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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 34 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 34 of 42)
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perform their appropriate parts towards the execution of these orders.

By order of the President :

EDWIN M. Sx ANTON, Secretary of War.

And on the 25th of July he issued the following procla-



332 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

mation, warning the people of the Southern States against
persisting in their rebellion, under the penalties prescribed
by the confiscation act passed by Congress at its preceding
session :

By order of the President of the United States.

\

{ A PROCLAMATION.

In pursuance of the sixth section of the Act of Congress, entitled "An
Act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and
confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved July
17th, 1862, and which Act, and the joint resolution explanatory thereof,
are herewith published, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United
States, do hereby proclaim to and warn all persons within the contem
plation of said sixth section to cease participating in, aiding, countenan
cing, or abetting the existing rebellion, or any rebellion, against the Gov-
. eminent of the United States, and to return to their proper allegiance to
the United States, on pain of the forfeiture and seizures as within and
by said sixth section provided.

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

Done at the City of Washington, this twenty-fifth day of July, in the

r -I year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two,

and of the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
By the President :

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Our relations with foreign nations during the year 1862
continued to be in the main satisfactory. The President
held throughout, in all his intercourse with European
powers, the same firm and decided language in regard to
the rebellion which had characterized the correspondence
of the previous year. OurMinister in London, with vigi
lance and ability, pressed upon the British Government
the duty of preventing the rebel authorities from building
and fitting out vessels of war in English ports to prey
upon the commerce of the United States; but in every
instance these remonstrances were without practical effect.
The Government could never be convinced that the evi
dence in any specific case was sufficient to warrant its
interference, and thus one vessel after another was allowed
to leave British ports, go to some other equally neutral



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 333

locality and take on "board munitions of war, and enter
upon its career of piracy in the rebel service. As early
as the 18th of February, 1862, Mr. Adams had called the
attention of Earl Russell to the fact that a steam gunboat,
afterwards called the Oreto, was being built in a Liverpool
ship-yard, under the supervision of well-known agents
c .L tiio rebel Government, and evidently intended for the
rebel service. The Foreign Secretary replied that the
vessel was intended for the use of parties in Palernv
Sicily, and that there was no reason to suppose she w
intended for any service hostile to the United States. Mr.
Adams sent evidence to show that the claim of being
designed for service in Sicily was a mere pretext ; but
he failed, by this dispatch, as in a subsequent personal
conference with Earl Russell on the loth of April, to in
duce him to take any steps for her detention. She sailed
soon after, and was next heard of at the British " neutral"
port of Nassau, where she was seized by the authorities
au the instance of the American consul, but released by
the same authorities on the arrival of Captain Semmes to
take command of her as a Confederate privateer. In Oc
tober an intercepted letter was sent to Earl Russell by
Mr. Adams, written by the Secretary of the Navy of the
Confederate Government, to a person in England, com
plaining that he had not followed the Oreto on her de
parture from England and taken command of her, in ac
cordance with his original appointment. In June, Mr.
Adams called Earl Russell s attention to another power
ful war steamer, then in progress of construction in the
e>\\ ][ -yard of a member of the House of Commons, evi
dently intended for the rebel service. This complain*,
went through the usual formalities, was referred to the
Lords Commissioners of her Majesty s Treasury," who
reported in due time that they could discover no evidence
Buflicient to warrant the detention of the vessel. Soon
afterwards, however, evidence was produced which was
sufficient to warrant the collector of the port of Liverpool
in ordering her detention ; but before the necessary for
malities could be gone through with, and through delays



334 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

caus- d, as Earl Russell afterwards explained, by tlie
"sudden development of a malady of the Queen s ad
vocate, totally incapacitating him for the transaction of
business," the vessel, whose managers were duly adver
tised of every thing that was going on, slipped out of port,
took on board an armament in the Azores, and entered
the rebel service as a privateer. Our Government su..-
sequently notified the British Government that it would
! v* held responsible for all the damage which this vessel,
jiown first as "290," and afterwards as the Alabama,
might inflict on American commerce.

Discussions were had upon the refusal of the British
authorities to permit American vessels of war to take in
coal at Nassau, upon the systematic attempts of British
merchants to violate our blockade of Southern ports, and
upon the recapture, by the crew, of the Emily St. Pierre,
which had been seized in attempting to run the blockade
at Charleston, and was on her way as a prize to the porl
of New York. The British Government vindicated hei
rescue as sanctioned by the principles of international law.

