After his speech at Gettysburg, President Lincoln issued
"a proclamation of amnesty, in which he promised pardon and full rights to any individual Confederate who would swear to protect the Constitution and the Union of the states, to abide by the government's pronouncements against slavery...he promised, too, that a Confederate state could return to the Union whenever ten per cent of its voters should reestablish a loyal Union government within that state".
Lincoln's attitude of conciliation resulted in violent criticism from all sections of the country. The South accused him of setting "a cruel trap for the deluded", claiming that reconciliation under his terms would be only "a relationship between the conqueror and the conquered...that it would mean personal and public degradation and ruin". In the North the President's offer of amnesty was decried by his detractors as "little better than treason...many people began to consider it high patriotism to talk of of the coming wholesale execution of rebels".
To some like the Creightons, however, Lincoln's actions only served to justify the pride and esteem they already held for their compassionate President. Jethro remembered with love and respect the words that Lincoln wrote in his letter, that "there will be much criticism, but if I err it will be on the side of mercy" (Chapter 11).