Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ch. XVII.]

THE CANVASS FOR THE PRESIDENCY.

503

posed to any measures which looked damage the chances of success of the toward the giving up the contest with democratic candidate. One of these was,

, the rebels, except by their being re- the discovery of an organized secret asduced to submission to the laws of the sociation in the western and northland; and, consequently, this division western states, controlled by prominent in the democratic ranks added virtually men among the democrats, whose object to the support of Mr. Lincoln. “The was, by its league of affiliated societies, political canvass was prosecuted with to overthrow, by revolution, the exist. energy and confidence in every section ing administration, and render assistof the country. The main consideration ance, in every way possible, to the which was pressed upon the public interests of the rebellion. Judge Advomind was, that the defeat of Mr. Lincoln cate-General Holt, in an official report, would be, in the eyes of the rebels, an gave conclusive proof of the existence explicit disapproval of the general line and intents of this association; a con. of policy he had pursued, and a distinct siderable part of the democratic press,

, repudiation by the people of the north- however, rather sneered at the matter, ern states of the Baltimore declaration, as something got up for political effect. that the war should be prosecuted to There were also threats of raids and the complete and final overthrow of the invasions along the northern frontiers, rebellion. This view of the case com- by rebel agents and sympathizers, which pletely controlled the sentiment and led to active measures, on the part of action of the people, and left little the government, to protect our exposed room or disposition for wrangling over line next to Canada; and rumors were the many petty issues to which such a freely circulated of a proposed revolucontest gives birth. As the canvass tion, especially in New York city, if advanced, the confidence of success in. Mr. Lincoln were re-elected, all danger creased (on the part of Mr. Lincoln's of which was effectually put an end to friends), and received a still further im- by. the sending a body of regulars from pulse from the grand military victories the Army of the James, under Gen. which, in quick succession, began to Butler, who took up their residence in crown the Union arms."* On both New York for the

precau. sides, the best talent was engaged, and tion. speeches and addresses were made all Happily, there was no need whatever through the country, in favor or against of interference. The state elections, in one or the other of the candidates. September and October, in Vermont, Various charges, of a more or less Maine, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, serious character, were made against the resulted in large republican administration, in order to affect the majorities; and in Maryland election; but they did not produce the new free state constitution was much impression; while, on the other adopted. These clearly foreshadowed hand, events occurred which tended to the termination of the contest. On the

*

purpose of

* Raymond's Life of Abraham Lincoln," p. 602. 8th of November, the presidential ele

1864.

tion was held. There was no disturb. could have been changed in the purpose ance or excitement; everything was of its government, in the indomitable conducted quietly and orderly; and, as valor of its troops, or in the unquenchwas expected, it was decisive in its re- able spirit of its people. The baffled sult. McClellan received the votes of and disappointed foe would in vain three states, viz., New Jersey, Delaware have scanned the reports of your proand Kentucky; Mr. Lincoln received in ceedings, at some new legislative seat, his favor the votes of all the other for any indication that progress bad loyal states, twenty-three in number. been made in his gigantic task of con. The total of McClellan's vote was, quering a free people.

free people. The truth so 1,797,019; the total of Lincoln's vote patent to us must, ere long, be forced upwas, 2,203,831, showing a popular ma. on the reluctant northern mind. There jority of 406,812.

are no vital points on the preservation Early in November, Jeff. Davis ad- of which the continued existence of the dressed a message to the rebel congress, Confederacy depends. There is no milithen in session at Richmond. It was tary success of the enemy which can ac

. couched in the usual style, confidently complish its destruction. Not the fall of anticipating success, and earnestly urg. Richmond, nor Wilmington, nor Charing all under his rule to activity and leston, nor Savannah, nor Mobile, nor zeal in order to obtain it. Sherman's of all combined, can save the enemy having obtained possession of Atlanta from the constant and exhaustive drain was made light of, and, as on former of blood and treasure which must conoccasions, severe blows and losses were tinue until he shall discover that no counted to be rather an advantage, or peace is attainable unless based on the at least no material disadvantage. “If recognition of our indefeasible rights." the campaign against Richmond,” Davis Severe and bitter complaints were went on to say, “ had resulted in suc- made by Davis respecting the conduct cess instead of failure ; if the valor of of European nations in not recognizing the army, under the leadership of its the “ Confederacy;" at the same time accomplished commander, had resisted he said, “We seek no favor, we wish no in vain the overwhelming masses which intervention, we know ourselves fully were, on the contrary, decisively repuls- competent to maintain our rights and ed; if we had been compelled to evac- independence against the invaders of uate Richmond as well as Atlanta, the the country.” In speaking of the finanConfederacy would have remained as cial condition of affairs it was stated, erect and defiant as ever. * Nothing that the total amount of the public

