Nevada Admitted into the Union as State

October 31, 1864

President Lincoln President Lincoln declares: Whereas the Congress of the United States passed an Act which was approved on the 21st. day of March, last, entitled, “An Act to enable the people of Nevada to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal Footing with the original States”;

And whereas, the said Constitution and State Government have been formed pursuant to the conditions prescribed by the fifth section of the Act of Congress aforesaid, and the certificate required by the said act, and also a copy of the Constitution and ordinances have been submitted to the President of the United States;

President Lincoln addresses the 42nd Massachusetts Regiment on its way back home: “You have completed a term of service in the cause of your country, and on behalf of the nation and myself I thank you. You are going home; I hope you will find all your friends well. I never see a Massachusetts regiment but it reminds me of the difficulty a regiment from that State met with on its passage through Baltimore; but the world has moved since then, and I congratulate you upon having a better time to-day in Baltimore than that regiment had.

To-night, midnight, slavery ceases in Maryland, and this state of things in Maryland is due greatly to the soldiers. Again I thank you for the services you have rendered the country.

President Lincoln writes Rev. William Nast: “t is with feelings of cordial gratification, that I acknowledge the reception of your communication of the 20th. of October, covering the Resolutions of the Central German Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, adopted at their recent session.

I have not been unprepared for this definite and unequivocal statement of the continued loyalty and devotion of the Church you represent, to the free institutions of the country of your adoption. The conduct of your people since the outbreak of this desolating rebellion, has been the best proof of the sincerity of your present professions.

I trust it is not too early for us to rejoice together over the promise of the speedy removal of that blot upon our civilization, always heretofore a standing menace to our peace and liberties, whose destruction, so long desired by all friends of impartial freedom, has at last been rendered possible by the crimes of its own reckless friends.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “Herewith is a letter of Gov. Curtin which speaks for itself. I suggest, for your consideration, whether, to the extent of, say, five thousand, we might not exempt from the draft, upon the men being put in good shape to defend & give assurance to the border. I have not said even this much to the bearer, Gen. Todd, whom I hope you will see & hear.”

Pennsylvania editor John W. Forney writes President Lincoln:: “I have just returned from a most interesting canvas of the Wilmot district in this State, and have great pleasure in assuring you that every thing looks well. We did much good by our efforts in that important region. The gains in nearly all the counties, at the next election, will be ours. I will keep you duly advised by Telegraph of the result. After speaking here to-night to a great mass meeting, Col. [Thomnas] Fitzgerald and myself will return to Phila. and I will take personal charge of the Press and Chronicle until the day of election.”

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Mary Lincoln’s Half-Sister Complains to President Lincoln

October 30, 1864

Lincoln sister-in-law Emily Todd Helm, widowed in September 1863, bitterly writes President Lincoln: “Upon arriving at Lexington, after my long tedious unproductive and sorrowful visit to you, I found my Mother streched upon a sick bed, made sick by the harrowing and shocking death of your Brother in law, and my half Brother Levi Todd — He died from utter want and destitution as a letter sent to Sister Mary by Kitty gives particulars, another sad victim to the powers of more favored relations– With such a sad, such a dreadful lesson, I again beg and plead attention & consideration to my petition to be permitted to ship my cotton & be allowed a pass to go South to attend to it– My necessities are such that I am compelled to urge it– The last money I have in the world I used to make the unfruitful Appeal to you. You cannot urge that you do not know them for I have told you of them. I have been a quiet citizen and request only the right which humanity and Justice always give to Widows and Orphans. I also would remind you that your Minnie bullets have made us what we are & I feel I have that additional claim upon you–

Did you receive a letter from the Arch Bishop Purcell dated 18th Oct.4 He desired for Kitty an Answer as he would use his influence for you on the 8th of Oct. Will you reply to this– If you think I give way to excess of feeling, I beg you will make some excuse for a woman almost crazed with misfortune–

Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson writes President Lincoln about two New York congressional elections: “I have just returned from New York. Can not you do something to get Hawkins out of [New York Times Editor Henry J.] Raymond’s way? We can elect Raymond if Hawkins will withdraw. Dodge has some chance if Manmier will withdraw.2

Thomas Webster writes President Lincoln regarding the recent vote to abolish slavery in Maryland: “I take the liberty of informing you that at a special meeting of this Committee, held last Evening, to consider the policy of illuminating this building — on Tuesday November 1st — to commemorate by Emblems, motto’s, music and Fire-works — the grand victory achieved in Maryland — of Right over Wrong — whereby over 100000 Christian slaves are made unconditionally free — was discussed, and it was determined by a vote of 37 to 3. to glorify Emancipation in Maryland–

I congratulate you on this result in this committee– All earnest men rejoice in over it– Had it been determined to adjourn or postpone this celebration ’till after 8th November — it would have lost you many votes– Now it will, in my judgment make votes for you– Be that as it may — this demonstration on Tuesday next will gratify all true friends of liberty to man–

The people are a long way ahead of those among us who are politicians only and calculate and speculate — while the people feel, think and act– I enclose rough wood-engraving of our building as it will be, November 1st 1864.

