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white soldiers from starving to death in rebel prisons, could hardly protect the colored soldiers from the indignities which rebel policy and rebel spite inflicted upon them. But he did what he could. As early as July 30th, 1863, he issued an order declaring that: “The government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers; and, if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one, because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.” Proceeding, he definitely ordered, “that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier should (shall) be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy, or sold into slavery; a rebel soldier should (shall) be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continued at such labor until the other should (shall) be released, or receive such treatment as was (is, or may be) due to a prisoner of war.” This matter of retaliation was brought up during Mr. Lincoln's speech at the Baltimore Fair, to which allusion has been made in this chapter. He had just heard the rumor of the massacre of black soldiers and white officers at Fort Pillow. His mind was full of the horrible event; and, as his custom was, he spoke of that which interested him most. The public thought the government was not doing its whole duty in this matter. For the measure which put the black man into the war, he declared himself responsible to the American people, the future historian, and, above all, to God; and he declared that the black soldier ought to have, and should have, the same protection given to the white soldier. His closing words
“It is an error to say that the government is not acting in this matter. The government has no direct evidence to confirm the reports in existence relative to this massacre, but I believe the facts in relation to it to be as stated. When the government does know the facts from official sources, and they prove to substantiate the reports, retribution will be surely given. What is reported, I think, will make a clear case. If it is not true, then all such stories are to be considered as false. If proved to be true, when the matter shall be thoroughly examined, what
shape is to be given to the retribution? Can we take the man who was captured at Vicksburg, and shoot him for the victim of this massacre ? If it should happen that it was the act of only one man, what course is to be pursued then? It is a matter requiring careful examination and deliberation; and, if it shall be substantiated by sufficient evidence, all may rest assured that retribution will be had.”
And now we leave these minor matters, for the consideration of great and decisive events, concerning alike the life of Mr. Lincoln and the life of the nation.
year 1864 was distinguished by two grand campaigns: one, political; the other, military: and, as the latter did not terminate with the year, it is well, perhaps, to give the former the precedence in the record. After four years, marked by mighty changes in the nation, the year of the presidential election had come again. It came in with doubt and darkness. The country was feeling the distresses of the war, and was wincing under the drafts made upon its vital and financial re
Call after call for men had been made. Draft after draft had been enforced. Taxation brought home the burden to every man's door; and still no end appeared. Still the rebel confederacy seemed full of vitality; still it commanded immense resources of men and material; still its spirit and its words were uncompromising and defiant. During four years of administration, Mr. Lincoln had made many enemies, among those who had originally supported him; and the democratic party were not scrupulous in the use of means to bring him into disrepute with the people. Many republicans suffered under private grievances. Their counsels had not been sufficiently followed; their friends had not been properly served. Some thought Mr. Lincoln had been too fast and too severe in his measures; others thought that he had been too slow. All this was to have been expected; and it may well be imagined that no decision as to the true policy of the republican party, in its nominations, could have been made, without an exhibition of all the elements of discord.
That this period had been anticipated by friends and enemies abroad as one of the most terrible tests to which the republican institutions of the country had been or could be subjected, was evident. We were called upon in the very heat of civil war-that war involving questions upon which even the loyal portion of the country was almost evenly dividedto elect a president for four years. With immense armies in the field and immense navies afloat, with fresh drafts for troops threatened or in progress-with discord among the friends of the government and the foes of the rebellion,-and with a watchful opposition, skilled in party warfare, taking advantage of every mistake of the government and every success of its enemies, to push its own fortunes in the strife for power,—it is not strange that cool observers looked doubtfully upon the result, as it related to the power of a republican government to take care of itself, and maintain its hold upon the nation and its place among the governments of the world. How well the people behaved in this startling emergency, the calm discussions of the presidential campaign, the solemn and conscientious manner of the people at the polls, the triumph of the national arms, and the present peace and stability of the country, bear witness.
Mr. Chase, the distinguished Secretary of the Treasury, had his friends, and they were many and powerful. General Fremont had also his friends, who felt that he had not been well treated by the administration, and who were anxious for a diversion in his favor. Although both of these gentlemen had strong adherents among the politicians, and although either of them would have been cordially supported by the people under favorable circumstances, it was abundantly evident that the great masses of the people were in favor of Mr. Lincoln. He had had experience, and had grown wise under its influence. His unobtrusive character and his unbending honesty had won their confidence; and, although the future looked dark, they were conscious that progress had been made toward the destruction of the rebellion, and that, if the policy of war should be pursued, it would inevitably ultimate in the national success. They were convinced, also, that the way to a permanent peace was through war. Under these circumstances, they were reluctant to change leaders and rulers. The result was, that, at an early day, Mr. Chase withdrew his name from the list of candidates, and left much of the disaffected element afloat.
Outside of the republican and democratic parties, there was no organization; and, to institute one, an irresponsible call was issued, for a convention to be held at Cleveland, Ohio, on the thirty-first of May. The call represented that the public liberties were in danger, and declared for the “one-term principle,” by which Mr. Lincoln should be set aside, however efficiently he might have served the government. The regular convention of the republican party, which was to be held at Baltimore on the eighth of June, was denounced in the call, as failing to answer the conditions of a truly national convention, in consequence of its proximity to “ administrative inAuence.”
The people recognized this call to be simply what it, in reality, was-an anti-Lincoln demonstration; and paid no attention to it, except in one or two instances. The Gerinans of Missouri did something by way of indorsement; as did also a few radicals elsewhere, who had really never been members of the republican party proper.
The convention was held at the appointed time; and it brought together an insignificant number of politicians, selfappointed to their seats in the convention. It was, in no sense, the offspring of the popular feeling or conviction; and its action found no response in the popular heart. Fremont's name formed the rallying point of the convention. Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass sent letters to it. Mrs. E. Cady Stanton approved of the convention in a letter. John Cochrane presided, and was honored with the nomination for Vicepresident, on the ticket with General Fremont. The platform adopted dealt briefly with generalities, condemning no person save by implication, and containing no vital element which had not already been appropriated by the mass of republicans throughout the nation. Although the convention was organ