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to try satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.
May I ask those who have not differed with me to join with me in this same spirit toward those who have? And now let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave sol. diers and seamen and their gallant and skilfus commanders.
Reply to Committee on the Electoral
February 9, 1865 [Lincoln had been renominated for the Presidency by the Republican Convention which met in Baltimore on June 7, 1864, and was elected on November 8 by a plurality of nearly half a million in the popular vote. In the Electoral College he had 212 votes to 21 fo. McClellan.]
With deep gratitude to my countrymen for this mark of their confidence ; with a distrust of my own ability to perform the duty required under the most favorable circumstances, and now rendered doubly difficult by existing national perils ; yet with a firm reliance on the strength of our free government, and the eventual loyalty of the people to the just principles upon which it is founded, and above all with an unshaken faith in the Supreme Ruler of na. tions, I accept this trust. Be pleased to signify this to the respective Houses of Congress.
The Last Address in Public
April 11, 1865 [Only three days before his assassination, Lincoln made a speech on the subject of Reconstruction-his last public address. Triumph then filled the air; two days before, Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. Yet no hint of overconfidence, much less arrogance, can be found in this speech. It is full of the broad wisdom that avoids the consideration of details until controlling principles can be established. And the extracts that follow show the tolerance, the single-mindedness for the good of the nation
a whole, that ennobled the patriot's closing days.)
We meet this evening not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Peters. burg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace, whose joyous expression cannot be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He from whom all blessings flow must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated. Nor must those whose harder part gives us the cause of rejoicing be overlooked. Their honors
must not be parceled out with others. I myself was near the front, and had the high pleasure of transmitting much of the good news to you; but no part of the honor for plan or execution is mine. To General Grant, his skilful officers and brave men, all belongs. The gallant navy stood ready, but was not in reach to take active part.
By these recent successes the reinaugura. tion of the national authority reconstruc tion which has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed much more closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty. Unlike a case of war beo tween independent nations, there is no authorized organ for us to treat with no ane man has authority to give up the rebellion for any other man. We simply must begin with and mold from disorganized and discordant elements. Nor is it a small additional embarrassment that we, the loyal people, differ among ourselves as to the mode, manner, and measure of reconstruction, As a general rule, I abstain from reading the reports of attacks upon myself, wishing not to be provoked by that to which I cannot properly offer an answer. In spite of this precaution, however, it comes to my knowledge that I am much censured for some supposed agency in setting up and seeking to sustain the new : tate government of Louisiana.
In this I have done just so much as, and do more than, the public knows. In the annual message of December, 1863, and in the accompanying proclamation, I presented a plan of reconstruction, as the phrase goes, which I promised, if adopted by any State, should be acceptable to and sustained by the executive government of the nation. I distinctly stated that this was not the only plan which might possibly be acceptable, and I also distinctly protested that the executive claimed no right to say when or whether members should be admitted to seats in Congress from such States. This plan was in advance submitted to the then Dabinet, and distinctly approved by every member of it. One of them suggested that I should then and in that connection apply the Emancipation Proclamation to the theretofore excepted parts of Virginia and Louisiana; that I should drop the suggestion about apprenticeship for freed people, and that I should omit the protest against my own power in regard to the admission of members to Oongress. But even he approved every part and parcel of the plan which has since been employed or touched by the action of Louisiana.
As to sustaining it, my promise is out, as before stated. But as bad promises are