The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7

There have been captured by the Navy during the year 324 vessels, and
the whole number of naval captures since hostilities commenced is
1379, of which 267 are steamers.

The gross proceeds arising from the sale of condemned prize property
thus far reported amount to $14,369,250.51. A large amount of such
proceeds is still under adjudication and yet to be reported.

The total expenditure of the Navy Department of every description,
including the cost of the immense squadrons that have been called
into existence from the fourth of March, 1861, to the first of
November, 1864, is $238,647,262.35.

Your favorable consideration is invited to the various
recommendations of the Secretary of the Navy, especially in regard to
a navy-yard and suitable establishment for the construction and
repair of iron vessels and the machinery and armature for our ships,
to which reference was made in my last annual message.

Your attention is also invited to the views expressed in the report
in relation to the legislation of Congress at its last session in
respect to prize on our inland waters.

I cordially concur in the recommendation of the Secretary as to the
propriety of creating the new rank of vice-admiral in our naval

Your attention is invited to the report of the Postmaster-General for
a detailed account of the operations and financial condition of the
Post-Office Department.

The postal revenues for the year ending June 30, 1864, amounted to
$12,438,253.78, and the expenditures to $12,644,786.20, the excess of
expenditures over receipts being $206,532.42.

The views presented by the Postmaster-General on the subject of
special grants by the Government in aid of the establishment of new
lines of ocean mail steamships and the policy he recommends for the
development of increased commercial intercourse with adjacent and
neighboring countries should receive the careful consideration of

It is of noteworthy interest that the steady expansion of population,
improvement, and governmental institutions over the new and
unoccupied portions of our country have scarcely been checked, much
less impeded or destroyed, by our great civil war, which at first
glance would seem to have absorbed almost the entire energies of the

The organization and admission of the State of Nevada has been
completed in conformity with law, and thus our excellent system is
firmly established in the mountains, which once seemed a barren and
uninhabitable waste between the Atlantic States and those which have
grown up on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

The Territories of the Union are generally in a condition of
prosperity and rapid growth. Idaho and Montana, by reason of their
great distance and the interruption of communication with them by
Indian hostilities, have been only partially organized; but it is
understood that these difficulties are about to disappear, which will
permit their governments, like those of the others, to go into speedy
and full operation.

As intimately connected with and promotive of this material growth of
the nation, I ask the attention of Congress to the valuable
information and important recommendations relating to the public
lands, Indian affairs, the Pacific Railroad, and mineral discoveries
contained in the report of the Secretary of the Interior which is
herewith transmitted, and which report also embraces the subjects of
patents, pensions, and other topics of public interest pertaining to
his Department.

The quantity of public land disposed of during the five quarters
ending on the thirtieth of September last was 4,221,342 acres, of
which 1,538,614 acres were entered under the homestead law. The
remainder was located with military land warrants, agricultural scrip
certified to States for railroads, and sold for cash. The cash
received from sales and location fees was $1,019,446.

The income from sales during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1864,
was $678,007.21, against $136,077.95 received during the preceding
year. The aggregate number of acres surveyed during the year has
been equal to the quantity disposed of, and there is open to
settlement about 133,000,000 acres of surveyed land.

The great enterprise of connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific
States by railways and telegraph lines has been entered upon with a
vigor that gives assurance of success, notwithstanding the
embarrassments arising from the prevailing high prices of materials
and labor. The route of the main line of the road has been
definitely located for one hundred miles westward from the initial
point at Omaha City, Nebraska, and a preliminary location of the
Pacific Railroad of California has been made from Sacramento eastward
to the great bend of the Truckee River in Nevada.

Numerous discoveries of gold, silver, and cinnabar mines have been
added to the many heretofore known, and the country occupied by the
Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountains and the subordinate ranges now
teems with enterprising labor, which is richly remunerative. It is
believed that the produce of the mines of precious metals in that
region has during the year reached, if not exceeded, $100,000,000 in

It was recommended in my last annual message that our Indian system
be remodeled. Congress at its last session, acting upon the
recommendation, did provide for reorganizing the system in
California, and it is believed that under the present organization
the management of the Indians there will be attended with reasonable
success. Much yet remains to be done to provide for the proper
government of the Indians in other parts of the country, to render it
secure for the advancing settler, and to provide for the welfare of
the Indian. The Secretary reiterates his recommendations, and to
them the attention of Congress is invited.

