President Lincoln Writes Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase

September 2, 1863

President Lincoln writes Attorney General  Edward Bates: “Satisfactory evidence having been produced to me that William A…Stephens of Shelby county, Kentucky, is under an indictment for treason in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kentucky; and that said Stephens, under a certain proclamation tendering upon certain terms, did, on or about the fifth day of June, 1863, and since the finding of said indictment, take the oath of allegiance to the United States, and give bond with security accordingly, I do hereby pardon him for the offense charged in the indictment, and for all similar offenses up to the said fifth of June, 1863.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase: “Knowing your great anxiety that the emancipation proclamation shall now be applied to certain parts of Virginia and Louisiana which were exempted from it last January, I state briefly what appear to me to be difficulties in the way of such a step. The original proclamation has no constitutional or legal justification, except as a military measure. The exemptions were made because the military necessity did not apply to the exempted localities. Nor does that necessity apply to them now any more than it did then. If I take the step must I not do so, without the argument of military necessity, and so, without any argument, except the one that I think the measure politically expedient, and morally right? Would I not thus give up all footing upon constitution or law? Would I not thus be in the boundless field of absolutism? Could this pass unnoticed, or unresisted? Could it fail to be perceived that without any further stretch, I might do the same in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri; and even change any law in any state? Would not many of our own friends shrink away appalled? Would it not lose us the elections, and with them, the very cause we seek to advance?

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “This woman says her husband and two sons are in the war; that the youngest son W. J. Klaproth, is a private in Co. D, of 143rd. Pennsylvania, volunteers, was wounded, made a prisoner & paroled at Gettysburg, and is now at Center-Street hospital, New Jersey; and that he was under eighteen when he entered the service without the consent of his father or herself. She says she is destitute, and she asks that he may be discharged If she makes satisfactory proof of the above let it be done.”

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Published in: on September 2, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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