Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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bor on fortifications or other works
designed to aid the Rebellion; but
now, a bolder and more sweeping
measure was deemed requisite. Mr.
Eliot's joint resolve — after disclaim-
ing aU right to interfere with the in-
ternal affairs and institutions of loyal
States in peace — affirmed that the ex-

** See Vol L, chap, iixiv., particalaiiy page
66»-ta *• Dea 6, IHh « Dec, 2, 186L

Digitized by




fating war innst be proBecuted ac-
cording to the laws of war, and

"That, therefore, we do hereby dechjre
that the President, as the Oomraander-in-
chief of our army, and the officers in com-
mand nnd^r him, have the riffht to eman-
cipate all persons held as slaves in any
military district in a state of insurrection
against the National Government; and that
we respectfolly advise that such order of
£mancipation be issued, whenever the same
will avail to weaken the power of the Reb-
els in arms, or to strengthen the military
I)ower of tlie loyal forces."

Mr. Trumbull proposed to enact
that the slaves of all persons who
shall take up c^rms against the XTni-
ted States, or in any manner aid or
abet the existing Eebellion, shall
thereupon be discharged from service
or labor, and become thenceforth for-
ever free ; any existing law to the
contrary notwithstanding.

These propositions, with various
modifications, were vehemently dis-
cussed in either House, not continu-
ously, but alternately with other
measures, nearly to the end of that
long and excited session. By friend
and foe, they were debated as though
their success or failure would decide
the issue of TJnion or Disunion. By
all the anti-Bepublicans, and by some
* of the more conservative Eepublicaas,
they were denounced as utterly, glar-
ingly, in antagonism to the Federal
Constitution, and as calculated to ex-
tinguish the last vestige of Unionism
in Uie Slave States, but especially in
those that had seceded. Said Senator
CJowan,** of Pennsylvania :

^^ Pass this bill, and the same messenger
who carries it to the Sonth will come back
to nt wiik the news of their complete con-
solidation as one man. We shall then have
done that which treason could not do : we
oonelvei shall then have dissolved the
Union ; we shall have rent its saored char-
ter, and extingnished the last vestige of aflfec-
tion for it in the Slave States by our blind
and passionate foUy."

In the same sjnrit, but more tem«
perately, the bill was opposed by
Messrs. Browning, of IlL, Willey, of
YfL, Henderson, of Mo., and Ool-
lamer, of Vt (the first and last Re-
publicans; the others very decided
Unionist^ as well as more unspar-
ingly by Messrs. Gtarret Davis and
Powell, of Ky., Saulsbury, of Del,
Carlile, of Va., and others of the
Opposition ; while it was supported
by Messrs. Trumbull, of 111., Wilson
and Sumner, of Mass., Howard, of
Mich., Wade and Sherman, ^f Ohio,
Morrill and Fessendeai, ^ Maine,
Clark and Hale, of N. H., and nearly
all the more decided Eepublicana.
So intense and formidable was the
resistance that the Senate at length^
referred the bill to a Select Oonmiit-
tee of seven— Mr. Clark, of N. H.,
chairman — ^who duly reported ther^
fixjm " A bill to suppress Insurrec-
tion, and punish Treason and Rebel-
lion;" wldch merely authorized the
President, at his discretion, to pro-
claim free all slaves of persons who
shall be found in arms against the
United States thirty days after the
issue of such proclamation. On this
bill being taken up,** Mr. Davis, of
Ky., tried to have it so amended
that the said slaves, instead of being
freed, should be sold and the pro-
ceeds put into the Treasury; but
only seven Senators were found suffi-
ciently Democratic to sustain that
proposition. He next proposed that
no slave should be emancipated
under this act, until he should be on
his way to be colonized at some
point outside of the P'nited States :
which propositicm reedved but six
votes. Here the Senate bill was
dropped, in deference to the action

' JBeoted as a BepubUcaa in 1861.

<* Migr 6, 1863.


