WASHINGTON, D. C., October 3, 1863.
Please give me as near as you can the number of slaves you have recruited in Maryland. Of course, the number is not to include the free colored.
BALTIMORE, MD., October 3, 1863-8 p.m.
His Excellency A. LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
Yours just received. Between 1,250 and 1,300, as near as I can judge.
BALTIMORE, October 3, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
DEAR SIR: Since leaving you this afternoon my further reflection on the subject of our interview satisfies me, as I hope it will you, that the time allowed (thirty days) for the enlistment of slaves offered by their owners is entirely too short.
When you remember what a slow process enlistment is, even under the most favorable circumstances, we can hardly hope to make the required progress in the short time suggested. The notice itself will scarcely have circulation in less than half that time, and though a few may be ready at once to respond, some preparation with the most is unavoidable.
Besides, a novel experiment of the kind will have various prejudices to encounter, and must necessarily be a subject of discussion and deliberation before it is definitely adopted. Thirty days will be entirely too short a period to furnish a fair trial. Let me beg, therefore, that you will make the time sixty days at least.
I cannot forbear again attempting to impress upon you my views of passing no order at this time commanding a resort at any specified period to enlistments without the owner's consent. Independently of the fact that various provisions would seem to be required in connection with that branch of the case, necessary to guard against the irregularities which have heretofore prevailed, which can be all better matured and published hereafter, if thought necessary again to recur to that process, every point of view from which I can regard it seems to counsel such delay.
The right to resort to such enlistments might, if you thought proper, be still expressly reserved.
Not only does the exhausted condition of the productive labor of our State, as I urged upon you to-day, require, but the good will of our people toward the Government would be vastly promoted and the success of State constitutional emancipation secured, by suspending the compulsory enlistment until after we have made the experiment of enlisting with the owner's consent.
Let me beg you, sir, to take the matter again into consideration, and to confer with the President, if you are still inclined to differ