Page images

The President's Message.



The President's Message.

same class will be thrown upon | law upon the same subject them for disposal. In such shall be proposed, its propri case, I recommend that Conety will be duly considered. gress provide for accepting such persons from such The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispenStates according to some mode of valuation in lieu sable means must be employed. We should not be probanto of direct taxes, or upon some other plan in haste to determine that radical and extreme to be agreed upon with such States respectively measures, which may reach the loyal as well as the that such persons, on such acceptance by the Gen- disloyal, are indispensable. eral Government, be at once deemed free, and that in any event steps be taken for colonizing both classes, or the one first mentioned if the other shall not be brought into existence, at some place or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization. To carry out the plan of colonization, may involve the acquiring of territory, and also the appropriation of money beyond that to be expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practiced the acquisition of territory for nearly sixty years, the question of Constitutional power to do so is no longer an open one with us. The power was at first questioned by Mr. Jefferson, who, however, in the purchase of Louisiana, yielded his scruples on the plea of great expediency. If it be said that the only legitimate object of acquiring territory is to furnish homes for white men, this measure effects that object, for the emigration of colored men, leaves additional room for white men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson, however, placed the importance of procuring Louisiana more on political and commercial ground, than on providing room for population. On this whole proposition, including the appropriation of money with the acquisition of territory, does not the expediency amount to absolute necessity that without which the Government cannot be perpetuated if the war continues?

"In considering the policy to be adopted for suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and careful that the inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have, therefore, in every case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union prominent as the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving all questions which are not of vital military importance to the more deliberate action of the Legislature. In the exercise of my best discretion, I have adhered to the blockade of the ports held by the insurgents instead of putting in force by proclamation the law of Congress enact ed, at the late session, for closing those ports. So also obeying the dictates of prudence as well as the obligations of law, instead of transcending, I have adhered to the act of Congress to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes. If a new

"The Inaugural Address at the beginning of the Administration and the Message to Congress at the late special session, were both mainly devoted to the domestic controversy out of which the insurrection and consequent war have sprung. Nothing now occurs to add to or subtract from the principles or general purposes stated and expressed in those documents. The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably, expired at the assault upon Fort Sumter, and a general review of what has occurred since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully uncertain then is much better defined and more distinct now, and the progress of events is plainly in the right direction. The insurgents confidently claimed a strong support from north of Mason and Dixon's line, and the friends of the Union were not free from apprehension on the point. This, however, was soon settled definitely, and on the right side. South of the line, noble little Delaware led off right from the first. Maryland was made to seem against the Union; our soldiers were assaulted, bridges were burned, and railroads torn up within her limits, and we were many days at one time without the ability to bring a single regiment over her soil to the capital. Now, her bridges and railroads are repaired and open to the Government. She already gives seven regiments to the cause of the Union, and none to the enemy; and her people, at a regular election, have sustained the Union by a larger majority, and a larger aggregate vote than they ever before gave to any candidate on any question. Kentucky, too, for some time in doubt, is now decidedly, and, I think, unchangeably, ranged on the side of the Union. Missouri is comparatively quiet, and I believe cannot again be overrun by the insurrectionists. These three States of Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, neither of which would promise a single soldier at first, have now an aggregate of not less than forty thousand in the field for the Union; while of their citizens, certainly not more than a third of that number, and they of doubt. ful whereabouts and doubtful existence, are in arms against it. After a somewhat bloody struggle of months, winter closes on the Union people of Western Virginia, leaving them masters of their own country.

"An insurgent force of about fifteen hundred, for months dominating the narrow peninsular re

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Also, we have obtained a footing at each of the isolated points on the Southern coast, of Hatteras, Port Royal, Tybee Island, near Savannah, and Ship Island; and we likewise have some general accounts of popular movements in behalf of the Union in North Carolina and Tennessee. These things demonstrate that the cause of the Union is advancing steadily southward.

"Since your last adjournment, Lieutenant-General Scott has retired from the head of the army. During his long life, the nation has not been unmindful of his merit; yet, on calling to mind how faithfully, ably and brilliantly he has served the country, from a time far back in our history, when few of the now living had been born, and thenceforward continually, I cannot but think we are still his debtors. I submit, therefore, for your consideration, what further mark of recognition is due to him and to ourselves as a grateful people.

"With the retirement of General Scott came the executive duty of appointing in his stead a Generalin-Chief of the army. It is a fortunate circumstance that neither in council nor country was there, so far as I know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person to be selected.

will direct, and no single mind can be allowed to control.

The President's Mes sage.

"It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principles of popular governmentthe rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave and maturely-considered public documents, as well as in the general tone of the insurgents. In these documents, we find the abridgement of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers, except the legislative body, is advocated with labored arguments to prove that large control of the Government by the people is the source of all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people.

