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THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION.
United States. It is true that this result did not take place, as they confidently looked for; but it is equally true, that the South obtained a great amount of sympathy and help from abroad, and the government was very seriously hampered and injured by the doings of the partisans for disunion on the other side of the Atlantic.
On subsequent pages we shall have occasion to speak more fully of several points, which require careful examination' in order rightly to comprehend the state of affairs in this great struggle for national existence.*
* See Greeley's "American Conflict," vol. i., pp. 498-516, in which is a carefully prepared estimate of "the relative strength of the opposing parties about to grapple in mortal combat." The reader will find
We need not, however, enlarge further on this topic at this time. these pages worth consulting and examining.
CONGRESS IN SESSION: BULL RUN DISASTER.
Thirty-seventh Congress, extra session-President Lincoln's message - Extracts from-General object of message-Concluding words - Reports from the secretaries as to the army, navy, and treasury-Spirit of Congress - Special points of interest - Debate on the army bill - Resolution of the House and Senate after Bull Run defeat - Bill for confiscating the property of the rebels - Enacting clause approving the president's acts, proclamations, etc. - Adjournment of Congress- Confederate Congress - Davis's message-Its bitter tone- Various measures adopted —"On to Richmond!"— Impatience of the people - Gen. Patterson and his Course- -Gen. McDowell in command of Army of the Potomac — Force under his command-March of the Grand Army from Washington - Tyler at Blackburn's Ford - Change of plan - Vexatious and fatal delays - Extracts from McDowell's report, describing the battle of Bull Run-Jefferson Davis on the field - Num bers of the troops engaged on both sides - Losses at Bull Run according to the Union and rebel accounts, Beauregard's and Johnson's reasons for not pursuing the routed army - Rebel outrages Effect of the disaster at Bull Run - Depression and discouragement - Criticism on the battle- Mr. Greeley's statements — Bitter but salutary lesson for the future.
On the 4th of July, 1861, in compli- | large, working majority of republicans. ance with the president's proclamation The next day, Mr. Lincoln sent in his (see p. 19), the Thirty-seventh Congress first message to Congress. It was a met in Washington for its first session. document looked for with no ordinary Senators from twenty-five states were interest in every part of the country, present, soon after the opening; in the and was eagerly read and commented House 159 representatives ans-upon. In it the president discussed, at wered to their names; and Mr. some length, the questions requiring Grow, of Pennsylvania, was elected speedy attention and action, and on acSpeaker, on the second ballot. In both count of which this extra session of the Senate and the House there was a the national legislature was called. A
preserve our liberties, as each had then to establish them. A right result, at this time, will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the country leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant; and that it needs only the hand of legis lation to give it legal sanction, and the hand of the executive to give it practical shape and efficiency."
review of matters connected with the outbreak of the rebellion, and a brief statement of the policy of the new administration, were given in clear precise terms.* Inasmuch, however, as the secessionists were determined to force upon the country the issue, "immediate dissolution or blood," he stated distinctly what, in his judgment, Congress ought to do. "It is now recommended that you give the legal means for making this contest a short and decisive The latter part of the message was one; that you place at the control of the devoted to arguing again the question government, for the work, at least 400,- of secession and rebellion, and the 000 men and $400,000,000. That num- president, in characteristic terms, de ber of men is about one tenth of those nounced the folly and wickedness of of proper ages within the regions where, those who, for thirty years, had been apparently, all are willing to engage; drugging the public mind with the and the sum is less than a twenty-third sophism, "that any state of the Union part of the money-value owned by the may, consistently with the National men who seem ready to devote the Constitution, and therefore lawfully whole. A debt of $600,000,000 now, and peaceably, withdraw from the is a less sum per head than was the Union, without the consent of the debt of our Revolution when we came Union or of any other state." "The out of that struggle; and the money states," as he justly said, “have their value in the country now bears even a status IN the Union, and they have no greater proportion to what it was then, other legal status. If they break from than does the population. Surely each this, they can only do so against law man has as strong a motive now, to and by revolution. The Union, and * In view of the objections made by Chief-justice not themselves separately, procured Taney and others (see p. 29) on the subject of suspend their independence and their liberty. ing habeas corpus, Mr. Lincoln briefly argued the legality of his course on the ground of pressing necessity: By conquest, or purchase, the Union "The provision of the Constitution that the privilege gave each of them whatever of indeof the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unpendence and liberty it has. Union is older than any of the states, and, in fact, it created them as states. Originally some dependent colonies made the Union, and, in turn, the Union threw off their old dependence for them, and made them states such as they are. Not one of them ever had
less when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,' is equivalent to a provision-is a provision—that such privilege may be suspended
when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety
does require it..... The Constitution itself is silent as to which, or who, is to exercise the power; and as the provision was plainly made for a dangerous
emergency, it cannot be believed that the framers of
the instrument intended that, in every case, the danger
should run its course, until Congress could be called together; the very assembling of which might be pre
vented, as was intended in this case, by the rebellion." a state constitution independent of the
ARGUMENT OF MR. LINCOLN'S MESSAGE.
