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Speech at Washington.
The Women of Americe.
will, on application, in proper cases, issue certificates of such records in the customary form of official certificates.
"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the scal of the United States to be affixed.
"Done at the city of Washington, this twenty-sixth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight bundred and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. “ By the President:
“A BRAHAM LINCOLN. “W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
I resident's Speech at Washington—Speech to a New York Committee-Speech in Balti
more,Letter to a Kentuckian-Employment of Colored Troops-Davis's Threat-General Order-President's Order on the Subject.
On the night of the eighteenth of March, 1864, in response to a call from the multitude at a fair held in the Patent Office at Washington, in aid of an organization for the relief of Union soldiers everywhere, Mr. Lincoln spoke as follows:
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :-I appear, to say but a word. This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, 'All that a man hath will be give for his life;' and, wbile all contribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country's cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.
"In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and among these manifestations nothing has
The Women of America.
Speech to the Workingmen).
been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffer. ing soldiers and their families.' And the chief agents in these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of the language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say, that, if all that has been said by orators and poets, since the creation of the world, in praise of women, were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America !"
Three days later, a committee appointed by the Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association of New York waited on the President, and presented him with an address informing him that he had been elected a member of that organization. After the chairman had stated the object of the visit, Mr. Lincoln made the following reply :
“GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE :~The honorary membership in your Association so generously tendered is gratefully accepted. You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing rebellion means more and tends to more than the perpetuation of African slavery—that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people. Partly to show that the view has not escaped my attention, and partly that I eannot better express myself, I read a passage from the message to Congress in December, 1861:
" It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government-the rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the abridgement of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers, except the legislative body, boldly advocated with labored
Speech to the Workingmen.
Labor and Capital
arguments, to prove that large control of the people in government is the source of all political evil. Monarchy is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people. In my present position, I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising my voice against this approach of returning despotism.
"It is not needed or fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of the Government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital ; that nobody labors unless somebody else owning capital somehow, by use of it, induces him to labor.
“ • This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either bired laborers or what we call slaves. And, further, it is assumed that whoever is onoe a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both of these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.
"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and never could have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the support of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of a community
Bpeech to the Workingmen.
The Prudent Beginner.
exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and with that capital hire or buy another few to labor for them,
"A large majority belong to neither class-neither work for others nor have others working for them. In most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people, of all colors, are neither slaves nor masters, while, in the Northern States, a large majority are neither hirers nor bired. Men with their families—wives, sons, and daughters—work for themselves on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital—that is, they labor with their own hands and also buy or bire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.
“Again. As has already been said, there is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life. Many independent men everywhere in these States, a few years back in their lives, were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or lands for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length bires another new beginner to help him. This is the just, and generous, and prosperous system which opens the way to all-gives hope to all, and consequent energy, and progress, and improvement to all. men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty - none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will -surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to
Speech to the Workingmen.
Speech in Baltimore.
tix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.'
“The views then expressed remain unchanged—nor have I much to add. None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudices working disunion and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer, was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable ; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and bence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one • for himself; thus, by example, assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."
And in Baltimore - that Baltimore through which, in February, 1861, he had been compelled to pass by stealth, to avoid the assassin, on his way to his inauguration—on the 18th of April, 1864, the anniversary eve of that murder of loyal citizens armed in defence of their imperilled countryMr. Lincoln spoke at a similar Fair, and spoke, too, of slavery, as of an institution practically annibilated in Maryland.
Truly some advance had been made during those three years, so pregnant with events !
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :-Calling it to mind that we are in Baltimore, we cannot fail to note that the world moves. Looking upon the many people I see assembled here to serve as they best may the soldiers of the Union, it occurs to me