Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 13, 1862

October 13, 1862:  Pres. Lincoln writes to Gen. McClellan, scarcely able to restrain his impatience as he urges him to move against Lee,  calmly encamped at Winchester:

MY DEAR SIR--You remember my speaking to you of what I called your over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not claim to be at least his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim? . . . For a great part of the way you would be practically between the enemy and both WASHINGTON and Richmond, enabling us to spare you the greatest number of troops from here. When at length running for Richmond ahead of him enables him to move this way, if he does so, turn and attack him in rear. But I think he should be engaged long before such a point is reached. It is all easy if our troops march as well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say they cannot do it. This letter is in no sense an order.

Yours truly,


---Cassius M. Clay, a fiery Southern planter aristocrat from Kentucky who has become a fiery abolitionist, gives a speech in New York City as reported second-hand by the Richmond Daily Dispatch:

It was complained that the habeas corpus act had been suspended; but did not the Constitution say that it should not be suspended, except in case of invasion or rebellion, and he asked would it be said that there was no rebellion? (A voice–”That’s the talk.”) The President had the power to do as he had done, and if a precedent was wanted they would make this the precedent forever. So far from finding fault with Abraham Lincoln, he rather found fault with him that he had not suspended the habeas corpus, not by a dash of the pen, but by the rope round the necks of these traitors. . . . Why, would we confiscate all other sorts of property and refuse to touch slavery? So far as these slaves are property — putting the question on the low material basis — we have as much right to say to these slaves, “Run for it,” as we have to take the horses and mules who draw the cannon of the rebels. But when we put the question upon a higher basis much better right have we to say to these men. “Defend yourselves and fight for you liberties” (Applause)

Mr. Lincoln, in the charity of his heart, which is a large one, and the strength of his intellect, which is a great one–he is both great hearted and great needed– (applause)–had said to these slave-holders, “I would that you would be persuaded to do right. Liberate your slaves, return to our family circle; we will share our last dollar with you, and you will be none the worse for being magnanimous and just. . . .

Give us the Constitution as it is, the Constitution as our fathers made it, and the Union as our fathers intended that it should be — a Union of free men. –Said James Madison: “I put not again the word Slave in the Constitution, because when this institution shall have ceased to exist, then let the memory of it also be forever banished from our records”–(Applause) There is but one peace — that is the peace of justice. There is but one secure basis of liberty and union — that is the unity of a common love of humanity, and the true and faithful, open, avowed, manly declaration of our fathers again reiterated, that “all men are created free and equal, entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Applause) . . .
Cartoon lampooning the Confederate Draft law.

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