"In my present position, I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

"It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point with its connections not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above labor, in the structure of Government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital, that nobody labors unless somebody else owning capital somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves; and further it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as as

"The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in favor of General McClellan for the position, and in this the nation seemed to give a unanimous concurrence. The designation of General McClellan is, therefore, in a considerable degree, the selection of the country as well as of the Execu-sumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man tive; and hence there is better reason to hope there will be given him the confidence and cordial support thus, by fair implication promised, and without which he cannot, with so full efficiency, serve the country.

being fixed for life in the condition of a hired labor


Both of these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless. Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the highest consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital, producing mutual bene. fits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor

"It has been said that one bad General is better than two good ones; and the saying is true, if taken to mean no more than that an army is better directed by a single mind, though inferior, than by two superior ones at variance and cross-purposes with each other. And the same is true in all joint operations wherein those engaged can have none but a common end in view, and can differ only as to the of the community exlsts within that relation. A few choice of means. In a storm at sea, no one on board can wish the ship to sink, and yet not unfrequently all go down together, because too many

men own capital, and that few avoid labor them. selves, and with their capital hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to



The President's Message.

neither class-neither work for others, nor have others working for them. In most of the South

ern States, a majority of the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their families-wives, sons and daughters -work for themselves on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital, on the one hand, nor of hired laborers or slaves, on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital —that is, they labor with their own hands, and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is distinguished by the existence of this mixed class.

[ocr errors]

Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed in that condition for life. Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in their lives were hired laborers. The pru

dent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools and land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequent energy and progress in the improvement of their condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch ought which they have not

honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and

which, if surrendered, will surely be used to close

the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.

"From the first taking of our national census to the last, are seventy years; and we find our population at the end of the period eight times as great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those other things which men deem desirable, has been even greater. We thus have, at one view, what the popular principle, applied to government, through the machinery of the States and the Union, has produced in a given time; and also what, if firmly maintained, it promises for the future. There are already among us those who, if the Union be preserved, will live to see it contain 250,000,000. The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day. It is for a vast future, also.

"With a firm reliance on Providence, all the more firm and earnest for our present troubles, let us

[ocr errors][merged small]

Opposition to Federal Policy.

What will strike the reader's attention is the kindly spirit which pervades this entire message. In that respect what a contrast it offers to the manifesto of revenge and baffled ambition quoted on pages 430-33! Confident, firm, sagacious and humane in terms and tone, it was but an exponent of the sentiment which swayed the minds and animated the hearts of the great mass of Northern people. Mr. Lincoln still retained the confidence of the people, to a flattering degree, and his words found a ready response in the hearts of his constituents. If a division of this confidence followed, it was a result of the changes brought forth by the vast responsibilities thrust upon the President. What to do and what not to do, were questions which soon grew to portentous sig nificance. The Executive, in answering either, by action, necessarily encountered the opposition of those who differed from his views. These differences grew, ere long, into political antagonisms; the inauguration of the Emancipation and Confiscation acts called into existence a powerful party. With a rallying cry "the Union as it was-the Constitution as it is," the opposition in effect proposed to restore the South with all its institutions and political force intact. Upon that issue the President experienced the only material opposition brought to bear against his administration.

This issue was not undesirable. If regarded in its widest significance it was but a second phase of the rebellion. The first phase was the act of war to sustain the independence of the Slave States: the second was the attempt to perpetuate the political power of Slave representation in the old Union.*


This will appear more fully by reference to a few statistics. South Carolina's representation in the Federal Congress, under the apportionment of 1860, was four representatives for a white popula tion of 398,186. Connecticut representation was four representatives for a population of 760,670. Upon the basis of democratic equality-such an equality as underlies the whole structure of free institutions-South Carolina was entitled to but one.

Important Action of

tary of War.

The Secretary presented the following tabular estimate of the forces which were, or had been, in the field:



both cases the contest was The report of the Secrewith the Slave propagand-tary of War engrossed much Report of the Secre ists. It was well to meet attention. It was an able both on one field, to settle forever, if possible, and lucid document. We give those sections the tremendous question lying at the very base which must retain a permanent interest in a of the rebellion-the right of the Slave States record of the war. Upon their statistics and to a separate confederacy, or, if defeated and statements the future commentator and esbrought back into the old Union, their right sayist must rely, to a considerable extent, for to their old representation on "property." data; and no present reader, who would beThe President shrank from courting the double come well informed upon the subject, can afcontest, but this session of Congress assumed ford to pass such official documents with the initiative in its acts-Chapter CXCV. for slight notice. They merit the most attentive Punishment of Treason, Confiscation and Am- consideration. nesty; CXI. for Securing Freedom to all Persons within the Territories of the United States; LIV. for Abolishing Slavery in the District of Columbia; XL. for Prohibiting the Army from Catching Slaves. The first act cited covered the whole ground. Although California.. professedly a "military necessity," it is useless to deny that it was any other than the expression of the anti-slavery sentiment of the country--it was the final triumph of the Iowa. contest for supremacy inaugurated on the soil of Kansas in 1856-it was the culminating point in the history of American Slavery. The Southern opposition in struggling against this Congressional and Executive procedure, sought to maintain the old status of Slave representation, and they registered their devotion to the South as they had before registered it in the repeal of the Missouri Compromise act, and in the support of Breckenridge for the Presidency.





