The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and
this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No
personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of
us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in
honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the
Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to
save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even
we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving
freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free--honorable alike
in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly
lose the last, best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this
could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just--a way
which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever
bless.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

WASHINGTON, December 3, 1862.

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

On the 3d of November, 1861, a collision took place off the coast of
Cuba between the United States war steamer San Jacinto and the French
brig Jules et Marie, resulting in serious damage to the latter. The
obligation of this Government to make amends therefor could not be
questioned if the injury resulted from any fault On the part of the
San Jacinto. With a view to ascertain this, the subject was referred
to a commission of the United States and French naval officers at New
York, with a naval officer of Italy as an arbiter. The conclusion
arrived at was that the collision was occasioned by the failure of
the San Jacinto seasonably to reverse her engine. It then became
necessary to ascertain the amount of indemnification due to the
injured party. The United States consul-general at Havana was
consequently instructed to confer with the consul of France on this
point, and they have determined that the sum of $9,500 is an
equitable allowance under the circumstances.

I recommend an appropriation of this sum for the benefit of the
owners of the Jules et Marie.

A copy of the letter of Mr. Shufeldt, the consul-general of the
United States at Havana, to the Secretary of State on the subject is
herewith transmitted.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO H. J. RAYMOND.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
December 7, 1862.

Hon. H. J. RAYMOND, Times Office, New York:

Yours of November 25 reached me only yesterday. Thank you for it. I
shall consider and remember your suggestions.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO B. G. BROWN.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON December 7, 1862.

HON. B. GRATZ BROWN, Saint Louis, Missouri:

Yours of the 3d received yesterday. Have already done what I can in
the premises.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR JOHNSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
December 8, 1862.
GOVERNOR ANDREW JOHNSON, Nashville, Tenn.:

Jesse H. Strickland is here asking authority to raise a regiment of
Tennesseeans. Would you advise that the authority be given him?

A. LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 8, 1862.

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

In conformity to the law of July 16, 1862, I most cordially
recommend, that Commander John L. Worden, United States Navy, receive
a vote of thanks of Congress for the eminent skill and gallantry
exhibited by him in the late remarkable battle between the United
States ironclad steamer Monitor, under his command, and the rebel
ironclad steamer Merrimac, in March last.

The thanks of Congress for his services on the occasion referred to
were tendered by a resolution approved July 11, 1862, but the
recommendation is now specially made in order to comply with the
requirements of the ninth section of the act of July 16, 1862, which
is in the following words, viz.:

"That any line officer of the navy or marine corps may be advanced
one grade if upon recommendation of the President by name he receives
the thanks of Congress for highly distinguished conduct in conflict
with the enemy or for extraordinary heroism in the line of his
profession."

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TO GENERAL S. R. CURTIS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

December 10, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL CURTIS, St. Louis, Missouri:

Please suspend, until further order, all proceeding on the order made
by General Schofield, on the twenty-eighth day of August last, for
assessing and collecting from secessionists and Southern sympathizers
the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, etc., and in the meantime
make out and send me a statement of facts pertinent to the question,
together with your opinion upon it.

A. LINCOLN.

TO J. K. DUBOIS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

December 10, 1862.

Hon. J. K. DuBois.

MY DEAR SIR:--In the summer of 1859, when Mr. Freeman visited
Springfield, Illinois, in relation to the McCallister and Stebbins
bonds I promised him that, upon certain conditions, I would ask
members of the Legislature to give him a full and fair hearing of his
case. I do not now remember, nor have I time to recall, exactly what
the conditions were, nor whether they were completely performed; but
there can be in no case any harm [in] his having a full and fair
hearing, and I sincerely wish it may be given him.

Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO THE SENATE.

December 11, 1862.