Digitized by




of the Honse; in which, after a long,
arduoofi, doubtful struggle, during
which Mr. Eliot's resolve was refer-
red to the Judiciary Committee and
rejwrted against " by Mr. Hickman,
of Pa., its Chairman — ^^ because the
President has all power noifj" — it had
been referred " to a Select Committee
of seven, whereof Mr. Sedgwick, of
N. T., was Chairman ; whence Mr.
Eliot, of Mass., reported *• two bills,
one providing for confiscating the
property, the other for emancipating
the slaves, of persistent Rebels;
whereupon debate was renewed and
continued for days— every Democrat
and nearly every Border-State mem-
ber resisting Emancipation as ruinous
to the National cause. Said Mr. W.
S. Holman, of Ind. (one of the most
loyal and non-partisan of those elected
as Democrats) :

" I have snpported, Sir, and will atill rap-
port, every Just measure of this Administra-
tion to restore the Union. No partisan in-
terest shall control me when the Repuhlic is
in danger. I place the interest of raj coun-
try far ahove every other interest. I will
make any sacrifice to uphold the Govern-
ment ; but I will not be deterred fh>m con-
demning, at this time, this or any other
series of measures — the offspring of mis-

r'ded zeal autt passion, or of want of faith
our people— whi^h tends to defeat the
hope of a restoration of the Union. The
citizen soldier, stricken down in battle or
worn out by the weary march, falls a will-
ing sacrifice for the Oonstitution of his coun-
try, and his dying eyes light up with hope
as they catch the gleam of its starry sym-
bol ; while we deliberate on mearares which
would overthrow the one, and blot out the
stars from the other."

Said Jndge Thomas (Conservative),
of Massachusetts :

*' That the bills before the House are in
violation of the law of nations, and of the
Constitution, I can not— I say it with all
deference to others — I can not entertain a
doubt. My path of duty is plain. The duty
of obedience to that OonsUtution was never
more imperative than now. I am not dis- i
posed to deny that I have for it a rapersti-

•* Maroh 20, ISSIT "AprUaa.

tions reverence. I have 'worshiped it from
my forefathers.* In. the school of rigid dis-
cipline by which we were prepared for it, in
the struggles out of which it was born, the
seven years of bitter conflict, and the seven
darker years in which that conflict seemed
to be fruitless of good ; in the wisdom with
which it was constructed and flrst adminis-
tered and set in motion ; in the beneficent
Government it has secured for more than
two generations; in the blessed influences
it has exerted upon the cause of Freedom
and Humanity the world over, I can not fail
to recognize the hand of a gliding and lov-
ing Providence. But not for the blessed
memories of the past only do I cling to it.
He must be blinded * widfi excess of light,'
or with the want of it, who does not see
that to this nation, trembling on the verge
of dissolution, it is the only posdble bond of

Mr. Samuel S. Cox, of Ohio, asked :

'* Must these Northern fanatics be sated
with negroes, taxes, and blood, with division
North and devastation South, and peril to
constitutional liberty everywhere, before re-
lief shall come? They will not halt until
their darling schemes are consummated.
History tells us that such zealots do not and
can not go backward."

Said Mr. John Law, of Indiana :
"The man who dreams of closing the
present unhappy contest by reconstructing
this Union upon any other basis than that
prescribed by our fathers, in the compact
fonned by them, is a madman — ^ay, worse,
a traitor — and should be hung as high as
Haman. Sir, pass these acts, couflscate un-
der these bills the property of these men,
emancipate their negroes, place arms in the
hands of these human gorillas, to murder'
their masters and violate their wives and
daughters, and you will have a war such as
was never witnessed in the worst days of
the French Revolution, and horrors never
exceeded in St. Domingo, for the balance
of this century at least."

Mr. EHot closed the debate** in
an able speech for the bills ; and the
Confiscation bill was passed — Yeas
82; Nays 68.

