« PreviousContinue »
A War Measure.
“WHEREAS, On the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight bundred and sixtytwo, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
“ That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be thenceforward and forever free, and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
“ That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.
“Now, therefore, I, Abrabam Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and Government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for repressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hun
States in Rebellion.
Advice to the Freed
dred days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, designate, as the States and parts of States wberein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion agains: the United States, the following, to wit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authori. ties thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
"And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free, to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary selfdefence, and I recommend to them, that in all cases, when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
“And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and otber places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
"And upon this, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
Situation of the Country.
Attacks upon the Administration.
"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 first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixtythree, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
"By the President:
"W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
LAST SESSION OF THE THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS.
Situation of the Country-Opposition to the Administration-President's Message.
DARK days for the friends of freedom in this country were those at the close of 1862. Prior to the autumn of that year the elections had shown a popular indorsement of the acts of the Administration. Then came a change. The three leading States-New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania-through manifestations and misrepresentations which it is unnecessary here to detail, had been induced to give majorities against the Government. Not the least singular of the many remarkable instances of inconsistency which our political annals afford, was furnished in the State first-named, which had actually elected a "Peace" man as its Governor, on the platform of "a more vigorous prosecution of the war."
The failure of the Peninsular Campaign was charged upon the President. The war, it was asserted, had been perverted from its original purpose. It was no longer waged to preserve the Union, but to free the slave; or, in the more elegant phraseology of the day, it had become "a nigger war." With the ignorant and unthinking such statements passed as truths.
Firmness of the President
The number of those who, never having invested any principle in the struggle, had become tired of the war, had largely increased. The expectation of a draft-or a "conscription," as it better suited the objects of the disaffected to term itwhich was passed at the next session of Congress, made the lukewarm love of many to wax cold.
Newspapers and stump-speakers had the bardihood to demand peace upon any terms. It was even claimed that an opposition majority had been secured in the lower House of the next Congress. Their representatives in the Congress of 1862 began to re-assume those airs of insolence and defiance which they had previously found it convenient to lay aside for the time.
Dark days, indeed, when the Thirty-seventh Congress assembled for its last session, on the 1st of December, 1862.
Yet there was one who never faltered in purpose, however discouraging the prospect; one, who, assured that he was right, was determined to follow the right, wherever it might lead him. And, though his careworn expression and anxious look told plainly how the fearful responsibilities of his office weighed upon him, he had ever a cheerful word, a happy illustration, a kindly smile, or a look of sympathy for those with whom he came in contact.
The essential portions of his Annual Message on this occasion are given below:
" FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPREBENTATIVES :-Since your last annual assembling, another year of health and bountiful harvests has passed. And, while it bas not pleased the Almighty to bless us with a return of peace, we can but press on, guided by the best light He gives us, trusting that, in His own good time and wise way, all will yet be well.
"If the condition of our relations with other nations is less gratifying than it has usually been at former periods, it is cer
Suppression of the Slave Trade
tainly more satisfactory than a nation so unhappily distracted as we are, might reasonably have apprehended. In the month. of June last there were some grounds to expect that the maritime powers which, at the beginning of our domestic difficulties, so unwisely and unnecessarily, as we think, recognized the insurgents as a belligerent, would soon recede from that position, which has proved only less injurious to themselves than to our own country. But the temporary reverses which afterward befell the National arms, and which were exaggerated by our own disloyal citizens abroad, have hitherto delayed that act of simple justice.
"The civil war, which has so radically changed, for the moment, the occupations and habits of the American people, has necessarily disturbed the social condition, and affected very deeply the prosperity of the nations with which we have. carried on a commerce that has been steadily increasing throughout a period of half a century. It has, at the same time, excited political ambitions and apprehensions which have produced a profound agitation throughout the civilized world. In this unusual agitation we have forborne from taking part in any controversy between foreign States, and between parties or factions in such States. We have attempted no propagandism, and acknowledged no revolution. But we have left to every nation the exclusive conduct and management of its own affairs. Our struggle has been, of course, contemplated by foreign nations with reference less to its own merits, than to its supposed, and often exaggerated, effects and consequences resulting to those nations themselves. Nevertheless, complaint on the part of this Government, even if it were just, would certainly be unwise.
"The treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave-trade, has been put into operation, with a good prospect of complete success. It is an occasion of special pleasure to acknowledge that the execution of it, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, has been marked with a jealous respect