Results 1 entry found

Thursday, July 4, 1861.+-

Washington, DC.

Lincoln's War Message, communicated to Congress as formal government document, "comprised a history of events, a report of stewardship, a constitutional argument, and an exalted commentary on fundamentals." Randall, Lincoln, 1:381.

President reviews state of Union: As of March 4, 1861, functions of government, except for post office, have been suspended in six seceded states; public revenue has been seized by, and large proportion of Federal rifles sent to, these states; many officers of Army and Navy have resigned, and active forces have been sent to scattered posts; an illegal organization, the Confederate States of America, with openly avowed purpose to sever Federal Union, is invoking aid, recognition, and intervention from foreign powers. Inaugural Address declared government's policy was to prevent destruction of Union, that government would exhaust all peaceful means before using stronger ones, would retain public property not already wrested from it, would collect revenue, and in other matters rely on time, discussion, and ballot box. Attack on Fort Sumter, S.C., the Message continues, was designed to drive out visible authority of Federal Union, and has forced on country distinct issue of dissolution or war. To preserve Union, Executive had no choice but to call out war power to resist force; 75,000 militia have been called out, blockade proclaimed, and writ of habeas corpus suspended. Recommends that Congress place at control of government $400 million and 400,000 men. Doctrine that a state may consistently with Constitution withdraw from Union without consent of Union is sophistry. States have neither more nor less power than that reserved to them by Constitution while in Union. Principle of relations of national power to states rights is no other than principle of relation of generality to locality; whatever concerns whole should be entrusted to whole, and whatever concerns state alone should be left exclusively to state. Principle of secession is one of disintegration. Nation purchased lands now forming state of Florida; if latter secedes and gets free of contributing to cost of land, all states may behave in like fashion. Who, then, would pay nation's debts? Executive, after rebellion has been suppressed, will be guided by Constitution and laws as understood and expressed in Inaugural Address. Regrets that duty of employing war power in defense of government has been forced upon him. Message to Congress in Special Session, 4 July 1861, CW, 4:421-41.

For one hour and forty minutes from pavilion in front of Executive Mansion, President Lincoln, with General Winfield Scott and cabinet, reviews more than 20,000 men of the 23 New York regiments; makes brief remarks from platform both before and after introducing Scott. Remarks at a Review of New York Regiments, 4 July 1861, CW, 4:441-42; National Republican (Washington, DC), 8 July 1861, 3:3-4; Extracts from Meigs Diary, John G. Nicolay Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Escorted to the south front of the Treasury Department building by the Seventy-first New York Volunteers, the President raises a flag on a one-hundred-foot staff. Evening Star (Washington, DC), 5 July 1861, 3:1-2.

Lincoln adds his name to temperance declaration previously signed by ten Presidents from Madison to Buchanan. Edward C. Delavan, noted temperance worker and lecturer, in letter dated July 4, 1861, writes: "President Lincoln has recently returned me, signed, the Presidential Temperance Declaration." Temperance Declaration, [c. 4 July 1861], CW, 4:420.

Lincoln endorses Horatio N. Taft, Jr., to be a page boy "as he is a play-mate of my little boys." Memorandum: Appointment of Horatio N. Taft, Jr., [4 July 1861], CW, 4:441.