The liberal provisions made by Congress for paying pensions to
invalid soldiers and sailors of the Republic and to the widows,
orphans, and dependent mothers of those who have fallen in battle or
died of disease contracted or of wounds received in the service of
their country have been diligently administered. There have been
added to the pension rolls during the year ending the 3oth day of
June last the names of 16,770 invalid soldiers and of 271 disabled
seamen, making the present number of army invalid pensioners 22,767
and of navy invalid pensioners 712.

Of widows, orphans, and mothers 22,198 have been placed on the army
pension rolls and 248 on the navy rolls. The present number of army
pensioners of this class is 25,433 and of navy pensioners 793. At
the beginning of the year the number of Revolutionary pensioners was
1430. Only twelve of them were soldiers, of whom seven have since
died. The remainder are those who under the law receive pensions
because of relationship to Revolutionary soldiers. During the year
ending the thirtieth of June, 1864, $4,504,616.92 have been paid to
pensioners of all classes.

I cheerfully commend to your continued patronage the benevolent
institutions of the District of Columbia which have hitherto been
established or fostered by Congress, and respectfully refer for
information concerning them and in relation to the Washington
Aqueduct, the Capitol, and other matters of local interest to the
report of the Secretary.

The Agricultural Department, under the supervision of its present
energetic and faithful head, is rapidly commending itself to the
great and vital interest it was created to advance. It is peculiarly
the people’s department, in which they feel more directly concerned
than in any other. I commend it to the continued attention and
fostering care of Congress.

The war continues. Since the last annual message all the important
lines and positions then occupied by our forces have been maintained
and our arms have steadily advanced, thus liberating the regions left
in rear, so that Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of other
States have again produced reasonably fair crops.

The most remarkable feature in the military operations of the year is
General Sherman’s attempted march of three hundred miles directly
through the insurgent region. It tends to show a great increase of
our relative strength that our General-in-Chief should feel able to
confront and hold in check every active force of the enemy, and yet
to detach a well-appointed large army to move on such an expedition.
The result not yet being known, conjecture in regard to it is not
here indulged.

Important movements have also occurred during the year to the effect
of molding society for durability in the Union. Although short of
complete success, it is much in the right direction that twelve
thousand citizens in each of the States of Arkansas and Louisiana
have organized loyal State governments, with free constitutions, and
are earnestly struggling to maintain and administer them. The
movements in the same direction more extensive though less definite
in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, should not be overlooked. But
Maryland presents the example of complete success. Maryland is
secure to liberty and union for all the future. The genius of
rebellion will no more claim Maryland. Like another foul spirit
being driven out, it may seek to tear her, but it will woo her no

At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the
Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States passed
the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in
the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same
Congress and nearly the same members, and without questioning the
wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to
recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the
present session. Of course the abstract question is not changed; but
an intervening election shows almost certainly that the next Congress
will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is only a
question of time as to when the proposed amendment will go to the
States for their action. And as it is to so go at all events, may we
not agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the
election has imposed a duty on members to change their views or their
votes any further than, as an additional element to be considered,
their judgment may be affected by it. It is the voice of the people
now for the first time heard upon the question. In a great national
crisis like ours, unanimity of action among those seeking a common
end is very desirable, almost indispensable. And yet no approach to
such unanimity is attainable unless some deference shall be paid to
the will of the majority simply because it is the will of the
majority. In this case the common end is the maintenance of the
Union, and among the means to secure that end such will, through the
election, is most clearly declared in favor of such Constitutional

