The board of trade Complaints from all parts of the west were heard. The board of trade for Montreal sent its President to me for information, and then petitioned parliment for relief.
A delegation was sent to Quebec to induce Parliment to act. Members enquired what our government required? and requested the delegation to learn from me saying they would do whatever may be demanded. I replied at once that our government demanded nothing. That the canadas had exported Antharcite coal to Nassau to aid Blockade runners, and the americans had therefore prohibited its exportation to Canada, and would not likely permit its exportation to be resumed untill Canada should effectually prohibit its reexportation to Nassau. I was asked to write our government to know whether the restriction would be removed if Canada should prohibit its reexportation. I said no, our government ought to make no promises. I will not ask them to do it. Here the matter rests. My object has been to bring out to the understanding of the Cannadians their entire dependence on us. To let their Statesmen and people understand that we are to be respected because of our power. That is the only argument that Englishmen seem capable of appreciating This I believe should constitute our policy with the Canadas. Let us by every proper meanes show their dependence upon us, and do no act rendering them independent. I would advise the termination of the reciprocity treaty and if Congress be disposed to favour Canada let them extend the benefits of the treaty by Statute, which may be repealed at pleasure. I would not make annother treaty to render them secure in their advantages for annother series of years. Such treaty merely postpones a result which must come, sooner or later, and the more it is agitated amoung Canadians, the sooner it will take place.
While pursuing this policy I would advise a kind conciliatory policy course. Let the Canadians understand that we are guided by justice, and will demand of them nothing more, and will accept of nothing less.
I would advise that exportation of coal be permitted as soon as we shall be made secure-- Indeed we cannot be justified in witholding it one moment after full security be given. To continue the prohibition after that would be to violate the spirit of our treaty, and I would impress the Cannadians with a sense of our Justice.
I have deemed these suggestons due to the Administration who cannot be as well acquainted with facts and circumstances as one who is on the spot, mingling with the people. Again if the predictions of my phisicians prove true, I shall pass from this sphere of action at no distant day, and I desire that the Administration and my successor may understand the course I have pursued--.
My object has been to carry out “The Munroe doctrine which was intended to consecrate the American Continent to free institutions, while I think it were far better for the Canadas and for the world that they form an independent government, than to form States of our Union.
Document: William H. Seward to Abraham Lincoln, May 13, 1864
Department of State,
Friday, May 13th, 1864.
My dear Sir,
I have taken the liberty to appoint an interview with you tomorrow morning at eleven o’clock, for the purpose of presenting to you Mr. Aime Humbert, the Envoy Extraordinary of the Swiss Confederation to Japan.
William H. Seward.
Document: Charles E. Sherman to Abraham Lincoln, May 13, 1864
Washington 13th May, 1864.
The recruits in the Old 15th N. Y. Vol. Engineers, whose case was presented to you some days ago with a letter from Gov. Morgan, & from the Hon Mr Kalbfleisch & the Hon Mr Odell, have been ordered by the War Department to proceed with their Brigade to the front tomorrow.
The evidence shows, beyond all question, it is believed, that they have been unlawfully detained in the Service for nearly a year; and as the Brigade is entirely efficient without these recruits, they most respectfully ask that they may be retained where they now are, until your Excellency disposes of thier case, upon the evidence now before you. They ask this as an act of simple and obvious justice.1
by request of the Petitioners to the President.
Document: James Short to Abraham Lincoln, May 13, 18641
1 James Short was one of Lincoln’s best friends in New Salem, Illinois during the 1830s. In 1861 Lincoln appointed him agent for the Round Valley Indian reservation in California. For more on Short’s difficulties in California, see his other letter to Lincoln in this collection.