President Lincoln Reviews Loyalty Oath

February 5, 1864

President Lincoln writes to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “Submitted to the Sec. of War.  On principle I dislike an oath which requires a man to swear he has not done wrong.  It rejects the Christian principle of forgiveness on terms of repentance.  I think it is enough if the man does not wrong hereafter.”

Thomas S. Bacon writes President Lincoln from New Orleans regarding upcoming elections being organized by General Nathaniel Banks: “As a thorough-going Union man of Louisiana, not unknown to your Excellency, having conversed with you several times upon the affairs of our State and especially last October in company with Judge Hiestand and C. W. Horner Esq. — I desire to enter my protest against the measures now used by the military authority here in regard to the pending election, and to declare that in my opinion that election will have no more weight with the people of the State but produce future confusion and danger instead of the contrary. I belong to none of the associations, clubs parties or cliques which are at war here. I have no personal entanglement or interest — no animosities or interests attachments to gratify. I speak only from serious conviction and concern.

There is no real liberty of discussion about our own local affairs among real Union men. Can there be a real election without that liberty? There is a general impression that the military authority will permit only such open expression of opinion either by the press or in public meetings as suits its own views. There is a like impression that the Commanding General is interested and is using much indirect pressure to secure the election of persons objectionable to our best Union men, — persons of no weight of character. There So far as I and others can comprehend his letter of Jan. 29th, it turns our Registry of voters into a nullity and opens the door wide to fraudulent votes — to the over powering the voice of the loyal people of Louisiana by that of strangers.

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Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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