The most reliable indication of public purpose in this country is
derived through our popular elections. Judging by the recent canvass
and its result, the purpose of the people within the loyal States to
maintain the integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more
nearly unanimous than now. The extraordinary calmness and good order
with which the millions of voters met and mingled at the polls give
strong assurance of this. Not only all those who supported the Union
ticket, so called, but a great majority of the opposing party also
may be fairly claimed to entertain and to be actuated by the same
purpose. It is an unanswerable argument to this effect that no
candidate for any office whatever, high or low, has ventured to seek
votes on the avowal that he was for giving up the Union. There have
been much impugning of motives and much heated controversy as to the
proper means and best mode of advancing the Union cause, but on the
distinct issue of Union or no Union the politicians have shown their
instinctive knowledge that there is no diversity among the people.
In affording the people the fair opportunity of showing one to
another and to the world this firmness and unanimity of purpose, the
election has been of vast value to the national cause.

The election has exhibited another fact not less valuable to be
known–the fact that we do not approach exhaustion in the most
important branch of national resources, that of living men. While it
is melancholy to reflect that the war has filled so many graves and
carried mourning to so many hearts, it is some relief to know that,
compared with the surviving, the fallen have been so few. While
corps and divisions and brigades and regiments have formed and fought
and dwindled and gone out of existence, a great majority of the men
who composed them are still living. The same is true of the naval
service. The election returns prove this. So many voters could not
else be found. The States regularly holding elections, both now and
four years ago, to wit, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio,
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and
Wisconsin, cast 3,982,011 votes now, against 3,870,222 cast then,
showing an aggregate now of 3,982,011. To this is to be added 33,762
cast now in the new States of Kansas and Nevada, which States did not
vote in 1860, thus swelling the aggregate to 4,015,773 and the net
increase during the three years and a half of war to 145,551. A
table is appended showing particulars. To this again should be added
the number of all soldiers in the field from Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, and California, who
by the laws of those States could not vote away from their homes, and
which number can not be less than 90,000. Nor yet is this all. The
number in organized Territories is triple now what it was four years
ago–while thousands, white and black, join us as the national arms
press back the insurgent lines. So much is shown, affirmatively and
negatively, by the election. It is not material to inquire how the
increase has been produced or to show that it would have been greater
but for the war, which is probably true. The important fact remains
demonstrated that we have more men now than we had when the war
began; that we are not exhausted nor in process of exhaustion; that
we are gaining strength and may if need be maintain the contest
indefinitely. [This sentence recognizes the concern of a guerilla
war after the main war finished.]This as to men. Material resources
are now more complete and abundant than ever.

The national resources, then, are unexhausted, and, as we believe,
inexhaustible. The public purpose to re-establish and maintain the
national authority is unchanged, and, as we believe, unchangeable.
The manner of continuing the effort remains to choose. On careful
consideration of all the evidence accessible it seems to me that no
attempt at negotiation with the insurgent leader could result in any
good. He would accept nothing short of severance of the Union,
precisely what we will not and can not give. His declarations to
this effect are explicit and oft repeated. He does not attempt to
deceive us. He affords us no excuse to deceive ourselves. He can
not voluntarily reaccept the Union; we can not voluntarily yield it.
Between him and us the issue is distinct, simple, and inflexible. It
is an issue which can only be tried by war and decided by victory.
If we yield, we are beaten; if the Southern people fail him, he is
beaten. Either way it would be the victory and defeat following war.
What is true, however, of him who heads the insurgent cause is not
necessarily true of those who follow. Although he can not reaccept
the Union, they can. Some of them, we know, already desire peace and
reunion. The number of such may increase. They can at any moment
have peace simply by laying down their arms and submitting to the
national authority under the Constitution. After so much the
Government could not, if it would, maintain war against them. The
loyal people would not sustain or allow it. If questions should
remain, we would adjust them by the peaceful means of legislation,
conference, courts, and votes, operating only in Constitutional and
lawful channels. Some certain, and other possible, questions are and
would be beyond the Executive power to adjust; as, for instance, the
admission of members into Congress and whatever might require the
appropriation of money. The Executive power itself would be greatly
diminished by the cessation of actual war. Pardons and remissions of
forfeitures, however, would still be within Executive control. In
what spirit and temper this control would be exercised can be fairly
judged of by the past.

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