Page images

"The discipline and character of the National forces shoula not suffer, nor the cause they defend be imperilled, by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High. 'At this time of public distress' adopting the words of Washington in 1776,

men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.' The first general order issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should ever be defended : • The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.'



MENDATIONS TO CONGRESS. On the first of December, 1862, Mr. Lincoln sent in to Congress his annual message; giving a satisfactory resumé of the events of the previous twelve months; calling the attention of the Senators and Representatives to important matters which should receive their notice ; recommending the organization of national banking associations, under the hope and belief that they would be the mcans of promoting the early resumption of specie payments; re-impressed upon them the importance of his plan of “compensated emancipation;" repeated at length his views upon the slavery question, and recommended the adoption of the following resolutions and articles amendatory to the Constitution :

Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures or Conventions of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures or Conventions to be valid as part or parts of the said Constitution, namely :

"ARTICLE Every State wherein slavery pow exists, which shall abolish the same therein at any time or times before the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred. shall receive compensation from the United States as follows, to wit:

“ The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State, bonds of the United States, bearing interest at the rate of for each slave shown to have been therein, by the eighth census of the United States; said bonds to be delivered to such State by instalments, or in one parcel at the completion of the abolishment, according as the same shall have been gradual or at one time within such State; and interest shall begin to run upon any such bond only from the proper time of its delivery as aforesaid, and afterward. Any State having received bonds as aforesaid, and afterward_introducing or tolerating slavery therein, shall refund to the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and all interest paid thereon.

“ARTICLE All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom, by the chances of the war at any time, before the end of the rebellion, shall be forever free; but all owners of such, who shall not have been disloyal, shall be compensated for them at the same rates as is provided for States adopting abolishment of slavery-but in such a way that no slave shall be twice accounted for.

“ARTICLE Cougress may appropriate money, and otherwise provide for colonizing free colored persons with their own consent, at any place or places without the United States."

The message and its recommendations were received with the same eclat which has attended all the official documents penned by the illustrious statesman. The proclamation of September had awakened the people of the Union to the vast advantages to be derived from the adoption of his views and suggestions on every thing relating to slavery, and as the day on which the unfortunate blacks were to be rescued from a life of degradation approached, thousands, who had hitherto protested against interference with the “peculiar institution,” united with their old political opponents, and awaited anxiously the hour when the order of emancipation was to go into effect. Residents of foreign lands were no less eager for the time to arrive when the Federal Government should strike off the fetters of the slave, and among other complimentary addresses sent to the President, was one from Manchester, England, from which we make the following extracts :

“As citizens of Manchester, assembled at the Free-Trade Hall, we beg to express our fraternal sentiments toward you and your country. We rejoice in your greatness as an outgrowth of England, whose blood and language you share, whose orderly and legal freedom you have applied to new circumstances, over a region immeasurably greater than our own.

We honor your Free States, as a singularly happy abode for the working millions where industry is honored. One thing alone has, in the past, lessened our sympathy with your country and our confidence in it-we mean the ascendency of politicians who not merely maintained negro slavery, but desired to extend and root it more firmly. We joyfully honor you, as the President, and the Congress with you, for many decisive steps toward practically exemplifying your belief in the words of your great founders: 'All men are created free and equal.' You have procured the liberation of the slaves in the district around Washington, and thereby made the centre of your Federation visibly free. You have enforced the laws against the slavetrade, and kept up your fleet against it, even while every ship was wanted for service in your terrible war. You have nobly decided to receive embassadors from the negro republics of Hayti and Liberia, thus forever renouncing that unworthy prejudice which refuses the rights of humanity to men and women on account of their color. In order more effectually to stop the slave-trade, you have made with our Queen a treaty, which your Senate has ratified, for the right of mutual search. Your Congress has decreed freedom as the law forever in the vast unoccupied or half unsettled_Territories which are directly subject to its legislative power. It has offered pecuniary aid to all States which will enact emancipation locally, and has forbidden your generals to restore fugitive slaves who seek their protection. You have entreated the slave-masters to accept these moderate offers; and after long and patient waiting, you, as Commander-in-chief of the Army, have appointed to-morrow, the first of January, 1863, as the day of unconditional freedom for the slaves of the rebel States. We implore you, for your own honor and welfare, not to faint in your providential mission. While your enthusiasm is aflame, and the tide of events runs bigh, let the work be finished effectually. Leave no root of bitterness to spring up and work fresh misery to your children. It is a mighty task, indeed, to reorganize the industry not only of four millions of the colored race, but of five millions of whites. Nevertheless, the vast progress you have made in the short space of twenty months, fill us with hope that every stain on your freedom will shortly be removed, and that the erasure of that foul blot upon civilization and Christianitychattle slavery-during your Presidency, will cause the pame of Abraham Lincoln to be honored and revered by posterity.”

