Lincoln’s Appeal to the Border States in July 1862

The Representatives and Senators of the Border Slaveholding States having, by special invitation of the President, been convened at the Executive Mansion, on Saturday morning last, Mr. Lincoln addressed them as follows from a written paper held in his hands:

GENTLEMEN: After the adjournment of Congress, now near, I shall have no opportunity of seeing you for several months. Believing that you of the Border States hold more power for good than any other equal number of members, I feel it a duty which I cannot justifiably waive, to make this appeal to you.

I intend no reproach or complaint, when I assure you that in my opinion, if you all had voted for the resolution in the gradual emancipation message of last March, the war would now be substantially ended. And the plan therein proposed, is yet one of the most potent and swift means of ending it.

Let the States which are in rebellion, see definitely and certainly that in no event will the States you represent ever join their proposed Confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest. But you cannot divest them of their hope to ultimately have you with them so long as you show a determination to perpetuate the institution within your own States. Best them at elections, as you have overwhelmingly done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own.

You and I know what the lever of their power is. Break that lever before their faces, and they can shake you no more forever

Source

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER
Date: July 26, 1862
Title: The President’s Appeal to the Border States
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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