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PORT ROYAL; THE TRENT.
Western Virginia. Another successful and momentous lodgment was effected by the Federals on the Southern coast, at Port Royal and Beaufort, South Carolina (31st Oct. to Nov. 7), and subsequently at other spots in the vicinity, and another one at Ship Island, off the Louisiana coast (3rd Dec.); and a couple of Virginian counties on a detached spit of land, (Accomac and Northampton) submitted to Federal rule. Civil war continued to rage in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, with especial fury in the last, where the Unionist "rebels" of East Tennessee but rarely found quarter with their opponents; and a most serious complication with England arose, through the seizure (Nov. 8), by Captain Wilkes, of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, the Confederate Commissioners, from on board the English mail-steamer Trent. In spite of the popular clamour (especially of all covert friends of the South), which endorsed the act, President Lincoln took upon himself to disallow it, and the Confederate Commissioners were given up.
ANNUAL" MESSAGE :
It was under these circumstances that Congress met for its ordinary session (Dec. 2, 1861). In his first “annual" Message, after referring, in terms of perfect moderation, to the relations of the United States with foreign nations, and to various questions of national defence and internal communication, Mr. Lincoln thus expressed himself on a matter of small practical moment, but of vast importance in principle:"If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer in withholding our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Hayti and Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however, to inaugurate a novel policy in regard to them without the approbation of Congress, I submit for your consideration the expediency of an appropriation for maintaining a chargé d'affaires near each of these new States."
Let us pause for a moment to see what this means. Hayti and Liberia are two self-governed negro republics, the one of revolted, the other of enfranchised slaves. The United States had not as yet recognised either (although the latter
had been founded by their own citizens), as worthy of diplomatic notice. According to the principles of the new Confederacy, they could not be so recognised. "Its foundations are laid," had said V. P. Stephens, "its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition." Mr. Lincoln, on the contrary, was "unable to discern any good reason" why negro republics should not stand on a footing of equal sovereignty with any polity founded by the white man. In the eyes of the Illinois rail-splitter, bargee, village attorney, “slavery, subordination to the superior race," was not "the natural and normal condition" of the negro. He was entitled to freedom, if he could win it-by arms if need be--and in freedom to self-government. Did not the man who had lately disallowed General Fremont's proclamation for enfranchising those slaves whom the law only declared to be confiscated, thus sufficiently vindicate his own consistency?
HAYTI AND LIBERIA.
FIRST 'ANNUAL" MESSAGE:
Nor was this all. Referring to the Confiscation Act itself, to the numbers of confiscated slaves, who by its operation were “already dependent on the United States," and who "must be provided for in some way," and to the possibility "that some of the States will pass similar enactments for their own benefit respectively, and by operation of which persons of the same class will be thrown upon them for disposal," he proceeded to indicate the first outlines of the policy which he afterwards earnestly, but only in part successfully, urged upon Congress; recommending that confiscated slaves should be deemed free, but that steps should be taken to colonize them "in some place or places in a climate congenial to them,” the free coloured people already in the United States being encouraged to join in such colonization. Hints of yet broader measures were indeed already thrown out. "The Union must be preserved, and hence, all indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in haste. to determine that radical and extreme measures
which may reach the loyal as well as the disloyal, are indispensable." What was this, but a guarded warning that universal emancipation might become in time "indispensable?"
Next follows a vivid sketch of the progress of the war since the assault on Fort Sumter—a model, in my judgment, of vivid political narrative :
"The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably, expired at the assault upon Fort Sumter, and a general review of what has occurred since may not be unprofitable. What was painfully uncertain then is much better defined and more distinct now; and the progress of events is plainly in the right direction. The insurgents confidently claimed a strong support from North of Mason and Dixon's line; and the friends of the Union were not free from apprehension on the point. This, however, was soon settled definitely, and on the right side. South of the line, noble little Delaware led off right from the first. Maryland was made to seem against the Union. Our soldiers were assaulted,
HINTS ON EMANCIPATION.