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they cannot keep good faith, and are the most barbarous and | tember, published in the Richmond E-aminer, inhuman, as well as treacherous of mankind. in which he "denounced, in bitter terms, as an utter impossibility, any thought of reconstruction on any conditions."
If the reconstructionists want peace, they can easily have it upon the terms on which they could have always had it-letting us alone. We ask neither more nor, less. We are making no war on them. We are not invading their territory, nor giving their homes to the flames, their populations to prison and the sword, their women to a fate worse than death. Let us alone! That is all we ask. Let us alone, and peace will return once more to bless a distracted land! But do not expect us to degrade ourselves and cast dishonor upon the graves of our kindred by over returning to the embrace of those whose hands are dripping with the tears and blood of our people.
The Richmond Sentinel refers to the address of the Democrats of New Hampshire declaring that if the South will "come back into the Union, the Democracy of the North will do all in their power to gain for them (the Southern States) such guarantees as will secure their safety," and remarks that the proposition is frank and courteous, but inadmissible. It adds:
"They (the Democrats) are powerless to secure for us those guarantees of which they admit the necessity. Less than three years ago the States which now form the Confederacy, sought, in the spirit of conservatism and forbearance, to avoid disruption, with an importunity that now appears to us amazing. When we look back at it now it makes us tremble to think that we offered to take the Crittenden compromise. But conciliation on our part was met only by contumely and defiance by the Republican majority. From that time the men who willfully destroyed the Union have been assailing us with all the engines of destruction. They have evinced towards us a malignity which has seldom been paralleled in human history.
THE QUESTION ABOUT NORTHERN TONE AND
[From the Richmond Sentinel, September 29.]
and temper of the people of the United States on the subject of peace, with a view to responding, if favorable. The House knew what everybody knows-that such resolutions are both idle and mischievous, for they will only be taken by our enemies as evincing more or less readiness on our part for reconstruction. The House, by a unanimous vote, put its foot on the resolution, without a word of discussion or a moment of delay. In this they but fairly represented the manliness and the unanimity of our people.
GOV. ZEBULON B. VANCE of North Carolina, in his elaborate speech at Wilkesboro', used this language:
It is a favorite idea with a great many, that possib, the old order of things could be restored; that our righ der that Constitution could be guaranteed to us, and everything move on peacefully as before the war. My friends, there are a great many desirable things; but the question, not what may be wished, but what may be obtained, is the one reasonable men may consider. It is desirable to have a lovely wife and plenty of pretty children: but every man can't have them. I tell you now, candidly, there is no more possibility of reconstructing the old Union and reinstating things as they were four years ago, than exists for you to gather up the scattered bones of your sons who have fallen in this struggle, from one end of the country to the other, re-clothe them with flesh, fill their veins with the blood they have so generously shed, and their lungs with the same breath with which they breathed out their last prayer for their country's triumph and independence. [Immense applause.]
"Do the New Hampshire Democrats suppose for one moment that we could so much as think of reunion with such a people? Rather tell one to be wedded to a corpse! Rather join hands with a fiend from the pit. Since that time the only greeting of kind words which has come to us from the North, the New Hampshire men have sent. All, or nearly all beside, has been conflagration, sword, demoniac denunciation, and brutal menace of destruction. When those in the United States who are disposed to deal fairly with us shall gain the rule, we may in time begin to bury the many bitter memories which now add energy to our resentment, and may make with them treaties that shall be mutually advantageous. Perhaps, hereafter, good will may be revived again. But Union-never let it be mentioned! It is impossible."
FROM ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.
The Richmond Dispatch of July 23, gives a sketch of ALEX. H. STEPHENS's speech at Charlotte, N. C., on his way to Richmond, in which after alluding to Lee's invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the loss of Vicksburg, and exhorting the people to give the ment a cordial support, he said:
The new rebel Governor of Louisiana, HENRY W. ALLEN, in his inaugural, says:
Peace is not so sweet as to be purchased at the cost of reconstruction. Reconstruction means subjugation, ruin, death. Lose negroes, lose lands, lose everything, lose life itself, but never think of reconstruction. He says: "I speak to-day by authority, I speak as the Governor of Louisiana, and I wish it known at Washington and elsewhere that rather than reconstruct this Government and
go back to the Union, on any terms whatever, the people of Louisiana will, in convention assembled, without a disSenting voice, cede the State to any European Power. * I speak to-day not only for the loyal citizens of Louisiana, who have stood by her in all trials, but in govern-pelled to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Govbehalf of the misguided individuals who have been com.
