
justify the declaration that Trumbull and I have divided out all the
offices among our relatives? Dr. Wallace, you know, is needy, and
looks to me; and I personally owe him much.

I see by the papers, a vote is to be taken as to the post-office.
Could you not set up Lizzie and beat them all? She, being here, need
know nothing of it, so therefore there would be no indelicacy on her
part. Yours as ever,

TO THE COMMANDANT OF THE NEW YORK NAVY-YARD.

NAVY DEPT., WASHINGTON, April 1, 1861

TO THE COMMANDANT OF THE NAVY-YARD,
Brooklyn, N. Y.

Fit out the Powhatan to go to sea at the earnest possible moment
under sealed orders. Orders by a confidential messenger go forward
to-morrow.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TO LIEUTENANT D. D. PORTER

EXECUTIVE MANSION, April 1, 1861

LIEUTENANT D. D. PORTER, United States Navy.

SIR:--You will proceed to New York, and with the least possible
delay, assuming command of any naval steamer available, proceed to
Pensacola Harbor, and at any cost or risk prevent any expedition from
the mainland reaching Fort Pickens or Santa Rosa Island.

You will exhibit this order to any naval officer at Pensacola, if you
deem it necessary, after you have established yourself within the
harbor, and will request co-operation by the entrance of at least one
other steamer.

This order, its object, and your destination will be communicated to
no person whatever until you reach the harbor of Pensacola.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Recommended, WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

RELIEF EXPEDITION FOR FORT SUMTER

ORDER TO OFFICERS OF THE ARMY AND NAVY.

WASHINGTON, EXECUTIVE MANSION, April 1, 1861.

All officers of the army and navy to whom this order may be exhibited
will aid by every means in their power the expedition under the
command of Colonel Harvey Brown, supplying him with men and material,
and co-operating with him as he may desire.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

ORDER TO CAPTAIN SAMUEL MERCER.
(Confidential.)

WASHINGTON CITY,
April 1, 1861

SIR:--Circumstances render it necessary to place in command of your
ship (and for a special purpose) an officer who is fully informed and
instructed in relation to the wishes of the Government, and you will
therefore consider yourself detached. But in taking this step the
Government does not in the least reflect upon your efficiency or
patriotism; on the contrary, have the fullest confidence in your
ability to perform any duty required of you. Hoping soon to be able
to give you a better command than the one you now enjoy, and trusting
that you will have full confidence in the disposition of the
Government toward you,
I remain, etc.,

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

SECRETARY SEWARD'S BID FOR POWER

MEMORANDUM FROM SECRETARY SEWARD,
APRIL 1, 1861

Some thoughts for the President's Consideration,

First. We are at the end of a month's administration, and yet
without a policy either domestic or foreign.

Second. This, however, is not culpable, and it has even been
unavoidable. The presence of the Senate, with the need to meet
applications for patronage, have prevented attention to other and
more grave matters.

Third. But further delay to adopt and prosecute our policies for
both domestic and foreign affairs would not only bring scandal on the
administration, but danger upon the country.

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