The Emancipation biU was next
taken np ; when, after rejecting seve-
ral amendments, the vote was taken
on its passage, and it was defeated :
Yeas 74 (aU Republicans) ; Nays 78 —
fifteen members elected as Repub-

"April 30. •« May O.

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licaQB voting Nay, with all the Demo-
crats and all the Border-State men.
The Bepublicans voting Kay were
Messrs* Dawes and Delano, of Mass.,
Biven, of N. T., Dunn, of Ind., Fish-
er, of Del., Horton, of Ohio, Wm.
Kellc^, of 111., Killinger, of Pa.,
Mitchell, of Ind., Nixon, of N. J.,
Korton, of HI., Porter, of Ind., A. H.
Kice, of Mass., Stratton, of N. J.,
and Train, of Mass,

Mr. Porter, of Ind., now moved "
a reconsideration; which narrowly
escaped defeat, on a motion by Mr.
Eolman that it do lie on the table :
Teas 69 ; Nays 73. The reconsidera-
tion prevailed : Teas 84 ; Nays 64 :
and the bill was recommitted, with
instructions to report a substitute al-
ready proposed by Mr. P., which pre-
vailed — Teas 84 ; Nays 66 : and Mr.
^ Eliot again reported ** a bill eman-
*cipating the slaves of certain specified
classes of prominent Bebels, and also
of all persons who shall continue in
armed rebellion sixty days after the
President shall have issued his proc-
lamation requiring them to desist
therefrom. The bill thus modified
passed the House : Teas 82 ; Nays 54.

The House Confiscation bill afore-
said was taken up in the Senate ;*'
and, after debate, so amended," on
motion of Mr. CHark, of N. H., as to
recombine Emancipation therewith ;
when it was passed : Teas 28 ; Nays
13. The House non-concurred ** in
this action : Teas 8 ; Nays 124; where-
upon, the Senate insisted, and asked
a committee of conference; which
was granted; and the Committee ••
reported a bill which was in sub-
stance Mr. Clark's, providing for
both Confiscation and Emancipa*

tion. Its purport is that all slaves
of persons who shall give aid or com-
fort to the Rebellion, who shall take
refuge within the lines of the army ;
all slaves captured from such persons,
or deserted by them, and coming un-
der the control of the Government ;
and all slaves of such persons found
or being within any place occupied
by Eebel forces, and afterward occu-
pied by the forces of the United
States - -flhall be deemed captives of
war, and shall be for ever free,
and not again held as slaves; that
fugitive slaves shall not be surren-
dered to persons who have given aid
and comfort to the Kebcllion ; that
no i)erson engaged in the military or
naval service shall surrender fugitive
slaves, on pain of being dismissed
from the service ; that the President
may employ persons of African de-
scent for the suppression of the Re-
bellion, and organize and use them
in such manner as he may judge best
for the public welfare.

This bill passed the House by the
decisive majority of 82 Yeas to 42
Nays ; also the Senate, by 27 Teas to
12 Nays ; and, being approved by the
President," became the law of the

President Lincoln having recom«
mended, in his first Annual Mes-
sage," the establishment of Diplo-
matic intercourse with the republics
of Hayti and Liberia, Mr. Sumner
reported" to the Senate, from its Com-
mittee on Foreign Relations, a bill
for that purpose ; which in due time
was taken up,** supported by its
author, opposcwi" by Mr. G. Davis,
of Ky., who proclaimed his dis-
gust at the continued ^^ introduction

•• lUy 27.
•* June 28.

•• June It.

•* June 23.

