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To this letter, Mr. Blair replied as follows:
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT,
MY DEAR SIR:
I have received your note of this date, referring to my offers to resign, whenever you should deem it advisable for the public interests that I should do so, and stating that, in your judgment, the time has now come. I now, therefore, formally tender my resignation of the office of Postmaster-General. I can not take leave of you without renewing the expressions of my gratitude for the uniform kindness which has marked your course toward Yours, truly,
Hon. William Dennison, Ex-Governor of Ohio, who had presided over the National Union Convention at Baltimore, was appointed Postmaster-General in Mr. Blair's stead, an appointment confirmed by the Senate at the beginning of the session.
Attorney-General Bates tendered his resignation soon after the Presidential election, to take effect on the 1st of December. Judge Bates had been the first member of Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet definitely decided upon, and whose appointment was mutually understood. He had many years before been offered a Secretaryship under a Whig Administration, but declined the honor. He was well-known throughout the country as an early and steadfast advocate of emancipation in Missouri, and had long ago shown the sincerity of his faith by freeing his own slaves. While in his official capacity, he was set down by some as a Conservative, he was on many questions of the time, fully up to the advance line of his associates, and lagged behind on none. His views were not, however, a mere echo of other men's opinions, or of those of the people indiscriminately. He was unwilling to go with the current when he believed it was wrong, but chose to use his influence toward directing it aright. Least of all could he brook factious dictation. Those who thoroughly understood him, felt little occaHe was ever, sion to be proud of any difference with him.
while in office, a cordial friend and conscientious adviser of Mr. Lincoln, having no under-current of hostile discontent when his counsels were not followed, or when his wishes were overruled. Judge Bates resigned, for personal reasons, an office he had never sought, and his resignation was accepted by Mr. Lincoln, as a favor to one whose presence he would gladly have retained. The Hon. James Speed, of Louisville, Ky., was appointed Attorney-General, and entered upon the duties of that office, soon after it was vacated by his predecessor, having been confirmed by the Senate on the 12th of December.
Chief Justice Taney died on the 12th of October, 1864. One of the most zealous upholders of slavery, he did not survive the day on which the people of Maryland, his native State, decreed the freedom of their slaves. His name will be forever associated with one of the last bulwarks of the doomed institution, known as the Dred Scott decision. Perhaps the most noted, if not the only specially memorable utterance of his life, was the strangely inaccurate assertion that, in the early days of the Republic, the colored race were regarded as having "no rights which the white man was bound to respect." He was a jurist of ability, though too strong a partisan to be always an impartial judge. He was a man of upright and irreproachable private character, and had remained true to the Government in whose service he spent so large a portion of his long life. The first President to whom he administered the oath of office was Martin Van Buren; the last, Abraham Lincoln. For all those intermediate, he had officiated in like manner. The news of the death of Judge Taney came unexpectedly at last; his health having permitted his attendence on the courts, with little interruption, to the end, although he attained the age of eighty-seven years.
During the vacation of the Supreme Court, there was no occasion for filling the important office thus made vacant. A decision was consequently deferred until the assembling of Congress, on the first Monday in December. During the intermediate time, the popular expression in favor of the Hon. Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio, became very general. This appoint
ment, too, was in accordance with President Lincoln's original inclination. By the very fact of the strong contrast between Governor Chase and Judge Taney, on the great questions of the time, was this inclination strengthened, and the popular wish intensified. The nomination was promptly sent in on the meeting of the Senate, and at once confirmed without opposition. Mr. Chase had taken ground in favor of emancipation, at a time when no public honors were to be gained by espousing a cause so unpopular. From first to last, he has been known as the unswerving advocate of universal liberty and impartial equality of rights. To place a man of these principles in the position just now held by the author of the Dred Scott decision, was an almost incredible step in advance. This change moved the people to less enthusiastic demonstrations indeed, but not less profoundly, than the greatest victories of our armies. Chief Justice Chase took the oath of office, and entered on his high duties on the 15th day of December.
