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labor for support, the father of dependent motherless chil-
dren under twelve years of age, etc.

In accordance with this act, the enrollment was soon
made, and in May a draft of 300,000 men ordered.

In the House a bill was passed, by a vote of 83 to 54,
Enlistment of col- authorlziug thc President " to enroll, arm, and
oied volunteers. gq^|p^ ^^^(j rcceivc into the land or naval serv-
ice of the United States, such numbers of volunteers of Af-


rican descent as lie may deem useful to suppress tte pres-
ent rebellion, for such term as lie may prescribe, not ex-
ceeding four years." In the Senate it was considered that
the authority thus granted had been already given by the
act of July 17th, 1862, and therefore this bill did not pass.
Members of the Republican party by no means agreed
in their views of the relation of the insurgent
tion of the insurgent statcs to the 2;overnment. Mr.Stevens, in the

states to the Union. i i i i i • • i

House, looked upon them as being in the po-
sition of an alien enemy with regard to duties and obliga-
tions — that they were to be treated simply in accordance
with the laws of war. These views were altogether re-
jected by other influential members.

On the 31st of December an Act for the Admission of
the State of "West Virginia" into the Union, which had
been passed by both houses, was approved by the Presi-
dent. This seemed to sanction the correctness of Mr. Ste-
vens's view that the Constitution had no api^lication to
the insurgent states. On the other hand, however, the
House passed resolutions admitting members from the 1st
and 2d Congressional Districts of Louisiana, which seemed
to carry an opposite interpretation.

A very important measure was the passage of resolu-
tions by both houses declining emphatically

Action of both n • t . • • 1 1 i i

houses on foreign loreis;n mediation an the war by very lar2;e

intervention. ... -in • i

majorities — m the Senate, 31 to 5; m the
House, 103 to 28. The occasion of this was an offer of
mediation by the French Emperor on the 9th of Januaiy,
1863, and which the American government had declined.
On the opening of the session of the Senate and Corps
Legislatif of France (January 12 th), the Emperor said in
his speech : " I have made the attempt to send beyond the
Atlantic advices inspired by a sincere sympathy ; but the
great maritime powers not having thought advisable as
yet to act in concert with me, I have been obliged to post-
pone till a more suitable opj)ortunity the offer of media-


tion, the object of whicli was to stop the effusion of blood,
and prevent the exhaustion of a country the future of
which can not be looked upon with indifference."

The Emperor's wish was to accomplish the separation
of the Republic. He made very earnest ex-

The French Emper- . , ,_^._ "^

or wishes to divide ertious to draw thc Eneiish 2;overnment over

the Eepublic ... . . i t • •

to his Views ; m fact, as we have seen (vol. ii.,
p. 518), his expedition to Mexico was based on the hope of
that partition, and the consequent neutralization of both sec-
tions. France and England had both come to the conclusion
that the last hours of the American Republic were at hand.
They only differed in opinion as to what might subserve
their individual interests best. They sat by the bed of
agony — the death-bed, as they supposed, of the Union.
France was thinking of .Louisiana and the Valley of the
Mississippi, which she had discovered and settled, where
her language is not yet forgotten, but which unwisely she
had sold. The eyes of the Republic closed, the mournful
event over, there needs must be heirs to her rich estate.
They mimicked sorrow with a heart not sad.

Very different was the conduct of the Russian govern-
ment. On the 8th of November, 1862, Prince Gortschakoff,
the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had sent to Paris,
in reply to the foregoing proposal, this dispatch :

" We are inclined to believe that a combined step by France, En-
„ . , ,. ffland, and Russia, no matter how conciliatory and how

Eussia declines to ° . ^ .„ . , ., n- • ^

join ill the French cautiously made, II it were taken with an ofticial and
proposa . collective character, would run the risk of causing the

very opposite of the object of pacification, which is the aim of the

wishes of the three courts."

The American Congress and people correctly appreci-
ated the attitude of these foreign powers.

