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´╗┐Title: State of the Union Addresses
Author: Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "State of the Union Addresses" ***

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State of the Union Addresses

by Abraham Lincoln

The addresses are separated by three asterisks: ***

Dates of addresses by Abraham Lincoln in this eBook:
   December 3, 1861
   December 1, 1862
   December 8, 1863
   December 6, 1864


State of the Union Address
Abraham Lincoln
December 3, 1861

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

In the midst of unprecedented political troubles we have cause of great
gratitude to God for unusual good health and most abundant harvests.

You will not be surprised to learn that in the peculiar exigencies of
the times our intercourse with foreign nations has been attended with
profound solicitude, chiefly turning upon our own domestic affairs.

A disloyal portion of the American people have during the whole year
been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union. A nation
which endures factious domestic division is exposed to disrespect
abroad, and one party, if not both, is sure sooner or later to invoke
foreign intervention.

Nations thus tempted to interfere are not always able to resist the
counsels of seeming expediency and ungenerous ambition, although
measures adopted under such influences seldom fail to be unfortunate
and injurious to those adopting them.

The disloyal citizens of the United States who have offered the ruin of
our country in return for the aid and comfort which they have invoked
abroad have received less patronage and encouragement than they
probably expected. If it were just to suppose, as the insurgents have
seemed to assume, that foreign nations in this case, discarding all
moral, social, and treaty obligations, would act solely and selfishly
for the most speedy restoration of commerce, including especially the
acquisition of cotton, those nations appear as yet not to have seen
their way to their object more directly or clearly through the
destruction than through the preservation of the Union. If we could
dare to believe that foreign nations are actuated by no higher
principle than this, I am quite sure a sound argument could be made to
show them that they can reach their aim more readily and easily by
aiding to crush this rebellion than by giving encouragement to it.

The principal lever relied on by the insurgents for exciting foreign
nations to hostility against us, as already intimated, is the
embarrassment of commerce. Those nations, however, not improbably saw
from the first that it was the Union which made as well our foreign as
our domestic commerce. They can scarcely have failed to perceive that
the effort for disunion produces the existing difficulty, and that one
strong nation promises more durable peace and a more extensive,
valuable, and reliable commerce than can the same nation broken into
hostile fragments.

It is not my purpose to review our discussions with foreign states,
because, whatever might be their wishes or dispositions, the integrity
of our country and the stability of our Government mainly depend not
upon them, but on the loyalty, virtue, patriotism, and intelligence of
the American people. The correspondence itself, with the usual
reservations, is herewith submitted.

I venture to hope it will appear that we have practiced prudence and
liberality toward foreign powers, averting causes of irritation and
with firmness maintaining our own rights and honor.

Since, however, it is apparent that here, as in every other state,
foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend
that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the public
defenses on every side. While under this general recommendation
provision for defending our seacoast line readily occurs to the mind, I
also in the same connection ask the attention of Congress to our great
lakes and rivers. It is believed that some fortifications and depots of
arms and munitions, with harbor and navigation improvements, all at
well-selected points upon these, would be of great importance to the
national defense and preservation. I ask attention to the views of the
Secretary of War, expressed in his report, upon the same general
subject. I deem it of importance that the loyal regions of east
Tennessee and western North Carolina should be connected with Kentucky
and other faithful parts of the Union by railroad. I therefore
recommend, as a military measure, that Congress provide for the
construction of such road as speedily as possible. Kentucky no doubt
will cooperate, and through her legislature make the most judicious
selection of a line. The northern terminus must connect with some
existing railroad, and whether the route shall be from Lexington or
Nicholasville to the Cumberland Gap, or from Lebanon to the Tennessee
line, in the direction of Knoxville, or on some still different line,
can easily be determined. Kentucky and the General Government
cooperating, the work can be completed in a very short time, and when
done it will be not only of vast present usefulness, but also a
valuable permanent improvement, worth its cost in all the future.

Some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests of commerce, and
having no grave political importance, have been negotiated, and will be
submitted to the Senate for their consideration.

Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial powers to
adopt a desirable melioration of the rigor of maritime war, we have
removed all obstructions from the way of this humane reform except such
as are merely of temporary and accidental occurrence.

I invite your attention to the correspondence between Her Britannic
Majesty's minister accredited to this Government and the Secretary of
State relative to the detention of the British ship Perthshire in June
last by the United States steamer Massachusetts for a supposed breach
of the blockade. As this detention was occasioned by an obvious
misapprehension of the facts, and as justice requires that we should
commit no belligerent act not rounded in strict right as sanctioned by
public law, I recommend that an appropriation be made to satisfy the
reasonable demand of the owners of the vessel for her detention.

I repeat the recommendation of my predecessor in his annual message to
Congress in December last in regard to the disposition of the surplus
which will probably remain after satisfying the claims of American
citizens against China, pursuant to the awards of the commissioners
under the act of the 3d of March, 1859. If, however, it should not be
deemed advisable to carry that recommendation into effect, I would
suggest that authority be given for investing the principal, over the
proceeds of the surplus referred to, in good securities, with a view to
the satisfaction of such other just claims of our citizens against
China as are not unlikely to arise hereafter in the course of our
extensive trade with that Empire.

By the act of the 5th of August last Congress authorized the President
to instruct the commanders of suitable vessels to defend themselves
against and to capture pirates. This authority has been exercised in a
single instance only. For the more effectual protection of our
extensive and valuable commerce in the Eastern seas especially, it
seems to me that it would also be advisable to authorize the commanders
of sailing vessels to recapture any prizes which pirates may make of
United States vessels and their cargoes, and the consular courts now
established by law in Eastern countries to adjudicate the cases in the
event that this should not be objected to by the local authorities.

If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer in withholding
our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Hayti and
Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however, to inaugurate a
novel policy in regard to them without the approbation of Congress, I
submit for your consideration the expediency of an appropriation for
maintaining a charge d'affaires near each of those new States. It does
not admit of doubt that important commercial advantages might be
secured by favorable treaties with them.

The operations of the Treasury during the period which has elapsed
since your adjournment have been conducted with signal success. The
patriotism of the people has placed at the disposal of the Government
the large means demanded by the public exigencies. Much of the national
loan has been taken by citizens of the industrial classes, whose
confidence in their country's faith and zeal for their country's
deliverance from present peril have induced them to contribute to the
support of the Government the whole of their limited acquisitions. This
fact imposes peculiar obligations to economy in disbursement and energy
in action.

The revenue from all sources, including loans, for the financial year
ending on the 30th of June, 1861, was $86,835,900.27, and the
expenditures for the same period, including payments on account of the
public debt, were $84,578,834.47, leaving a balance in the Treasury on
the 1st of July of 52,257,065.80. For the first quarter of the
financial year ending on the 30th of September, 1861, the receipts from
all sources, including the balance of the 1st of July, were
$102,532,509.27, and the expenses $98,239,733.09, leaving a balance on
the 1st of October, 1861, of $4,292,776.18.

Estimates for the remaining three quarters of the year and for the
financial year 1863, together with his views of ways and means for
meeting the demands contemplated by them, will be submitted to Congress
by the Secretary of the Treasury. It is gratifying to know that the
expenditures made necessary by the rebellion are not beyond the
resources of the loyal people, and to believe that the same patriotism
which has thus far sustained the Government will continue to sustain it
till peace and union shall again bless the land.

I respectfully refer to the report of the Secretary of War for
information respecting the numerical strength of the Army and for
recommendations having in view an increase of its efficiency and the
well-being of the various branches of the service intrusted to his
care. It is gratifying to know that the patriotism of the people has
proved equal to the occasion, and that the number of troops tendered
greatly exceeds the force which Congress authorized me to call into the

I refer with pleasure to those portions of his report which make
allusion to the creditable degree of discipline already attained by our
troops and to the excellent sanitary condition of the entire Army.

The recommendation of the Secretary for an organization of the militia
upon a uniform basis is a subject of vital importance to the future
safety of the country, and is commended to the serious attention of

The large addition to the Regular Army, in connection with the
defection that has so considerably diminished the number of its
officers, gives peculiar importance to his recommendation for
increasing the corps of cadets to the greatest capacity of the Military

By mere omission, I presume, Congress has failed to provide chaplains
for hospitals occupied by volunteers. This subject was brought to my
notice, and I was induced to draw up the form of a letter, one copy of
which, properly addressed, has been delivered to each of the persons,
and at the dates respectively named and stated in a schedule,
containing also the form of the letter marked A, and herewith

These gentlemen, I understand, entered upon the duties designated at
the times respectively stated in the schedule, and have labored
faithfully therein ever since. I therefore recommend that they be
compensated at the same rate as chaplains in the Army. I further
suggest that general provision be made for chaplains to serve at
hospitals, as well as with regiments.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy presents in detail the
operations of that branch of the service, the activity and energy which
have characterized its administration, and the results of measures to
increase its efficiency and power. Such have been the additions, by
construction and purchase, that it may almost be said a navy has been
created and brought into service since our difficulties commenced.

Besides blockading our extensive coast, squadrons larger than ever
before assembled under our flag have been put afloat and performed
deeds which have increased our naval renown.

I would invite special attention to the recommendation of the Secretary
for a more perfect organization of the Navy by introducing additional
grades in the service.

The present organization is defective and unsatisfactory, and the
suggestions submitted by the Department will, it is believed, if
adopted, obviate the difficulties alluded to, promote harmony, and
increase the efficiency of the Navy.

There are three vacancies on the bench of the Supreme Court--two by the
decease of Justices Daniel and McLean and one by the resignation of
Justice Campbell. I have so far forborne making nominations to fill
these vacancies for reasons which I will now state. Two of the outgoing
judges resided within the States now overrun by revolt, so that if
successors were appointed in the same localities they could not now
serve upon their circuits; and many of the most competent men there
probably would not take the personal hazard of accepting to serve, even
here, upon the Supreme bench. I have been unwilling to throw all the
appointments northward, thus disabling myself from doing justice to the
South on the return of peace; although I may remark that to transfer to
the North one which has heretofore been in the South would not, with
reference to territory and population, be unjust.

During the long and brilliant judicial career of Judge McLean his
circuit grew into an empire altogether too large for any one judge to
give the courts therein more than a nominal attendance--rising in
population from 1,470,018 in 1830 to 6,151,405 in 1860.

Besides this, the country generally has outgrown our present judicial
system. If uniformity was at all intended, the system requires that all
the States shall be accommodated with circuit courts, attended by
Supreme judges, while, in fact, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas,
Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon have never had any such courts.
Nor can this well be remedied without a change in the system, because
the adding of judges to the Supreme Court, enough for the accommodation
of all parts of the country with circuit courts, would create a court
altogether too numerous for a judicial body of any sort. And the evil,
if it be one, will increase as new States come into the Union. Circuit
courts are useful or they are not useful. If useful, no State should be
denied them; if not useful, no State should have them. Let them be
provided for all or abolished as to all.

Three modifications occur to me, either of which, I think, would be an
improvement upon our present system. Let the Supreme Court be of
convenient number in every event; then, first, let the whole country be
divided into circuits of convenient size, the Supreme judges to serve
in a number of them corresponding to their own number, and independent
circuit judges be provided for all the rest; or, secondly, let the
Supreme judges be relieved from circuit duties and circuit judges
provided for all the circuits; or, thirdly, dispense with circuit
courts altogether, leaving the judicial functions wholly to the
district courts and an independent Supreme Court.

I respectfully recommend to the consideration of Congress the present
condition of the statute laws, with the hope that Congress will be able
to find an easy remedy for many of the inconveniences and evils which
constantly embarrass those engaged in the practical administration of
them. Since the organization of the Government Congress has enacted
some 5,000 acts and joint resolutions, which fill more than 6,000
closely printed pages and are scattered through many volumes. Many of
these acts have been drawn in haste and without sufficient caution, so
that their provisions are often obscure in themselves or in conflict
with each other, or at least so doubtful as to render it very difficult
for even the best-informed persons to ascertain precisely what the
statute law really is.

It seems to me very important that the statute laws should be made as
plain and intelligible as possible, and be reduced to as small a
compass as may consist with the fullness and precision of the will of
the Legislature and the perspicuity of its language. This well done
would, I think, greatly facilitate the labors of those whose duty it is
to assist in the administration of the laws, and would be a lasting
benefit to the people, by placing before them in a more accessible and
intelligible form the laws which so deeply concern their interests and
their duties.

I am informed by some whose opinions I respect that all the acts of
Congress now in force and of a permanent and general nature might be
revised and rewritten so as to be embraced in one volume (or at most
two volumes) of ordinary and convenient size; and I respectfully
recommend to Congress to consider of the subject, and if my suggestion
be approved to devise such plan as to their wisdom shall seem most
proper for the attainment of the end proposed.

One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection is the
entire suppression in many places of all the ordinary means of
administering civil justice by the officers and in the forms of
existing law. This is the case, in whole or in part, in all the
insurgent States; and as our armies advance upon and take possession of
parts of those States the practical evil becomes more apparent. There
are no courts nor officers to whom the citizens of other States may
apply for the enforcement of their lawful claims against citizens of
the insurgent States, and there is a vast amount of debt constituting
such claims. Some have estimated it as high as $200,000,000, due in
large part from insurgents in open rebellion to loyal citizens who are
even now making great sacrifices in the discharge of their patriotic
duty to support the Government.

Under these circumstances I have been urgently solicited to establish
by military power courts to administer summary justice in such cases I
have thus far declined to do it, not because I had any doubt that the
end proposed--the collection of the debts--was just and right in
itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond the pressure of
necessity in the unusual exercise of power. But the powers of Congress,
I suppose, are equal to the anomalous occasion, and therefore I refer
the whole matter to Congress, with the hope that a plan may be devised
for the administration of justice in all such parts of the insurgent
States and Territories as may be under the control of this Government,
whether by a voluntary return to allegiance and order or by the power
of our arms; this, however, not to be a permanent institution, but a
temporary substitute, and to cease as soon as the ordinary courts can
be reestablished in peace.

It is important that some more convenient means should be provided, if
possible, for the adjustment of claims against the Government,
especially in view of their increased number by reason of the war. It
is as much the duty of Government to render prompt justice against
itself in favor of citizens as it is to administer the same between
private individuals. The investigation and adjudication of claims in
their nature belong to the judicial department. Besides, it is apparent
that the attention of Congress will be more than usually engaged for
some time to come with great national questions. It was intended by the
organization of the Court of Claims mainly to remove this branch of
business from the halls of Congress: but while the court has proved to
be an effective and valuable means of investigation, it in great degree
fails to effect the object of its creation for want of power to make
its judgments final.

