Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) online

. (page 23 of 42)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 23 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

a portion of those Indians have been organized as a military force, and
are attached to the army of the insurgents. Although the Government
has no official information upon this subject, letters have been written to
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs by several prominent chiefs, giving
assurance of their loyalty to the United States, and expressing a wish for
the presence of Federal troops to protect them. It is believed that upon
the repossession of the country by the Federal forces, the Indians will
readily cease all hostile demonstrations, and resume their former relations
to the Government.

Agriculture, confessedly the largest interest of the nation, haa not a
department, nor a bureau, but a clerkship only, assigned to it in the Gov
ernment. "While it is fortunate that this great interest is so independent
in its nature as to not have demanded and extorted more from the Gov
ernment, I respectfully ask Congress to consider whether something more
cannot be given voluntarily with general advantage.

Annual reports exhibiting the condition of our agriculture, commerce,
and manufactures, would present a fund of information of great practical
value to the country. While I make no suggestion as to details, I ven
ture the opinion that an agricultural and statistical bureau might profit
ably be organized.


The execution of the Jaws for the stippression of the African slave trad*
has been confided to the Department of the Interior. It is a subject of grat-
nlation that the efforts which have been made for the suppression of this
inhuman traffic have been recently attended with unusual success. Fiv
vessels being fitted out for the slave-trade have been seized and con
demned. Two mates of vessels engaged in the trade, and one person in
equipping a vessel as a shiver, have been convicted and subjected to the
penalty of fine and imprisonment, and one captain, taken with a cargo of
Africans on board his vessel, has been convicted of the highest grade of
offence under our laws, the punishment of which is death.

The Territories of Colorado, Dakotah, and Nevada, created by the la*t
Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been inau
gurated therein under auspices especially gratifying, when it is considered
that the ieaveu of treason was found existing in some of these new conn
tries when the Federal officers arrived there.

The abundant natural resources of these Territories, with the security
and protection afforded by organized government, will doubtless invite to
them a large immigration when peace shall restore the business of the
country to its accustomed channels. I submit the resolutions of the Legis
lature of Colorado, which evidence the patriotic spirit of the people of
the Territory. So far the authority of the United States has been upheld in
ail the Territories, as it is hoped it will be in the future. I commend their
interests and defence to the enlightened and generous care of Congress.

I recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress the interests
of the District of Columbia. The insurrection has been the cause of
much suffering and sacrifice to its inhabitants, and as they have no rep
resentative in Congress, that body should not overlook their just claims
apou the Government.

At your late session a joint resolution was adopted authorizing the
President to take measures for facilitating a proper representation of the
industrial interests of the United States at the exhibition of the industry
of all nations to be holden at London in the year 1802. I regret to say
I have been unable to give personal attention to this subject a subject at
ouee to interesting in itself, and so extensively and intimately connec**-}
with the ma-eriul prosperity of the world. Through the Secretary =
tate and of the Interior a plan or system has been devised and parti}-
matured, and which will be laid before you.

Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An act to con
fiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved August 6,
1861, the legal cla ms of certain persons to the labor and service of cer
tain other persons have become forfeited; and numbers of the latter, thus
liberated, are already dependent on the United States, and must be pro
vided for in some way. Besides this, it is not impossible that some of the
States will pass similar enactments for their own benefit respectively,
*nd by operation of which persons of the same class will be thrown upon


them for disposal. In such case, I recommend that Congress provide foi
accepting such persons from such States, according to some mode of val
uation, in lieu, pro tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other plan to ba
agreed on with such States respectively ; that such persons, on such ac
ceptance by the General Government, be at once deemed free; and that,
in any event, steps be taken for colonizing both classes (or the one first
mentioned, if the other shall not be brought into existence) at some placa
or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider,
too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could
not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization.

To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of ter-

fory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be expended
in the territorial acquisition. Having practised the acquisition of ter
ritory for nearly sixty years, the question of constitutional power to do
so is no longer an open ono with us. The power was questioned at first
by Mr. Jefferson, who, however, in the purchase of Louisiana, yielded his
scruples on the plea of great expediency. If it be said that the only
legitimate object of acquiring territory is to furnish homes for white men,
this measure effects that object; for the emigration of colored men leaves*
additional room for white men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson,
however, placed the importance of procuring Louisiana more on political
and commercial grounds than on providing room for population.

