President Lincoln Issues Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

October 20, 1864

President Lincoln issues third proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving: “It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working men in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of Freedom and Humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.”

Francis P Blair Sr. writes President Lincoln to push his son Montgomery for appointment as chief justice.   After outlining his family’s loyalty to the Union and President Lincoln, Blair writes: “Now I come to what I hope you will consider another & higher opportunity of serving you & the Republic by carrying your political principles & the support of your policy expressed in relation to the reconstruction, into the Supreme Court. I think Montgomery’s unswerving support of your administration in all its aspects coupled with his unfaltering attachment to you personally fits him to be your representative man at the head of that bench.’ He hesitatingly mentioned the fine qualities of his son, and assured the president that he could do nothing better to remove the cloud of ostracism which had descended upon Montgomery as a result of his removal from the Cabinet. Montgomery could go abroad, for his children needed to be educated, but he had to work in his profession to make a living. The elder Blair closed his letter by staring that, ‘Although I have urged this matter with some earnestness you will not infer that I set up any claim. You have done enough for the Blairs to entitle you to their gratitude & of their posterity.”

New York Attorney William O. Bartlett, a close friend of New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, writes President Lincoln: “August Belmont bet $4.000 night before last that this State would go for McClellan.

Gen. [George B.] McClellan has been up to Fort Washington and spent a day with Mr. Bennett.

Mr. B. expressed the opinion to me, this morning, that you would be elected, but by a very close vote. He said that puffs did no good, and he could accomplish most for you by not mentioning your name.

Former Emigration Commissioner James Mitchell, an Indiana minister, writes President Lincoln in search of a new job: Permit me to state that I much desire to know the fate of my petition now in the hands of the Attorney General.

It is now near four months sinse the men of this Department cut off my salary, and assumed the remaining effects of my office (having drawn my files long before) If the Attorney General rules that my present position is not tenable, be so kind as to grant me one more so, that will not be so much exposed to the fierce fires of an unscrupulous faction on one hand and corrupt officials on the other; until I have time to form the necessary combinations for 1868 if God will permit me to live that long, for in this work success with me is a duty. Thank God the work for 1864 is done, and this administration will be continued in power– May your second term be as calm and peaceful as your first was dark and stormy — but I have fears Napolion has just entered on his new Combinations which were foiled last year by the action of England — in my opinion again do they include the United States, and North America. I hope I am wrong in this, but time will show.

I am thankful to you for what you have done– You have kindly laid down the foundation, and fixed the precedent, and I think the majority of the Nation will never permit a successor to build on any other– Yet I trust that class of opinions which I know have given you the vantage ground will not be abandoned in your second term.

My means being slender and my expenses sinse the revolution of political parties resulting in the election of Lain and McCarty to contest the seats of Bright and Fitch have been a heavy drain on my slender estate — as I have been under salary but a fragment of that long period through which I have looked to something like present results. I now therefore respectfully state that if I have a claim on the Government as an officer thereof — I desire to know it — as I stand in need of all I can legally claim.

I herewith submit a Copy of a paper some friends tendered on learning whilst at home that the appropriation for my office had been repealed.

Over a month later, as Attorney General Edward Bates is leaving office, he writes President Lincoln: “ beg your pardon for having overlooked, in the pressure of business, in my latter days in the office, the duty to give formal answer to your question concerning your power still to retain the Revd Mr Mitchell as your assistant or aid in the matter of executing the several acts of Congress relating to the emigration or Colonizing of the freed blacks.

It is too late for me now to give a formal opinion upon the question, as this is my last day in office. I can only say that, having examined all the acts referred to, I am satisfied that, notwithstanding the act which repeals the appropriation contingently, you still have something to do, under those acts; and therefore, that you have the same right to continue Mr Mitchell that you had to appoint him originally. And I hope it will be done, for he seems to be a good man, of zeal & capacity.

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Published in: on October 20, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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