" Jul7 17. •• Dec 3, 1862. « Feb, 4, '68,
••April 32. ••April 24

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of the subject of davee and Slavery
into this chamber;^' though no one
but himself had mention^ either in
c(mnection with this measure. He
drew a ludicrous picture of "a big
negro fellow/' fantastically arrayed,
being presented as Minister from
Hayti. Mr. Sunmer rejoined ; and
Mr. Davis's substitute, providing for
consular relations only with the re-
publics aforesaid, was voted down —
Yeas 8 ; Nays Sl-^and then the bill
passed : Yeas 32 ; Nays 7. On readi-
ing the House, it was refared to its
Committee on Foreign Affaurs ; which
Committee was discharged** from its
further consideration, on motion of
Mr. Gooch, of Mass., who ably and
temperately advocated its passage.
Mr. Cox, of Ohio, replied, d la Davis ;
and, after further debate by Messrs.
Fessenden, of Maine, Eliot, of Mass.,
McKnight and Kelley, of Pa., and
Maynard, of Tenn., in favor, and
Messrs. Biddle, of Pa., and Critten-
den, of Ky., in opposition, it was
passed — Yeas 86; Nays 37 — and,
being signed *^ by the President, be-
came the law of the land.

Previous to the triumph of Eman-
cipation in the Federal District, there
was no public provision for the edu-
cation of the Blacks, whether Ixmd
or free ; and very few, even of the
latter, received any schooling what-
ever. The great obstacle to improve-
ment having been swept away, Mr.
Grimes, of Iowa, submitted •* to th^
Senate a bill providing for the edu-
eaticm of colcnred children in the city
<rf Washington ; prefacing it by a
statement that, whereas the number
of those children was in 1860 no less
than 8,172, and while the Free Blacks

of the District were taxed $36,000
per annum, whereof a tenth was ap-
propriated to the support of schods,
not one of their children was per-
mitted to entar those schools or to
receive any benefit whatever from the
money thus wrested from them by
law for the education of the children
of the Whites, many of whom paid
no tax whatever. His bill proposed
simply that the city revenue raised
for schools by the taxation of Blacks
should be devoted to the education
of their own children, and not those
of the Whites.

This biU having been referred to
and reported •• from the District Com-
mittee, it was tiUcen up,'* on motion
of Mr. Grimes; and certain non-
essential amendments of the Com-
mittee agreed ta Mr. Wilson, of
Mass., then moved to add a new sec-
tion, as follows : \\

'* That all penons of color in the District
of Colombia, or within ihe corporate limita
of the cities of Washington and George-
town, shall be snbjeot and amenable to the
same laws and ordinances to which free
White persons are or roaj be sulgect or
amenable ; that thej shall be tried for an j
offianses against the laws in the same man-
ner as free White persons are or maj be
tried for the same offenses ; and that, upon
being legallj convicted of any crime or
offense against anj law or ordinance, snch
persons of color shall be liable to such
penalty or punishment, and only snch, as
wonld be imposed or inflicted upon free
White persons for the same crime or offense ;
and all acts, or parts of acts, inconsistent
with the provisions of this act, are hereby

This important amendment pre-
vailed ; and the bill, thus improved,
passed :" Yeas 29 ; Nays 7. Reach-
ing the House, it was iJiere referred
to its District Oommittee ; reported**
therefrom without amendment, bj
Mr. Rollins, of N. H., and, on his
motion, passed, mider the Previous

••June a. *^ June 6.

•Apdl 29.

•AprilSO. ''Mays. ''May©. 'May 16.

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Qaestion^ without a call of the Yeas
and Nays. It received the President's
signature on the 21st. Bills making
further and better provision for the
education of colored children were
matured and enacted in the course of
that and the two following sessions.

A treaty between the Great Pow-
ers of Western Europe, intended to
provide for the more effectual sup-
pression of the African Slave-Trade,
was matured and signed at Paris in
1841. It necessarily accorded a qual-
ified reciprocal right to search sus-
pected cruisers to the National ves-
sels of the subscribii^ parties. Geu.
Oafls, then our Envoy at Paris, and a
pitwpective candidate f(»* President,
resifltod and defeated the accession of
our Government to tiiis most right-
eous and necessary increase of power
to the international police of the
ocean, and earned thereby the quali-
fied approbation of the Slave Power ;
as was evinced in the Presidential el^c-
Hoa of 1848. A similar treaty was
now negotiated between the United
States and Great Britain ; and a bill
designed to give effect to its provisicms
was reported^* to the Senate by Mr.
Sumner, considered, and passed :^^
Yeas 34 ; Nays 4. Xhe House con-
curred ;'* and the bill became a