President Lincoln confers “with Pennsylvania U.S. Marshal William Millward, who subsequently writes President Lincoln: “I have endeavored to ascertain the information you wished in relation to the late vote in this state as compared with Governor Curtins2 last election–

I wrote to Harrisburg on my return from Washington, (last Monday) and was informed the Official Vote would be known in a few days– Thus far I have been unable to obtain it (The Home Vote)

This morning I telegraphed to Eli Slifer Secretary of the Commonwealth for the necessary information (supposing he would have it by this time) and enclosed you have his reply–

I have no doubt of the result of tomorrow. The response of the American people will be “Lincoln & Johnson, Amen–

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President Lincoln Meets Sojourner Truth

October 29, 1864

Early in the morning, President Lincoln meets with Sojourner Truth, evangelist, and former slave. Lincoln signs her autograph album, Carpenter, p. 203.

It was about eight o’clock, A. M., when I called on the President. Upon entering his reception-room we found about a dozen persons in waiting, among them two colored women. I had quite a pleasant time waiting until he was disengaged, and enjoyed his conversation with others; he showed as much kindness and consideration to the colored persons as to the whites,–if there was any difference, more. One case was that of a colored woman, who was sick and likely to be turned out of her house on account of her inability to pay her rent. The President listened to her with much attention, and spoke to her with kindness and tenderness. He said he had [202] given so much he could give no more, but told her where to go and get the money, and asked Mrs. C-, who accompanied me, to assist her, which she did.

The President was seated at his desk. Mrs. C. said to him: “This is Sojourner Truth, who has come all the way from Michigan to see you.” He then arose, gave me his hand, made a bow, and said: “I am pleased to see you.”

I said to him: “Mr. President, when you first took your seat I feared you would be torn to pieces, for I likened you unto Daniel, who was thrown into the lions’ den; and if the lions did not tear you into pieces, I knew that it would be God that had saved you; and I said if He spared me I would see you before the four years expired, and He has done so, and now I am here to see you for myself.”

He then congratulated me on my having been spared. Then I said: “I appreciate you, for you are the best President who has ever taken the seat.” He replied thus: “I expect you have reference to my having emancipated the slaves in my proclamation. But,” said he, mentioning the names of several of his predecessors, (and among them emphatically that of Washington,) “they were all just as good, and would have done just as I have done if the time had come. If the people over the river (pointing across the Potomac) had behaved themselves, I could not have done what I have; but they did not, and I was compelled to do these things.” I [203] then said: “I thank God that you were the instrument selected by Him and the people to do it.”

He then showed me the Bible presented to him by the colored people of Baltimore, of which you have heard. I have seen it for myself, and it is beautiful beyond description. After I had looked it over, I said to him: “This is beautiful indeed; the colored people have given this to the Head of the Government, and that Government once sanctioned laws that would not permit its people to learn enough to enable them to read this Book. And for what? Let them answer who can.”

I must say, and I am proud to say, that I never was treated by any one with more kindness and cordiality than was shown me by that great and good man, Abraham Lincoln, by the grace of God President of the United States for four years more. He took my little book, and with the same hand that signed the death-warrant of slavery, he wrote as follows:–

For Aunty Sojourner Truth,

Oct. 29, 1864.

  1. Lincoln.

As I was taking my leave, he arose and took my hand, and said he would be pleased to have me call again. I felt that I was in the presence of a friend, and I now thank God from the bottom of my heart that I always have advocated his cause, and have done it openly and boldly. I shall feel still more in duty bound to do so in time to come. May God assist me.

Louisiana Governor Michael Hahn writes President Lincoln: I congratulate you on the results of the recent State elections, and sincerely hope that the vote for yourself in November may be so large and overwhelming as to put to rest all doubts on the question of the entire and early restoration of the Union.