SentimeutsiuAmer- rm -t tji^jI p' n n-

ica toward these for- ihev considerccl ttiat tiic uninenuly disposi-

eign powers. .,.n-r-\i t ■ -i

tion of the xTench government was the result
of the political intentions of the French Emperor, and that
the French people were in no wise responsible for it ; that.


under a different dynasty and a different system, there
would be a cordial friendship between the two countries,
as there had always been. But since, in Great Britain, there
were free institutions, a free press, and an administration
accountable to popular judgment, the unkindness and injus-
tice which were now so signally manifested were imputed
to the deliberate intentions of the English people. By
Eussia a just, and, therefore, a better course was taken.
At the very time that the news of the battle of Bull Run
reached Europe, and England, filled with mockery and de-
rision, was clapping her hands at the downfall of " the Dis-
united States," Prince Gortschakoff, in a letter to Baron
de Stoeckl, the minister from St. Petersburg to Washing-
ton (July 10th, 1861), made known " the deep interest of
Conduct of the Eos- the Empcror of Russia in the state of affairs
Bian government. -^ America." Ho desircd the Baron to use
his influence in promoting reconciliation, telling him that
" the Union is not simply, in the eyes of the Russian gov-
ernment, an element essential to the universal political
equilibrium, but also a nation to which the emperor and
all Russia have pledged the most friendly interests." He
directed him "to express himself, as well to the members of
the general government as to the influential persons whom
he may meet, in earnest friendship, giving them the assur-
ance that in every event the American nation may count
upon the most cordial sympathy on the part of the emperor
during the important crisis through which it is passing."

This letter produced an ineffaceable impression in Amer-
ica. Hereafter historians may perhaps be able to trace its
influence on the course of events in Europe.

Among other measures passed by Congress in 1863 may
be mentioned bills to provide a national cur-

Variona other meas- . , , .

nres passed by Con- reucy, to improvc the Organization oi the cav-

gress. 1 • .

airy, to authorize the raising of a volunteer
force for the defense of Kentucky, to promote the efficiency
of the commissary department, to facilitate the payment of


sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals and convales-
cent camps, to provide for the organization of the Signal
Corps, and to promote the efficiency of the Corps of Engi-
neers and of the Ordnance Department.

The 37th Congress was dissolved on the 4th of March,
1863. It had originally convened, at the special call of
the President, on the 4th of July, 1861. It had passed
through the period when the government could rely on
the enthusiasm of the people, and had inaugurated that
during which it was necessary to resort to force.

In the beginning of June a convention of editors of
newspapers was held in New York, and a se-

a convention of nes 01 resolutious passed amrmmsr the duty

editors. /./iit ^ r^ • • ^

of fidelity to the Constitution, the govern-
ment, and the laws; that, while journalists have no right
to incite or aid rebellion or treason, they have a right to
criticise freely and fearlessly the acts of public officers, and
that any limitation of this right, created by the necessities
of war, should be confined to localities wherein hostilities
actually exist or are imminently threatened. The meeting
denied the right of any military officer to suppress the is-
sue or forbid the general circulation of journals printed far
away from the seat of war. A few days previously Gen-
eral Burnside had issued an order prohibiting the circula-
tion of certain newspapers on account of their "repeated
expressions of disloyal and incendiary sentiments."

On the same day that ex-President Pierce made his
Governor Seymour's spccch at Coucord, Govcmor Scymour, who,
address. ^^ ^^ havB secu, was a distinguished leader

of the Peace party, addressed a large audience in the city
of New York. In this he dwelt upon the calamities that
had befallen the nation. " Remember," he said, " that the
bloody, treasonable, and revolutionary doctrine of public
necessity can be proclaimed by a mob as well as by a gov-

The President's conscription proclamation, carrying the


law of the 3d of March into operation, was

Opposition of the ^ '

pape^a^to'thegov- issued on the 8th of May. The newspapers
ernment. -^ ^jjg interest of the Peace party spared no

pains to incite the populace to violence, especially taking
advantage of the impending draft, which was to occur in
New York on Saturday, July 11th. Every exertion was
used to arouse the laboring people and dangerous classes
of the city. The acts of the government were denounced as
outrages and usurpations, the war as a quarrel provoked by
Abolitionists, in which white men were to be killed for the
sake of " niggers," and for diminishing the Democratic vote
at the next election ; the draft was declared to be unconsti-
tutional, and an irffraction of the rights of the states ; the
privilege of finding a substitute for three hundred dollars
an advantage for the rich and not for the poor. At the
very moment that Lee was ordering Pickett's column to
assault the national position at Gettysburg, handbills were
being circulated in New York calling on the people to rise
and vindicate their liberties. Pathetic appeals were made
about republican equality — there did not seem, however,
to be any intention to extend it to the blacks.

