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President Lincoln's Letter

President Lincoln's Letter image
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ExEcfTivE Maxs.hi;, ) VaslngU;i, Aun-, 2fc. $ To Ilon. James S. Coi, kïi:;: Mï Deau Sie- Your letter inritinSé we to attend a inass meeting of ïtucon(liiiiiual Union men, to bo iicl.l at the. eapitol oí' Illinois, on the 8d day of Sept-mber, has bceu receiyed., It would be very agreeable to m tfcuS to meet my okl frjenda at mv own home, but I canJJOt -just now büj'.bsont frolu tliis citv so lang as a visit there would require. 'The meeting is to be of all thosu who ttaintain uuconditional devotion to the Union, and I am sure that my politica! friends will tliank me for teiidering as I do the nation's graititude to those other noiil.. men whom no partlsan maüce or partean hope ean uiake falso to the naiion'.s litb. Therc ave those who ara dissati.sficd with mo. To such I would say, jou desire pen pp, and you blanie ne that Ve do not have it Uut how ean we obtain it ? Thcrc are but threo eonceivable Avays : tirst - to suppress the rebcllion by foree of anus. Tuis I am trying to do. Are you for it? If j-on are, so far we aro agrecd. If you are not for it, a seeond wny is to give up the Tjniop', I ai againaí tlus. If you are you siiouUl say ao l'lamly. If you are not for force, uor yet tor dissoluticm there onlv renmins somo imaginable eompromise. "■ I do not, believe that any conipromi.-c, embfaeiug the maintenenco of the Uüion, is now possibie. All that I learn leads to a direetly opposite belief. The strength of the rebellion is its military- its:irmy that dominatcs all the country and all the peoplo within its range. Any ofler of terms made by any man or men within that range, in opposition to that army, is Kimply nothing for the present, beeause sueh man or mea haveno power whatever to enforee their sidè of a compromiso if onc were made with them, To Ilústrate - suppose refugees from the South and peace men of the Xorth meet together in convcntion and frame and proclaim a conipromise, embracing a restoration of the Union. In ivliat way ean that coiupromise bc used to keep Gen. Lee's army out of Pentsylramk? Gen. Meade's army can keep Gen. Lee's army out of Ponnsj-lvania, and, I think, ean ultimately put it out of existence, but no proper oomproinise to which the controllers of Gen. Lee's army are not agreed, can at all affect that army. In an effort at x-d'Ai compromiso, ivo would wa.-te time, wluch the enemy would improve to our disadvantage : and that would be all. A compromiss, to be efectiva, must be made cither with those who control the rebel army, or the people, first liberated from tho domina tion of that army, by the success of our army. Now, allow me to assure you that no word or intimaron from the rebel army or from any of the men eontrolling it in relation to any peaco compromiso has ever come to my kuowledgo or belief. All charges and mtnnatwns to tho contrary are deceptivo and groundless, and I promise you that if any such proposition shall hereafter como, it shall not be rejected and kopt secret from you. I freely acknowledge myself to be the servan t of the peopk accordmg to the bond of tho service' of the United States constitution, and that as sueh I am respousible to them; but to be plain you are dissatisfied with mo about the negro. Quite likely thero is a difforencc of opinión betwoen you and myself on that subject. I certainly wish that all men could bo free, while you, I guppose, do not. Yet I have neither adopted nor proposcd auy nieasurc wliieh is not consistent ivith even your view, provided that you are for the Ünion. I suggosted compensa ted emaneipation, to wliich you replied that yoa wishod not to be taxed to buy negroos, but I had not asked you to be taxod to buy negroos except ín suoh way to save you from greatcr taxstion to save the Union exclugivoly by othor means. You disliko tlie eraincipation procla mation, ar.d perhaps would of had it retracteü. You say it is uaconstitutional I thiuk diíFerently. I thiuk the eonstitution vost8 its Commander-in-Cliiof witli the law of war in time of war. The most tiat can be said, if so much, is that alavés are property. Is thero, hae there ever been, any queetion that by the law of war, property, both of enumics and friei.ds, may be taken wheu neuded, aud is it not ueeded whenever taking it helps us or hurts the enemics ? Annies the world over destroy enemies' property when they can't use it, aud even destroy their own to keep it from the eneniy. - Civilized beligerents do all in their power to help themselves or hurt the enetny, except a few things regavded as barbarous or cruel. Among the exceptions