How Do We Know the Truth?
President Lincoln's private secretary describes the events surrounding the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in Lincoln's study at the White House.
"Mr. Lincoln took the various manuscript notes and memoranda which his Cabinet advisers brought him on the 31st of December and during that afternoon and the following morning with his own hand carefully rewrote the entire body of the draft of the proclamation....
"No ceremony was made or attempted of this final official signing. The afternoon was well advanced when Mr. Lincoln went back from his New Year's greetings, with his right hand so fatigued that it was an effort to hold the pen. There was no special convocation of the Cabinet or of prominent officials. Those who were in the house came to the executive office merely from the personal impulse of curiosity joined to momentary convenience.
"His signature was attached to one of the greatest and most beneficent military decrees of history in the presence of less than a dozen persons; after which it was carried to the Department of State to be attested by the great seal and deposited among the archives of the Government."