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with the President in reference to the plan of reconstruction which he proposed. A bill for the reconstruction of the States was introduced into the Senate, and finally passed both Houses on the last day of the session. It provided that the President should appoint, for each of the States declared in rebellion, a Provisional Governor, who should be charged with the civil administration of the State until a State Government should be organized, and such other civil officers as were necessary for the civil administration of the State ; that as soon as military resistance to the United States should be suppressed and the people had sufficiently returned to their obedience, the Governor should make an enrolment of the white male citizens, specifying which of them had taken the oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and if those who had taken it were a majority of the persons enrolled, he should order an election for delegates to a Constitutional Convention, to be elected by the loyal white male citizens of the United States aged twenty-one years and resident in the district for which they voted, or absent in the army of the United States, and who had taken the oath of allegiance prescribed by the act of Congress of July 2, 1862; that this convention should declare, on behalf of the people of the State, their submission to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and adopt the following provisions, prescribed by Congress in the execution of its constitutional duty to guarantee to every State a republican form of government, viz. :
First.--No person who has held or exercised any office, civil or milltary, except offices merely ministerial and military offices below the grade of colonel, State or Confederate, under the usurping power, shall voto for or be a member of the Legislature or Governor.
Second.-Involuntary servitude is forever prohibited, and the freedom of all persons is forever guaranteed in the State.
Third.—No debt, State or Confederate, created by or under the sanction of the usurping power, shall be recognized or paid by the State.
The bill further provided that when a constitution containing these provisions should have been framed by the convention and adopted by the popular vote, the Governor should certify that fact to the President, who, after obtaining the assent of Congress, should recognize this Government so established as the Government of the State, and from that date senators and representatives and electors for President and Vice-President should be elected in the State. Further provisions were made for the dissolution of the convention in case it should refuse to frame a constitution containing the above provisions, and the calling of another convention by order of the President whenever he should have reason to believe that the majority were willing to adopt them; and also for the civil administration of the State in the mean time, and the abolition of slavery and the disfranchisement of rebel officers.
This bill thus passed by Congress was presented to the President just before the close of the session, but was not signed by him. The reasons for his refusal to sign it he afterwards thought fit to make known, which he did by the following proclamation :
Whereas, at the late session, Congress passed a bill to guarantee to certain States whose Governments have been usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government, a copy of which is hereunto annexed. And,
Whereas, the said bill was presented to the President of the United States for his approval, less than one hour before the sine die adjournment of said session, and was not signed by him. And,
Whereas, the said bill contains, among other things, a plan for restoring the States in rebellion to their proper practical relation in the Union, which plan expressed the sense of Congress upon that subject, and which plan it is now thought fit to lay before the people for their consideration :
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known that while I am, as I was in December last, when by proclamation I propounded a plan for restoration, unprepared by a formal approval of this bill to be inflexibly committed to any single plan of restoration, and while I am also unprepared to declare that tho Frue State Constitutions and Governments already adopted and installed in Arkansas and Louisiana, shall be set aside and held for nauglit, thereby repelling and discouraging the loyal citizens who have set up the same as to further effort, or to declare a constitutional competency il. mngress to abolish slavery in the States, but am at the same time sincerely hoping and expecting that a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery throughout the nation may be adopted: nevertheless, I am fully satisfied with the system for restoration contained in the bill, as one very
proper for the loyal people of any State choosing to adopt it, and that I am, and at all times shall be, prepared to give the Executive aid and assistance to any such people, so soon as the military resistance to the United States shall have been suppressed in any such State, and the people thereof shall have sufficiently returned to their obedience to the Constitution and the laws of the United States-in which cases Military Governors will be appointed, with directions to proceed according to the bill.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the sea) of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this eighth day of July, in the (L. 8.) year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
ABRAHAM Lincolx. By the President :
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