As for reconstruction, such a thing was impossible-such an idea must not be tolerated for an instant. Reconstruction would not end the war, but would produce a more horrible war than that in which we are now engaged. The only terms on which we can obtain permanent peace is final and complete separation from the North. Rather than submit to anything short of that, let us all resolve to die lise men worthy of freedom.
FROM ROBERT TOOMBS.
WASHINGTON, GA., August 17, 1863. MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 15th instant, asking my authority to contradict the report that "I am in favor of reconstruction," was received this evening. I can conceive of no extremity to which my country could be reduced in which I would for a single moment entertain any proposition for any union with the North on any terms whatever. When all else is lost, I prefer to unite with the thousands of our own countrymen who have found honorable deaths, if not graves, on the battle-field. Use this letter as you please.
Very truly, your friend, &c. Dr. A. BEES, Americus, Ga.
ernment. In their hearts they are true to us, and are daily praying for the triumph of our arms. They have felt the irou in their souls, and know full well the curse of reconstruction I speak by authority, for they write to me daily that they would rather, by ten thousand times, be the subjects of the Emperor of France than the slaves of Lincoln.""
The Richmond Dispatch, in March, discussed President Lincoln's amnesty proclamation, and adds:
No one, however, knows better than Abraham Lincoln that any terms he might offer the southern people which contemplate their restoration to his bloody and brutal Government, would be rejected with scorn and execration. If, instead of devoting to death our President and military and civil officers, he had proposed to make Jeff. Davis his succes sor, Lee Commander-in-Chief of the Yankee armies, and our domestic institutions not only recognized at home but readopted in the free States, provided the South would once more enter the Yankee Union, there is not a man, woman, or child in the Confederacy who would not spit upon the proposition. We desire no companionship upon any terms with a nation of robbers and murderers. The miscreants, whose atrocities in
this war have caused the whole civilized world to shudder,
must keep henceforth their distance. They shall not be
WM. SMITH, then recently elected Governor of Virginia, made a speech in Richmond in Sep-our masters, and we would not have them for our slaves.
JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE REBEL LEGISLATURE |phy, J. A. Newell, Lucien P. Normand, P. K. O'Conner,
Be it resolved, dc., That the barbarous manner in which our enemies have waged war against us deserves the execration of all men, and has confirmed and strengthened us in the determination to oppose to the last extremity a re-union with them, and that the spirit of our people is unabated in the resolution to resist every attempt at their subjugation.
1864, August 5-Messrs. BENJAMIN F. WADE and HENRY WINTER DAVIS published in the New York Tribune a paper arraigning President LINCOLN for his course on the Reconstruction bill. A few extracts are subjoined:
The President, by preventing this bill from becoming a law, holds the electoral votes of the rebel States at the dictation of his personal ambition. If those votes turn the balance in his favor, is it to be supposed that his competitor, defeated by such means, will acquiesce? If the rebel majority assert their supremacy in those States, and send votes which elect an enemy of the Government, will we not repel his claims? And is not that civil war for the Presidency inaugurated by the votes of rebel States? Seriously impressed with these dangers, Congress, "the proper constitutional authority," formally declared that there are no State governments in the rebel States, and provided for their erection at a proper time; and both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected the Senators and Representatives chosen under the authority of what the President calls the free constitution and government of Arkansas. The President's proclamation "holds for naught" this judgment, and discards the authority of the Supreme Court, and strides headlong toward the anarchy his proclamation of the 8th of December inaugurated. If electors for President be allowed to be chosen in either of those States, a sinister light will be cast on the motives which induced the President to "hold for naught" the will of Congross rather than his govern ment in