At the appointed time the draft began in New York.
The draft in A crowd attended at the place of drawing.
New York. 'jjiat day every thing passed off peaceably.
Among those who had been drafted were some Irishmen.
On Monday morning, when the drawing recommenced, an
immense crowd, chiefly of that nationality, had assembled.
Thepopniacein- They broke the windows with paving-stones,
burst into the house where the officers Avere,
and attacked them with so much fury that one w^as taken
home for dead ; they then set fire to the place, resisted the
attempts of the firemen to extinguish the flames, and near-
ly killed the police superintendent. Spreading over the
city, they raised a cry against " the niggers ;" forced their
way into hotels and restaurants where colored servants
were employed ; sacked an asylum for colored orphan chil-


dren (it had several hundreds of those little helpless in-
mates), the women in the mob carrying off beds, furniture,
and such other property as could be removed — they then
set the building on fire ; an armory not far distant shared
the same fate. In the lower part of the city an attack was
made on the office of a newspaper — the Tribune — specially
obnoxious to the rioters on account of its supporting the
government ; the omnibuses and street-cars were stopped
the railroads and telegraphs cut ; factories, machine-shops,
ship-yards, etc., were forcibly closed ; business was para
. lyzed. In all directions the unoffending negroes were pur
sued in the streets ; some were murdered ; their old men
and infirm women were beaten without mercy ; their houses
were burnt; one negro was tied to a tree, a fire kindled
under him, and he was roasted to death.

The governor of the state, Mr. Seymour, was absent in

New Jersey. On Tuesday he returned, and

isea to attempt to addrcsscd the mob from the steps of the City

stop the draft. . ^ •'

Hall. He informed them that he had sent
his adjutant general to Washington to confer with the au-
thorities there, and to have the draft stopped. Doubtless
his fair speeches were Avell intended, but they were wholly
without effect; the dangerous classes, in the flush of a suc-
cessful riot, are not to be controlled by flattery.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, by birth

condnctofthe ^"^ Irishman, but full of patriotism and loyal-

cathohc clergy. ^^^ used every exertion to check the excesses

of his misguided countrymen, imploring them publicly, and

remonstrating with them personally. In these efforts he

was warmly sustained by his clergy. In other places the

authorities of that Church followed the example. The

Catholic Bishop of Buffalo solemnly implored his flock to

have nothing to do with such riots. He required that his

letter should be read in every church under his charge on

•the Sunday after its reception. At Cleveland, Ohio, the

bishop, in a sermon, warned his hearers against joining in.

444 '•'HE NEW YORK KIOT. [Sect. XX.

draft-riots ; he had pledged his word, he said, to the citi-
zens that there should be no disturbance on the part of
the Catholic Irish, and he looked to them that this pledge
should not be broken.

In New York the rioters had completely got the upper
hand. There was nothing to prevent them plundering the
banks, maltreating all who were obnoxious to them, or even
sacking the city. It was now plain what dreadful conse-
quences would have ensued had Lee in the preceding weeks
won the battle of Gettysburg, and been marching to the
help of these his allies.

The police had done their duty, but had been utterly
unable to put down the riot. The militia were absent in
Pennsylvania, resisting Lee's sortie. A detachment of 50
marines, and a small force of the Invalid Corps, had ap-
peared at the beginning of the outbreak; they encoun-
tered a body, consisting principally of infuriated women,
and attempted to disperse it by firing blank cartridges;
the soldiers were quickly overpowered, several of them
killed, many maltreated. Whatever force there was in
the city made the best resistance it could, but without
avail. The riot continued through four days. On Thurs-
day evening (16th) a determined stand was made by the
mob against a small body of regulars, who quelled their
antagonists by firing at those who were hurling missiles
at them from the house-tops, while a body of artillerymen
entered the houses and made prisoners of the male inmates ;
13 of the rioters were killed, 18 wounded, and many taken
prisoners. The emergency had become so pressing that
the Secretary of War was obliged to order

Troops from the • ■ j? •i j_ _c ^ ^

army in the field rcgiments irom the seat oi war and else-

quell the riot, ^

where. They made short work of the mat-
ter. It is said that about 1000 of the rioters were killed
— perhaps many more.

nEd the draft The govemmcut ordered the draft to be
18 completed, continued. It was completed with firmness.


