Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wednesday Sept. 18

President Lincoln has written a letter to Fremont qualifying or restricting the proclamation of the latter so far as it relates to freedom of slaves, making it conform to a late act of Congress.  This act of the President is much regretted by the friends of freedom.  May God overrule it all for the good of the country and his own glory.  Oh!  that He would give to our rulers wisdom and courage to do right.  
A distressing accident on the Ohio and Mississippi railroad is mentioned in today's paper.  Col. Turchin's 19" Illinois regiment on the way to Washington by the fall of a bridge over Beaver Creek, four cars were precipitated into the water, killing and wounding 100 persons -- 15 of them killed outright.

Peggy's Comments:
General Fremont, in command of the Western Department, had issued a proclamation to free the slaves of pro-secessionists.  Lincoln saw this as overstepping his authority and of as likely to disrupt the delicate balance which kept Missouri in the Union.  Here are two articles published in the NY Times.  Of interest to me is the statement that Lincoln ordered his letter to Fremont to be published in newspapers.

Sept 14, 1861  NY Times
Rumor That Gen. Fremont Is To Be Superseded.
We learn that a rumor was prevalent in Washington yesterday that Gen. FREMONT is to be superseded in his command and that Quartermaster-General MEIGS is to take his place. We have also what we deem good authority for saying that this rumor, unlike many others, is founded in fact; and that Mr. BLAIR, at whose earnest recommendation Gen. FREMONT was placed where he is, accompanied Gen. MEIGS, in order to explain to Gen. FREMONT the reasons and the necessity for the step. These reasons, we think it will be found, are that Gen. FREMONT exceeded his authority by the proclamations he issued -- that being the main reason -- and that he has in other respects acted in important matters not only without consulting the Government, but in contravention of its orders and practice. [Notwithstanding the apparent positiveness of this statement we are informed, by telegraph from Washington, that Mrs. FREMONT left there yesterday morning for St. Louis with assurances that the General should not be interfered with. -- ED. TIMES.]
Sept 15, 1861  NY Times
WASHINGTON, Saturday, Sept. 14. The following letter, from President LINCOLN to Major-Gen. FREMONT, was transmitted to the latter the 12th inst.: WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 11, 1861, Major-Gen. John C. Fremont: SIR: Yours of the 8th, in answer to mine of 2d inst., was just received. Assuming that you upon the ground could better judge of the necessities of your position, than I could at this distance, on seeing your proclamation of Aug. 30, I perceived no general objection to it; the particular objectionable clause, however, in relation to the confiscation of property, and the liberation of slaves, appeared to me to be objectionable in its non-conformity to the act of Congress, passed the 6th of last August upon the same subjects, and hence I wrote you expressing my wish that that clause should be modified accordingly. Your answer just received, expresses the preference on your part that I should make an open order for the modification, which I very cheerfully do. It is therefore ordered that the said clause of said proclamation be so modified, held and construed as to conform with and not to transcend the provisions on the same subject contained in the act of Congress, entitled "An act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes, approved Aug. 6, 1861," and that said act be published at length with this order. Your obedient servant, (Signed) A. LINCOLN. WASHINGTON, Saturday, Sept. 14. 
The letter commanding Gen. FREMONT to modify his proclamation relating to the emancipation of Slaves, is published here to-day, by order of the President. It is rightly construed here to be an abandonment of the whole question. It may be right, but it would seem as if it was condemning the friends of the Union to fight against frightful odds; making them fight, too, for a shadow without substance.

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