Page images
PDF
EPUB

authority or by the sentence of any court-martial or military commission.

“In witness whereof, I have hereupto set my hand, and cansed the seal of the United States to be affixed.

“Done at the City of Washington, this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh. “By the President.

“ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “Wm. 11. Seward, Secretary of State.

The suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus was naturally obnoxious to Northern sympathizers with treason, and for some time their newspaper organs were daily •filled with editorial and other articles, teeming with invidious criticism and abuse. The act placed more power in the hands of the President than was acceptable to men who, by their voice and pen, if not by their pecuniary means, were aiding and abetting the enemies of the country, and as they were not aware what moment they might be arrested and imprisoned for their despicable crimes, in their regard for their personal safety, they forgot their prudence, and abused the Executive. The beneficial effects of the order were not over-estimated by Mr. Lincoln, and with its promulgation almost entirely ceased the inteference with enlistments, which had too often before that date delayed the organization of regiments in some of the loyal States.

THE SABBATH TO BE OBSERVED. On the sixteenth of November, 1862, the following order was issued to the soldiers and sailors of the Union :

« The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy. desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service. The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine will, demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity.

“ The discipline and character of the National forces should not suffer, nor the cause they defend be imperilled, by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High. “At this time of public distress' adopting the words of Washington in 1776, * men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.' The first general order issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should ever be defended : · The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.'

“ABRAHAM LINCOLN."

HIS ANNUAL MESSAGE-IMPORTANT RECOM

MENDATIONS TO CONGRESS. On the first of December, 1862, Mr. Lincoln sent in to Congress his annual message ; giving a satisfactory resumé of the events of the previous twelve months; calling the attention of the Senators and Representatives to important matters which should receive their notice ; recommending the organization of national banking associations, under the hope and belief that they would be the means of promoting the early resumption of specie payments ; re-impressed upon them the importance of his plan of “compensated emancipation;" repeated at length his views upon the slavery question, and recommended the adoption of the following resolutions and articles amendatory to the Constitution :

Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures or Conventions of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures or Conventions, to be valid as part or parts of the said Constitution, namely:

ARTICLE — Every State wherein slavery now exists, which shall abolish the same therein at any time or times before the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred, shall receive compensation from the United States as follows, to wit:

“ The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State, bonds of the United States, bearing interest at the rate of ---, for each slave shown to have been therein, by the eighth census of the United States ; said bonds to be delivered to such State by instalments, or in one parcel at the completion of the abolishment, according as the same shall have been gradual or at one time within such State ; and interest shall begin to run upon any such bond only from the proper time of its delivery as aforesaid, and afterward. Any State having received bonds as aforesaid, and afterward introducing or tolerating slavery therein, shall refund to the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and all interest paid thereon.

“ARTICLE — All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom, by the chances of the war at any time, before the end of the rebellion, shall be forever free ; but all owners of such, who shall not have been disloyal, shall be compensated for them at the same rates as is provided for States adopting abolishment of slavery-but in such a way that no slave shall be twice accounted for.

“ARTICLE — Congress may appropriate money, and otherwise provide for colonizing free colored persons with their own consent, at any place or places without the United States.".

The message and its recommendations were received with the same eclat which has attended all the official documents penned by the illustrious statesman. The proclamation of September had awakened the people of the Union to the vast advantages to be derived from the adoption of his views and suggestions on every thing relating to slavery, and as the day on which the unfortunate blacks were to be rescued from a life of degradation approached, thousands, who had hitherto protested against interference with the “ peculiar institution,” united with their old political opponents, and awaited anxiously the hour when the order of emancipation was to go into effect. Residents of foreign lands were no less eager for the time to arrive when the Federal Government should strike off the fetters of the slave, and among other complimentary addresses sent to the President, was one from Manchester, England, from which we make the following extracts :

“As citizens of Manchester, assembled at the Free-Trade Hall, we beg to express our fraternal sentiments toward you and

your country. We rejoice in your greatness as an outgrowth of England, whose blood and language you share, whose orderly and legal freedom you have applied to new circumstances, over a region immeasurably greater than our own. We honor your Free States, as a singularly happy abode for the working millions where industry is honored. One thing alone has, in the past, lessened our sympathy with your country and our confidence in it--we mean the ascendency of politicians who not inerely maintained negro slavery, but desired to extend and root it more firmly. We joyfully honor you, as the President, and the Congress with you, for many decisive steps toward practically exemplifying your belief in the words of your great founders : ‘All men are created free and equal.' You have procured the liberation of the slaves in the district around Washington, and thereby made the centre of your Federation visibly free. You have enforced the laws against the slavetrade, and kept up your fleet against it, even while every ship was wanted for service in your terrible war. You have nobly decided to receive embassadors from the negro republics of Hayti and Liberia, thus forever renouncing that unworthy prejudice which refuses the rights of humanity to men and women on account of their color. In order more effectually to stop the slave-trade, you have made with our Queen a treaty, which your Senate has ratified, for the right of mutual search. Your Congress has decreed freedom as the law forever in the vast unoccupied or half unsettled Territories which are directly subject to its legislative power. It has offered pecuniary aid to all States which will enact emancipation locally, and has forbidden your generals to restore fugitive slaves who seek their protection. You have entreated the slave-masters to accept these moderate offers; and after long and patient waiting, you, as Commander-in-chief of the Army, have appointed to-morrow, the first of January, 1863, as the day of unconditional freedom for the slaves of the rebel States. We implore you, for your own honor and welfare, not to faint in your providential mission. While your enthusiasm is aflame, and the tide of events runs high, let the work be finished effectually. Leave no root of bitterness to spring up and work fresh misery to your children. It is a mighty task, indeed, to reorganize the industry not only of four millions of the colored race, but of five millions of whites. Nevertheless, the vast progress you have made in the short space of twenty months, fill us with hope that every stain on your freedom will shortly be removed, and that the erasure of that foul blot upon civilization and Christianitychattle slavery-during your Presidency, will cause the pame of Abraham Lincoln to be honored and revered by posterity.”

In answer to this flattering letter, Mr. Lincoln sent a happy response, in which he explained the motive which

had prompted bim to the undeviating course he has pursued since his inauguration. He had, he said, considered the duty of maintaining and preserving the Constitution and the integrity of the Federal Republic paramount to all others, and as a conscientious purpose to perform that duty was the key to all the measures of his administration, he could not, if he would, under his oath and our frame of government, depart from that purpose.

THE PRESIDENT VISITS THE ARMY OF THE

POTOMAC. Early in April, 1863, the President left Washington on a visit to the Army of the Potomac. He had in the previous year, when the same noble troops were resting at Harrison's Landing, after their campaign before Richmond, gone thither to observe for himself their true condition, and upon other occasions has visited their camping-grounds, where he has been always received with great enthusiasm. Upon the visit to which we now refer, he was accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln and one of his sons, and an eye-witness thus describes the proceedings incident to the entertainment of such distinguished guests :

On the morning of April seventh, 1863, a reception was had in General Hooker's tent, the members of the staff passing in and being introduced to the President by the Chief of Staff. Mr. Lincoln was in unusual good humor, and completely banished the constraint felt by all by his sociability and shafts of wit. The interview lasted some time, much to the enjoyment of all, until finally the officers one by one dropped out, and the hour designated for the review arrived. Early in the morning the several cavalry brigades commenced moving towards the field selected for the review, and during the forenoon were engaged forming the lines and stationing guards to keep off the crowd. At noon the roar of artillery announced that the cortege had

« PreviousContinue »