Original Document
Original Document
Statement by Loyal War Governors to President Lincoln September 24, 1862

After a meeting in Altoona, Pennsylvania, organized by Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin, twelve northern governors signed a statement, excerpted below, that offered support for the Lincoln administration and urged even greater efforts at mobilizing Union troops.

To the President, Adopted at a Meeting of Governors of Loyal States, held to Take Measures for the More Active Support of the Government, at Altoona, Pennsylvania, on the Twenty-fourth day of September, 1862:

After nearly one year and a half spent in contest with an armed and gigantic rebellion against the national government of the United States, the duty and purpose of the loyal States and people continue, and must always remain as they were at its origin -namely, to restore and perpetuate the authority of this government and the life of the nation. No matter what the consequences are involved in our fidelity, this work of restoring the Republic, preserving the institutions of democratic liberty, and justifying the hopes and toils of our fathers shall not fail to be performed.

And we pledge without hesitation, to the President of the United States, the most loyal and cordial support, hereafter, as heretofore, in the exercise of the functions of his great office. We recognize in him the Chief Executive Magistrate of the nation, the Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, their responsible and constitutional head, whose rightful authority and power, as well as the constitutional powers of Congress, must be rigorously and religiously guarded and preserved, as the condition on which alone our form of government and the constitutional rights and liberties of the people themselves can be saved from the wreck of anarchy or from the gulf of despotism.

…We hail with heartfelt gratitude and encouraged hope the proclamation of the President, issued on the twenty-second instant, declaring emancipated from their bondage all person held to service or labor as slaves in the rebel States, whose rebellion shall last until the first day of January now next ensuing. The right of any person to retain authority to compel any portion of the subjects of the national government, to rebel against it, or to maintain its enemies, implies in those who are allowed possession of such authority the right to rebel themselves, and therefore the right to establish martial law or military government in a State or territory in rebellion implies the right and the duty of the government to liberate the minds of all men living therein by appropriate proclamations and assurances of protection, in order that all who are capable, intellectually and morally, of loyalty and obedience, may not be forced into treason as the unwilling tools of rebellious traitors. To have continued indefinitely the most efficient cause, support and stay of the rebellion, would have been, in our judgment, unjust to the loyal people whose treasure and lives are made a willing sacrifice on the altar of patriotism -would have discriminated against the wife who is compelled to surrender her husband, against the parent who is to surrender his child, to the hardships of the camp and the perils of battle, in favor of rebel masters permitted to retain their slaves. It would have been a final decision alike against humanity, justice, the rights and dignity of the government, and against sound and wise national policy. The decision of the President to strike at the root of the rebellion will lend new vigor to the efforts and new life and hope to the hearts of the people. Cordially tendering to the President our respectful assurances of personal and official confidence, we trust and believe that the policy now inaugurated will be crowned with success, will give speedy and triumphant victories over our enemies, and secure to this nation and this people the blessing and favor of Almighty G-d. We believe that the blood of the heroes who have already fallen, and those who may yet give their lives to their country, will not have been shed in vain.

Credit: Edward McPherson, The Political History of the United States of American During the Great Rebellion, Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: Philp & Solomons, 1865.
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