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[250] of your policy to the slaveholding, Slavery-upholding interest. is not the perplexity, the despair, of statesmen of all parties; and be admonished by the general answer!

I close as I began, with the statement that what an immense majority of the loyal millions of your countrymen require of you is a frank, declared, unqualified, ungrudging execution of the laws of the land, more especially of the Confiscation Act. That act gives freedom to the slaves of Rebels coming within our lines, or whom those lines may at any time inclose — we ask you to render it due obedience by publicly requiring all your subordinates to recognize and obey it. The Rebels are every where using the late anti-negro riots in the North--as they have long used your officers' treatment of negroes in the South--to convince the slaves that they have nothing to hope from a Union success — that we mean in that case to sell them into a bitter bondage to defray the cost of the war. Let them impress this as a truth on the great mass of their ignorant and credulous bondmen, and the Union will never be restored — never. We can not conquer ten millions of people united in solid phalanx against us, powerfully aided by Northern sympathizers and European allies. We must have scouts, guides, spies, cooks, teamsters, diggers, and choppers, from the Blacks of the South--whether we allow them to fight for us or not — or we shall be baffled and repelled. As one of the millions who would gladly have avoided this struggle at any sacrifice but that of principle and honor, but who now feel that the triumph of the Union is indispensable not only to the existence of our country, but to the well-being of mankind, I entreat you to render a hearty and unequivocal obedience to the law of the land.

Yours,


The President — very unexpectedly — replied to this appeal by telegraph: in order, doubtless, to place before the public matter deemed by him important, and which had probably been prepared for issue before the receipt of the letter to which lie thus obliquely responded:

Executive Mansion, Washington, Aug. 22, 1862.
Hon. Horace Greeley:
dear Sir: I have just read yours of the 19th instant, addressed to myself through The New York Tribune.

If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them.

If there be any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here argue against them.

If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing,” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it in the shortest way under the Constitution.

The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be the Union as it was.

If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save Slavery, I do not agree with them;

If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Slavery, I do not agree with them.

My paramount object is to s<*>re the Union, and not either to save or destroy Slavery.

If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it — if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it — and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

What I do about Slavery and the Colored Race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause; and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the canse.

I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

Yours,


Many others called on or wrote to the President about this time, urging him to action in the spirit of Mr. Greeley's letter. He heard all with courtesy, suggesting objections that were not intended for conclusions, but rather to indicate and enforce the grave importance of the topic, the peril of making a mistake upon it, and the difficulty of reaching the

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