President Lincoln Addresses Problems in Kentucky

January 6, 1864

President Lincoln writes Kentucky Governor To Thomas E. Bramlette: “Yours of yesterday received. Nothing is known here about Gen. Foster’s order, of which you complain, beyond the fair presumption that it comes from Gen. [Ulysses] Grant, and that it has an object which if you understood, you would be loth to frustrate

True, these troops are, in strict law, only to be removed by my order; but Gen. Grant’s judgment would be the highest incentive to me to make such order. Nor can I understand how doing so is bad faith or dishonor; nor yet how it exposes Kentucky to ruin.

Military men here do not perceive how it such [sic] exposes Kentucky, and I am sure Grant would not permit it, if it so appeared to him.

Ohio Episcopalian Bishop Charles P. McIlvaine writes President Lincoln: “A feeling of affectionate respect & of thankfulness for what God has given you wisdom to do for your Country, induces me to venture a word of New Year — salutation & regard.

May God most richly bless you, this year, in all personal, domestic & public interests, — & the Country, by you!

He has led our cause by ways we knew not; ways of darkness — of perilous straits & great fearfulness often; all the while educating the people, taking away old ideas & prejudices that barred our path, making divisions result in closer co-operation — & all to prepare us for the blessed consummation — the Union restored & the demon, Slavery, cast out–

How wonderfully has this war been made to open a road to that end, when there seemed no possible road. The Constitution, with its guarantees, inviolate, & yet a lawful way opened for the destruction of slavery! “An enemy hath done this”– None else could have done it. No greater kindness could he have done us. The prison door is open; He forged & gave the key. The crown on the head of a restored Union will be the Prodigal son returned & re-instated, his slave clothes exchanged for the best robe of the free.

All praise to God– Many thanks to you, dear Sir, whom He guided & sustained; giving you wisdom to discern, boldness to enter, & firmness to keep that road, when many of your best friends & of the best friends of the Country were afraid–

In no portion of our struggle, does the hand of God more impressively appear than in this making all our difficulties, dangers, reverses & victories work together for the one great good — Union without Slavery.

I will here mention a fact which may be not without its interest to you. At a drawing-room meeting in London, soon after the Trent-affair, called by a Member of Parliament, just before it was to meet, & for the purpose of giving Mr Weed & myself an opportunity of influence upon its members, several of whom, in both branches, were present — it was strongly declared that the great obstacle to English sympathy with us was the want of evidence of any intended movement of the Govt for the getting rid of slavery –  & besides that, the guarantees of slavery in the Constitution, so that Union restored would be only Slavery protected– Two speakers — one of whom was in sympathy with us, the other not, & declaring that England will never sympathise with us till she saw that our success would remove the protection of slavery — spoke — & said there was a way, in spite of the Constitution– They described, the in substance, the way you have taken — called it a War-Power — & saw no reason for not adopting it– None in the meeting signified any dissent– The speaker who did not then sympathise with us, as soon as he saw the promise of your present policy, came out before an immense meeting in London, advocating the fullest support of English sympathy– This address was published & widely circulated, the author having a wide influence among the people–

Nothing has cleared our sky abroad so much as your Emancipation-policy. Nothing has done more to clear our path at home.

I pray, my dear Sir, that God will be your guide & strength all the way of this your great duty & difficulty; so that, as your term of office began when Union & Peace seemed almost hopeless, it may not end till you have the reward & joy of seeing them more than ever our blessing.

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Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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