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PEACE CONFERENCE FAILS.
probably have closed here, had not Gen. other party, it was not said that, in any Grant, indirectly, through the secretary event or on any condition, they ever of war, urged the president to meet would consent to reunion; and yet they Messrs. Stephens, Campbell and Hunter. equally omitted to declare that they Acting on this suggestion, Mr. Lincoln would never so consent. They seemed followed Secretary Seward, who had to desire a postponement of that quesgone to Fortress Monroe a day or two tion, and the adoption of some other before. He reached Hampton Roads course first, which, as some of them on the evening of the 2d of February, seemed to argue, might or might not and the next day the interview took lead to reunion, but which course, we place on board of a steamer in the thought, would amount to an indefinite river “On the morning of the 3d,” as postponement. The conference ended the president stated in a message to without result.” Congress, in reply to a resolution, The persons above named, on their “Messrs. Stephens, Hunter and Camp- return to the rebel capital, made a rebell came aboard our steamer, and had port to Jeff. Davis, who sent it, with a an interview with the secretary of state message to his congress, on the 6th of and myself, of several hours' duration. February. As was to be expected, No question of preliminaries to the Davis felt very uncomfortable at the meeting was then and there made or result, which placed Mr. Lincoln, in his mentioned. No other person was pre- view, in the light of a “conquerer," sent. No papers were exchanged or and required “unconditional submisproduced, and it was in advance agreed sion” to the Constitution and laws of that the conversation was to be informal the United States, emancipation and and verbal merely. On my part, the the abolishment of slavery included.
, whole substance of the instructions to Several public meetings were held in the secretary of state, herein before re- Richmond, in order, as one of the news
cited, was stated and insisted papers phrased it, “to hurl back into
upon, and nothing was said in- Lincoln's teeth the insult put upon the consistent therewith; * while, by the southern people by his answers to the
confederate commissioners.” Speeches * These instructions were thus worded : "You will were made by Hunter, Benjamin, and make known to them (Stephens, etc.) that three things others; fierce denunciations were inare indispensable,– 1st, The restoration of the national authority throughout all the states. 24, No receding dulged in; and tremendous efforts were by the executive of the United States, on the slavery made to rouse up the southern spirit question, from the position assumed thereon in the late annual message to Congress, and in the preceding sufficiently to carry on the contest now documents. 3d, No cessation of hostilities short of an almost hopeless. end of the war, and the disbanding of all the forces
Another attempt at negotiation was hostile to the government. You will inform them that all propositions of theirs not inconsistent with the made by Davis, at the end of February, above will be considered and passed upon in a spirit arising out of a conversation between of sincere liberality. You will hear all they may Gen. Ord and the rebel Gen. Longchoose to say, and report it to me. sume to definitely consummate anything.”
street, at an interview on the subject
You will not as
of the exchange of prisoners. Lee, by of dissolution, and, bravely and detiDavis's direction, communicated with antly as the rebels talked, they could Grant, who asked for orders from the not shut their eyes to the fact. president. The answer came directly, Another measure, which plainly fore. on the 3d of March, through the secre- shadowed the approaching ruin of the tary of war :—“The president directs rebellion, was that which, after much me to say to you, that he wishes you to bitter discussion in the newspapers, and have no conference with Gen. Lee, unless by the rebel leaders and congress, was it be for the capitulation of Gen. Lee's finally determined upon in the month army, or on mere minor and purely of March; we refer to the arming of military matters. He instructs me to the negroes and employing them as say that you are not to decide, discuss, soldiers. Gen. Lee, who was of opinion or confer upon any political question. that the negroes would make good solSuch questions the president holds in diers, and who was painfully aware of his own hands, and will submit them the vast importance of securing an into no military conferences or conven- crease to his army, said distinctly, “I tions. Meantime, you are to press to think this measure not only expedient the utmost your military advantages.” | but necessary.” And so others thought This, of course, put a stop to anything and said; but it was a bitter draft to further, and Grant informed Lee ac- swallow by those haughty men who cordingly.
were trying to build up an edifice, the Early in February, Lee, who had very corner stone of which was, the been made general-in-chief of the rebel blessings of slavery and the absolute, forces, issued an order stating the fact, God-ordained inferiority of the negro in which he said, “I rely for success race.