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

In compliance with your resolution of December 5, 1862, requesting
the President "to furnish the Senate with all information in his
possession touching the late Indian barbarities in the State of
Minnesota, and also the evidence in his possession upon which some of
the principal actors and head men were tried and condemned to death,"
I have the honor to state that on receipt of said resolution, I
transmitted the same to the Secretary of the Interior, accompanied by
a note, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, marked A, and in
response to which I received, through that department, a letter of
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, a copy of which is herewith
inclosed, marked B.

I further state that on the eighth day of November last I received a
long telegraphic despatch from Major-General Pope, at St. Paul,
Minnesota, simply announcing the names of the persons sentenced to be
hanged. I immediately telegraphed to have transcripts of the records
in all cases forwarded to me, which transcripts, however, did not
reach me until two or three days before the present meeting of
Congress. Meantime I received, through telegraphic despatches and
otherwise, appeals in behalf of the condemned, appeals for their
execution, and expressions of opinion as to the proper policy in
regard to them and to the Indians generally in that vicinity, none of
which, as I understand, falls within the scope of your inquiry.
After the arrival of the transcripts of records, but before I had
sufficient opportunity to examine them, I received a joint letter
from one of the senators and two of the representatives from
Minnesota, which contains some statements of fact not found in the
records of the trials, and for which reason I herewith transmit a
copy, marked C. I also, for the same reason, inclose a printed
memorial of the citizens of St. Paul, addressed to me, and forwarded
with the letter aforesaid.

Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another
outbreak on the one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real
cruelty on the other, I caused a careful examination of the records
of trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such
as had been proved guilty of violating females. Contrary to my
expectation, only two of this class were found. I then directed a
further examination and a classification of all who were proven to
have participated in massacres, as distinguished from participation
in battles. This class numbered forty, and included the two
convicted of female violation. One of the number is strongly
recommended, by the commission which tried them, for commutation to
ten years imprisonment I have ordered the other thirty-nine to be
executed on Friday the 19th instant. The order was despatched from
here on Monday, the 8th instant, by a messenger to General Sibley,
and a copy of which order is herewith transmitted, marked D.

An abstract of the evidence as to the forty is herewith inclosed,
marked E.

To avoid the immense amount of copying, I lay before the Senate the
original transcripts of the records of trials, as received by me.

This is as full and complete a response to the resolution as it is in
my power to make.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.

December 12, 1862.

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I have in my possession three valuable swords, formerly the property
of General David E. Twiggs, which I now place at the disposal of
Congress. They are forwarded to me from New Orleans by Major-General
Benjamin F. Butler. If they or any of them shall be by Congress
disposed of in reward or compliment of military service, I think
General Butler is entitled to the first consideration. A copy of the
General's letter to me accompanying the swords is herewith
transmitted.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TO FERNANDO WOOD.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON
DECEMBER 12, 1862.

HON. FERNANDO WOOD.

MY DEAR SIR:--Your letter of the 8th, with the accompanying note of
same date, was received yesterday. The most important paragraph in
the letter, as I consider, is in these words:
"On the 25th of November last I was advised by an authority which I
deemed likely to be well informed, as well as reliable and truthful,
that the Southern States would send representatives to the next
Congress, provided that a full and general amnesty should permit them
to do so. No guarantee or terms were asked for other than the
amnesty referred to."

I strongly suspect your information will prove to be groundless;
nevertheless, I thank you for communicating it to me. Understanding
the phrase in the paragraph just quoted--"the Southern States would
send representatives to the next Congress"--to be substantially the
same as that "the people of the Southern States would cease
resistance, and would reinaugurate, submit to, and maintain the
national authority within the limits of such States, under the
Constitution of the United States," I say that in such case the war
would cease on the part of the United States; and that if within a
reasonable time "a full and general amnesty" were necessary to such
end, it would not be withheld.

I do not think it would be proper now to communicate this, formally
or informally, to the people of the Southern States. My belief is
that they already know it; and when they choose, if ever, they can
communicate with me unequivocally. Nor do I think it proper now to
suspend military operations to try any experiment of negotiation

I should nevertheless receive with great pleasure the exact
information you now have, and also such other as you may in any way
obtain. Such information might be more valuable before the 1st of
January than afterwards.

