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

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On April 5, 1865

A sketch of President Lincoln and his son Tad entering Richmond on April 4, 1865

File this under 'ironing out the details' (progress on the battlefield ran well ahead of progress in the Confederate legislature.)

On this day in 1865, President Lincoln met with Virginia's Judge Campbell to talk about how Virginia could be 'brought back into the Union' (seeing as it had already been re-taken by the Union anyway.) A Charles A. Dana telegraphed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton at 4 P.M. with a followup message to the meeting - on behalf of Judge Campbell - when he was unable to track down the Lincoln himself:

"Judge Campbell . . . had an interview with the President here this morning to consider how Virginia can be brought back to the Union. All they ask is an amnesty and a military convention, to cover appearances. Slavery they admit to be defunct. General Weitzel, who was present, tells me that the President did not promise the amnesty, but told them he had the pardoning power, and would save any repentant sinner from hanging. They . . . are sure if amnesty could be offered the rebel army would dissolve and all the States return. The President went to City Point this morning, and I have not been able to see him." (OR, I, XLVI, III, 575).

Stanton apparently tracked Lincoln down in City Point, Virginia, and Lincoln's response to Judge Campbell via telegram was as follows:

[April 5, 1865]

As to peace, I have said before, and now repeat, that three things are indispensable.

1. The restoration of the national authority throughout all the States.

2. No receding by the Executive of the United States on the slavery question, from the position assumed thereon, in the late Annual Message to Congress, and in preceding documents.

3. No cessation of hostilities short of an end of the war, and the disbanding of all force hostile to the government.

That all propositions coming from those now in hostility to the government; and not inconsistent with the foregoing, will be respectfully considered, and passed upon in a spirit of sincere liberality.

I now add that it seems useless for me to be more specific with those who will not say they are ready for the indispensable terms, even on conditions to be named by themselves. If there be any who are ready for those indispensable terms, on any conditions whatever, let them say so, and state their conditions, so that such conditions can be distinctly known, and considered.

It is further added that, the remission of confiscations being within the executive power, if the war be now further persisted in, by those opposing the government, the making of confiscated property at the least to bear the additional cost, will be insisted on; but that confiscations (except in cases of third party intervening interests) will be remitted to the people of any State which shall now promptly, and in good faith, withdraw it's troops and other support, from further resistance to the government.

What is now said as to remission of confiscations has no reference to supposed property in slaves.

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