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Letter to Mrs. Gurney.

The Friends and the War.

caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this eighteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth. "By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN. "WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."


This letter was written by the President prior to his reelection to Mrs. Eliza P. Gurney, an American lady, the widow of the late well-known Friend and philanthropist, Joseph John Gurney, one of the wealthiest bankers of London.

"MY ESTEEMED FRIEND: I have not forgotten, probably never shall forget, the very impressive occasion when your self and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor had your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance in God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations, and to no one of them more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war, long before this, but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own errors therein; meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best lights He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely, He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.

Letter to Mrs. Gurney.

Tennessee Test Oath.

"Your people-the Friends-have had, and are having very great trials, on principles and faith opposed to both war and oppression. They can only practically oppose oppression. by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn and some the other.

For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds I have done and shall do the best I could, and can, in my own conscience under my oath to the law. That you believe this, I doubt not, and believing it, I shall still receive for our country and myself your earnest prayers to our father in Heaven. "Your sincere friend,



"Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., Saturday, October 22, 1864


“GENTLEMEN: On the fifteenth day of this month, as I remember, a printed paper manuscript, with a few manuscript interlineations, called a protest, with your names appended thereto, and accompanied by another printed paper, purporting to be a proclamation by ANDREW JOHNSON, Military Governor of Tennessee, and also a manuscript paper purporting to be extracts from the code of Tennessee, were laid before me."

[The protest is here recited, and also the proclamation of Gov. JOHNSON, dated September 30, to which it refers, together with a list of the counties in East, Middle, and West Tennessee; also extracts from the code of Tennessee in rela

President's Letter.

Tennessee Test Oath.

tion to electors of President and Vice President, qualifications of voters for members of the General Assembly, and places of holding elections and officers of popular elections.]

"At the time these papers were presented as before stated, I had never seen either of them, nor heard of the subject to which they relate, except in a general way, only one day previously.

"Up to the present moment, nothing whatever upon the subject has passed between Gov. Jonson, or any one else connected with the proclamation and myself.

"Since receiving the papers, as stated, I have given the subject such brief consideration as I have been able to do, in the midst of so many pressing duties.


My conclusion is, that I can have nothing to do with the matter, either to sustain the plan as the Convention and Gov. JOHNSON have initiated it, or to modify it as you demand. By the Constitution and laws the President is charged with no duty in the Presidential election in any State. Nor do I, in this case, perceive any military reason for his interference in the matter.

"The movement set a-foot by the Convention and Gov. JOHNSON does not, as seems to be assumed by you, emanate from the National Executive.

"In no proper sense can it be considered other than as an independent movement of at least a portion of the loyal people of Tennessee.

"I do not perceive in the plan any menace, or violence, or coercion toward any one.

"Gov. JOHNSON, like any other loyal citizen of Tennessee has the right to form any political plan he chooses, and as Military Governor it is his duty to keep the peace among and for the loyal people of the State.

"I cannot discern that by his plan he purposes any more-but you object to the plan.

President's Letter.

Tennessee Test Oath.

"Leaving it alone will be your perfect security against it. It is not proposed to force you into it.

"Do as you please on your own account peaceably and loyally, and Gov. JOHNSON will not molest you, but will protect you against violence so far as in his power.

"I presume that the conducting of a Presidential election in Tennessee, in strict accordance with the old code of the State, is not now a possibility.

"It is scarcely necessary to add, that if any election shall be had, and any votes shall be cast in the State of Tennessee for President and Vice-President of the United States, it will belong not to the military agents nor yet to the Executive Department, but exclusively to another department of the Government, to determine whether they are entitled to be counted in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States.

"Except it be to give protection against violence, I decline. to interfere in any way with any Presidential election.

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