Fully aware of the delicacy, not to say the danger, of the subject, I
commend to your careful consideration whether this power of making
judgments final may not properly be given to the court, reserving the
right of appeal on questions of law to the Supreme Court, with such
other provisions as experience may have shown to be necessary.

I ask attention to the report of the Postmaster-General, the following
being a summary statement of the condition of the Department:

The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year ending June 30,
1861, including the annual permanent appropriation of $700,000 for the
transportation of "free mail matter," was $9,049,296.40, being about 2
per cent less than the revenue for 1860.

The expenditures were $13,606,759.11, showing a decrease of more than 8
per cent as compared with those of the previous year and leaving an
excess of expenditure over the revenue for the last fiscal year of

The gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 1863, is estimated at an
increase of 4 per cent on that of 1861, making $8,683,000, to which
should be added the earnings of the Department in carrying free matter,
viz, $700,000, making $9,383,000.

The total expenditures for 1863 are estimated at $12,528,000, leaving
an estimated deficiency of $3,145,000 to be supplied from the Treasury
in addition to the permanent appropriation.

The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension of this
District across the Potomac River at the time of establishing the
capital here was eminently wise, and consequently that the
relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the State of
Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration the
expediency of regaining that part of the District and the restoration
of the original boundaries thereof through negotiations with the State
of Virginia.

The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with the accompanying
documents, exhibits the condition of the several branches of the public
business pertaining to that Department. The depressing influences of
the insurrection have been specially felt in the operations of the
Patent and General Land Offices. The cash receipts from the sales of
public lands during the past year have exceeded the expenses of our
land system only about $200,000. The sales have been entirely suspended
in the Southern States, while the interruptions to the business of the
country and the diversion of large numbers of men from labor to
military service have obstructed settlements in the new States and
Territories of the Northwest.

The receipts of the Patent Office have declined in nine months about
$100,000, rendering a large reduction of the force employed necessary
to make it self-sustaining.

The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely increased by the
insurrection. Numerous applications for pensions, based upon the
casualties of the existing war, have already been made. There is reason
to believe that many who are now upon the pension rolls and in receipt
of the bounty of the Government are in the ranks of the insurgent army
or giving them aid and comfort. The Secretary of the Interior has
directed a suspension of the payment of the pensions of such persons
upon proof of their disloyalty. I recommend that Congress authorize
that officer to cause the names of such persons to be stricken from the
pension rolls.

The relations of the Government with the Indian tribes have been
greatly disturbed by the insurrection, especially in the southern
superintendency and in that of New Mexico. The Indian country south of
Kansas is in the possession of insurgents from Texas and Arkansas. The
agents of the United States appointed since the 4th of March for this
superintendency have been unable to reach their posts, while the most
of those who were in office before that time have espoused the
insurrectionary cause, and assume to exercise the powers of agents by
virtue of commissions from the insurrectionists. It has been stated in
the public press that a portion of those Indians have been organized as
a military force and are attached to the army of the insurgents.
Although the Government has no official information upon this subject,
letters have been written to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs by
several prominent chiefs giving assurance of their loyalty to the
United States and expressing a wish for the presence of Federal troops
to protect them. It is believed that upon the repossession of the
country by the Federal forces the Indians will readily cease all
hostile demonstrations and resume their former relations to the

Agriculture, confessedly the largest interest of the nation, has not a
department nor a bureau, but a clerkship only, assigned to it in the
Government. While it is fortunate that this great interest is so
independent in its nature as to not have demanded and extorted more
from the Government, I respectfully ask Congress to consider whether
something more can not be given voluntarily with general advantage.

Annual reports exhibiting the condition of our agriculture, commerce,
and manufactures would present a fund of information of great practical
value to the country. While I make no suggestion as to details, I
venture the opinion that an agricultural and statistical bureau might
profitably be organized.

The execution of the laws for the suppression of the African slave
trade has been confided to the Department of the Interior. It is a
subject of gratulation that the efforts which have been made for the
suppression of this inhuman traffic have been recently attended with
unusual success. Five vessels being fitted out for the slave trade have
been seized and condemned. Two mates of vessels engaged in the trade
and one person in equipping a vessel as a slaver have been convicted
and subjected to the penalty of fine and imprisonment, and one captain,
taken with a cargo of Africans on board his vessel, has been convicted
of the highest grade of offense under our laws, the punishment of which
is death.

The Territories of Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada, created by the last
Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been
inaugurated therein under auspices especially gratifying when it is
considered that the leaven of treason was found existing in some of
these new countries when the Federal officers arrived there.

The abundant natural resources of these Territories, with the security
and protection afforded by organized government, will doubtless invite
to them a large immigration when peace shall restore the business of
the country to its accustomed channels. I submit the resolutions of the
legislature of Colorado, which evidence the patriotic spirit of the
people of the Territory. So far the authority of the United States has
been upheld in all the Territories, as it is hoped it will be in the
future. I commend their interests and defense to the enlightened and
generous care of Congress.

I recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress the interests of
the District of Columbia. The insurrection has been the cause of much
suffering and sacrifice to its inhabitants, and as they have no
representative in Congress that body should not overlook their just
claims upon the Government.

At your late session a joint resolution was adopted authorizing the
President to take measures for facilitating a proper representation of
the industrial interests of the United States at the exhibition of the
industry of all nations to be holden at London in the year 1862. I
regret to say I have been unable to give personal attention to this
subject--a subject at once so interesting in itself and so extensively
and intimately connected with the material prosperity of the world.
Through the Secretaries of State and of the Interior a plan or system
has been devised and partly matured, and which will be laid before you.

Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An act to
confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved August
6, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and service
of certain other persons have become forfeited, and numbers of the
latter thus liberated are already dependent on the United States and
must be provided for in some way. Besides this, it is not impossible
that some of the States will pass similar enactments for their own
benefit respectively, and by operation of which persons of the same
class will be thrown upon them for disposal. In such case I recommend
that Congress provide for accepting such persons from such States,
according to some mode of valuation, in lieu, pro tanto, of direct
taxes, or upon some other plan to be agreed on with such States
respectively; that such persons, on such acceptance by the General
Government, be at once deemed free, and that in any event steps be
taken for colonizing both classes (or the one first mentioned if the
other shall not be brought into existence) at some place or places in a
climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider, too, whether
the free colored people already in the United States could not, so far
as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization.

To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of
territory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be
expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practiced the
acquisition of territory for nearly sixty years, the question of
constitutional power to do so is no longer an open one with us. The
power was questioned at first by Mr. Jefferson, who, however, in the
purchase of Louisiana, yielded his scruples on the plea of great
expediency. If it be said that the only legitimate object of acquiring
territory is to furnish homes for white men, this measure effects that
object, for the emigration of colored men leaves additional room for
white men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson, however, placed the
importance of procuring Louisiana more on political and commercial
grounds than on providing room for population.

On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money with
the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to
absolute necessity--that without which the Government itself can not be

The war continues. In considering the policy to be adopted for
suppressing the insurrection I have been anxious and careful that the
inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a
violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have therefore in
every case thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union
prominent as the primary object of the contest on our pan, leaving all
questions which are not of vital military importance to the more
deliberate action of the Legislature.

In the exercise of my best discretion I have adhered to the blockade of
the ports held by the insurgents, instead of putting in force by
proclamation the law of Congress enacted .at the late session for
closing those ports.

So also, obeying the dictates of prudence, as well as the obligations
of law, instead of transcending I have adhered to the act of Congress
to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes. If a new law
upon the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety will be duly
considered. The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispensable
means must be employed. We should not be in haste to determine that
radical and extreme measures, which may reach the loyal as well as the
disloyal, are indispensable.

The inaugural address at the beginning of the Administration and the
message to Congress at the late special session were both mainly
devoted to the domestic controversy out of which the insurrection and
consequent war have sprung. Nothing now occurs to add or subtract to or
from the principles or general purposes stated and expressed in those

The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably expired at the
assault upon Fort Sumter, and a general review of what has occurred
since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully uncertain then is
much better defined and more distinct now, and the progress of events
is plainly in the right direction. The insurgents confidently claimed a
strong support from north of Mason and Dixon's line, and the friends of
the Union were not free from apprehension on the point. This, however,
was soon settled definitely, and on the right side. South of the line
noble little Delaware led off right from the first. Maryland was made
to seem against the Union. Our soldiers were assaulted, bridges were
burned, and railroads torn up within her limits, and we were many days
at one time without the ability to bring a single regiment over her
soil to the capital. Now her bridges and railroads are repaired and
open to the Government; she already gives seven regiments to the cause
of the Union, and none to the enemy; and her people, at a regular
election, have sustained the Union by a larger majority and a larger
aggregate vote than they ever before gave to any candidate or any
question. Kentucky, too, for some time in doubt, is now decidedly and,
I think, unchangeably ranged on the side of the Union. Missouri is
comparatively quiet, and, I believe, can not again be overrun by the
insurrectionists. These three States of Maryland, Kentucky, and
Missouri, neither of which would promise a single soldier at first,
have now an aggregate of not less than 40,000 in the field for the
Union, while of their citizens certainly not more than a third of that
number, and they of doubtful whereabouts and doubtful existence, are in
arms against us. After a somewhat bloody struggle of months, winter
closes on the Union people of western Virginia, leaving them masters of
their own country.

An insurgent force of about 1,500, for months dominating the narrow
peninsular region constituting the counties of Accomac and Northampton,
and known as Eastern Shore of Virginia, together with some contiguous
parts of Maryland, have laid down their arms, and the people there have
renewed their allegiance to and accepted the protection of the old
flag. This leaves no armed insurrectionist north of the Potomac or east
of the Chesapeake.

Also we have obtained a footing at each of the isolated points on the
southern coast of Hatteras, Port Royal, Tybee Island (near Savannah),
and Ship Island; and we likewise have some general accounts of popular
movements in behalf of the Union in North Carolina and Tennessee.

These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is advancing
steadily and certainly southward.

Since your last adjournment Lieutenant-General Scott has retired from
the head of the Army. During his long life the nation has not been
unmindful of his merit; yet on calling to mind how faithfully, ably,
and brilliantly he has served the country, from a time far back in our
history, when few of the now living had been born, and thenceforward
continually, I can not but think we are still his debtors. I submit,
therefore, for your consideration what further mark of recognition is
due to him, and to ourselves as a grateful people.

With the retirement of General Scott came the Executive duty of
appointing in his stead a General in Chief of the Army. It is a
fortunate circumstance that neither in council nor country was there,
so far as I know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person to
be selected. The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in
favor of General McClellan for the position, and in this the nation
seemed to give a unanimous concurrence. The designation of General
McClellan is therefore in considerable degree the selection of the
country as well as of the Executive, and hence there is better reason
to hope there will be given him the confidence and cordial support thus
by fair implication promised, and without which he can not with so full
efficiency serve the country.

It has been said that one bad general is better than two good ones, and
the saying is true if taken to mean no more than that an army is better
directed by a single mind, though inferior, than by two superior ones
at variance and cross-purposes with each other.

And the same is true in all joint operations wherein those engaged can
have none but a common end in view and can differ only as to the choice
of means. In a storm at sea no one on board can wish the ship to sink,
and yet not unfrequently all go down together because too many will
direct and no single mind can be allowed to control.

It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not
exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government--the
rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most
grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the
general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the
abridgment of the existing right of suffrage and the denial to the
people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers
except the legislative boldly advocated, with labored arguments to
prove that large control of the people in government is the source of
all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a
possible refuge from the power of the people.

In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit
raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be
made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its
connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief
attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with,
if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that
labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors
unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces
him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best
that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their
own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent.
Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers
are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is
assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition
for life.

Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor
is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the
condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all
inferences from them are groundless.

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. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of
protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and
probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing
mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of
community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that
few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital hire or buy another
few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither
class--neither work for others nor have others working for them. In
most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people of all
colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large
majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with their families--wives,
sons, and daughters--work for themselves on their farms, in their
houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and
asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or
slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of
persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with
their own hands and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this
is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is
disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such
thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life.
Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in
their lives were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the
world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools
or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and
at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and
generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope
to all, and consequent energy and progress and improvement of condition
to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil
up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they
have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political
power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely
be used to close the door of advancement against such as they and to
fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be

From the first taking of our national census to the last are seventy
years, and we find our population at the end of the period eight times
as great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those other things
which men deem desirable has been even greater. We thus have at one
view what the popular principle, applied to Government through the
machinery, of the States and the Union, has produced in a given time,
and also what if firmly maintained it promises for the future. There
are already among us those who if the Union be preserved will live to
see it contain 250,000,000. The struggle of to-day is not altogether
for to-day; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence
all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which
events have devolved upon us.


State of the Union Address
Abraham Lincoln
December 1, 1862

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Since your last annual assembling another year of health and bountiful
harvests has passed, and while it has not pleased the Almighty to bless
us with a return of peace, we can but press on, guided by the best
light He gives us, trusting that in His own good time and wise way all
will yet be well.

The correspondence touching foreign affairs which has taken place
during the last year is herewith submitted, in virtual compliance with
a request to that effect made by the House of Representatives near the
close of the last session of Congress. If the condition of our
relations with other nations is less gratifying than it has usually
been at former periods, it is certainly more satisfactory than a nation
so unhappily distracted as we are might reasonably have apprehended. In
the month of June last there were some grounds to expect that the
maritime powers which at the beginning of our domestic difficulties so
unwisely and unnecessarily, as we think, recognized the insurgents as a
belligerent would soon recede from that position, which has proved only
less injurious to themselves than to our own country. But the temporary
reverses which afterwards befell the national arms, and which were
exaggerated by our own disloyal citizens abroad, have hitherto delayed
that act of simple justice.

The civil war, which has so radically changed for the moment the
occupations and habits of the American people, has necessarily
disturbed the social condition and affected very deeply the prosperity
of the nations with which we have carried on a commerce that has been
steadily increasing throughout a period of half a century. It has at
the same time excited political ambitions and apprehensions which have
produced a profound agitation throughout the civilized world. In this
unusual agitation we have forborne from taking part in any controversy
between foreign states and between parties or factions in such states.
We have attempted no propagandism and acknowledged no revolution. But
we have left to every nation the exclusive conduct and management of
its own affairs. Our struggle has been, of course, contemplated by
foreign nations with reference less to its own merits than to its
supposed and often exaggerated effects and consequences resulting to
those nations themselves. Nevertheless, complaint on the part of this
Government, even if it were just, would certainly be unwise. The treaty
with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave trade has been put
into operation with a good prospect of complete success. It is an
occasion of special pleasure to acknowledge that the execution of it on
the part of Her Majesty's Government has been marked with a jealous
respect for the authority of the United States and the rights of their
moral and loyal citizens.