I now address you on a subject of great importance to us, the loyal men in Louisiana, and to the Union. The military officers now in power in this Department seem not only to ignore all civil authority, but their acts look as if they were determined to prevent the organization of a loyal State government, and to extinguish as much of it as has been established. I would be the last man in the world to complain of any act properly within the jurisdiction (if I may use that term) of the military authorities, or any act of theirs outside of their proper duties which would benefit the cause of the Union or the Army. But I cannot remain silent when I see the most barefaced and unnecessary attempts made to crush out a State government which was formed to aid the country and the administration. I hope you will lose no delay in sending to us Gen. Banks, or some man to take charge of the Department of the Gulf who will have the power and the desire to aid us. I speak plainly because I feel deeply the injustice which is being done us.

From Pennsylvania, Thomas Fitzgerald writes President Lincoln regarding the political situation in Pennsylvania: “Saturday, Oct. 29th, will long be remembered in Wellsboro’, Tioga Co. Pa. The country people were here for the day from miles around, and to the number of thousands. Col. Forney made the great speech of the campaign on this occasion. It was strong, yet temperate and judicious, and it produced a great effect.

So far far as this Northern tier of counties is concerned, our entire canvas has been mismanaged. But for the Leagues and the integrity of our cause, we should have failed, so bitter and persistent have been the efforts of the Copperheads.

Col. Forney knows all the people in this part of the country, and he has filled them with enthusiasm.

We go to Danville on Monday — then to Williamsport, Harrisburgh, etc.

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Upcoming Election Preoccupies Washington

October 28, 1864

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary about the regular Friday cabinet meeting: “Attended C.C. and [was] not a little surprised, to hear nothing talked of but election matters, and those minor points. Neither great principles nor great facts seem, at present, to have any chance for a fair consideration

Even matters of the gravest intrinsic importance are, just now, viewed and acted upon only in their relations to the pending election – e.g. the prosecution of Dodd et al (Sons of Liberty!) In Inda., and the trials of Ferry and Donahue, in Baltimore, for fraud and forgery, in the vote of the N.Y. soldiers.

I wish the election was over. The President, I think, as soon as re elected, will be a freer and bolder man.

From New York, New York City Superior Court Justice James W. White writes to Abraham Lincoln: “I omitted to say when I had the pleasure of seeing you this morning, that the prompt action of the Government against the traitors who have falsified the New York Soldiers votes, is hailed with gratitude by all the loyal people of our State; and we trust and pray, that upon all those who shall be convicted by the Military Commission authorized to try them you will fearlessly order the Sentence of the Court to be promptly executed.

Thousands and probably tens of thousands of those fraudulent votes are now in the hands of Copperhead politicians and their dupes in New York. If an example is made of a few of their accomplices in advance of the election day by shooting or inflicting such other punishment upon them as the Court shall deem it proper to order, the culprits in New York will fear to present the forged ballots at the polls lest they, too, may be detected and dealt with as they deserve.

But if the Government falters and shows any weak lenity to the prisoners now in its hands, the accomplices in New York will be encouraged, and will venture to attempt the consummation of their villainy by using the forged votes. In such an event we shall have trouble at the polls that we can hardly overcome — trouble that will not fail to be damaging in its effects.

We trust, therefore, dear Sir, that you will show the outlaws in your hands nothing but the sternest justice. You will be sustained in this course by all the Union Men of the Country

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes President Lincoln: “You are aware that owing to shoal water at the mouth of the Cape Fear river, a purely naval attack cannot be undertaken against Wilmington. Had there been water enough for our broadside ships of the Hartford class, the naval attacks of New Orleans, Mobile and Port Royal would have been repeated there. I have, as you are aware, often pressed upon the War Department the importance of capturing Wilmington and urged upon the military authorities the necessity of undertaking a joint operation against the defences of Cape Fear river, but until recently there never seems to have been a period when that Department was in a condition to entertain the subject.

Two months ago it was arranged that an attack should be made on the 1st of October, but subsequently postponed to the 15th, and the naval force has been ready since the 15th inst. in accordance with that agreement. One hundred and fifty vessels of war now form the North Atlantic Squadron. The command first offered to Rear Admiral Farragut but declined by him has been given to Rear Admiral Porter. Every other Squadron has been depleted and vessels detached from other duty to strengthen this expedition. The vessels are concentrated at Hampton Roads and Beaufort where they remain — an immense force laying idle awaiting the movements of the Army. The retention of so many vessels from blockade and cruising duty is a most serious injury to the public service, and if the Expedition cannot go forward for want of troops I desire to be notified, so that the ships may be relieved and dispersed for other service.

