Reply to Lorenzo Montufar

April 24, 1862

Mr. MONTUFAR: At any time the arrival of a Minister from San Salvador would be an interesting event. It is peculiarly so now. Republicanism is demonstrating its adaptation to the highest interests of society—the preservation of the State itself against the violence of faction. Elsewhere on the American continent it is struggling against the inroads of anarchy, which invites foreign intervention.

Let the American States, therefore, draw closer together and animate and reassure each other, and thus prove to the world that, although we have inherited some of the errors of ancient systems, we are nevertheless capable of completing and establishing the new one which we have now chosen. On the result largely depends the progress, civilization, and happiness of mankind.

To James W. Ripley

Executive Mansion, Washington, April 23, 1862.

It is said that in the case of the contract of S. Dingee & Co. in relation to arms a dispute has arisen as to the proper construction of a clause in an order signed by me, which clause is in these words: “and that all not conforming thereto” (the contract) “be appraised by the ordnance officer at New York, and received at such price as he may determine.”

This order was prepared with reference to a definite number of arms expected to be delivered within a definite time, and not in reference to an indefinite number to be delivered in an indefinite time. I certainly did not expect that under the clause in question a lot of guns would be appraised at one price at one time, and another lot of precisely the same quality appraised at different prices at another time. I expected that when under the clause the price of a particular quality of gun was fixed it would stand throughout the transaction, neither going down or up. I still think this is the just construction. A. LINCOLN.

To James G. Berret

Executive Mansion,
Hon. James G. Berret. Washington, April 22, 1862.

My dear Sir: With some reluctance and in accordance with the request made in your letter of the 17th, I have withdrawn the nomination of yourself to the Senate to be one of the commissioners under the act of congress abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. In so far as your letter assumes that the tendering you the office without your solicitation or knowledge, attests my confidence in your loyalty to the United States, now and heretofore, you are entirely right. So far, however, as it assumes that, in my judgment, your imprisonment mentioned, was wholly undeserved, an explanatory word from me is due. I think you made a mistake which justified men having less evidence to the contrary than I had, to suspect your loyalty, and to act accordingly. The arrest, though made by my general authority, was in fact made without my knowledge at the time; but being done, the question of undoing it was a little different from that of the original making; and required a little time to solve it satisfactorily.

Lincoln’s draft was probably never completed, nor the letter sent. Mayor Berret had been arrested in August, 1861, and confined at Fort Lafayette until September 14, when he was released on oath and upon condition that he resign from office.

Message to Congress

April 16, 1862.

Fellow citizens of the Senate, and House of Representatives.

The Act entitled “An Act for the release of certain persons held to service, or labor in the District of Columbia” has this day been approved, and signed.

I have never doubted the constitutional authority of congress to abolish slavery in this District; and I have ever desired to see the national capital freed from the institution in some satisfactory way. Hence there has never been, in my mind, any question upon the subject, except the one of expediency, arising in view of all the circumstances. If there be matters within and about this act, which might have taken a course or shape, more satisfactory to my jud[g]ment, I do not attempt to specify them. I am gratified that the two principles of compensation, and colonization, are both recognized, and practically applied in the act.

In the matter of compensation, it is provided that claims may be presented within ninety days from the passage of the act “but not thereafter”; and there is no saving for minors, femes-covert, insane, or absent persons. I presume this is an omission by mere over-sight, and I recommened that it be supplied by an amendatory or supplemental act. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

April 16, 1862.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving for Victories

April 10, 1862

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

It has pleased Almighty God to vouchsafe signal victories to the land and naval forces engaged in suppressing an internal rebellion, and at the same time to avert from our country the dangers of foreign intervention and invasion.

It is therefore recommended to the People of the United States that, at their next weekly assemblages in their accustomed places of public worship which shall occur after notice of this proclamation shall have been received, they especially acknowledge and render thanks to our Heavenly Father for these inestimable blessings; that they then and there implore spiritual consolations in behalf of all who have been brought into affliction by the casualties and calamities of sedition and civil war, and that they reverently invoke the Divine Guidance for our national counsels, to the end that they may speedily result in the restoration of peace, harmony, and unity throughout our borders, and hasten the establishment of fraternal relations among all the countries of the earth.

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

[L.S]

Done at the City of Washington, this tenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

To Richard Yates and William Butler

Hon. R. Yates, & Wm. Butler Washington,
Springfield, Ills. April 10. 1862

I fully appreciate Gen. Pope’s splendid achievements with their invaluable results; but you must know that Major Generalships in the Regular Army, are not as plenty as blackberries.

A. LINCOLN

Governor Yates and State Treasurer William Butler telegraphed on April 9, 1862, “We appeal to you to transfer Maj Genl John Pope to the regular army with his present rank as a token of gratitude to Illinois. Give one of her sons a position in the U.S. army who has so gloriously achieved the just reward we ask for him.” On April 7-8 Pope’s command, together with six ironclads and ten mortar boats under command of Andrew H. Foote, had captured Island No. 10 in the Mississippi below Cairo, Illinois.

To the Senate

To the Senate of the United States: April 10, 1862

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration, with a view to ratification, a treaty between the United States and Her Britannic Majesty, for the suppression of the slave trade. A copy of the correspondence between the Secretary of State and Lord Lyons, on the subject of the treaty, is also herewith transmitted.

Washington, 10th. April, 1862. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

The treaty was unanimously ratified by the Senate on April 24, 1862.