The first proposition looking to a
repeal of the Fugitive Slave act of
1850 by the XXXVIIth Congrese
was made" by Mr. Howe, of Wis-
consin, to the Senate; whereby it
was read twice, referred to the Ju-
diciary C!ommittee, and reported'*
against by Mr. Ten Eyck, of New

Jersey. That report killed it. But
Mr. Wilmot, of Pa., soon revived "*
the proposition, by a bill which re-
quired every person, who should ap-
ply for the legal process required for
the arrest of a fugitive slave, to take
a stringent oath of loyalty. The
ball fturther provided that each al-
leged fugitive ^all have compulsory
process against witnesses dea^aed es-
sential to his defense, and that such
witnesses should be sw<;hii and heard,
irrespective of their color. Mr. Wade
promptly reported ** this bill ; but it
shared the fate of its predecessor.

Mr. Wilson, of Mass., proposed"
to amend the bill of 1850 aforesaid,
so as to secure to every one eiUdmed
as a fugitive slave a trial by jury ;
which, though once taken up" —
Teas 25; Nays 10 — lailed to com-
mand the atteuti<Hi of the Senate.

Soon after the meeting <^1^ i^xt
Congress, Mr. Stevens, of Pa., sub-
mitted** to the House a biU oontem-
plating an abs(dute repeal, not only
of the act of 1850, but also of the
Fugitive Slave act of 1793. Messrs.
Adiley, of Ohio, and Julian, of Ind.,
introduced bills <^ like tenor. Mr.
JuUqa further pnqposed that ^ Ju-
diciary C!ommittee be instructed to
repc^ a bill to repeal ihe most ob-
noxious provisions of the acts iu
question; but this was, on motion
of Mr. Holmui, of Ind., laid on the
table: Yeas 82; Kays 73.

In the Senate, Mr. Sumner next
introduced*^ a bill sweeping away
all slave-catching by statute ; which
was referred to a Select Oonmiittee
of seven, whereof he was Chairmaa^
which had been raised to consid^ aU
proportions affiBcting Slavi^y. He

*» Jane 12, 1862. " June 16. ^» Jufy 7.
»• July 11. " Deo. 26, 1861. '•Feb. 11, 1862.

^ Maj 28. "• May 27. •' May 24

"June 10. •■ Pec. 14, 1863. •• Feb. 8, 1864,

Digitized by




K)on reported* his bill, with ample
reasons for its passage — ^Mr. Bucka-
lew, of Pa., making a minority report
in opposition. Mr. Snmner persist-
ently and saccessfiilly pressed the
consideration of his bill, offering not
to debate it ; and, after some discus-
sion, the Senate adopted** an amend-
ment proposed by Mr. Sherman, of
Ohio, excepting the act of 1798 from
the contemplated repeal: Yeas 24;
Nays 17. The debate was still far-
ther continued; bnt no final action
was had on the bill.

Mr. Morris, of IST. T., reported"
from the Judiciary Committee a bill
repeiding all acts and parts of acts
contemplating the rendition of fugi-
tive slaves ; which was debated with
great spirit by a score of members —
Messrs. Mallory, of Ky., Cox, of Ohio,
and others, opposing it as equivalent
to annulling the Constitution. Mr.
Mallory observed that the majority
had already crushed out the Union-
ism of the revolted States, and were
now extending the process to that of
the Border Slave States, and impres-
sively warned the House to forbear.
Finally, after having once moved and
withdrawn the Previous Question, Mr.
Morris moved it again ;** when it pre-
vailed, and the bill passed under it :
Yeas 88 ; Nays 57.