Louisiana and Arkansas. That judgment of Congress which the President defies was the exercise of an authority exclusively vested in Congress by the Constitution to determine what is the established government in a State, and in its own nature and by the highest judicial authority binding on all other departments of the Government. * * A more studied outrage on the legislative authority of the people has never been perpetrated. Congress passed a bill; the President refused to approve it, and then by proclamation puts as much of it in force as he sees fit, and proposes to execute those parts by officers unknown to the laws of the United States and not subject to the confirmation of the Senate! The bill directed the appointment of Provisional Governors by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President, after defeating the law, proposes to appoint without law, and without the advice and consent of the Senate, Military Governors for the rebel States! He has already exercised this dictatorial usurpation in Louisiana, and he defeated the bill to prevent its limitation. ** The President has greatly presumed on the forbearance which the supporters of his Administration have so long practiced, in view of the arduous conflict in which we are engaged, and the reckless ferocity of our political opponents. But he must understand that our support is of a cause and not of a man; that the authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected; that the whole body of the Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him of rash and unconstitutional legislation; and if he wishes our support, he must confine himself to his executive duties to obey and execute, not make the laws-to suppress by arms armed rebellion, and leave political reorganization to Congress. If the supporters of the Government fail to insist on this, they become responsible for the usurpations which they fail to rebuke, and are justly liable to the indignation of the people whose rights and security, committed to their keeping, they sacrifice. Let them consider the remedy for these usurpations, and, having found it, fearlessly execute it.
Thomas Ong, Benjamin H. Orr, John Payne, J. T. Paine,
NAYS-Messrs. Edmund Abell, John Buckley, Jr., Benj.
Heard, Xavier Maurer, John A. Mayer, A. Mendiverri, H.
A. Cazabat and James Ennis voted aye the next day, having been absent when the vote was taken.
that loyal owners shall be compensated.'
which was agreed to-yeas 45, nays 30, as follows:
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN LOUISIANA.
1864, May 11-The vote in Convention was-yeas 72, YEAS-Messrs. M. R. Ariail, O. W. Austin, John T. Barrett, Raphael Beauvais, J. V. Bofill, Robert Bradshaw Bell, Robert W. Bennie, M. F. Bonzano, J. B. Bromley, Young Burke, Emile Collin, J. K. Cook, Terence Cook, F. M. Cro zat, R. King Cutler, John L. Davies, James Duane, Joseph Dupaty, H. C. Edwards, W. R. Fish, G. II. Flagg, Edmond Flood, John Foley, G. A. Fosdick, James Fuller, George Geier, E. Goldman, Joseph Gorlinski, Jeremiah J. Healy, Patrick Harnan, Edward Hart, John Henderson, Jr., Alfred C. Hills, William H. Hire, George Howes, P. A. Kugler, H. Maas, William Davis Mann, H. Millspaugh, John P. Montamat, Robert Morris, Edward Murphy, M. W. Mur
NAYS-Messrs. Abell, Barrott, Bell, Bofill, George F. Brott, Buckley, T. Cook, Crozat, Dufresne, Duke, Fuller, Gruneberg, Hart, Heard, Henderson, E. HI. Knobloch, Maurer, Mayer, Mendiverri, Montamat, M. W. Murphy, O'Conner, Ong, W. II. Seymour, Stocker, Stumpf, Stiner, Sullivan, Waters, Wilson-30.
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN ARKANSAS.
The Free State Convention met January 11, 1864, and adopted a Constitution, which was submitted to a vote of the people, March 14th, 15th, and 16th, and received 12,177 votes, 226 being polled against it.
The Emancipation clause was adopted unanimously. The following named persons constituted the Convention: John McCoy, President of Convention, Luther C. White, C. A. Harper, John Austin, Josiah Harrell, Harmon L Holleman, John R. Smoot, Randolph D. Swindell, G. W. Seamans, James T. Swafford, W. Holleman, John M. Demint, Enoch H. Vance, Miles L. Langly, J. M. Stapp, C. D. Jordan, John Burton, John C. Pridy, Reuben Lamb, E. D. Ayres, T. D. W. Yonley, E. L. Maynard, William Stout, Burk Johnson, Elias Cook, L. D. Cantrell, Willis Jones, James A. Butler, T. M. Jacks, Horace B. Allis, John Box, Calvin C. Bliss, A. B. Fryrear, Lemuel Helms, R. L. Turner, Thomas J. Young, James Huey, Andrew G. Evans, R. H. Stanfield, William Cox, L. Dunscomb.
