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Philadelphia Sanitary Fair.
President's Speech at Philadelphia-Philadelphia Fair-Correspondence with Committee
of National Convention-Proclamation of Martial Law in Kentucky-Question of Reconstruction-President's Proclamation on the subject-Congressional Plan.
On the 16th of June, the President was present at a Fair held in Philadelphia in aid of that noble organization, the United States Sanitary Commission, which was productive of so much good during the war, placing as it did, the arrangements for the care and comfort of our brave boys on a basis which no nation—not France, not England, though experienced in war, and generally of admirable promptitude in availing themselves of all facilities to its successful prosecution—had ever before been able to secure.
On the occasion of this visit, Philadelphia witnessed one of her largest crowds. Not less than fifteen thousand people were straining to get a glimpse of their beloved President at one and the same moment.
After the customary hand-shaking, borne by the victim with contagious good humor, a collation was served, at the close of which, in acknowledgment of a toast to his health, drank with the heartiest sincerity by all present, the President said :
'I suppose that this toast is intended to open the way for me to say something. War at the best is terrible; and this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known. It has deranged business totally in many places, and perhaps in all.
“It has destroyed property, destroyed life, and ruined homes. It has produced a national debt and a degree of
Sanitary and Christian Commissions.
taxation unprecedented in the history of this country. It has caused mourning among us until the heavens may almost be said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. It has had accompaniments not before known in the history of the world.
“I mean the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, with their labors for the relief of the soldiers, and the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, understood better by those who hear me than by myself. These Fairs, too, first began at Chicago, then held in Boston, Cincinnati, and other cities.
“The motive and object which lies at the bottom of them is worthy of the most that we can do for the soldier who goes to fight the battles of his country. By the fair and tender hand of woman is much, very much, done for the soldier, continually reminding him of the care and thought of him at home. The knowledge that he is not forgotten is grateful to his heart.
"And the view of these institutions is worthy of thought. They are voluntary contributions, giving proof that the national resources are not at all exhausted, and that the national patriotism will sustain us through all. It is a pertinent question—when is this war to end ?
“I do not wish to name a day when it will end, lest the end should not come at the given time. We accepted this war, and did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, and when that object is accomplished, the war will end ; and I hope to God it will never end until that object is accomplished.
“We are going through with our task, so far as I am concerned, if it takes us three years longer. I have not been in the habit of making predictions, but I am almost tempted now to hazard one. I will. It is that Grant is this evening in a position, with Meade and Hancock of Pennsylvania, where he can never be dislodged by the enemy until Richmond is taken.
Speech at the Sanitary Fair.
New York Committee.
“If I shall discover that General Grant may be facilitated in the capture of Richmond by rapidly pouring to him a large number of armed men at the briefest notice, will you go? [Cries of 'Yes.'] Will you march on with him ? [Cries of Yes, yes.']
Then I shall call upon you when it is necessary.”
The following correspondence passed between Mr. Lincoln and the Committee of the National Convention relative to his nomination :
"New York, June 14, 1864. “HON. ABRAHAM LINCOLN :
'SIR :—The National Union Convention, which assembled in Baltimore on June 7, 1864, has instructed us to inform you that you were nominated with enthusiastic unanimity, for the Presidency of the United States for four years from the 4th of March next.
“ The resolutions of the Convention, which we have already had the honor of placing in your hands, are a full and clear statement of the principles which inspired its action, and which, as we believe, the great body of Union men in the country heartily approve.
Whether those resolutions express the national gratitude to our soldiers and sailors, or the national scorn of compromise with rebels, and consequent dishonor; or the patriotic duty of Union and success; whether they approve the Proclamation of Emancipation, the Constitutional amendment, the employment of former slaves as Union soldiers, or the solemn obligation of the Government promptly to redress the wrongs of every soldier of the Union, of whatever color or race; whether they declare the inviolability of the pledged faith of the nation, or offer the national hospitality to the oppressed of every land, or urge the union, by railroad, of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; whether they recommend public economy and a vigorous taxation, or assert the fixed popular opposition
Letter of the New York Committee.
The People's Platform.
to the establishment of avowed force of foreign monarchies in the immediate neighborhood of the United States, or declare that those only are worthy of official trust who approve unreservedly the views and policy indicated in the resolutions—they were equally hailed with the heartiness of profound conviction.
Believing with you, sir, that this is the people's war for the maintenance of a government which you have justly described as of the people, by the people, for the people,' we are very sure that you will be glad to know, not only from the resolutions themselves, but from the singular barmony and enthusiasm with which they were adopted, how warm is the popular welcome of every measure in the prosecution of the war, which is as vigorous, unmistakable, and unfaltering as the National purpose itself. No right, for instance, is so precious and sacred to the American heart as that of personal liberty. Its violation is regarded with just, instant, and universal jealousy. Yet in this hour of peril every faithful citizen concedes that, for the sake of National existence and the common welfare, individual liberty may, as the Constitutution provides in case of rebellion, be sometimes summarily constrained, asking only with painful anxiety that in every instance, and to the least detail, that absolutely necessary power shall not be hastily or unwisely exercised,
“We believe, sir, that the honest will of the Union men of the country was never more truly represented than in this Convention. Their purpose we believe to be the overthrow of armed rebels in the field, and the security of permanent peace and Union by liberty and justice under the Constitution. That these results are to be achieved amid cruel perplexities, they are fully aware. That they are to be reached only by cordial unanimity of counsel, is undeniable. That good men may sometimes differ as to the means and the time, they know. That in the conduct of all human affairs the highest duty is to determine, in the angry conflict of passion, how
Letter of the New York Committee.
much good may be practically accomplished, is their sincere persuasion. They have watched your official course, therefore, with unflagging attention; and amid the bitter taunts of eager friends and the fierce denunciations of enemies, now moving too fast for some, now too slowly for others, they have seen you throughout this tremendous contest patient, sagacious, faithful, just, leaning upon the heart of the great mass of the people, and satisfied to be moved by its mighty pulsation.
“It is for this reason that, long before the Convention met, the popular instincts had plainly indicated you as its candidate; and the Convention, therefore, merely recorded the popular will. Your character and career proves your unswerving fidelity to the cardinal principles of American Liberty and of the American Constitution. In the name of that Liberty and Constitution, sir, we earnestly request your acceptance of this nomination ; reverently commending our beloved country, and you, its Chief Magistrate, with all its brave sons who, on sea and land, are faithfully defending the good old American cause of equal rights, to the blessings of Almighty God, we are, sir, very respectfully, your friends and fellow-citizens.
“WILLIAM DENNISON, Ohio, Chairman. "And signed by the Committee."
“ Executive Mansion, Wasbington, June 27th, 1863. " Hon. WILLIAM DENNISON and others : “A Committee of the National Union Convention :
“ GENTLEMEN :-Your letter of the 14th inst, formally notifying me that I had been nominated by the Convention you represent for the Presidency of the United States for four years from the 4th of March next, has been received. The nomination is gratefully accepted, as the Resolutions of the Convention-called the Platform-are heartily approved
" While the resolution in regard to the supplanting of Republican Government upon the Western Continent is fully