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ists believed he would defend their interests as his predecessor had done. His official acts had been in harmony with the measures of President Lincoln whose confidence he seemed to have gained. The following characteristic letter is expressive of that confidence:
Executive Mansion, ) Washington, March 13, 1864. J Hon. Michael Hahn:
My Dear Sir: I congratulate you on having iixed your name in history as the first Free State Governor of Louisiana. 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 have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not for the public, but to you alone.
Truly yours, A. Lincoln.
On the night of the 15th of April, 1865, the loyal masses of New Orleans congregrated in Lafayette Square to express their gratitude on the downfall of the rebellion. Richmond had been captured, and Lee and Johnston had surrendered their armies to the United States forces under Grant. At that immense gathering, numbering thousands, the annexed resolutions were adopted;
1. JResolved, That the loyal citizens of New Orleans have learned, with the liveliest emotions of delight, that Richmond has been captured, and that the rebel armies under Lee and Johnston have surrendered to the forces of the United States, commanded by Generals Grant and Sherman.
2. ^Resolved, That next to that God who rules the destinies of nations, our thanks are due to the Army and Navy of our country, who have, through a protracted conflict of unexampled magnitude and fierceness, finally overthrown its enemies, and enabled us to anticipate the not far distant day when the National flag will once more float in triumph over every square foot of the National domain.
3. Hesolved, That in the struggle thus determined we hail the realization of those ideas which furnished the main issue in the conflict—the issue between slavery and freedom—and that we pledge ourselves to sustain the holy cause of freedom and equal rights as the claim of justice and the basis of future security.
4. Resolved, That the people of the United States, and the friends of liberty throughout the civilized world, owe to our patriotic Chief Magistrate, Abraham Lincoln, obligations of lasting gratitude for the patriotic courage and wisdom he has displayed under circumstances of unexampled difficulty, in vindicating Republican institutions from the aspersions of their enemies, for the invaluable services he has rendered the cause of human liberty, and for the successful manner in which he has brought the Ship of State through the rocks and shoals of rebellion to the haven of peace.
In connection with that memorable event, destined to live on history's page as the jubilee hour after four years of gloom, it is fitting to present the speech of the President, made to a vast concourse of people at the Executive Department in Washington on the evening of the 13th April, 1865—the last public address of the martyred Lincoln:
"We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of the heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, gives hopes of righteous and speedy peace, whose joyous expression cannot be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He from whom all bounties 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 paralyzed but with the 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 the plan or execution is mine. To General Grant, his skillful officers and brave men, all belongs. The gallant navy stood ready, but was not in reach to take an active part.
"By these recent successes—the re-inauguration of National authority—reconstruction, which has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed more closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty, unlike the case of war between independent nations. There is no authorized organ for us to treat with, no one man has authority to give up the rebellion for any other man. We must simply begin with and mould from the discordant and disorganized elements. Nor is it a small additional embarrassment that we loyal people differ among ourselves as to the mode, manner, and measure of reconstruction.
"As a general rule I abstain from reading reports of attacks upon myself, 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 Government of Louisiana.
"In this I have done just so much and no more than the public know. In the annual message of December, 1863, and the accompanying proclamation, I presented a plan of reconstruction, as the phrase goes, which I promised, if adopted by any State, would be acceptable and sustained by the Executive.
"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 Cabinet and approved by every member of it. One of them suggested that I should then and in that conjunction apply the emancipation proclamation to the , except parts, of Virginia and Louisiana that 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 of Congress.
"But even he approved every part and parcel of the plan which has since been employed or touched by the action of Louisiana.
"The new Constitution of Louisiana, declaring emancipation for the whole State, practically applies the proclamation to the part previously exempted. It does not adopt the apprenticeship for freed people, and is silent—as it could not be otherwise—about the admission of members to Congress so that it is applied to Louisiana.
"Every member of the Cabinet fully approved the plan. The message went to Congress. I received many commendations of the plan, written and verbal, and not a single objection to it from any professed emancipationist came to my knowledge until after the news was received at Washington that the people of Louisiana had begun a move in accordance with it.
"I had corresponded with different persons supposed to be interested in seeking the reconstruction of the State Government of Louisiana. When this message of 1863, with the plan before mentioned, reached New Or