President Lincoln Prepares for Reconstruction

December 25, 1863

President Lincoln writes Bayard Taylor: “I think a good lecture or two on ‘Serfs, Serfdom, and Emancipation in Russia’ would be both interesting and valuable.  Could you get up such a thing?  Taylor replies: “I fully understand the interest of the subject you propose, and desire to present it, in some way, to the public. T here are only slight resemblances between Russian serfdom and slavery in the southern states, although they rest on the same basis–property in Man–but the complete success of the scheme of emancipation in Russia has much significance for this nation at the present time….”

Assistant secretary John Hay writes in his diary: “A lonesome sort of Christmas.  I breakfasted, dined and supped alone.  Went to the Theatre & saw Macbeth alone.  Came home and slept alone.”  He added:

The President today got up a plan for extending to the people of the rebellious districts the practical benefits of his proclamation.  He is to send record books to various points to receive subscriptions to the oath, for which certificates will be given to the man taking the oath.  He has also prepared a placard himself giving notice of the opening of the books and the nature of the oath required.

He sent the first of these books to Pierpoint to use in Virginia.  The Second he will probably send to Arkansas

The Presdt. Was greatly amused at Greeley’s hasty Chase explosion and its elaborate explanation in the Tribune. He defended Govr. Chase from Philips unjust attacks, saying that he thought Chase’s banking system rested on a sound basis of principle, that is, causing the Capital of the country to become interested in the sustaining of the national credit.  That this was the principal financial measure of Mr. Chase in which he (L) had taken an especial interest.  Mr. C. Had frequently consulted him in regard to it. He had generally delegated to Mr C. Exclusive control of those matters falling within the purview of his dept.  This matter he had shared in, to some extent.

The President read to us a paper he had written last summer during the days of bitterest opposition to the draft, arguing its constitutionality and expediency.  He was a little curious to know what could have been the grounds taken by the Sup. Court of Pa. In deciding otherwise.  The matter seemed so clear to him that he wondered how there could be any other side to it.

Published in: on December 25, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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