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN MISSOURI 1865, January 11-The vote in Convention was-yeas 59, nays 4, as follows:
YEAS-W. B. Adams, A. M. Bedford, David Bonham. Geo. K. Budd, Harvey Bunce, Isador Bush, R. L. Childress, Henry A. Clover, R. C. Cowden, Samuel T. Davis, John H. Davis, Isham B. Dodson, Wm. D. D'Oench, Charles D. Drake, John H. Ellis, John Esther, Ellis J. Evans, Chauncey L. Filley, J. W. Fletcher, Wm. II. Folmsbee, F. M. Fulker son, John W. Gamble, Archibald Gilbert, Abner L. Gilstrap, Moses P. Green, J. M. Grammer, David Henderson, E. A. Holcomb, John H. Holdsworth, Wm. S. Holland, B. F. Hughes, Jos. F. Hume, Geo. Husmann, Wyllis King. R. Leonard, M. L. Linton, J. F. McKernan, A. M. McPherson, John A. Mack, A. H. Martin, Ferdinand Meyer, James P. Mitchell, A. G. Newgent, A. P. Nixdorf, James W. Owens, Dorastus Peck, J. T. Rankin, Phillip Rohrer, Gustavus St. Gemme, K. G. Smith, Eli Smith, Geo. P. Strong, James T. Sutton, John R. Swearinger, G. C. Thilenius, S. W. Wea therby, Jeremiah Williams, Eugene Williams, Arnold Kre kel, President-59.
NAYS-Samuel A. Gilbert, Thomas B. Harris, William A. Martin, William F. Switzler-4.
ABSENT-A. J. Barr, Emory S. Foster, J. Roger. The last named had not attended the Convention up to the day of voting.
ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN TENNESSEE. 1865, January 10-A convention of Unionists met in Nashville, and adopted a series of propositions to be subs mitted to the people February 22d, the first of which de crees the abolition of slavery. Over five hundred delegates attended, representing nearly every county. March 4, a Governor and Legislature are to be chosen. Williana Q. Brownlow is the Convention's nominee for Governor.
The latest returns published comprise 8 counties in East Tennessee, 21 in Middle, 1 in West, and 10 hospitals, regis ments, &c., giving an aggregate of 21,104 for, and 49 against the Constitution. March 4, the Union State ticket was chosen.
REMAINING PAPERS OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
EXPLANATORY OF GOVERNMENT PURCHASES IN I also directed the commandant of the navy
1862, May 29-The PRESIDENT sent this message* to Congress: To the Senate and
House of Representatives: The insurrection which is yet existing in the United States, and aims at the overthrow of the Federal Constitution and the Union, was clandestinely prepared during the winter of 1860 and 1861, and assumed an open organization in the form of a treasonable provisional government at Montgomery, in Alabama, on the 18th day of February, 1861. On the 12th day of April, 1861, the insurgents committed the flagrant act of civil war by the bombardment and capture of Fort Sumter, which cut off the hope of immediate conciliation. Immediately afterwards all the roads and avenues to this city were obstructed, and the capital was put into the condition of a siege. The mails in every direction were stopped, and the lines of telegraph cut off by the insurgents, and military and naval forces, which had been called out by the Government for the defence of Washington, were prevented from reaching the city by organized and combined treasonable resistance in the State of Maryland. There was no adequate and effective organization for the public defence. Congress had indefinitely adjourned., There was no time to convene them. It became necessary for me to choose whether, using only the existing means, agencies, and processes which Congress had provided, I should let the Government fall at once into ruin, or whether, availing myself of the broader powers conferred by the Constitution in cases of insurrection, I would make an effort to save it with all its
blessings for the present age and for posterity. I thereupon summoned my constitutional advisers, the heads of all the Departments, to meet on Sunday, the 20th day of April, 1861, at the office of the Navy Department, and then and there, with their unanimous concurrence, I directed that an armed revenue cutter should proceed to sea, to afford protection to the commercial marine, and especially the California treasure ships then on their way to this coast.