The convention with Hanover for the abolition of the Stade dues has
been carried into full effect under the act of Congress for that
purpose. A blockade of 3,000 miles of seacoast could not be established
and vigorously enforced in a season of great commercial activity like
the present without committing occasional mistakes and inflicting
unintentional injuries upon foreign nations and their subjects. A civil
war occurring in a country, where foreigners reside and carry on trade
under treaty stipulations is necessarily fruitful of complaints of the
violation of neutral rights. All such collisions tend to excite
misapprehensions, and possibly to produce mutual reclamations between
nations which have a common interest in preserving peace and
friendship. In clear cases of these kinds I have so far as possible
heard and redressed complaints which have been presented by friendly
powers. There is still, however, a large and an augmenting number of
doubtful cases upon which the Government is unable to agree with the
governments whose protection is demanded by the claimants. There are,
moreover, many cases in which the United States or their citizens
suffer wrongs from the naval or military authorities of foreign nations
which the governments of those states are not at once prepared to
redress. I have proposed to some of the foreign states thus interested
mutual conventions to examine and adjust such complaints. This
proposition has been made especially to Great Britain, to France, to
Spain, and to Prussia. In each case it has been kindly received, but
has not yet been formally adopted.

I deem it my duty to recommend an appropriation in behalf of the owners
of the Norwegian bark Admiral P. Tordenskiold, which vessel was in May,
1861, prevented by the commander of the blockading force off Charleston
from leaving that port with cargo, notwithstanding a similar privilege
had shortly before been granted to an English vessel. I have directed
the Secretary of State to cause the papers in the case to be
communicated to the proper committees.

Applications have been made to me by many free Americans of African
descent to favor their emigration, with a view to such colonization as
was contemplated in recent acts of Congress. Other parties, at home and
abroad--some from interested motives, others upon patriotic
considerations, and still others influenced by philanthropic
sentiments--have suggested similar measures, while, on the other hand,
several of the Spanish American Republics have protested against the
sending of such colonies to their respective territories. Under these
circumstances I have declined to move any such colony to any state
without first obtaining the consent of its government, with an
agreement on its part to receive and protect such emigrants in all the
rights of freemen; and I have at the same time offered to the several
States situated within the Tropics, or having colonies there, to
negotiate with them, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate,
to favor the voluntary emigration of persons of that class to their
respective territories, upon conditions which shall be equal, just, and
humane. Liberia and Hayti are as yet the only countries to which
colonists of African descent from here could go with certainty of being
received and adopted as citizens; and I regret to say such persons
contemplating colonization do not seem so willing to migrate to those
countries as to some others, nor so willing as I think their interest
demands. I believe, however, opinion among them in this respect is
improving, and that ere long there will be an augmented and
considerable migration to both these countries from the United States.

The new commercial treaty between the United States and the Sultan of
Turkey has been carried into execution.

A commercial and consular treaty has been negotiated, subject to the
Senate's consent, with Liberia, and a similar negotiation is now
pending with the Republic of Hayti. A considerable improvement of the
national commerce is expected to result from these measures. Our
relations with Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Prussia,
Denmark, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Rome, and the other
European States remain undisturbed. Very favorable relations also
continue to be maintained with Turkey, Morocco, China, and Japan.

During the last year there has not only been no change of our previous
relations with the independent States of our own continent, but more
friendly sentiments than have heretofore existed are believed to be
entertained by these neighbors, whose safety and progress are so
intimately connected with our own. This statement especially applies to
Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, and Chile. The
commission under the convention with the Republic of New Granada closed
its session without having audited and passed upon all the claims which
were submitted to it. A proposition is pending to revive the
convention, that it may be able to do more complete justice. The joint
commission between the United States and the Republic of Costa Rica has
completed its labors and submitted its report. I have favored the
project for connecting the United States with Europe by an Atlantic
telegraph, and a similar project to extend the telegraph from San
Francisco to connect by a Pacific telegraph with the line which is
being extended across the Russian Empire. The Territories of the United
States, with unimportant exceptions have remained undisturbed by the
civil war; and they are exhibiting such evidence of prosperity as
justifies an expectation that some of them will soon be in a condition
to be organized as States and be constitutionally admitted into the
Federal Union.

The immense mineral resources of some of those Territories ought to be
developed as rapidly as possible. Every step in that direction would
have a tendency to improve the revenues of the Government and diminish
the burdens of the people. It is worthy of your serious consideration
whether some extraordinary measures to promote that end can not be
adopted. The means which suggests itself as most likely to be effective
is a scientific exploration of the mineral regions in those Territories
with a view to the publication of its results at home and in foreign
countries--results which can not fail to be auspicious.

The condition of the finances will claim your most diligent
consideration. The vast expenditures incident to the military and naval
operations required for the suppression of the rebellion have hitherto
been met with a promptitude and certainty unusual in similar
circumstances, and the public credit has been fully maintained. The
continuance of the war, however, and the increased disbursements made
necessary by the augmented forces now in the field demand your best
reflections as to the best modes of providing the necessary revenue
without injury to business and with the least possible burdens upon

The suspension of specie payments by the banks soon after the
commencement of your last session made large issues of United States
notes unavoidable. In no other way could the payment of the troops and
the satisfaction of other just demands be so economically or so well
provided for. The judicious legislation of Congress, securing the
receivability of these notes for loans and internal duties and making
them a legal tender for other debts, has made them an universal
currency, and has satisfied, partially at least, and for the time, the
long-felt want of an uniform circulating medium, saving thereby to the
people immense sums in discounts and exchanges.

A return to specie payments, however, at the earliest period compatible
with due regard to all interests concerned should ever be kept in view.
Fluctuations in the value of currency are always injurious, and to
reduce these fluctuations to the lowest possible point will always be a
leading purpose in wise legislation. Convertibility, prompt and certain
convertibility, into coin is generally acknowledged to be the best and
surest safeguard against them; and it is extremely doubtful whether a
circulation of United States notes payable in coin and sufficiently
large for the wants of the people can be permanently, usefully, and
safely maintained.

Is there, then, any other mode in which the necessary provision for the
public wants can be made and the great advantages of a safe and uniform
currency secured?

I know of none which promises so certain results and is at the same
time so unobjectionable as the organization of banking associations,
under a general act of Congress, well guarded in its provisions. To
such associations the Government might furnish circulating notes, on
the security of United States bonds deposited in the Treasury. These
notes, prepared under the supervision of proper officers, being uniform
in appearance and security and convertible always into coin, would at
once protect labor against the evils of a vicious currency and
facilitate commerce by cheap and safe exchanges.

A moderate reservation from the interest on the bonds would compensate
the United States for the preparation and distribution of the notes and
a general supervision of the system, and would lighten the burden of
that part of the public debt employed as securities. The public credit,
moreover, would be greatly improved and the negotiation of new loans
greatly facilitated by the steady market demand for Government bonds
which the adoption of the proposed system would create. It is an
additional recommendation of the measure, of considerable weight, in my
judgment, that it would reconcile as far as possible all existing
interests by the opportunity offered to existing institutions to
reorganize under the act, substituting only the secured uniform
national circulation for the local and various circulation, secured and
unsecured, now issued by them.

The receipts into the treasury from all sources, including loans and
balance from the preceding year, for the fiscal year ending on the 30th
June, 1862, were $583,885,247.06, of which sum $49,056,397.62 were
derived from customs; $1,795,331.73 from the direct tax; from public
lands, $152,203.77; from miscellaneous sources, $931,787.64; from loans
in all forms, $529,692,460.50. The remainder, :$2,257,065.80, was the
balance from last year.

The disbursements during the same period were: For Congressional,
executive, and judicial purposes, $5,939.009.29; for foreign
intercourse, $1,339,710.35; for miscellaneous expenses, including the
mints, loans, Post-Office deficiencies, collection of revenue, and
other like charges, $14,129,771.50; for expenses under the Interior
Department, 985.52; under the War Department, $394,368,407.36; under
the Navy Department, $42,674,569.69; for interest on public debt,
$13,190,324.45; and for payment of public debt, including reimbursement
of temporary loan and redemptions, $96,096,922.09; making an aggregate
of $570,841,700.25, and leaving a balance in the Treasury on the 1st
day of July, 1862, of $13,043,546.81.

It should be observed that the sum of $96,096,922.09, expended for
reimbursements and redemption of public debt, being included also in
the loans made, may be properly deducted both from receipts and
expenditures, leaving the actual receipts for the year $487,788,324.97,
and the expenditures $474,744,778.16.

Other information on the subject of the finances will be found in the
report of the Secretary of the Treasury, to whose statements and views
I invite your most candid and considerate attention.

The reports of the Secretaries of War and of the Navy are herewith
transmitted. These reports, though lengthy, are scarcely more than
brief abstracts of the very numerous and extensive transactions and
operations conducted through those Departments. Nor could I give a
summary of them here upon any principle which would admit of its being
much shorter than the reports themselves. I therefore content myself
with laying the reports before you and asking your attention to them.

It gives me pleasure to report a decided improvement in the financial
condition of the Post-Office Department as compared with several
preceding years. The receipts for the fiscal year 1861 amounted to
$8,349,296.40, which embraced the revenue from all the States of the
Union for three quarters of that year. Notwithstanding the cessation of
revenue from the so-called seceded States during the last fiscal year,
the increase of the correspondence of the loyal States has been
sufficient to produce a revenue during the same year of $8,299,820.90,
being only $50,000 less than was derived from all the States of the
Union during the previous year. The expenditures show a still more
favorable result. The amount expended in 1861 was $13,606,759.11. For
the last year the amount has been reduced to $11,125,364.13, showing a
decrease of about $2,481,000 in the expenditures as compared with the
preceding year, and about $3,750,000 as compared with the fiscal year
1860. The deficiency in the Department for the previous year was
$4,551,966.98. For the last fiscal year it was reduced to
$2,112,814.57. These favorable results are in part owing to the
cessation of mail service in the insurrectionary States and in part to
a careful review of all expenditures in that Department in the interest
of economy. The efficiency of the postal service, it is believed, has
also been much improved. The Postmaster-General has also opened a
correspondence through the Department of State with foreign governments
proposing a convention of postal representatives for the purpose of
simplifying the rates of foreign postage and to expedite the foreign
mails. This proposition, equally important to our adopted citizens and
to the commercial interests of this country, has been favorably
entertained and agreed to by all the governments from whom replies have
been received.

I ask the attention of Congress to the suggestions of the
Postmaster-General in his report respecting the further legislation
required, in his opinion, for the benefit of the postal service.

The Secretary of the Interior reports as follows in regard to the
public lands: The public lands have ceased to be a source of revenue.
From the 1st July, 1861, to the 30th September, 1862, the entire cash
receipts from the sale of lands were $137,476.26--a sum much less than
the expenses of our land system during the same period. The homestead
law, which will take effect on the 1st of January next, offers such
inducements to settlers that sales for cash can not be expected to an
extent sufficient to meet the expenses of the General Land Office and
the cost of surveying and bringing the land into market.

The discrepancy between the sum here stated as arising from the sales
of the public lands and the sum derived from the same source as
reported from the Treasury Department arises, as I understand, from the
fact that the periods of time, though apparently, were not really
coincident at the beginning point, the Treasury report including a
considerable sum now which had previously been reported from the
Interior, sufficiently large to greatly overreach the sum derived from
the three months now reported upon by the Interior and not by the
Treasury. The Indian tribes upon our frontiers have during the past
year manifested a spirit of insubordination, and at several points have
engaged in open hostilities against the white settlements in their
vicinity. The tribes occupying the Indian country south of Kansas
renounced their allegiance to the United States and entered into
treaties with the insurgents. Those who remained loyal to the United
States were driven from the country. The chief of the Cherokees has
visited this city for the purpose of restoring the former relations of
the tribe with the United States. He alleges that they were constrained
by superior force to enter into treaties with the insurgents, and that
the United States neglected to furnish the protection which their
treaty stipulations required.

In the month of August last the Sioux Indians in Minnesota attacked the
settlements in their vicinity with extreme ferocity, killing
indiscriminately men, women, and children. This attack was wholly
unexpected, and therefore no means of defense had been prodded. It is
estimated that not less than 800 persons were killed by the Indians,
and a large amount of property was destroyed. How this outbreak was
induced is not definitely known, and suspicions, which may be unjust,
need not to be stated. Information was received by the Indian Bureau
from different sources about the time hostilities were commenced that a
simultaneous attack was to be made upon the white settlements by all
the tribes between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The
State of Minnesota has suffered great injury from this Indian war. A
large portion of her territory has been depopulated, and a severe loss
has been sustained by the destruction of property. The people of that
State manifest much anxiety for the removal of the tribes beyond the
limits of the State as a guaranty against future hostilities. The
Commissioner of Indian Affairs will furnish full details. I submit for
your especial consideration whether our Indian system shall not be
remodeled. Many wise and good men have impressed me with the belief
that this can be profitably done.

I submit a statement of the proceedings of commissioners, which shows
the progress that has been made in the enterprise of constructing the
Pacific Railroad. And this suggests the earliest completion of this
road, and also the favorable action of Congress upon the projects now
pending before them for enlarging the capacities of the great canals in
New York and Illinois, as being of vital and rapidly increasing
importance to the whole nation, and especially to the vast interior
region hereinafter to be noticed at some greater length. I purpose
having prepared and laid before you at an early day some interesting
and valuable statistical information upon this subject. The military
and commercial importance of enlarging the Illinois and Michigan Canal
and improving the Illinois River is presented in the report of Colonel
Webster to the Secretary of War, and now transmitted to Congress. I
respectfully ask attention to it.

To carry out the provisions of the act of Congress of the 15th of May
last, I have caused the Department of Agriculture of the United States
to be organized.

The Commissioner informs me that within the period of a few months this
Department has established an extensive system of correspondence and
exchanges, both at home and abroad, which promises to effect highly
beneficial results in the development of a correct knowledge of recent
improvements in agriculture, in the introduction of new products, and
in the collection of the agricultural statistics of the different

Also, that it will soon be prepared to distribute largely seeds,
cereals, plants, and cuttings, and has already published and liberally
diffused much valuable information in anticipation of a more elaborate
report, which will in due time be furnished, embracing some valuable
tests in chemical science now in progress in the laboratory.

