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Reconstruction.

Annual Message.

A Rallying Point.

by a total revolution of labor throughout whole States. It is hoped that the already deeply afflicted people in those States may be somewhat more ready to give up the cause of their affiliction, if, to this extent, this vital matter be left to theniselves; while no power of the National Executive to prevent an abuse, is abridged by the proposition.

“The suggestion in the proclamation as to maintaining the political framework of the States on what is called reconstruction, is made in the hope that it may do good without danger of harm. It will save labor, and avoid great confusion

“But why any proclamation now upon this subject ? This question is beset with the conflicting views that the step might be delayed too long or be taken too soon. In some States the elements for resumption seem ready for action, but remain inactive, apparently for want of a rallying point-a plan of action. Why shall A adopt the plan of B, rather than B that of A ? And if A and B should agree, how can they know but that the General Government here will reject their plan? By the proclamation a plan is presented which may be accepted by them as a rallying point, and which · they are assured in advance will not be rejected here. This may bring them to act sooner than they otherwise would.

The objection to a premature presentation of a plan by the National Executive consists in the danger of committals on points which could be more safely left to further developments. Care has been taken to so shape the document as to avoid embarrassment from this source. Saying that, on certain terms, certain classes will be pardoned, with rights restored, it is not said that other classes or other terms will never be included. Saying that reconstruction will be accepted, if presented in a specific way, it is not said it will never be accepted in any other way.

“The movements, by State action, for emancipation in several of the States, not included in the Emancipation Pro-.

Annual Message.

The War Power.

Explanatory Proclamation.

clamation, are matters of profound congratulation. And while I do not repeat in detail what I have heretofore so earnestly urged upon this subject, my general views and feelings remain unchanged ; and I trust that Congress will omit no fair opportunity of aiding these important steps to a great, consummation.

“In the midst of other cares, however important, we must not lose sight of the fact that the war power is still our main reliance. To that power alone can we look, yet for a time, to give confidence to the people in the contested regions that the insurgent power will not again overrun them. Until that confidence shall be established, little can be done anywhere for what is called reconstruction. Hence our chiefest care must still be directed to the Army and Navy, who have thus far borne their harder part so nobly and well. And it may be esteemed fortunate that in giving the greatest efficiency to these indispensable arms, we do also honorably recognize the gallant men, from commander to sentinel, who compose them, and, to whom, more than to others, the world must stand indebted for the home of freedom disenthralled, regenerated, enlarged, and perpetuated. Dec. 8, 1863.

“ABRAHAM LINCOLN."

On the twenty-sixth of March, 1864, the following proclamation, explanatory of the one issued on the eighth of December, 1863, was published :

“WHEREAS, It has become necessary to define the cases in which insurgent enemies are entitled to the benefits of the Proclamation of the President of the United States, which was made on the 8th day of December, 1863, and the manner in which they shall proceed to avail themselves of these benefits;

“AND WHEREAS, The objects of that proclamation were to suppress the insurrection and to restore the authority of the United States;

Explanatory Proclamation.

The Oath.

How Administerede

“AND WHEREAS, The amnesty therein proposed by the President was offered with reference to these objects alone;

“Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the said proclamation does not apply to the cases of persons who, at the time when they seek to obtain the benefits thereof, by taking the oath thereby prescribed, are in military, naval or civil confinement or custody, or under bonds or on parole of the civil, military or naval authorities or agents of the United States, as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offences of any kind, either before or after conviction; and that on the contrary, it does apply only to those persons who, being at large and free from any arrest, confinement or duress, shall voluntarily come forward and take the said oath, with the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority.

“Prisoners excluded from the amnesty offered in the said proclamation may apply to the President for clemency, like all other offenders, and their application will receive due consideration.

“I do further declare and proclaim that the oath prescribed in the aforesaid proclamation of the 8th of December, 1863, may be taken and subscribed to before any commanding officer, civil, military or naval, in the service of the United States, or any civil or military officer of a State or Territory not in insurrection, who, by the laws thereof, may be qualified for administering oaths.

"All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized to give certificates thereon to the persons respectively by whom they are made, and such officers are hereby required to transmit the original records of such oaths at as early a day as may be convenient to the Department of State, where they will be deposited and remain in the archives of the Government.

“The Secretary of State will keep a register thereof, and

llow Administered.

Speech at Washington.

The Women of America.

will, on application, in proper cases, issue certificates of such records in the customary form of official certificates.

“In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my band and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

“Done at the city of Washington, this twenty-sixth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth: “By the President: .

"A BRAHAM LINCOLN. “W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."!

CHAPTER XVIII.

PROGRESS.

President's Speech at Washington-Speech to a New York Committee-Speech in Baltimore-Letter to a Kentuckian-Employment of Colored Troops-Davis's Threat-General Order-President's Order on the Subject.

On the night of the eighteenth of March, 1864, in response to a call from the multitude at a fair held in the Patent Office at Washington, in aid of an organization for the relief of Union soldiers everywbere, Mr. Lincoln spoke as follows:

. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :-I appear, to say but a word. This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, 'All that a man hath will be give for his life;' and, while all contribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country's cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.

“In this extraordinary, war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and among these manifestations nothing has

The Women of America.

Speech to the Workingmen.

been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families.' And the chief agents in these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of the language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say, that, if all that has been said by orators and poets, since the creation of the world, in praise of women, were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America !”

Three days later, a committee appointed by the Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association of New York waited on the President, and presented him with an address informing him that he had been elected a member of that organization. After the chairman had stated the object of the visit, Mr. Lincoln made the following reply:

“GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE :— The honorary membership in your Association so generously tendered is gratefully accepted. You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing rebellion means more and tends to more than the perpetuation of African slavery—that it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people. Partly to show that the view has not escaped my attention, and partly that I cannot better express myself, I read a passage from the message to Congress in December, 1861 :

"It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government--the rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the abridgement of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers, except the legislative body, boldly advocated with labored

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