Called forth by the passage of a resolution, April 30, In the House-yeas 79, nays 45-censuring Secretary Cam eron for a supposed responsibility for, and connection with,
yard at Boston to purchase or charter, and arm
On the same occasion I directed that Governor Morgan and Alexander Cummings, of the city of New York, should be authorized by the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, to make all necessary arrangements for the transportation of troops and munitions of war, in aid and assistance of the officers of the Army of the United States, until communication by mails and telegraph should be completely re-established between the cities of Washington and New York. No security was required to be given by them, and either of them was authorized to act in case of inability to consult with the other.
On the same occasion I authorized and directed the Secretary of the Treasury to advance, without requiring security, two millions of dollars of public money to John A. Dix, George Opdyke, and Richard M. Blatchford, of New York, to be used by them in meeting such requisitions as should be directly consequent upon the military and naval measures necessary for the defence and support of the Government, requiring them only to act without compensation, and to report their transactions when duly called upon.
The several departments of the Government at that time contained so large a number of disloyal persons that it would have been impos
sible to provide safely, through official agents only, for the performance of the duties thus confided to citizens favorably known for their ability, loyalty, and patriotism.
The several orders issued upon these occurrences were transmitted by private messengers, who pursued a circuitous way to the seaboard cities, inland, across the States of Pennsylvania and Ohio and the Northern Lakes. I believe that by these and other similar measures taken in that crisis, some of which were without any authority of law, the Government was saved from overthrow. I am not aware that a dollar of the public funds thus confided without authority of law to unofficial persons was either lost or wasted, although apprehensions of such misdirection occurred to me as objections to those extraordinary proceedings, and were necessarily overruled.
I recall these transactions now because my attention has been directed to a resolution which was passed by the House of Representatives on the 30th day of last month, which is in these words:
Resolved, That Simon Cameron, late Secretary of War, by investing Alexander Cummings with the control of large sums of the public money, and authority to purchase military supplies without restriction, without requiring from him any guarantee for the faithful performance of his duties, when the services of competent public officers were available, and by involving the Government in a vast number of contracts with persons not legitimately engaged in the business pertaining to the subject-matter of such contracts, especially in the purchase of arms for future delivery, has adopted a policy highly injurious to the public service, and deserves the censure of the House.
Congress will see that I should be wanting equally in candor and in justice if I should leave the censure expressed in this resolution to rest exclusively or chiefly upon Mr. Cameron. The same sentiment is unanimously entertained by the heads of Departments, who participated in the proceedings which the House of Representatives has censured. It is due to Mr. Cameron to say that, although he fully approved the proceedings, they were not moved nor suggested by himself, and that not only the President but all the other heads of Departments were at least equally responsible with him for whatever error, wrong, or fault was committed in the premises.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. WASHINGTON, May 26, 1862.
THE PRESIDENT'S REMARKS AT A UNION MEETING IN WASHINGTON, AUGUST 6, 1862. FELLOW-CITIZENS: I believe there is no precedent for my appearing before you on this occasion, but it is also true that there is no precedent for your being here yourselves, and I offer, in justification of myself and of you, that, upon examination, I have found nothing in the Constitution against it. I, however, have an impression that there are younger gentlemen who will entertain you better, and better address your understanding than I will or could, and therefore I propose but to detain you a moment longer.
