Speech to Forty-second Massachusetts Regiment

October 31, 1864

You have completed a term of service in the cause of your country, and on behalf of the nation and myself I thank you. You are going home; I hope you will find all your friends well. I never see a Massachusetts regiment but it reminds me of the difficulty a regiment from that State met with on its passage through Baltimore; but the world has moved since then, and I congratulate you upon having a better time to-day in Baltimore than that regiment had.

To-night, midnight, slavery ceases in Maryland, and this state of things in Maryland is due greatly to the soldiers. Again I thank you for the services you have rendered the country.

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Proclamation Admitting Nevada into the Union

October 31, 1864

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation:

Whereas the Congress of the United States passed an Act which was approved on the 21st. day of March, last, entitled, “An Act to enable the people of Nevada to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal Footing with the original States”;

And whereas, the said Constitution and State Government have been formed pursuant to the conditions prescribed by the fifth section of the Act of Congress aforesaid, and the certificate required by the said act, and also a copy of the Constitution and ordinances have been submitted to the President of the United States;

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in accordance with the duty imposed upon me by the Act of Congress aforesaid, do, hereby, declare and proclaim that the said State of Nevada is admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.

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 Thirty first day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty four, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty ninth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD Secretary of State.

To Stephen G. Burbridge

                                                     Executive Mansion
Major General Burbridge       Washington, Oct. 27, 1864

It is represented to me that an officer has, by your authority, assessed and collected considerable sums of money from citizens of Allen and Barren counties, Kentucky, to compensate Union men for depredations committed upon them in the vicinity by rebels; and I am petitioned to order the money to be refunded. At most I could not do this without hearing both sides, which, as yet, I have not. I write now to say, that, in my opinion, in some extreme cases, this class of proceedings becomes a necessity; but that it is liable to—almost inseparable from—great abuses, and therefore should only be sparingly resorted to, and be conducted with great caution; that you, in your department, must be the judge of the proper localities and occasions for applying it; and that it will be well for you to see that your subordinates be at all times ready to account for every dollar, as to why collected, of whom, and how applied. Without this, you will soon find some of them making assessments and collections merely to put money in their own pockets, and it will also be impossible to correct errors in future and better times.

In the case I have mentioned, such good men as Hon. J. R. Underwood & Hon. Henry Grider though not personally interested, have appealed to me in behalf of others. So soon as you can, consistently with your other duties, I will thank you to acquaint yourself with the particulars of this case, and make any correction which may seem to be proper. Yours truly A LINCOLN

Response to a Serenade

October 21, 1864

FELLOW-CITIZENS: I was promised not to be called upon for a speech to-night, nor do I propose to make one. But, as we have been hearing some very good news for a day or two, I propose that you give three hearty cheers for Sheridan.

While we are at it we may as well consider how fortunate it was for the Secesh that Sheridan was a very little man. If he had been a large man, there is no knowing what he would have done with them.

I propose three cheers for General Grant, who knew to what use to put Sheridan; three cheers for all our noble commanders and the soldiers and sailors; three cheers for all people everywhere who cheer the soldiers and sailors of the Union—and now, good night.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

October 20, 1864

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working men in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of Freedom and Humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do, hereby, appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day, which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens wherever they may then be as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do farther recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of Peace, Union and Harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony 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 twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty four, and, of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

By the President:

WILLIAM H SEWARD Secretary of State.

Response to a Serenade

October 19, 1864
Friends and Fellow-citizens:

I am notified that this is a compliment paid me by the loyal Marylanders, resident in this District. I infer that the adoption of the new constitution for the State, furnishes the occasion; and that, in your view, the extirpation of slavery constitutes the chief merit of the new constitution. Most heartily do I congratulate you, and Maryland, and the nation, and the world, upon the event. I regret that it did not occur two years sooner, which I am sure would have saved to the nation more money than would have met all the private loss incident to the measure. But it has come at last, and I sincerely hope it’s friends may fully realize all their anticipations of good from it; and that it’s opponents may, by it’s effects, be agreeably and profitably, disappointed.

A word upon another subject.

Something said by the Secretary of State in his recent speech at Auburn, has been construed by some into a threat that, if I shall be beaten at the election, I will, between then and the end of my constitutional term, do what I may be able, to ruin the government.

Others regard the fact that the Chicago Convention adjourned, not sine die, but to meet again, if called to do so by a particular individual, as the intimation of a purpose that if their nominee shall be elected, he will at once seize control of the government. I hope the good people will permit themselves to suffer no uneasiness on either point. I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it. I therefore say, that if I shall live, I shall remain President until the fourth of next March; and that whoever shall be constitutionally elected therefor in November, shall be duly installed as President on the fourth of March; and that in the interval I shall do my utmost that whoever is to hold the helm for the next voyage, shall start with the best possible chance to save the ship.

This is due to the people both on principle, and under the constitution. Their will, constitutionally expressed, is the ultimate law for all. If they should deliberately resolve to have immediate peace even at the loss of their country, and their liberty, I know not the power or the right to resist them. It is their own business, and they must do as they please with their own. I believe, however, they are still resolved to preserve their country and their liberty; and in this, in office or out of it, I am resolved to stand by them.

I may add that in this purpose to save the country and it’s liberties, no classes of people seem so nearly unanamous as the soldiers in the field and the seamen afloat. Do they not have the hardest of it? Who should quail while they do not?

God bless the soldiers and seamen, with all their brave commanders.

To Ulysses S. Grant

                                         Office U.S. Military Telegraph,
Lieut. Genl. Grant        War Department,
City-Point, Va                Washington, D.C., Oct. 12. 1864.

Sec. of War not being in, I answer yours about election. Pennsylvania very close, and still in doubt on home vote. Ohio largely for us, with all the members of congress but two or three. Indiana largely for us. Governor, it is said by 15,000, and 8. of the eleven members of congress. Send us what you may know of your army vote. A LINCOLN