Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Annotation

[1]   Copy, DLC-RTL. The copy is on Executive Mansion stationery. On December 2, apropos of Lincoln's communication to Hurlbut of November 14, supra, General Canby had written Lincoln:

``Major General Hurlbut has shown me your communication of the 14th inst., in which that officer and myself are charged with bitter animosity to the new State Government of Louisiana.

``I have had very little official connection with the convention, and none at all with the State Government, or the State Legislature. Matters connected with these bodies, being under the supervision of the Department Commander, do not reach me, except by way of appeal, and my own duties have been sufficiently engrossing, to prevent any disposition to interfere, unless the subject was submitted to me for decision. Of the three instances cited in evidence of this bitterPage  165 animosity, the first is the only one of which I have any knowledge, either official or personal. The others I had never heard of until I read your letter. In the case of Mr. [Thomas P.] May I did interfere upon an appeal, and for the reason simply, that the power claimed by the Convention to punish for contempt not committed in its presence, could not be admitted without establishing, in the military circumstances of the community, a very dangerous precedent. That opinion I still entertain. I saw then, and I see now, no reason why the usual limit of legislative power, and which the convention had, a few days previous, (Act 30, of the Convention,) defined for the Legislature, and, by implication, for itself, should have been transcended. There was no necessity for it, for the convention was under military protection, and that protection would have been given to it under any circumstances, and to any extent.

``Of the details of the insult offered to the convention in the release of Mr. May, I know nothing. My decision was communicated to General Banks, and the orders were given by him; but I do know, that, while we differed on some points, we concurred in the opinion, that the convention had no legitimate power to arrest, or try, or punish any one, for a contempt, not committed in its presence.

``I think it only necessary to add to this, that it has been, and is my purpose, not only as a question of duty, but of feeling, to give whatever support and aid I can, to the State Government; but it is proper that your Excellency should be advised, that matters that will, ultimately, come under the control of the State Government, are now so complicated with questions of military administration, that, in the changes to be made, differences of opinion may arise, which should not subject officers of the army to the imputation of opposition or animosity. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

[2]   See Lincoln to Canby, November 6, supra.