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
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. - Abraham Lincoln
I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference. - Abraham Lincoln
Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. - Abraham Lincoln
I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service - the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them. - Abraham Lincoln
If all men were just, there still would be some, though not so much, need of government. - Abraham Lincoln
The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. - Abraham Lincoln
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. - Abraham Lincoln
Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived. - Abraham Lincoln
Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. - Abraham Lincoln
Peace is a thing which a person must be willing to fight for. - Abraham Lincoln
I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. - Abraham Lincoln
My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth. - Abraham Lincoln
While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years. - Abraham Lincoln
I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. - Abraham Lincoln
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. - Abraham Lincoln
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. - Abraham Lincoln
There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed. - Abraham Lincoln
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. - Abraham Lincoln
Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. - Abraham Lincoln
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. - Abraham Lincoln
I laugh because I must not cry. That is all. That is all. - Abraham Lincoln
I have borne a laborious, and, in some respects to myself, a painful part in the contest. Through all, I have neither assailed, nor wrestled with any part of the constitution. - Abraham Lincoln
I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. - Abraham Lincoln
I had been told I was on the road to hell, but I had no idea it was just a mile down the road with a dome on it. - Abraham Lincoln
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people. - Abraham Lincoln
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. - Abraham Lincoln
There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite. - Abraham Lincoln
Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed. - Abraham Lincoln
He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help. - Abraham Lincoln
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. - Abraham Lincoln
I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground. - Abraham Lincoln (Reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.)
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. - Abraham Lincoln
Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the Nation, while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains. . . and their countrymen moldering the dust. - Abraham Lincoln
Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. - Abraham Lincoln
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent. - Abraham Lincoln
Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. - Abraham Lincoln
Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. - Abraham Lincoln
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. - Abraham Lincoln
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. - Abraham Lincoln
A house divided against itself cannot stand. - Abraham Lincoln
I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the Declaration of Independence, that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. - Abraham Lincoln
The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. - Abraham Lincoln
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. - Abraham Lincoln
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. - Abraham Lincoln
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. - Abraham Lincoln
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The news media needed a poll to figure this out?
This poll just in from the Washington Post: Shocking! We the People don't blame the new president (in office for less than three months) for the disastrous economy that he inherited!
Good to know we're not as dumb as we look, eh? (Or as dumb as the news establishment owners would like us to be.)
But can this really be... news? Does this drivel pass for news these days?
The number of Americans who believe that the nation is headed in the right direction has roughly tripled since Barack Obama's election, and the public overwhelmingly blames the excesses of the financial industry, rather than the new president, for turmoil in the economy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Lincoln anxiously watched the final campaign of the war from Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia, on board the 'River Queen' which was docked on the James River. As he did almost daily while away from Washington, Lincoln wrote to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton:
City Point, Va., March 31, 1865---8.30 p.m.
Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
At 12.30 p.m. to-day General Grant telegraphed me as follows:
There has been much hard fighting this morning. The enemy drove our left from near Dabney's house back well toward the Boydton plank road. We are now about to take the offensive at that point, and I hope will more than recover the lost ground.
Later he telegraphed again as follows:
Our troops, after being driven back on the Boydton plank road, turned and drove the enemy in turn and took the White Oak road, which we now have. This gives us the ground occupied by the enemy this morning. I will send you a rebel flag captured by our troops in driving the enemy back. There have been four flags captured to-day.
Judging by the two points from which General Grant telegraphs, I infer that he moved his headquarters about one mile since he sent the first of the two dispatches.
 OR, I, XLVI, III, 332. The time of this telegram is given as 3 P.M. in NH (XI, 64). Grant's telegrams quoted by Lincoln vary slightly from Lincoln's text. The first is marked as sent at Gravelly Run, 12:50 P.M., rather than 12:30 P.M., and as received at 4 P.M.: "There has been much hard fighting this morning the Enemy drove our left from near W Dabney house back well towards the Boydton plank Road We are now about to take the offensive at that point & I hope will more than recover the lost ground the heavy Rain & horrid roads have prevented the Execution of my designs or attempting them up to this time Gen Ords reports the capture of some prisoners this morning but does not say how many" (DLC-RTL).
The second is marked as sent from Boydton Road and received at 7 P.M.: "Our troops after being driven back on to Boydton plank road turned & drove the Enemy in turn & took the White Oak Road which we now have. This gives us the ground occupied by the Enemy this morning I will send you a rebel flag captured by our troops in driving the Enemy back. There has been four (4) flags captured today. The one I send you was taken from a Va Regiment of Hunters Brigade" (ibid.).
In March of 1865, President Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln and their son Tad visited Grant's Headquarters in City Point, Virginia - near Petersburg, on the James River.
The family arrived March 24th aboard the 'The River Queen,' and stayed (sleeping at night on the river boat) for two weeks. Lincoln frequently met with Grant and occasionally toured nearby battlefields as he anxiously awaited news from the front lines.
By now, everyone believed that an end to the war was imminent. Lincoln wanted to be as close as possible to the culminating actions of the war, and welcomed an escape from the daily pressures of Washington. When asked by General Collis how long he planned to stay, Lincoln apparently replied:
"Well, I am like the western pioneer who built a log cabin. When he commenced he didn't know how much timber he would need, and when he had finished, he didn't care how much he had used up. So you see I came down among you without definite plans, and when I go home I sha'n't regret a moment I have spent with you." (Pfanz.)
