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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

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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 37 of 42)
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has been greater than six per cent.; has run faster than tho interest npoc
the debt. Thus, time alone relieves a debtor nation, so long as its popu
lation increases faster than unpaid interest accumulates on its debt.

This fact would be no excuse for delaying payment of what is justly
due ; but it shows the great importance of time in this connection the
great advantage of a policy by which we shall not have to p<iy until we
number a hundred millions, what, by a different policy, we wo ild have to
now, when we number but thirty-one millions. In a word, L chows ths
a dollar will be much harder to pay for the war than will be a dollar for th
emancipation on the proposed plan. And then the latter will cost no
blood, no precious life. It will be a saving of both.

As to the second article, I think it would be impracticable to return to
bondage the class of persons therein contemplated. Some of them, doubt
less, in the property sense, belong to loyal owners; and hence provision
is made in this article for compensating such.

The third article relates to the future of the freed people. It does not
oblige, but merely authorizes Congress to aid in colonizing such as may
consent. This ought not to be regarded as objectionable on the one hand or
on the other, insomuch as it comes to nothing unless by the mutual con
sent of the people to be deported, and the American voters, through then
representatives in Congress.

I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor
colonization. And yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against
free colored persons remaining in the country which is largely imaginary,
if not sometimes malicious.

It is insisted that their presence would injure and displace white labor
and white laborers. If there ever could be a proper time for mere catch
arguments, that time surely is not now. In times like the present men
should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible
through time and in eternity. Is it true, then, that colored people can
displace anymore white labor by being free than by remaining slaves?
If t>3ey stay in their old places, they jostle no white laborers ; if they leave
their old places, they leave them open to white laborers. Logically, there
is ne ther more nor less of it. Emancipation, even without deportation,
would probably enhance the wages of white labor, and, very surely, would
cot reduce them. Thus the customary amount of labor would still have
to be performed the freed people would surely not do more than their
old proportion of it, and very probably for a time would do less, leaving
an increased part to white laborers, bringing their labor into greater
demand, and consequently enhancing the wages of it. With deportation.
even to a limited extent, enhanced wages to white labor is mathematical! j
pertain. Labor is like any other commodity in the market increase the
almond for it and you increase the price of it. Reduce the supply of
Murk hiior, by colonizing the black laborer out of the country, and by
precisely *o much you Increase the demand for and wages of white labor



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 359

But it ib dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth and coxet the
whole land! Are they not already in the land? Will liberation make
them any more numerous ? Equally distributed among the whites of the
whole country, and there would be but one colored to seven whites.
Could the one, in any way, greatly disturb the seven? There aie many
communities now having more than one free colored person to seven
whites ; and this, without any apparent consciousness of evil from it.
The District of Columbia and the States of Maryland and Delaware art
all in this condition. The District has more than one free colored to six
whites; and yet, in its frequent petitions to Congress, I believe it has
never presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its griev
ances. But why should emancipation South send the freed people North!
People of any color seldom run unless there be something to ran from
Heretofore colored people to some extent have tied North from bondage ;
and now, perhaps, from bondage and destitution. But if gradual eman
cipation and deportation be adopted, they will have neither to flee from.
Their old masters will give them wages at least until new laborers can be
procured, and the freedmen in turn will gladly give their labor for the
wages till new homes can be found for them in congenial climes and with
people of their own blood and race. This proposition can be trusted on
the mutual interests involved. And in any event, cannot the North de
cide for itself whether to receive them ?

Again, as practice proves more than theory, in any case, has there been
any irruption of colored people northward because of the abolishment
c f slavery in this District last spring ?

"What I have said of the proportion of free colored persons to the
whites in the District is from the census of 1860, having no reference to
persons called contrabands, nor to those made free by the act of Congress
abolishing slavery here.

The plan consisting of these articles is recommended, not but that a
restoration of national authority would be accepted without its adoption.

Nor will the war, nor proceedings under the proclamation of Septem
ber 22, 1862, be stayed because of the recommendation of this plan. Its
ainely adoption, I doubt not, would bring restoration, and thereby stay
both.

And, notwithstanding this plan, the recommendation that Congress
provide by law for compensating any State which may adopt emancipa
tion before this plan shall have been acted upon, is hereby earnestly re
newed. Such would be only an advanced part of the plan, and the same
Arguments apply to both.

This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but addi
tional to, all others for restoring and preserving the national authority
throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in its eco
nomical aspect. The plan would, I am confident, secure peace mure
speedily, and maintain it more permanently, than can be done by force
alone; while all it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of pay



360 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

merit, and times of payment, would be easier paid than will be the add!
tional cost of the war, if we solely rely upon force. It is much verj
much that it would cost no blood at all.

The plan is proposed as permanent constitutional law. It cannot be
come such, without the concurrence of, first, tvro-thirds of Congress, and
afterwards three-fourths of the States. The requisite three-fourths of the
States will necessarily include seven of the slave States. Their concur-
rence, if obtained, will give assurance of their severally adopting eman
cipation, at no very distant day, upon the new constitutional terms, This
assurance would end the struggle now, and save the Union forever.

I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed
to the Congress of the nation by the Chief Magistrate of the nation. Nor
do I forget that some of you are my seniors ; nor that many of you have
more experience than I in the conduct of publie affairs. Yet I trust that,
m view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will perceive no
want of respect to yourselves in any undue earnestness I may seem to
display.

Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten
the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood? Is ii
doubted that it would restore the national authority and national pros
perity, and perpetuate both indefinitely ? Is it doubted that we here
Congress and Executive can secure its adoption ? Will not the good
people respond to a united and earnest appeal from us ? Can we, can
they, by any other means, so certainly or so speedily assure these vital
objects? We can succeed only by concert. It is not " Can any of us ima
gine better?" but "Can we all do better?" Object whatsoever is possible,
still the question recurs, " Can we do better?" The dogmas of the quiet
past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high
with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new,
BO we must think anew, and act anew. We must disinthrall ourselves,
and then we shall save our country.

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress arid
this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. !N"o per
sonal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The
fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor
to the latest generation. We say that we are for the Union. The world
will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The
world knows we do know how to save it. We even we here hold the
power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we as
sure freedom to the free honorable alike in what we give and what we
preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth.
Other means may succeed ; this could not, cannot fail. The way is plain,
peaceful, generous, just a way which, if followed, the world will forevei
applaud, and God must forever Mess. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 361

At the very outset of the session, resolutions were in
troduced by the opponents of the Administration, censur
ing, in strong terms, its arrest of individuals in the loyal
States, suspected of giving, or intending to give, aid and
comfort to the rebellion. These arrests were denounced
as utterly unwarranted by the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and as involving the subversion of the
public liberties. In the Senate, the general subject was
discussed in a debate, commencing on the 8th of Decem
ber, the opponents of the Administration setting forth
very fully and very strongly their opinion of the unjusti
fiable nature of this action, and its friends vindicating it,
as made absolutely necessary by the emergencies of the
case. Every department of the Government, and every
section of the country, were filled at the outset of the war
with men actively engaged in doing the work of spies
and informers for the rebel authorities ; and it was known
that, in repeated instances, the plans and purposes of the
Government had been betrayed and defeated by these
aiders and abettors of treason. It became absolutely
necessary, not for purposes of punishment, but of preven
tion, to arrest these men in the injurious and perhaps
fatal action they were preparing to take ; and on this
ground the action of the Government was vindicated and
justified by the Senate. On the 8th of December, in the
House of Representatives, a bill was introduced, declaring
the suspension of the writ of Jiabeas corpus to have been
required by the public safety ; confirming and declaring
valid all arrests and imprisonments, by whomsoever
made or caused to be made, under the authority of the
President ; and indemnifying the President, secretaries,
heads of departments, and all persons who have been
concerned in making such arrests, or in doing or advising
any such acts, and making void all prosecutions and pro
ceedings whatever against them in relation to the matters
in question. It also authorized the President, during the
existence of the war, to declare the suspension of the writ
of Jiabeas corpus, " at such times, and in such places,
and with regard to such persons, as in his judgment the



862 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

public safety may require." This bill was passed, receiv
ing ninety votes in its favor, and forty-five against it. It
was taken up in the Senate on the 22d of December, and
after a discussion of several days, a new bill was substi
tuted and passed ; ayes 33, noes 7. This was taken up
in the House on the 18th of February, and the substitute
of the Senate was rejected. This led to the appointment
of a committee of conference, which recommended that
the Senate recede from its amendments, and that the bill,
substantially as it came from the House, be passed. This
report was agreed to after long debate, and the bill thus
became a law.

The relations in which the rebel States were placed by
their acts of secession towards the General Government
became a topic of discusion in the House of Representa-
tuves, in a debate which arose on the 8th of January, upon
an item in the Appropriation Bill, limiting the amount to
be paid to certain commissioners to the amount that might
be collected from taxes in the insurrectionary States. Mr.
Stevens, of Pennsylvania, pronounced the opinion that
the Constitution did not embrace a State that was in arms
against the Government of the United States. He maintain
ed that those States held towards us the position of alien
enemies that every obligation existing between them and
us. had been annulled, and that with regard to all the
Southern States in rebellion, the Constitution has no bind
ing force and no application. This position was very
strongly controverted by men of both parties. Those who
flrere not in full sympathy with the Administration opposed
it, because it denied to the Southern people the protection
of the Constitution ; while many Republicans regarded it
as a virtual acknowledgment of the validity and actual
force of the ordinances of secession passed by the Rebel
States. Mr. Thomas, of Massachusetts, expressed the
sentiment of the latter class very clearly when he said
that one object of the bill under discussion was to impose
a tax upon States in rebellion that our only authority
for so doing was the Constitution of the United States
and that we could only do it on the ground that the author-



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 363

ity of the Government over those States is just as valid
now as it was before the acts of secession were passed,
and that every one of those acts is utterly null and void.
No vote was taken which declared directly the opinion
of the House on the theoretical question thus involved.

The employment of negroes as soldiers was subjected to
a vigorous discussion, started on the 27th of January, by
an amendment offered to a pending bill by Mr. Stevens,
directing the President to raise, arm, and equip as many
volunteers of African descent as he might deem useful,
for such term of service as he might think proper, not
exceeding five years to be officered by white or black
persons, in the President s discretion slaves to be accept
ed as well as freemen. The members from the Bordei
States opposed this proposition with great earnestness, as
certain to do great harm to the Union cause among their con
stituents, by arousing prejudices which, whether reason
able or not, were very strong, and against which argument
would be found utterly unavailing. Mr. Crittenden, of
Kentucky, objected to it mainly because it would convert
the war against the rebellion into a servile war, and es
tablish abolition as the main end for which the war was
carried on. Mr. Sedgwick, of New York, vindicated the
policy suggested, as having been dictated rather by neces
sity than choice. He pointed out the various steps by
which the President, as the responsible head of the Gov
ernment, had endeavored to prosecute the war success
fully without interfering with slavery, and showed also
how the refusal of the Rebel States to return to their
allegiance had compelled him to advance, step by step,
to the more rigorous and effective policy which had now
become inevitable. After considerable further discussion,
the bill, embodying substantially the amendment of Mr.
Stevens, was passed ; ayes 83, noes 54. On reaching the
Senate it was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs,
which, on the 12th of February, reported against its pas
sage, on the ground that the autherity which it was in
tended to confer upon the President was already sufficient
ly granted in the act of the previous session, approved



364 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICES, AND

July 17, 1862, which authorized the President to employ,
m any military or naval service for which they might be
found competent, persons of African descent.

One of the most important acts of the session was that
which provided for the creation of a national force "by
enrolling and drafting the militia of the whole country
each State being required to contribute its quota in the
ratio of its population, and the whole force, when raised,
to be under the control of the President. Some measure
of the kind seemed to have been rendered absolutely ne
cessary by the revival of party spirit throughout the loyal
States, and by the active and effective efforts made by
the Democratic party, emboldened by the results of the
fall elections of 1862, to discourage and prevent volunteer
ing. So successful had they been in this work, that the
Government seemed likely to fail in its efforts to raise
men for another campaign ; and it was to avert this threat
ening evil that the bill in question was brought forward
for the action of Congress. It encountered a violent resist
ance from the opposition party, and especially from those
members whose sympathies with the secessionists were
the most distinctly marked. But after the rejection of
numerous amendments, more or less affecting its character
and force, it was passed in the Senate, and taken up on
the 23d of February in the House, where it encountered
a similar ordeal. It contained various provisions for
exempting from service persons upon whom others wer<*
most directly and entirely dependent for support such a,},
the only son of a widow, the only son of aged and iniirm
parents who relied upon him for a maintenance, &c. It
allowed drafted persons to procure substitutes ; and, to
cover the cases in which the prices of substitutes might
become exorbitant, it also provided that upon payment
of three hundred dollars the Government itself would
procure a substitute, and release the person drafted from
service. The bill was passed in the House, with some
amendments, by a vote of 115 to 49 ; and the amendments
being concurred in by the Senate, the bill became a law,

One section of this act required the President to issue



STATE PAPEIIS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 365

a proclamation offering an amnesty to deserters, and he
accordingly issued it, in the following words :

A PKOCLAMATION.

By the President of the United States of America.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 10, 1S6&.

In pursuance of the twenty-sixth section of the act of Congress entitled
M An Act for enrolling and calling out the National Forces, and for other
purposes," approved on the third of March, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and sixty-three, I, Abraham Lincoln, President, and commander-
kn-chief of the army and navy of the United States, do hereby order and
command that all soldiers enlisted or drafted into the service of the United
States, now absent from their regiments without leave, shall forthwith
return to their respective regiments ; and I do hereby declare and pro
claim that all soldiers now absent from their respective regiments without
leave, who shaU, on or before the first day of April, 1803, report them
selves at any rendezvous designated by the General Orders of the Wai-
Department, No. 58, hereto annexed, may be restored to their respective
regiments without punishment, except the forfeiture of pay and allow
ances during their absence ; and all who do not return within the time
above specified shall be arrested as deserters, and punished as the law
provides.

And whereas evil-disposed and disloyal persons, at sundry places, have
enticed and procured soldiers to desert and absent themselves from their
regiments, thereby weakening the strength of the armies, and prolonging
the war, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and cruelly exposing the
gallant and faithful soldiers remaining in the ranks to increased hardships
and dangers :

I do therefore call upon all patriotic and faithful citizens to oppose and
resist the aforementioned dangerous and treasonable crimes, and aid in
restoring to their regiments all soldiers absent without leave, and assist
in the execution of the act of Congress for " Enrolling and calling out the
National Forces, and for other purposes," and to support the proper
authorities in the prosecution and punishment of offenders against said
act, and aid in suppressing the insurrection and the rebellion.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set rny hand.

Done at the City of Washington, this tenth day of March, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of
the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

ABRAHAM Lixooiar.
By the President :

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

The finances of the country enlisted a good deal of
attention during this session. It was necessary to pro-



366 THE LIFE, PUBLIC SERVICED, AND

vide in some way for the expenses of the war, and also
for a currency ; and two bills were accordingly introduced
at an early stage of the session relating to these two sub
jects. The Financial Bill, as finally passed by both
Houses, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to
borrow and issue bonds for nine hundred millions of
dollars, at not more than six per cent, interest, and
payable at a time not less than ten nor more than forty
years. It also authorized the Secretary to issue treasury
notes to the amount of four hundred millions of dollars,
bearing interest, and also notes not bearing interest to the
amount of one hundred and fifty millions of dollars.
While this bill was pending, a joint resolution was
passed by both Houses, authorizing the issuing of treas
ury notes to the amount of one hundred millions of
dollars, to meet the immediate wants of the soldiers and
sailors in the service.

The President announced that he had signed this reso
lution, in the following

MESSAGE.
To the Senate and House of Representatives :

I have signed the joint resolution to provide for the immediate pay
ment of the army and navy of the United States, passed by the House
of Representatives on the 14th, and by the Senate on the 15th inst.
The joint resolution is a simple authority, amounting, however, under the
existing circumstances, to a direction to the Secretary of the Treasury to
make an additional issue of one hundred millions of dollars in United
States notes, if so much money is needed, for the payment of the army
and navy. My approval is given in order that every possible facility may
be afforded for the prompt discharge of all arrears of pay due to our sol
diers and our sailors.

While giving this approval, however, I think it my duty to express my
sincere regret that it has been found necessary to authorize so large an
additional issue of United States notes, when this circulation, and that of
the suspended banks together, have become already so redundant as to
increase prices beyond real values, thereby augmenting the cost of living,
to the injury of labor, and the cost of supplies to the injury of the whole
country. It seems very plain that continued issues of United States notes,
without any check to the issues of suspended banks, and without adequate
provision for the raising of money by loans, and for funding the issues, so
as to keep them within duo limits, must soon produce disastroua



STATE PAPERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 3G7

qnences; and this matter appears to me so important that I feel bound to
avail myself of this occasion to ask the special attention of Congress to it.

That Congress has power to regulate the currency of the country can
hardly admit of doubt, and that a judicious measure to prevent the dete
rioration of this currency, by a reasonable taxation of bank circulation
or otherwise, is needed, seems equally clear. Independently of this gen
eral consideration, it would be unjust to the people at large to exempt
banks enjoying the special privilege of circulation, from their just propor
tion of the public burdens.

In order to raise money by way of loans most easily and cheaply, it i*
clearly necessary to give every possible support to the public credit. To
that end, a uniform currency, in which taxes, subscriptions, loans, and all
other ordinary public dues may be paid, is almost if not quite indispensa
ble. Such a currency can be furnished by banking associations authorized
under a general act of Congress, as suggested in my message at the begin
ning of the present session. The securing of this circulation by the pledge
of the United States bonds, as herein suggested, would still further facili
tate loans, by increasing the present and causing a future demand for



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 37 of 42)