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, May 10, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On May 10, 1861


A 1st Florida Cavalry/4th Florida Infantry battle flag, captured near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

On this day in 1861, Lincoln signed a proclamation which authorized the commander of Union forces along the Florida coast to suspend writ of habeas corpus "if he shall find it necessary;" meaning if any people in the vicinity were suspected to be a threat to United States forts still held by the Union. Because Florida had seceded from the Union (third, and was thus one of the Confederacy's 'founding members,') this was really a formality; it was considered enemy territory to officers stationed there, and undoubtedly they considered most of the citizens in the vicinity of the forts to be hostile to Union occupation.

May 10, 1861

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, an insurrection exists in the State of Florida, by which the lives, liberty and property of loyal citizens of the United States are endangered:

And whereas it is deemed proper that all needful measures should be taken for the protection of such citizens, and all officers of the United States in the discharge of their public duties, in the State aforesaid:

Now therefore be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby direct the Commander of the Forces of the United States on the Florida coast, to permit no person to exercise any office or authority upon the Islands of Key West, the Tortugas and Santa Rosa, which may be inconsistent with the laws & constitution of the United States, authorizing him at the same time, if he shall find it necessary, to suspend there the writ of Habeas Corpus and to remove from the vicinity of the United States fortresses all dangerous or suspected persons.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this tenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

[L.S.]

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

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