The destruction of property in this riot was estimated

Conduct of the ^-t aboiit tAvo milHons of dollars. The gov-
city authorities. ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^ -^ accordance with his

promise, urged President Lincoln to postpone the draft
until its constitutionality could be determined by the
courts. The President replied that he would abide by
such a decision, but that he would not consent to lose the
time while it was being obtained. The city authorities of
New York, in order to ingratiate themselves with those who
had a vote in future elections, passed a bill to pay $300
commutation or substitute money to every drafted man
unable to pay that sum himself, thus thwarting the meas-
ures of the general government to keep up the strength of
the army. It was men, not money, that the government

The New York draft-riot is correctly considered as an
Conduct of the outbrcak of the Irish laboring classes in that
Irish population. ^-^^^ But, iu the Condemnation with which

they must be visited for thus lifting their hands against the
government which had ever done so much to befriend them
— a government then in a moment of the utmost peril — it
must be borne in mind that there were many, very many
persons of Irish birth, and of different political parties, who
set their faces against these proceedings. Throughout the
war, among Irishmen who held positions of social distinc-
tion, the government found many of its noblest and ablest
defenders ; and among those who were less favored by. for-
tune, there were thousands who gave their lives.

Similar riots occurred in Boston and other places. They
did not, however, assume the proportions of that of New
York. The draft, in the twelve states in which it was en-
forced, added only about 50,000 men to the army. It pro-
duced, however, a fund of more than ten and a half mill-
ions of dollars commutation money. On October 17th
an additional draft of 300,000 men was made. It was ac-
complished without difficulty.


The elections which took place in the autumn of the
The autumn eiec 7^^^' (1863) proved that, in all its great meas-
TO"ab?itouieT(^''' ■ui'es of policj, the administration was now
ministration. sustained hj thc people. The Republican

vote, as compared with the Democratic, greatly exceeded
that of the preceding year. California and Maine gave
large Republican majorities; in Pennsylvania that party
gained the ascendency in eveiy branch of the state gov-
ernment. In Ohio, which had been the scene of the Val-
landigham controversy, there was, on the vote for governor,
a Union majority of more than one hundred thousand.
The same decision was given in the Western States, Indi-
ana, Illinois, Iowa,'Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. In New York
the effect of the riots no doubt aided in producing the sur-
prising result — the Democratic majority of 10,000 in the
preceding year was replaced by a Rejjublican majority of
nearly 30,000. ■

It was evident that the great victories on the Mississip-
pi and at Gettysburg were producing a powerful political
effect ; it was also evident that the people had now arrived
at the belief that the Proclamation of Emancipation must be
sustained as the true means of the salvation of the nation.

As the year wore on the prospect became still brighter.
Prospect at the ^u the Ist of November the subscription
cios; of the year. ^^^^^ ^f ^^^ government reported the sales of

more than thirty-six millions of the five-twenty bonds dur-
ing the previous week. The proclamation of October 17th,
calling for 300,000 additional men to serve for three years
or the war, excited no dismay. The President had pro-
claimed a Thanksgiving for the victories of July on the
15th of that month, and another on the last Thursday in
November. He closed the year appropriately by publish-
ing, on the 8th of December, an amnesty proclamation.

From the civil affairs of the National, we may now turn
to those of the Confederate government.


I have already indicated (vol. ii., p. 149) that the pro-
Affairs in the ceedings of the Confederate Congress were al-
eracy. j^q^^ entirely secret, and that they mainly con-
sisted in carrying out the intentions of the President, Davis.
In this abnormal condition of things — abnonnal in a
republic — v^e are therefore more interested in examining
the President's views of public affairs than in studying
what may be accessible of the records of the Congress.
This body never commanded the respect of the Southern
people. Their want of confidence in it appears to have
arisen from the mediocre character of its members. All
the best men were in the army. They valued military
more than civil distinction.