New Hampshire......
New Jersey
New York

The war. Ag'gate. 4,688

3 mos.









[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Rhode Island..



We introduce these observations, at this point, to indicate the nature of the opposi- Kansas........... tion to the Administration which took form early in the session of 1861-62, as well as to advise the reader of the changes in sentiment which transpired as the war progressed.

half the representation of Connecticut. The seven "original" States of the Confederacy together had a white population of 2,656,481, and for this had thirty-two representatives. The six New England States had a population of 3,135,301, yet they had but twenty-five representatives! Here, then, we have fuct of Slave, or "property," representation in Con. gress to the extent of adding fully fifty per cent. to the representation on the actual white population. [See Vol. I.-pages 27-28 for tables giving the figures at length, from which each reader may deduce mis own inferences]

New Mexico...

District of Columbia..


[blocks in formation]

Report of the Secre

tary of War.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Report of the Secretary of War.

This constituted the "Ar- | from our grasp. This reverse, my of the Union"-a force however, gave no discourageone-half greater than Napoment to our gallant people; leon called into the field in 1815 to resist the they have crowded into our ranks, and although combined armies of Great Britain, Russia, Aus- large numbers have been necessarily rejected, a tria, Prussia, the German States, &c. In regard cipitate itself upon the foe. The check that we have to enlistments the report said:

"At the commencement of this rebellion, inaugurated by the attack upon Fort Sumter, the entire military force at the disposal of the Government was 16,006 regulars, principally employed in the West to hold in check marauding Indians. In April, 75,000 Volunteers were called upon to enlist for three months service, and responded with such alacrity that 77,875 were immediately obtained. Under the authority of the act of Congress of July 22, 1861, the States were asked to furnish 500,000 volunteers to

serve for three years, or during the war; and by the act approved the 29th of the same month, the addition of 25,000 men to the Regular Army of the United States was authorized. The result is, that we have now an army of upwards of 600,000 men. If we add to this the number of the discharged three months volunteers, the aggregate force furnished to the Government since April last exceeds 700,000


mighty army in invincible array stands eager to pre

received upon the Potomac has, therefore, but postponed the campaign for a few months. The other successes of the rebels, though dearly won, were mere affairs, with no important or permanent advantages. The possession of Western Virginia and the occupation of Hatteras and Beaufort have nobly redeemed our transient reverses."

This embodied a true statement of those "glorious victories vouchsafed to the Southern arms," so piously referred to by Mr. Davis. In regard to the progress of affairs in the Border Slave States the Secretary said:

"At the date of my last report, the States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri were threatened with rebellion. In Delaware, the good sense and patriotism of the people have triumphed over the unholy schemes of traitors. The people of Kentucky early pronounced themselves, by an unequivocal declaration at the ballot-box, in favor of the Union; and Maryland, notwithstanding the ef

Mr. Cameron then referred, with a sense of pride, to the fact that in the war of the Re-forts of bad men in power in the city of Baltimore,

volution Massachusetts supplied troops to the extent of 56,000-or more than one in six of her entire population. Should the loyal States now furnish forces in that proportion the Federal army would embrace over three millions of men. He added:

"The conspiracy against the Government extended over an area of 733,144 square miles, possessing a coast line of 3,523 miles, and a shore line of 25,414 miles, with an interior boundary line of 7,031 miles in length. This conspiracy stripped us of arms and munitions, and scattered our Navy to the most distant quarters of the globe. The effort to restore the Union, which the Government entered on in April last, was the most gigantic endeavor in the history of civil war. The interval of seven months has been spent in preparation.

"The history of this rebellion, in common with all others, for obvious causes, records the first successes in favor of the insurgents. The disaster of Bull Run was but the natural consequence of the premature advance of our brave but undisciplined troops, which the impatience of the country demanded. The betrayal also of our movements by traitors in our midst enabled the rebels to choose and intrench their position, and by a reenforcement in great strength, at the moment of victory, to snatch it

when the opportunity of a general election was afforded, under the lead of her brave and patriotio Governor, rebuked by an overwhelming majority the traitors who would have led her to destruction. In Missouri, a loyal State Government has been established by the people, thousands of whom have rallied to the support of the Federal authority, and, in conjunction with troops from other portions of the country, have forced the rebels to retire into the adjoining State. The Government established in Virginia by the loyal portion of her population is in successful operation, and I have no doubt will be sustained by the people of the entire State whenever the thraldom of the rebel forces shall have been removed."

The Secretary, recommending a reconstruction of the boundaries of the States surrounding the National capitals, said:

"The geographical position of the metropolis of the nation, menaced by the rebels, and required to be defended by thousands of our troops, induces me to suggest for consideration the propriety and expe diency of a reconstruction of the boundaries of the States of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.. Wisdom and true statesmanship would dictate that the seat of the National Government for all time to come should be placed beyond reasonable danger of seiz ure by enemies within, as well as from capture by

« PreviousContinue »