Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On February 3, 1862

One of the great frustrations of Lincoln's first term in office (and undoubtedly of the war) was his inability to push, coerce, goad or force General 'Little Mac' McClellan into engaging the Confederate army.

Little Mac was by all accounts an excellent organizer when it came to training and drilling green troops. He enjoyed pageantry, parades, drilling and military maneuvers. But he was reluctant to engage the South in battle. He continually overestimated the strength of enemy forces, failed to seize tactical opportunities when they were presented, and missed several opportunities to win decisive victories that were well within his grasp.

Once, in growing frustration, Lincoln wryly noted that "If General McClellan isn't going to use his army, I'd like to borrow it for a time."

On one occasion, McClellan kept Lincoln waiting at his house for 30 minutes. When McClellan finally arrived, he walked past Lincoln without speaking, climbed the stairs and proceeded directly to bed.

Many people were outraged by this snub, but Lincoln continued trying to reason with his insubordinate general (who was very popular with the soldiers) in the hope that the Union would eventually see results. Lincoln later commented that he would gladly "hold McClellan's horse if he will only bring us success."

Executive Mansion,
Major General McClellan Washington, Feb. 3, 1862.

My dear Sir: You and I have distinct, and different plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac---yours to be down the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the Railroad on the York River---, mine to move directly to a point on the Railroad South West of Manassas.

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the following questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours.

1st. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of time, and money than mine?

2nd. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?

3rd. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine?

4th. In fact, would it not be less valuable, in this, that it would break no great line of the enemie's communications, while mine would?

5th. In case of disaster, would not a safe retreat be more difficult by your plan than by mine?

Yours truly A. LINCOLN

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