Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To John C. Fremont [1]

Washington, D.C.
Major General John C. Fremont. Sep. 11. 1861.

Sir: Yours of the 8th. in answer to mine of 2nd. Inst. is just received. Assuming that you, upon the ground, could better judgePage  518 of the necessities of your position than I could at this distance, on seeing your proclamation of August 30th. I perceived no general objection to it. The particular clause, however, in relation to the confiscation of property and the liberation of slaves, appeared to me to be objectionable, in it's non-conformity to the Act of Congress passed the 6th. of last August upon the same subjects; and hence I wrote you expressing my wish that that clause should be modified accordingly. Your answer, just received, expresses the preference on your part, that I should make an open order for the modification, which I very cheerfully do. It is therefore ordered that the said clause of said proclamation be so modified, held, and construed, as to conform to, and not to transcend, the provisions on the same subject contained in the act of Congress entitled ``An Act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes'' Approved, August 6. 1861; and that said act be published at length with this order. Your Obt. Servt A. LINCOLN.


[1]   ADfS, DLC-RTL; LS copy, owned by Crosby Noyes Boyd, Washington, D.C. The copy which was given to the press bears Lincoln's endorsement across the top of the first page as follows: ``The following letter from the President to Gen. Fremont was transmitted to the latter by mail, on the 12th. Inst.'' Across the bottom of the second page of the copy Lincoln wrote in parentheses, ``The Act referred to commences on page 80, of pamphlet acts of congress of late session.'' The act of August 6, 1861, section 4, reads as follows: ``Provided that any person held to service or labor, by laws of any State, to another, the owner of such claim to labor loses his claim if person held to labor is employed in hostile service against the government.'' (See Lincoln to Joseph Holt, September 12, infra.) On September 16, Fremont telegraphed Lincoln, ``I have seen in the papers your published telegram to me. The original has never reached me. Shall I act on that?'' (DLC-RTL). Lincoln's reply, if any, to Fremont's query has not been found, but Lorenzo Thomas to Cameron, October 21, 1861, specifies that `` . . . one week after the receipt of the President's order modifying General Fremont's proclamation . . . General Fremont . . . required . . . 200 copies of the original proclamation . . . printed and sent immediately to Ironton [Missouri] . . . for distribution through the country. . . . '' (OR, I, IV, 543). See also Lincoln to Mrs. Fremont, September 12, infra.