Lincoln, Grant and other high-ranking army officers met frequently in City Point to plan the end of the war, and they also planned for the reunification of the nation.
Lincoln waited at City Point for news from General Grant that he had taken Petersburg and defeated the Confederate armies led by General Robert E. Lee. During this tense time, Lincoln was aboard the River Queen, a ship docked outside City Point. While on the ship, he had a dream. He dreamt that he was in the White House and walked in on a group of mourners. When he asked a soldier who had died, the soldier replied, "the President."
Hon. Secretary of War: I begin to feel that I ought to be at home, and yet I dislike to leave without seeing nearer to the end of General Grant's present movement. He has now been out since yesterday morning, and although he has not been diverted from his programme, no considerable effect has yet been produced, so far as we know here. Last night at 10.15, when it was dark as a rainy night without a moon could be, a furious cannonade, soon joined in by a heavy musketry-fire, opened near Petersburg and lasted about two hours. The sound was very distinct here, as also were the flashes of the guns upon the clouds. It seemed to me a great battle, but the older hands here scarcely noticed it, and, sure enough, this morning it was found that very little had been done. A. LINCOLN.
OR, I, XLVI, III, 280. General John G. Parke telegraphed Colonel Theodore S. Bowers on March 30: "The enemy drove in our pickets on line in vicinity of steadman & made demonstration on other portions of the line. Signal Rockets were thrown up by enemy & general cannonading ensued accompanied with heavy musketry on both sides The main line was not touched, & the picket line re established. The casualties not yet reported. . . ." (DLC-RTL).
Stanton replied on March 31: "I hope you will stay to see it out, or for a few days at least. I have strong faith that your presence will have great influence in inducing exertions that will bring Richmond; compared to that no other duty can weigh a feather. There is . . . nothing to be done here but petty private ends that you should not be annoyed with. A pause by the army now would do harm; if you are on the ground there will be no pause. All well here." (OR, I, XLVI, III, 332).
On this day in 1863, Lincoln - persistent in his determination to raise African American troops wherever possible, as he believed this was the secret to winning the war - wrote a letter to Major General Banks asking him to provide any assistance possible to General Daniel Ullmann who was endeavoring to raise a brigade of African American soldiers in Louisiana.
Executive Mansion, Washington, March 29, 1863.
Private Major General Banks My dear Sir:
Hon. Daniel Ullmann, with a commission of Brigadier General, and two or three hundred other gentlemen as officers, goes to your department and reports to you, for the purpose of raising a colored brigade. To now avail ourselves of this element of force, is very important, if not indispensable. I therefore will thank you to help Gen. Ullmann forward with his undertaking, as much, and as rapidly, as you can; and also to carry the general object beyond his particular organization if you find it practicable. The necessity of this is palpable if, as I understand, you are now unable to effect anything with your present force; and which force is soon to be greatly diminished by the expiration of terms of service, as well as by ordinary causes. I shall be very glad if you will take hold of the matter in earnest.
You will receive from the Department a regular order upon this subject. Yours truly A. LINCOLN.
ALS, CSmH; ADfS, DLC-RTL. On January 13, Colonel Daniel Ullmann was authorized to raise a brigade of Negro Volunteers in Louisiana (OR, III, III, 14). A later order of March 24 authorized him to raise six companies of Louisiana Volunteer Infantry (ibid., pp. 99-100). On March 25, Stanton issued instructions to Banks and Ullmann covering the assignment (ibid., pp. 101-102). Banks acknowledged receipt of Lincoln's letter on April 17, "It gives me pleasure to assure you that I shall give him [Ullmann] every assistance . . . in carrying out your instructions. . . .'' (DLC-RTL). On September 3, 1863,Special Orders No. 50 revoked Ullmann's special powers and ordered him to report to Banks (ibid., p. 766).
In the conversation which occurred before dinner, I was amused to observe the manner in which Mr. Lincoln used the anecdotes for which he is famous. Where men bred in courts, accustomed to the world, or versed in diplomacy, would use some subterfuge, or would make a polite speech, or give a shrug of the shoulders as the means of getting out of an embarrassing position, Mr. Lincoln raises a laugh by some bold west-country anecdote, and moves off in the cloud of merriment produced by his joke..."
Soon afterwards there entered, with a shambling, loose, irregular, almost unsteady gait, a tall, lank, lean man, considerably over six feet in height, with stooping shoulders, long pendulous arms, terminating in hands of extraordinary dimensions, which, however, were far exceeded in proportion by his feet. He was dressed in an ill-fitting, wrinkled suit of black, which put one in mind of an undertaker's uniform at a funeral; round his neck a rope of black silk was knotted in a large bulb, with flying ends projecting beyond the collar of his coat; his turned-down shirt-collar disclosed a sinewy muscular yellow neck, and above that, nestling in a great black mass of hair, bristling and compact like a ruff of mourning pins, rose the strange quaint face and head, covered with its thatch of wild, republican hair, of President Lincoln.
