History of the Administration of President Lincoln: Including His Speeches, Letters, Addresses, Proclamations, and Messages. With a Preliminary Sketch of His Life

By Henry J. Raymond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
THE EXTRA SESSION OF CONGRESS, AND THE MILITARY EVENTS OF THE SUMMER OF 1861.

IN pursuance of the President's proclamation of the 15th of April, Congress met in extra session on the 4th of July, 1861. The Republicans had control of both houses, counting 31 votes out of 48 in the Senate, and 106 out of 178 in the House, there being, moreover, 5 in the Senate and 28 in the House who, without belonging to the Republican party, supported the Administration in its efforts to preserve the Union. Hon. G. A. GROW was elected Speaker of the House; and, on the 5th, the President communicated to Congress his first annual message as follows:

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and
House of Representatives:

Having been convened on an extraordinary occasion, as authorized by the Constitution, your attention is not called to any ordinary subject of legislation.

At the beginning of the present presidential term, four months ago, the functions of the Federal Government were found to be generally sus pended within the several States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, excepting only those of the Post- Office Department.

Within these States all the forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom-houses and the like, including the movable and stationary property in and about them, had been seized, and were held in open hostility to this Government, excepting only Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson, on and near the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor, South Carolina. The forts thus seized had been put in improved condition, new ones had been built, and armed forces had been organized and were organizing, all avowedly with the same hostile purpose.

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