On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money with
the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to absolute
necessity that, without which the Government itself cannot be perpet
nated ?

The war continues. In considering the policy to bo adopted for sup
pressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and careful that the inev
itable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a violent and
emorseless revolutionary struggle.

In the exercise of my best discretion, I have adhered to the blockade of
the ports held by the insurgents, instead of putting in force by proclama
tion the law of Congress enacted at the late session for closing those ports.

So, also, obeying the dictates of prudence, as well as the obligations
of law, instead of transcending I have adhered to the act of Congress to
confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes. If a new " law
upon the same subject shall be proposed, its propriety will be duly con-
iidered. The Union must be preserved ; and hence all indispensable
means must be employed. Wo should not be in haste to determine that
radical and extreme measures, which may reach the loyal as well as the
disloyal, are indispensable.

The inaugural address at the beginning of the Administration, and
the message to Congress at the late special session, were both mainly
devoted to the domestic controversy out of which the insurrection and
consequent war have sprung Nothing now occurs to add or subtract


jr from the principles or general purposes stated and expresned in those

The ast ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably expired *t
the fiu>f4ult ^jon Fort Suniter; and a general review of what has oe-
since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully uncertain
r. is much bet ier defined and more distinct now; and the progress of
is plaidy in the right direction. The insurgents confident}*
claimed a strong support from north of Manon and Dixon s line; and t!
friends of the Union were not free from apprehension on the poiu
This, however, was soon, settled definitely, and on the right side. South
jf the line, noble little Delaware led otf right from the iirst. Maryland
vas to seem against the Union. Our soldiers were assaulted
Bridges were burned, and railroads torn up within her limits; au<l we
ivere -iany days, at one time, without the ability to bring a single regi
ment <ver her soil to the Capital. Now her bridges and railroads are
rep/ved and open to the Government; she already gives seven regiment i
to oe cause of the Union, and none to the enemy; and her people, at a
regular election, have sustained the Union by a larger majority and a
larger aggregate vote than they ever before gave to any candidate 01
a ly question. Kentucky, too, for some time in doubt, is now decidedly,
a id, I think, unchangeably ranged on the side of the Union. Missouri
i* comparatively quiet, and, I believe, cannot again be overrun by the
insurrectionists. These three States of Maryland, Kentucky, and Mis
souri, neither of which would promise a single soldier at first, have now
an aggregate of not less than forty thousand in the field for the Union ;
while of their citizens, certainly not more than a third of that number,
and they of doubtful whereabouts and doubtful existence, are in arms
against it. After a somewhat bloody struggle of months, winter closed
on the Union people of Western Virginia, leaving them masters of their
own country.

An insurgent force of about fifteen hundred, for months dominating
the narrow peninsular region constituting the counties of Accomac an;,
Northampton, and kn nvn as Eastern Shore of Virginia, together with
ome contiguous parts of Maryland, have laid down their arms; and the
people there have renewed their allegiance to, and accepted the protec
tion of, the old flag. This leaves no armed insurrectionist north of tha
Potomac, or east of the Chesapeake.

Also we have obtained a footing at each of the isolated points on th*
southern coast of llatteras, Port Royal, Tybee Island, near Savannah,
and Ship Island; and we likewise have some general accounts of popular
movements in behalf of the Union in North Carolina and Tennessee.

These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is advancing
steadily and certainly southward.

Since your last adjournment Lieutenant-General Scott has retired fr
the head of the army. During his long life the nation has not been


mindful of his merit ; yet. on calling to mind how faithfully, ably, and
brilliantly he has served the country, from a time far back in our history f
when lew of the now living had been born, and thenceforward contin
ually, I cannot but think we are still his debtors. I submit, therefore, tor
your consideration what further mark of recognition is due to him, &nd
to ourselves as a grateful people.