The impression produced by the size of his extremities, and by his flapping and wide projecting ears, may be removed by the appearance of kindliness, sagacity, and the awkward bonhomie of his face; the mouth is absolutely prodigious; the lips, straggling and extending almost from one line of black beard to the other, are only kept in order by two deep furrows from the nostril to the chin; the nose itself - a prominent organ - stands out from the face, with an inquiring, anxious air, as though it were sniffing for some good thing in the wind; the eyes dark, full, and deeply set, are penetrating, but full of an expression which almost amounts to tenderness; and above them projects the shaggy brow, running into the small hard frontal space, the development of which can scarcely be estimated accurately, owing to the irregular flocks of thick hair carelessly brushed across it.
One would say that, although the mouth was made to enjoy a joke, it could also utter the severest sentence which the head could dictate, but that Mr. Lincoln would be ever more willing to temper justice with mercy, and to enjoy what he considers the amenities of life, than to take a harsh view of men's nature and of the world, and to estimate things in an ascetic or puritan spirit.
A person who met Mr. Lincoln in the street would not take him to be what - according to the usages of European society - is called a 'gentleman;' and, indeed, since I came to the United States, I have heard more disparaging allusions made by Americans to him on that account than I could have expected among simple republicans, where all should be equals; but, at the same time, it would not be possible for the most indifferent observer to pass him in the street without notice..."
On this day in 1863, Lincoln wrote a letter to Tennessee's military governor Andrew Johnson - the same Andrew Johnson who would become Lincoln's running mate and Vice President in 1864 - and urged him to raise an African American regiment in Tennessee. Lincoln stressed that if an "eminent citizen of a slave-state, and himself a slave-holder" were to take such action (raising an African American Army) it would inspire the Union while at the same time demoralizing the South.
During the secession crisis, Johnson remained in the Senate even when Tennessee seceded, which made him a hero in the North and a traitor in the eyes of most Southerners. In 1862 President Lincoln appointed him Military Governor of Tennessee, and Johnson used the state as a laboratory for reconstruction. In 1864 the Republicans, contending that their National Union Party was for all loyal men, nominated Johnson, a Southerner and a Democrat, for Vice President.
I am told you have at least thought of raising a negro military force. In my opinion the country now needs no specific thing so much as some man of your ability, and position, to go to this work. When I speak of your position, I mean that of an eminent citizen of a slave-state, and himself a slave-holder. The colored population is the great available and yet unavailed of, force for restoring the Union. The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi, would end the rebellion at once. And who doubts that we can present that sight, if we but take hold in earnest? If you have been thinking of it please do not dismiss the thought. Yours truly A. LINCOLN
The 'explanation' from B. B. French can be found, at length, in the annotation.
Executive Mansion, March 25, 1864.
Private Hon. B. B. French Washington,
My dear Sir:
I understand a Bill is before Congress, by your instigation, for taking your office from the control of the Department of the Interior, and considerably enlarging the powers and patronage of your office. The proposed change may be right for aught I know; and it certainly is right for Congress to do as it thinks proper in the case. What I wish to say is that if the change is made, I do not think I can allow you to retain the office; because that would be encouraging officers to be constantly intriguing, to the detriment of the public interest, in order to profit themselves.
 ADfS, DLC-RTL. This letter is printed by Hertz (II, 946), without date or addressee. The bill (S.43) did not pass. Commissioner French replied on March 27, 1864:
"Your note of the 25th is recd. and I am greatly surprised at the contents. . . because I have been guilty of no intended impropriety, and of no wrong. I have been cruelly treated by your Secretary of the Interior, and have been forced by him, to defend myself, and, because I have done so, you have been appealed to to crush me. I do not believe you will do so when you know all the facts. . . .
"The Secretary of the Interior, when that excellent man, Caleb B. Smith was Secretary, was charged by Congress, with the supervision and control of the erection of the Capitol Extension and New Dome. He saw fit, of his own accord, to confer upon me the honor and trust of Disbursing Agent. I have bonds in the penalty of $40,000, and entered upon the duty, and performed it, I believe, satisfactorily to Mr. Smith. He resigned, Mr. Usher was appointed. . . removed my Clerk, who was charged with keeping my accounts, and for whose acts, I, alone, was responsible under my bonds, and placed another man in his stead. . . . On the 30th of June, 1863,. . . removing me from the place of disbursing agent,. . . appointed the clerk he had sent. . . with enlarged powers, and a salary of $2500 per annum. At this I felt grieved. . . and addressed to the Secretary, a letter. . . also. . . to you. . . .
"Naturally, I wrote to Senator Foot, informing him of the fact. . . . He replied. . . that as soon as Congress met it was his intention to introduce a bill placing the work on the Extension & Dome under the Commissioner of Public Buildings, where it belonged, & removing the office of Commissioner from any control of the Secy. I drew up a bill which I supposed would carry out what Senator Foot said, and sent it to him, keeping a copy of it. Some time afterwards a friend, to whom I showed the copy, wanted a few copies of it for his own use, and, without the least idea of there being any impropriety in my doing so, having a printing press and type in my office, I printed for him a few copies.