It was like a self-stultification to upon the courage and fortitude of the adopt the course now resolved upon; army, sustained by the patriotism and and this, more than one among them firmness of the people, confident that clearly saw. “Whenever,” said Gov. their united efforts, under the blessing Brown of Georgia, “we establish the of Heaven, will secure peace and inde- fact that the negroes are a military pendence.” Lee followed this by call people, we destroy our theory that they ing, in most urgent terms, upon desert. are unfit to be free. When we arm the ers, absentees, and the like, who, he slaves we abandon slavery.” So, too, was sure, would “require no exhorta- Mr. Hunter of Virginia, in the rebel tion to respond to the calls of honor senate, pointed out the inevitable conand duty.” He offered free pardon to clusions to which the present measure all such who would come before twenty led. "If we offer slaves their freedom days elapsed, and threatened punish as a boon, we confess that we were in. ment in case of refusal. But the appeal sincere, were hypocritical, in asserting was in vain. Deserters and absentees had that slavery was the best state for the had enough of fighting in this war. The negroes themselves.
Arming “ Confederacy” was in the last stages and emancipating the slaves was an
abandonment of this contest--an aban-only indicate a few of the more importdonment of the grounds upon which ant acts, and must refer the reader, it had been undertaken. If this is so, who desires full information, to the who is to answer for the hundreds of works containing the official reports thousands of men who had been slain and documents. Nothing of moment in the war? Who was to answer for occurred during the month of Decemthem before the bar of heaven?" ber.* In January, 1865, a resolution
The measure was decided upon by was passed, requesting the president to the action of Virginia; and the reply give notice of the termination of the to all contradiction and inconsistency Reciprocity treaty with Canada. Other was, the stern necessity of the case. topics occupied the attention of both Unpalatable as was the fact, it was Houses during the balance of the sesnevertheless the last resource. White sion; such as military arrests, habeas men could not be had; the blacks must corpus, confiscation, reconstruction, etc. be tried; and so the blacks were called The Freedman's Bureau was establish. upon to volunteer; the slaves were in- ed, after considerable debate and convited to fight for the people who had ference, just at the close of the session. doomed them to everlasting bondage! The tariff bill was modified, a bill for The slaves, however, manifested any- a loan of $600,000,000 was passed, and thing but alacrity to engage in the con various other bills of less consequence, test; and the rebel leaders had to en- received due attention. dure not only this mortifying result, By far, however, the most important but also the conviction that the day had action of Congress, during the session, passed when their humiliation on this was the passage, on the 31st of Janupoint could be of any avail towards ary, of the resolution for the
1865. filling up the ranks of Lee's depleted Constitutional amendment abolarmy.
ishing slavery. This resolution had As we have stated (p. 507), the passed the Senate, early in the previous Thirty-eighth Congress began its se session, February 10th, 1864; but cond session in December, 1864. This coming up in the House in June, had was the short session of only about failed to receive the requisite two-thirds three months in extent, and the vote (p. 465). A motion for reconsidtime was spent in the usual course of eration was made, and laid upon the legislative proceedings. It is not ne. table. It was again brought before cessary to go into details here; we can the House early in the present session,
and was debated with much earnestness * The rebel congress, just before its breaking up in March, issued a long, supplicating appeal, in which and at great length. It was finally they sought to infuse fresh courage into the hearts of adopted by a vote of 119 to 56, and those who sympathised with them, and in which also, while using language of the most confident character, they plainly betrayed to the observant reader, that * On the 19th of December, 1864, Mr. Lincoln issued their words were words merely and nothing else. For a proclamation, calling for 200,000 men. this document, see Appleton's “ American Annual to provide for deficiencies in the former call in July, Cyclopædia” for 1865, pp. 195–198.
and also for possible needs in the spring campaign.
was expressed in the following terms: legislatures met. Before the 4th of
“ Be it resolved by the Senate and March, the close of Mr. Lincoln's first House of Representatives of the United term of office, eighteen states had given States of America in Congress assem- their approval of the amendment. bled, two-thirds of both houses concur. Three states, Delaware, Kentucky, and ring, That the following article be pro- New Jersey rejected it.* posed to the legislatures of the several About the middle of February, Mr. states as an amendment to the Consti- Fessenden, secretary of the treasury, tution of the United States, which, made the following statement in regard when ratified by three-fourths of said to the national debt: Aggregate debt, legislatures, shall be valid, to all in- bearing interest in coin, $1,087,556,438 tents and purposes, as a part of the 80; interest, $63,433,131 45. Debt said Constitution, namely:
bearing interest in lawful money, $608, 570,952 44; interest, $29,698,770 41.
