Page images
PDF
EPUB

abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence, and I recommend to them, that in all cases, when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

[ocr errors]

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 other 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.

"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 sixty[L. S.] three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

"By the President:

"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."

"ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

The proclamation excited various opinions. To some it was unconstitutional, to others unwise, as unable to reach the class in question; but its effect was immense, as we now see. It would be impossible, in the space we can here give to the administration of Mr. Lincoln, to enter into his various acts of office, his calls for troops, his various appointments, or the various steps that he adopted, from time to time, in the wellgrounded hope that they would bring peace to the land. On the 8th of December, 1863, he issued his important amnesty proclamation, in which, after reciting the existence of the rebellion, he proceeds:

66

Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a FULL PARDON is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be

registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:

"I, -, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the union of the States thereunder; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress, passed during the existing rebellion, with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President, made during the existing rebellion, having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court. So help me God.' "The persons exempted from the benefits of the foregoing provisions are all who are or shall have been civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate Government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are or shall have been military or naval officers of said Confederate Government above the rank of Colonel in the army, or of Lieutenant in the navy; all who left seats in the United States Congress to aid the rebellion; all who resigned their commissions in the army or navy of the United States, and afterwards aided the rebellion, and all who have engaged in any way, in treating colored persons or white persons, in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully, as prisoners of war, and which persons may be found in the United States service, as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity.

"And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that whenever, in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth in number of the votes cast in such State at the Presidential election of the year of our Lord 1860, each having taken the oath aforesaid, and not having since violated it, and being a qualified voter by the election law of the State existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and excluding all others, shall re-establish a State government which shall be Republican, and in nowise contravening said oath, such shall be recognized as the true government of the State, and the State shall receive thereunder the benefits of the Constitutional provision, which declares that 'the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the Legislature, or the executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.'

"And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that any provision which may be adopted by such State government, in relation to the freed people of such State, which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the National Executive. And it is suggested as not improper, that, in constructing a loyal State government in any State, the name of the State, the boundary, the subdivisions, the Constitution, and the general code of laws, as before the rebellion, be maintained, subject only to the modifications made necessary by the conditions hereinbefore stated, and such others, if any, not contravening said conditions, and which may be deemed expedient by those framing the new State government.

"To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say, that this proclamation, so far as it relates to State governments, has no reference to States wherein loyal State governments have all the while been maintained. And for the same reason, it may be proper

to further say, that whether members sent to Congress from any State shall be admitted to seats constitutionally, rests exclusively with the respective Houses, and not to any extent with the Exec

And still further, that this proclamation is intended to present the people of the States wherein the national authority has been suspended, and loyal State governments have been subverted, a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal State governments may be re-established within said States, or in any of them; and, while the mode presented is the best the Executive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable.

"Given under my hand at the city of Washington, the eighth day of December, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and sixtythree, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth.

"By the President:

"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."

"ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

As the term of Mr. Lincoln's administration drew towards a close, other prominent men of the party were spoken of in political circles, as possible candidates; but it was soon evident that the sound common sense of the people demanded his continuance. There was no longer contemptuous scorn or abuse. The man had risen far above that. If in that complicity of

[ocr errors]

character, springing from the inartificial society in which he was reared, he used the apologue to enforce his opinions, the people felt that what would have made him a sage in antiquity could not make his real wisdom less now. He had made a hard-working, earnest, true, patient, cautious, kind-hearted, yet most firm President. Men felt loosened from party shackles, and many inwardly resolved, against all former political bias, to cast their votes for Mr. Lincoln.

The National Union Convention assembled at Baltimore, June 7, 164, nominated him for President, and Andrew Johnson, another self-made Southern man, for Vice-President.

On the 29th of August, in the same year, a Democratic Convention at Chicago nominated General George B. McClellan for the Presidency, and George H. Pendleton, of Ohio, for VicePresident, with a platform which General McClellan virtually repudiated.

Meanwhile Grant, after reducing Vicksburg and opening the Mississippi by the fall of Port Hudson, had proceeded to Tennessee, and taking in hand the army there, driven the rebels from before Chattanooga. Appointed Lieutenant-General, he forced Lee back to Richmond, while his able lieutenant, Sherman, forced Bragg back to Atlanta. The rebellion began to totter. A few Southern leaders in Canada endeavored to open negotiations for terms. Their advances elicited this characteristic reply:

"EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 18, 1864. "To whom it may concern: Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the Union, and the abandon ment of slavery, and which comes by and with authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points, and the bearers thereof shall have safe conduct both ways.

"ABRAHAM LINCOLN."

The Presidential election took place upon the eighth of November, 1864, and it resulted in the triumph of Mr. Lincoln in every loyal State except Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware. The official returns for the entire vote polled summed up 4,034,789.

Of these Mr. Lincoln received 2,223,035, and McClellan received 1,811,754, leaving a majority of 411,281 on the popnlar vote. Mr. Lincoln was elected by a plurality in 1860. In 1864 his majority was decided and unmistakable.

The covert attempt to negotiate having failed, the rebels in February, 1865, applied directly for permission to send their Vice-President, Stephens of Georgia, R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia, and J. A. Campbell of Alabama, through the lines as quasi Commissioners to treat for peace. It had been distinctly stated that no recognition of the Southern Confederacy by the general Government must be expected; still the envoys wished to come, and President Lincoln proceeded to Fortress Monroe then, on the steamer River Queen. The conference led to no results. The envoys made the recognition indispensable, while Mr. Lincoln, in his friendly and genial conversation with them, as firmly insisted that he could not for a moment entertain it. On the 4th of March Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated for a second term of four years, to which he had been chosen by so preponderating a vote of confidence. The day was rainy, and the ceremonies began in the Senate Chamber. A few moments before twelve o'clock, the official procession entered the chamber. First, came the members of the Supreme Court, who took seats on the right of the Vice-President's chair. Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered, escorted by Vice-President Hamlin, and followed by the members of the cabinet, the chiefs of the diplomatic corps, officers of the army and navy who have received the thanks of Congress, Governors, &c.

Vice-President Hamlin briefly took leave of the Senate, and his successor, with the Senators elect to the Thirty-Ninth Congress, were then sworn in. After this the official procession was formed and moved to the platform in front of the portico of the eastern front of the Capitol, where the ceremony of inauguration was concluded. After being welcomed with enthusiastic cheers, Mr. Lincoln pronounced the following inaugural :

"Fellow Countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations

« PreviousContinue »