The only incident of special importance which occurred
during the year in our foreign relations, grew out of an
attempt on the part of the Emperor of the French to secure
a joint effort at mediation between the Government of th<>
United States and the rebel authorities, on the part of
Great Britain and Russia in connection with his own
Government. Rumors of such an intention on the jiarl
of the Emperor led Mr. Dayton to seek an interview with
f he Minister for Foreign Affairs on the 6th of November,
t which indications of such a purpose were apparent.
L he attempt failed, as both the other powers consulted
declined to join in any such action. The French Govern
ment thereupon determined to take action alone, and on
the 9th of January, 1863, the Foreign Secretary wrote to
the French Minister at Washington a dispatch, declaring
the readiness of the French Emperor to do any thing in
his power which might tend towards the termination of
the war, and suggesting that " nothing would hinder the
Government of the United States, without renouncinglhe



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 335

advantages which it believes it can attain by a continua
tion of the war, from entering upon informal conferences
with the Confederates of the South, in case they should
show themselves disposed thereto. 5 The specific advan
tages of such a conference, and the mode in which it was
to be brought about, were thus set forth in this dispatch :

Representatives or commissioners of the two parties could assemble ;t
ia ch point as it should be deemed proper to designate, and which could,
for this purpose, be declared neutral. Reciprocal complaints could be
examined into at this meeting. In place of the accusations which Uorth
and South mutually cast upon each other at this time, would be substituted
an argumentative discussion of the interests which divide them. They
would seek out by means of well-ordered and profound deliberations
whether these interests are definitively irreconcilable whether separation
is an extreme which can no longer be avoided, or whether the memories
of a common existence, whether the ties of any kind which have made of
the North and of the South one sole and whole Federative State, and have
borne them on to so high a degree of prosperity, are not more powerful
than the causes which have placed arms in the hands of the two popula
tions. A negotiation, the object of which would be thus determinate,
would not involve any of the objections raised against the diplomatic in
terventions of Europe, and, without giving birth to the same hopes as th<*
immediate conclusion of an armistice, would exercise a happy influence
on the march of events.

Wbf, therefore, should not a combination which respects all the rela
tions of the United States obtain the approbation of the Federal Govern
ment? Persuaded on our part that it is in conformity with their true
interests, we do not hesitate to recommend it to their attention ; and, not
having sought in the project of a mediation of the maritime powers of
Europe any vain display of iniluence, we would applaud, with entire free
dom f-om all susceptibility of self-esteem, the opening of a negotiatioi
which would invite the two populations to discuss, without the co-opera-
tioE of Europe, the solution of their differences.

The reply which the President directed to be made to
this proposition embraces so many points of permanent
interest and importance in connection with his Adminis
tration, that we give it in full. It was as follows :

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, February 6, 186*.

SIB: -The intimation given in your dispatch of January 15th, that 1
might expect a special visit from M. Mercier, has been realized, lie called
on the 3d instant, and gave me a copy of a dispatch whio/i he had just then
l from M. Drouyn de Tlluys under the clato of the 9th of January.



336 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

I have taken the President s instructions, and I now proceed to giv*
yon his views upon the subject in question.

It lias been considered with seriousness, resulting from the reflection
that the people of France are known to be faultless sharers with the
American nation in the misfortunes and calamities of our unhappy civil
war ; nor do we on this, any more than on other occasions, forget the
traditional friendship of the two countries, which we unhesitatingly he-
eve has inspired the counsels that M. Drouyn de I Huys has imparted.

lie says, "the Federal Government does not despair, we know, of giv
ing more active impulse to hostilities;" and again he remarks, "the pro
traction of the struggle, in a word, has not shaken the confidence (of the
Federal Government) in the definite success of its efforts."

These passages seem to me to do unintentional injustice to the language,
whether confidential or public, in which this Government has constantly
spoken on the subject of the war. It certainly has had and avowed only
one purpose a determination to preserve the integrity of the country.
So far from admitting any laxity of effort, or betraying any despondency,
the Government has, on the contrary, borne itself cheerfully in all vicissi
tudes, with unwavering confidence in an early and complete triumph of
the national cause. Now, when we are, in a manner, invited by a friendly
power to review the twenty -one months history of the conflict, we find
no occasion to abate that confidence. Through such an alternation of
victories and d.feats as is the appointed incident of every war, the land
and naval forces of the United States have steadily advanced, reclaiming
from the insurgents the ports, forts, and posts which they had treacher
ously seized before the strife actually began, and even before it was seri
ously apprehended. So many of the States and districts *vMch the insur
gents included in the field of their projected exclusive slaveholding
dominions have already been re-established under the flag of the Union,
that they now retain only the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Texas,
.vith half of Virginia, half of North Carolina, two-thirds of South Caro-
. na, half cf Mississippi, and one-third respectively of Arkansas and
.Louisiana. The national forces hold even this small territory in close
blockade and siege.

Tina Government, if required, does not hesitate to submit its achieve
joents to the test of comparison; and it maintains that in no part of the
world, and in no times, ancient or modern, has a nation, when rendered
all unready for combat by the enjoyment of eighty years of almost uii-
broken peace, so quickly awakened at the alarm of sedition, put forth
energies so vigorous, and achieved successes so signal and effective as
those which have marked the progress of this contest on the part of the
Union.