* In an article in the Richmond Examiner, under the hour of giving up the seat of government, our date of February 27th, 1865, this extravagance of Davis cause would sink into a mere rebellion in the estima was sharply criticised, and the folly and absurdity of tion of foreign powers, who would cease to accord to attempting to maintain such ground as that set forth us the rights of belligerents ; while the enemy would by the rebel chief abundantly manifested. Richmond, be free to treat our officers and soldiers as traitors and it was held, was absolutely essential to the life of the criminals ; so that every 'rebel' would fight thence Confederacy,” and as the writer forcibly said, “ from forth with a balter round his neck.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CH. XVII.]

JEFF. DAVIS AND REBELDOM.

505

debt, as exhibited on the books of the among which was the question as to register of the treasury, on the 1st of the policy of a general arming of the October, 1864, was $1,147,970,208, of slaves to serve in the ranks. Neither which $539,840,090 were funded debt, Davis nor his Congress could bring bearing interest; $283,880,150 were their minds to the conviction that it treasury notes of the new issue, and the was best to adopt this course, although remainder consisted of the former issue it was advocated by some of the promi. of treasury notes, about to be converted nent men engaged in the rebellion. into other forms of debt. In this state- On the whole, despite the haughty ment, it was added, “ the foreign debt words of Jeff. Davis, the condition of is omitted. It consists only of the un. affairs, at the close of the year 1864, paid balance of the loan known as the was gloomy enough for the rebels. cotton loan. This balance is but £2,- They were groaning under a central 200,000, and is adequately provided military despotism. Conscription, which for by about 250,000 bales of cotton was carried to its extremest extent, was owned by the government, even if the odious everywhere, and was every: cotton be rated as worth but sixpence where evaded without scruple. Direct per pound.” The great depreciation taxes were laid in defiance of the rebel of the treasury notes, or paper currency, theory of government. The vast floods was admitted, and attributed to two of paper money had rendered it almost causes,“ redundancy in amount, and valueless. The holders of this paper want of confidence in ultimate redemp- money were compelled to fund it, or tion.” To remedy this pressing diffi. lose one-third. The government seized culty, it was proposed, 1st, That the all the railroads, destroying some and faith of the government be pledged that building others. Property was imthe notes shall ever remain exempt pressed at government prices, and paid from taxation. 2d, That no issue shall for in government money. The gov. be made beyond that which is already ernment monopolized the export trade authorized by law. 3d, That a certain of the cotton and great staples of the fixed portion of the annual receipts country. The habeas corpus was sus- . from taxation during the war, shall be pended, and a passport system estabset apart specially for the gradual ex. lished. And, added to all these, the tinction of the outstanding amount, un military reverses were numerous and til it shall have been reduced to $150,- severe; yet the traitors and conspira000,000; and 4th, The pledge and ap- tors against the Union, with whom it propriation of such proportion of the was a matter of life or death, held on tax in kind, and for such number of in their evil course, and determined to years after the return of peace, as shall persist in efforts to uphold a rebellion be sufficient for the final redemption of now drawing near its end. the entire circulation."

The Thirty-eighth Congress comVarious other matters were discuss- menced its second session on the 5th ed at length by the rebel president, of December, 1864. The president's

VOL. IV.-61.

on the

1864,

message, which was sent in the next the practice of constant vigilance, and day, was of moderate length, and dis- a just and conciliatory spirit on part cussed the subjects requiring his atten. of the United States, as well as of the tion, in a clear, straightforward man nations concerned and their governner.* The condition of our foreign rements.” lations was pronounced to be “reason- Affairs in the several departments of ably satisfactory,” as was evinced in a the treasury, the war, and the navy, brief résumé. “It is possible,” Mr. were spoken of in encouraging and Lincoln said, “ that if it were a new cheering terms, and various objects of and

open question, the maritime pow. philanthropy and justice were commenders, with the lights they now enjoy, ed to the attention of Congress. In rewould not concede the privileges of a ference to the proposed amendment of naval belligerent to the insurgents of the Constitution abolishing slavery forthe United States, destitute, as they ever, (p. 465) Mr. Lincoln expressed are, and always have been, equally of himself frankly: “At the last session

ships of war and of ports and of Congress a proposed amendment of

harborg. Disloyal emissaries the Constitution, abolishing slavery have been neither less assiduous nor throughout the United States, passed more successful during the last year the Senate, but failed for lack of the than they were before that time in their requisite two-thirds vote in the House efforts, under favor of that privilege, to of Representatives. Although the

pre. embroil our country in foreign wars. sent is the same Congress, and nearly The desire and determination of the the same members, and without ques. governments of the maritime states to tioning the wisdom or patriotism of defeat that design are believed to be those who stood in opposition, I venture as sincere as, and cannot be more earn to recommend the reconsideration and