"I had no agency whatever in the introduction of the bill by Senator Foot, as he never mentioned it to me, that I remember, after he came to Washington, before its introduction. I never spoke to a Senator or Representative concerning it, unless spoken to. I had not the least agency in its introduction into the House. . . . After it was. . . referred to the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, I was notified by the Chairman. . . to appear before it on a certain day, which I did, and there met the Secretary of the Interior. He was heard fully, and said something to which I was forced to reply, and, at a subsequent meeting, I did reply. This is all my personal action in the matter. . . . I have never spoken to a member of the Senate Committee, except Senator Foot, on the subject of it. He submitted to me, unasked, some papers sent him by the Secy. for my answer, and I gave it. . . . I have done, Mr. President, exactly what you would have done in my case, and nothing more, except, perhaps, in the printing of about a dozen copies of the bill. . . .
"As I did not seek the passage of the bill in question, I cannot. . . seek to stop it; but I beg of you not to sacrifice me without granting me a personal interview.
"I have submitted your letter to Senator Foot who expressed much surprise at its contents. . . evidently written. . . under a false impression as to the facts, and that he would call upon you tomorrow and assure you that, so far as he was concerned, I had no agency whatever in the introduction of the bill, except that I drew it up for him, a thing that is done daily by officials about the Capital, at the request of members." (DLC-RTL).
Yours of the 21st. is received. I shall not be able to answer your interrogatories very fully; I will, however, do the best I can. I have mentioned that my grandfather's name was Abraham. He had, as I think I have heard, four brothers, Isaac, Jacob, Thomas, and John. He had three sons, Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas, the last, my father. My uncle Mordecai, had three sons, Abraham, James, and Mordecai. Uncle Josiah had several daughters, and an only son, Thomas. My father has an only child, myself, of course.
This is all I know certainly on the subject of names; it is, however, my father's understanding that, Abraham [,] Mordecai, and Thomas are old family names of ours. The reason I did not mention Thomas as a family name in my other letter was because it is so very common a name, as to prove but little, if any thing, in the way of identification.
Since I wrote you, it occurred to me to enquire of Gov. McDowell, who represents the district in Virginia, including Rockingham, whether he knew persons of our name there. He informs he does; though none very intimately except one, an old man by the christian name of David. That he is of our family I have no doubt. I now address him a letter, making such enquiries as suggest themselves; and, when I shall receive an answer, I will communicate to you, any thing that may seem pertinent to your object.
Very truly yours
Lincoln also wrote to David Lincoln in Virginia at the suggestion of the same Governor McDowell mentioned in the letter above, who wondered if the two man might be related. Lincoln knew enough of his family history to realize that they likely were relatives; his grandfather Abraham Lincoln had moved west to Kentucky from the family's original home in Virginia, and Lincoln wasn't a common surname at the time.
Washington, March 24th. 1848.
Mr. David Lincoln
Your very worthy representative, Gov. McDowell  has given me your name and address, and, as my my [sic] father was born in Rockingham, from whence his father, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated to Kentucky, about the year 1782, I have concluded to address you to ascertain whether we are not of the same family. I shall be much obliged, if you will write me, telling me, whether you, in any way, know any thing of my grandfather, what relation you are to him, and so on. Also, if you know, where your family came from, when they settled in Virginia, tracing them back as far as your knowledge extends. Very respectfully
 ALS, original owned by Abraham Lucius Lincoln, Lawrenceville, New Jersey.
On this day in 1863, Lincoln wrote to newly elected Governor of New York Seymour Washington - a Democrat who had been publicly critical of Lincoln's handling of the war, and especially the Emancipation Proclamation - and extended a hand of friendship. In his letter, Lincoln stressed the need for a good working relationship between the office of president and governor of New York - in spite of their differing positions on many matters - and suggested that whatever their differences "it is important that such difference should be as small as possible."
Private & Confidential Executive Mansion, March 23, 1863.
His Excellency Gov. Seymour Washington,
Dear Sir:  You and I are substantially strangers; and I write this chiefly that we may become better acquainted. I, for the time being, am at the head of a nation which is in great peril; and you are at the head of the greatest State of that nation. As to maintaining the nation's life, and integrity,  I assume, and believe, there can not be a difference of purpose between you and me. If we should differ as to the means, it is important that such difference should be as small as possible---that it should not be enhanced by unjust suspicions on one side or the other. In the performance of my duty, the co-operation of your State, as that of others, is needed---in fact, is indispensable. This alone is a sufficient reason why I should wish to be at  a good understanding with you.
Please write me at least as long a letter as this---of course, saying in it, just what you think fit. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN
 ALS-F, ISLA; ADfS, DLC-RTL. On April 14, Governor Seymour replied in part as follows: "I have delayed answering your letter for some days with a view of preparing a paper in which I wished to state clearly the aspect of public affairs from the stand point I occupy. . . . I have been prevented from giving my views in the manner I intended by a pressure of official duties. . . . In the mean while I assure you that no political resentments, or no personal objects will turn me aside from the pathway I have marked out for myself---I intend to show to those charged with the administration of public affairs a due deference and respect and to yield them a just and generous support in all measures they may adopt within the scope of their constitutional powers. For the preservation of this Union I am ready to make every sacrifice..."