The importance of closing Wilmington is so well understood by you that I refrain from presenting any new arguments. I am aware of the anxiety of yourself, and of the disposition of the War Department to render all the aid in its power. The cause of the delay is not from the want of a proper conception of the importance of the subject, but the season for naval coast operation will soon be gone. Genl. Bragg has been sent from Richmond to Wilmington to prepare for the attack and the autumn weather so favorable for such an expedition is fast passing away. The public expect this attack and the country will be distressed if it be not made: to procrastinate much longer will be to peril its success. Of the obstacles which delay or prevent military co-operation at once I cannot judge, but the delay is becoming exceedingly embarrassing to this Department and the importance of having the military authorities impressed with the necessity of speedy action has prompted this communication to you.

From New Orleans, Louisiana Governor Michael Hahn writes President Lincoln: “In a letter which I addressed you on the 24th ultimo, and which has no doubt reached you through Gen. Banks, I suggested the names of suitable persons to fill certain offices in this city and connected with the Treasury Department.1 I now beg leave to alter the list in one particular. I desire and earnestly urge the appointment of Col. Thomas B. Thorpe to the office of Surveyor of the Port of New Orleans instead of the gentleman (Judge Barrett) named in my former letter. Col. Thorpe is a good free state man and a writer of considerable repute. Some months ago he was highly recommended to you for the position now held by Mr. Flanders, but at my instance he abandons his application for that office, and will be entirely satisfied and pleased with the office of Surveyor of the Port.

I hope you will give him the position, and that the other appointments for this city, recommended by me may be acted on after consultation with Gen. Banks, who knows our people and our wants.

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President Lincoln Considers the Fate of a French Surgeon

October 27, 1864

President Lincoln meets with former Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning, who writes in his diary about his attempt to get release for a French citizen: “Breakfasted at Metropolitan with Mr La Forge of New York — We went with him to the President to get permission for a young Frenchman by the name of Shiff, who had been a Surgeon in the confederate service — captured at the Wilderness in May – brot to old capitol prison, and then paroled — to with draw an oath of Allegegiance which he took to this government when paroled.   Shiff was tired of the rebellion and did not intend to take an oath of allegiance to this government, and alleges that he was not fully aware of what he was doing, but supposed only what would entitle him to be paroled.

“His father, who is now dead, once lived in New Orleans and had invested in Southern stocks, and loaned money on mortgages, and there is a large indebtedness from the rebels to the family, who are now in Paris.   Shiff himself is in Paris with his mother. She is afraid if the reels find out that her son has taken the oath of allegiance to this government they will confiscate her large interests in the South, and that she will be unable to collect any portion of the debts due the family there, and therefore, desires leave for him to withdraw the oath.

The President was very amiable, and seemed inclined to grant the request, but said he would consult Secy Seward, and see what his views were.   He sent for Seward — We waited a half hour, and he did not come. The President then asked me to go over and see him. I took Mr La Forge with me and started over.   When we got near the State Department we met Seward on his way to the Presidents. We turned back and we all went into the State Department. I stated the case to him and showed him the oath of allegiance Signed by Shiff.   He read it over and then said there was no power on earth that could release him from it, and that it should not be done if it could. Mr La Forge asked if Shiff, being a Surgeon, and non combatant was not entitled to be paroled without taking the oath — that he thought Surgeons and Chaplains were regarded as non combatants, and not retained as prisoners of war as those in arms were.

Mr Seward got very much excited, and said no, they were not non combatants but d m d rebel belligerents who were trying to destroy this government — that Shiff had no right to be paroled — that we had a right to have taken his head off, and that he ought to be thankful that he was allowed to go away with it on his shoulders &c.

I suggest that being a Frenchman the oath of allegiance could not make him a citizen over whom we could claim jurisdiction, and I did not perceive that with drawing the oath could do us any harm, and that if the old lady was disturbed by it, and thought it put her property in danger of confiscation by the rebels, I could see no objection to granting the permission asked.

He replied that the oath he had taken did not make him a citizen, and that he was not a French man, but a dmd rebel belligerant trying to overthrow this government, and that it was an insult to this government to assume that the rebels could confiscate property — they could do no such thing, and that this government intended to protect all persons in their property and rights, and the rebels could not confiscate anything &c &c

He became very much excited and was boisterous and profane to Mr La Forge —

We left him, of course, without having accomplished anything. In the afternoon Mr La Forge called at my room, and we went again to the Presidents, but did not get an interview

From New York, William O. Bartlett, a close friend of New York Herald owner James Bennett, writes to update President Lincoln on his efforts: “Permit me to call your attention to the Herald of this date as a model paper for our side.

