Now Sold
Hay | John [Emancipation] [Confiscation Acts]

Letter from John Hay: Executive Mansion, September, 1862

Signed Letter - Executive Mansion Stationary



Signed letter from John Hay, private secretary to President Lincoln, to Reverend E.R. Ames of Cincinnati. Single page, previously folded. Housed in custom cloth chemise. On September 8th, 1862, the Cincinnati Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church passed a resolution imploring President Lincoln to fully and promptly carry out the “emancipation of the slaves of all persons in rebellion against the government of our country.” More specifically, they implored the president to carry out the Confiscation Acts, which were laws passed by congress in 1861 authorizing the confiscation of Confederate property (slaves). As of 1862, President Lincoln was concerned that strict enforcement of the acts would push border states towards the Confederacy, which is likely why his response in this letter was tepid and noncommittal. In this letter dated September 13th, 1862 to Reverend E.R. Ames, John Hay offers the presidents “respect and esteem” and acknowledges the Cincinnati Conference resolution. The Confiscation Acts clarified the status of slaves and were key to the eventual passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Comments: John Hay would serve as the private secretary to President Lincoln until 1865. Along with John Nicolay, Hay would author a 10-Volume biography of President Lincoln called Abraham Lincoln: A History. During the McKinley Administration, Hay returned to government as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom, and later the twelfth secretary of state.

Additional information

Location Published

Washington DC


Executive Mansion


Signed Letter – Executive Mansion Stationary

Date Published





Near Fine

Jacket Condition

Hay | John [Emancipation] [Confiscation Acts]