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 XI.
THE CONGRESS OF 1863-4.--MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT.--
ACTION OF THE SESSION.

CONGRESS met on Monday, December 7, 1863. The House of Representatives was promptly organized by the election of Hon. Schuyler Colfax, a Republican from Indiana, to be Speaker--he receiving 101 votes out of 181, the whole number cast. Mr. Cox, of Ohio, was the leading candidate of the Democratic opposition, but he received only 51 votes, the remaining 29 being divided among several Democratic members. In the Senate, the Senators from Western Virginia were admitted to their seats by a vote of 36 to 5.

On the 9th, the President transmitted to both Houses the following MESSAGE:

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Another year of health and of sufficiently abundant harvests has passed. For these, and especially for the improved condition of our national affairs, our renewed and profoundest gratitude to God is due. We remain in peace and friendship with foreign Powers. The efforts of disloyal citizens of the United States to involve us in foreign wars to aid an inexcusable insurrection have been unavailing. Her Britannic Majesty's Government, as was justly expected, have exercised their authority to prevent the departure of new hostile expeditions from British ports.

The Emperor of France has, by a like proceeding, promptly vindicated the neutrality which he proclaimed at the beginning of the contest.

Questions of great intricacy and importance have arisen out of the blockade, and other belligerent operations between the Government and several of the maritime Powers, but they have been discussed, and, as far as was possible, accommodated in a spirit of frankness, justice, and mutual good-will.

It is especially gratifying that our prize Courts, by the impartiality of

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