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is an end of it; but if it does command such approval, I deem it of importance that the states and people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it. The federal government would find its highest interest in such a measure, as one of the most efficient means of self-preservation. The leaders of the existing insurrection entertain the hope that this government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region, and that all the Slave States north of such part will then say,‘The Union for which we have struggled being already gone, we now choose to go with the Southern section.' To deprive them of this hope substantially ends the rebellion, and the initiation of emancipation has that effect. . . While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important practical results."
In the discussion which ensued in the House, it was apparent that the representatives of the Border States, and the Democratic members generally, were determined to resist emancipation, whether compensated or not. One declared that his people were not prepared to enter upon the proposed work of pur chasing the slaves of other people, and turning them loose in their midst; another demanded what clause of the Constitution gives power to Congress to appropriate the treasure of the United States to buy negroes and set them free; another did not understand that the House must follow the beck of the President. It had its duties to discharge as well as he.
Congressional resistance to it.
Notwithstanding this opposition, the joint resolution The joint resolution passed both houses, and was approved by inoperative. the President (April 10th, 1862). It re
mained, however, practically a dead letter-no Slave State ever claimed its benefits.
It was shortly after this that Lincoln felt himself constrained to issue a proclamation indicating his relations to slavery at the time (May 19th, 1862). Major General Hunter, in command at Hilton Head, South counter-proclama- Carolina, had, as is mentioned (p. 601), issued an order (May 9th, 1862) declaring the states Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina to be under martial law; and that, since slavery and martial law are incompatible in a free country, all persons held as slaves in those states he declares to be henceforth and forever free.
President Lincoln, in his proclamation, recites the order of General Hunter, and continues:
"And whereas the same is producing some excitement and misunderstanding; therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and declare that the government of the United States had no knowledge or belief of an intention on the part of General Hunter to issue such a proclamation, nor has it yet any authentic information that the document is genuine, and, farther, that neither General Hunter nor any other commander or person has been authorized by the government of the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any state free; and that the supposed proclamation now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects such declaration. I farther make known that, whether it be competent for me, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, to declare the slaves of any state or states free, and whether, at any time or in any case, it shall have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I re
He reserves emancipation to himself.
serve to myself, and which I can not feel justified in leav ing to the decision of commanders in the field.
"These are totally different questions from police regulation in armies or in camps."
The President then refers to and quotes the joint resolution he had recommended to Congress (p. 601), and continues:
"The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both branch
es of Congress, and now stands an authentic, definite, and solemn proposal of the na tion to the states and people most interested in the subject-matter. To the people of those states now I appeal. I do not argue. I beseech you to make the arguments for yourselves. You can not, if you would, be blind to the signs of the times-"
He again urges Con
Notwithstanding this earnest appeal, no response came from the Border States. . Yet Lincoln did gress to compensa- not give up his policy. Shortly before the close of the session, he sent a special mes sage to Congress suggesting the passage of a bill which should provide that, on any state abolishing slavery, bonds of the United States should be delivered to it of a certain sum for every slave, the whole to be paid at once if the emancipation was immediate, or in instalments if gradual. No final action was, however, taken by Congress upon it, the general impression being that all such measures were useless. Even the Border States would not hearken to emancipation, whether with compensation or not.
Still tenaciously clinging to his idea, he now (July 12th) requested an interview with all the
He implores the Border States to accede to his views.
LINCOLN AND THE BORDER STATES.
He has an interview
with the Border del- members of Congress from the Border States, in which he urged them to accept his plan. He told them that through the war the slave
LINCOLN'S RELUCTANCE TO ACT.
property among them had greatly diminished in value, and before long would altogether disappear; he asked if it were not best to secure substantial compensation for what would otherwise be wholly lost. On their part, they could not see why they were called upon to make so great a sacrifice.
Meantime the Confederate government had brought its Effect of the penin- conscripts into the field. They had terminated McClellan's campaign; they had overthrown Pope, had threatened Washington, and invaded Maryland. It was clearly perceived throughout the North that these disasters, with all the waste of life and money that had attended them, could not have occurred had the poor whites, by whom the Southern armies were recruited, been compelled to remain at home. The slaves were attending to the plantations and raising provisions, while the whites were repairing to the armies.
Incited by such considerations, public opinion began to Public opinion in- press upon Lincoln, requiring him to bring fluenced by them. the negro element over to the national side by proclaiming the emancipation of the slaves. The impression was becoming universal that either that must be done or the Union must be given up.
The President's in
- On the occasion of an interview which he had with some religious persons who had come from terview with certain Chicago for the purpose of urging upon him the necessity of emancipation, Lincoln, in a simple but clear manner, explained the views he enter tained of the position of affairs; among other things, he said:
"What good would a proclamation of emancipation from me do as we are now situated? I do not want to issue a document which the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's Bull against the Comet. Would my word free the slaves, when I can
not even enforce the Constitution in the rebel states? Is there a single court, or magistrate, or individual that would be influenced by it there? And what reason is there to think it would have any greater effect upon the slaves than the late law of Congress which I approved, and which offers protection and freedom to the slaves of rebel masters who come within our lines? Yet I can not learn that that law has caused a single slave to come
over to us
"Now tell me, if you please, what possible result of good would follow the issuing of such a proclamation as you desire. Understand, I raise no objections against it on legal or constitutional grounds; for, as commander-inchief of the army and navy, in time of war I suppose I have a right to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy; nor do I urge objections of a moral nature in view of possible consequences of insurrection and massacre at the South. I view this matter as a practical war measure, to be decided on according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.
"I admit that slavery is at the root of the rebellion, or at least its sine qua non. The ambition of politicians may have instigated them to act, but they would have been impotent without slavery as their instrument. I will also concede that emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince people there that we are incited by something more than ambition. I grant farther that it would help somewhat at the North, though not so much, I fear, as you and those you represent imagine. Still, some additional strength would be added in that way to the war; and then, unquestionably, it would weaken the rebels by drawing off their laborers, which is of great importance, but I am not so sure we could do much with the blacks. If we were to arm them, I fear that in