M. Drouyn de 1 Huys, I fear, has taken other light than the correspond
ence of this Government for his guidance in ascertaining its temper and
firmness. He has probably read of divisions of sentiment among those
bold themselves fort!, as organs of public opinion here, an<J has giv



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

to them an undue importance. It is to be remembered that this is a nation
of thirty millions, civilly divided into forty-one States and Tern Lories,
which cover an expanse hardly less than Europe ; that the people are a
pure democracy, exercising everywhere the utmost freedom of speech ami
suffrage ; that a great crisis necessarily produces vehement as well as pro
found debate, with sharp collisions of individual, local, and sectional
interests, sentiments, and ambitions ; and that this heat of controversy is
increased by the intervention of speculations, interests, prejudices, and
passions from every other part of the civilized world. It is, however,
through such debates that the agreement of the nation upon any subject
is habitually attained, its resolutions formed, and its policy establishes
While there has been much difference of popular opinion and favi
concerning the agen^j who shall carry on the war, the principled cu
which it shall be waged, and the means with which it shall be pus-
ecuted, H. Drouyn de 1 IInys has only to refer to the statute-book of
Congress and the Executive ordinances to learn that the national ac
tivity has hitherto been, and yet is, as efficient as that of any other
nation, whatever its form of government, ever was, under circumstances
of equally grave import to its peace, safety, and welfare. Not one voice
has been raised anywhere, out of the immediate field of the insurrection,
in favor of foreign intervention, of mediation, of arbitration, or of com
promise, with the relinquishment of one acre of the national domain, or
the surrender of even one constitutional franchise. At the same time, it
is manifest to the world that our resources are yet abundant, and our
credit adequate to the existing emergency.

What M. Drouyn de I iluys suggests is, that this Government shall ap
point commissioners to meet, on neutral ground, commissioners of the
insurgents. He supposes that in the conferences to be thus held, recipro
cal complaints could be discussed, and in place of the accusations which
the North and South now mutually cast upon each other, the conferees
would be engaged with discussions of the interests which divide them.
He assumes, further, that the commissioners would seek, by means of well-
ordered and profound deliberation, whether these interests are definitively
irreconcilable, whether separation is an extreme that can no longer be
avoided, or whether the memories of a common existence, the ties of every
kind which have made the North and the South one whole Federative
State, and have borne them on to so high a degree of prosperity, are not
more powerful than the causes which have placed arms in the hands of the
two populations.

The suggestion is not an extraordinary one, and it may well have Deen
thought by the Emperor of the French, in the earnestness of his benevo
lent desire for the restoration of peace, a feasible one. But when M.
Drouyn de I iluys shall come to review it in the light in which it must
necssearily be examined in this country, I think he can hardly fail to per
ceive that it amounts to nothing less than a proposition that, while this
Government is engaged in suppressing n armed insurrection, with the



338 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

pnrpose of maintaining the constitutional national authority,
the integrity of the country, it shall enter into diplomatic discussion with
the insurgents upon the questions whether that authority shall not be re
nounced, and whether the country shall not be delivered over to disunion,
oO be quickly followed by ever-increasing anarchy.

If it were possible for the Government of the United States to com
promise the national authority so far as to enter into such debates, it \s
not easy to perceive what good results could be obtained by them.

The commissioners must agree in recommending either that the Union
shall stand or that it shall be voluntarily dissolved : or else they must leave
the vital question unsettled, to abide at last the fortunes of the war. The
Government has not shut out the knowledge of the present temper, any
more than of the past purposes, of the insurgents. There is not the least
ground to suppose that the controlling actors would be persuaded at this
moment, by any arguments which national commissioners could offer, to
forego the ambition that has impelled them to the disloyal position they
are occupying. Any commissioners who should be appointed by these
actors, or through their dictation or influence, must enter the conference
imbued with the spirit and pledged to the personal fortunes of the insur
gent chiefs. The loyal people in the insurrectionary States would be un
heard, and any offer of peace by this Government, on the condition of the
maintenance of the Union, must necessarily be rejected.

On the other hand, as I have already intimated, this Government has
not the least thought of relinquishing the trust which has been confided
to it by the nation under the most solemn of all political sanctions; and
if it had any such thought, it would still have abundant reason to know
that peace proposed at the cost of dissolution would be immediately, un
reservedly, and indignantly rejected by the American people. It is a grea*
mistake that European statesmen make, if they suppose this people art
demoralized. Whatever, in the case of an insurrection, the people of
France, or of Great Britain, or of Switzerland, or of the Netherlands would
do to save their national existence, no matter how the strife might be re
garded by or might affect foreign nations, just so much, and certainly no
ess, the people of the United States will do, if necessary to save for the com~

<MI benefit the region which is bounded by the Pacific and the Atlantic
oasts, and by the shores of the Gulfs of St. Lawrence and Mexico, together
with the free and common navigation of the Rio Grande, Missouri, Arkan
sas, Mississippi, Ohio, St. Lawrence, Hudson, Delaware, Potomac, and
other natural highways by which this land, which to them is at once a
land of inheritance and a land of promise, is opened and watered. Even
if the agents of the American people now exercising their power should,
Mi rough fear or faction, fall below this height of the national virtue, they
would be speedily, yet constitutionally, replaced by others of sterner
character and patriotism.

