President Lincoln Seeks to Jump Start Elections in Arkansas

November 18, 1862

President Lincoln seeks to begin reconstruction of Arkansas by sending William M. McPherson  to Arkansas to hold speedy elections for  Congress, ‘and perhaps a legislature, State officers, and United States Senators.’” President Lincoln writes Arkansas military authorities: “Mr. William M. McPherson goes to Arkansas, seeking to have such of the people thereof as desire to avoid the unsatisfactory prospect before them, and to have peace again upon the old terms under the Constitution of the United States, to manifest such desire by elections of members to the Congress of the United States particularly, and perhaps a legislature, State officers, and United States Senators friendly to their object. I shall be glad for you and each of you to aid him and all others acting for this object, as much as possible. In all available ways give the people a chance to express their wishes at these elections. Follow law & forms of law as far as convenient, but at all events get the expression of the largest number of the people possible. All see how such action will connect with and affect the proclamation of September 22d. Of course the men elected should be gentlemen of character, willing to swear support to the Constitution, as of old, and known to be above reasonable suspicion of duplicity.”

Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, a fervent abolitionist,  writes British statesman john Bright regarding emancipation and foreign policy: “There is this consolation even in our disasters, that they have brought the Presdt to a true policy.  A wise, courageous & humane statesman, with proper forecast might from the beginning have directed this whole war to the suppression of Slavery, & have ended it by this time.  I cannot doubt this.  But with Lincoln as Presdt, & Seward as Secretary this was impossible.  Another agency was necessary & Providence has interposed delay & disaster, which have done for us more than argt. or persuasion.  How many dreary interviews I have had with the Presdt where the future seemed so dark!  As for S. he has neither wisdom or courage.  He fraternizes with Thurlow Weed, who is only a politician, & whose influence from the election of Lincoln has been disastrous.  He did not understand the crisis.  His diagnosis was utterly wrong, & his nostrums ever since have been injurious.  He & Seward set themselves against Emancipation, & they both began with Compromise; & with the idea that by some patch-work this great question could be avoided.”

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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