The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Was William Gruvier, Company A, Forty-sixth, Pennsylvania, one of the
men executed as a deserter last Friday?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL HOOKER.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C., June 27, 1863. 8A.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL HOOKER:

It did not come from the newspapers, nor did I believe it, but I
wished to be entirely sure it was a falsehood.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL BURNSIDE.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, June 28, 1863.

MAJOR-GENERAL BURNSIDE, Cincinnati, O.:

There is nothing going on in Kentucky on the subject of which you
telegraph, except an enrolment. Before anything is done beyond this,
I will take care to understand the case better than I now do.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR BOYLE.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, D. C., June 28, 1863.

GOVERNOR J. T. BOYLE, Cincinnati, O.:

There is nothing going on in Kentucky on the subject of which you
telegraph, except an enrolment. Before anything is done beyond this,
I will take care to understand the case better than I now do.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL SCHENCK.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
June 28, 1863.

MAJOR GENERAL SCHENCK, Baltimore, Md.:

Every place in the Naval school subject to my appointment is full,
and I have one unredeemed promise of more than half a year's
standing.

A. LINCOLN.

FURTHER DEMOCRATIC PARTY CRITICISM

TO M. BIRCHARD AND OTHERS.

WASHINGTON, D. C.,
June 29,1863.

MESSRS. M. BIRCHARD, DAVID A. HOUK, et al:

GENTLEMEN:--The resolutions of the Ohio Democratic State convention,
which you present me, together with your introductory and closing
remarks, being in position and argument mainly the same as the
resolutions of the Democratic meeting at Albany, New York, I refer
you to my response to the latter as meeting most of the points in the
former.

This response you evidently used in preparing your remarks, and I
desire no more than that it be used with accuracy. In a single
reading of your remarks, I only discovered one inaccuracy in matter,
which I suppose you took from that paper. It is where you say: "The
undersigned are unable to agree with you in the opinion you have
expressed that the Constitution is different in time of insurrection
or invasion from what it is in time of peace and public security."

A recurrence to the paper will show you that I have not expressed the
opinion you suppose. I expressed the opinion that the Constitution
is different in its application in cases of rebellion or invasion,
involving the public safety, from what it is in times of profound
peace and public security; and this opinion I adhere to, simply
because, by the Constitution itself, things may be done in the one
case which may not be done in the other.

I dislike to waste a word on a merely personal point, but I must
respectfully assure you that you will find yourselves at fault should
you ever seek for evidence to prove your assumption that I "opposed
in discussions before the people the policy of the Mexican war."

You say: "Expunge from the Constitution this limitation upon the
power of Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and yet the
other guarantees of personal liberty would remain unchanged."
Doubtless, if this clause of the Constitution, improperly called, as
I think, a limitation upon the power of Congress, were expunged, the
other guarantees would remain the same; but the question is not how
those guarantees would stand with that clause out of the
Constitution, but how they stand with that clause remaining in it, in
case of rebellion or invasion involving the public safety. If the
liberty could be indulged of expunging that clause, letter and
spirit, I really think the constitutional argument would be with you.

My general view on this question was stated in the Albany response,
and hence I do not state it now. I only add that, as seems to me,
the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus is the great means through
which the guarantees of personal liberty are conserved and made
available in the last resort; and corroborative of this view is the
fact that Mr. Vallandigham, in the very case in question, under the
advice of able lawyers, saw not where else to go but to the habeas
corpus. But by the Constitution the benefit of the writ of habeas
corpus itself may be suspended when, in case of rebellion or
invasion, the public safety may require it.

You ask, in substance, whether I really claim that I may override all
the guaranteed rights of individuals, on the plea of conserving the
public safety when I may choose to say the public safety requires it.
This question, divested of the phraseology calculated to represent me
as struggling for an arbitrary personal prerogative, is either simply
a question who shall decide, or an affirmation that nobody shall
decide, what the public safety does require in cases of rebellion or
invasion.

