« PreviousContinue »
Bons to and from the said States, with the said exceptions, will be forfeited to the United States; and that, from and after fif. teen days from the issuing of this proclamation, all ships and vessels belonging, in whole or in part, to any citizen or inhabitant of any of the said States, with the said exceptions, found at sea in any part of the United States, will be forfeited to the United States ; and I hereby enjoin upon all district attorneys, marshals, and officers of the revenue of the military and naval forces of the United States to be vigilant in the execution of the said act, and in the enforcement of the penalties and forfeitures imposed or declared by it, leaving any party who may think himself aggrieved thereby to his application to the Secretary of the Treasury for the remission of any penalty or forfeiture, which the said Secretary is authorized by law to grant if, in his judgment, the special circumstances of any case shall require such a remission.
“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
" Done in the city of Washington, this, the 16th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-sixth. · By the President:
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN. "WILLIAM H. SEWARD."
HE MODIFIES AN ORDER OF GENERAL FRE
MONT. In the latter part of August, General Fremont declared martial law throughout the State of Missouri, and at the same time ordered that the property of all persons within the limits of his Department who had been disloyal, should be confiscated, and their slaves declared free men, but the President promptly issued an order modifying that clause of the proclamation in relation to the confiscation of property and the liberation of slaves, so as to conform with, and not transcend the provisions on the same subject contained in the Act of Congress approved August 6th, 1861.
HIS SECOND MESSAGE TO CONGRESS. On the 3d of December, 1861, Congress having convened on the preceding day, the President sent in his Message, a document which was eminently conservative and which
was received with great satisfaction by the loyal nen of the country. No general scheme of emancipation was urged, and in alluding to the policy to be adopted to ensure the suppression of the rebellion, he stated that he had been anxious and careful that the inevitable conflict necessary for that purpose should not degenerate into a violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. "I have, therefore," he continued, " 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."
There can never be any difficulty in ascertaining Mr. Lincoln's views upon the exciting and absorbing topics of the day. His messages, proclamations, and correspondence all evince the same spirit of independence and determination, while his language is so explicit that there can be no doubt of his meaning. In his letter to Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, declining to remove the Union troops from that State, and rebuking that official for his indifference to the cause of his country_in the one to General Fremont, in reference to the modification of his proelamation, and in fact in all his correspondence on matters .connected with political movements, his views have been of such a force and exalted character that they could not fail to receive the hearty approbation of his fellow-countrymen.
On the nineteenth of February, 1862, he issued a proclamation requesting the people of the United States to assemble on the twenty-second of the same month and celebrate the day by reading the Farewell Address of the “Father of his Country.”
THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE RECOMMENDING
GRADUAL EMANCIPATION. On the sixth of March, 1862. the President sent into
Congress the following Message, recommending the adoption of measures looking to “gradual, and not sudden" emancipation :
“Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives :
“I recommend the adoption of a joint resolution by your hovorable bodies which shall be substantially as follows:
* Resolved, That the United States ought to coöperate with any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.'
“If the proposition contained in the resolution does not meet the approval of Congress and the country, there is the end; but if it does command such approval, I deem it of importance that the States and people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it. The Federal Government would find its highest interest in such a measure as one of the most efficient means of self-preservation. The leaders of the existing insurrection entertain the hope that the Government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region, and that all the slave States north of such parts will then say: "The Union for which we have struggled being already gone, we now chnose to go with the southern section. To deprive them of this hope, substantially ends the rebellion, and the initiation of emancipation completely deprives them of it as to all the States initiating it.
The point is not that all the States tolerating slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate emancipation, but that while the offer is equally made to all, the more northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more southern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed confederacy. I say 'initiation,' because, in my judgment, gradual and not sudden emancipation is better for all. In the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member of Congress, with the census tables and the treasury report before him, can readily see for himself how very soon the current expenditures of this war would purchase, at a fair valuation, all the slaves in any named State.
“Such a proposition on the part of the general Government gets up no claim of a right by Federal authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, referring as it does the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State and its people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them.
" In the annual message last December I thought fit to say: The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means must be employed. I said this not hastily, but deliberately. War has been, and continues to be an indispensable means to this end. A practical re-acknowledgment of the national authority would render the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue, and it is impossible to foresee all the inci. dents which may attend, and all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency toward ending the struggle, must and will come. The proposition now made is an offer only, and I hope it may be esteemed no offence to ask whether the pecuniary consideration tendered would not be of more value to the States and private persons concerned than are the institution and property in it, in the present aspect of affairs. While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.
This important recommendation was received with the most unbounded satisfaction in all sections of the great North and West, and the leading loyal journals vied with each other in the laudatory notices bestowed upon its illustrious author. The English press favorable to the preservation of the Union, were equally complimentary, and pronounced it a fair, moderate, and magnanimous policy, greatly in contrast with that adopted by the rebel authorities. ASSUMES ACTIVE COMMAND OF THE ARMY
AND 'NAVY. On the eleventh of March, 1862, the President gave ar. additional evidence of his independence and fearlessness by promulgating, for the information of the service and the country, three important military orders, assuming the active duties of Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States; ordering a general and combined movement of the land and naval forces; requiring the Army of the Potomac to be organized into Corps; confining General McClellan to the command of the Department of the Potomac; and organizing the Department of the Mississippi and the Mountain Department.
THANKSGIVING FOR SIGNAL VICTORIES.
The triumphant success of our arms in the South and West during the early spring months of that year of conflict and carnage, prompted Mr. Lincoln to call upon the patriots of the nation to offer up their thanks to the Almighty for his manifold kindnesses, and for the inestimable blessings he bad showered upon them in their hour of need. The recommendation was scrupulously observed, and from almost every place of public worship arose upon the following Sabbath songs of thanksgiving, mingled with invocations for a continuance of the Divine guidance.
SLAVERY ABOLISHED IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA. On the sixteenth of April, 1862, Mr. Lincoln consummated an act wbich had for many years been one of his most favorite projects, by sending into Congress the following Message:
"Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives :
“ The act entitled 'An act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia,' has this day been approved and signed.
I have never doubted the constitutional authority of Congress to abolish slavery in this District, and I have ever desired to see the national capital freed from the institution in some satisfactory way.
Hence there has never been in my mind any question upon the subject except the one of expediency, arising in view of all the circumstances. If there be matters within and about this act, which might have taken a course or shape inore satisfactory to my judgment, I do not attempt to specify them. I am gratified that the two principles of compensation and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in the act.
“ In the matter of compensation, it is provided that claims may be presented within ninety days from the passage of the act, but not thereafter, and there is no saving for minors, femmes