« PreviousContinue »
• Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United! States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter, the following shall ve promulgated as an additional article of war, for the government of the arıny of the United States, and shall be observed and obeyed as such:
• Article All officers or persons in the inilitary or naral service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands, for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor, who may have escaped from any person to whom sich service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court-martial of violating this article, shall be dismissed from the service.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect froin and after its passage.
Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an Act cntitled 'An Act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscato property of rebels, and for other purposes,' approved July 17, 1862, and which sections are in the words and figures following:
"Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves, of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the Government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them, and coming under the control of the Government of the United States; and all slaves of such persons, found on for being within) any place occupied by rebel forces, and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again lield as slaves.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offense against the laws, unless the person claiming saiu fugitive, shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not been in arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and coinfort thereto; and no person engaged in the military or navai service of the United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person, to the service or labor i any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on paip of bei:g dismissed from the service.'
And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the military and naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the act and sections above'recited.
And the Executive will in due time recommend that all citizens of the United States, who shall have remained loyal thereto throughout the rebellion, shall, (upon the restoration of the constitutional relation between the Inited States and their respective States and people, if the relation shall have been suspended or disturbed,) be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States, including the loss of slaves.
In witness whereof, I have liereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this twenty-second day of September ia
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State." It is not to be supposed that the President ever regarded the question with indifference, or one to be disposed of by a joke; but with his eminently practical mind, he saw that the motives which influenced many, were based altogether or. erroneous views, and the effect which they predicted would follow such a Proclamation, wholly chimerical. Notwithstanding all that has been said on this subject, we doubt very much whether the President, to the last, ever expected, such an edict would have any favorable effect on the war, so far as the South was concerned-on the contrary, we think he foresaw what actually occurred, that it would unite its population more firmly than ever, and give Davis more complete and absolute power. He doubtless anticipated some effect on foreign governments, which was realized; but the great object with him seemed to be, to get rid of the monstrous evil of Slavery. The madness of the South had brought it within the reach of the General Government, and if he could make its fate and that of the Rebellion one, he would, he believed, achieve the greatest and most beneficent triumph of this century. Still, with these views and wishes, constitutional and other objections interposed in his mind, which made him long hesitate. It was a very self-complacent conclusion that many ardent immediate-emancipationists came to, that Mr. Lincoln was a man of excellent motives, but had not yet grown to their stature and completeness—and that when these were attained, he then issued his Proclamation. To him, it was a momentous step to take, and one he determined not to be forced into hastily; nor, with all his philanthropic desire to see Slavery extinguished, would he have assailed it, so long as he thought the attempt would imperil the Union.
There is no evidence that he ever departed from the purpose he expressed in his letter to Horace Greeley—the Union first and foremost-Slavery afterward. When, at length, he saw that to withhold action longer would not help the Union, and when, as Commander of the armies, and not as a civil magis. trate, he could, as a war measure, strike Slavery, he did, and, on the 1st of January, 1863, issued the following final Proclamation :
“ Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, 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 designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever, free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the fieedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them,
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 States shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such Sz. thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United Si:
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the inted 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 suppressing 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 hundred days, from the day first above-mentioned, order and desi nate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaqnemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, inc.uding the city of New Orleans,) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Sonth Carolina North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties lesignated
HABEAS CORPU 8.:
as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmoutlı,) 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, fite; and that the Executive Gov-, ernment of the United States, including the military and naval authorities 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 self-defense; and I recommend to them that in all cases, when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declarc 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 act, 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-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
Thus was consummated the greatest event of the Nineteenth Century—the one that will forever be the distinguishing feature of this memorable war. What the final effect on the African race or the country may be, is yet an unsolved problem. But one thing is settled, Slavery is forever abolished in this free country, and the great blot on our national escutcheon removed:
The other proclamation, issued two days after, suspended the writ of habeas corpus throughout the land, and required all persons accused of disloyal practices, to be tried by court-martial. Thiş last was received with a storm of indignation, and the courts of some of the States denounced it as unconstitutional. The right of trial by jury is the most sacred of all political rights, and when that is finally stricken
1 down, liberty' is dead. The opposition declared that to override thus the civil courts of a land, is the highest act of tyranny known to despotism.' That civil courts must be disregarded in States in rebellion, and martial law be supreme there, was conceded by all, for it would be a farce to try a rebel in rebel courts. Having repudiated the authority of the Government, they could not act under it; and until that authority was re-established, none but military courts could exist. But to assert that the courts of New England, New York, Ohio, and the other States, in which not a band of organized rebels existed, or could exist openly for an hour, were not qualified to try every citizen accused of crime, it was argued was an insult to them. Good men, on the other hand, denied the allegation, on the ground that anything was allowable, which had for its object the overthrow of the rebellion--that extraordinary crises demanded extraordinary measures that in the disturbed and distracted state of public feeling, it was absurd to expect that men of treasonable speech and action would receive justice in the ordinary courts. But that which cxcited the deepest indignation, and brought out the angry remonstrance of the Governors of New Jersey and New York, was the adoption of the system of arbitrary arrests, and imprisonment without accusation or trial, either by court-martial or otherwise. Provost-marshals, vested with almost unlimited power acted as spies on the people, and on suspicion hurried men to prison, there to lie till the Secretary of State or Secretary of War saw fit to release them. That the abuse of this authority by the Secretaries was very great, is evident from the fact that scarcely one of these victims, after weeks or months of confinement, was ever tried for any crime whatever. The exercise of such a power was a most hazardous course on the part of the Government, and but for the President's interfererce with the free use of it, and the universal faith in the puity of his motives, it might, and probably would have worked