“The Government must be perpetuated”

On June 2, 1863 a delegation of sixty-five Presbyterians presented Lincoln with a set of resolutions in favor of the administration adopted that May by the General Assembly. Lincoln responded with the following statement:

It has been my happiness to receive testimonies of a similar nature, from I believe, all denominations of Christians. They are all loyal, but perhaps not in the same degree, or in the same numbers; but I think they all claim to be loyal. This to me is most gratifying, because from the beginning I saw that the issues of our great struggle depended on the Divine interposition and favor. If we had that, all would be well. The proportions of this rebellion were not for a long time understood. I saw that it involved the greatest difficulties, and would call forth all the powers of the whole country. The end is not yet.…

In my administration I might have committed some errors. It would be, indeed, remarkable if I had not. I have acted according to my best judgment in every case.…As a pilot, I have used my best exertions to keep afloat our ship of State, and shall be glad to resign my trust at the appointed time to another pilot more skillful and successful than I may prove. In every case, and at all hazards, the Government must be perpetuated. Relying, as I do, upon the Almighty Power, and encouraged as I am by these resolutions which you have just read, with the support which I receive from Christian men, I shall not hesitate to use all the means at my control to secure the termination of this rebellion, and will hope for success.

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