I must be allowed to say, also, that M, Drouyn de riluys errs in his
"ascription of the parties to th- ; vs^nt ^nllict. We have here, in tli



STATE PAPPUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 339

political sense, no North and South, no Northern and Southern States.
We have an insurrectionary party, which is located chiefly upon and adja
cent to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico ; and we have, on the other hand,
a loyal people, who constitute not only Northern States, but also Eastern,
Middle, Western, and Southern States.

I have on many occasions heretofore submitted to the French Govern
ment the President s views of the interests, and the ideas more effective
for the time than even interests, which lie at the bottom of the determi
nation of the American Government and people to maintain the Federal
Union. The President has done the same thing in his Messages and other
public declarations. I refrain, therefore, from reviewing that argument in
connection with the existing question.

M. Drouyn de 1 IIuys draws to his aid the conferences which took place
between the Colonies and Great Britain in our Revolutionary War. He
Anil allow us to assume that action in the crisis of a nation must accord
with its necessities, and therefore can seldom be conformed to precedents.
Great Britain, when entering on the negotiations, had manifestly come to
entertain doubts of her ultimate success ; and it is certain that the councils
of the Colonies could not fail to take new courage, if not to gain other
advantage, when the parent State compromised so far as to treat of peace
on the terms of conceding their independence.

It is true, indeed, that peace must come at some time, and that con
ferences must attend, if they are not allowed to precede tne pacification.
There is, however, a better form for such conferences than the one which
M. Drouyn de 1 Huys suggests. The latter would be palpably in deroga
tion of the Constitution of the United States, and would carry no weight,
because destitute of the sanction necessary to bind either the disloyal or
the loyal portions of the people. On the other hand, the Congress of tho
United States furnishes a constitutional forum for debates between the
alienated parties. Senators and representatives from the loyal portion
of the people are there already, freely empowered to confer ; and seats
a_so are vacant, and inviting senators and representatives of this discon
tented party who may be constitutionally sent there from the States in
volved ir. the insurrection. Moreover, the conferences which can thus be
held in Congress have this great advantage over any that could be organ
ized upon the plan of M. Drouyn de 1 Huys, namely, that the Congress, if
it were thought wise, could call a national convention to adopt its recom
mendations, and give them all the solemnity and binding force of organic
law. Such conferences between the alienated parties maybe said to have
already begun. Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri
States which are claimed by the insurgents are already represented in
Congress, and submitting with perfect freedom and in a proper spirit
their advice upon the course best calculated to bring about, in the shortest
time, a firm, lasting, and honorable peace. Representatives have betm
ent also from Louisiana, and others are under stood to be coming from



340 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES. AVT>

There is a preponderating argument in favor of the Congressional form
of conference over that which is suggested by M. Drouyn do 1 lluys,
namely, that while an accession to the latter would bring this Govern
ment into a concurrence with the insurgents in disregarding and setting
aside an important part of the Constitution of the United States, and so
would be of pernicious example, the Congressional conference, on the
contrary, preserves and gives new strength to that sacred writing which
must continue through future ages the sheet-anchor of the Republic.

You will be at liberty to read this dispatch to M. Drouyn de I Huyg,
and to give him a copy if he shall desire it.

To the end that you may be informed of the whole case, I transmit
oopy of M. Drouyn de 1 Huys s dispatch.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWAKD.

The effect of this dispatcn was very marked. It put an
end to all talk of foreign intervention in any form, and
met the cordial and even enthusiastic approbation of the
people throughout the country. Its closing suggestions,
as to the mode in which the Southern States could resume
their old relations to the Federal Government, were re
garded as significant indications of the policy the Ad
ministration was inclined to pursue whenever the ques
tion of restoration should "become practical ; and while
they were somewhat sharply assailed in some quarters,
they commanded the general assent of the great Ibody of
the people.

The subject of appointing commissioners to confer with
the authorities of the rebel Confederacy had been dis
cussed, before the appearance of this correspondence, in
the Northern States. It had emanated from the party
most openly in hostility to the Administration, and those
men in that party who had been most distinctly opposed
to any measures of coercion, or any resort to force for the
purpose of overcoming the rebellion. It was represented



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 34 of 42)