 "Dear Sir:" appears only in the autograph draft in the Lincoln Papers.
 The autograph draft has a phrase deleted at this point as follows: "and relieving it from it's peril."
 In the autograph draft Lincoln substituted "at a good understanding" for "on good terms."
Linder had accused Lincoln of undermining the soldiers who fought in the Mexican war whenever he criticized the war itself and President Polk's handling of the war.
Lincoln answered every point masterfully, suggesting that Usher had fallen into "one of the artfully set traps of Locofocoism" (the Locofocos were a radical branch of the Democratic Party of that time.)
Amazing how some topics never lose their relevancy...
Washington, March 22 1848
Yours of the 15th. is just received, as was a day or two ago, one from Dunbar  on the same subject. Although I address this to you alone, I intend it for you [,] Dunbar, and Bishop,  and wish you to show it to them. In Dunbar's letter, and in Bishop's paper, it is assumed that Mr. Crittenden's  position on the war is correct. Well, so I think. Please wherein is my position different from his? Has he ever approved the President's conduct in the beginning of the war, or his mode or objects in prossecuting it? Never. He condemns both. True, he votes supplies, and so do I. What, then, is the difference, except that he is a great man and I am a small one?
Towards the close of your letter you ask three questions, the first of which is "Would it not have been just as easy to have elected Genl. Taylor without opposing the war as by opposing it?" I answer, I suppose it would, if we could do neither---could be silent on the question; but the Locofocos here will not let the whigs be silent. Their very first act in congress was to present a preamble declaring that war existed by the act of Mexico, and the whigs were obliged to vote on it---and this policy is followed up by them; so that they are compelled to speak and their only option is whether they will, when they do speak, tell the truth, or tell a foul, villainous, and bloody falsehood. But, while on this point, I protest against your calling the condemnation of Polk "opposing the war." In thus assuming that all must be opposed to the war, even though they vote supplies, who do not not [sic] endorse Polk, with due deference I say I think you fall into one of the artfully set traps of Locofocoism.
Your next question is "And suppose we could succeed in proving it a wicked and unconstitutional war, do we not thereby strip Taylor and Scott of more than half their laurels?'' Whether it would so strip them is not matter of demonstration, but of opinion only; and my opinion is that it would not; but as your opinion seems to be different, let us call in some others as umpire. There are in this H.R. some more than forty members who support Genl. Taylor for the Presidency, every one of whom has voted that the war was ``unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President'' every one of whom has spoken to the same effect, who has spoken at all, and not one of whom supposes he thereby strips Genl. of any laurels. More than this; two of these, Col. Haskell  and Major Gaines,  themselves fought in Mexico; and yet they vote and speak just as the rest of us do, without ever dreaming that they ``strip'' themselves of any laurels. There may be others, but Capt. Bishop is the only intelligent whig who has been to Mexico, that I have heard of taking different ground.
Your third question is "And have we as a party, ever gained any thing, by falling in company with abolitionists?'' Yes. We gained our only national victory by falling in company with them in the election of Genl. Harrison. Not that we fell into abolition doctrines; but that we took up a man whose position induced them to join us in his election. But this question is not so significant as a question, as it is as a charge of abolitionism against those who have chosen to speak their minds against the President. As you and I perhaps would again differ as to the justice of this charge, let us once more call in our umpire. There are in this H.R. whigs from the slave states as follows: one from Louisiana, one from Mississippi, one from Florida, two from Alabama, four from Georgia, five from Tennessee, six from Kentucky, six from North Carolina, six from Virginia, four from Maryland and one from Delaware, making thirtyseven in all, and all slave-holders, every one of whom votes the commencement of the war "unnecessary and unconstitutional'' and so falls subject to your charge of abolitionism!
"En passant'' these are all Taylor men, except one in Tenn. two in Ky, one in N.C. and one in Va. Besides which we have one in Ills---two in Ia, three in Ohio, five in Penn. four in N.J. and one in Conn. While this is less than half the whigs of the H.R. it is three times as great as the strength of any other one candidate.
You are mistaken in your impression that any one has communicated expressions of yours and Bishop's to me. In my letter to Dunbar, I only spoke from the impression made by seeing in the paper that you and he were, "in the degree, though not in the extreme'' on the same tack with Latshaw.  Yours as ever
 ALS, IHi
 Alexander P. Dunbar.
 Captain William W. Bishop.
 Senator John J. Crittenden.
 Representative William T. Haskell of Tennessee.
 Representative John Pollard Gaines of Kentucky.
This letter does demonstrate something that Lincoln was noted for: his love of children (and his respect for them as people in their own right;) along with this his willingness to take time out of his busy schedule to converse with people of all ages, classes and situations.
Executive Mansion Washington March 21 1864
Misses Clara & Julia Brown
The Afgan you sent is received, and gratefully accepted. I especially like my little friends; and although you have never seen me, I am glad you remember me for the country's sake, and even more, that you remember, and try to help, the poor Soldiers.
