Harper's Weekly 12/26/1863


The President's Message and the Reports from the Heads
of the Departments give the main events in the history of
the year. We present the leading points:

Foreign Relations.

We remain in peace and friendship with foreign powers.
The efforts of disloyal citizens of the United States to in-
volve us in foreign wars, to aid an inexcusable insurrec-
tion, have been unavailing. Her Britannic Majesty's Gov-
ernment, as was justly expected, have exercised their au-
thority 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, accom-
modated 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 pow-


The receipts during the year from all sources, including
loans and the balance in the treasury at its commence-
ment were $901,125,674 86, and the aggregate disburse-
ments $895,796,620 65, leaving a balance on the 1st
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 36. 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 pay-
ment 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 pay-
ments, and the moneys borrowed to make them as mere-
ly nominal receipts, and their amount, $181,086,635 07,
should therefore be deducted both from receipts and dis-
bursements. 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 Navy and the Blockade.

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 in-
creasing in efficiency. If the navy has expanded, yet on
so long a line it has so far found it impossible to entirely
suppress illicit trade. From returns received at the Navy
Department it appears that more than one thousand ves-
sels have been captured since the blockade was instituted,
and that the value of prizes already sent in for adjudica-
tion amount to over thirteen millions of dollars. The
naval force of the United States consists at this time of
five hundred and eighty-eight vessels, completed and in
the course of completion; and of these seventy-five are
iron-clad, 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.

Colored Solidiers.

Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebel-
lion, full one hundred thousand 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 diffi-
cult 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.

Emancipation Laws and Proclamations.

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 astounding breach of faith. I may add, at this point,
that while I remain in my present position I shall not at-
tempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclama-
tion, 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 that the executive may lawfully
claim it in return for pardon and restoration of forfeited
rights, which he has a clear constitutional power to with-
hold altogether, or grant upon the terms 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 de-

The Proclamation of Amnesty, appended to the Message,
is one of its most important features. This we give in full:

The Proclamation of Amnesty.

Whereas, In and by the Constitution of the United
States, it is provided that the President shall have power
to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the
United States, except in cases of impeachment; and, where-
as, a rebellion now exists, whereby the loyal State govern-
ments of several States have for a long time been subvert-
ed, and many persons have committed and are now guilty
of treason against the United States:

And, whereas, with reference to said rebellion and trea-
son laws have been enacted by Congress declaring forfeit-
ures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves
all upon terms and conditions therein stated, and also de-
claring that the President was thereby authorized at any
time thereafter by proclamation to extend to persons who
may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any
State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such ex-
ception and at such time, and on such conditions as he
may deem expedient for the public welfare.

Whereas, the Congressional declaration for limited and
conditional pardon accords with the well-established judi-
cial exposition of the pardoning power; and, whereas,
with reference to the said rebellion, the President of the
United States has issued several proclamations with pro-
visions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and, where-
as, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged
in the said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the
United States, and to reinaugurate loyal State govern-
ments within and for their respective States; therefore
I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do
proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who
have, directly or by implication, participated in the exist-
ing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full
pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with
restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves,
and in property cases where the rights of third parties shall
have intervened, and upon the condition that every such
person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thencefor-
ward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which
oath shall be registered for government preservation, and
shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:

I,— do solemnly supear in presence of Almighty
God that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect,
and defend the Constitution of the United States and the
Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like
manner abide by and faithfully support all acts of Con-
gress passed during the existing rebellion with reference
to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or
held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme
Court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faith-
fully support all proclamations of the President made
during the existing rebellion, having reference to slaves,
so long and so far as not modified or declared void by de-
cision of the Supreme Court. So help me God.

The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing
provisions are all who are, or shall have been, civil or
diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate
Government; all who have left judicial stations under
the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are, or
shall have been, military or naval officers of said so-called
Confederate Government above the rank of colonel in the
army or of lieutenant in the navy; all who left seats in
the United States Congress to aid the rebellion; all who
resigned commissions in the army or navy of the United
States, and afterward aided the rebellion; and all who
have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or
white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully
as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been
found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or
in any other capacity; and I do further proclaim, declare,
and make known, that whenever, in any of the States of
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ala-
bama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Caro-
lina, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth in num-
ber of the votes cast in such State at the Presidential elec-
tion of the year of our Lord 1860, each having taken the
oath aforesaid and not having since violated it, and being
a qualified voter by the election law of the State existing
immediately before the so-called act of secession, and ex-
cluding all others, shall re-establish a State Government
which shall be republican, and in no wise contravening said
oath, such shall be recognized as the true Government of
the State, and the State shall receive thereunder the bene-
fits of the constitutional provision which declares that

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in
this Union a republican form of government, and shall
protect each of them against invasion on application of the
Legislature, or of the Executive when the Legislature can
not be convened, against domestic violence.”

And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known
that any provision which may be adopted by such State
government in relation to the freed people of such State
which shall recognize and declare their permanent free-
dom, provide for their education, and which yet may be
consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their pres-
ent condition as a laboring, landless, and houseless class,
will not be objected to by the national Executive.

And it is engaged as not improper that, in constructing
a loyal State government in any State, the name of the
State, the boundary, the subdivisions, the constitution,
and the general code of laws as before the rebellion be
maintained, subject only to be the modifications made nec-
essary by the conditions hereinbefore stated, and such
others, if any, not contravening said conditions, and
which may be deemed expedient by those framing the
new State government. To avoid misunderstanding, it
may be proper to say that this Proclamation, so far as it
relates to State governments, has no reference to States
wherein loyal State governments have all the while been
maintained; and for the same reason it may be proper to
say, that whether members sent to Congress from any
State shall be admitted to seats constitutionally, rests ex-
clusively with the respective houses, and not to any ex-
tent with the Executive. And still further, that this
Proclamation is intended to present the people of the
States wherein the national authority has been suspended,
and loyal State governments have been subverted, a mode
in and by which the national authority and loyal State
governments may be re-established within said States or
in any of them, and, while the mode presented is the best
the Executive can suggest with his present impressions, it
must not be understood that no other possible mode would
be acceptable.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the
eighth day of December, A.D. one thousand eight hundred
and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United
States of America the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln.
By the President:
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

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