The action of the Canadian authorities in refusing to deliver up the St. Albans raiders for trial, on proper demand under the extradition treaty, produced intense feeling on the part of the people of the loyal States. Gen. Dix, in command of the Military Department including the frontier of New York and Vermont, promptly issued an order that marauding parties of like character, hereafter coming into the States from Canada, should be vigorously pursued, across the border if necessary, and captured or shot down wherever found. This order was undoubtedly warranted by recognized principles of international law. It met with a hearty response throughout the country, as did the arrest of Mason and Slidell on the Trent, by Commodore Wilkes, or more recently, the capture of the Rebel pirate-ship Florida, in Brazilian waters, by Commander Collins. But the policy of moderation, from high motives of expediency, still prevailed. There was an earnest desire on the part of the Rebels to embroil our nation with some strong foreign power, and the accomplishment of this object was probably one of the purposes entertained while organizing, in "neutral" British Territory, expeditions across the border. The President deemed it advisable that so much of Gen. Dix's
order as authorized pursuit across the frontier should be rescinded. A rigid passport system was, however, adopted, which the hostile conduct of Canadians, and their encouragement to robbery and murder, openly avowed as acts of war, set on foot within their own territory by emissaries of Davis, rendered proper for protection. The regulation was extended to all travelers from a foreign country, except immigrant passengers directly entering an American port by sea.
On the 13th of December, a joint resolution was passed by the House of Representatives, authorizing the President to give the requisite notice to the Government of Great Britain for the termination of the treaty of the 5th of June, 1854, known as the Canadian Reciprocity treaty. This resolution, in a slightly modified form-subsequently agreed to by the House-passed the Senate on the 12th of January, 1865, by a vote of 33 to 8. The resolution as finally passed, and approved by President Lincoln, on the 18th of January, 1865, is in the following terms:
WHEREAS, It is provided in the reciprocity treaty concluded at Washington the 5th of June, 1854, between the United States of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland of the other part, that this treaty "shall remain in force for ten years from the date at which it may come into operation, and further until the expiration of twelve months after either of the high contracting parties shall give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same;" and whereas, it appears, by a proclamation of the President of the United States, bearing date 16th of March, 1855, that the treaty came into operation on that day; and whereas, further, it is no longer for the interests of the United States to continue the same in force, therefore,
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That notice be given of the termination of the reciprocity treaty, according to the provision therein contained for the termination of the same; and the President of the United States is hereby charged with the communication of such notice to the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Another joint resolution, approved February 9th, 1865, ratifies the notice already given by the President on the 23d of
November, 1864, for the termination of the treaty with Great Britain, for the reason, assigned in the preamble, that “the peace of our frontier is now endangered by hostile expeditions against the commerce of the lakes, and by other acts of lawless persons, which the naval force of the two countries, allowed by the existing treaty, may be insufficient to prevent."
On the 19th day of December, 1864, President Lincoln, in order to supply a deficiency of 260,000 men, on the previous call of July 18, 1864, for 500,000, issued another call for 300,000 volunteers, to serve for one, two, or three years-any portion of the quota for any locality not made up before the 15th day of February, to be filled by a draft commencing on that day.
The proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery throughout the United States, and every where under its jurisdiction, had been defeated in the House of Representatives at the previous session, as already seen. Mr. Ashley's motion to re-consider the vote by which the joint resolution was lost, being called up, on the 6th of January, 1865, the question was discussed at great length during the three weeks following. The motion to re-consider prevailed on the 31st of January, by a vote of 112 yeas to 57 nays-it being ruled by Speaker Colfax that only a majority was needed for that purpose. On the final vote-two-thirds being required—the joint resolutior was concurred in, yeas 119, nays 56, as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Alley, Allison, Ames, Anderson, Arnold, Ashley, Baily, Augustus C. Baldwin, John D. Baldwin, Baxter, Beaman, Blaine, Blair, Blow, Boutwell, Boyd, Brandegee, Broomall, William G. Brown, Ambrose W. Clark, Freeman Clarke, Cobb, Coffroth, Cole, Colfax, Creswell, Henry Winter Davis, Thomas T. Davis, Dawes, Deming, Dixon, Donelly, Driggs, Dumont, Eckley, Eliot, English, Farnsworth, Frank, Ganson, Garfield, Gooch, Grinnell, Griswold, Hale, Herrick, Higby, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Asahel W. Hubbard, John H. Hubbard, Hulburd, Hutchins, Ingersoll, Jenckes, Julian, Kasson, Kelley, Francis W. Kellogg, Orlando Kellogg, King, Knox, Littlejohn, Loan, Longyear, Marvin, McAllister, McBride, McClurg, McIndoe, Samuel F. Miller, Moorhead, Morrill, Daniel Morris, Amos Myers, Leonard Myers, Nelson,