Yours very truly A. LINCOLN
 Copy, DLC-HW. This letter is misdated March 2, 1864, in Tracy (p. 238). The copy was sent to Herndon by H. C. Brown, Nyack on the Hudson, February 13, 1867: "I enclose one [letter] recd by by [sic] my little daughters (then 11 & 13 years old respectively). . . .'' (Ibid.). A note on the bottom of the copy explains that a photograph of Clara and Julia was sent with the afghan. The letter from Clara and Julia, dated at Buffalo, New York, March 9, 1864, is as follows:
"Please accept this Afghan from your little friends who desire to express their regard. . . . The afghan was exhibited at the 'Central Fair' recently held here, and now we are very happy in sending it to our Dear President.
"Please remember that you have little friends in Buffalo who pray for you, that you may be cheerful, strong and wise.'' (DLC-RTL).
On this day in 1844, at least according to the Illinois State Register and the Sangamo Journal, Lincoln 'utterly demolished' nearly every position taken by fellow debater John Calhoun.
Lincoln took part in a series of debates, commencing on March 20th and continuing through the 25th, where representatives of both parties discussed (ie debated) the issues of the day in anticipation of an upcoming presidential election. It appears that Lincoln's debating skill was already drawing notice as early as 1844.
This being the first week of our Circuit Court, arrangements have been made by the public speakers, of both parties, to devote the evening hours, to the discussion of the great questions involved in the coming Presidential election. . . . Judge CAVARLY. . . . quoted . . . from a speech of Mr. Stuart,  made in Congress, an admission that the consumer of imported articles paid the duty. . . . This only bright spot in Mr. Stuart's speech, so disturbed Mr. Lincoln, that he promised to forfeit his ``ears'' and his ``legs'' if he did not demonstrate, that protected articles have been cheaper since the late Tariff than before. . . .
. . . . Mr. Calhoun's first speech on Wednesday evening was . . . unanswerable. . . . Though Mr. Calhoun triumphantly established the first proposition, yet Mr. Lincoln had the hardihood to assert that it might probably fall upon the manufacturer, after Mr. Calhoun had shown that it positively fell upon the consumer. . . . Mr. Lincoln very candidly acknowledged his inability to prove that the tariff had anything to do with the late low prices throughout this country and Europe. . . .
There has been an interesting public discussion at the Court Room, on the political questions which divide the country, every evening of last week and Monday evening of this week. Mr. Cavarly of Green, lead off; and was followed by Wm. Brown, Esq. of Morgan---the two occupying two evenings. Mr. Calhoun followed Mr. Brown, and he by Mr. Lincoln, and these gentlemen continued the discussion five evenings.
The discussion has been well attended, and we readily accord to Mr. Calhoun due praise for making most of a bad cause. The efforts of Mr. Lincoln, were distinguished for ability, and in all candor we must say, that we did not discover a single position raised by Mr. Calhoun, that he did not entirely demolish.
 Illinois State Register, March 22, 29, 1844; Sangamo Journal, March 28, 1844.
Lincoln never had the chance to be president without the Civil War either looming in the immediate future or barely having ended. How strange that this gentle man of peace was destined to become the greatest of our war-time presidents.
Executive Mansion, Washington, March 19, 1862.
Dr. Samuel Boyd Tobey:
My dear Sir: A domestic affliction, of which doubtless you are informed, has delayed me so long in making acknowledgment for the very kind and appropriate letter, signed, on behalf, and by direction of a Meeting of the Representatives of the Society of Friends for New-England, held at Providence, Rhode Island the 8th. of second month 1862, by Samuel Boyce, clerk, and presented to me by yourself and associates.
Engaged, as I am, in a great war, I fear it will be difficult for the world to understand how fully I appreciate the principles of peace, inculcated in this letter, and everywhere, by the Society of Friends. Grateful to the good people you represent for their prayers in behalf of our common country, I look forward hopefully to an early end of war, and return of peace. Your obliged friend
Obama is going after the fat cats who bled us dry and into the poor house, and he's talking about more than simply recovery; he's talking about investing in our future by making real reforms.
I think its a good budget. It may not be perfect, but he's stressing the right things - clean fuel, infrastructure, education, health care, and oversight. AIG has just proven once again why we MUST have oversight. Oversight protects us - the people - from super-wealthy predator corporations. Like that peanut company... the one that didn't want us to know we were eating contaminated ingredients in foods we consume every day.
I have always believed our job of pushing for change was going to extend well beyond the election. We need to loudly demand and continue insisting on the change we demanded when we elected President Obama last fall. We shocked the world (and ourselves;) and we can go much further. England, France, Canada and even our 'enemy' Cuba have free health care for all who live there. We're not even trying to go that far (and we should;) but there is already stiff resistance from those who can afford the best and who profit from the current system. We could have free health care - we we have free grade school education - if our corporations weren't so greedy... and so powerful.
There are more of us 'common people' than wealthy predators, and we flexed our muscles in the last election. We can outvote them, and we can out-shout them if we work together. We can't stop pushing now. America has been degraded and shamed by the greed of a few, at the expense of the many. Why are we putting up with this? We should be leaning on Congress - every day if necessary - demanding that the change we said we wanted when we voted for Obama, actually becomes law.
We have a chance now, by supporting Obama's budget.