The creation of this Department was for the more immediate benefit of a
large class of our most valuable citizens, and I trust that the liberal
basis upon which it has been organized will not only meet your
approbation, but that it will realize at no distant day all the fondest
anticipations of its most sanguine friends and become the fruitful
source of advantage to all our people.

On the 22d day of September last a proclamation was issued by the
Executive, a copy of which is herewith submitted. In accordance with
the purpose expressed in the second paragraph of that paper, I now
respectfully recall your attention to what may be called "compensated

A nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its
laws. The territory is the only part which is of certain durability.
"One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the
earth abideth forever." It is of the first importance to duly consider
and estimate this ever-enduring part. That portion of the earth's
surface which is owned and inhabited by the people of the United States
is well adapted to be the home of one national family, and it is not
well adapted for two or more. Its vast extent and its variety of
climate and productions are of advantage in this age for one people,
whatever they might have been in former ages. Steam, telegraphs, and
intelligence have brought these to be an advantageous combination for
one united people.

In the inaugural address I briefly pointed out the total inadequacy of
disunion as a remedy for the differences between the people of the two
sections. I did so in language which I can not improve, and which,
therefore, I beg to repeat: One section of our country believes slavery
is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong
and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The
fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution and the law for the
suppression of the foreign slave trade are each as well enforced,
perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of
the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the
people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break
over in each. This I think, can not be perfectly cured, and it would be
worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before.
The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be
ultimately revived without restriction in one section, while fugitive
slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all
by the other. Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not
remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable
wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the
presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of
our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and
intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is
it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more
satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties
easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully
enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to
war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides
and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions,
as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you. There is no line,
straight or crooked, suitable for a national boundary upon which to
divide. Trace through, from east to west, upon the line between the
free and slave country, and we shall find a little more than one-third
of its length are rivers, easy to be crossed, and populated, or soon to
be populated, thickly upon both sides; while nearly all its remaining
length are merely surveyors' lines, over which people may walk back and
forth without any consciousness of their presence. No part of this line
can be made any more difficult to pass by writing it down on paper or
parchment as a national boundary. The fact of separation, if it comes,
gives up on the part of the seceding section the fugitive-slave clause,
along with all other constitutional obligations upon the section
seceded from, while I should expect no treaty stipulation would ever be
made to take its place.

But there is another difficulty. The great interior region bounded east
by the Alleghanies, north by the British dominions, west by the Rocky
Mountains, and south by the line along which the culture of corn and
cotton meets, and which includes part of Virginia, part of Tennessee,
all of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois,
Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Territories of Dakota,
Nebraska, and part of Colorado, already has above 10,000,000 people,
and will have 50,000,000 within fifty years if not prevented by any
political folly or mistake. It contains more than one-third of the
country owned by the United States--certainly more than 1,000,000
square miles. Once half as populous as Massachusetts already is, it
would have more than 75,000,000 people. A glance at the map shows that,
territorially speaking, it is the great body of the Republic. The other
parts are but marginal borders to it. The magnificent region sloping
west from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific being the deepest and also
the richest in undeveloped resources. In the production of provisions
grains, grasses, and all which proceed from them this great interior
region is naturally one of the most important in the world. Ascertain
from the statistics the small proportion of the region which has as yet
been brought into cultivation, and also the large and rapidly
increasing amount of its products, and we shall be overwhelmed with the
magnitude of the prospect presented. And yet this region has no
seacoast--touches no ocean anywhere. As part of one nation, its people
now find, and may forever find, their way to Europe by New York, to
South America and Africa by New Orleans, and to Asia by San Francisco;
but separate our common country into two nations, as designed by the
present rebellion, and every man of this great interior region is
thereby cut off from some one or more of these outlets, not perhaps by
a physical barrier, but by embarrassing and onerous trade regulations.

And this is true, wherever a dividing or boundary line may be fixed.
Place it between the now free and slave country, or place it south of
Kentucky or north of Ohio, and still the truth remains that none south
of it can trade to any port or place north of it, and none north of it
can trade to any port or place south of it, except upon terms dictated
by a government foreign to them. These outlets, east, west, and south,
are indispensable to the well-being of the people inhabiting and to
inhabit this vast interior region. Which of the three may be the best
is no proper question. All are better than either, and all of right
belong to that people and to their successors forever. True to
themselves, they will not ask where a line of separation shall be, but
will vow rather that there shall be no such line. Nor are the marginal
regions less interested in these communications to and through them to
the great outside world. They, too, and each of them, must have access
to this Egypt of the West without paying toll at the crossing of any
national boundary.

Our national strife springs not from our permanent part; not from the
land we inhabit: not from our national homestead. There is no possible
severing of this but would multiply and not mitigate evils among us. In
all its adaptations and aptitudes it demands union and abhors
separation. In fact, it would ere long force reunion, however much of
blood and treasure the separation might have cost. Our strife pertains
to ourselves--to the passing generations of men--and it can without
convulsion be hushed forever with the passing of one generation.

In this view I recommend the adoption of the following resolution and
articles amendatory to the Constitution of the United States: Resolved
by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of both Houses concurring),
That the following articles be proposed to the legislatures (or
conventions) of the several States as amendments to the Constitution of
the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by
three-fourths of the said legislatures (or conventions ), to be valid
as part or parts of the said Constitution, viz:

ART.--. Every State wherein slavery now exists which shall abolish the
same therein at any time or times before the 1st day of January, A. D.
1900, shall receive compensation from the United States as follows, to

The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State
bonds of the United States bearing interest at the rate of per cent per
annum to an amount equal to the aggregate sum of ____ for each slave
shown to have been therein by the Eighth Census of the United States,
said bonds to be delivered to such State by installments or in one
parcel at the completion of the abolishment, accordingly as the same
shall have been gradual or at one time within such State; and interest
shall begin to run upon any such bond only from the proper time of its
delivery as aforesaid. Any State having received bonds as aforesaid and
afterwards reintroducing or tolerating slavery therein shall refund to
the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and all
interest paid thereon.

ART.--All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom by the chances
of the war at any time before the end of the rebellion shall be forever
free; but all owners of such who shall not have been disloyal shall be
compensated for them at the same rates as is provided for States
adopting abolishment of slavery, but in such way that no slave shall be
twice accounted for.

ART.--Congress may appropriate money and otherwise provide for
colonizing free colored persons with their own consent at any place or
places without the United States.

I beg indulgence to discuss these proposed articles at some length.
Without slavery the rebellion could never have existed; without slavery
it could not continue.

Among the friends of the Union there is great diversity of sentiment
and of policy in regard to slavery and the African race amongst us.
Some would perpetuate slavery; some would abolish it suddenly and
without compensation; some would abolish it gradually and with
compensation: some would remove the freed people from us, and some
would retain them with us; and there are yet other minor diversities.
Because of these diversities we waste much strength in struggles among
ourselves. By mutual concession we should harmonize and act together.
This would be compromise, but it would be compromise among the friends
and not with the enemies of the Union. These articles are intended to
embody a plan of such mutual concessions. If the plan shall be adopted,
it is assumed that emancipation will follow, at least in several of the

As to the first article, the main points are, first, the emancipation;
secondly, the length of time for consummating it (thirty-seven years);
and, thirdly, the compensation.

The emancipation will be unsatisfactory to the advocates of perpetual
slavery, but the length of time should greatly mitigate their
dissatisfaction. The time spares both races from the evils of sudden
derangement--in fact, from the necessity of any derangement--while most
of those whose habitual course of thought will be disturbed by the
measure will have passed away before its consummation. They will never
see it. Another class will hail the prospect of emancipation, but will
deprecate the length of time. They will feel that it gives too little
to the now living slaves. But it really gives them much. It saves them
from the vagrant destitution which must largely attend immediate
emancipation in localities where their numbers are very great, and it
gives the inspiring assurance that their posterity shall be free
forever. The plan leaves to each State choosing to act under it to
abolish slavery now or at the end of the century, or at any
intermediate time, or by degrees extending over the whole or any part
of the period, and it obliges no two States to proceed alike. It also
provides for compensation, and generally the mode of making it. This,
it would seem, must further mitigate the dissatisfaction of those who
favor perpetual slavery, and especially of those who are to receive the
compensation. Doubtless some of those who are to pay and not to receive
will object. Yet the measure is both just and economical. In a certain
sense the liberation of slaves is the destruction of property--property
acquired by descent or by purchase, the same as any other property. It
is no less true for having been often said that the people of the South
are not more responsible for the original introduction of this property
than are the people of the North; and when it is remembered how
unhesitatingly we all use cotton and sugar and share the profits of
dealing in them, it may not be quite safe to say that the South has
been more responsible than the North for its continuance. If, then, for
a common object this property is to be sacrificed, is it not just that
it be done at a common charge?

And if with less money, or money more easily paid, we can preserve the
benefits of the Union by this means than we can by the war alone, is it
not also economical to do it? Let us consider it, then. Let us
ascertain the sum we have expended in the war since compensated
emancipation was proposed last March, and consider whether if that
measure had been promptly accepted by even some of the slave States the
same sum would not have done more to close the war than has been
otherwise done. If so, the measure would save money, and in that view
would be a prudent and economical measure. Certainly it is not so easy
to pay something as it is to pay nothing, but it is easier to pay a
large sum than it is to pay a larger one. And it is easier to pay any
sum when we are able than it is to pay it before we are able. The war
requires large sums, and requires them at once. The aggregate sum
necessary for compensated emancipation of course would be large. But it
would require no ready cash, nor the bonds even any faster than the
emancipation progresses. This might not, and probably would not, close
before the end of the thirty-seven years. At that time we shall
probably have a hundred millions of people to share the burden, instead
of thirty-one millions as now. And not only so, but the increase of our
population may be expected to continue for a long time after that
period as rapidly as before, because our territory will not have become
full. I do not state this inconsiderately. At the same ratio of
increase which we have maintained, on an average, from our first
national census, in 1790, until that of 1860, we should in 1900 have a
population of 103,208,415. And why may we not continue that ratio far
beyond that period? Our abundant room, our broad national homestead, is
our ample resource. Were our territory as limited as are the British
Isles, very certainly our population could not expand as stated.
Instead of receiving the foreign born as now, we should be compelled to
send part of the native born away. But such is not our condition. We
have 2,963,000 square miles. Europe has 3,800,000, with a population
averaging 73 1/3 persons to the square mile. Why may not our country at
some time average as many? Is it less fertile? Has it more waste
surface by mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, or other causes? Is it
inferior to Europe in any natural advantage? If, then, we are at some
time to be as populous as Europe, how soon? As to when this may be, we
can judge by the past and the present; as to when it will be, if ever,
depends much on whether we maintain the Union. Several of our States
are already above the average of Europe 73 1/3 to the square mile.
Massachusetts has 157; Rhode Island, 133; Connecticut, 99; New York and
New Jersey, each 80. Also two other great States, Pennsylvania and
Ohio, are not far below, the former having 63 and the latter 59. The
States already above the European average, except New York, have
increased in as rapid a ratio since passing that point as ever before,
while no one of them is equal to some other parts of our country in
natural capacity for sustaining a dense population.

Taking the nation in the aggregate, and we find its population and
ratio of increase for the several decennial periods to be as follows:

Year - Population - Ratio of increase.

- - Per cent.

1790 - 3,929,827 - ..........

1800 - 5,304,937 - 35.02

1810 - 7,239,814 - 36.45

1820 - 9,638,131 - 36.45

1830 - 12,866,020 - 33.49

1840 - 17,069,453 - 32.67

1850 - 23,191,876 - 35.87

1860 - 31,443,790 - 35.58

This shows an average decennial increase of 34.60 per cent in
population through the seventy years from our first to our last census
yet taken. It is seen that the ratio of increase at no one of these
seven periods is either 2 per cent below or 2 per cent above the
average, thus showing how inflexible, and consequently how reliable,
the law of increase in our case is. Assuming that it will continue, it
gives the following results:

Year - Population

1870 - 42,323,341

1880 - 56,967,216

1890 - 76,677,872

1900 - 103,208,415

1910 - 138,918,526

1920 - 186,984,335

1930 - 251,680,914

These figures show that our country may be as populous as Europe now is
at some point between 1920 and 1930--say about 1925--our territory, at
73 1/3 persons to the square mile, being of capacity to contain

And we will reach this, too, if we do not ourselves relinquish the
chance by the folly and evils of disunion or by long and exhausting war
springing from the only great element of national discord among us.
While it can not be foreseen exactly how much one huge example of
secession, breeding lesser ones indefinitely, would retard population,
civilization, and prosperity, no one can doubt that the extent of it
would be very great and injurious.

The proposed emancipation would shorten the war, perpetuate peace,
insure this increase of population, and proportionately the wealth of
the country. With these we should pay all the emancipation would cost,
together with our other debt, easier than we should pay our other debt
without it. If we had allowed our old national debt to run at 6 per
cent per annum, simple interest, from the end of our revolutionary
struggle until to-day, without paying anything on either principal or
interest, each man of us would owe less upon that debt now than each
man owed upon it then; and this because our increase of men through the
whole period has been greater than 6 per cent--has run faster than the
interest upon the debt. Thus time alone relieves a debtor nation, so
long as its population increases faster than unpaid interest
accumulates on its debt.

This fact would be no excuse for delaying payment of what is justly
due, but it shows the great importance of time in this connection--the
great advantage of a policy by which we shall not have to pay until we
number 100,000,000 what by a different policy we would have to pay now,
when we number but 31,000,000. In a word, it shows that a dollar will
be much harder to pay for the war than will be a dollar for
emancipation on the proposed plan. And then the latter will cost no
blood, no precious life. It will be a saving of both.

As to the second article, I think it would be impracticable to return
to bondage the class of persons therein contemplated. Some of them,
doubtless, in the property sense belong to loyal owners, and hence
provision is made in this article for compensating such. The third
article relates to the future of the freed people. It does not oblige,
but merely authorizes Congress to aid in colonizing such as may
consent. This ought not to be regarded as objectionable on the one hand
or on the other, insomuch as it comes to nothing unless by the mutual
consent of the people to be deported and the American voters, through
their representatives in Congress.

I can not make it better known than it already is that I strongly favor
colonization; and yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against
free colored persons remaining in the country which is largely
imaginary, if not sometimes malicious.

