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prevent intemperance in the army is even a part of the articles. of war. It is part of the law of the land, and was so, I presume, long ago, to dismiss officers for drunkenness. I am not sure that, consistent with the public service, more can be done than has been done. All, therefore, that I can promise you is (if you will be pleased to furnish me with a copy of your address), to have it submitted to the proper department, and have it considered whether it contains any suggestions which will improve the cause of temperance and repress the cause of drunkenness in the army any better than it is already done. I can promise no more than that.
I think that the reasonable men of the world have long since agreed that intemperance is one of the greatest, if not the very greatest, of all evils among mankind. That is not a matter of dispute, I believe. That the disease exists, and that it is a very great one, is agreed upon by all.
The mode of cure is one about which there may be differences of opinion. You have suggested that in an army-our army-drunkenness is a great evil, and one which, while it exists to a very great extent, we can not expect to overcome so entirely as to leave such successes in our arms as we might have without it. This, undoubtedly, is true, and while it is, perhaps, rather a bad source to derive comfort from, nevertheless, in a hard struggle, I do not know but what it is some consolation to be aware that there is some intemperance on the other side, too; and that they have no right to beat us in physical combat on that ground.
But I have already said more than I expected to be able to say when I began, and if you please to hand me a copy of your address, it shall be considered. I thank you very heartily, gentlemen, for this call, and for bringing with you these very many pretty ladies.
MR. LINCOLN'S "SHORTEST AND BEST SPEECH."
There appeared in the Washington Chronicle, of December 7, 1864, this little paragraph, including what Mr. Lincoln himself pronounced his shortest and best speech-the "report" being in his own words as he gave them:
On Thursday of last week two ladies from Tennessee came before the President, asking the release of their husbands, held as prisoners of war at Johnson's Island. They were put off until Friday, when they came again, and were again put off until Saturday. At each of the interviews one of the ladies
urged that her husband was a religious man, and on Saturday, when the President ordered the release of the prisoners, he said to this lady: "You say your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their Government, because, as they think, that Government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread in the sweat of other men's faces, is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven."
SPEECH TO OHIO SOLDIERS, August 18, 1864.
The following speech was made to a regiment of Ohio "hundred-days men," who paid him a visit of respect, as they were about to go home, at the close of their service:
SOLDIERS: You are about to return to your homes and your friends, after having, as I learn, performed in camp a comparatively short term of duty in this great contest. I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country. I wish it to be more generally understood what the country is now engaged in. We have, as all will agree, a free government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle this form of government and every form of human rights are endangered, if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed. I say this in order to impress upon you, if you are not already so impressed, that no small matter should divert us from our great purpose. There may be some inequalities in the practical application of our system. It is fair that each man shall pay taxes in exact proportion to the value of his property; but if we should wait, before collecting a tax, to adjust the taxes upon cach man in exact proportion with every other man, we should never collect any tax at all. There may be mistakes made sometimes; things may be done wrong while all the officers of the Government do all they can to prevent mistakes. But I beg of you, as citizens of this great republic, not to let your minds be carried off from the great work we have before us. This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter. When you return to your homes, rise up to the hight of a generation of men worthy of a free government,
and we will carry out the great work we have commenced. I return to you my sincere thanks for the honor you have done me this afternoon.
SPEECH TO OHIO SOLDIERS, August 31, 1864.
On a similar occasion, at a later day, Mr. Lincoln made the following speech to another regiment:
Soldiers of the 148th Ohio: I am most happy to meet you on this occasion. I understand that it has been your honorable privilege to stand, for a brief period, in the defense of your country, and that now you are on your way to your homes. I congratulate you, and those who are waiting to bid you welcome home from the war; and permit me, in the name of the people, to thank you for the part you have taken in this struggle for the life of the nation. You are soldiers of the Republic, everywhere honored and respected. Whenever I appear before a body of soldiers, I feel tempted to talk to them of the nature of the struggle in which we are engaged. I look upon it as an attempt on the one hand to overwhelm and destroy the national existence, while on our part we are striving to maintain the government and institutions of our fathers, to enjoy them ourselves, and transmit them to our children, and our children's children forever.
To do this, the constitutional administration of our Government must be sustained, and I beg of you not to allow your minds or your hearts to be diverted from the support of all necessary measures for that purpose, by any miserable picayune arguments addressed to your pockets, or inflammatory appeal made to your passions and your prejudices.
It is vain and foolish to arraign this man or that for the part he has taken, or has not taken, and to hold the Government responsible for his acts. In no administration can there be perfect equality of action and uniform satisfaction rendered by all. But the Government must be preserved in spite of the acts of any man or set of men. It is worthy of your every effort. Nowhere in the world is presented a Government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest among us, are held out the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father's.
Again, I admonish you not to be turned from your stern purpose of defending our beloved country and its free institutions, by any arguments urged by ambitious and designing men, but stand fast to the Union and the old flag.
Soldiers, I bid you God-speed to your homes.
LETTER TO GOV. HAHN, OF LOUISIANA. EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 13, 1864. HON. MICHAEL HAHN-My Dear Sir: I congratulate you on having fixed your name in history as the first Free-State Governor of Louisiana. Now you are about to have a convention, which, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest, for your private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in, as, for instance, the very intelligent and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone.
LETTER TO MRS. ELIZA B. GURNEY.
WASHINGTON, September 4, 1864.
ELIZA B. GURNEY--My esteemed Friend: I have not forgotten, probably never shall forget, the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon, two years ago, nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten.
In all it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance upon God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations, and to no one of them more than to yourself.
The purposes of the Almighty are perfect and must prevail, though we crring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance.
We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this, but God knows best and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own errors therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make and no mortal could stay. Your people, the Friends, have had and are having very great trials on principles and faith. Opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. In this hard dilemma some have chosen one horn and some the other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could