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Expressing my profound gratitude for the flattering testimonial of their regards and esteem, be pleased to bear to them my acceptance of their kind invitation, and inform them, I will comply in accordance with their expressed desire, on the 12th day of February next. With feelings of high consideration, I remain your obedient servant,
LINCOLN TO COLFAX.
Executive Mansion, March 8, 1861.
Hon. Schuyler Colfax.
My Dear Sir: Your letter of the 6th has just been handed me by Mr. Baker, of Minnesota. When I said to you the other day that I wished to write you a letter, I had reference, of course, to my not having offered you a Cabinet appointment.
I meant to say, and now do say, you are most honorably and amply recommended; and a tender of the appointment was not withheld, in any part, because of anything happening in 1858. Indeed, I should have decided as I did easier than I did had that matter never existed. I had partly made up my mind in favor of Mr. Smith-not conclusively, of coursebefore your name was mentioned in that connection. When you were brought forward, I said, "Colfax is a young man, is already in position, is running a brilliant career, and is sure of a bright future in any eventwith Smith it is now or never.'
I considered either abundantly competent, and decided on the ground I stated.
I now have to beg that you will not do me the
injustice to suppose for a moment that I remember anything against you in malice.
Yours very truly,
LINCOLN TO SEWARD.
The Secretary of State considered it his duty to urge the President to more energetic action, April, '61, and presented his ideas under the following head, "Some Thoughts for the President's Consideration, April 1,
"First, we are at the end of a month's administration, and yet without a policy, either domestic, foreign," etc., etc. The President sent his reply the same day. Only the "hand of iron in the glove of velvet" could have written the answer. It was irresistible logic, faultless in tact, kind but positively firm.
The President concludes: "I remark (regarding an energetic policy) that if this must be done, I must do it. When a general line of policy is adopted I apprehend there is no danger of its being changed without good reason or continuing to be a subject of unnecessary debate. Still, on points arising in its progress, I wish, and suppose I am entitled to have, the advice of all the Cabinet. Your ob't serv't,
INSTRUCTIONS TO MAJOR ROBERT ANDERSON.
War Department, Washington, April 4, 1861. Sir: Your letter of the 1st instant occasions some anxiety to the President.
On the information of Captain Fox, he had sup
posed you could hold out till the 15th instant without any great inconvenience, and had prepared an expedition to relieve you before that period.
Hoping still that you will be able to sustain yourself till the 11th or 12th instant, and he has entire confidence that you will act as becomes a patriot and a soldier under all circumstances.
Whenever, if at all, in your judgment, to save yourself and your command, a capitulation becomes a necessity, you are authorized to make it.
SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War. To Major Robt. Anderson, United States Army. The above was drafted by President Lincoln and signed by the Secretary of War.
Washington, Feb. 3, 1862.
My Dear Sir: You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomacyours to be down the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana and across land to the terminus of the railroad on the York River; mine to move directly to the point on the railroads southwest of Manassas.
If you will give me satisfactory answers to the fol lowing questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours:
First: Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of time and money than mine?
Second: Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?
Third: Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine?
Fourth: In fact, would it not be less valuable in this, that it would break no greater line of the enemies' communication, than mine would?
Fifth: In case of disaster, would not a retreat be inore difficult by your plan than by mine?
LETTER TO AUGUST BELMONT.
August Belmont, Esq.
July 31, 1862.
Dear Sir: You send to Mr. W—— an extract from a letter written at New Orleans the 9th instant, which is shown to me.
You do not give the writer's name; but plainly he is a man of ability and probably of some note. He says, "The time has arrived when Mr. Lincoln must take a decisive course.
"Trying to please everybody, he will satisfy nobody. "A vacillating policy in matters of importance is the very worst. Now is the time, if ever, for honest men who love their country to rally to its support.
"Why will not the North say officially that it wishes for the restoration of the Union as it was?"
And so it seems, this is the point in which the writer thinks I have no policy. Why will he not read and understand what I have said? The substance of the very subject he desires is in the two inaugurals, in each of the two regular messages sent to Congress, and in many, if not all, of the minor documents issued by the Executive since the inauguration.
Broken eggs cannot be mended; but Louisiana has
nothing to do now but to take her place in the Union as it was, barring the already broken eggs. The sooner she does so, the smaller will be the amount of that which is past mending.
This Government cannot much longer play a game in which it stakes all, and its enemies stake nothing.
Those enemies must understand that they cannot experiment for ten years trying to destroy the Government, and, if they fail, still come back into the Union unhurt.
If they expect, in any contingency, to ever have the Union as it was, I join with the writer in saying, "Now is the time."
How much better it would have been for the writer to have gone at this under the protection of the Army at New Orleans, than to have sat in a closet writing complaining letters northward! Yours truly,
THE PRESIDENT ON THE NEGRO QUESTION.
Executive Mansion, Washington, August 22, 1862. Hon. Horace Greeley: I have just read yours of the 19th addressed to myself through the New York Tribune.
If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert it.
If there be in it any inference which I believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here argue against it.
If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it, in deference to an old friend, whose heart I hav always supposed to be right.