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 24 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 24 of 42)
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after ; " and there is no saving for minors, femmes covert, insane, or absent
persons. I presume this is an omission by mere oversight, and I recom
mend that it be supplied by an amendatory or supplemental act.

April 16, 1862.

On the 6tli of March, the President sent to Congress
the following message on the subject of aiding such
slaveholding States as might take measures to emancipate
their slaves :

WASHINGTON, March 6, 18C2.


I recommend the adoption of a joint resolution by yonr honorable
body, which shall be, substantially, as follows :

Resolved, That the United States, in order to co-operate with any State
which may adopt gradual abolition of slavery, give to such State pecu
niary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to compensate it for
the inconvenience, public and private, produced by such change of sys

If the proposition contained in the resolution does not meet the ap
proval of Congress and the country, there is an end of it. But if it doea
command such approval, I deem it of importance that the States and
people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of the
fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it.

The Federal Government would find its highest interest in such a meas-
ure as one of the most important means of self-preservation. The lead
ers of the existing rebellion entertain the hope that this Government will
ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of
the disaffected region, and that all the slave States north of such pr,-*
will then say, "The Union for which we have struggled being slr^i-ly
gone, we now cboo$e to go with the Southern section," TQ cU ^ ^e


them of this Lope substantially ends the rebellion; and the initiation o!
emancipation deprives them of it, and of all the States initiating it.

The point is not that all the States t Aerating slavery would very soon,
if at all, initiate emancipation; but wHle the offer is equally made to all,
the more Northern shall, by such in .tiation, make it certain to the more
Southern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their
proposed Confederacy. I say initiation, because, in my judgment, grid
ual and not sudden emancipation is better for all.

In the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member of Congress wit
the census or an abstract, of the Treasury report before him, can readil?
gee for himself how very soon the current expenditures of this war \\ouio
purchase, at a fair valuation, all the slaves in any named State.

Such a proposition on the part of the General Government sets up no
claim of a right by the Federal authority to interfere with slavery withir
State limits referring as it does the absolute control of the subject, ir
each case, to the State and the people immediately interested. It is pro
posed as a matter of perfectly free choice to them.

In the Annual Message last .December, I thought fit to say " the Unioi
must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means must be employed.
I said this, not hastily, but deliberately. War has been made, and con
tinues to be an indispensable means to this end. A practical reacknowl
edgment of the national authority would render the war unnecessary,
and it would at once cease. Bnt resistance continues, and the war must
also continue ; and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which ma?
attend, and all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem indis
pensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency towards ending thts
struggle, must and will come.

The proposition now made (though an offer only), I hope it may be es
teemed no offence to ask whether the pecuniary consideration tendered
would not be of more value to the States and private persons concerned
ti: an would the institution and property in it, in the present aspect of
affairs. While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution
irould be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it
is recommended in the hope that it would lead to important practical

In full view of my great responsibility to my God and my country, I
earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.


This Message indicates very clearly the tendency of the
President s reflections upon the general relations of
slavery to the rebellion. lie had most earnestly endeav
ored to arouse the people of the Southern States to a
contemplation of the fact that, if they persisted in their
effort to overthrow the Government of the United States,


th fate of slavery would sooner or later hit- vital be in
volved in the conflict. The time was steadily a; oroacli-
ing when, in consequence of their obstinate per^issionee in
the rebellion, this result would follow ; and the President,
with wise forethought, sought anxiously to reconcile the
shock which the contest would involve, with the order of
the country and the permanent prosperity of all classes of
the people. The general feeling of the country at that
time was in harmony with this -endeavor. The people
were still disposed to exhaust every means which justice
would sanction, to withdraw the people of the Southern
States from the disastrous war into which they had been
plunged by their leaders, and they welcomed this sugges
tion of the President as likely to produce that result, i*
any effort in that direction could.

In pursuance of the recommendation of the Message,
Mr. R. Conkling, of NQW York, introduced, in the House
of Representatives, on the 10th of March, the following
resolution :

Resolved ly the Senate and House of Representative* of the Unitfd
States in Congress assembled, That the United States ought to co-operato
with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving
to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to
compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such
a change of system.

The debate on this resolution illustrated the feelings of
the country on fhe subject. It was vehemently opposed
by the sympathizers with secession from both sections, as
an unconstitutional interference with slavery; and hesita
tingly supported by the anti-slavery men of the "North, as
less decided in its hostility than they had a right to ex
pect. The sentiment of the more moderate portion of the
community was expressed by Mr. Fisher, of Delaware,
who regarded it as an olive-branch of peace and harmony
and good faith presented by the Torth, and as well calcu
lated to bring about a peaceful solution and settlement of
the slavery question. It was adopted in the House by a
vote of eighty-nine to thirty-one. Coming up in the


Senate on the 24th of March, it was denounced in strong
terms by Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, and others Mr,
Davis, of Kentucky, opposing the terms in which it was
couched, but approving its general tenor. It subse
quently passed, receiving thirty -two votes in its favor,
and but ten against it. This resolution was approved by
the President on the 10th of April. It was generally re
garded by the people and by the President himsbif aa
rather an experiment than as a fixed policy as intended
to test the temper of the people of the Southern States,
and offer them a way of escape from the evils and einbar
rassments with which slavery had surrounded them,
rather than set forth a distinct line of conduct which was
to be pressed upon the country at all hazards. This char
acter, indeed, was stamped upon it by the fact that its
practical execution was made to depend wholly on the
people of the Southern States themselves. It recognized
their complete control over slavery, within their own
limits, and simply tendered them the aid of the General
Government in any steps they might feel inclined to take
to rid themselves of it.