Mr. Bennett told me yesterday that he had accomplished more for you than he could have done any other way, because he had carried his readers along with him.

Please read his leader of to-day, calling on Gen. McClellan2 for a more definite avowal of his policy, and at the same time distinctly accepting you as satisfactory.

The enclosed article was written at my suggestion. Mr. Bennet said that it would benefit you more than anything else that could be said

From Illinois, Congressman Elihu B. Washburne writes President Lincoln: Genl. Jack Logan sends word to me that he wants to go to Washington after the election to see you about certain matters that he does not wish to write about. He wishes me to obtain the permission, which I know you will most gladly grant. Please send to me such permission and I will see it reaches him.

We are all hard at work in this state and the prospects for our success are good provided we get a reasonable number of the soldiers home. Logan is carrying all before him in Egypt. I have just got a letter from Cairo and our friends feel quite confident of beating Josh Allen. My majority in this district will not be less than 4,500.

From Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Congressman William D. Kelley writes President Lincoln: “I would gladly have seen you for a few moments on Tuesday and given you the reason for my conviction that we will carry the state in Nov. by not less than 10,000 on the Home vote.1

The League furnished the State Com with 280000 posters and documents prior to the Oct election These unhappily were not properly distributed. The percentage that were circulated was merely nominal. The enclosed circular will show you how systematically that work is now being done. Since that election the League have mailed 306000 pamphlets and posters Its issues number more than 750000, and in addition to all this it fills a column in the Ledger daily– This is our penny paper which publishes 65,000 copies daily.

That these and other agencies now using will more than accomplish the result I predict I am sure

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As Election Approaches, President Lincoln Hears of Problems and Progress

October 26, 1864

President Lincoln writes John R. Underwood and Henry Grider regarding civil affairs in Kentucky: “A petition has been presented to me on behalf of certain citizens of Allen and Barren counties in the State of Kentucky assuming that certain sums of money have been assessed and collected from them by the United States Military authorities, to compensate certain Union citizens of the same vicinage, for losses by rebel depredations, and praying that I will order the money to be refunded. The petition is accompanied by a letter of yours, which so presents the case as to induce me to make a brief response. You distinctly admit that the petitioners ‘sympathize with the Confederate States & regard them as warring to preserve their Constitutional & legal rights.’ This admitted, it is scarcely possible to believe that they do not help the cause they thus love whenever they conveniently can. Their sons and relatives go into the rebel, but we may not be able to distinctly prove that they out-fitted, and sent them. When armed rebels come among them, their houses and other property are spared; while Union men’s houses are burned, and their property pillaged. Still we may not be able to specifically prove that the sympathizers, protected and supplied the raiders in turn, or designated their Union nei[g]hbors for plunder and devastation. Yet we know all this exists even better than we could know an isolated fact upon the sworn testimony of one or two witnesses, just as we abetter know there is fire when we see much smoke rising than could know it by one or two witnesses swearing to it. The witnesses may commit perjury, but he smoke can not. Now, experience has already taught us in this war that holding these smoky localities responsible for the conflagrations within them has a very salutary effect. It was obviously so in and about St. Louis, and on Eastern Shore of Virginia.”

Philadelphia editor John W. Forney writes President Lincoln about the Pennsylvania political situation: “I write to you from Montrose, Susquehanna Co., where I intend to speak to-night, in company with our mutual friend, Col. Fitzgerald.

We have now passed through the Counties of Montgomery, Bucks, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, Wyoming, Luzerne, and have just landed in Susquehanna.

I feel very much encouraged at all the manifestations which have greeted me along the route, and from every thing I hear, we shall largely increase our vote in Nov., and add to your majorities in all the Union counties. Our friends are mortified that they should have fallen off in any quarter in Oct., but are resolved to make up their deficiencies in Nov.2

To-morrow we start for Bradford and Tioga, and, after that, health permitting, for the counties along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Myer S. Isaacs, a journalist for the New York Jewish Messenger, writes President Lincoln about Jewish votes in the upcoming election: “As a firm and earnest Union-man, I deem it my duty to add a word to those that have doubtless been communicated to you from other sources, with reference to a recent “visitation” on the part of persons claiming to represent the Israelites of New York or the United States and pledging the “Jewish vote” to your support, and, I am informed, succeeding in a deception that resulted to their pecuniary profit.

Having peculiar facilities for obtaining information as to the Israelites of the United States, from my eight years’ connection with the Jewish paper of this city and my position as Secretary of their central organization, the “Board of Delegates” — in which capacity I have had the honor heretofore of communicating with yourself and the Departments — I feel authorized to caution you, sir, against any such representations as those understood to have been made.