The opinions held in the Confederacy on this subject
chavactcrofita ^rc perhaps best gathered from Southern his-
congress. torfaus. One of them, Mr. Pollard, who had

closely studied the subject, informs us that the Confeder-
ate Congress was characterized by "utter inanity;" "it
was the most unimportant, incompetent, and barren of pub-
lic assemblies." He makes the following statements :

There were two of these bodies ; the first was the Pro-
visional, the second the Permanent Congress. The former
was composed of delegates sent by State Conventions under
the supposition that the war would be very short. It was
intended to devise a permanent system for the South only
after the war was over, but other affairs were so pressing in
February, 1862, that there was no time to attend to such
matters. So " Davis ascended from being the provisional
chief of a rebellion to the office of President of the Confed-
eracy without question," and a tawdry ceremony in Capitol
Square — his inauguration — notified the South of its choice.
Up to this time there had been but one house ; now two,
the Senate and the Eepresentatives, were organi^'ed. The
Provisional Congress was, in fact, a revolutionary council ;
Cobb, of Georgia, was its president. All the heads of ex-
ecutive departments had seats in it, and participated in its



debates. Among its members were naturally those poli-
ticians who had formerly distinguished themselves at
Washington in leading the first movements of secession,
such as Toombs, Wigfall, Pry or, and Keitt.

The decision excluding military men was fatal to the
Exclusion of miii- Legislature. It became a collection of new
tary men from it ^^^ uukuowu persous and brokeu-dowu poli-
ticians. The government Avas literally abandoned to Davis
and his creatures. The best men in the country were wild
after military honors.

During the first year of the war Davis was the legisla-
tor of the Confederacy. Law^ framed in his ofiice were
sent to the dingy room in which the Congress met, to be

Public respect for this body totally disappeared after its
flight on the approach of McClellan in 1862.

Estimate in which

j^jstimate in wnicn -r, • j i i i i i

it was held by the It was caricatured and lampooned even by

puWic. . Ti .

the women without mercy, its return was
almost unnoticed. It repudiated one third of the debt,
and ruined public credit. Corrupt senators trafficked in
the small currency. The Legislature was nicknamed by
the citizens " the Debating Society on Capitol Hill." The
government had become a mere despotism.

The Congress was composed of men of ordinary appear-
conductofits ance. Its surroundings were dingy, dirty,
meetmgs. without luxurics or even conveniences. The
Senate Chamber was in the third story; there were no
seats for the audience. In the House of Representatives
that deficiency appears to have been rectified, for members
might be seen sprawling on two or three chairs, with their
heels in the air, or sitting whittling their desks. There
were not half a dozen known men. Some were represent-
ing places in possession of the enemy. Even old members
who had been in Washington had lost by such associations
what dignity they once had. Nobody pretended to elo-
quence ; speeches embodied in bad grammar were uttered


witli a colicky delivery. Among these uncultivated men
occurred many breaches of decorum, reports of which, for
the credit of the Confederacy, were suppressed by the news-
papers. A member who was distinguished by scratching
his arms and crying out " Mr. Cheermau" when he designed
to make an address, on one occasion enforced his argument
by rushing upon his opponent with a bowie-knife. Even
in the Senate a hand-to-hand fight took place between Mr.
Yancey, who had been one of the earliest promoters of se-
cession, and another member. It was thought that this
encounter hastened Mr. Yancey's death, as his antagonist
dragged him across a desk, pummeled his face, and injured
his spine. One of the senators was cowhided by another
in his seat. Messages were sent to the newspapers to sup-
press the reports of these scenes, and not to give informa-
tion to the enemy.

This Congress became more animated toward the close
DeciiueofthePresi- of tlic War, from oppositiou to Davis. It
dent's influence in it. ^^^^^ gp^rred ou to this by the press. Wig-
fall, who had formerly been in Washington, and who had

Online LibraryJohn William DraperHistory of the American Civil War → online text (page 34 of 57)