I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it. The only thing I think of just now not likely to be better said by some one else, is a matter in which we have heard some other persons blamed for what I did myself. There has been a very widespread attempt to have a quarrel between Gen. McClellan and the Secretary of War. Now, I occupy a position that enables me to observe, that these two gentlemen are not nearly so deep in the quarrel as some pretending to be their friends. General McClellan's attitude is such that, in the very selfishness of his nature, he cannot but wish to be successful, and I hope he will-and the Secretary of War is in precisely the same situation. If the military commanders
in the field cannot be successful, not only the Secretary of War, but myself, for the time being the master of them botn, cannot but be failures. I know General McClellan wished to be successful, and I know he does not wish it any mor than the Secretary of War for him, and both of them together no more than I wish it. Sometimes we have a dispute about how many men General McClellan has had, and those who would disparage him say that he has had a very large number, and those who would disparage the Secretary of War insist that General McClellan has had a very small number. The basis for this is, there is always a wide difference, and on this occasion, perhaps a wider one than usual, between the grand total on McClellan's rolls disparage him talk of the grand total on paper, and thos and the men actually fit for duty; and those who would who would disparage the Secretary of War talk of those at present fit for duty. General McClellan has sometimes General McClellan is not to blame for asking for what he asked for things that the Secretary of War did not give him. wanted and needed, and the Secretary of War is not to blame for not giving when he had none to give. And I say here, as far as I know, the Secretary of War has withheld no one thing at any time in my power to give him. I have no accusation against him. I believe he is a brave and able man, and I stand here, as justice requires me to do, to of War, as withholding from him. take upon myself what has been charged on the Secretary
I have talked longer than I expected to do, and now I avail myself of my privilege of saying no more. The President's Letters on Politics.
If there be any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here argue against them. If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it in the shortest way under the Constitution.
The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be-the Union as it was.
If there be those who would not save the Union unless
they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree
My paramount object is to save the Union and not either to save or destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I
would do it-and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do be, cause I believe it helps to save the Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the cause.
I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and
official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed I have here stated my purpose according to my view of personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
THE PRESIDENT'S RESPONSE TO A SERENADE.
FELLOW-CITIZENS: I am very glad indeed to see you to night, and yet I will not say I thank you, for this call; but I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. How long ago is it,-eighty odd years since on the Fourth of July, for the first time, in the history of the world, a nation, by its representatives, 17 sembled and declared as a self-evident truth, "that all men are created equal." That was the birthday of the United States of America. Since then the Fourth of July has bad several very peculiar recognitions. The two men most distinguished in the framing and support of the Declaration
were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams-the one having pened it, and the other sustained it the most forcibly in debate the only two of the fifty-ive who signed it, and we elected Presidents of the United States. Precisely hity years after they put their hands to the paper, it pleased Almighty God to take both from this stags of action. This was indeed an extraordinary and remarkable event in our history. Another President, five years after, was called from this stage of existence on the same day and month of the year; and now on this last Fourth of July, just passed, when we have a gigantic rebellion, at the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow the principle that all men were created equal, we havo the surrender of a most powerful position and army on that very day. And not only so, but in a succession of battles in Pennsylvania, near to us, through three days, so rapidly fought that they might be called one great battle, on the first, second, and third of the month of July; and on the fourth the cohorts of those who opposed the Declaration that all men are created equal, turned tail" and run. [Long continued cheers.] Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme, and the occasion for a speech, but I am not prepared to make one worthy of the occasion. I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the Union and liberties of their country from the beginning of the war. These are trying occasions, not only in success, but for the want of success. I dislike to mention the name of one single officer, lest I might do wrong to those I might forget. Recent events bring up glorious names, and particularly prominent ones; but these I will not mention. Having said this much, I will now take the music.
people, according to the bond of service, the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them. But, to be plain. You are dissatisfied with me about the negro. Quite likely there is a difference of opinion between you and myself upon that subject. I certainly wish that all men could be free, while you, I suppose, do not. Yet, I have neither adopted nor proposed any measure which is not consistent with even your view, provided that you are for the Union. I suggested compensated emancipation; to which you replied you wished not to be taxed to buy negroes. But I had not asked you to be taxed to buy negroes, except in such a way as to save you from greater taxation to save the Union exclusively by other means. You dislike the Emancipation Proclamation, and perhaps would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional. I think differently. I think the Constitution invests its Commander-in-Chief with the law of war in time of war. The most that can be said, if so much, is, that slaves are prop erty. Is there, has there ever been, any question that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed? And is it not needed whenever it helps us and hurts the enemy? Armies, the world over, destroy enemies' property when they cannot use it; and even destroy their own to keep it from the enemy. Civil. ized belligerents do all in their power to help themselves or hurt the enemy, except a few things regarded as bar. barous or cruel. Among the exceptions are the massacre of vanquished foes and non-combatants, male and female.
