April 1, 1861
My dear Sir:
Since parting with you I have been considering your paper dated this day, and entitled "Some thoughts for the President's consideration"-- The first proposition in it is, "1st We are at the end of a month's administration, and yet without a policy, either domestic or foreign"--
At the beginning of that month, in the inaugural, I said "The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties, and imposts". This had your distinct approval at the time; and, taken in connection with the order I immediately gave General Scott, directing him to employ every means in his power to strengthen and hold the forts, comprises the exact domestic policy you now urge, with the single exception, that it does not propose to abandon Fort Sumpter--
Again, I do not perceive how the re-inforcement of Fort Sumpter would be done on a slavery, or party issue, while that of Fort Pickens would be on a more national, and patriotic one.
The news received yesterday in regard to St. Domingo,2 certainly brings a new item into within the range of our foreign policy; but up to that time we have been preparing circulars, and instructions to ministers, and the like, all in perfect harmony, without ever a suggestion that we had no foreign policy.
Upon your closing proposition, that "whatever policy we adopt, there must be an energetic prossecution of it"
"For this purpose it must be somebody's business to pursue and direct it incessantly"
"Either the President must do it himself, and be all the while active in it, or"
"Devolve it on some member of his cabinet"
"Once adopted, debates on it must end, and all agree and abide" I remark that if this must be done, I must do it-- When a general line of policy is adopted, I apprehend there is no danger of its being changed without good reason, or continuing to be a subject of unnecessary debate; still, upon points arising in its progress, I wish, and suppose I am entitled to have the advice of all the Cabinet--
Your Obt. Servt.
As I read this and correct me if I am wrong, but Lincoln was having trouble deciding just which issue he wanted to have as a cause for going to war. Wheather uir was slavery, which he said he had no intention of meddling in that institution, or for the party and make it look like a patrotic issue. So the real answer would be party?
Do you agree what is your summary?