The Constitution contemplates the question as likely to occur for
decision, but it does not expressly declare who is to decide it. By
necessary implication, when rebellion or invasion comes, the decision
is to be made from time to time; and I think the man whom, for the
time, the people have, under the Constitution, made the
commander-in-chief of their army and navy, is the man who holds the
power and bears the responsibility of making it. If he uses the
power justly, the same people will probably justify him; if he abuses
it, he is in their hands to be dealt with by all the modes they have
reserved to themselves in the Constitution.

The earnestness with which you insist that persons can only, in times
of rebellion, be lawfully dealt with in accordance with the rules for
criminal trials and punishments in times of peace, induces me to add
a word to what I said on that point in the Albany response.

You claim that men may, if they choose, embarrass those whose duty it
is to combat a giant rebellion, and then be dealt with in turn only
as if there were no rebellion. The Constitution itself rejects this
view. The military arrests and detentions which have been made,
including those of Mr. Vallandigham, which are not different in
principle from the others, have been for prevention, and not for
punishment--as injunctions to stay injury, as proceedings to keep the
peace; and hence, like proceedings in such cases and for like
reasons, they have not been accompanied with indictments, or trials
by juries, nor in a single case by any punishment whatever, beyond
what is purely incidental to the prevention. The original sentence
of imprisonment in Mr. Vallandigham's case was to prevent injury to
the military service only, and the modification of it was made as a
less disagreeable mode to him of securing the same prevention.

I am unable to perceive an insult to Ohio in the case of Mr.
Vallandigham. Quite surely nothing of the sort was or is intended.
I was wholly unaware that Mr. Vallandigham was, at the time of his
arrest, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor until
so informed by your reading to me the resolutions of the convention.
I am grateful to the State of Ohio for many things, especially for
the brave soldiers and officers she has given in the present national
trial to the armies of the Union.

You claim, as I understand, that according to my own position in the
Albany response, Mr. Vallandigham should be released; and this
because, as you claim, he has not damaged the military service by
discouraging enlistments, encouraging desertions, or otherwise; and
that if he had, he should have been turned over to the civil
authorities under the recent acts of Congress. I certainly do not
know that Mr. Vallandigham has specifically and by direct language
advised against enlistments and in favor of desertion and resistance
to drafting.

We all know that combinations, armed in some instances, to resist the
arrest of deserters began several months ago; that more recently the
like has appeared in resistance to the enrolment preparatory to a
draft; and that quite a number of assassinations have occurred from
the same animus. These had to be met by military force, and this
again has led to bloodshed and death. And now, under a sense of
responsibility more weighty and enduring than any which is merely
official, I solemnly declare my belief that this hindrance of the
military, including maiming and murder, is due to the course in which
Mr. Vallindigham has been engaged in a greater degree than to any
other cause; and it is due to him personally in a greater degree than
to any other one man.

These things have been notorious, known to all, and of course known
to Mr. Vallandigham. Perhaps I would not be wrong to say they
originated with his special friends and adherents. With perfect
knowledge of them, he has frequently if not constantly made speeches
in Congress and before popular assemblies; and if it can be shown
that, with these things staring him in the face he has ever uttered a
word of rebuke or counsel against them, it will be a fact greatly in
his favor with me, and one of which as yet I am totally ignorant.
When it is known that the whole burden of his speeches has been to
stir up men against the prosecution of the war, and that in the midst
of resistance to it he has not been known in any instance to counsel
against such resistance, it is next to impossible to repel the
inference that he has counseled directly in favor of it.

With all this before their eyes, the convention you represent have
nominated Mr. Vallandigham for governor of Ohio, and both they and
you have declared the purpose to sustain the national Union by all
constitutional means. But of course they and you in common reserve
to yourselves to decide what are constitutional means; and, unlike
the Albany meeting, you omit to state or intimate that in your
opinion an army is a constitutional means of saving the Union against
a rebellion, or even to intimate that you are conscious of an
existing rebellion being in progress with the avowed object of
destroying that very Union. At the same time your nominee for
governor, in whose behalf you appeal, is known to you and to the
world to declare against the use of an army to suppress the
rebellion. Your own attitude, therefore, encourages desertion,
resistance to the draft, and the like, because it teaches those who
incline to desert and to escape the draft to believe it is your
purpose to protect them, and to hope that you will become strong
enough to do so.

