President Lincoln Wrestles with Vallandigham Problem

May 13, 1863

President Lincoln decides not to suspend habeas corpus in Ohio because he doubts U.S. judges to sustain the action.  The problem related to the May 5 arrest and subsequent trial of former Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham in Ohio by General Ambrose Burnside.  Five days earlier, Burnside had written President Lincoln: “Your dispatch just rec’d. I thank you for your kind assurance of support & beg to say that every possible effort will be made on my part to sustain the Govt of the United States in its fullest authority.”

President Lincoln writes Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase regarding the son of Elias H. Merryman, a friend of Lincoln’s, involved in the problems with the customs office at Port Townsend, Washington Territory : “I understand there are, or have been, some charges against Lieutenant Merryman, of which I know nothing. I only wish to say, he was raised from childhood in the town where I lived, and I remember nothing against him as boy or man.”  Lincoln adds regarding the man who played an important role in an aborted duel two decades earlier: “His father, now dead, was a very intimate acquaintance and friend of mine.”

President Lincoln writes Dr.Anson G. Henry, a longtime Illinois friend now residing in Oregon regarding changes to the customs office in the state of Washington: “Governor Chase’s feelings were hurt by my action in his absence. Smith is removed, but Gov. Chase wishes to name his successor, and asks a day or two to make the designation.:

Upon the death of the president of Peru, President Lincoln wrote Pedro Diez Canseco, second vice president of Peru: “I have been deeply touched by the announcement, contained in the letter which you addressed to me under date of the eleventh ultimo, of the decease of the Most Excellent President of the Republic of Peru, the Grand Marshal, Don Miguel San Roman.”

Regarding the interests of the Spanish American Republics with no common concern, I have not failed to observe the incidents of the brief administration of the Grand Marshal, Senor San Roman, with admiration and respect, and to anticipate for the Republic a most prosperous and brilliant future in the developmement [sic] of his wise and sagacious policy.

I offer to your Excellency and to the Peruvian Nation my sincere sympathy and condolence in this painful event.

As your Excellency has entered upon the duties of the Presidency, ad interim, under Constitutional sanction, prescribing to yourself such a course as must invite the approval and cooperation of other Powers, I cannot but believe that the Supreme Ruler of the Universe will guide the counsels of Your Excellency to a happy issue.

Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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