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enemies' property when they can not use it; and even destroy their own to keep it from the enemy. Civilized belligerents do all in their power to help themselves or hurt the enemy, except a few things regarded as barbarous or cruel. Among the exceptions are the massacre of vanquished foes and noncombatants, male and female. But the proclamation, as law, is valid or is not valid. If it is not valid, it needs no retraction. If it is valid, it can not be retracted, any more than the dead can be brought to life. Some of you profess to think that its retraction would operate favorably for the Union. Why better after the retraction than before the issue? There was more than a year and a half of trial to suppress the rebellion before the proclamation was issued, the last one hundred days of which passed under an explicit notice, that it was coming unless averted by those in revolt returning to their allegiance. The war has certainly progressed as favorably for us since the issue of the proclamation as before. I know as fully as one can know the opinions of others, that some of the commanders of our armies in the field, who have given us our most important victories, believe the emancipation policy and the aid of colored troops constitute the heaviest blows yet dealt to the rebellion, and that at least one of those important successes could not have been achieved when it was but for the aid of black soldiers. Among the commanders holding these views are some who have never had any affinity with what is called abolitionism, or with "republican party politics," but who hold them purely as military opinions. I submit their opinions as being entitled to some weight against the objections often urged that emancipation and arming the blacks are unwise as military measures, and were not adopted as such in good faith.
You say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem to be willing to fight for you-but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare that you will not fight to free negroes. I thought that, in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do any thing for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the
strongest motive, even the promise of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.
The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea. Thanks to the great North-west for it. Nor yet wholly to them. Three hundred miles up they met New England, Empire, Keystone, and Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The sunny South, too, in more colors than one, also lent a hand. On the spot their part of the history was jotted down in black and white. The job was a great National one, and let none be banned who bore an honorable part in it; and, while those who have cleared the great river may well be proud, even that is not all. It is hard to say that any thing has been more bravely and better done than at Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and on many fields of less note. Nor must Uncle Sam's web-feet be forgotten. At all the waters' margins they have been present: not only on the deep sea, the broad bay and the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou; and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been and made their tracks. Thanks to all. For the great Republic-for the principles by which it lives and keeps alive-for man's vast future-thanks to all. Peace does not appear so far distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And then there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while I fear that there will be some white men unable to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful speech, they have striven to hinder it.
Still, let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy final triumph. Let us be quite sober. Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in His own good time, will give us the rightful result.
Yours, very truly,
Mr. Lincoln, whose gratitude to the gallant soldiers who have rallied at the call of their country, and whose proud satisfaction in their heroic conduct on so many battle-fields, have been constantly manifested, was unwilling to decline the invitation to be present on the solemn occasion of consecrating
a National Cemetery at Gettysburg, for the fallen in the sanguinary conflicts at that place, in July, 1863. No truer or tenderer sympathy than his, for the brave dead and for their surviving friends, ever had place in any human breast. The elaborate eloquence of our most accomplished orator, Edward Everett, and the presence of an innumerable multitude of people, added a solemn grandeur to the ceremonies of the day. But no fitter or more touching words were spoken than these of Mr. Lincoln:
ADDRESS AT GETTYSBURG, Nov. 19, 1863.
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain-that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The concluding elections for the Thirty-eighth Congress bitterly disappointed the expectations previously entertained by the Opposition. They were so favorable to the Administration as to insure it a decided majority in the House of Representatives-a result which had not happened for many years in the choice of the second Congress during any Presidential term.
On the assembling of the Thirty-eighth Congress, on the 7th
day of December, 1863, the Hon. Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana, (the Administration candidate,) was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the first ballot, receiving one hundred and one votes, against eighty-one for all others—a majority of twenty. The Opposition votes were scattered upon half a dozen different candidates. The Hon. Edward McPherson, of Pennsylvania, was chosen Clerk of the House, by a vote of one hundred and two to sixty-nine for Emerson Etheridge, whom the Republicans had chosen to that position in the previous House, and who had since gone over to the Democratic side. A still more striking indication of the present tone of National sentiment was perhaps to be found in the fact that the Rev. William Henry Channing, whose extreme views on the great questions of the day are well known, was elected Chaplain of the House, the principal Opposition vote being cast for Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont, a noted apologist for slavery.
After the decisive advantages gained by our arms, the rebellion being substantially at an end in the States of Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas, and movements for their reorganization under loyal local governments already under consideration. by the people of those States, some indication of the President's policy for restoring order and law, in the territory reconquered from armed Rebels, was naturally expected by the people. Mr. Lincoln, as the meeting of Congress approached, had given his earnest attention to this difficult subject-now become one of the highest practical moment. By an act approved July 17, 1862, Congress had provided:
That the President is hereby authorized, at any time hereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions, and at such time, and on such conditions, as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.
In the judgment of Mr. Lincoln, the fitting time had now come for exercising this power. Among the "conditions" which he was authorized to prescribe, very clearly, good faith and consistency required him to include an effective one for carrying out his policy of Emancipation. This and other con-
siderations also made it indispensable that he should indicatewithout inflexibly prescribing, as he did not an acceptable mode of reorganizing loyal State Governments. The result of his deliberations was set forth simultaneously with the publication of his annual message, in the celebrated paper following:
WHEREAS, In and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment;" and whereas, a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal State Governments of several States have for a long time been subverted, and many persons have committed and are now guilty of treason against the United States; and whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have been enacted by Congress declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated; and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such times and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare and whereas, the Congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon accords with well-established judicial exposition of the pardoning power; and whereas, with reference to said rebellion, the President of the United States has issued several proclamations, with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion, to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal State Governments within and for their respective States; therefore,
I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to-wit:
do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty