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 38 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 38 of 42)
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such bonds.

In view of the actual financial embarrassments of the Government, and
of the greater embarrassment sure to come if the necessary means of re
lief be not afforded, I feel that I should not perform my duty by a simple
announcement of my approval of the joint resolution, which proposes
relief only by increasing the circulation, without expressing my earnest
desire that measures, such in substance as that 1 have just referred to, may
receive the early sanction of Congress. By such measures, in my opinion,
will payment be most certainly secured, not only to the army and navy,
but to all honest creditors of the Government, and satisfactory provision

made for future demands on the Treasury.


The second billthat to provide a national currency,
secured by a pledge of United States stocks, and to provide
for the circulation and redemption thereof, was passed in
the Senate ayes twenty-three, noes twenty-one ; and in
the House, ayes seventy-eight, noes sixty-four under
the twofold conviction that so long as the war continued
the country must have a large supply of paper money,
and that it was also highly desirable that this money
should be national in its character, and rest on the faith
of the Government as its security.

Another act of importance, passed by Congress at this
session, was the admission of West Virginia into the
Union. The Constitution of the United States declares


that no new State shall be formed within the jurisdiction
of any State without the consent of the legislature of the
State concerned, as well as of the Congress. The main
question on which the admission of the new State turned,
therefore, was whether that State had been formed with
the consent of the Legislature of Virginia. The facts of
the case were these : In the winter of 1860-61, the Legis
lature of Virginia, convened in extra session, had called
a convention, to be held on the 14th of February, 1861,
at Richmond, to decide on the question of secession. A
\ ote was also to be taken, when the delegates to this con
vention should be elected, to decide whether an ordinance
of secession, if passed by the convention, should be re
ferred back to the people ; and this was decided in the
affirmative, by a majority of nearly sixty thousand. The
convention met, and an ordinance of secession was passed,
and referred to the people, at an election to be held on the
fourth Tuesday of May. Without waiting for this vote,
the authorities of the State levied war against the United
States, joined the Rebel Confederacy, and invited thw
Confederate armies to occupy portions of their territory.
A convention of nearly five hundred delegates, chosen in
Western Virginia under a popular call, met early in May,
declared the ordinance of secession null and void, and
called another convention of delegates from all the coun
ties of Virginia, to be held at Wheeling, on the llth
of June, in case the secession ordinance should be rati
fied by the popular vote. It was so ratified, and the
convention met. It proceeded on the assumption that
the officers of the old Government of the State had va
cated their offices by joining the rebellion ; and it ac
cordingly proceeded to fill them, and to reorganize the
Government of the whole State. On the 20th of August
the convention passed an ordinance to " provide for the
formation of a new State out of a portion of the territory
oi this State. " Under that ordinance, delegates were
elected to a convention which met at Wheeling, November
iJ6th, and proceeded to draft a Constitution for the State
of West Virginia, as the ne^v State was named, which


was submitted to the people of West Virginia in April,
1862, and by them ratified eighteen thousand eight
hundred and sixty -two voting in favor of it, and five hun-
Ired and fourteen against it. The Legislature of Virginia,
the members of which were elected by authority of the
Wheeling Convention of June llth, met, in extra session,
called by the Governor appointed by that convention, on
the 6th of May, 1862, and passed an act giving its consent
to the formation of the new State, and making application
to Congress for its admission into the Union. The ques
tion to be decided by Congress, therefore, was whether
the legislature which met at Wheeling on the llth of June
was "the Legislature of Virginia," and thus competent
to give its consent to the formation of a new State within
the State of Virginia. The bill for admitting it, notwith
standing the opposition of several leading and influential
Republicans, was passed in the House ayes ninety-six,
noes fifty-five. It passed in the Senate without debate,
and was approved by the President on the 31st of Decem
ber, 1862, and on the 20th of April, 1863, the President
issued the following proclamation for the admission of the
new State :

Whereas, by the act of Congress approved the 31st day of December last,
the State of West Virginia was declared to be one of the United States of
America, and was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with tho
original States in all respects whatever, upon the condition that certain
changes should be duly made in the proposed Constitution for that State.
And whereas, proof of a compliance with that condition, as required by
tho second section of the act aforesaid, has been submitted to me :

Now, therefore, be it kno^\ a that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the
United States, do hereby, in pursuance of the act of Congress aforesaid,
declare and proclaim that the said act shall take effect and be in force
from and after sixty days from the date hereof.

In witness 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 twentieth day of April,
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-
[L. 8.] three, and of the independence of the United States th
eighty-seventh. ABBAHAM LINCOLN

By the President

WILLIAM H. SEWAKD, Secretary of StaU.


A bill was brought forward in the Senate for discussion
on the 29th of January, proposing a grant of money to aid
in the abolition of slavery in the State of Missouri. It
gave rise to a good deal of debate, some Senators doubt
ing whether Congress had any constitutional right to make
such an appropriation, and a marked difference of opinion,
moreover, growing up as to the propriety of gradual or
immediate emancipation in that State. Mr. Sumner, Mr.
Wilson, and several others, insisted that the aid proposed
should be granted only on condition that emancipation
should be immediate ; while the Senators from Missouri
thought lliat the State would be much more certain to
provide for getting rid of slavery if the time were ex
tended to twenty-three years, as the bill proposed, than
if she were required to set free all her slaves at once.
The Senators from the slave States generally opposed the
measure, on the ground that Congress had no authority
under the Constitution to appropriate any portion of the
public money for such a purpose. The bill was finally
passed in the Senate, but it failed to pass the House.

Two members of Congress from the State of Louisiana
were admitted to seats in the House of Representatives
under circumstances which made that action of consider
able importance. Immediately after the occupation of
New Orleans by the National forces under General But
ler, the President had appointed General Shepley military
governor of the State of Louisiana. The rebel forces
were driven out from the City of New Orleans, and some
of the adjoining parishes ; and when, during the ensuing
summer, the people were invited to resume their allegiance
to the Government of the United States, over sixty thou
sand came forward, took the oath of allegiance, and were
admitted to their rights as citizens. On the 3d of Decem
ber, General Shepley, acting as military governor of the
State, ordered an election for members of Congress in the
two districts into which the City of New Orleans is divi
ded each district embracing also some of the adjoining
parishes. In one of these districts, B. F. Flanders was
elected, receiving two thousand three hundred and seventy


votes, and all others two hundred and seventy-three ; and
in the other, Michael Hahn was elected, receiving two
thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine votes out of fivo
thousand one hundred and seventeen, the whole numbei
cast. A committee of the House, to which the applica
tion of these gentlemen for admission to their seats had
been referred, reported, on the 9th of February, in favor
of their claim. It was represented in this report thai the
requirements of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana
had in all respects been complied with, the only question
being whether a military governor, appointed by the
President of the United States, could properly and right
fully perform the functions of the civil governor of the
State. The committee held that he could, and cited a de
cision of the Supreme Court of the United States, not only
recognizing the power of the President to appoint a mili
tary governor, bat also recognizing both his civil arid
military functions as of full validity and binding obliga
tion. On the other hand, it was maintained that repre
sentatives can be elected to the Federal Legislature only
in pursuance of an act of the State Legislature, or of an
act of the Federal Congress. In this case neither of these
requirements had been fulfilled. The House, however,
admitted both these gentlemen to their seats, b *i vote of
ninety -two to forty-four.

Before adjourning, Congress passed an act, approved
on the 3d of March, authorizing the President, "in all
domestic and foreign wars," to issue to private armed
vessels of the United States letters of marque and reprisal
said authority to terminate at the end of three years
from the date of the act. Resolutions were also adopted
in both Houses, protesting against every proposition of
foreign interference, by proffers of mediation or other
wise, as " unreasonable and inadmissible," and declaring
the " unalterable purpose of the United States to prose
cute the war until the rebellion shall be overcome."
These resolutions, offered by Mr. Sumner, received in the
Senate thirty-one votes in their favor, while but five

were cast against them., and in the House one lumdred

i \


and three were given for their passage, and twenty- eight
against it.

The session closed on the 4th of March, 1863. Its pro
ceedings had been marked by the same thorough and
fixed determination to carry on the war, by the use of
the most vigorous and effective measures for the suppres
sion of the rebellion, and by the same full and prompt
support of the President, which had characterized the
prtwding Congress.

While some members of the Administration party,
becoming impatient of the delays which seemed to mark
the progress of the war, were inclined to censure the
caution of the President, and to insist upon bolder and
more sleeping assaults upon the persons and property
of the people of the Rebel States, and especially upon
the institution of slavery and while, on the other hand,
its more open opponents denounced every thing like
severity, as calculated to exasperate the South and pro
long the war, the great body of the members, like the
great body of the people, manifested a steady and firm
reliance on the patriotic purpose and the calm sagacity
evinced by the President in his conduct of public affairs,





AT the very outbreak of the rebellion, the Administra
tion was compelled to face one of the most formidable
of the many difficulties which have embarrassed its
iction. Long before the issue had been distinctly made
by the rebels in the Southern States, while, under the
protecting toleration of Mr. Buchanan s Administration,
the conspirators were making preparations for armed
resistance to the Government of the United States, evi
dences were not wanting that they relied upon the active
co-operation of men and parties in the Northern States,
whose political sympathies had always been in harmony
with their principles and their action. As early as in
January, 1861, while the rebels were diligently and
actively collecting arms and other munitions of war, by
purchase in the Northern States, for the contest on which
they had resolved, Fernando Wood, then Mayor of New
York, had apologized to Senator Toombs, of Georgia, for
the seizure by the police of New York of u arms intended
for and consigned to the State of Georgia," and had
assured him that "if he had the power, he should sum
marily punish the authors of this illegal and unjustifiable


seizure of private property." Tlie departments at Wash
ington, the army and the navy, all places of responsi
bility and trust under the Government, and all depart
ments of civil and political activity in the Northern
States, were found to be largely filled - "by persons in
active sympathy with the secession movement, and ready
at all times to give it all the aid and comfort in theh
power. Upon the advent of the new Administration^
and when active measures began to be taken for the sup
pression of the rebellion, the Government found its plans
betrayed and its movements thwarted at every turn.
Prominent presses and politicians, moreover, throughout
the country, began, by active hostility, to indicate their
sympathy with those who sought, under cover of oppo
sition to the Administration, to overthrow the Govern
ment, and it became speedily manifest that there was suf
ficient of treasonable sentiment throughout the North to
paralyze the authorities in their efforts, aided only by the
ordinary machinery of the law, to crush the secession

Under these circumstances, it was deemed necessary to
resort to the exercise of the extraordinary powers with
which, in extraordinary emergencies, the Constitution
had clothed the Government. That instrument had pro
vided that "the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
should not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebel
lion or invasion, the public safety might require it." By.
necessary implication, whenever, in such cases either of
rebellion or invasion, the public safety did require it, the
privilege of that writ might be suspended ; and, from
the very necessity of the case, the Government which
was charged with the care of the public safety, was em
powered to judge when the contingency should occur*
The only question that remained was, wTiich department
of the Government was to meet this responsibility. If
the act was one of legislation, it could only be performed
by Congress and the President ; if it was in its nature
executive, then it might be performed, the emergency re
quiring it, by the President alone. The pressing emer-


gency of the case, moreover, went far towards dictating the
decision. Congress had adjourned on the 4th of March,
and could not be again assembled for some months ;
and infinite and, perhaps fatal mischief might be done
during the interval, if the Northern allies of the rebellion
were allowed with impunity to prosecute their plans.

Under the influence of these considerations, the Presi
dent, in his proclamation of the 3d of May, 1861, direct
ing the commander of the forces of the United States on
the Florida coast to permit no person to exercise any
authority upon the islands of Key West, the Tortugas,
and Santa Rosa, which might be inconsistent with the
authority of the United States, also authorized him, "if
he should find it necessary, to suspend the writ of habeas
corpus, and to remove from the vicinity of the United
States fortresses all dangerous or suspected persons."
This was the first act of the Administration in that
direction ; but it was very soon found necessary to resort
to the exercise of the same powers in other sections of the
country. On the 25th of May, John Merry man, a resi
dent of Hayfield, in Baltimore County, Maryland, known
by the Government to be in communication with the
rebels, and to be giving them aid and comfort, was
arrested and imprisoned in Fort McHenry, then com
manded by General Cadwallader. On the same day lie
forwarded a petition to Roger B. Taney, Chief- Justice of
the United States, reciting the circumstances of his arrest,
and praying for the issue of the writ of habeas corpus.
The writ was forthwith issued, and General Cadwallader
was ordered to bring the body of Merryman before the
Chief- Justice on the 27th. On that day Colonel Lee pre
sented a written communication from General Cadwalla
der, stating that Merryman had been arrested and com
mitted to his custody by officers acting under the author
ity of the United States, charged with various acts of
treason: with holding a commission as lieutenant in a
company avowing its purpose of armed hostility against
the Government, and with having made often and unre
served declarations of his association with this armet


force, and of his readiness to co-operate with those en-
gaged in the present rebellion against the Government
of the United States. The General added, that he was
" duly authorized by the President of the United States
to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for the public
safety ;" and that, while he fully appreciated the deli
cacy of the trust, he was also instructed "that, in times
of civil strife, errors, if any, should be on the side of
safety to the country." The commanding General ac
cordingly declined to obey the writ, whereupon an
attachment was forthwith issued against him foi con
tempt of court, made returnable at noon on the next day.
On that day, the marshal charged with serving the at
tachment made return that he was not admitted within
the fortress, and had consequently been unable to serve
the writ. The Chief-Justice, thereupon, read an opinion
that the President could not suspend the writ of habeas
corpus , nor authorize any military officer to do so, and
that a military officer had no right to arrest any person,
not subject to the rules and articles of war, for an offence
against the laws of the United States, except in aid of
the judicial authority, and subject to its control. The
Chief- Justice stated further, that the marshal had the
power to summon out the posse comitatus to enforce the
service of the writ, but as it was apparent that it would
be resisted by a force notoriously superior, the Court
could do nothing further in the premises.

On the 12th of May, another writ was issued by Judge
Giles, of Baltimore, to Major Morris, of the United States
Artillery, at Fort McHenry, who, in a letter dated the
14th, refused to obey the writ, because, at the time it was
issued, and for two weeks previous, the City of Balti
more had been completely under the control of the rebel
authorities, United States soldiers had been murdered in
the streets, the intention to capture that fort had been
openly proclaimed, and the legislature of the State was
at that moment debating the question of making war
upon the Government of the United States. All this, in
his judgment, constituted a case of rebellion, and afford -


ed sufficient legal cause for suspending the writ of Jtdbeas
corpus. Similar cases arose, and were disposed of in a
similar manner, in other sections of the country.

The Governor of Virginia had proposed to Mr. G.
Heincken, of New York, the agent of the New York and
Virginia Steamship Company, payment for two steamers
of that line, the Yorktown and Jamestown, which he had
seized for the rebel service, an acceptance of which proffer,
Mr. Heincken was informed, would be treated as an act
of treason to the Government ; and on his application,
Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, gave him the follow
ing reasons for this decision :

An insurrection has broken out in several of the States of this Union,
including Virginia, designed to overthrow the Government of the United
States. The executive authorities of that State are parties to that insur
rection, and so are public enemies. Their action in seizing or buying
vessels to be employed in executing that design, is not merely without
authority of law, but is treason. It is treason for any person to give
aid and comfort to public enemies. To sell vessels to them which it is
their purpose to use as ships of war, is to give them aid and comfort. To
receive money from them in payment for vessels which they have seized
for those purposes, would be to attempt to convert the unlawful seizure
into a sale, and would subject the party so offending to the pains and
penalties of treason, and the Government would not hesitate to bring the
offender to punishment.

These acts and decisions of the Government were vehe
mently assailed by the party opponents of the Adminis
tration, and led to the most violent and intemperate
assaults upon the Government in many of the public
prints. Some of these journals were refused the privi
lege of the public mails, the Government not holding
itself under any obligation to aid in circulating assaults
upon its own authority, and stringent restrictions were
placed upon the transmission of intelligence by telegraph.
On the 5th of July, 1862, Attorney- General Bates trans
raitted to the President an elaborate opinion, prepared at
his request, upon his power to make arrests of persons
known to have criminal complicity with the insurgents,
or against whom there is probable cause for suspicion
of such criminal complicity, and also upon his right to


refuse to obey a writ of habeas corpus in case of such
arrests. The Attorney -General discussed the subject at
considerable length, and reached a conclusion favorable
to the action of the Government. From that time for
ward the Government exerted, with vigor and energy, all
the power thus placed in its hands to prevent the rebel
lion from receiving aid from those in sympathy with its
objects in the Northern States. A large number of
persons, believed to be in complicity with the insurgents,
were placed in arrest, but were released upon taking an
oath of allegiance to the United States Baltimore con
tinued for some time to be the head-quarters of conspira
cies and movements of various kinds in aid of the rebel
lion, and the arrests were consequently more numerous
there than elsewhen* Indeed, very strenuous efforts
rvere made throughout the summer to induce some action
on the part of the legislature which wo aid place the State
in alliance with the Rebel Confederacy, and it was confi
dently believed that an ordinance looking to this end
would be passed at the extra sesion which was convened
for the 17th of September ; but on the 16th, nine secession
members of the House of Delegates, with the officers of
both houses, were arrested by General McClellan, then
in command of the army, who expressed his full appro
bation of the proceedings, and the session was not held.

The President at the time gave the following statement
of his views in regard to these arrests :

The public safety renders it necessary that the grounds of these arrests
hould at present be withheld, but at the proper time they will be made
public. Of one thing the people of Maryland may rest assured, that no
arres: ;as been made, or will be made, not based on substantial and un
mistakable complicity with those in armed rebellion against the Govern
ment of the United States. In no case has an arrest been made on inera
suspicion, or through personal or partisan animosities ; but in all cases
the Government is in possession of tangible and unmistakable evidence,
which will, when made public, be satisfactory to every loyal citizen.

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 38 of 42)