The relations of the war carried on to maintain the re:publican government of the United States, against the efforts of the slaveholding oligarchy for its overthrow, to the general interests of labor, from time to time enlisted a good deal of the thoughts of the President, and elicited from him expressions of his own sentiments on the subject. On the 31st of December, 1863, a very large meeting of workingmen was held at Manchester, England, to express their opinion in regard to the war in the United States. At that meeting an address to President Lincoln was adopted, expressing the kindest sentiments towards this country, and declaring that, since it had become evident that the destruction of slavery was involved in the overthrow of the rebellion, their sympathies had been thoroughly and heartily with the Government of the United States in the prosecution of the war. This address was forwarded to the President through the American Minister in London, and elicited the following reply:
EXECUTIVE Massion, WABIHINGTON, January 19, 1868. To the Workingmen of Manchester :
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the address and resolutions which you sent me on the eve of the new year. When I camo, on the 4th of March, 1861, through a free and constitutional election, to preside in the Government of the United Statos, the country was found
at the verge of civil war. Whatever might have been the cause, or whosesoever the fault, one duty, paramount to all others, was before ine, namely, to maintain and preserve at once the Constitution and the integrity of the Federal Republic. A conscientious purpose to perforin this duty is the key to all the measures of administration wliich liave been, and to all which will hereafter be pursued. Under our frame of govern- . ment and my official oath, I could not depart from this purpose if I would. It is not always in the power of Governments to enlarge or restrict the scope of moral results which follow the policies that they may deem it necessary, for the public safety, from time to time to adopt.
I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation rests solely with the American people. But I have at the same time been aware that favor or disfavor of foreign nations might have a material influencu in enlarging or prolonging the struggle with disloyal men in which the country is engaged. A fair examination of history has served to author. ize a belief that the past actions and influences of the United States were generally regarded as having been beneficial towards mankind. I have, therefore, reckoned upon the forbearance of nations. Circumstances, to some of which you kindly allude-induced me especially to expect that if justice and good faith should be practised by the l'nited States, they would encounter no hostile influence on the part of Great Britain. It is now a pleasant duty to acknowledge the demonstration you have given of your desiro that a spirit of amity and peace towards this country may prerail in the councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in your own country only more than she is by the kindred nation which has its home on this side of the Atlantic.
I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the workingmen at Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overtlırow this Government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through tho action of our disloyal citizens, the workinginen of Europe liave been subjected to severe trials, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under the circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive atterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth, and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freodom. I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained by your great nation; and on the other hand, I have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and tho most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people. I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my
own, the peace and iriendship which now exist between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make thein, perpetual.
The workingmen of London held a similar meeting at about the same time, and took substantially the same action. The President made the following response to their address :
EXECUTIVE Mansion, February 2, 1863. To thc Workingmen of London :
I have received the New Year's Address which you have sent me, with & sincere appreciation of the exalted and humane sentiments by wbich it was inspired.
As these sentiments are manifestly the enduring support of the free institutions of England, so I am sure also that they constitute the only reliable basis for free institutions throughout the world.
The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are rert great, and they lave consequently succeeded to equally great responsibilities. It seems to have devolved upon them to test whether a gor erument established on the principles of human freedom can be main tained against an effort to build one upon the exclusive foundation of human bondage. They will rejoice with me in the new evidences which your proceedings furnish, that the magnanimity they are exhibiting is justly estimated by the true friends of freedom and humanity in foreign countries.
Accept my best wishes for your individual welfare, and for the welfare and bappiness of the whole British people.
On the 21st of March, 1864, a committee from the Workingmen's Association of the City of New York waited upon the President and delivered an address, stating the general objects and purposes of the Association, and requesting that he would allow his name to be enrolled among its honorary members. To this address the President made the following reply:
GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE :-The honorary membership in your association, as generously tendered, is gratefully accepted.
You comprehend, as your address shows, that the existing rebellion means more and tends to do 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 this view has not escaped my attention, and partly