The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, July 4, 1861

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, July 6, 1861.

HON. SEC. OF INTERIOR.

MY DEAR SIR:--Please ask the Comr. of Indian Affairs, and of the
Gen'1 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,
A. LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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

WASHINGTON, July 11, 1861.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I transmit to Congress a copy of correspondence between the Secretary
of State and her Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary accredited to this government, relative to 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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WASHINGTON, July 16, 1861

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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

WASHINGTON, JULY 19, 1861.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TO THE ADJUTANT-GENERAL

WASHINGTON, JULY 19, 1861

ADJUTANT-GENERAL:

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.

A. LINCOLN.

MEMORANDA OF MILITARY POLICY SUGGESTED BY THE
BULL RUN DEFEAT.

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
hand.

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
Arlington.

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
here.

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
these.

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

TO THE GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 1861

THE GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY.

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,
A. LINCOLN.

[Indorsement.]

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.

MESSAGE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WASHINGTON, July 25, 1861

MESSAGE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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

WASHINGTON, July 25, 1861.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TO SECRETARY CHASE.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, JULY 16, 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.

LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
24th instant, asking the grounds, reasons, and evidence upon which
the police Commissioners of Baltimore were arrested and are now
detained as prisoners at 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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WASHINGTON, JULY 27, 1861

MESSAGE TO THE SENATE.

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

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

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
JULY 30, 1861

MESSAGE TO THE SENATE.

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

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

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
July 30, 1861

ORDER TO UNITED STATES MARSHALS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, D.C.,
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
Interior.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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

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