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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 abridgment 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, boldly advocated, with labored argument to prove that large control of the people in government is the source of all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people.
* In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to oinit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.
" It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the etfort to place capital on an equal footing, if not above lohor, in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce tliem to work by their own consent, or muy them, and drive them to it without their consent. llaving proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers, or what we call slaves. And, further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer, is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no sue relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.
" Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between capital and labor, producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of a community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and, with their capital, hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither class--neither work for others, nor have others working for them. In most of the Southern States, & majority of the whole people, of all colors, are neither slaves nor masters; while in the Northern, a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their families—wives, sons, and daugliters—work for themselves, on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand, nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerabile number of persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with their own hands, and also buy or hire others to labor for them, but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.
" Again, as has already been said, there is not, of necessity, any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition för life. Many independent inen everywhere in these States, a few years back in
their lives, were hired laborers. The prudent penniless beginner in the world labors for wages a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous systein which opens the way to all-gives hope to all, and consequent energy and progress, and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty-none less inclined to touch or take aught which they have not bonestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be lost."
The views then expressed remain unchanged, nor have I much to add. None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudices, working division and hostility among thmselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be ono uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not lim who is house.ess pull down the house of anothier, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall bo safe frorn violence when built.
The President had always taken a deep interest in the volunteer movements of benevolent people throughout the country, for relieving the sufferings of the sick and wounded among our soldiers. A meeting of one of these organizations, the Christian Commission, was held at Washington, on the 22d of February, 1863, to which President Lincoln, unable to attend and preside, addressed the following letter:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 22, 1848. Rev. AlexANDER REED:
My Dear Sir:-Your note, by which you, as General Superintendent of the Uvited States Christian Commission, invite me to preside at a meeting to be held this day, at the hall of the House of Representatives in this city, is received.
While, for reasons which I deem sufficient, I must decline to preside, I cai, not withhold my approval of the meeting, and its worthy objects Whatever shall be, sincerely and in God's name, devised for the good of the soldiers and seamen in their hard spheres of duty, can scarcely fail to be blessed. And whatever shall tend to turn our thouglits from the unreasoning and uncharitable passions, prejudices, and jealousies incident to a great national trouble such as ours, and to fix them on vast and long-enduring consequences, for weal or for woe, which are to result from the struggle, and especially to strengthen our reliance on the Supreme Being for the final triunph of the right, cannot but be well for
The birthday of Washington and the Christian Sabbath coinciding this year, and suggesting together the highest interests of this life and of that to come, is most propitious for the meeting proposed. Your obedient servant,
On the 16th of March, 1864, at the close of a fair in Washington, given at the Patent Office, for the benefit of the sick and wounded soldiers of the army, President Lincoln, happening to be present, in response to loud and continuous calls, made the following remarks :
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :-I appear to say but a word. This extraor dinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all clases of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that : man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in liis 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 been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And the chief agents in these fairs are the wornen of America.
I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying coinpliments 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 !
Still another occasion of a similar character occurred at Baltimore on the 18th of April, at the opening of a fair for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission. The President accepted an invitation to attend the opening exercises, and made the following remarks :
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN :-Calling to mind that we are in Baltimore, we cannot fail to note that the world moves. Looking upon these many people assembled here to serve, as they best inay, the soldiers of the Union, it occurs at once that three years ago the same soldiers could not so much as pass through Baltimore. The change from then till now is both great and gratifying. Blessings on the brave men who have wrought the change, and the fair women who strive to reward thein for it!
But Baltimore suggests more than could happen within Baltimore. The change within Baltimore is part only of a far wider change. When the war began, three years ago, neither party, nor any man, expected it would last till now. Each looked for the end, in some way, long ere today. Neither did any anticipate that domestic slavery would be much affected by the war. But here we are ; the war has not ended, and slavery has been much affected- how much needs not now to be recounted. So true is it that man proposes and God disposes.
But we can see the past, though we may not claim to have directed it; and seeing it, in this case, we feel more hopeful and confident for the future,
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Ilere are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called ky two different and incompatible names--liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberctor, while the wolf denounces hiin for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the process by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty. Recently, as it seems, the people of Maryland have been doing soinething to define liberty, and thanks to them that, in what they have done, the wolf's dictionary has been repudiated.
It is not very becoming for one in my position to make speeches at great length; but there is another subject upon which I feel that I ought to say a word. A painful rumor, true, I fear, has reached us, of the massacre, by the rebel forces at Fort Pillow, in the west end of Tennessee, on the Mississippi River, of some three hundred colored sol. diers and white officers, who had just been overpowered by their assailants. There seems to be some anxiety in the public mind whether the Government is doing its duty to the colored soldier, and to the service, at this point. At the beginning of the war, and for some time, he use of colored troops was not contemplated; and how the change of purpose was wrought, I will not now take time to explain. Upon a clear conviction of duty, I resolved to turn that element of strength to account; and I am responsible for it to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and on my final account to God. Having detcrinined to use the negro as a soldier, there is no way but to give liim all the protection given to any other soldier. The difficulty is not in stating the principle, but in practically applying it. It is a mistake to suppose the Government is indifferent to this matter, or is not doing the best it can in regard to it. We do not to-day know that it colored soldier, or white officer commanding colored soldiers, has been massacred by the rebels when made a prisoner. We fear it, believe it, I may say, but we do not know it. To take the life of one of their prisoners on the assumption that they murder ours, when it is short of certainty that they do murder ours, might be too serious, too cruel a mistake. We are having the Fort Pillow affair thoroughly investigated; and such investigation will probably show conclusively how the truth is. If, after all that has been said, it shall turn out that there has been no massacre at Fort Pllow, it will be almost safe to say there has been none, and will be none elsewhere. If there has been the massacre of three hundred there, or even the tenth part of three hundred, it will be conclusively proven; and being so proven, the retribution shall as surely come. It will be matter of grave consideration in what exact course to apply the retribution; but in he supposed case, it must come.
In June, the President attended a similar fair at Philadelphia, one of the largest that was held in all the country. At a supper given to him there, the health of the Fresident having been proposed as a toast, the President seid in acknowledgment :
I suppose that this toast is intended to open the way for me to say sonething. War at the best is terrible, and this of ours in its magnitudo and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known. It has leranged business totally in many places, and perhaps in all. It has destroyed property, destroyed life, and ruined homes. It has produced a natonal debt and a degree of taxation unprecedented in the history of thiscountry. It has caused mourning among us until the heavens my almot be said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. It has bad acconpaniments not before known in the history of the world. I mean the Gnitary and Christian Commissions, with their labors for the relief of the soldiers, and the Volunteer Refreshment Saloons, understood better by thosewho hear me than by myself—(applause)—and these fairs, first begun at Chicigo and next held in Boston, Cincinnati, and other cities. The motive