In answer to this flattering letter, Mr. Lincoln sent a happy response, in which he explained the motive which

had prompted bim to the undeviating course he has pursued since his inauguration. He had, he said, considered the duty of maintaining and preserving the Constitution and the integrity of the Federal Republic paramount to all others, and as a conscientious purpose to perform that duty was the key to all the measures of his administr&tion, he could not, if he would, under his oath and our frame of government, depart from that purpose.



Early in April, 1863, the President left Washington on & visit to the Army of the Potomac.

He had in the previous year, when the same noble troops were resting at Harrison's Landing, after their campaign before Richmond, gone thither to observe for himself their true condition, and upon other occasions has visited their camping-grounds, where he has been always received with great enthusiasm. Upon the visit to which we now refer, he was accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln and one of his sons, and an eye-witness thus describes the proceedings incident to the entertainment of such distinguished guests :

On the morning of April seyenth, 1863, a reception was had in General Hooker's tent, the members of the staff passing in and being introduced to the President by the Chief of Staff. Mr. Lincoln was in unusual good humor, and completely banished the constraint felt by all by his sociability and shafts of wit. The interview lasted some time, much to the enjoyment of all, until finally the officers one by one dropped out, and the hour designated for the review arrived. Early in the morning the several cavalry brigades commenced moving towards the field selected for the review, and during the forenoon were engaged forming the lines and stationing guards to keep off the crowd. At noon the roar of artillery announced that the cortege had arrived. President Lincoln, mounted on a magnificent bay, adorned with heavy trappings, rode steadily and rapidly along the line, with Generals Hooker and Stone. man at his side, and followed by an imposing cavalcade of general officers, aides-de-camp and orderlies. Having returned to the right of the line, a position was selected for the President upon a slight eminence, while the cavalry at a walk passed in review before him, the bands playing and the bugles sounding merrily. Mrs. Lincoln occupied & carriage at the right of the President while the regiments passed in review, surrounded by major-generals and stars of lesser magnitude. After the cavalry bad moved off the field, the lancers, in splendid order, wheeled around into line fronting the President, while the light artillery dashed at a gallop through the avenue thus formed, the guns and caissons bounding over the irregularities as though the wheels were of India rubber. The cannon were soon off the field, the lancers filed in behind the cay. alcade of generals, spectators vanished, and the plateau, torn and trodden by the squadrons, was left to the scatter. ing working parties engaged in preparing the ground for the grand review of infantry. The President also rode over to the head-quarters of several commanding officers, and during the day reviewed the reserve artillery.

Doubtless the lady readers are anxious to know in what dress the wife of the Chief Magistrate visited the army, how she appeared, what she said, and how she liked the contrast the Executive mansion, with its costly fur uiture, and the bare floor, cot and camp stools of the field Mrs. Lincoln's attire was exceedingly simple of that peculiar style of simplicity which creates at the time no impression upon the mind, and prevents one from remembering any article of dress. In this case there was nothing to attract attention, and after she had entered the tent there was not one in twenty of those gathered about who

« PreviousContinue »