The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Your friend,

A. LINCOLN.

RESPITE FOR NATHANIEL GORDON

February 4, 1862

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

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

MESSAGE TO THE SENATE.

WASHINGTON CITY, February 4. 1862

To THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

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

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

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

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

TO GENERALS D. HUNTER AND J. H. LANE.

EXECUTIVE MANSION WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 4, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL HUNTER AND BRIGADIER-GENERAL LANE,
Leavenworth, Kansas:

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

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1, RELATING TO POLITICAL
PRISONERS.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON,
February 14,1862.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.
WASHINGTON CITY, February 15, 1862

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES:
The third section of the "Act further to promote the efficiency of
the Navy," approved December 21, 1861, provides

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

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

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

FIRST WRITTEN NOTICE OF GRANT

TO GENERAL H. W. HALLECK.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

February 16, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK, St. Louis, Missouri:

You have Fort Donelson safe, unless Grant shall be overwhelmed from
outside; to prevent which latter will, I think, require all the
vigilance, energy, and skill of yourself and Buell, acting in full
co-operation. Columbus will not get at Grant, but the force from
Bowling Green will. They hold the railroad from Bowling Green to
within a few miles of Fort Donelson, with the bridge at Clarksville
undisturbed. It is unsafe to rely that they will not dare to expose
Nashville to Buell. A small part of their force can retire slowly
toward Nashville, breaking up the railroad as they go, and keep Buell
out of that city twenty days. Meanwhile Nashville will be abundantly
defended by forces from all South and perhaps from hers at Manassas.
Could not a cavalry force from General Thomas on the upper Cumberland
dash across, almost unresisted, and cut the railroad at or near
Knoxville, Tennessee? In the midst 6f a bombardment at Fort
Donelson, why could not a gunboat run up and destroy the bridge at
Clarksville? Our success or failure at Fort Donelson is vastly
important, and I beg you to put your soul in the effort. I send a
copy of this to Buell.

A. LINCOLN.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2.--IN RELATION TO STATE PRISONERS.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY,
FEBRUARY 27, 1862

It is ordered:

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

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

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

ORDER RELATING TO COMMERCIAL INTERCOURSE.

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

WASHINGTON, February 28, 1862.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

SPEECH TO THE PERUVIAN MINISTER,

WASHINGTON, D. C.,
MARCH 4, 1862

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

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS RECOMMENDING COMPENSATED EMANCIPATION.

March 6, 1862

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:--
I recommend the adoption of a joint resolution by your honorable
bodies which shall be substantially as follows:

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

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