The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Respectfully submitted,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, February 10, 1865.

MR. SEWARD TO MR. ADAMS.
(Extract.)
No. 1258.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, February 7,1865

On the morning of the 3d, the President, attended by the Secretary,
received Messrs. Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell on board the United
States steam transport River Queen in Hampton Roads. The conference
was altogether informal. There was no attendance of secretaries,
clerks, or other witnesses. Nothing was written or read. The
conversation, although earnest and free, was calm, and courteous, and
kind on both sides. The Richmond party approached the discussion
rather indirectly, and at no time did they either make categorical
demands, or tender formal stipulations or absolute refusals.
Nevertheless, during the conference, which lasted four hours, the
several points at issue between the Government and the insurgents
were distinctly raised, and discussed fully, intelligently, and in an
amicable spirit. What the insurgent party seemed chiefly to favor
was a postponement of the question of separation, upon which the war
is waged, and a mutual direction of efforts of the Government, as
well as those of the insurgents, to some extrinsic policy or scheme
for a season during which passions might be expected to subside, and
the armies be reduced, and trade and intercourse between the people
of both sections resumed. It was suggested by them that through such
postponement we might now have immediate peace, with some not very
certain prospect of an ultimate satisfactory adjustment of political
relations between this Government and the States, section, or people
now engaged in conflict with it.

This suggestion, though deliberately considered, was nevertheless
regarded by the President as one of armistice or truce, and he
announced that we can agree to no cessation or suspension of
hostilities, except on the basis of the disbandment of the insurgent
forces, and the restoration of the national authority throughout all
the States in the Union. Collaterally, and in subordination to the
proposition which was thus announced, the antislavery policy of the
United States was reviewed in all its bearings, and the President
announced that he must not be expected to depart from the positions
he had heretofore assumed in his proclamation of emancipation and
other documents, as these positions were reiterated in his last
annual message. It was further declared by the President that the
complete restoration of the national authority was an indispensable
condition of any assent on our part to whatever form of peace might
be proposed. The President assured the other party that, while he
must adhere to these positions, he would be prepared, so far as power
is lodged with the Executive, to exercise liberality. His power,
however, is limited by the Constitution; and when peace should be
made, Congress must necessarily act in regard to appropriations of
money and to the admission of representatives from the
insurrectionary States. The Richmond party were then informed that
Congress had, on the 31st ultimo, adopted by a constitutional
majority a joint resolution submitting to the several States the
proposition to abolish slavery throughout the Union, and that there
is every reason to expect that it will be soon accepted by three
fourths of the States, so as to become a part of the national organic
law.

The conference came to an end by mutual acquiescence, without
producing an agreement of views upon the several matters discussed,
or any of them. Nevertheless, it is perhaps of some importance that
we have been able to submit our opinions and views directly to
prominent insurgents, and to hear them in answer in a courteous and
not unfriendly manner.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

TO ADMIRAL DAVID D. PORTER.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,
February 10, 1865

REAR-ADMIRAL DAVID D. PORTER,
Commanding North Atlantic Squadron, Hampton Roads, Va.

SIR:--It is made my agreeable duty to enclose herewith the joint
resolution approved 24th January, 1865, tendering the thanks of
Congress to yourself, the officers and men under your command for
their gallantry and good conduct in the capture of Fort Fisher, and
through you to all who participated in that brilliant and decisive
victory under your command.

Very respectfully,

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL S. POPE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, February 12, 1865

MAJOR-GENERAL POPE, St. Louis, Missouri:

I understand that provost-marshals in different parts of Missouri are
assuming to decide that the conditions of bonds are forfeited, and
therefore are seizing and selling property to pay damages. This, if
true, is both outrageous and ridiculous. Do not allow it. The
courts, and not provost-marshals, are to decide such questions unless
when military necessity makes an exception. Also excuse John Eaton,
of Clay County, and Wesley Martin, of Platte, from being sent South,
and let them go East if anywhere.

A. LINCOLN

TO THE COMMANDING OFFICERS IN WEST TENNESSEE

WASHINGTON,
February 13, 1865.

TO THE MILITARY OFFICERS COMMANDING IN WEST
TENNESSEE:

While I cannot order as within requested, allow me to say that it is
my wish for you to relieve the people from all burdens, harassments,
and oppressions, so far as is possible consistently with your
military necessities; that the object of the war being to restore and
maintain the blessings of peace and good government, I desire you to
help, and not hinder, every advance in that direction.

Of your military necessities you must judge and execute, but please
do so in the spirit and with the purpose above indicated.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL J. POPE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, February 14, 1865.

MAJOR-GENERAL POPE, St. Louis, Missouri:

Yours of yesterday about provost-marshal system received. As part of
the same subject, let me say I am now pressed in regard to a pending
assessment in St. Louis County. Please examine and satisfy yourself
whether this assessment should proceed or be abandoned; and if you
decide that it is to proceed, please examine as to the propriety of
its application to a gentleman by the name of Charles McLaran.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL POPE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON February 15, 1865.

MAJOR-GENERAL POPE, St. Louis, Missouri:

Please ascertain whether General Fisk's administration is as good as
it might be, and answer me.