It is insisted that their presence would injure and displace white
labor and white laborers. If there ever could be a proper time for mere
catch arguments, that time surely is not now. In times like the present
men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be
responsible through time and in eternity. Is it true, then, that
colored people can displace any more white labor by being free than by
remaining slaves? If they stay in their old places, they jostle no
white laborers; if they leave their old places, they leave them open to
white laborers. Logically, there is neither more nor less of it.
Emancipation, even without deportation, would probably enhance the
wages of white labor, and very surely would not reduce them. Thus the
customary amount of labor would still have to be performed--the freed
people would surely not do more than their old proportion of it, and
very probably for a time would do less, leaving an increased part to
white laborers, bringing their labor into greater demand, and
consequently enhancing the wages of it. With deportation, even to a
limited extent, enhanced wages to white labor is mathematically
certain. Labor is like any other commodity in the market--increase the
demand for it and you increase the price of it. Reduce the supply of
black labor by colonizing the black laborer out of the country, and by
precisely so much you increase the demand for and wages of white labor.

But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth and cover the
whole land. Are they not already in the land? Will liberation make them
any more numerous? Equally distributed among the whites of the whole
country, and there would be but one colored to seven whites. Could the
one in any way greatly disturb the seven? There are many communities
now having more than one free colored person to seven whites and this
without any apparent consciousness of evil from it. The District of
Columbia and the States of Maryland and Delaware are all in this
condition. The District has more than one free colored to six whites,
and yet in its frequent petitions to Congress I believe it has never
presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its
grievances. But why should emancipation South send the free people
North? People of any color seldom run unless there be something to run
from. Heretofore colored people to some extent have fled North from
bondage, and now, perhaps, from both bondage and destitution. But if
gradual emancipation and deportation be adopted, they will have neither
to flee from. Their old masters will give them wages at least until new
laborers can be procured, and the freedmen in turn will gladly give
their labor for the wages till new homes can be found for them in
congenial climes and with people of their own blood and race. This
proposition can be trusted on the mutual interests involved. And in any
event, can not the North decide for itself whether to receive them?

Again, as practice proves more than theory in any case, has there been
any irruption of colored people northward because of the abolishment of
slavery in this District last spring?

What I have said of the proportion of free colored persons to the
whites in the District is from the census of 1860, having no reference
to persons called contrabands nor to those made free by the act of
Congress abolishing slavery here.

The plan consisting of these articles is recommended, not but that a
restoration of the national authority would be accepted without its

Nor will the war nor proceedings under the proclamation of September
22, 1862, be stayed because of the recommendation of this plan. Its
timely adoption, I doubt not, would bring restoration, and thereby stay

And notwithstanding this plan, the recommendation that Congress provide
by law for compensating any State which may adopt emancipation before
this plan shall have been acted upon is hereby earnestly renewed. Such
would be only an advance part of the plan, and the same arguments apply
to both.

This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but
additional to, all others for restoring and preserving the national
authority throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in
its economical aspect. The plan would, I am confident, secure peace
more speedily and maintain it more permanently than can be done by
force alone, while all it would cost, considering amounts and manner of
payment and times of payment, would be easier paid than will be the
additional cost of the war if we rely solely upon force. It is much,
very much, that it would cost no blood at all.

The plan is proposed as permanent constitutional law. It can not become
such without the concurrence of, first, two-thirds of Congress, and
afterwards three-fourths of the States. The requisite three-fourths of
the States will necessarily include seven of the slave States. Their
concurrence, if obtained, will give assurance of their severally
adopting emancipation at no very distant day upon the new
constitutional terms. This assurance would end the struggle now and
save the Union forever.

I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed
to the Congress of the nation by the Chief Magistrate of the nation,
nor do I forget that some of you are my seniors, nor that many of you
have more experience than I in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I
trust that in view of the great responsibility resting upon me you will
perceive no want of respect to yourselves in any undue earnestness I
may seem to display.

Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten
the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood? Is it
doubted that it would restore the national authority and national
prosperity and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we
here--Congress and Executive can secure its adoption? Will not the good
people respond to a united and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can
they, by any other means so certainly or so speedily assure these vital
objects? We can succeed only by concert. It is not "Can any of us
imagine better?" but "Can we all do better?" Object whatsoever is
possible, still the question recurs, "Can we do better?" 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.

Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and
this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No
personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us.
The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or
dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The
world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union.
The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the
power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we
assure freedom to the free--honorable alike in what we give and what we
preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of
earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain,
peaceful, generous, just--a way which if followed the world will
forever applaud and God must forever bless.


State of the Union Address
Abraham Lincoln
December 8, 1863

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Another year of health and of sufficiently abundant harvests has
passed. For these, and especially for the improved condition of our
national affairs, our renewed and profoundest gratitude to God is due.

We remain in peace and friendship with foreign powers.

The efforts of disloyal citizens of the United States to involve us in
foreign wars to aid an inexcusable insurrection have been unavailing.
Her Britannic Majesty's Government, as was justly expected, have
exercised their authority to prevent the departure of new hostile
expeditions from British ports. The Emperor of France has by a like
proceeding promptly vindicated the neutrality which he proclaimed at
the beginning of the contest. Questions of great intricacy and
importance have arisen out of the blockade and other belligerent
operations between the Government and several of the maritime powers,
but they have been discussed and, as far as was possible, accommodated
in a spirit of frankness, justice, and mutual good will. It is
especially gratifying that our prize courts, by the impartiality of
their adjudications, have commanded the respect and confidence of
maritime powers.

The supplemental treaty between the United States and Great Britain for
the suppression of the African slave trade, made on the 17th day of
February last, has been duly ratified and carried into execution. It is
believed that so far as American ports and American citizens are
concerned that inhuman and odious traffic has been brought to an end.

I shall submit for the consideration of the Senate a convention for the
adjustment of possessory claims in Washington Territory arising out of
the treaty of the 15th June, 1846, between the United States and Great
Britain, and which have been the source of some disquiet among the
citizens of that now rapidly improving part of the country.

A novel and important question, involving the extent of the maritime
jurisdiction of Spain in the waters which surround the island of Cuba,
has been debated without reaching an agreement, and it is proposed in
an amicable spirit to refer it to the arbitrament of a friendly power.
A convention for that purpose will be submitted to the Senate.

I have thought it proper, subject to the approval of the Senate, to
concur with the interested commercial powers in an arrangement for the
liquidation of the Scheldt dues, upon the principles which have been
heretofore adopted in regard to the imposts upon navigation in the
waters of Denmark. The long-pending controversy between this
Government and that of Chile touching the seizure at Sitana, in Peru,
by Chilean officers, of a large amount in treasure belonging to
citizens of the United States has been brought to a close by the award
of His Majesty the King of the Belgians, to whose arbitration the
question was referred by the parties. The subject was thoroughly and
patiently examined by that justly respected magistrate, and although
the sum awarded to the claimants may not have been as large as they
expected there is no reason to distrust the wisdom of His Majesty's
decision. That decision was promptly complied with by Chile when
intelligence in regard to it reached that country.

The joint commission under the act of the last session for carrying
into effect the convention with Peru on the subject of claims has been
organized at Lima, and is engaged in the business intrusted to it.

Difficulties concerning interoceanic transit through Nicaragua are in
course of amicable adjustment.

In conformity with principles set forth in my last annual message, I
have received a representative from the United States of Colombia, and
have accredited a minister to that Republic.

Incidents occurring in the progress of our civil war have forced upon
my attention the uncertain state of international questions touching
the rights of foreigners in this country and of United States citizens
abroad. In regard to some governments these rights are at least
partially, defined by treaties. In no instance, however, is it
expressly stipulated that in the event of civil war a foreigner
residing in this country within the lines of the insurgents is to be
exempted from the rule which classes him as a belligerent, in whose
behalf the Government or his country can not expect any privileges or
immunities distinct from that character. I regret to say, however, that
such claims have been put forward, and in some instances in behalf of
foreigners who have lived in the United States the greater part of
their lives.

There is reason to believe that many persons born in foreign countries
who have declared their intention to become citizens, or who have been
fully naturalized, have evaded the military duty required of them by
denying the fact and thereby throwing upon the Government the burden of
proof. It has been found difficult or impracticable to obtain this
proof, from the want of guides to the proper sources of information.
These might be supplied by requiring clerks of courts where
declarations of intention may be made or naturalizations effected to
send periodically lists of the names of the persons naturalized or
declaring their intention to become citizens to the Secretary of the
Interior, in whose Department those names might be arranged and printed
for general information.

There is also reason to believe that foreigners frequently become
citizens of the United States for the sole purpose of evading duties
imposed by the laws of their native countries, to which on becoming
naturalized here they at once repair, and though never returning to the
United States they still claim the interposition of this Government as
citizens. Many altercations and great prejudices have heretofore arisen
out of this abuse. It is therefore submitted to your serious
consideration. It might be advisable to fix a limit beyond which no
citizen of the United States residing abroad may claim the
interposition of his Government.

The right of suffrage has often been assumed and exercised by aliens
under pretenses of naturalization, which they have disavowed when
drafted into the military service. I submit the expediency of such an
amendment of the law as will make the fact of voting an estoppel
against any plea of exemption from military service or other civil
obligation on the ground of alienage.

In common with other Western powers, our relations with Japan have been
brought into serious jeopardy through the perverse opposition of the
hereditary aristocracy of the Empire to the enlightened and liberal
policy of the Tycoon, designed to bring the country into the society of
nations. It is hoped, although not with entire confidence, that these
difficulties may be peacefully overcome. I ask your attention to the
claim of the minister residing there for the damages he sustained in
the destruction by fire of the residence of the legation at Yedo.

Satisfactory arrangements have been made with the Emperor of Russia,
which, it is believed, will result in effecting a continuous line of
telegraph through that Empire from our Pacific coast.

I recommend to your favorable consideration the subject of an
international telegraph across the Atlantic Ocean, and also of a
telegraph between this capital and the national forts along the
Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. Such communications,
established with any reasonable outlay, would be economical as well as
effective aids to the diplomatic, military, and naval service.

The consular system of the United States, under the enactments of the
last Congress, begins to be self-sustaining, and there is reason to
hope that it may become entirely so with the increase of trade which
will ensue whenever peace is restored. Our ministers abroad have been
faithful in defending American rights. In protecting commercial
interests our consuls have necessarily had to encounter increased
labors and responsibilities growing out of the war. These they have for
the most part met and discharged with zeal and efficiency. This
acknowledgment justly includes those consuls who, residing in Morocco,
Egypt, Turkey, Japan, China, and other Oriental countries, are charged
with complex functions and extraordinary powers.

The condition of the several organized Territories is generally
satisfactory, although Indian disturbances in New Mexico have not been
entirely suppressed. The mineral resources of Colorado, Nevada, Idaho,
New Mexico, and Arizona are proving far richer than has been heretofore
understood. I lay before you a communication on this subject from the
governor of New Mexico. I again submit to your consideration the
expediency of establishing a system for the encouragement of
immigration. Although this source of national wealth and strength is
again flowing with greater freedom than for several years before the
insurrection occurred, there is still a great deficiency of laborers in
every field of industry, especially in agriculture and in our mines, as
well of iron and coal as of the precious metals. While the demand for
labor is much increased here, tens of thousands of persons, destitute
of remunerative occupation, are thronging our foreign consulates and
offering to emigrate to the United States if essential, but very cheap,
assistance can be afforded them. It is easy to see that under the sharp
discipline of civil war the nation is beginning a new life. This noble
effort demands the aid and ought to receive the attention and support
of the Government.

Injuries unforeseen by the Government and unintended may in some cases
have been inflicted on the subjects or citizens of foreign countries,
both at sea and on land, by persons in the service of the United
States. As this Government expects redress from other powers when
similar injuries are inflicted by persons in their service upon
citizens of the United States, we must be prepared to do justice to
foreigners. If the existing judicial tribunals are inadequate to this
purpose, a special court may be authorized, with power to hear and
decide such claims of the character referred to as may have arisen
under treaties and the public law. Conventions for adjusting the claims
by joint commission have been proposed to some governments, but no
definitive answer to the proposition has yet been received from any.

In the course of the session I shall probably have occasion to request
you to provide indemnification to claimants where decrees of
restitution have been rendered and damages awarded by admiralty courts,
and in other cases where this Government may be acknowledged to be
liable in principle and where the amount of that liability has been
ascertained by an informal arbitration.

The proper officers of the Treasury have deemed themselves required by
the law of the United States upon the subject to demand a tax upon the
incomes of foreign consuls in this country. While such a demand may not
in strictness be in derogation of public law, or perhaps of any
existing treaty between the United States and a foreign country, the
expediency of so far modifying the act as to exempt from tax the income
of such consuls as are not citizens of the United States, derived from
the emoluments of their office or from property not situated in the
United States, is submitted to your serious consideration. I make this
suggestion upon the ground that a comity which ought to be reciprocated
exempts our consuls in all other countries from taxation to the extent
thus indicated. The United States, I think, ought not to be
exceptionally illiberal to international trade and commerce.

The operations of the Treasury during the last year have been
successfully conducted. The enactment by Congress of a national banking
law has proved a valuable support of the public credit and the general
legislation in relation to loans has fully answered the expectations of
its favorers. Some amendments may be required to perfect existing laws,
but no change in their principles or general scope is believed to be

Since these measures have been in operation all demands on the
Treasury, including the pay of the Army and Navy, have been promptly
met and fully satisfied. No considerable body of troops, it is
believed, were ever more amply provided and more liberally and
punctually paid, and it may be added that by no people were the burdens
incident to a great war ever more cheerfully borne.

The receipts during the year from all sources, including loans and
balance in the Treasury at its commencement, were $901,125,674.86, and
the aggregate disbursements $895,796,630.65, leaving a balance on the
1st of July, 1863, of $5,329,044.21. Of the receipts there were derived
from customs $69,059,642.40, from internal revenue $37,640,787.95, from
direct tax $1,485,103.61, from lands $167,617.17, from miscellaneous
sources $3,046,615.35, and from loans $776,682,361.57, making the
aggregate $901,125,674.86. Of the disbursements there were for the
civil service $23,253,922.08, for pensions and Indians $4,216,520.79,
for interest on public debt $24,729,846.51, for the War Department
$599,298,600.83, for the Navy Department $63,211,105.27, for payment of
funded and temporary debt $181,086,635.07, making the aggregate
$895,796,630.65 and leaving the balance of $5,329,044.21. But the
payment of funded and temporary debt, having been made from moneys
borrowed during the year, must be regarded as merely nominal payments
and the moneys borrowed to make them as merely nominal receipts, and
their amount, $181,086,635.07, should therefore be deducted both from
receipts and disbursements. This being done there remains as actual
receipts $720,039,039.79 and the actual disbursements $714,709,995.58,
leaving the balance as already stated.