What is now combatted, whole class of seceder politicians would
the act as the greatest outrage upon
is the position that secession is consistent at once deny the power, and denounce with the Constitution-is lawful and peaceful. It is not contended that there is any express law for it; and nothing should ever be implied as law which leads to unjust or absurd consequences. The nation purchased, with money, the countries out of which several of these states were formed. Is it just that they shall go off without leave, and without refunding? The nation paid very large sums (in the aggregate, I believe, nearly a hundred millions), to relieve Florida of the aboriginal tribes. Is it just that she shall now be off without consent, or without making any return? The nation is now in debt for money applied to the benefit of these so-called seceding states, in common with the rest. Is it just, either that creditors shall go unpaid, or the remaining states pay the whole? A part of the present national debt was contracted to pay the old debts of Texas. Is it just that she shall leave, and pay no part of this herself? Again, if one state may secede, so may another; and when all shall have seceded, none is left to pay the debts. Is this quite just to creditors? Did we notify them of this sage view of ours when we borrowed their money? If we now recognize this doctrine by allowing the seceders to go in The accompanying reports, from the peace, it is difficult to see what we can secretaries in the several departments, do if others choose to go, or to extort gave full and accurate information as terms upon which they will promise to to the position of affairs, and the deremain. The principle (of se- mands which were to be made upon cession) is one of disintegration, and the country in the emergency upon which no government can possibly then existing. The entire army endure. If all the states, save one, force was thus computed: regulars and should assert the power to drive that one volunteers for three months and the out of the Union, it is presumed the war, 235,000; regiments of volunteers
In concluding his message, Mr. Lincoln, aware of the prospect before him at so eventful a crisis, used words of solemn earnestness: "In full view of his great responsibility, the executive has, so far, done what he has deemed his duty. You will now, according to your own judgment, perform yours. He sincerely hopes that your views, and your action, may so accord with his as to assure all faithful citizens, who have been disturbed in their rights, of a certain and speedy restoration to them under the Constitution and the laws. And having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts."
accepted and not yet in service, 50,000; Mervine, consisting of 21 vessels, 282 new regiments of the regular army, guns, and 3,500 men.* 25,000; making a total of 310,000. Deducting the 80,000 three months volunteers, 230,000 would be left for the effective national army for the war, and the speedy crushing out of the rebellion.
