« PreviousContinue »
United States, including the military and naval authorities 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 therein 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 State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.
“Now, therefore, I, Abraham 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 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 of the first above-mentioned order, and designate, as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against 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 Anne, 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 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-defence, 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 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 :
“ ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
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:
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:
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 Executive. 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 Amer
ica the eighty-eighth. By the President :
• ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
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 character, springing froin 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 7,1-64, 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
" 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.