Presidential Lincoln Firm on Emancipation

November 16, 1862

Illinois Judge David Davis, a longtime friend,  discusses with President Lincoln military and emancipation issues.  Davis reported: ‘Mr. Lincoln’s whole soul is absorbed in his plan of remunerative emancipation and he thinks if Congress don’t fail him, that the problem is solved.  He believes that if Congress will pass a law authorizing the issuance of bonds for the payment of emancipated negroes in the border States that Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Mo. Will accept the terms.  He takes great encouragement from the vote in Mo.’  Historian Allan Nevins noted that  “Davis found Lincoln weary, careworn, and heavily burdened with preparations for the imminent Congressional session.  ‘It is a good thing he is fond of anecdotes and telling them,’ commented Davis for it relieves his spirits very much.”

A few days later, President Lincoln wrote Illinois District Court Judge Samuel Treat, another longtime friend,  regarding his plans for a special army command along the Mississippi River to be commanded by Illinois politician John McClernand: “Your very patriotic and judicious letter, addressed to Judge Davis, in relation to the Mississippi, has been left with me by him for perusal. You do not estimate the value of the object you press, more highly than it is estimated here. It is now the object of particular attention. It has not been neglected, as you seem to think, because the West was divided into different military Departments. The cause is much deeper. The country will not allow us to send our whole Western force down the Mississippi, while the enemy sacks Louisville and Cincinnati. Possibly it would be better if the country would allow this, but it will not. I confidently believed, last September that we could end the war by allowing the enemy to go to Harrisburg and Philadelphia, only that we could not keep down mutiny, and utter demoralization among the Pennsylvanians. And this, though very unhandy sometimes, is not at all strange. I presume if an army was starting to-day for New-Orleans.”

President Lincoln also met with New York Republican leader Hiram Barney, who subsequently wrote him: “Allow me to beg you to remember our conversation when I had the honor to call upon you a few days since, in connection with the enclosed circular which has just been received (regarding dismissal of Democrats).  My judgment is that the subject of removals for political causes be kept in abeyance.”

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Published in: on November 16, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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