There will be a lot of resistance from the powerful AIGs of our land. They've been running lose and reckless for decades, and have gone totally 'rogue' the last eight years. Our national media is also in the pocket of the super-wealthy elite. They are still spreading propaganda packaged as news.
We have to use our eyes and our heads and separate the wheat from the chaff. The state of our economy is proof that greed is not good (as if most of us didn't already know that to begin with.) Time to end this greedy free-for-all and pull ourselves back up out of this mud, reclaim our national pride, our jobs, homes and our moral standards.
FROM a stable in Springfield, on Wednesday, 18th inst.  a large bay horse, star in his forehead, plainly marked with harness; supposed to be eight years old; had been shod all round, but is believed to have lost some of his shoes, and trots and paces. Any person who will take up said horse, and leave information at the Journal office, or with the subscriber at New-salem, shall be liberally paid for their trouble.
 Sangamo Journal, March 26, 1836.
 March 18, 1836 was on a Thursday.
It's actually a little comforting to note that the man who was to be the greatest president in our history - at times - confused the days of the week just like (many of) the rest of us.
I've also noticed in his correspondences concerning Fort Sumter, that he often spelled the name 'Fort Sumpter.' I am not sure if the spelling has actually changed over time, or if he simply spelled it as it sounded. That Lincoln made mistakes, occasionally misspelled words and confused the day of the week that his horse was stolen keeps him a little more human, and a little less legend.
In their worst-ever advertising and self-promotion campaign, AIG has thrown rotten eggs at your homes, and laughed in your face while taking your money (all of it) because it was supposedly necessary to take YOUR money to clean up the egg mess. While busy not really cleaning up their mess... and repeatedly insisting that they need more money... AIG decided to use some of these money on hefty million dollar bonuses to be payed to the very AIG employees who did the egg-slinging.
Yes: they used your money your children's money, and your children's children's money to pay them. Some of these employees aren't even working for AIG anymore. It just gets better and better.
AIG has advertised in no uncertain terms that we are never to trust them again. We should never EVER give them any of our business, ever, while laughing hysterically at their TV commercials, until they finally die a quiet death or we take them over (for real -- we get the stock and can fire every one of these jackels. Every single one, from top to bottom. Clean house.)
Are we angry? You have no idea. Ask Iceland how they feel -- their entire country went bankrupt because of this domino effect, all started by AIG, the company 'too big to fail' (and too irresponsible to remain in business.)
Cuomo also wrote that 11 of the employees no longer work for the company. The largest bonus paid was $6.4 million and seven more people received more than $4 million each.
"Until we obtain the names of these individuals, it is impossible to determine when and why they left the firm and how it is that they received these payments," Cuomo wrote to a congressional committee.
AIG has been under fire for awarding seven-figure bonuses to employees while being kept afloat by more than $170 billion from the U.S. government's financial bailout.
Mr. MOLINA: I am happy to receive the letters you present, and to recognize you, sir, as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Nicaragua near the United States.
In conferring a higher rank upon you as a token of regard on the part of the Government and people of Nicaragua towards this country, they have done our Government and people an honor for which we are duly grateful, while they have also manifested an increased confidence in you, which we can attest is deserved, and thereby have done you a distinguished honor, upon which we congratulate you.
On behalf of the United States I fully reciprocate towards your Government and people the kind wishes and friendly purposes you so generously express towards ours.
Please communicate to his excellency the President of Nicaragua my high esteem and consideration, and my earnest wish for his health, happiness, and long life.
Be assured, sir, I do not allow myself to doubt that your public duties and social intercourse here will be so conducted as to be entirely acceptable to the Government and people of the United States.
To William H. Seward  The Hon. Secretary of State My dear Sir
Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort-Sumpter, under all the circumstances, is it wise to attempt it?
Please give me your opinion, in writing, on this question.
Your Obt. Servt. A. LINCOLN.