There are a large number of faithful Unionists among our prominent coreligionists — but there are also supporters of the opposition; and, indeed the Israelites are not, as a body, distinctively Union or democratic in their politics. In the conduct of our Journal for example, while, from the first firing upon our national flag, there has been a steady support of the government in its efforts to maintain the integrity of the Union and crush the unhallowed rebellion, there has also been a studied persistence in the expression of what is an implicit belief, that the Jews, as a body, have no politics: and while we have earnestly counselled & implored attachment to the Union at whatever cost, we have refrained from interfering with the private political views of individual readers. This is predicated on our direct knowledge of the character and opinions of our coreligionists.

Therefore, sir, I am pained and mortified to find that you had been imposed upon by irresponsible men, animated, I am sure by mercenary motives; and I wish to inform you with all promptitude, that such acts are discountenanced and condemned most cordially by the community of American Israelites– As an illustration that an influential class of Jewish citizens are warm adherents of the administration, you have the fact that a Hebrew will cast for you the vote of a New York city congressional district. A single Union meeting this week presented these facts: the chairman of the Executive Committee & Committee of Arrangements, the gentlemen who presented the resolutions, two principal speakers and many prominent persons upon the platform, were Jews.– I refer to the German Union Mass Meeting on Monday night.

It is because I sympathize heart and soul with the action of government in using every means to restore the Union and overthrow the machinations of those who seek its disruption, that I am the more regret this attempt to deceive you. There is no “Jewish vote” — if there were, it could not be bought. As a body of intelligent men, we are advocates of the cherished principles of liberty & justice, and must inevitably support and advocate those who are the exponents of such a platform — “liberty & Union, now and forever”.

Also from New York Samuel A. Lewis writes to Abraham Lincoln about Jewish efforts to support him: “Having understood through our friend Dr [Isachar ] Zacharie that some parties representing themselves “a committee from the Jews” had called on you to solicit contributions, I hasten to inform you that it is entirely against the wish of your Jewish friends here to take any money from outside committees or others–

We propose to give — not to take– I would esteem it a favor should any Jewish committees call on you or the Union Committee in Washington, if you would send them to me (as Dr Zacharie will be away frequently between now and the election) and I will furnish them such amounts as we see can be used to advantage–

Be assured nothing shall be wanting on the part of your friends here towards carrying the Union Cause.

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President Lincoln Receives Political Reports on Kansas and New York

October 25, 1864

Lincoln’s old Illinois friend Mark Delahay writes: “Kansas safe, [Confederate General Sterling] Price retreating South on the Kansas line, Pleasonton, Blunt & others in pursuit; our Malitia returning to their homes; we have been all playing soldier for the last Ten days — last night several Regiments passed through this City going North, Shouting as they passed ” hurrah for Lincoln” I stood at a Corner and waved my hat to them until they passed; Kansas will give you a large vote; I feel proud of Maryland now she is fine; Your election would seem to be nearly a certainty, I thank God for the prospect, if the Delegates to the Chicago or Cin[cinnati] Peace Convention should come together after it is known that you are elected, such meeting will mean violence and treason, against which a timely and strict preperation should be made; if they utter Sedition in any form they should be arrested by strong hands and held in close custody, I hope you will bear this suggestion in mind.”

From New York, businessman George W. Egleston writes President Lincoln: “Enclosed you will please find a Circular entitled “Slavery and the next President”

The design of this document is to show, 1st That Slavery is the cause of the dissensions between the North and the South. 2nd Its extreme wickedness in the eyes of a great Creator 3rd That the Election of any candidate under the Chicago Platform would encourage this evil. 4th That if there is any in these United States who will cast out Slavery from among us it is you Sir who realize its inhumanity and have given your energies from the first for its extinction.

I have thought it was especially important at this time that no individual should be in the dark as to these facts. I have therefore gotton up this Circular at my own expense, and distributed it.

I beleive it Sir, but a just tribute to say that the Country owes you a debt of gratitude for your efforts to abolish Slavery and establish free labor, and I beleive and expect that your fellow-Countrymen will show their appreciation of your efforts on the 8th of November next by again causing your Election.

I submit this Sir to you, and did I know that it meets your approval should feel most happy as I feel happy in paying you this just tribute of my respect and esteem.

President Lincoln writes General John F. Miller: “Suspend execution of Young C. Edmonson, until further order from me.”