The President was resolved that the experiment should
have a full and a fair trial ; and while he would not, on
the one hand, permit its effect to be impaired by the nat
ural impatience of those among his friends who were
warmest and most extreme in their hostility to slavery,
he, on the other hand, lost no opportunity to press the
proposition on the favorable consideration of the people
of the Border Slave States.

On the 9th of May, General Hunter, who commanded
the Departir ent of South Carolina, which included also
the States of Georgia and Florida, issued an order declar
ing all the slaves within that department to be thence
forth and " forever free." This was done, not from any
alleged military necessity growing out of the operations
in his department, but upon a theoretical incompatibility
between slavery and martial law. The President there
upon at once issued the f^ 1 lowing DrocMination :


Whereas, There appears iu the public prints what purports to be a
proclamation of Major-General Hunter, in the words and figures follow
ing :

HILTON HKAD, 8. C., May 9, 1862. f
General Order, N~o. 11.

The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, comprising
he Military Department of the South, having deliberately declared them
selves no longer under the United States of America, and having taken
ap arms against the United States, it becomes a military necessity to de
clare them under martial law.

This was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and
martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons
in these States Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina heretofore held
as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.



Major-General Commanding.

ED. "W. SMITH, Acting Assistant Adj t- General.

And, whereas, the same is producing some excitement and misunder
standing, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
proclaim arid declare that the Government of the United States had no
knowledge or belief of an intention on the part of General Hunter to is
sue such proclamation, nor has it yet any authentic information that the
document is genuine ; and, further, that neither General Hunter nor anv
other commander or person has been authorized by the Government of
the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any State
free, and that the supposed proclamation now in question, whether genu
ine or false, is altogether void so far as respects such declaration. I fur
ther make known that, whether it be competent for me, as Comraander-
in-Chiof of the Army and Navy, to declare the slaves of any State or
States free ; and whether at any time, or in any case, it shall have become
a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government to exer
cise suob supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility,
I reserve i-; myself, and which I cannot feel justified in leaving to the do-
idioii of ccjimanders in the field.

These are totally different questions from those of police regulations ic
armies 01 in camps.

On the sixth day of March last, by a special Message, I recommended
to Ckngress the adoption of a joint resolution, to be substantially as
follows :

Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State
which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State
earnest expression to compensate for its inconveniences, public and pri
vate, produced by such change of system.

The resolution in the language above quoted was adopted by large ma
jorities in both brandies of Congress, and now stands an authentic, defi
nite, ar,l solemn proposal ~* *ho- Ns*-ion to the States and people most ir


terested in tlie subject-matter. To the people of these States now, 1
mostly appeal. I do not argne I beseech yon to make the arguments
for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, bo blind to the signs of the

I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it
may be, far above partisan and personal politics.

This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no
reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contem
plates would come gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending or wreck
ing any thing. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been
done by one effort in all past time, as in the providence of God it is now
your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that
you have neglected it.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused tJte seal
of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this 19th day of May, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty -two, and of the inde
pendence cf the Uiih.ed States the eighty-sixth.

(Signed) ABRAHAM LINGO us.

By the President :

W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

This proclamation silenced the clamorous denunciation
by which its enemies had assailed the Administration on
the strength of General Hunter s order, and renewed the
confidence, which for the moment had "been somewhat
impaired, in the President s adherence to the principles
of action he had laid down. Nothing practical, however,
was done in any of the Border States indicating any dis
position to act upon his suggestions and avail themselves
of the aid which Congress had offered. The members of
Congress from those States had taken no steps towards
inducing action in regard to it on the part of their con
stituents. Feeling the deepest interest in the adoption
of some measure which should permanently detach the
Border Slave States from the rebel Confederacy, and
believing that the plan he had recommended would tend
to accomplish that object, President Lincoln sought a
conference with the members of Congress from those
States, and on the 12th of July, when they waited upon
him at the Executive mansion, he addressed them as


GENTLEMEX: After tlie adjournment of Congress, now near, I shaL
lave no opportunity of seeing yon fur several months. Believing that
vou 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 yon that, in my opin
ion, 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 cer
tainty that in no event will the States you represent ever join their pro
posed Confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest.
But you cannot divest them of their hope to ultimately have you with
Umm so long as you show a determination to perpetuate the institution
within your own States. Beat them at elections, as you have over-
helniingly done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own.
Vou 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 practicably restored without disturbance of the institution :
and if this were done, my whole duty, in this respect, under the Consti
tution 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
^, 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 compen
sation for that which is sure to be wholly 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
seller, 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 aud 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 he
obtained cheay>ly, and in abi.mlnnce, and when numbers haii le


enou-rh to be company and encouragement for one another, the free-i
people will not be so reluctant to go.