The actual receipts and disbursements for the first quarter and the
estimated receipts and disbursements for the remaining three quarters
of the current fiscal year (1864) will be shown in detail by the report
of the Secretary of the Treasury, to which I invite your attention. It
is sufficient to say here that it is not believed that actual results
will exhibit a state of the finances less favorable to the country than
the estimates of that officer heretofore submitted, while it is
confidently expected that at the close of the year both disbursements
and debt will be found very considerably less than has been

The report of the Secretary of War is a document of great interest. It
consists of--

1. The military operations of the year, detailed in the report of the
General in Chief. 2. The organization of colored persons into the war
service. 3. The exchange of prisoners, fully set forth in the letter of
General Hitchcock. 4. The operations under the act for enrolling and
calling out the national forces, detailed in the report of the
Provost-Marshal-General. 5. The organization of the invalid
corps, and 6. The operation of the several departments of the
Quartermaster-General, Commissary-General, Paymaster-General, Chief of
Engineers, Chief of Ordnance, and Surgeon-General.

It has appeared impossible to make a valuable summary of this report,
except such as would be too extended for this place, and hence I
content myself by asking your careful attention to the report itself.

The duties devolving on the naval branch of the service during the year
and throughout the whole of this unhappy contest have been discharged
with fidelity and eminent success. The extensive blockade has been
constantly increasing in efficiency as the Navy has expanded, yet on so
long a line it has so far been impossible to entirely suppress illicit
trade. From returns received at the Navy Department it appears that
more than 1,000 vessels have been captured since the blockade was
instituted, and that the value of prizes already sent in for
adjudication amounts to over $13,000,000.

The naval force of the United States consists at this time of 588
vessels completed and in the course of completion, and of these 75 are
ironclad or armored steamers. The events of the war give an increased
interest and importance to the Navy which will probably extend beyond
the war itself.

The armored vessels in our Navy completed and in service, or which are
under contract and approaching completion, are believed to exceed in
number those of any other power; but while these may be relied upon for
harbor defense and coast service, others of greater strength and
capacity will be necessary for cruising purposes and to maintain our
rightful position on the ocean.

The change that has taken place in naval vessels and naval warfare
since the introduction of steam as a motive power for ships of war
demands either a corresponding change in some of our existing
navy-yards or the establishment of new ones for the construction and
necessary repair of modern naval vessels. No inconsiderable
embarrassment, delay, and public injury have been experienced from the
want of such governmental establishments. The necessity of such a
navy-yard, so furnished, at some suitable place upon the Atlantic
seaboard has on repeated occasions been brought to the attention of
Congress by the Navy Department, and is again presented in the report
of the Secretary which accompanies this communication. I think it my
duty to invite your special attention to this subject, and also to that
of establishing a yard and depot for naval purposes upon one of the
Western rivers. A naval force has been created on those interior
waters, and under many disadvantages, within little more than two
years, exceeding in numbers the whole naval force of the country at the
commencement of the present Administration. Satisfactory and important
as have been the performances of the heroic men of the Navy at this
interesting period, they are scarcely more wonderful than the success
of our mechanics and artisans in the production of war vessels, which
has created a new form of naval power.

Our country has advantages superior to any other nation in our
resources of iron and timber, with inexhaustible quantities of fuel in
the immediate vicinity of both, and all available and in close
proximity to navigable waters. Without the advantage of public works,
the resources of the nation have been developed and its power displayed
in the construction of a Navy of such magnitude, which has at the very
period of its creation rendered signal service to the Union.

The increase of the number of seamen in the public service from 7,500
men in the spring of 1861 to about 34,000 at the present time has been
accomplished without special legislation or extraordinary bounties to
promote that increase. It has been found, however, that the operation
of the draft, with the high bounties paid for army recruits, is
beginning to affect injuriously the naval service, and will, if not
corrected, be likely to impair its efficiency by detaching seamen from
their proper vocation and inducing them to enter the Army. I therefore
respectfully suggest that Congress might aid both the army and naval
services by a definite provision on this subject which would at the
same time be equitable to the communities more especially interested.

I commend to your consideration the suggestions of the Secretary of the
Navy in regard to the policy of fostering and training seamen and also
the education of officers and engineers for the naval service. The
Naval Academy is rendering signal service in preparing midshipmen for
the highly responsible duties which in after life they will be required
to perform. In order that the country should not be deprived of the
proper quota of educated officers, for which legal provision has been
made at the naval school, the vacancies caused by the neglect or
omission to make nominations from the States in insurrection have been
filled by the Secretary of the Navy. The school is now more full and
complete than at any former period, and in every respect entitled to
the favorable consideration of Congress.

During the past fiscal year the financial condition of the Post-Office
Department has been one of increasing prosperity, and I am gratified in
being able to state that the actual postal revenue has nearly equaled
the entire expenditures, the latter amounting to $11,314,206.84 and the
former to $11,163,789.59, leaving a deficiency of but $150,417.25. In
1860, the year immediately preceding the rebellion, the deficiency
amounted to $5,656,705.49, the postal receipts of that year being
$2,645,722.19 less than those of 1863. The decrease since 1860 in the
annual amount of transportation has been only about 25 per cent, but
the annual expenditure on account of the same has been reduced 35 per
cent. It is manifest, therefore, that the Post-Office Department may
become self-sustaining in a few years, even with the restoration of the
whole service.

The international conference of postal delegates from the principal
countries of Europe and America, which was called at the suggestion of
the Postmaster-General, met at Paris on the 11th of May last and
concluded its deliberations on the 8th of June. The principles
established by the conference as best adapted to facilitate postal
intercourse between nations and as the basis of future postal
conventions inaugurate a general system of uniform international
charges at reduced rates of postage, and can not fail to produce
beneficial results.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Interior, which is
herewith laid before you, for useful and varied information in relation
to the public lands, Indian affairs, patents, pensions, and other
matters of public concern pertaining to his Department.

The quantity of land disposed of during the last and the first quarter
of the present fiscal years was 3,841,549 acres, of which 161,911 acres
were sold for cash, 1,456,514 acres were taken up under the homestead
law, and the residue disposed of under laws granting lands for military
bounties, for railroad and other purposes. It also appears that the
sale of the public lands is largely on the increase.

It has long been a cherished opinion of some of our wisest statesmen
that the people of the United States had a higher and more enduring
interest in the early settlement and substantial cultivation of the
public lands than in the amount of direct revenue to be derived from
the sale of them. This opinion has had a controlling influence in
shaping legislation upon the subject of our national domain. I may cite
as evidence of this the liberal measures adopted in reference to actual
settlers; the grant to the States of the overflowed lands within their
limits, in order to their being reclaimed and rendered fit for
cultivation; the grants to railway companies of alternate sections of
land upon the contemplated issues of their roads, which when completed
will so largely multiply the facilities for reaching our distant
possessions. This policy has received its most signal and beneficent
illustration in the recent enactment granting homesteads to actual
settlers. Since the 1st day of January last the before-mentioned
quantity of 1,456,514 acres of land have been taken up under its
provisions. This fact and the amount of sales furnish gratifying
evidence of increasing settlement upon the public lands,
notwithstanding the great struggle in which the energies of the nation
have been engaged, and which has required so large a withdrawal of our
citizens from their accustomed pursuits. I cordially concur in the
recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior suggesting a
modification of the act in favor of those engaged in the military and
naval service of the United States. I doubt not that Congress will
cheerfully adopt such measures as will, without essentially changing
the general features of the system, secure to the greatest practicable
extent its benefits to those who have left their homes in the defense
of the country in this arduous crisis.

I invite your attention to the views of the Secretary as to the
propriety of raising by appropriate legislation a revenue from the
mineral lands of the United States.

The measures provided at your last session for the removal of certain
Indian tribes have been carried into effect. Sundry treaties have been
negotiated, which will in due time be submitted for the constitutional
action of the Senate. They contain stipulations for extinguishing the
possessory rights of the Indians to large and valuable tracts of lands.
It is hoped that the effect of these treaties will result in the
establishment of permanent friendly relations with such of these tribes
as have been brought into frequent and bloody collision with our
outlying settlements and emigrants. Sound policy and our imperative
duty to these wards of the Government demand our anxious and constant
attention to their material well-being, to their progress in the arts
of civilization, and, above all, to that moral training which under the
blessing of Divine Providence will confer upon them the elevated and
sanctifying influences, the hopes and consolations, of the Christian
faith. I suggested in my last annual message the propriety of
remodeling our Indian system. Subsequent events have satisfied me of
its necessity. The details set forth in the report of the Secretary
evince the urgent need for immediate legislative action.

I commend the benevolent institutions established or patronized by the
Government in this District to your generous and fostering care. The
attention of Congress during the last session was engaged to some
extent with a proposition for enlarging the water communication between
the Mississippi River and the northeastern seaboard, which proposition,
however, failed for the time. Since then, upon a call of the greatest
respectability, a convention has been held at Chicago upon the same
subject, a summary of whose views is contained in a memorial addressed
to the President and Congress, and which I now have the honor to lay
before you. That this interest is one which ere long will force its own
way I do not entertain a doubt, while it is submitted entirely to your
wisdom as to what can be done now. Augmented interest is given to this
subject by the actual commencement of work upon the Pacific Railroad,
under auspices so favorable to rapid progress and completion. The
enlarged navigation becomes a palpable need to the great road.

I transmit the second annual report of the Commissioner of the
Department of Agriculture, asking your attention to the developments in
that vital interest of the nation. When Congress assembled a year ago,
the war had already lasted nearly twenty months, and there had been
many conflicts on both land and sea, with varying results; the
rebellion had been pressed back into reduced limits; yet the tone of
public feeling and opinion, at home and abroad was not satisfactory.
With other signs, the popular elections then just past indicated
uneasiness among ourselves, while, amid much that was cold and
menacing, the kindest words coming from Europe were uttered in accents
of pity that we were too blind to surrender a hopeless cause. Our
commerce was suffering greatly by a few armed vessels built upon and
furnished from foreign shores, and we were threatened with such
additions from the same quarter as would sweep our trade from the sea
and raise our blockade. We had failed to elicit from European
Governments anything hopeful upon this subject. The preliminary
emancipation proclamation, issued in September, was running its
assigned period to the beginning of the new year. A month later the
final proclamation came, including the announcement that colored men of
suitable condition would be received into the war service. The policy
of emancipation and of employing black soldiers gave to the future a
new aspect, about which hope and fear and doubt contended in uncertain
conflict. According to our political system, as a matter of civil
administration, the General Government had no lawful power to effect
emancipation in any State, and for a long time it had been hoped that
the rebellion could be suppressed without resorting to it as a military
measure. It was all the while deemed possible that the necessity for it
might come, and that if it should the crisis of the contest would then
be presented. It came, and, as was anticipated, it was followed by dark
and doubtful days. Eleven months having now passed, we are permitted to
take another review. The rebel borders are pressed still farther back,
and by the complete opening of the Mississippi the country dominated by
the rebellion is divided into distinct parts, with no practical
communication between them. Tennessee and Arkansas have been
substantially cleared of insurgent control, and influential citizens in
each, owners of slaves and advocates of slavery at the beginning of the
rebellion, now declare openly for emancipation in their respective
States. Of those States not included in the emancipation proclamation,
Maryland and Missouri, neither of which three years ago would tolerate
any restraint upon the extension of slavery into new Territories, only
dispute now as to the best mode of removing it within their own limits.

Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion full 100,000
are now in the United States military service, about one-half of which
number actually bear arms in the ranks, thus giving the double
advantage of taking so much labor from the insurgent cause and
supplying the places which otherwise must be filled with so many white
men. So far as tested, it is difficult to say they are not as good
soldiers as any. No servile insurrection or tendency to violence or
cruelty has marked the measures of emancipation and arming the blacks.
These measures have been much discussed in foreign countries, and,
contemporary with such discussion, the tone of public sentiment there
is much improved. At home the same measures have been fully discussed,
supported, criticised, and denounced, and the annual elections
following are highly encouraging to those whose official duty it is to
bear the country through this great trial. Thus we have the new
reckoning. The crisis which threatened to divide the friends of the
Union is past.

Looking now to the present and future, and with reference to a
resumption of the national authority within the States wherein that
authority has been suspended, I have thought fit to issue a
proclamation, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. On examination
of this proclamation it will appear, as is believed, that nothing will
be attempted beyond what is amply justified by the Constitution. True,
the form of an oath is given, but no man is coerced to take it. The man
is only promised a pardon in case he voluntarily takes the oath. The
Constitution authorizes the Executive to grant or withhold the pardon
at his own absolute discretion, and this includes the power to grant on
terms, as is fully established by judicial and other authorities.

It is also proffered that if in any of the States named a State
government shall be in the mode prescribed set up, such government
shall be recognized and guaranteed by the United States, and that under
it the State shall, on the constitutional conditions, be protected
against invasion and domestic violence. The constitutional obligation
of the United States to guarantee to every State in the Union a
republican form of government and to protect the State in the cases
stated is explicit and full. But why tender the benefits of this
provision only to a State government set up in this particular way?
This section of the Constitution contemplates a case wherein the
element within a State favorable to republican government in the Union
may be too feeble for an opposite and hostile element external to or
even within the State, and such are precisely the cases with which we
are now dealing.

An attempt to guarantee and protect a revived State government,
constructed in whole or in preponderating part from the very element
against whose hostility and violence it is to be protected, is simply
absurd. There must be a test by which to separate the opposing
elements, so as to build only from the sound; and that test is a
sufficiently liberal one which accepts as sound whoever will make a
sworn recantation of his former unsoundness.

But if it be proper to require as a test of admission to the political
body an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and
to the Union under it, why also to the laws and proclamations in regard
to slavery? Those laws and proclamations were enacted and put forth for
the purpose of aiding in the suppression of the rebellion. To give them
their fullest effect there had to be a pledge for their maintenance. In
my judgment, they have aided and will further aid the cause for which
they were intended. To now abandon them would be not only to relinquish
a lever of power, but would also be a cruel and an astounding breach of
faith. I may add at this point that while I remain in my present
position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation
proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by
the terms of that proclamation or by any of the acts of Congress. For
these and other reasons it is thought best that support of these
measures shall be included in the oath, and it is believed the
Executive may lawfully claim it in return for pardon and restoration of
forfeited rights, which he has clear constitutional power to withhold
altogether or grant upon the terms which he shall deem wisest for the
public interest. It should be observed also that this part of the oath
is subject to the modifying and abrogating power of legislation and
supreme judicial decision.