Published in: on October 25, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Supporter Push Salmon P. Chase for Chief Justice

October 24, 1864

Speculation about a replacement for Chief Justice B. Taney continues. Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner writes to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase: “You ought to be C.J., & I do not doubt that you will be; for I cannot believe that the Presdt. will allow himself to be pushed from his original conclusion.

It has been said that Judge [Ira] Harris wished to be an Associate, &, to carry out this idea Judge Swayne was to be made C.J. I do not think this possible. It so happened that the Presdt. last spring mentioned Judge Swayne to me as the ablest of the new judges & a candidate for C.J. I spoke very frankly of the effect of such an appointment, & insisted that he had not the elements required for the head of the bench now. It was after this conversation that he said that he would tender the place to you, & I understand he has repeated this determination since, especially to the Senate Comttee. when it visited him to know the occasion of yr resignation. He then confessed that you & he could not get along together in the cabinet, but that he should be glad to make you C.J. John Sherman knows about this conversation.

I have written again to the Presdt. renewing my recommendation & insisting that the sooner it was done the better.”

Sumner writes President Lincoln: “It seems to me that there is a feverishness in the public mind with regard to the Chief Justiceship. Anti-Slavery men are all trembling, lest the opportunity should be lost of appointing a Chief Justice, who, in his interpretation of the Constitution & of the War Powers, would deal a death-blow to Slavery. They do not think that any old-fashioned lawyer, who has accepted for years pro-slavery glosses can do this. Our new Chief Justice must believe in Liberty & be inspired by it.

I think the nomination of Mr Chase would cause a glow of delight throughout the country among all the best supporters of the Administration, & according to my judgment, the sooner it is made the better.

You will pardon my earnestness; but I long to secure a just interpretation of the Constitution. NO personal friendship could induce me to intrude upon you, if I did not feel that I was consulting the best interests of my country.

Sumner added a postscript in which he : “I have to-day recd. a letter from Mr. Chase which contains a passage that venture to transcribe:

“It is perhaps not exactly en regle to say what one will do in regard to an appointment not tendered to him; but it is certainly not wrong to say to you that I should accept. If feel that I can do more for our cause & our country & for the success of the next Administration in that place than in any other. Happily it is now certain that the next Administration will be in the hands of Mr Lincoln from whom the world will expect great things. God grant that his name may go down to posterity with the two noblest additions historian ever record — Restorer & Liberator.

From New York, Thurlow Weed waxes pessimistic: “You kindly permitted me to visit you Sunday morning before last, but your cares and responsibilities are so great that I spared you, tho’ I did want to say things that seemed important. The Day before yesterday you went to a Review and I left before you returned.

I have done all that our Maryland Friends required, and have done something for our Friend Sweat.

Now I am in for a New-York Canvass. Nothing would so much here as a Victory, which it will not be your fault if we do not get.

Our State is in danger. There is a re-action in the public mind against us.

President Lincoln tells the 189th New York Regiment: “I am exceedingly obliged to you for this mark of respect. It is said that we have the best Government the world ever knew, and I am glad to meet you, the supporters of that Government. To you who render the hardest work in its support should be given the greatest credit. Others who are connected with it, and who occupy higher positions, their duties can be dispensed with, but we cannot get along without your aid. While others differ with the Administration, and perhaps, honestly, the soldiers generally have sustained it; they have not only fought right, but, so far as could be judged from their actions, they have voted right, and I for one thank you for it. I know you are en route for the front, and therefore do not expect me to detain you long, and will therefore bid you good morning.”

Speculation also continues about whether New York Democrats are splitting. Attorney General Edward Bates write: “I see, in the Chronicle, an account of a new movement in Politics, to weaken the Democratic nomination. It is headed by many of the most prominent democrats in the city and State of New York – such as F. B. Corning, Moses Taylor, Edwards Pierrepont, John A Dix, and the like.”

Published in: on October 24, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Concern about the Sailor Vote Reaches White House

October 23, 1864

New York political boss Thurlow Weed writes President Lincoln: “The Adversary is making the canvass sanguinary. The most desperate and profligate efforts are being made.

Our Friends report favorably from the Counties, but the Cities will give an ugly Vote.

Maj. Richardson writes from Beaufort, N. C. that he finds most of the Sailors against us. They are largely Irish– Another Agent writes to the State Committee that Admiral Lee is against us.

We have encouraging accounts from New-Jersey.

The same day, Major William Richardson had written Weed: “Thus far the indications are bad for the Navy vote amounting to much for us. The Officers are mostly right, but some Commandants evidently consider it a great innovation on the “good old way.” As far as the Officers can vote, they are generally ready to support the Administration, but there is no doubt that the feeling of the men of the Navy is generally and largely for McClellan4 — especially of those from our State, coming, as they so generally do, from the City and Brooklyn. The Irish firemen, coal passers &c. are nearly unanimous against us, but unless we are badly cheated their absence ought to help us on the home vote.