The secretary of the treasury, Mr. Chase, in view of the vast increase of expenditures consequent upon the crisis into which the country had fallen, estimated the coming year's outlay at $300,000,000. To meet this expendi ture, custom duties, direct taxes and loans were recommended; and the secretary set forth at large that, in his judgment, the people would sustain the government in its call for funds to crush the rebellion. Startling as was the prospect of passing from the ordin ary outlay of $60,000,000 a year to five times that amount, the government
Secretary Welles, of the navy, reported, that, on the 4th of March, there were 69 vessels of all classes, in the navy, mounting 1,346 guns. The vessels in commission were mostly on foreign stations, with about 7,500 men, exclusive of officers and marines. The home squadron consisted of 12 vessels, carrying 187 guns, and about 2,000 men; added to this, was the demorali- found by experience, that the loyal supzation among navy officers (259 reporters of the Constitution and laws signed or were dismissed the service were fully equal to the demands then, between March 4th and July 4th), al- or at any time, to be made upon them.† though to their honor be it recorded, Congress addressed itself to its duties the crews, like brave and loyal men, with energy and determination. It was stood by the flag of the Union, and a fixed fact, that the Union must be were not to be seduced into betraying maintained, and the legislature, by its or deserting it. Necessity compelling votes, proved what was the spirit of immediate action, the navy department had, previous to the meeting of Congress, secured transport steamers, and given out contracts to build 23 gunboats, each of about 500 tons burden, as well as larger vessels. Eight sloops of war were put in forwardness at the navy yards, and seamen were being actively recruited. The effective force, at this date (July 4th), consisted of the squadron on the Atlantic coast, under the command of Flag-Officer S. H. Stringham, consisting of 22 vessels, 296 guns, and 3,300 men-and the squadron in the Gulf of Mexico, under the command of Flag-Officer William
the people on this subject. The army was increased by authorizing the enlistment of 500,000 volunteers; the navy received its proportional increase; a
* To assist the secretary in the labors of the de
partment, the president was directed to appoint an assistant secretary of the navy. This office was con great practical experience and sagacity, and at the time chief clerk in the navy department. His promotion was hailed with pleasure as a promise of increased vigor
ferred upon Lieutenant G. V. Fox, a gentleman of
in the service. See Dr. Boynton's "History of the Navy during the Rebellion," vol. i., chap. III., pp. 56–69.
About a month after the adjournment of Congress, Mr. Chase issued a circular, appealing to the citizens
of the United States for subscriptions to the two hund red and fifty million loan. The appeal was promptly met, and the secretary's circular did good service in setting forth the ability and resources of the country for so critical a condition of affairs as the present.
PREVAILING SENTIMENT IN CONGRESS.
loan of $250,000,000 and $50,000,000 The army bill was very ably and issue of treasury notes were authorized; import duties were increased; taxes were laid, collectable at a future day; etc. Here and there, there were men like Vallandingham of Ohio, B. Wood of New York, Burnett of Kentucky, and such like, who made every sort of opposition to the means proposed in order to sustain the government; but they were a small, and on the whole, insignificant minority, and Congress went on vigorously with its work, despite their efforts to the contrary.
warmly debated in the Senate, on the 18th of July, and it is interesting to note the sentiments and views expressed by eminent men in Congress, just before the humiliating repulse at Buil Run, and when, on the loyal side, there was a general and confident expectation that the rebellion would speedily be subdued. Mr. Sherman of Ohio, avowed that, in his view, there was no intention of subjugating any state, or interfering with slavery. Mr. Dixon of Connecticut, declared emphatically, that Without attempting to go into de- if the question was, either let the gov tails, we may notice a few of the pro- ernment or slavery be destroyed, then minent points of interest at this extra of course slavery must perish. Mr. session. On the 9th of July, Mr. Love Browning of Illinois, uttered words of joy of Illinois, offered the following re- similar import: "If the South force solution, which was adopted by upon us the issue, whether the govern the House: "Resolved, That in ment shall go down to maintain the inthe judgment of this House, it is no stitutions of slavery, or whether slavery part of the duty of the soldiers of the shall be obliterated to sustain the ConUnited States to capture and return stitution and the government, for which fugitive slaves." This bore more or our fathers fought and bled, and the less directly upon the views set forth in principles that were concentrated in Gen. McClellan's proclamation in May, their blood,-I say, sir, when the issue (see p. 43, note), on the subject of sla- comes, if they force it upon us, that very and insurrection of the slaves, and one or the other is to be overthrown, what he and the army would do in such then I am for the government and a state of affairs. On the 10th of July, against slavery, and my voice and my Mr. Clark of New Hampshire, moved vote shall be for sweeping the last vesthe expulsion from the Senate, on the tige of barbarism from the face of the ground of their being engaged in a con- continent." Other senators, who took spiracy against the Union, of Messrs. part in the debate, while they held that Mason and Hunter from Virginia, slavery did not produce the rebellion, Clingman and Bragg from North Caro- and deprecated sentiments like those lina, Chesunt from South Carolina, just noticed, were still ready and willNicholson from Tennessee, Sebastian ing to give heart and hand to the putting down disunion and rebellion.
and Mitchell from Arkansas, Hemphill and Wigfall from Texas; which was accordingly done
In the House, Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky, on the 19th of July offered a