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Randolph, a committee appointed by the Virginia Convention, were formally received by the President, and presented the resolutions under which they were appointed. In response, Mr. Lincoln made the following address :
“ GENTLEMEN : As a committee of the Virginia Convention, now in session, you present me a preamble and resolution in these words :
"• Whereas, in the opinion of this Convention, the uncertainty which prevails in the public mind as to the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue towards the seceded States is extremely injurious to the industrial and commercial interests of the country, tends to keep up an excitement which is upfavorable to the adjustment of the pending difficulties, and threatens a disturbance of the public peace; therefore,
“'Resolved, That a committee of three delegates be appointed to wait on the President of the United States, present to him this preamble, and respectfully ask him to communicate to this Convention the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue in regard to the Confederate States.'
“In answer I have to say, that having, at the beginning of my official term, expressed my intended policy as plainly as I was able, it is with deep regret and mortification I now learn there is great and injurious uncertainty in the public mind as to what that policy is, and what course I intend to pursue. Not having as yet seen occasion to change, it is now my purpose to pursue the course marked out in the inaugural address. I commend a careful consideration of the whole document as the best expression I can give to my purposes. As I then and therein said, Í now repeat, The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties and imports ; but beyond what is necessary for these objects there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.' By the words property and places belonging to the Government,' I
chiefly allude to the military posts and property which were in – possession of the government when it came into my hands.
But if, as now appears to be true, in pursuit of a purpose to drive the United States authority from these places, an unprovoked assault has been made upon Fort Sumter, I shall hold myself at liberty to repossess it, if I can, like places which had been seized before the Government was devolved upon me, and in any event I shall, to the best of my ability, repel force by force. In case it proves true that Fort Sumter has been assaulted, as is reported, I shall, perhaps, cause the United States mails to be withdrawn from all the States which claim to have seceded, believing that the commencement of actual war against the Government justifies and possibly demands it. I scarcely need to say that I consider the military posts and property situated within the States which claim to have seceded, as yet belonging to the Government of the United States as much as they did before the supposed secession. Whatever else I may do for the purpose, I shall not attempt to collect the duties and imposts by any armed invasion of any part of the country; not meaning by this, however, that I may not land a force deemed necessary to relieve a fort upon the border of the country. From the fact that I have quoted a part of the inaugural address, it must not be inferred that I repudiate any other part, the whole of which I reaffirm, except so far as what I now say of the mails may be regarded as a modification.”
Two days later the following proclamation was issued :
THE FIRST CALL FOR TROOPS.---CONGRESS
. SUMMONED TO ASSEMBLE. " Whereas, The laws of the United States have been for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law; now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate num. ber of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
“The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department. I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and existence of our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth, will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union ; and in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons com. posing the combinations aforesaid, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within twenty days from this date.
“ Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Con
gress. The Senators and Representatives are, therefore, summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.
“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. “ Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of April, in
the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixtyone, and of the independence of the United States the eighyfifth. “ By the President:
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “ WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
Within three days after the appeal had been made to the patriots of the North, six hundred of their number had arrived in Washington, prepared for active duty and ready to sacrifice their lives in defence of the capital. The avenues to the city of Washington were guarded night and day, and cannon were placed in position. The excitement was intense, but amid all the various apprehensions of the residents and the country, he, who really should have been more especially anxious and fearful, was always calm and collected. The murderous outbreak in Baltimore on the nineteenth only increased the excitement, but, as if indifferent to the scenes which were in progress immediately around him, the President issued the following Proclamation, ordering a blockade of the Southern ports : A BLOCKADE OF SOUTHERN PORTS ORDERED.
“Whereas, An insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be efficiently executed therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States.
“And whereas, A combination of persons, engaged in such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters of marque to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas, and in waters of the United States.
"And whereas, An Executive Proclamation has been already issued, requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom, calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Congress in extraordinary session to deliberate and determine thereon.
“Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of th3 United States, with a view to the same purpose before mentioned, and to the protection of the public peace, and the lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or until the same shall have ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States and of the laws of nations in such cases provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If, therefore, with a view to violate such block. ade, a vessel shall approach, or shall attempt to leave any of the said ports, she will be duly warned by the commander of one of the blockading vessels, who will indorse on her register the fact and date of such warning; and if the same vessel shall again attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port, she will be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port, for such proceedings against her and her cargo as prize as may be deemed advisable.
"And I hereby proclaim and declare, that if any person, under the pretended authority of said States, or under any other pretence, shall molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her, such person will be held amenable to the laws of the United States for the prevention and punishment of piracy. ** By the President:
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “ WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State,
“Washington, April 19th, 1861."
THE PRESIDENT'S COMMUNICATION WITH
THE MARYLAND AUTHORITIES. On the twentieth of April, the President sent the following letter to the Governor of Maryland and also to the Mayor of Baltimore :
“WASHINGTON, April 20th, 1861. “GOVERNOR HICKS AND Mayor Brown:
“ GENTLEMEN :-Your letter by Messrs. 'Bond, Dobbin, and Brune, is received. I tender you both my sincere thanks for your efforts to keep the peace in the trying situation in which you are placed. For the future, troops must be brought here, but I make no point of bringing them through Baltimore.
“Without any military knowledge myself, of course I must leave details to General Scott. He hastily said this morning, in presence of those gentlemen, · March them around Baltimore, and not through it.'
“I sincerely hope the general, on fuller reflection, will consider this practical and proper, and that you will not object to it. By this a collision of the people of Baltimore with the troops will be avoided, unless they go out of the way to seek it. I hope you will exert your influence to prevent this. Now and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of government “ Your obedient servant,
And on the twenty-first, he sent a despatch to Mayor Brown, requesting him to proceed immediately to Washington, a request that was obeyed, and upon arriving at the White House the invited guest was admitted to an interview with the Cabinet and General Scott. The Presi, dent informed the Mayor, and three of the citizens of Bal- timore who had accompanied him, that he recognized the good faith of the City and State authorities, but should insist upon a recognition of his own. . He admitted the excited state of feeling in Baltimore, and his desire and duty to avoid the fatal consequences of a collision with the people. He urged, on the other hand, the absolute, irresistible necessity of having a transit through the State for such troops as might be necessary for the protection of the Federal capital. The protection of Washington, he asseverated with great earnestness, was the sole object of concentrating troops there ; and he protested that none of the troops brought through Maryland were intended for any purposes hostile to the State, or aggressive as against the Southern States. Being now unable to bring them up the Potomac in seccrity, the Government must either bring them through Maryland or abandon the capital.
He called on General Scott for his opinion, which the General gave at length, to the effect that troops might be