The proposed acquiescence of the National Executive in any reasonable
temporary State arrangement for the freed people is made with the view
of possibly modifying the confusion and destitution which must at best
attend all classes by a total revolution of labor throughout whole
States. It is hoped that the already deeply afflicted people in those
States may be somewhat more ready to give up the cause of their
affliction if to this extent this vital matter be left to themselves,
while no power of the National Executive to prevent an abuse is
abridged by the proposition.

The suggestion in the proclamation as to maintaining the political
framework of the States on what is called reconstruction is made in the
hope that it may do good without danger of harm. It will save labor and
avoid great confusion.

But why any proclamation now upon this subject? This question is beset
with the conflicting views that the step might be delayed too long or
be taken too soon. In some States the elements for resumption seem
ready for action, but remain inactive apparently for want of a rallying
point--a plan of action, Why shall A adopt the plan of B rather than B
that of A? And if A and B should agree, how can they know but that the
General Government here will reject their plan? By the proclamation a
plan is presented which may be accepted by them as a rallying point,
and which they are assured in advance will not be rejected here. This
may bring them to act sooner than they otherwise would. The objections
to a premature presentation of a plan by the National Executive consist
in the danger of committals on points which could be more safely left
to further developments. Care has been taken to so shape the document
as to avoid embarrassments from this source. Saying that on certain
terms certain classes will be pardoned with rights restored, it is not
said that other classes or other terms will never be in included.
Saying specified way, it is said that reconstruction will be accepted
if presented in a not said it will never be accepted in any other way.

The movements by State action for emancipation in several of the States
not included in the emancipation proclamation are matters of profound
gratulation. And while I do not repeat in detail what I have heretofore
so earnestly urged upon this subject, my general views and feelings
remain unchanged; and I trust that Congress will omit no fair
opportunity of aiding these important steps to a great consummation. In
the midst of other cares, however important, we must not lose sight of
the fact that the war power is still our main reliance. To that power
alone can we look yet for a time to give confidence to the people in
the contested regions that the insurgent power will not again overrun
them. Until that confidence shall be established little can be done
anywhere for what is called reconstruction. Hence our chiefest care
must still be directed to the Army and Navy, who have thus far borne
their harder part so nobly and well; and it may be esteemed fortunate
that in giving the greatest efficiency to these indispensable arms we
do also honorably recognize the gallant men, from commander to
sentinel, who compose them, and to whom more than to others the world
must stand indebted for the home of freedom disenthralled, regenerated,
enlarged, and perpetuated.


State of the Union Address
Abraham Lincoln
December 6, 1864

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Again the blessings of health and abundant harvests claim our
profoundest gratitude to Almighty God.

The condition of our foreign affairs is reasonably satisfactory.

Mexico continues to be a theater of civil war. While our political
relations with that country have undergone no change, we have at the
same time strictly maintained neutrality between the belligerents.

At the request of the States of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, a competent
engineer has been authorized to make a survey of the river San Juan and
the port of San Juan. It is a source of much satisfaction that the
difficulties which for a moment excited some political apprehensions
and caused a closing of the interoceanic transit route have been
amicably adjusted, and that there is a good prospect that the route
will soon be reopened with an increase of capacity and adaptation. We
could not exaggerate either the commercial or the political importance
of that great improvement.

It would be doing injustice to an important South American State not to
acknowledge the directness, frankness, and cordiality with which the
United States of Colombia have entered into intimate relations with
this Government. A claims convention has been constituted to complete
the unfinished work of the one which closed its session in 1861.

The new liberal constitution of Venezuela having gone into effect with
the universal acquiescence of the people, the Government under it has
been recognized and diplomatic intercourse with it has opened in a
cordial and friendly spirit. The long-deferred Aves Island claim has
been satisfactorily paid and discharged.

Mutual payments have been made of the claims awarded by the late joint
commission for the settlement of claims between the United States and
Peru. An earnest and cordial friendship continues to exist between the
two countries, and such efforts as were in my power have been used to
remove misunderstanding and avert a threatened war between Peru and

Our relations are of the most friendly nature with Chile, the Argentine
Republic, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, San Salvador, and Hayti.
During the past year no differences of any kind have arisen with any of
those Republics, and, on the other hand, their sympathies with the
United States are constantly expressed with cordiality and earnestness.

The claim arising from the seizure of the cargo of the brig Macedonian
in 1821 has been paid in full by the Government of Chile. Civil war
continues in the Spanish part of San Domingo, apparently without
prospect of an early close.

Official correspondence has been freely opened with Liberia, and it
gives us a pleasing view of social and political progress in that
Republic. It may be expected to derive new vigor from American
influence, improved by the rapid disappearance of slavery in the United

I solicit your authority to furnish to the Republic a gunboat at
moderate cost, to be reimbursed to the United States by installments.
Such a vessel is needed for the safety of that State against the native
African races, and in Liberian hands it would be more effective in
arresting the African slave trade than a squadron in our own hands. The
possession of the least organized naval force would stimulate a
generous ambition in the Republic, and the confidence which we should
manifest by furnishing it would win forbearance and favor toward the
colony from all civilized nations.

The proposed overland telegraph between America and Europe, by the way
of Behrings Straits and Asiatic Russia, which was sanctioned by
Congress at the last session, has been undertaken, under very favorable
circumstances, by an association of American citizens, with the cordial
good will and support as well of this Government as of those of Great
Britain and Russia. Assurances have been received from most of the
South American States of their high appreciation of the enterprise and
their readiness to cooperate in constructing lines tributary to that
world-encircling communication. I learn with much satisfaction that the
noble design of a telegraphic communication between the eastern coast
of America and Great Britain has been renewed, with full expectation of
its early accomplishment.

Thus it is hoped that with the return of domestic peace the country
will be able to resume with energy and advantage its former high career
of commerce and civilization.

Our very popular and estimable representative in Egypt died in April
last. An unpleasant altercation which arose between the temporary
incumbent of the office and the Government of the Pasha resulted in a
suspension of intercourse. The evil was promptly corrected on the
arrival of the successor in the consulate, and our relations with
Egypt, as well as our relations with the Barbary Powers, are entirely

The rebellion which has so long been flagrant in China has at last been
suppressed, with the cooperating good offices of this Government and of
the other Western commercial States. The judicial consular
establishment there has become very difficult and onerous, and it will
need legislative revision to adapt it to the extension of our commerce
and to the more intimate intercourse which has been instituted with the
Government and people of that vast Empire. China seems to be accepting
with hearty good will the conventional laws which regulate commercial
and social intercourse among the Western nations.

Owing to the peculiar situation of Japan and the anomalous form of its
Government, the action of that Empire in performing treaty stipulations
is inconstant and capricious. Nevertheless, good progress has been
effected by the Western powers, moving with enlightened concert. Our
own pecuniary claims have been allowed or put in course of settlement,
and the inland sea has been reopened to commerce. There is reason also
to believe that these proceedings have increased rather than diminished
the friendship of Japan toward the United States.

The ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, and Pensacola have been opened by
proclamation. It is hoped that foreign merchants will now consider
whether it is not safer and more profitable to themselves, as well as
just to the United States, to resort to these and other open ports than
it is to pursue, through many hazards and at vast cost, a contraband
trade with other ports which are closed, if not by actual military
occupation, at least by a lawful and effective blockade.

For myself, I have no doubt of the power and duty of the Executive,
under the law of nations, to exclude enemies of the human race from an
asylum in the United States. If Congress should think that proceedings
in such cases lack the authority of law, or ought to be further
regulated by it, I recommend that provision be made for effectually
preventing foreign slave traders from acquiring domicile and facilities
for their criminal occupation in our country.

It is possible that if it were new and open question the maritime
powers, with the lights they now enjoy, would not concede the
privileges of a naval belligerent to the insurgents of the United
States, destitute, as they are, and always have been, equally of ships
of war and of ports and harbors. Disloyal emissaries have been neither
less assiduous nor more successful during the last year than they were
before that time in their efforts under favor of that privilege, to
embroil our country in foreign wars. The desire and determination of
the governments of the maritime states to defeat that design are
believed to be as sincere as and can not be more earnest than our own.
Nevertheless, unforeseen political difficulties have arisen, especially
in Brazilian and British ports and on the northern boundary of the
United States, which have required, and are likely to continue to
require, the practice of constant vigilance and a just and conciliatory
spirit on the part of the United States, as well as of the nations
concerned and their governments.

Commissioners have been appointed under the treaty with Great Britain
on the adjustment of the claims of the Hudsons Bay and Pugets Sound
Agricultural Companies, in Oregon, and are now proceeding to the
execution of the trust assigned to them.

In view of the insecurity of life and property in the region adjacent
to the Canadian border, by reason of recent assaults and depredations
committed by inimical and desperate persons who are harbored there, it
has been thought proper to give notice that after the expiration of six
months, the period conditionally stipulated in the existing arrangement
with Great Britain, the United States must hold themselves at liberty
to increase their naval armament upon the Lakes if they shall find that
proceeding necessary. The condition of the border will necessarily come
into consideration in connection with the question of continuing or
modifying the rights of transit from Canada through the United States,
as well as the regulation of imposts, which were temporarily
established by the reciprocity treaty of the 5th June, 1854.

I desire, however, to be understood while making this statement that
the colonial authorities of Canada are not deemed to be intentionally
unjust or unfriendly toward the United States, but, on the contrary,
there is every reason to expect that, with the approval of the Imperial
Government, they will take the necessary measures to prevent new
incursions across the border.

The act passed at the last session for the encouragement of immigration
has so far as was possible been put into operation. It seems to need
amendment which will enable the officers of the Government to prevent
the practice of frauds against the immigrants while on their way and on
their arrival in the ports, so as to secure them here a free choice of
avocations and places of settlement. A liberal disposition toward this
great national policy is manifested by most of the European States, and
ought to be reciprocated on our part by giving the immigrants effective
national protection. I regard our immigrants as one of the principal
replenishing streams which are appointed by Providence to repair the
ravages of internal war and its wastes of national strength and health.
All that is necessary is to secure the flow of that stream in its
present fullness, and to that end the Government must in every way make
it manifest that it neither needs nor designs to impose involuntary
military service upon those who come from other lands to cast their lot
in our country.

The financial affairs of the Government have been successfully
administered during the last year. The legislation of the last session
of Congress has beneficially affected the revenues, although sufficient
time has not yet elapsed to experience the full effect of several of
the provisions of the acts of Congress imposing increased taxation.

The receipts during the year from all sources, upon the basis of
warrants signed by the Secretary of the Treasury, including loans and
the balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July, 1863, were
$1,394,796,007.62, and the aggregate disbursements, upon the same
basis, were $1,298,056,101.89, leaving a balance in the Treasury, as
shown by warrants, of $96,739,905.73.

Deduct from these amounts the amount of the principal of the public
debt redeemed and the amount of issues in substitution therefor, and
the actual cash operations of the Treasury were: Receipts,
$884,076,646.57; disbursements, $865,234,087.86; which leaves a cash
balance in the Treasury of $18,842,558.71.

Of the receipts there were derived from customs $102,316,152.99, from
lands $588,333.29, from direct taxes $475,648.96, from internal revenue
$109,741,134.10, from miscellaneous sources $47,511,448.10, and from
loans applied to actual expenditures, including former balance,

There were disbursed for the civil service $27,505,599.46, for pensions
and Indians $7,517,930.97, for the War Department $690,791,842.97, for
the Navy Department $85,733,292.77, for interest on the public debt
$53,685,421.69, making an aggregate of $865,234,087.86 and leaving a
balance in the Treasury of $18,842,558.71, as before stated.

For the actual receipts and disbursements for the first quarter and the
estimated receipts and disbursements for the three remaining quarters
of the current fiscal year, and the general operations of the Treasury
in detail, I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury.
I concur with him in the opinion that the proportion of moneys required
to meet the expenses consequent upon the war derived from taxation
should be still further increased; and I earnestly invite your
attention to this subject, to the end that there may be such additional
legislation as shall be required to meet the just expectations of the

The public debt on the 1st day of July last, as appears by the books of
the Treasury, amounted to $1,740,690,489.49. Probably, should the war
continue for another year, that amount may be increased by not far from
five hundred millions. Held, as it is, for the most part by our own
people, it has become a substantial branch of national, though private,
property. For obvious reasons the more nearly this property can be
distributed among all the people the better. To favor such general
distribution, greater inducements to become owners might, perhaps, with
good effect and without injury be presented to persons of limited
means. With this view I suggest whether it might not be both competent
and expedient for Congress to provide that a limited amount of some
future issue of public securities might be held by any bona fide
purchaser exempt from taxation and from seizure for debt, under such
restrictions and limitations as might be necessary to guard against
abuse of so important a privilege. This would enable every prudent
person to set aside a small annuity against a possible day of want.

Privileges like these would render the possession of such securities to
the amount limited most desirable to every person of small means who
might be able to save enough for the purpose. The great advantage of
citizens being creditors as well as debtors with relation to the public
debt is obvious. Men readily perceive that they can not be much
oppressed by a debt which they owe to themselves.

The public debt on the 1st day of July last, although somewhat
exceeding the estimate of the Secretary of the Treasury made to
Congress at the commencement of the last session, falls short of the
estimate of that officer made in the preceding December as to its
probable amount at the beginning of this year by the sum of
$3,995,097.31. This fact exhibits a satisfactory condition and conduct
of the operations of the Treasury.

The national banking system is proving to be acceptable to capitalists
and to the people. On the 25th day of November 584 national banks had
been organized, a considerable number of which were conversions from
State banks. Changes from State systems to the national system are
rapidly taking place, and it is hoped that very soon there will be in
the United States no banks of issue not authorized by Congress and no
bank-note circulation not secured by the Government. That the
Government and the people will derive great benefit from this change in
the banking systems of the country can hardly be questioned. The
national system will create a reliable and permanent influence in
support of the national credit and protect the people against losses in
the use of paper money. Whether or not any further legislation is
advisable for the suppression of State-bank issues it will be for
Congress to determine. It seems quite clear that the Treasury can not
be satisfactorily conducted unless the Government can exercise a
restraining power over the bank-note circulation of the country. The
report of the Secretary of War and the accompanying documents will
detail the campaigns of the armies in the field since the date of the
last annual message, and also the operations of the several
administrative bureaus of the War Department during the last year. It
will also specify the measures deemed essential for the national
defense and to keep up and supply the requisite military force.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy presents a comprehensive and
satisfactory exhibit of the affairs of that Department and of the naval
service. It is a subject of congratulation and laudable pride to our
countrymen that a Navy of such vast proportions has been organized in
so brief a period and conducted with so much efficiency and success.

