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vanity, Mr. Cox was not a man of great weight in public affairs, his success being disproportionate to his aspiration. He served, nevertheless, as a good indicator of the Opposition attitude at different stages. Early in 1861 he was opposed to Secession, and demanded" possession of the forts and other Government property seized by the rebels”; six months later he was bubbling over with something like boyish glee, when talking of Bull Run; in December of the same year, as earnest as any Secessionist at Richmond for a war with England instead of the surrender of Mason and Slidell; in January, 1862, zealously defending the long inaction of McClellan; and in the next December denouncing that General's dismissal, deprecating emancipation, and advocating negotiations for peace. On this last occasion he said, referring especially to the November elections:
The people have raised their voices against irresponsible arrests; have condemned that worst relic of the worst time of French tyranny, lettres de cachet; yet this House, with indecorous hurry, rush through a bill of indemnity, which is to confiscate all the rights and remedies of the outraged citizen. ... The people have condemned the edict of emancipation -- an edict which Mr. Seward, on the roth of March last, in a letter to Mr. Adams, declared would invigorate the declining insurrection in every part of the South; yet we have the Presidential message which proposes to adhere to the condemned proclamation; and in addition thereto proposes a compensated system of emancipation running to the end of the century.
He eulogized General McClellan's “grand movement and splendid fighting before Richmond”; his “superb battles in Maryland”; indeed, “his salvation of Washington"; and asserted that he was made "a sacrifice to appease the Ebony Fetich.” “I assert here as
a fact which I do know," he said, “ that the President was, about the middle of July, informed distinctly of the mode by which, and the principles upon which, General McClellan intended the war to be conducted and the Union saved.” In a note * he subsequently explained:
This reference is to the famous Harrison Bar letter which : afterward appeared, and which General McClellan had before this speech read to Governor Crittenden and myself.
Mr. Cox quoted from a dispatch (July 5, 1862, near the date of the McClellan letter) sent by Secretary Seward to Minister Adams:
It seems as if the extreme advocates of African slavery and its most vehement opponents were acting in concert together to precipitate a servile war — the former by making the most desperate attempts to overthrow the Federal Union, the latter by demanding an edict of universal emancipation as a lawful and necessary, if not, as they say, the only legitimate way of saving the Union.
As a leader of the Opposition and a vindicator of McClellan, Mr. Cox was more adroit thus far than when he said, in urging negotiations for peace:
The failures of both armies, notwithstanding the extraordinary and splendid heroism of our soldiers in the field, and the fabulous expenditure of money and men, will assist in the consummation of our hopes.
On the other hand, Republican dissatisfaction found expression in a private conference of Senators on the 17th of December, at which a resolution was passed, with practical unanimity, asking the removal of the Secretary of State. Senators Collamer, Sumner, Fessen
*"Eight Years in Congress ” (1865), p. 269.
den, Trumbull, Wade, Harris, Grimes, Howard, and Pomeroy were chosen as a committee to present this demand to the President. At the White House interview which followed, all the Cabinet were present, by Lincoln's desire, except Mr. Seward, who, notified by Senator Preston King of the action of his Republican colleagues, had at once tendered his resignation. Little is known of the details of this unprecedented meeting. Secretary Welles, several years later, stated in general terms that Lincoln “demonstrated to Senators and Cabinet genuine executive ability, tact, and power”; and that, though “surprised and grieved by what' was done and what he learned, the President did not submit to Senatorial dictation, nor permit the Executive department of the Government to be overborne or invaded.” *
The controlling reasons for Republican hostility to Mr. Seward were, no doubt, his supposed sympathy with the views of the politicians “surrounding” General McClellan; his alleged disposition to preserve slavery, and to build up a “great Union party” opposed to the Republican organization; a belief that his foremost friends in New York had, in this spirit, as well as for personal and factious purposes, caused the defeat of General Wadsworth for Governor at the late election, preferring the choice of Horatio Seymour; and a conviction, or rather a jealous persuasion, that the Secretary's influence was not only predominant in the Administration, but pernicious abroad and at home.
Secretary Chase held at least this last opinion, and in communicating freely with his friends at Washington and elsewhere, he stimulated rather than allayed the dissatisfaction with his associate of the State Department. But the Senatorial intrusion in its present shape was not countenanced by Mr. Chase, who tendered his own resignation the next day. He could have done nothing more effective to aid the President in maintaining complete mastery of the situation. The Senators had been somewhat mollified, and perhaps better informed, as a result of their peculiar mission; nor in any event did they wish a complete dissolution of the Cabinet — already announced as a certainty in hostile quarters — and least of all the withdrawal of Secretary Chase. In a note addressed to the two resigning Secretaries jointly (on the 20th), the President said:
*“ Lincoln and Seward,” p. 84. vol. ii.-11
You have respectively tendered me your resignations as Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. I am apprised of the circumstances which may render this course personally desirable to each of you; but after most anxious consideration, my deliberate judgment is, that the public interest does not admit of it. I therefore have to request that you will resume the duties of your departments respectively.
Both Secretaries complied, and the incident was closed.
On the morning of the new year, after one hundred days' notice, — that precise period being only accidental, and not calculated in making the preliminary announcement,— appeared the famous
EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. WHEREAS, On the twenty-second day of September, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixtytwo, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to-wit:
That on the ist day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or any designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be thenceforward and forever free, and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recgnize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
That the Executive will, on the ist day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deenied conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and Government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to-wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power and for the purposes afore