But the Proclamation, as law, either is valid or is not valid. If it is not valid it needs no retraction. If it is valid it cannot be retracted, any more than the dead can be brought to life. Some of you profess to think its retraction
THE PRESIDENT'S LETTER TO THE ILLINOIS CON- would operate favorably for the Union. Why better after
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, August 26, 1863.
Hon. JAMES C. CONKLING: MY DEAR SIR: Your letter inviting me to attend a mass meeting of unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital of Illinois, on the 3d day of September, has been received. It would be very agreeable for me thus to meet my old friends at my own home: but I cannot just now be absent from here so long as a visit there would require. The meeting is to be of all those who maintain unconditional devotion to the Union; and I am sure that my old political friends will thank me for tendering, as I do, the nation's gratitude to those other noble men whom no partisan malice or partisan hope can make false to the nation's There are those who are dissatisfied with me. To such I would say you desire peace, and you blame me that we do not have it. But how can we attain it? There are but three conceivable ways: First-to suppress the Rebellion by force of arms. This I am trying to do. Are you for it? If you are, so far we are agreed. If you are not for it, a second way is to give up the Union. I am against this. Are you for it? If you are, you should say so plainly. If you are not for force, nor yet for dissolution, there only remains some imaginable compromise.
I do not believe that any compromise embracing the maintenance of the Union is now possible. All that I learn leads to a directly opposite beliei. The strength of the Rebellion is its military, its army. That army dominates all the country, and all the people within its range. Any offer of terms made by any man or men within that range, in opposition to that army, is simply nothing for the pres ent; because such man or men have no power whatever to enforce their side of a compromise, if one were made with them.
To illustrate: Suppose refugees from the South and peace men of the North get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a compromise embracing a restoration of the Union. In what way can that compromise be used to keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania? Meade's army can keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania, and, I think, can ult:mately drive it out of existence. But no paper compromise to which the controllers of Lee's army are not agreed can at all affect that army. In an effort at such compromise we would waste time, which the enemy would improve to Our disadvantage; and that would be all.
A compromise, to be effective, must be made either with those who control the rebel army, or with the people, first liberated from the domination of that army by the success of our own army. Now, allow me to assure you that no word or intimation from that rebel army, or from any of the men controlling it, in relation to any peace compromise, has ever come to my knowledge or belief. All charges and insincati ns to the contrary are deceptive and groundless. And I promise you that if any such proposition shall hereafter come, it shall not be rejected and kept a secret from you. I freely acknowledge myself to be the servant of the
the retraction than before the issue? There was more than a year and a half of trial to suppress the rebellion before the Proclamation was issued, the last one hundred days of which passed under an explicit notice that it was coming, unless averted by those in revolt returning to their allegi ance. The war has certainly progressed as favorably for us since the issue of the Proclamation as before.
I know as fully as one can know the opinion of others that some of the commanders of our armies in the field, who have given us our most important victories, believe the emancipation policy and the use of colored troops constitute the heaviest blows yet dealt to the rebellion, and that at least one of those important successes could not have been achieved when it was but for the aid of black soldiers.
Among the commanders who hold these views are some who have never had an affinity with what is called "abolitionism," or with "Republican party politics," but who hold them purely as military opinions. I submit their opinions as entitled to some weight against the objections often urged that emancipation and arming the blacks are unwise as inilitary measures, and were not adopted as such in good faith.
You say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively, to save the Union. I issued the procla mation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes. Ithought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistance to you. Do you think differently? I thought whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us they must be prompted by the strongest motives, even the promise of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.
The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea. Thanks to the great Northwest for it; nor yet wholly to them. Three hundred miles up they met New England, Empire, Keystone, and Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The sunny South, too, in more colors than one, also lent a helping hand. On the spot, their part of the history was jotted down in black and white. The job was a great national one, and let none be slighted who bore an honorable part in it. And while those who have cleared the great river may well be prond, even that is not all. It is hard to say that anything has been more bravely and well done than at Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and on many fields of less note. Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. At all the watery margins they have been present, not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, and the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp they have been and made their tracks. Thanks to all. For the great Re