Page images
PDF
EPUB

the insurrectionary districts, issued a proclamation declaring in what States and in what counties of Virginia insurrection existed ; and on the same day addressed a letter to the Governors of the loyal States, in reply to one received from them, asking that for the purpose of following up recent signal successes by measures which would ensure the speedy restoration of the Union, a sufficient number of men from each State to fill up existing regiments and to form new organizations, might be called for. Mr. Lincoln fully concurred in the views of the Executives and expressed his intention to call for an additional force of three hundred thousand men.

On the twelfth of July, an interesting interview took place at the White House, the Senators and Representatives of the Border States having assembled there by invitation of the President, who wished to converse with them upon the important topic of gradual emancipation. During an extended conversation, he expressed his views clearly and explicitly, requesting their calm consideration of the subject, and charging them to commend his suggestions to their constituents, and to prevent all doubt of bis meaning, read to them the following appeal:

Gentlemen : After the adjournment of Congress, now near, I shall have no opportunity of seeing you for several months. Believing that you of the border States hold more power for good than any other equal number of members, I feel it a duty, which I cannot justifiably waive, to make this appeal to you.

“I intend no reproach or complaint when I assure you that, in my opinion, if you all had voted for the resolution in the gradual emancipation message of last March, the war would now be substantially ended. And the plan therein proposed is yet one of the most potent and swift means of ending it. Let the States which are in rebellion see definitely and certainly that, in no event, will the States you represent ever join their proposed confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest. But you cannot divest them of their hope to ultimately have you with them so long as you show a determination to perpetuate the institutions within your own States. Beat them at elections, as you have overwhelmingly done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own. You and I know what the lever of their

power is. Break that lever before their faces, and they can shake you no more forever.

“Most of you have treated me with kindness and consideration, and I trust you will not now think I improperly touch what is exclusively your own, when, for the sake of the whole country, I ask, “Can you, for your States, do better than to take the course I urge ? Discarding punctilio and maxims adapted to more manageable times, and looking only to the unprecedentedly stern facts of our case, can you do better in any possible event? You prefer that the constitutional relation of the States to the nation shall be practically restored without disturbance of the institution ; and, if this were done, my whole duty, in this respect, under the Constitution and my oath of office, would be performed. But it is not done, and we are trying to accomplish it by war. The incidents of the war cannot be avoided. If the war continues long, as it must if the object be not sooner attained, the institution in your States will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion—by the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is gone already. How much better for you and for your people to take the step which at once shortens the war, and secures substantial compensation for that which is sure to be wbolly lost in any other event! How much better to thus save the money which else we sink forever in the war! How much better to do it while we can, lest the war, ere long, render us pecuniarily unable to do it! How much better for you, as ecller, and the nation, as buyer, to sell out and buy out that without which the war could never have been, than to sink both the thing to be sold and the price of it in cutting one another's throats.

"I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply and in abundance; and, when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be so reluctant to go.

“I am pressed with a difficulty not yet mentioned-one which threatens division among those who, united, are none too strong. An instance of it is known to you. General Hunter is an honest man. He was, and I hope still is, my friend. I valued him none the less for his agreeing with me in the general wish that all men everywhere could be freed. He proclaimed all men free within certain States, and I repudiated the proclamation. He expected more good and less harm from the measure than I could believe would follow. Yet, in repudiating it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offence, to many whose support the country cannot afford to lose. And this is not the end of it. The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing. By conceding what I now ask, you can relieve me, and, much more, can relieve the country in this important point.

"Upon these considerations I have again begged your atter tion to the message of March last. Before leaving the capital, consider and discuss it arnong yourselves. You are patriots and statesmen, and, as such, I pray you consider this proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in nowise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government is saved to the world, its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. • To you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assui e that happiness and swell that grandeur, and to link your own pames therewith forever."

INSTRUCTIONS TO MILITARY AND NAVAL

COMMANDERS. On the twenty-second of July, he issued the following order :

“War DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, July 22d, 1862. First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an ordinary manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several commands, for supplies, or for other military purposes; and that while property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness or malice.

Second. That military and paval commanders shall employ as laborers, within and from said States, so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor.

Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African descent, accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quantities and amounts, and from whom both property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper cases; and the several departments of this government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts toward the execution of these orders. “By order of the President.

“ EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War." And on the twenty-fifth of July, by proclamation, he warned all persons to cease participating in aiding, counteDancing, or abetting the rebellion, and to return to their

allegiance under penalty of the forfeitures and seizures provided by an Act “to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved on the seventeenth of July, 1862. A DRAFT FOR THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND

MEN ORDERED. On the fourth of August, 1862, the following order for a draft was issued :

“ ORDERED : First, that a draft of three hundred thousand militia be immediately called into the service of the United States, to serve for nine months, unless sooner discharged. The Secretary of War will assign the quotas to the States and establish regulations for the draft.

Second, that if any State shall not, by the fifteenth of August, furnish ita quota of the additional three hundred thousand volunteers authorized by law, the deficiency of volunteers in that State will also be made up by a special draft from the militia. The Secretary of War will establish regulations for this purpose.

Third, regulations will be prepared by the War Department, and presented to the President, with the object of securing the promotion of officers of the army and volunteers for meritorious and distinguished services, and of preventing the nomination and appointment in the military service of incompetent or unworthy officers.

“The regulations will also provide for ridding the service of such incompetent persons as now bold commissions. “By order of the President.

“ EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.'

THE PRESIDENT SPEAKS AT A WAR

MEETING. On the sixth of August, 1862, a large and enthusiastic Union meeting was held in Washington, at which a series of patriotic resolutions was adopted, and numerous eloquent speeches delivered, among others the following characteristic one by the Chief Magistrate of the nation :

"Fellow-citizens: I believe there is no precedent for my appearing before you on this occasion, [applause,] but it is also

true that there is no precedent for your being here yourselves, sapplause and laughter,) and I offer, in justification of myself and of you, that, upon examination, I have found nothing in the Constitution against it. [Renewed applause.] I, however, have an impression that there are younger gentlemen who will entertain you better, (voices-No, no! none can do better than yourself. Go on !'] and butter address your understanding than I will or could, and therefo e I propose but to detain you a moment longer. Cries—'Go o! Tar and feather the rebels !']

“I'am very little inclined on any occasion to say any thing unless I hope to produce some good by it. (A voice— You do that; go on.'l The only thing I think of just now not likely to be better said by some one else is a matter in which we have heard some other persons blamed for what I did myself. [Voices—'What is it?'] There has been a very wide-spread attempt to have a quarrel between General McClellan and the Secretary of War. Now, I occupy a position that enables me to observe, at least these two gentlemen are not nearly so deep in the quarrel as some pretending to be their friends. Cries of •Good.' General McClellan's attitude is such that, in the very selfishness of his nature, he cannot but wish to be successfur, and I hope he will—and the Secretary of War is in precisely the same situation. If the military commanders in the field cannot be successful, not only the Secretary of War, but myself, for the time being the master of them both, cannot be but failures. (Laughter and applause. I know General McClellan wishes to be successful, and I know he does not wish it any more than the Secretary of War for him, and both of them together no more than I wish it. [Applause and cries of Good.') Sometimes we have a dispute about how many men General McClellan has had, and those who would disparage him say that he has had a very large number, and those who would disparage the Secretary of War insist that General McClellan has had a very small number. The basis for this is, there is always a wide difference, and on this occasion perhaps a wider one, between the grand total on McClellan's rolls and the men actually fit for duty; and those who would disparage him talk of the grand total on paper, and those who would disparage the Secretary of War talk of those at present fit for duty. General McClellan has sometimes asked for things that the Secretary of War did not give bim. General McClellan is not to blame for asking what he wanted and needed, and the Secretary of War is not to blame for not giving when he had none to give. [Applause, laughter, and cries of •Good, good.'l And I say here, as far as I know, the Secretary of War has withheld no one thing at any time in my power to give him. (Wild applause, and a voice-'Give him enough

Dow!') I have no accusation against him. I believe he is a • brave and able man, sapplause, and I stand here, as justice re.

quires me to do, to take upon myself what has been charged on the Secretary of War, as withholding from him.

« PreviousContinue »