With the retirement of General Scott came the executive duty of ap
pointing in his stead a general-in-chief of the army. It is a fortnnat
ircnm stance that E/either in council nor country was there, so far as
know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person to be selected
The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in favor of General
McGlellan for the position; and in this the nation seemed to give a
unanimous concurrence. The designation of General McClellan is, there
fore, in considerable degree, the selection of the country as well as of
the Executive; and hence there is better reason to hope there will be
given him the confidence and cordial support thus, by fair implication,
promised, and without which he cannot, with so full efficiency, serve the

It has been said that one bad general is better than two good ones;
and the saying is true, if taken to mean no more than that an army ia
oetter directed by a single mind, though inferior, than by two superior
ones at variance and cross-purposes with each other.

And the same is true in all joint operations wherein those engaged can
have none but a common end in view, and can diifer only as to the choice
of means. In a storm at sea, no one on board can wish the ship to sink ;
and yet not unfrequently all go down together, because too many will
direct, and no single mind can be allowed to control.

It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not exclu
sively, a war upon the first principle of popular government the rights
of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave and
Tiaturely-considered public documents, as well as in the genera tone of
he insurgents. In those documents we find the abridgment of tr,e exist
!, right of suffrage, and the denial to the people of all right to partici
in the selection of public officers, except the legislative, boldly
, with labored arguments to prove that large control of the
people in government is the source of all political evfl. Monarchy itself
is soraeHmes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people.

In my present position, I could scarely be justified were I to omit rais
ing a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should be
made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with its
connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief at
tention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not
above, labor, in the fttructuro of government. It is assumed that labor if
Q&J in oanj^efcjon with capital ; &at m>bod y labor?


oody else, owning capital, s<;;-nehow by the use of it induces him to labor.
This assumed, it is next considered whether it ic> best that capital shal.
hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy
them, and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so
far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers, or
what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a
hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.

Now, there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed ;
nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the con
dition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all in .
ferences from them are groundless. I

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the iYi..t
of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.
Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher considera
tion. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any
other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be,
a relation between labor and capital, producing mutual benefits. The
error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that
relation. A few men own capital, and those few avoid labor themselves,
arid, with their capital, hire or buy another few to labor for them. A
large raajoiity belong to neither class neither work for others, nor have
others working for them. In most of the Southern States, a majority of
the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters ; while in
the Northern, a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with
their families wivew, sons, and daughters work for themselves on their
farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to
themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand, nor of hired
laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable
number of persons mingle their own labor with capital that is, they
labor with their own hands, and also buy or hire others to labor for them;
but this is only a mixed, and not a distinct class. No principle stated is
disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

Again: as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such
thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life. Ma?i
independent men everywhere in these States, a few years back in th-
lives, were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the won
labors for wages a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land
for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length
hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just, and generous,
and prosperous system, which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and
consequent energy, and progress, and improvement of condition to ah.
No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from
poverty none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not
honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power
which they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely he nsed


ro dose the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix .ew Uis
Abilities and burdens upon them, till a]l of liberty shall be lost.

From the first taking of our national census to the last are seventy
years ; and we find our population, at tho end of the period, eight times
ia great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those other things
which men deem desirable has been even greater. We thus have, at onfe
new, what the popular principle, applied to Government through the
machinery of the States and the Union, has produced in a given time;
and also what, if firmly maintained, it promises for the future. There
are already among us those who, if the Union be preserved, will live to
see it contain two hundred and fifty millions. The straggle of to-day is
not altogether for to-day ; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on
Providence, all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task
which events have devolved upon us. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

The actual condition of the country and the progress
of the war, at the opening of the session, are very clearly
stated in this document ; and the principles upon which
the President had based his conduct of public aifairs are
set forth with great distinctness and precision. On the
subject of interfering with slavery, the President had
adhered strictly to the letter and spirit of the act passed
by Congress at its extra session ; but he very distinctly
foresaw that it might become necessary, as a means of
Duelling the rebellion and preserving the Union, to resort
to a much more vigorous policy than was contemplated
by that act. While he threw out a timely caution against
undue haste in the adoption of extreme measures, he
promised full and careful consideration of any new law
which Congress might consider it wise and expedient to

