To Nathaniel P. Banks

Executive Mansion,          Washington,
Major General Banks       January 13, 1864.

I have received two letters from you which are duplicates, each of the other, except that one bears date the 27th and the other the 30th of December. Your confidence in the practicability of constructing a free state-government, speedily, for Louisiana, and your zeal to accomplish it, are very gratifying. It is a connection, than in which, the words “can” and “will” were never more precious. I am much in hope that, on the authority of my letter, of December 24th. you have already begun the work. Whether you shall have done so or not, please, on receiving this, proceed with all possible despatch, using your own absolute discretion in all matters which may not carry you away from the conditions stated in your letters to me, nor from those of the Message and Proclamation of December 8th. Frame orders, and fix times and places, for this, and that, according to your own judgement.

I am much gratified to know that Mr. Dennison, the Collector at New-Orleans, and who bears you this, understands your views, and will give you his full, and zealous co-operation. It is my wish, and purpose, that all others, holding authority from me, shall do the like; and, to spare me writing, I will thank you to make this known to them. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN.

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