It is lucky that the opposition have made no intelligent effort to get their share of this vote, for those sent home to them from the Navy will generally be so irregular and informal that they will be of no use. I shall work all the time left to the best advantage I can, but it is an unpromising field. Much of this state of things, I learn from the Officers, is the result of the mismanagement (or not knowing how to smooth things down) on the part of the Navy Dept. The men are all kept 13 months for a year — they blame this on Lincoln. They have an idea amongst them that their grog ration is to be given them if McClellan is elected, and nothing has been done to enlighten them. Not a document — scarce ever a paper — has reached them — and it is too late now of course to change them. We must take what we can get and leave the rest.

President Lincoln meets with a group of Jewish New Yorkers.

President Lincoln writes General George Thomas: “I received information to-day, having great appearance of authenticity, that there is to be rebel raid into Western Kentucky—that it is to consist of four thousand Infantry, and three thousand Cavalry, and is to start from Corinth, Mississippi on the fourth day of November.”

Published in: on October 23, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

President Lincoln Thanks General Philip Sheridan for Battle Victory

October 22, 1864

President Lincoln telegraphs General Philip H. Sheridan regarding his recent defeat of Confederates at Cedar Creek : “With great pleasure I tend to you and your brave army, the thanks of the Nation, and my own personal admiration and gratitude for the month’s operations in the Shenandoah Valley; and especially for the splendid work of October 19, 1864.”

President Lincoln writes William B. Campbell regarding affairs in Tennessee: “I presume that the conducting of a Presidential election in Tennessee in strict accordance with the old code of the State is not now a possibility. It is scarcely necessary to add that if any election shall be held, and any votes shall be case in the State of Tennessee for President and Vice President of the United States, it will belong, not to the military agents, nor yet to the Executive Department, but exclusively to another department of the Government, to determine whether they are entitled to be counted, in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States. Except it be to give protection against violence, I decline to interfere in any way with any presidential election.”

Politics mixing with judicial promotion in some letters to President Lincoln.   Senator John Sherman writes from Iowa: “In a conversation with Judge [Samuel F. ]Miller of the Supreme Court last evening he authorised me to say to you that he preferred the appointment of Gov. Chase as Chief Justice to any one named — and that he knew Judge [Samuel F.] Field concurred in this

He said he felt some delicacy in writing you as last winter he concurred in authorizing Judge Davis to say for him that the appointment of Judge Swayne would be acceptable — but subsequent reflection satisfied him that the public service would be best promoted by the selection of Gov Chase — As the hearty concurrence of the newly appointed Judges is vitally important I deem it proper to inform you of these facts — and I can assure you with great confidence that the profession in the States west of the Mississippi generally agree that Chase will bring more Judicial Strength to the Bench — and than any one named– I telegraphed you from Chicago in consequence of very decided opinions expressed there — in favor of Chase. With no personal preference between Chase & Swayne it is my firm conviction that Chase will reflect higher honor in the exalted position of Chief Justice than Judge Swayne & his appointment could be justified by obvious political reasons.

Allow me to say that Iowa is all right on the “main question” & will give you a greater majority than any man ever had in this State

Supreme Court Justice David Davis, who had been instrumental in Lincoln’s election as president, writes from his sick bed to President Lincoln: “I have been confined to my bed for three weeks which will account for my employing someone else to write for me. Chief Justice Taney is dead and of course you are thinking of his successor.1 I feel deeply and earnestly on the subject and have seen no reason to change my views since last Winter. I think now as then, that Judge Swayne ought to have the place; he is an able man and has been a practicing Lawyer all his life. Although of decided political views he has never been an active partisan. No regular partisan ought to be elevated to such a place Judic[i]al life should be kept as free as possible from party politics. To place a mere partisan in such a position weakens an administration and lessons the respect that should attach to the decisions of the Court. My earnestness on this subject must be my apology for addressing you in my weak state. If I was well I would go to Washington in person and solicit an interview.”

On a distinctly non-judicial matter, President Lincoln writes that Judge “James Hughes of Indiana is a worthy gentleman and a friend, whom I wish to oblige. He desires to trade in southern products, and all officers of the Army and Navy and other agents of the government will afford him such protection and such facilities of transportation, and otherwise in such business as can be consistently done with the regulations of trade and with the public service– ”

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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