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REPLY TO AN ADDRESS OF COLORED
MEN AT THE EXECUTIVE
MANSION, AUG. 14, 1862.
“ It is a cheering thought, throughout life, that something can be done to ameliorate the condition of those who have been subject to the hard usage of the world. It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to the Great God who made him. In the American Revolutionary war, sacrifices were made by men engaged in it, but they were cheered by the future. General Washington himself endured greater physical hardships than if he had remained a British subject, yet he was a happy man, because he was benefiting his race ;-in doing something for the children of his neighbors, having none of his own."
LETTER TO GOVERNOR HAHN OF LOUISIANA, WITH REFERENCE
TO RECONSTRUCTION IN 1863. “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 fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom.”
OF THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION-REMARKS TO THE CHICAGO
DEPUTATION, SEPT. 13, 1862. “I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but hold the matter under advisement. And I can assure you that
the subject is on my mind, by day and night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do!”
CONVERSATIONALLY, SEPT., 1864.
“ There's just one thing I want to say. The war is nearly over. Just when it will end, I can't say, but it won't be a great while. Then the government forces must be withdrawn from all the Southern States. Sooner or later, we must take them all away. Now, what I want you to do is this : do all you can, in any and every way you can, to get the ballot into the hands of the freedmen! We must make voters of them before take away the troops.
The ballot will be their only protection after the bayonet is gone, and they will be sure to need all they can get. I can see just how it will be.-Will you ?"
OF THE CIVIL WAR.
MR. LINCOLN was, under the
Constitution, the Commanderin-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, yet neither the one nor the other was in existence on the day when he took the oath of office and assumed the responsibility of defending the life of the Republic. Almost his first duty was to call out and arm soldiers and to obtain and equip vessels of
No other president, excepting Washington, was ever compelled to be actually the general-in-chief, supervising, if need should be, all subordinate generals. His communications with commanders in the field were more complete than was
at any time possible before the creation of the military telegraphsystem. They were, for altogether the greater part, conducted through the War Office, including, with the Secretary of War, the successive ranking generals, from Scott to Grant. There were a few written epistles, mere epistolary dispatches, perpetual inquiry, counsel, encouragement, but now that the occasions for them and the communications themselves have been subjected to careful study and analysis, the positions taken and the advice or directions given by the president are wonderfully vindicated. All that his contemporary critics described as his “interference with military affairs," may be better summed up in the language of General Grant, May 1, 1864. “From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country to the pres