The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Letters on Sundry Occasions

To Count Gasparin

The following letter addressed by President Lincoln to the Count de  Gasparin, one of the warmest friends of the United States in Europe,  who had written to the President concerning the state of the country,  will be read with interest:--



DEAR SIR:--Your very acceptable letter dated Orbe, Canton de Vaud,  Switzerland, 18th of July, 1862, is received. The moral effect was the  worst of the affair before Richmond, and that has run its course down ward. We are now at a stand, and shall soon be rising again, as we  hope. I believe it is true that, in men and material, the enemy suffered  more than we in that series of conflicts, while it is certain he is less able  to bear it.

With us every soldier is a man of character, and must be treated with  more consideration than is customary in Europe. Hence our great  army, for slighter causes than could have prevailed there, has dwindled  rapidly, bringing the necessity for a new call earlier than was antici pated. We shall easily obtain the new levy, however. Be not alarmed  if you shall learn that we shall have resorted to a draft for part of this.  It seems strange even to me, but it is true, that the Government is now  pressed to this course by a popular demand. Thousands who wish  not to personally enter the service, are nevertheless anxious to pay and  send substitutes, provided they can have assurance that unwilling per sons, similarly situated, will be compelled to do likewise. Besides this,  volunteers mostly choose to enter newly forming regiments, while  drafted men can be sent to fill up the old ones, wherein man for man  they are quite doubly as valuable.

You ask, "why is it that the North with her great armies so often is  found with inferiority of numbers face to face with the armies of the

South?" While I painfully know the fact, a military man, which I am  not, would better answer the question. The fact I know has not been  overlooked, and I suppose the cause of its continuance lies mainly in the  other fact that the enemy holds the interior and we the exterior lines;  and that we operate where the people convey information to the enemy,  while he operates where they convey none to us.

I have received the volume and letter which you did me the honor of  addressing to me, and for which please accept my sincere thanks. You  are much admired in America for the ability of your writings, and much  loved for your generosity to us and your devotion to liberal principles  generally.

You are quite right as to the importance to us for its bearing upon  Europe, that we should achieve military successes, and the same is true for  us at home as well as abroad. Yet it seems unreasonable that a series  of successes, extending through half a year, and clearing more than a  hundred thousand square miles of country, should help us so little,  while a single half defeat should hurt us so much. But let us be patient.

I am very happy to know that my course has not conflicted with your  judgment of propriety and policy. I can only say that I have acted upon  my best convictions, without selfishness or malice, and that by the help  of God I shall continue to do so.

Please be assured of my highest respect and esteem.




Book Navigation Title Page Preface Illustrations Memorandum Table of Contents   ► Chapter I.   ► Chapter II.   ► Chapter III.   ► Chapter IV.   ► Chapter V.   ► Chapter VI.   ► Chapter VII.   ► Chapter VIII.   ► Chapter IX.   ► Chapter X.   ► Chapter XI.   ► Chapter XII.   ► Chapter XIII.   ► Chapter XIV.   ► Chapter XV.   ► Chapter XVI.   ► Chapter XVII.   ► Chapter XVIII.   ► Chapter XIX.   ► Chapter XX.   ► Chapter XXI. Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln.   ► Mr. Lincoln's Sadness   ► His Favorite Poem   ► His Religious Experience   ► His Sympathy   ► His Humor, Shrewdness, and Sentiment   ► The Emancipation Proclamation Appendix. Letters on Sundry Occasions.   ► To Mr. Lodges, of Kentucky   ► To General Hooker   ► To John B. Fry   ► To Governor Magoffin   ► To Count Gasparin   ► The President and General McClellan   ► Warnings Against Assassination Reports, Dispatches, and Proclamations Relating to the Assassination.   ► Secretary Stanton to General Dix   ► The Death-Bed   ► The Assassins   ► Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton   ► Flight of the Assassins   ► The Conspiracy Organized in Canada   ► Booth Killed. Harold Captured   ► Reward Offered by President Johnson   ► The Funeral Official Announcements   ► Acting Secretary Hunger to Minister Adams   ► Acting Secretary Hunter to his Subordinates   ► Orders from Secretary Stanton and General Grant   ► Orders from Secretary "Welles   ► Order from Secretary McCulloch   ► Order from Postmaster-General Dennison   ► Proclamation by President Johnson of a Day of Humiliation and Mourning.   ► Secretary Stanton to Minister Adams   ► Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth   ► Indictment of the Conspirators   ► The Finding of the Court