j Tt very soon became evident that Congress was dis-
\ >sed to make very considerable advances upon the
legislation of the extra session. The resistance of the
rebels had been more vigorous and effective than waa
anticipated, and the defeat at Bull Eun had exasperated
as well as aroused the public mind. The forbearance of
the Government in regard to slavery had not only failed
to soften the hostility of the rebels, but had been rep
resented to Europe by the rebel authorities as proving
* determination on the part of the United States to protect


and perpetuate slavery by restoring the authority of the
Constitution which guaranteed its safety ; and the acts of
the extra session, especially the Crittenden resolution,
deiining and limiting the objects of the war, were quoted
in rebel dispatches to England for that purpose. It was
known, also, that within the lines of the rebel army sla v es
were freely employed in the construction of fortifications,
and that they contributed in this and other ways very
largely to the strength of the insurrection. The whole
country, under the influence of these facts, began to re
gard slavery as not only the cause of the rebellion, but
as the main strength of its armies and the bond of union
for the rebel forces ; and Congress, representing and
sharing this feeling, entered promptly and zealously upon
such measures as it would naturally suggest. Resolu
tions at the very outset of the session were offered, call
ing on the President to emancipate slaves whenever and
wherever such action would tend to weaken the rebel
lion ; and the general policy of the Government upon thia
subject became the theme of protracted and animated
debate. The orders issued by the generals of the army,
especially McClellan, Halleck, and Dix, by which fugi
tive slaves were prohibited from coming within the army
lines, were severely censured. All the resolutions upon
these topics were, however, referred to appropriate com
mittees, generally without specific instructions as to the
character of their action upon them.

Early in the session a strong disposition was evinced in
some quarters to censure the Government for its arbitrary
arrests of persons in the loyal States, suspected of aiding
the rebels, its suppression of disloyal presses, and other
acts which it had deemed essential to the safety of the
country ; and a sharp debate took place in the Senate
upon a resolution of inquiry and implied censure offered
by Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois. The general feeling, how
ever, was so decidedly in favor of sustaining the Presi
dent, that the resolution was referred to the Judiciary
Committee, by a vote of twenty-five to seventeen.

On the 19th of December, in the Senate, a debate on


the relation of slavery to the rebellion arose upon a reso
lution offered by Mr. Willey, of West Virginia,, who con
tested the opinion that slavery was the cause of the war,
and insisted that the rebellion had its origin in the
hostility of the Southern political leaders to the demo
cratic principle of government ; he believed that when
the great body of the Southern people came to see thy
real purpose and aim of the rebellion, they would with-*
draw their support, and restore the Union. No action
was taken on the resolution, which merely gave occasion
for debate. A resolution was adopted in the House,
forbidding the employment of the army to return fugitive
slaves to their owners ; and a bill was passed in both
Houses, declaring that hereafter there shall be u neither
slavery nor in voluntary servitude in any of the Territories
of the United States, now existing, or which may at any
time be formed or acquired by the United States, other
wise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party
shall have been duly convicted."

In the Senate, on the 18th of March, a bill was taken
up to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia ; and
an amendment was offered, directing that those thus set
free should be colonized out of the United States. The
policy of colonization was fully discussed in connection
with the general subject, the senators from the Border
States opposing the bill itself, mainly on grounds of
expediency, as calculated to do harm under the existing
circumstances of the country. The bill was passed, with,
an amendment appropriating money to be used by the
President in colonizing such of the emancipated slaves
as might wish to leave the country. It received in the
Senate twenty-nine votes in its favor and fourteen
against it. In the House it passed by a vote of nine-
two to thirty-eight.

President Lincoln sent in the following message, an
nouncing his approval of the bill :

The act entitled "An act for the ivlcube of certain persons held to


service or labor in the District of Columbia," has this day been approved
and signed.

I have never doubted the constitutional authority of Congruis to abol
ish slavery in this District ; and I have ever desired to see the national
capital freed from the institution in some satisfactory way. Hence there
has never been in my mind any question upon the subject except the one
of expediency, arising in view of all the circumstances. If there be mat
ters within and about this act which might have taken a course or shape
more satisfactory to my judgment, I do not attempt to specify them. 1
am gratified that the two principles of compensation and colonization are
both recognized and practically applied in the act-
In the matter of compensation, it is provided that claims may be pre
sented within ninety days from the passage of the act, " but not there

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 23 of 42)