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Letter to Union Men.
A Sure Peace.
keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And then there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation ; while I fear that there will be some white men unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they have striven to hinder it. Still let us not be over sanguine of a speedy final triumph. Let us be quite sober. Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in his own good time, will give us the rightful result. “Yours very truly,
A BRAHAM LINCOLN." Desirous of inaugurating the custom of setting apart each year a common day throughout the land for thanksgiving and prayer, Mr. Lincoln issued the following:
“BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.A PROCLAMATION :—The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to even penetrate and soften the heart which is babitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has
sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of • foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations,
order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict. While that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union, the needful diversion of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, has not
arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship. The axe bas enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded
more abundantly than beretofore. Population bas steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect a continuance of years, with a large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised, nor bath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
“ It hath seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, devoutly, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and voice, by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such signal deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our National perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tentler care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers, in the lamentable civil strife in which we unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.
“In testimony whereof, I have bereunto set my band, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
“ Done at the City of Washington, this, the third day of
Address at Gettysburg.
The Honored Dead
October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. “By the President:
A BRAHAM LINCOLN. " WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
On the 19th of November, 1863, President Lincoln delivered the following dedicatory address upon the occasion of consecrating a National Cemetery at Gettysburg, for the secure rest of those brave men who yielded up their lives in behalf of their country during the three days' battle at that place :
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men•are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final restingplace of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
“But in a larger sense we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled bere, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we bere highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Organization of the House.
Different Opinions as to Reconstruction,
THE THIRTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS.
Organization of the House-Different Opinions as to Reconstruction-Provisions for Par
don of Rebels-President's Proclamation of Pardon-Annual Message-Explanatory Proclamation.
UPON the assembling of the Thirty-eighth Congress, December 7th, 1863—that Congress, in the lower branch of which the Opposition had counted upon a majority—the supporters of the Government found no difficulty in electing their candidates for Speaker by a majority of twenty, nor a radical anti-slavery man as Chaplain, albeit against the latter was offered as candidate an Episcopalian Bishop, nameless here, who had had the effrontery since the outbreak of the war to appear before the public as a defender of the institution upon Christian principles.
With the success of our arms-movements toward an organization of the local governments in the States of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas being in progress—the difficult question as to the principles upon which such reorganization should be effected presented itself for settlement.
Some took the ground that, by virtue of their rebellion, the disloyal States had lapsed into mere territorial organizations, and should remain in that condition until again admitted into the Union.
Others contended that this would be, in effect, to recognize secession, and maintained that, whatever might have been the acts of the inhabitants of any State, the State as such still constituted an integral member of the Union, entitled to all privileges as such, whenever a sufficient number of loyal citizens chose to exercise the right of suffrage—the General
Different Opinions as to Reconstruction.
Proclamation of Pardon.
Government seeing to it, as was its duty under the Constitution, that a republican form was guarantied. As to what number of loyal inhabitants should suffice, opinions differed.
Congress had provided, by an act approved July 17, 1862:
That the President is hereby authorized, at any time here: after, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions, and at such time, and on such conditions, as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.
In accordance with this authority, the following proclamation was issued by Mr. Lincoln, by which it appeared he beld
himself pledged, before the world and to the persons immedi- ately affected by it, to make an adherence to the policy of
emancipation, inaugurated by hin, à condition precedent to any act of clemency to be exercised by himself :
“WHEREAS, In and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President'shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment;' and whereas, a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal State Governments of several States have for a long time been subverted, and many persons have committed and are now guilty of treason against the United States; and whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have been enacted by Congress declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated ; and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such times and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare; and whereas, the