A. LINCOLN.

PROCLAMATION CONVENING THE SENATE IN EXTRA SESSION,

FEBRUARY 17, 1865.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

A Proclamation

Whereas objects of interest to the United States require that the
Senate should be convened at twelve o'clock on the fourth of March
next to receive and act upon such communications as may be made to it
on the part of the Executive;

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
have considered it to be my duty to issue this, my proclamation,
declaring that an extraordinary occasion requires the Senate of the
United States to convene for the transaction of business at the
Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the fourth day of March next,
at twelve o'clock at noon on that day, of which all who shall at that
time be entitled to act as members of that body are hereby required
to take notice.

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at
Washington...............

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

TELEGRAM TO OFFICER IN COMMAND AT HARPER'S FERRY.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, February 17, 1865

OFFICER IN COMMAND AT HARPER'S FERRY:

Chaplain Fitzgibbon yesterday sent me a despatch invoking Clemency
for Jackson, Stewart, and Randall, who are to be shot to-day. The
despatch is so vague that there is no means here of ascertaining
whether or not the execution of sentence of one or more of them may
not already have been ordered. If not suspend execution of sentence
m their cases until further orders and forward records of trials for
examination.

A. LINCOLN

MAJOR ECKERT:
Please send above telegram
JNO. G. NICOLAY.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL U.S. GRANT.
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 24, 1865

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT, City Point, Virginia:

I am in a little perplexity. I was induced to authorize a gentleman
to bring Roger A. Pryor here with a view of effecting an exchange of
him; but since then I have seen a despatch of yours showing that you
specially object to his exchange. Meantime he has reached here and
reported to me. It is an ungracious thing for me to send him back to
prison, and yet inadmissible for him to remain here long. Cannot
you help me out with it? I can conceive that there may be difference
to you in days, and I can keep him a few days to accommodate on that
point. I have not heard of my son's reaching you.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL POPE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, February 24, 1865

MAJOR-GENERAL POPE, Saint Louis, Mo.:

Please inquire and report to me whether there is any propriety of
longer keeping in Gratiott Street Prison a man said to be there by
the name of Riley Whiting.

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
WASHINGTON, February 25, 1865

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT, City Point, Virginia:

General Sheridan's despatch to you, of to-day, in which he says he
"will be off on Monday," and that he "will leave behind about two
thousand men," causes the Secretary of War and myself considerable
anxiety. Have you well considered whether you do not again leave
open the Shenandoah Valley entrance to Maryland and Pennsylvania, or,
at least, to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 27, 1865.

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT, City Point, Virginia:

Subsequent reflection, conference with General Halleck, your
despatch, and one from General Sheridan, have relieved my anxiety;
and so I beg that you will dismiss any concern you may have on my
account, in the matter of my last despatch.

A. LINCOLN.

TO T. W. CONWAY.

EXECUTIVE MANSION,
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 1, 1865.

MR. THOMAS W. CONWAY,
General Superintendent Freedmen,
Department of the Gulf.

SIR:--Your statement to Major-General Hurlbut of the condition of the
freedmen of your department, and of your success in the work of their
moral and physical elevation, has reached me and given me much
pleasure.

That we shall be entirely successful in our efforts I firmly believe.

The blessing of God and the efforts of good and faithful men will
bring us an earlier and happier consummation than the most sanguine
friends of the freedmen could reasonably expect.

Yours,

A. LINCOLN,

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL U.S. GRANT.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 2, 1865.

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT, City Point, Va.:

You have not sent contents of Richmond papers for Tuesday or
Wednesday. Did you not receive them? If not, does it indicate
anything?

A. LINCOLN.

TELEGRAM FROM SECRETARY STANTON
TO GENERAL GRANT.
WASHINGTON, March 3, 1865. 12 PM.

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT:

The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no
conference with General Lee unless it be for the capitulation of
General Lee's army, or on some minor and purely military matter. He
instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer
upon any political question. Such questions the President holds in
his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or
conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military
advantages.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS,

MARCH 4, 1865.

FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN :--At this second appearing to take the oath of the
presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address
than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of
a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the
expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been
constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest
which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the
nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our
arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the
public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and
encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in
regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts
were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it,
all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being
delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union
without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it
without war seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by
negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make
war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept
war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One eighth of the whole population was colored slaves, not
distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern
part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful
interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the
war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the
object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war,
while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the
territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war
the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither
anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even
before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier
triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the
same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against
the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a
just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other
men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The
prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been
answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the
world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come,
but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose
that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the
providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued
through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives
to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by
whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from
those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always
ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this
mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that
it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred
and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every
drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with
the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be
said, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the
right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish
the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him
who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to
do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among
ourselves and with all nations.

TELEGRAM TO GENERAL JOHN POPE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 7, 1865

MAJOR-GENERAL POPE, St. Louis, Missouri:

Please state briefly, by telegraph, what you concluded about the
assessments in St. Louis County. Early in the war one Samuel B.
Churchill was sent from St. Louis to Louisville, where I have quite
satisfactory evidence that he has not misbehaved. Still I am told
his property at St. Louis is subjected to the assessment, which I
think it ought not to be. Still I wish to know what you think.

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