The general exhibit of the Navy, including vessels under construction
on the 1st of December, 1864, shows a total of 671 vessels, carrying
4,610 guns, and of 510,396 tons, being an actual increase during the
year, over and above all losses by shipwreck or in battle, of 83
vessels, 167 guns, and 42,427 tons.

The total number of men at this time in the naval service, including
officers, is about 51,000.

There have been captured by the Navy during the year 324 vessels, and
the whole number of naval captures since hostilities commenced is
1,379, of which 267 are steamers.

The gross proceeds arising from the sale of condemned prize property
thus far reported amount to $14,396,250.51. A large amount of such
proceeds is still under adjudication and yet to be reported.

The total expenditure of the Navy Department of every description,
including the cost of the immense squadrons that have been called into
existence from the 4th of March, 1861, to the 1st of November, 1864, is

Your favorable consideration is invited to the various recommendations
of the Secretary of the Navy, especially in regard to a navy-yard and
suitable establishment for the construction and repair of iron vessels
and the machinery and armature for our ships, to which reference was
made in my last annual message.

Your attention is also invited to the views expressed in the report in
relation to the legislation of Congress at its last session in respect
to prize on our inland waters.

I cordially concur in the recommendation of the Secretary as to the
propriety of creating the new rank of vice-admiral in our naval
service. Your attention is invited to the report of the
Postmaster-General for a detailed account of the operations and
financial condition of the Post-Office Department.

The postal revenues for the year ending June 30, 1864, amounted to
$12,438,253.78 and the expenditures to $12,644,786.20, the excess of
expenditures over receipts being $206,652.42.

The views presented by the Postmaster-General on the subject of special
grants by the Government in aid of the establishment of new lines of
ocean mail steamships and the policy he recommends for the development
of increased commercial intercourse with adjacent and neighboring
countries should receive the careful consideration of Congress.

It is of noteworthy interest that the steady expansion of population,
improvement, and governmental institutions over the new and unoccupied
portions of our country have scarcely been checked, much less impeded
or destroyed, by our great civil war, which at first glance would seem
to have absorbed almost the entire energies of the nation.

The organization and admission of the State of Nevada has been
completed in conformity with law, and thus our excellent system is
firmly established in the mountains, which once seemed a barren and
uninhabitable waste between the Atlantic States and those which have
grown up on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

The Territories of the Union are generally in a condition of prosperity
and rapid growth. Idaho and Montana, by reason of their great distance
and the interruption of communication with them by Indian hostilities,
have been only partially organized; but it is understood that these
difficulties are about to disappear, which will permit their
governments, like those of the others, to go into speedy and full
operation. As intimately connected with and promotive of this material
growth of the nation, I ask the attention of Congress to the valuable
information and important recommendations relating to the public lands,
Indian affairs, the Pacific Railroad, and mineral discoveries contained
in the report of the Secretary of the Interior which is herewith
transmitted, and which report also embraces the subjects of patents,
pensions, and other topics of public interest pertaining to his

The quantity of public land disposed of during the five quarters ending
on the 30th of September last was 4,221,342 acres, of which 1,538,614
acres were entered under the homestead law. The remainder was located
with military land warrants, agricultural scrip certified to States for
railroads, and sold for cash. The cash received from sales and location
fees was $1,019,446.

The income from sales during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1864, was
$678,007.21, against $136,077.95 received during the preceding year.
The aggregate number of acres surveyed during the year has been equal
to the quantity disposed of, and there is open to settlement about
133,000,000 acres of surveyed land.

The great enterprise of connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific States
by railways and telegraph lines has been entered upon with a vigor that
gives assurance of success, notwithstanding the embarrassments arising
from the prevailing high prices of materials and labor. The route of
the main line of the road has been definitely located for 100 miles
westward from the initial point at Omaha City, Nebr., and a preliminary
location of the Pacific Railroad of California has been made from
Sacramento eastward to the great bend of the Truckee River in Nevada.
Numerous discoveries of gold, silver, and cinnabar mines have been
added to the many heretofore known, and the country occupied by the
Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountains and the subordinate ranges now teems
with enterprising labor, which is richly remunerative. It is believed
that the product of the mines of precious metals in that region has
during the year reached, if not exceeded, one hundred millions in

It was recommended in my last annual message that our Indian system be
remodeled. Congress at its last session, acting upon the
recommendation, did provide for reorganizing the system in California,
and it is believed that under the present organization the management
of the Indians there will be attended with reasonable success. Much yet
remains to be done to provide for the proper government of the Indians
in other parts of the country, to render it secure for the advancing
set-tier, and to provide for the welfare of the Indian. The Secretary
reiterates his recommendations, and to them the attention of Congress
is invited.

The liberal provisions made by Congress for paying pensions to invalid
soldiers and sailors of the Republic and to the widows, orphans, and
dependent mothers of those who have fallen in battle or died of disease
contracted or of wounds received in the service of their country have
been diligently administered. There have been added to the pension
rolls during the year ending the 30th day of June last the names of
16,770 invalid soldiers and of 271 disabled seamen, making the present
number of army invalid pensioners 22,767 and of navy invalid pensioners

Of widows, orphans, and mothers 22,198 have been placed on the army
pension rolls and 248 on the navy rolls. The present number of army
pensioners of this class is 25,433 and of navy pensioners 793. At the
beginning of the year the number of Revolutionary pensioners was 1,430.
Only 12 of them were soldiers, of whom 7 have since died. The remainder
are those who under the law receive pensions because of relationship to
Revolutionary soldiers. During the year ending the 30th of June, 1864,
$4,504,616.92 have been paid to pensioners of all classes.

I cheerfully commend to your continued patronage the benevolent
institutions of the District of Columbia which have hitherto been
established or fostered by Congress, and respectfully refer for
information concerning them and in relation to the Washington Aqueduct,
the Capitol, and other matters of local interest to the report of the

The Agricultural Department, under the supervision of its present
energetic and faithful head, is rapidly commending itself to the great
and vital interest it was created to advance It is peculiarly the
people's Department, in which they feel more directly concerned than in
any other. I commend it to the continued attention and fostering care
of Congress.

The war continues. Since the last annual message all the important
lines and positions then occupied by our forces have been maintained
and our arms have steadily advanced, thus liberating the regions left
in rear, so that Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of other
States have again produced reasonably fair crops.

The most remarkable feature in the military operations of the year is
General Sherman's attempted march of 300 miles directly through the
insurgent region. It tends to show a great increase of our relative
strength that our General in Chief should feel able to confront and
hold in check every active force of the enemy, and yet to detach a
well-appointed large army to move on such an expedition. The result not
yet being known, conjecture in regard to it is not here indulged.

Important movements have also occurred during the year to the effect of
molding society for durability in the Union. Although short of complete
success, it is much in the fight direction that 12,000 citizens in each
of the States of Arkansas and Louisiana have organized loyal State
governments, with free constitutions, and are earnestly struggling to
maintain and administer them. The movements in the same direction, more
extensive though less definite, in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee
should not be overlooked. But Maryland presents the example of complete
success. Maryland is secure to liberty and union for all the future.
The genius of rebellion will no more claim Maryland. Like another foul
spirit being driven out, it may seek to tear her, but it will woo her

At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the
Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States passed the
Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the
House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress and
nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or
patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the
reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session. Of
course the abstract question is not changed; but in intervening
election shows almost certainly that the next Congress will pass the
measure if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to
when the proposed amendment will go to the States for their action. And
as it is to so go at all events, may we not agree that the sooner the
better? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a duty on
members to change their views or their votes any further than, as an
additional element to be considered, their judgment may be affected by
it. It is the voice of the people now for the first time heard upon the
question. In a great national crisis like ours unanimity of action
among those seeking a common end is very desirable--almost
indispensable. And yet no approach to such unanimity is attainable
unless some deference shall be paid to the will of the majority simply
because it is the will of the majority. In this case the common end is
the maintenance of the Union, and among the means to secure that end
such will, through the election, is most dearly declared in favor of
such constitutional amendment.

The most reliable indication of public purpose in this country is
derived through our popular elections. Judging by the recent canvass
and its result, the purpose of the people within the loyal States to
maintain the integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more nearly
unanimous than now. The extraordinary calmness and good order with
which the millions of voters met and mingled at the polls give strong
assurance of this. Not only all those who supported the Union ticket,
so called, but a great majority of the opposing party also may be
fairly claimed to entertain and to be actuated by the same purpose. It
is an unanswerable argument to this effect that no candidate for any
office whatever, high or low, has ventured to seek votes on the avowal
that he was for giving up the Union. There have been much impugning of
motives and much heated controversy as to the proper means and best
mode of advancing the Union cause, but on the distinct issue of Union
or no Union the politicians have shown their instinctive knowledge that
there is no diversity among the people. In affording the people the
fair opportunity of showing one to another and to the world this
firmness and unanimity of purpose, the election has been of vast value
to the national cause.

The election has exhibited another tact not less valuable to be
known--the fact that we do not approach exhaustion in the most
important branch of national resources, that of living men. While it is
melancholy to reflect that the war has filled so many graves and
carried mourning to so many hearts, it is some relief to know that,
compared with the surviving, the fallen have been so few. While corps
and divisions and brigades and regiments have formed and fought and
dwindled and gone out of existence, a great majority of the men who
composed them are still living. The same is true of the naval service.
The election returns prove this. So many voters could not else be
found. The States regularly holding elections, both now and four years
ago, to wit, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, east
3,982,011 votes now, against 3,870,222 cast then, showing an aggregate
now of 3,982,011. To this is to be added 33,762 cast now in the new
States of Kansas and Nevada, which States did not vote in 1860, thus
swelling the aggregate to 4,015,773 and the net increase during the
three years and a half of war to 145,551. A table is appended showing
particulars. To this again should be added the number of all soldiers
in the field from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware,
Indiana, Illinois, and California, who by the laws of those States
could not vote away from their homes, and which number can not be less
than 90,000. Nor yet is this all. The number in organized Territories
is triple now what it was four years ago, while thousands, white and
black, join us as the national arms press back the insurgent lines. So
much is shown, affirmatively and negatively, by the election. It is not
material to inquire how the increase has been produced or to show that
it would have been greater but for the war, which is probably true. The
important fact remains demonstrated that we have more men now than we
had when the war began; that we are not exhausted nor in process of
exhaustion; that we are gaining strength and may if need be maintain
the contest indefinitely. This as to men. Material resources are now
more complete and abundant than ever.

The national resources, then, are unexhausted, and, as we believe,
inexhaustible. The public purpose to reestablish and maintain the
national authority is unchanged, and, as we believe, unchangeable. The
manner of continuing the effort remains to choose. On careful
consideration of all the evidence accessible it seems to me that no
attempt at negotiation with the insurgent leader could result in any
good. He would accept nothing short of severance of the Union,
precisely what we will not and can not give. His declarations to this
effect are explicit and oft repeated. He does not attempt to deceive
us. He affords us no excuse to deceive ourselves. He can not
voluntarily reaccept the Union; we can not voluntarily yield it.
Between him and us the issue is distinct, simple, and inflexible. It is
an issue which can only be tried by war and decided by victory. If we
yield, we are beaten; if the Southern people fail him, he is beaten.
Either way it would be the victory and defeat following war. What is
true, however, of him who heads the insurgent cause is not necessarily
true of those who follow. Although he can not reaccept the Union, they
can. Some of them, we know, already desire peace and reunion. The
number of such may increase. They can at any moment have peace simply
by laying down their arms and submitting to the national authority
under the Constitution. Alter so much the Government could not, if it
would, maintain war against them. The loyal people would not sustain or
allow it. If questions should remain, we would adjust them by the
peaceful means of legislation, conference, courts, and votes, operating
only in constitutional and lawful channels. Some certain, and other
possible, questions are and would be beyond the Executive power to
adjust; as, for instance, the admission of members into Congress and
whatever might require the appropriation of money. The Executive power
itself would be greatly diminished by the cessation of actual war.
Pardons and remissions of forfeitures, however, would still be within
Executive control. In what spirit and temper this control would be
exercised can be fairly judged of by the past.

A year ago general pardon and amnesty, upon specified terms, were
offered to all except certain designated classes, and it was at the
same time made known that the excepted classes were still within
contemplation of special clemency. During the year many availed
themselves of the general provision, and many more would, only that the
signs of bad faith in some led to such precautionary measures as
rendered the practical process less easy and certain. During the same
time also special pardons have been granted to individuals of the
excepted classes, and no voluntary application has been denied. Thus
practically the door has been for a full year open to all except such
as were not in condition to make free choice; that is, such as were in
custody or under constraint. It is still so open to all. But the time
may come, probably will come, when public duty shall demand that it be
closed and that in lieu more rigorous measures than heretofore shall be
adopted. In presenting the abandonment of armed resistance to the
national authority on the part of the insurgents as the only
indispensable condition to ending the war on the part of the
Government, I retract nothing heretofore said as to slavery. I repeat
the declaration made a year a ago, that "while I remain in my present
position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation
proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by
the terms of that proclamation or by any of the acts of Congress." If
the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty
to re-enslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their
instrument to perform it. In stating a single condition of peace I mean
simply to say that the war will cease on the part of the Government
whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who began it.

Table showing the aggregate votes in the States named, at the presidential
election respectively in 1860 and 1864.

State          1860       1864

California    118,840    *110,000

Connecticut    77,246      86,616

Delaware       16,039      16,924

Illinois       339,693    348,235

Indiana        272,143    280,645

Iowa           128,331    143,331

Kentucky       146,216    *91,300

Maine          97,918     115,141

Maryland       92,502      72,703

Massachusetts 169,533     175,487

Michigan      154,747     162,413

Minnesota      34,799      42,534

Missouri      165,538     *90,000

New Hampshire  65,953      69,111

New Jersey    121,125     128,680

New York      675,156     730,664

Ohio           42,441     470,745

Oregon         14,410     +14,410

Pennsylvania  476,442     572,697

Rhode Island   19,931      22,187

Vermont        42,844      55,811

West Virginia  46,195      33,874

Wisconsin     152,180     148,513
            ---------    --------
            3,870,222    3,982,01
Kansas                     17,234

Nevada                     16,528
    Total               4,015,773
    Net increase          145,551

*Nearly.       +Estimated.

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