« PreviousContinue »
say that he thought he was able to “maintain" this. Mr. Seward insisted that the ground should be taken, and the words finally went in.
The proclamation was received with profound interest by the whole country. The radical anti-slavery men were delighted, conservative politicians shrugged their shoulders doubtfully, and the lovers of the peculiar institution gnashed their teeth. It is very doubtful whether it affected the fall elections so much adversely to Mr. Lincoln, as the fact that he was ignorantly or maliciously held responsible for the blunders of McClellan's campaign. If it affected them at all unfavorably, its influence in that direction soon ceased; and the proclamation became his tower of strength in the sight of his own people and the peoples of the world.
Two days after the issue of the proclamation, a large body of men assembled before the White House with music, and called for the President. He appeared, and addressed to them a few words of thanks for their courtesy, and, in alluding to the proclamation, said: “What I did, I did after a very full deliberation, and under a heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I can only trust in God I have made no mistake." After two years of experience he was enabled to say: "As affairs have turned, it is the central act of my administration, and the great event of the nineteenth century.”
It will be remembered that General McClellan had warned Mr. Lincoln against the effect of a general policy of emancipation upon his army. He thought that such a policy would cause its disintegration. It certainly became a theme of angry discussion ;-so much so that, on the seventh of October, the General felt called upon to issue an order reminding officers and soldiers of their relations and their duties to the civil authorities. It was an admirable order, and evidently well intended. “Discussion by officers and soldiers concerning public measures, determined upon and declared by the government,” said he, “when carried beyond the ordinary temperate and respectful expression of opinion, tends greatly to impair and destroy the discipline and efficiency of the troops, by
substituting the spirit of political faction, for the firm, steady,
On the 1st of January, 1863, the final proclamation of
“Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation
I did after!" Jemn sense ve made mo enabled to s of mradi ntury.
IcClellan hal' ral policy dla such a per
ane a theme enth of 0:47 er reminula uties to the derident iers concerns are broke
greatest ' of the mu
was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
* * That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thor sand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize 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 first 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 deemed conclusive evi dence 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
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 first above mentioned, order and 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, Plaquemine, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, As sumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Marie, St. Martin and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the fortyeight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkely, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne. and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsinoutli), 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 purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves withiu said designated
States and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
" And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free, to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them, that in all cases, when allowed, they labor faithfully for reason
* And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
“And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
“ In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my name, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. “Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of [L.s.] the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
“ ABRAHAM LINCOLN. * By the President: “ WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
A single paragraph in this proclamation was written by Secretary Chase. He had himself prepared a proclamation, which embodied his views, and had submitted it to Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln selected from it this sentence: “ And upon this act, believed to be an act of justice warranted by the Constitution [upon military necessity,] I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God;” and adopted it, interpolating only the words between brackets. It is an illustration of Mr. Lincoln's freedom from vanity, first that he adopted the words at all, notwithstanding their dignity and beauty; and, second, that he freely told of the circumstance, so that it found publicity through his own revelations.
On the twenty-fourth of September, two days after the issue of the preliminary proclamation, Mr. Lincoln gave utterance to a proclamation suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Proceeding from the fact that the ordinary processes
of law were not sufficient to restrain disloyal persons from hindering the execution of a draft of militia which had been ordered, discouraging enlistments, and giving aid and comfort in various ways to the insurrection, he declared the writ of habeas corpus suspended, touching all persons who should be arrested, confined, or sentenced by court martial, for these offenses. The measure created great dissatisfaction, particularly among those who were not in favor of the war, and those who were anxious to make political headway against the administration. There was an outcry against “military despotism,” against the “abridgment of the right of free speech," against the “suppression of the liberty of the press,” etc. etc.; the freedom with which these strictures were made, without attracting the slightest notice of the government, refuting the charges as rapidly as they were uttered.
At the succeeding session of Congress, these complaints had immediate expression; and the proclamation was furiously attacked at once. Resolutions were introduced, censuring the
arbitrary arrest” of persons in the loyal states; and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was vehemently denounced. It appeared by these demonstrations that the public liberty was endangered, and that the Constitution was subverted. It is possible that some of those engaged in this outcry were honest in their fears and denunciations; but some of them were notorious sympathizers with the rebels, and were doing, and had done everything in their power to aid the rebellion. Nothing was more notorious than that the
. country abounded with spies and informers, and men who discouraged enlistments, and counseled resistance to a draft. Congress, however, was on the side of the government, and passed a bill sustaining the President, and indemnifying him and all who acted under him in the execution of his policy. It is quite possible that injustice was done in some of these “arbitrary arrests”-it would be strange, indeed, it it were otherwise—but the prophets of the degeneracy of the gorernment into a military despotism have their answer now, in the peaceful and ready return to the old status.