Debt on which interest has ceased, Sec. 1. Neither slavery nor involun- $350,570 09. Legal tender debt, beartary servitude, except as a punishment ing no interest, $433,160,569. Fracfor crime, whereof the party shall have tional currency, $24,960,913 93. Total, been duly convicted, shall exist within $2,153,735,444 26. Total interest, the United States, or any place subject $93,131,901 86. Early in the followto their jurisdiction. Sec. 2. Congress ing month, Mr. Fessenden having reshall have power to enforce this article signed, the Hon. Hugh McCulloch, of by appropriate legislation."*
Indiana, was appointed secretary of This important matter was now the treasury. transferred to the people, who, acting We may fitly put on record, in closthrough the legislatures of the several ing the present chapter, the assumpstates were to confirm or reject the tion, by Andrew Johnson, of his posiamendment to the Constitution. The votes of twenty-seven states were needed
* On the 18th of December, 1865, Mr. Seward offici.
ally announced from the state department that the to complete the required three-fourths amendment to the Constitution had been adopted. of the whole, in order to make the From this document it appears, that the states of Mi. amendment a part of the law of the nois, Rhode Island, Michigan, Maryland, New York,
West Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, Lou. land. We may mention here, that isiana, Minnesota, Winconsin, Vermont, Tennessee, ArIllinois took the lead, on the 1st of kansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Kansas,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South CaroFebruary, in ratifying the amendment, lina
, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, by their and was followed by Maryland, the legislatures ratified the proposed amendment. The
whole number of states being thirty-six, of which same day, and by other states as their
twenty-seven, as just named, being three-fourths, had
ratified the amendment, Mr. Seward, in accordance * The House was crowded with expectant observers, with the duties of his office, “certified that the amend. and when the speaker announced the vote, it was re- ment aforesaid has become valid, to all intents and ceived with enthusiasm, and despite of all parliamen- purposes, as part of the Constitution of the United tary rules, clapping of hands, cheering, waving of hats States.” For Mr. Sumner's resolution, in the Senate, and handkerchiefs prevailed for some time. On mo on this subject, see Appleton's “ American Annual Cy. tion the House at once adjourned.
clopædia” for 1866, p. 125.
MR. LINCOLN'S SECOND INAUGURAL.
tion as vice-president of the United hang above his head, and the sunlight States, and also the inaugural ceremo- broke through the clouds and fell upon nies connected with Mr. Lincoln's him with a glory, afterwards felt to entrance upon the expected four years have been an emblem of the martyr's of additional service to his country as crown, which was soon to rest upon his president of the United States. On head.” The oath of office was adthe 4th of March, the Senate being ministered by Chief-justice Chase, in
, then in extra session, Mr. John the presence of the cabinet officers,
son indulged himself in a speech heads of bureaus, members of Con before taking the oath. Of this gress, officers of the army and navy, speech, in which he spoke several times and the diplomatic corps.
The presi of his “ plebeian "origin and position, dent then delivered his inaugural adand of other things quite as imperti- dress from the balcony, the usual place nent to the occasion, the best we can for such a purpose. As this was among say is, that it was in bad taste, and the last documents proceeding from Mr. might much better have been dispensed Lincoln's pen, and as it is rather rewith. “I, a plebian, elected by the markable for its tone and spirit, we give people vice-president of these United the address in full. States, am here to enter upon the dis- “FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN—At this secharge of my duties. . . I, though cond appearing to take the oath of the a plebeian boy, am authorized by the presidential office, there is less occasion principles of the government under for an extended address than there was which I live, to feel proudly conscious at the first. Then, a statement, somethat I am a man,” etc. Mr. Johnson what in detail, of a course to be purthereupon took the oath of office and sued, seemed very fitting and proper. the Senate adjourned.
Now, at the expiration of four years, The scene presented at the second during which public declarations have inaguration of Abraham Lincoln was been constantly called forth on every noted as a very striking one. “The point and phase in the great contest morning had been inclement,” says Mr. which still absorbs the attention and Raymond, "storming so violently that engrosses the energies of the nation, up to a few minutes before twelve o'clock little that is new could be presented. it was supposed that the inaugural ad. The progress of our arms, upon which dress would have to be delivered in the all else chiefly depends, is as well known Senate chamber. But the people had to the public as to myself, and it is, I gathered in immense numbers before trust, reasonably satisfactory and enthe capitol in spite of the storm, and couraging to all. With high hope for just before noon the rain ceased and the future, no prediction in regard to it the clouds broke away, and, as the is ventured. president took the oath of office, the On the occasion corresponding to blue sky appeared above, a small white this four years ago, ali thoughts were cloud, like a hovering bird, seemed to anxiously directed to an impending