While there is nothing in this letter which I shall dread to see in
history, it is, perhaps, better for the present that its existence
should not become public. I therefore have to request that you will
regard it as confidential.

Your obedient servant,
A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL CURTIS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 14, 1862

MAJOR-GENERAL CURTIS, St. Louis, Missouri:

If my friend Dr. William Fithian, of Danville, Ill., should call on
YOU, please give him such facilities as you consistently can about
recovering the remains of a step-son, and matters connected
therewith.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL H. H. SIBLEY.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 16, 1862.

BRIG. GEN. H. H. SIBLEY, Saint Paul, Minn.:

As you suggest, let the executions fixed for Friday the 19th instant
be postponed to, and be done on, Friday the 26th instant.

A. LINCOLN.
(Private.)
Operator please send this very carefully and accurately. A. L.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL CURTIS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 16, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL CURTIS, Saint Louis, Missouri:

N. W. Watkins, of Jackson, Mo., (who is half brother to Henry Clay),
writes me that a colonel of ours has driven him from his home at
Jackson. Will you please look into the case and restore the old man
to his home if the public interest will admit?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL BURNSIDE.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, D. C.,
December 16, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL BURNSIDE, Falmouth:

Your despatch about General Stahel is received. Please ascertain from
General Sigel and his old corps whether Stahel or Schurz is
preferable and telegraph the result, and I will act immediately.
After all I shall be governed by your preference.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL CURTIS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
December 17, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL CURTIS:

Could the civil authority be reintroduced into Missouri in lieu of
the military to any extent, with advantage and safety?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL BURNSIDE.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
December 17, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL BURNSIDE

George Patten says he was a classmate of yours and was in the same
regiment of artillery. Have you a place you would like to put him
in? And if so what is it?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR GAMBLE.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
December 18, 1862.

GOVERNOR GAMBLE, Saint Louis, MO.:

It is represented to me that the enrolled militia alone would now
maintain law and order in all the counties of your State north of the
Missouri River. If so all other forces there might be removed south
of the river, or out of the State. Please post yourself and give me
your opinion upon the subject.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL CURTIS.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

December 19, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:

Hon. W. A. Hall, member of Congress here, tells me, and Governor
Gamble telegraphs me; that quiet can be maintained in all the
counties north of the Missouri River by the enrolled militia. Confer
with Governor Gamble and telegraph me.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL A. E. BURNSIDE.

WASHINGTON, December 19, 1862.

MAJOR-GENERAL BURNSIDE:

Come, of course, if in your own judgment it is safe to do so.

A. LINCOLN.

TO SECRETARIES SEWARD AND CHASE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,

December 20, 1862.

HON. WILLIAM H. SEWARD AND HON. SALMON P. CHASE.

GENTLEMEN:--You have respectively tendered me your resignations as
Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury of the United
States. I am apprised of the circumstances which may render this
course personally desirable to each of you; but after most anxious
consideration my deliberate judgment is that the public interest does
not admit of it. I therefore have to request that you will resume
the duties of your departments respectively.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR ANDREW.

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 20, 1862.

GOVERNOR ANDREW, Boston, Mass.:

Neither the Secretary of War nor I know anything except what you tell
us about the "published official document" you mention.

A. LINCOLN.

TO T. J. HENDERSON.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, December 20, 1862.

HON. T. J. HENDERSON.

DEAR SIR:-Your letter of the 8th to Hon. William Kellogg has just
been shown me. You can scarcely overestimate the pleasure it would
give me to oblige you, but nothing is operating so ruinously upon us
everywhere as "absenteeism." It positively will not do for me to
grant leaves of absence in cases not sufficient to procure them under
the regular rules.

It would astonish you to know the extent of the evil of
"absenteeism." We scarcely have more than half the men we are paying
on the spot for service anywhere.

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