I am pressed with a difficulty cot yet mentioned one which threaten*
division among thos^ who, united, are none too strong. An instance of
it is known to you. General Hunter is an honest man. He was, <*nd J
hop e still is, niy friead. I valued him none the less for his agreeing wLi?
me in the general wish that all men everywhere could be free. He pro-
e.a med all men free within certain States, and I repudiated the procla
mation, lie 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 attention to the
Message of iNfarch last. Before leaving- the Capital, consider and discuss
it among yourselves. You are patriots and statesmen, and as such I pray
you consider this proposition; and, at the least, commend it to the con
sideration 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 his
tory 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 assure that happiness and swell that
grandeur, and to link your own names therewith forever.

The members to whom the President thus appealed
were divided in opinion as to the merits of the proposi
tion which he had laid before them. A majority of then;
submitted an elaborate reply, in which they dissented
from the President s opinion that the adoption of thiti
policy would terminate the war or serve the Union cause.
They held it to be his duty to avoid all interference,
direct or indirect, with slavery in the Southern States,
and attributed much of the stubborn hostility which the
South had shown in prosecuting the war, to the fact that
Congress had departed in various instances from thr-*
spirit and objects for which the war ought to be prose
cuted by the Government. A minority of those mem
bers, not being able to concur in this reply, submitted
one of their own, in which they thus set fortli their view


of the motives of the President in the course he had
adopted, and expressed their substantial concurrence in
its justice and wisdom :

v^e believe that the whole power o > the Government, upheld and sus
tained by all the influences and means of all loyal men in all sections and
of all parties, is essentially necessary to put down the rebellion and preserve
the Union and the Constitution. We understand your appeal to us to
have been made for the purpose of securing this result. A very large
portion of the people in the Northern States believe that slavery is tl;p
"lever power of the rebellion." It matters not whether this opinio 1 J
is well founded or not. The belief does exist, and we have to deal wilii
things as they are, and not as we would have them be. In consequence
of the existence of this belief, Ave understand that an immense pressure is
brought to bear for the purpose of striking down this institution through
the exercise of military authority. The Government cannot maintain
this great struggle if the support and influence of the men who entertain
these opinions be withdrawn. Neither can the Government hope for
early success if the support of that element called " conservative " b*
H ithdrawn.

Such being the condition of tilings, the Presidenc appeals to the Bordei
State men to step forward and prove their patriotism by making the first
sacrifice. No doubt, like appeals have been made to extreme men in the
North, to meet us half way, in order that the whole moral, political,
pecuniary, and physical force of the nation may be firmly and earnestly
united in one grand effort to save the Union and the Constitution.

Believing that such were the motives that prompted your address, and
such the results to which it looked, we cannot reconcile it to our sense of
duty, in this trying hour, to respond in a spirit of fault-finding or queru-
lousness over the things that are past. We are not disposed to seek for
the cause of present misfortunes in the errors and wrongs of others who
propose to unite with us in a common purpose. But, on the other hand,
we meet your address in the spirit in which it was made, and, as loyal
Americans, declare to you and to the world, that there is no sacrifice that
we are not ready to make to save the Government and institutions of our
fathers. That we, few of us though there may be, will permit no men,
f-om the North or from the South, to O further than we in the accom
plishment of the great work before us. That, in order to carry out these
views, we will, so far as may be in our power, ask the people of the Bor
der States calmly, deliberately, and fairly, to consider your recommenda
tions. We are the more emboldened to assume this position from the
fact, now become history, that the leaders of the Southern rebellion have
offered to abolish slavery amongst them as a condition to foreign inter
vention in favor of their independence as a nation.
If they can give ui> slavery +o destroy the Union, w$ can suroly


uk our people to consider the question of emancipation to save th

Hon. Horace Maynard, of Tennessee, on the 16th of
3 uly submitted to the President his views of the ques
tion, in which lie thus set forth his appreciation of the
motives which had induced him to make the proposition
ir question to the Southern States :

Your -whole administration gives the highest assurance that you are
moved, not so much from a desire to see all men everywhere made free,
as from a desire to preserve free institutions for the benefit of men
already free ; not to make slaves free men, hut to prevent free men from
being made slaves; not to destroy an institution which a portion of us
only consider had, but to save an institution which we all alike consider
good. I am satisfied that you would not ask from any of your fellow-
citizens a sacrifice not in your judgment imperatively required by the
safety of the country. This is the spirit of your appeal, and I respond to
it in the same spirit.

Determined to leave undone nothing which it was in
Ms power to do to effect the object he had so much at
heart, the President, on the 12th of July, sent in to Con
gress a Message transmitting the draft of a bill upon the
subject, as follows :

Fellow- Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives :

Herewith is the draft of the bill to compensate any State which may
abolish slavery within its limits, the passage of which, substantially a>
^resented, I respectfully and earnestly recommend.


be it enacted by the Senate and Hb-u-se of Representatives of ihe Unitea

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 24 of 42)