, est than, our own. Nevertheless, un passage of the measure at the present foreseen political difficulties have arisen, session. Of course, the abstract quesespecially in Brazilian and British ports, tion is not changed; but an intervening and on the northern boundary of the election shows, almost certainly, that United States, which have required, the next Congress will pass the meaand are likely to continue to require, sure if this does not. Hence there is

only a question of time as to when the * Several changes in the cabinet took place during proposed amendment will go to the the year. Mr. Chase resigned in June, and Mr. W. P. Fessenden was appointed secretary of the treasury. states for their action; and as it is to Mr. M. Blair resigned the postmaster-general's office

that in September, and Mr. W. Dennison was placed in the go at all events, may we not vacant office. On the 1st of December, the attorney- the sooner the better? It is not claimed general, Mr. Bates, resigned, and his post was after that the election has imposed a duty on wards filled by James Speed, of Kentucky.. We may members to change their views or their also put on record here, the death of Chief-justice Taney, which occurred on the 12th of October. This im- votes, any further than, as an additional portant position was filled, December 6th, by the ap element to be considered, their judg. pointment of the late secretary of the treasury,

agree

ment may be affected by it. It is the

Salmon

P. Chase.

Cu. XVII.]

DEPARTMENT REPORTS.

507

voice of the people now, for the first at the beginning of the fiscal year in time, heard upon the question. In a July, was stated to be $1,740,690,489 great national crisis like ours, unanimity 49, an increase during the year of over of action among those seeking a com- $618,000,000. The prospective debt mon end is very desirable, almost in- on the 1st of July, 1865 was estimated dispensable; and yet no approach to at $2,223,064,677 51. The expendi. such unanimity is attainable, unless some ture for the war department was set deference shall be paid to the will of down at about $963,000,000; for the the majority. In this case the common navy, about $43,000,000; and for inend is the maintenance of the Union, terest on the public debt, over $90,and among the means to secure that 000,000. The secretary of the navy, end, such will, through the election, is in a long and elaborate presentation of most clearly declared in favor of such the state and condition of the navy, reconstitutional amendment."

ported a total of 671 vessels afloat or Having shown, by some statistics, that in process of construction, mounting the loyal states had more men for duty 4,610 guns and registering 510,396 tons, at this date than when the war began; being an actual addition to the navy, that “the national resources were un. during the year, of 109 vessels and 313 exhausted and inexhaustible;” and guns. From this latter estimate, howthat the war must be prosecuted to the ever, were to be deducted twenty-six complete demolition of the rebel power vessels lost by shipwreck, in battle, and pretension, he concluded his mes capture, etc., during that period. Of sage with saying, that, while he should this huge array of naval vessels, nearly not retract or modify his emancipation one-fifth in number and more than oneproclamation, still, when the insurgents fourth in guns and tonnage, were screw abandoned armed resistance, the war steamers, especially constructed for the would end. “In stating a single con service; fifty-two were paddle-wheel dition of

peace, I mean to say that the steamers, and seventy-one iron-clad veswar will cease on the part of the gov- sels of various descriptions. The total ernment whenever it shall have ceased number of men in the service at this on the part of those who began it.” date was 6,000 officers and 45,000 men.*

The reports accompanying the presi. The action of Congress during this, its dent's message gave full particulars in connection with the various depart- Ordnance supplies furnished to the military service dur

portions

. inents of the government. Our limits ing the fiscal year, included 1,441 pieces of ordnance, do not admit of details, and we must 1,896 artillery carriages and caissons, 455,910 small

arms, 502,044 sets of accoutrements and harness, 1,913,refer the reader to the documents them. 753 projectiles for cannon, 7,624,685 pounds of bullets selves.* The whole debt of the nation and lead, 464,549 rounds of artillery ammunition, 152,

067 sets of horse equipments, 112,087,553 cartridges for * The annual report of the secretary of war, deferred small arms, 7,544,044 pounds of powder. through the exigencies of the public service, was pre- * For full and interesting details respecting the sented at the close of the session, in March, 1865. Its Army of the United States, amounting, at this date, to statement of the army material furnished within the about 700,000 men, see Appleton's “ American Annual preceding twelve months, exhibits the gigantic pro- | Cyclopædia” for 1864, pp. 32-40.

« PreviousContinue »