are the ma-ssacre of vauquiahed foes aod noucombatants, male and female. But tbe proclamaron is law and valid, or is not Taltd. It it 13 not valid, ït needs no retracticm. If it is valid, it cangot bo re traetcd any inore tlian the doad oan bc brought to 1 i fe. Some of you profess to tliiuk that retractioa would opérate fuvorably to the Union. Why better after the retratioB tlian beforc? More tlian yc;ir and a halte trial to sai ppcesx the rebellion bafore the proelaniatton was ieuod, the last one hundrud duvt) of whiuh passed under an expliuit notiee thiii t was coming uniese avrted y tho.sö in revolt rcturning to allegianee. ít has eet taiuly prognesM M favorulily to us sinoo the issue of the priicluuiation as bfore. I kow as fully qp nnyone unti kuow, the opiuiona ot'othere, that ome of the commandern' of our artniüB in the fiold, who Imve f;iven us our 'important victories, believe the emancipation proclamation and tli.e aid ofcolored troops constitnte the heaviest blows yet daalt to rebellion, and that at least one of those important succesos could uot have been nchieved when it was but i'or tbe aid of black soldier. Among oornmanders holding these views are soino who have never had any affinity ith what is called abolition or republican party polillos, but who hold tbem ptirely as military opinions. I eubmit iheir opinión as being entitled to some weight against opwucae often arged that omancip'iti.m atuong lilacks are unwise as military meas urea, and vtwe not adopled as such in goo-d l'aith. You Biiy that you will not figlit to ireo negroes, Some of them seem to bo willing to fight for you, but no rmitter. Fight you then exclusively to save the Union, I issued the pro::lamaiion on purpose to aid you in eaving the Uoion VVhnever you shall havo conquered sJl roeistanoe lo the Union, 'ü I shull urge yon to eontffiue fijliting, it uill lie ampie tjííio thcn f'or yon to declare íhatyou will not fight to he.. wi -mis, I Ibought that in yóur strnggle for ihe [Tliion, to whatever e.xtent, the negroeij shoíulcl ccus-t) ImJjJing he cneniy. 'Lo that extctft t uraki'iis fhe é'fceiny in his resistanoe t yon. Do yon think dif!wei:!y V I ihought that whatevor na. groes can be got to do as BoTcJienf, leavea just so mucii less For white soldiera lo do in eaving the Union. Doés it appfar otherwjae to yon, but nagroe, lifce other peepte, act" lipón tnotivis.- Wliy should tliey do inyUinig for us if W will do i:oljii;y fur t'hem . Ii' liicy Btafee th'fir liv.-s fur njt, they nu.-4 be pronipted by fbe stmníjest motive, even the proHiise of ïfosd.oin, and the prornise, being iiühIc, riiïist bo kep't. the sigfls look bcaiH-, 'J'hc of Waters a;;;,ii] liuws unclicc-ki-u to tha sea, thíiiiks to the greit Northwest for it; nor y.tjt wliolly to t'ncm. Three hundred miles up they niet New England, Emiie, Keystonu, and Jersey, hevviug tfierr way rrht and left, the sunny South too ii more tolors than ono aiso lent n hand on the spot. Their part of the histoiy was joited down in bhick and white. The ]„'; was a grea.t Ba tiopa] one, and iet onc bami v.ho boro a special part in it and whjle Üiose vviio have eleared the greüt nver -may well I'ö proud. ■ That is not all, It is hard to say tiiat anyúiínjí has been rwpre bravely and beiter done than ut Antietain, Murfreeaboro, Gettysbutg, and rnuny a Bdd of lesa note. Nor' musf Uücle gam.'s webbed feet bo torgottefl at ajl tbe water margine. They have been reseU not only on deep sea, the broad bay and the rapid river, but glao up the narrxw Middv Buyop, and wberever the ginud wsw a little darap, !;:y have been and made their tracks, 'i'liank-i to all for the greot republic, for the principies by vlijch it lives and keeps ulive for nawijs vast future.- Thanks to ;,] llWu does not appear so distant us it did I hope that it will come BQOn r.nd cometo stay, and t-o come as to be worth the keeping. In future time it Wil! be proved' that among {reamen there can be no succfs ful íiipeii] from the l'ullotto the bulle ind that they who likt; siic'i appeal art sui-eto loso their case andpavthe poeta Thero wil! be soroe black V.ón ho caí remetnber that with silent tcngiie ant with clenchod teeth and witlf 8tead eye pnd wel] pninted bayonet, thej have helped mahkind on to this rea't consummniion, w hüe í fear that thore will be some wlijte men u::ahlo for u forget that with mulipnant 1,'cart anci deceitful speech they havo strivep to hinder it, títill lot us" not be over sao guiñe of a speedy final triumph. Let us be quite sober; let us diligently ap, ply, the mecns, nover doubtiuy that a just God in hisovvngood tiü:e wÚj give us the rightfui result, Tours, Töry truir,


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