 ALS copy, DLC-RTL. This letter, copied by Nicolay and signed by Lincoln, was sent to each member of the cabinet. The several copies which have been located are: to Bates, IHi; to Blair, DLC-Blair Collection; to Seward, NAuE; to Smith, MH; to Welles, A. Conger Goodyear, New York City. The lengthy replies in the Lincoln Papers are abridged as follows:
(1) (Secretary of State William) Seward, March 15--- "If it were possible to peacefully provision Fort Sumter, of course I should answer, that it would be both unwise and inhuman not to attempt it. But the facts of the case are known to be, that the attempt must be made with the employment of military and marine force, which would provoke combat, and probably initiate a civil war. . . . I would not provoke war in any way now. . . . ''
(2) (Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P.) Chase, March 16--- ". . . . If the attempt will so inflame civil war as to involve an immediate necessity for the enlistment of armies . . . I cannot advise it. . . . But it seems to me highly improbable that the attempt . . . will produce such consequences. . . . I return, therefore, an affirmative answer. . . . ''
(3) (Secretary of War Simon) Cameron, March 16--- " . . . it would be unwise now to make such an attempt. . . . I am greatly influenced by the opinions of the Army officers who have expressed themselves on the subject, and who seem to concur that it is, perhaps, now impossible to succor that fort, substantially, if at all. . . . All the officers within Fort Sumter, together with Generals Scott and Totten, express this opinion. . . . ''
(4) (Secretary of the Navy Gideon) Welles, March 15--- "The question has two aspects, one military, the other political. The military gentlemen . . . represent that it would be unwise . . . and I am not disposed to controvert their opinions. . . . In a political view, I entertain doubts of the wisdom of the measure. . . . I do not . . . think it wise. . . . ''
(5) (Secretary of the Interior Caleb B.) Smith, March 16--- "After a careful consideration of the opinions of Gens. Scott and Totten, and also those of Commodore String[h]am and Mr. Fox . . . I have arrived at the conclusion that the probabilities are in favor of the success of the proposed enterprise, so far as to secure the landing of the vessels at the Fort, but . . . . it would not be wise under all the circumstances. . . . ''
(6) (Postmaster General Montgomery) Blair, March 15--- ". . . I submit the following considerations in favor of provisioning that Fort. The ambitious leaders of the late Democratic party have availed themselves . . . to found a Military Government in the Seceding States. To the connivance of the late administration it is due alone that this Rebellion has been enabled to attain its present proportions. . . . I . . . agree that we must look to the people in these States for the overthrow of this rebellion. . . . How is this to be carried into effect? That it is by measures which will inspire respect for the power of the Government and the firmness of those who administer it does not admit of debate. . . . The evacuation of Fort Sumpter . . . will convince
By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and PETER BAKER Published: March 14, 2009
WASHINGTON — Despite being bailed out with more than $170 billion from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, the American International Group is preparing to pay about $100 million in bonuses to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.
An official in the Obama administration said Saturday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner had called A.I.G.’s government-appointed chairman, Edward M. Liddy, on Wednesday and asked that the company renegotiate the bonuses.
Administration officials said they had managed to reduce some of the bonuses but had allowed most of them to go forward after the company’s chief executive said A.I.G. was contractually obligated to pay them.
In a letter to Mr. Geithner, Mr. Liddy wrote: “Needless to say, in the current circumstances, I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them.”
Perhaps if these people had been FIRED, they would not be up for bonuses. What kind of business doesn't fire the employees who screw up on such a massive scale -- but instead gives them bonuses?
And what kind of suckers are we that we keep giving AIG money?
My husband isn't even getting a cost of living pay increase this year, let alone a bonus. He didn't break any laws, take advantage of anyone, do anything unethical or illegal, and he didn't destroy his company. Think the good guys don't finish last in this country?
On this day in 1865, Lincoln was sick in bed (as he had been on the day before.) According to an entry in the diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, the cabinet met in his bedroom - so he was apparently too ill to get out of bed.
There is an interesting physical study of Lincoln (the book is The Physical Lincoln Complete, by John G. Sotos) that suggests that President Lincoln may have been suffering from cancer in his final months in office. The study of his physique and health history puts forward the prognosis that Lincoln and his sons, excepting Robert Todd, suffered from a rare genetic disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2B (MEN2B.) Similar to Marfan's Syndrom, MEN2B would have caused many of the physical affects for which Lincoln is known; his height and strange appearance, as well as his appearance of sadness.
I don't completely buy the author's 'all or nothing' premise that Lincoln was not depressed simply because he may have suffered from a disease that made him appear depressed, and was not worn down by the war simply because he may have appeared tired from advanced cancer. Lincoln's own words and the words of those around him testify that he agonized over the war. That he may also have suffered from a physical genetic disorder which may have caused him to develop cancer - a cancer that might have killed him within months even had he not been shot - is an interesting suggestion.
(A newly discovered photo that may show Lincoln riding on horseback. Look for the tall, dark stovepipe hat above the crowd and in the center top of the picture.)
On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech before a delegation from Massachusetts concerning the gift of a whip.
Yes... a whip. It was apparently a very nice whip, but both gift and speech seem a little strange.
The speech has what appears to be a repeated segment (the second "but of those who seem to think only of whipping negroes" seems confusing when it directly follows "or of those who seem to think only of whipping negroes.") Is this an editing error in the New York Times? I suppose it wouldn't be the first.
I thank you, Mr. TRAIN, for your kindness in presenting me with this truly elegant and highly creditable specimen of the handiwork of the mechanics of your State of Massachusetts, and I beg of you to express my hearty thanks to the donors. It displays a perfection of workmanship which I really wish I had time to acknowledge in more fitting words, and I might then follow your idea that it is suggestive, for it is evidently expected that a good deal of whipping is to be done. But, as we meet here socially, let us not think only of whipping rebels, or of those who seem to think only of whipping negroes, but of those who seem to think only of whipping negroes, but of those pleasant days which it is to be hoped are in store for us, when, seated behind a good pair of horses, we can crack our whips and drive through a peaceful, happy and prosperous land. With this idea, gentlemen, I must leave you for my business duties.
New York Times, March 22, 1862. Lincoln replied to a short speech by Representative Charles R. Train, who presented "an elegant whip, made by a Massachusetts whip company." Among the delegation was Nathaniel Hawthorne, who had come to Washington to gather impressions for an article to appear in the Atlantic Monthly for July, 1862, but being unable to get a personal appointment with the president, thus availed himself of the best opportunity.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.