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

To Ulysses S. Grant [2]

Executive Mansion,
Lieut. Gen. Grant Washington, Feb. [post 7], 1865.

Some time ago you telegraphed that you had stopped a Mr. Laws from passing our lines with a boat and cargo, and I directed you to be informed that you must be allowed to do as you please in such matters. To-night Mr. Laws calls on me, and I have told him, and now tell you that the matter, as to his passing the lines is under your control absolutely; and that he can have any relaxation you choose to give him & none other. Yours truly

A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ADfS, DLC-RTL. This letter is supplied with the date ``February [1?], 1865, in Nicolay and Hay (X, 354), but must have been written after February 7, the date on which Grant telegraphed to Stanton: ``A. M. Laws is here with a steamer partially loaded with sugar and coffee, and a permit from the Treasury Department to go through into Virginia and North Carolina, and to bring out 10,000 bales of cotton. I have positively refused to adopt this mode of feeding the Southern army unless it is the direct order of the President. It is a humiliating fact that speculators have represented the location of cotton at different points in the South, and obtained permits to bring it out, covering more than the entire amount of the staple in all the cotton-growing States. . . .'' (OR, I, XLVI, II, 445).

Stanton replied on the same day: ``The President directs that you will regardPage  268 all trade permits, licenses, or privileges of every kind, by whomsoever signed . . . as subject to your authority and approval as commander of the U.S. forces in the field, and such permits as you deem prejudicial to the military service by feeding or supporting the rebel armies . . . you may disregard and annul, and if necessary to the public safety seize the property of the traders. In short, the President orders that you `as being responsible for military results, must be allowed to be judge and master on the subject of trade with the enemy.' '' (Ibid.).

No communication from Laws, or reply from Grant to Lincoln's letter, has been found, and it seems possible that Lincoln's undated draft was never sent.