Mr. Sumner demanded " the consid-
eration of this bill in Senate ; and it
was, after a fiery debate, ordered:
Teas 26 ; Kays 17. Mr. Johnson, of
Md., endeavored to save the act of
1798 ; but the Senate refused : Yeas
17; Nays 22. The bill, aiter being
laid over one day to enable Mr. Da-
vis, of Ky., to make a speech against
it, was passed:** Yeas 27; Nays 12
— ^Messrs. Cowan, of Pa., and Van

Winkle and Willey, of West Va.,
voting with the Opposition. The
President's signature, five days there-
after, made it a law of the land, abol-
ishing for ever the least creditable
and most disagreeable function of thd
marshals of our Federal Courts.

The District of Columbia had beeir
governed mainly by the laws of the
States which ceded it; and those
laws were framed in the interest of
slave-holding. They presumed eve-
ry colored person a slave who could
not produce White evidence of his
freedom ; and there had grown up in
Washington a practice, highly lucra-
tive to her Federal Marshal, but
most disgraceful to the city and Na-
tion, of seizing Blacks on the streets,
immuring them in the jail, advertis-
ing them, and waiting for masters to
appear, prove property, pay charges,
and take the human chattels away.
Mr. Lincoln's Marshal, Col. Ward H.
Lamon, came with him from Illinois,
but was a Yirginian by birth, and did
not revolt at the abundant and profi'^
table custom brought to his shop by
the practice just depicted. Gen.
Wilson, of Mass., early** called the
attention of the Senate to this pain-
fdl subject ; saying that he had " vis-
ited the jail; and such a scene of
degradation and inhumanity he had
never witnessed. There were per-
sons almost entirely naked ; some
of them without a shirt. Some of
those persons were free ; most of them
had run away from disloyal masters,
or had been sent there by disloyal
persons, for safe keeping until the
war is over." He thereupon propos-
ed a discharge by joint resolve of all
persons confined in the District jail

•F*b.a0. "Mar. 10. " June 6. "June 13. •Jund21. •• Juno 23, 18G4. "Dea*,^^^

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B8 fdgitive slaves. In the debate
-which ensued, Mr. Wilson stated
that the French legation had recent-
ly taken to that jail gentlemen who
had traversed the world inspecting
prisons, with a view to their im-
provement ; and that, after examin-
ing this, they observed to the jailer
that they had never before seen but
one so Imd ; and that wa« in Austria.
Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, remarked that
he believed there was never a jail so
bad as this, save the French Bastile,
and some of the dungeons of Y enica
When he visited it, a few days be-
f<»re, he found among the prisoners a
boy who claimed to be free-bom, yet
who had been confined there thirteen
months and four days on suspicion of
being a runaway slave. He further
stated that Marshal Lamon had for-
bidden Members of Congress access
to the prison without his written per-

Messrs. Powell, of Kentucky,
Pearce, of Maryland, and Carlile, of
Yirginia, opposed the resolve ; but it
was warmly supported and passed :**
Yeas 81 ; Nays 4.

A similar resolve had already**
been submitted to the House. No
action was taken, however, upon this,
nor upon the Senate's kindred meas-
ure ; because the President, through
Secretary Seward, addressed** an or-
der to Marshal Lamon, directing him
not to receive into custody any per-
sons caught up as fugitives from Sla-
very, but to discharge, ten days there-

after, all such persons now in his jail.
This put a stop to one of the most
flagrant and glaring iniquities habit-
uMj perpetrated in a Christian and
civilized community.

A bill reported ** by Mr. Sumner,
from the Select Committee on Slave-
ry and Freedom, to prohibit the hold-
ing of slaves on National vessels,
and also the coastwise Slave-Trade,
was lost**— Yeas 13; Nays 20— but
he again moved a prohibition of the
coastwise Slave-Trade, and of all
laws sanctioning and regulating the
same, as an amendment to the Civil
Appropriation bill ; and it was adopt-
ed : Yeas 23 ; Nays 14. Thus fast-
ened to a necessary measure, the
proposition was duly enacted, and
received the President's signature cm

Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 38 of 113)