After a short personal intercourse with you, gentlemen of the
committee, I cannot say I think you desire this effect to follow your
attitude; but I assure your that both friends and enemies of the
Union look upon it in this light. It is a substantial hope, and by
consequence a real strength to the enemy. If it is a false hope, and
one which you would willingly dispel, I will make the way exceedingly
easy.

I send you duplicates of this letter in order that you, or a majority
of you, may, if you choose, indorse your names upon one of them and
return it thus indorsed to me with the understanding that those
signing are thereby committed to the following propositions and to
nothing else:

1. That there is now a rebellion in the United States, the object
and tendency of which is to destroy the National Union; and that, in
your opinion, an army and navy are constitutional means for
suppressing that rebellion;

2. That no one of you will do anything which, in his own judgment,
will tend to hinder the increase, or favor the decrease, or lessen
the efficiency of the army or navy while engaged in the effort to
suppress that rebellion; and

3. That each of you will, in his sphere, do all he can to have the
officers, soldiers, and seamen of the army and navy, while engaged in
the effort to suppress the rebellion, paid, fed, clad, and otherwise
well provided for and supported.

And with the further understanding that upon receiving the letter and
names thus indorsed, I will cause them to be published, which
publication shall be, within itself, a revocation of the order in
relation to Mr. Vallandigham. It will not escape observation that I
consent to the release of Mr. Vallandigham upon terms not embracing
any pledge from him or from others as to what he will or will not do.
I do this because he is not present to speak for himself, or to
authorize others to speak for him; and because I should expect that
on his returning he would not put himself practically in antagonism
with the position of his friends. But I do it chiefly because I
thereby prevail on other influential gentlemen of Ohio to so define
their position as to be of immense value to the army--thus more than
compensating for the consequences of any mistake in allowing Mr.
Vallandigham to return; so that, on the whole, the public safety will
not have suffered by it. Still, in regard to Mr. Vallandigham and
all others, I must hereafter, as heretofore, do so much as the public
safety may seem to require.

I have the honor to be respectfully yours, etc.,

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR PARKER.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, June 30, 1863. 10.55

GOVERNOR PARKER, Trenton, N.J.:

Your despatch of yesterday received. I really think the attitude of
the enemy's army in Pennsylvania presents us the best opportunity we
have had since the war began. I think you will not see the foe in
New Jersey. I beg you to be assured that no one out of my position
can know so well as if he were in it the difficulties and
involvements of replacing General McClellan in command, and this
aside from any imputations upon him.

Please accept my sincere thanks for what you have done and are doing
to get troops forward.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO A. K. McCLURE.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, June 30, 1863.

A. K. McCLURE, Philadelphia:

Do we gain anything by opening one leak to stop another? Do we gain
anything by quieting one merely to open another, and probably a
larger one?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL COUCH.
[Cipher] WASHINGTON CITY, June 30, 1863. 3.23 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL COUCH, Harrisburg, Pa.:

I judge by absence of news that the enemy is not crossing or pressing
up to the Susquehanna. Please tell me what you know of his
movements.

A. LINCOLN

TO GENERAL D. HUNTER.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
June 30, 1863.

MAJOR-GENERAL HUNTER.

MY DEAR GENERAL: -I have just received your letter of the 25th of
June.

I assure you, and you may feel authorized in stating, that the recent
change of commanders in the Department of the South was made for no
reasons which convey any imputation upon your known energy,
efficiency, and patriotism; but for causes which seemed sufficient,
while they were in no degree incompatible with the respect and esteem
in which I have always held you as a man and an officer.

I cannot, by giving my consent to a publication of whose details I
know nothing, assume the responsibility of whatever you may write.
In this matter your own sense of military propriety must be your
guide, and the regulations of the service your rule of conduct.

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