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mainly for the manner of conducting the affairs of his particular department; that there was no centralization of responsibility for the action of the Cabinet anywhere, except in the President himself.
4. The dissensions between Union men in Missouri are due solely to a factious spirit which is exceedingly reprehensible. The two parties “ought to have their heads knocked together." “ Either would rather see the defeat of their adversary than that of Jefferson Davis." To this spirit of faction is to be ascribed the failure of the Legislature to elect senators and the defeat of the Missouri Aid Bill in Congress, the passage of which the President strongly desired.
The President said that the Union men in Missouri who are in favor of gradual emancipation represented his views better than those who aro in favor of immediate emancipation. In explanation of his views on this subject, the President said that in his speeches he had frequently used as an illustration, the case of a man who had an excrescence on the back of his neck, the removal of which, in one operation, would result in the death of the patient, while “tinkering it off by degrees” would preserve life. Although sorely tempted, I did not reply with the illustration of the dog whose tail was amputated by inches, but confined myself to arguments. The President announced clearly that, as far as he was at present advised, the Radicals in Missouri had no right to consider themselves the exponents of his views on the subject of emancipation in that State.
5. General Curtis was not relieved on account of any wrong act or great mistake committed by him. The System of Provost-Marshals, established by him throughout the State, gave rise to violent complaint. That the President bad thought at one time to appoint General Fremont in his place; that at another time he had thought of appointing General McDowell, whom he characterized as a good and loyal though very unfortunate soldier; and that, at last, General Schofield was appointed, with a view, if possible, to reconcile and satisfy the two factions in Missouri. He has instructions not to interfere with either party, but to confine himself to his military duties. I assure you, gentlemen, that our side was as fully presented as the occasion permitted. At the close of the conversation, the President remarked that there was evidently a “serious misunderstanding” springing up between him and the Germans of St. Louis, which he would like to see removed. Observing to him that tbe difference of opinion related to facts, men, and measures, I withdrew.
I am, very respectfully, etc.
On the 1st of July the State Convention, in session at Jefferson City, passed an amendment to the Constitution declaring that slavery should cease to exist in Missouri on the 4th of July, 1870, with certain specified exceptions. This, however, was by no means accepted as a final disposition of the matter. The demand was made for immediate emancipation, and Gov. Gamble and the members of the Provisional Government who had favored the policy adopted by the State Convention, were denounced as the advocates of slavery and allies of the rebellion. In the early part of August a band of rebel guerrillas made a raid into the town of Lawrence, Kansas, and butchered in cold blood over two hundred unarmed citizens of the place. This brutal act aroused the most intense excitement in the adjoining State of Missouri, of which the opponents of the Provisional Government took advantage to throw upon it and General Schofield, who had command of the State militia as well as of the national forces, the responsibility in having permitted this massacre to take place.
A Mass Convention was held at Jefferson City on the 2d of September, at which resolutions were adopted denouncing the military policy pursued in the State and the delegation of military powers to the provisional government. A Committee of one from each county was appointed to visit Washington and lay their grievances before the President; and arrangements were also made for the appointment of a Committee of Public Safety, to organize and arm the loyal men of the State, and, in the event of not obtaining relief, to call on the people in their sovereign capacity to “take such measures of redress as the emergency might require.” In the latter part of September the Committee appointed by this Convention visited Washington and had an interview with the President on the 30th, in which they represented Governor Gamble and General Schofield as in virtual alliance with the rebels, and demanded the removal of the latter as an act of justice to the loyal and anti-slavery men of the State. The Committee visited several of the northern cities, and held public meetings for the purpose of enlisting public sentiment in their support. At these meetings it was claimed that the radical emanci. pation party was the only one which represented the loyalty of Missouri, and President LINCOLN was very strongly censured for "closing his ears to just, loyal, and patriotic demands of the radical party, while he indorsed the disloyal and oppressive demands of Governor Gamble, General Schofield, and their adherents." On the 5th of October President LINCOLN made to the
representations and requests of the Committee the following reply:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 1863. Hon. CHARLES DRAKE and others, Committee:
GENTLEMEN :-Your orig address, presented on the 30th ult., and the four supplementary ones presented on the 3d inst., have been carefully considered. I hope you will regard the other duties claiming my attention, together with the great length and importance of these documents, as constituting a sufficient apology for my not having responded
These papers, framed for a common object, consist of the things demanded, and the reasons for demanding them.
The things demanded are:
First—That General Schofield shall be relieved, and General Butler be appointed as Commander of the Military Department of Missouri;
Second-That the system of enrolled militia in Missouri may be broken up, and National forces be substituted for it; and
Third—That at elections, persons may not be allowed to vote who are not entitled by law to do so.
Among the reasons given, enough of suffering and wrong to Union men, is certainly, and I suppose truly, stated. Yet the whole case, as presented, fails to convince me that General Schofield, or the enrolled militia, is responsible for that suffering and wrong. The whole can be explained on a more charitable, and, as I think, a more rational hypothesis.
We are in civil war. In such cases there always is a main question; but in this case that question is a perplexing compound-Union and Slavery. It thus becomes a question not of two sides merely, but of at least four sides, even among those who are for the Union, saying nothing of those who are against it. Thus, those who are for the Union with, but not without Slavery—those for it without but not with—those for it with or without, but prefer it with, and those for it with or without, but prefer it without.
Among these, again, is a subdivision of those who are for gradual, but not for immediate, and those who are for immediate, but not for gradual extinction of slavery.
It is easy to conceive that all these shades of opinion and even more, may be sincerely entertained by honest and truthful men. Yet, all being for the Union, by reason of these differences, each will prefer a different way of sustaining the Union. At once, sincerity is questioned, and motives are assailed. Actual war coming, blood grows hot, and blood is spilled. Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Deception breeds and thrives. Confidence dies, and universal suspicion reigns. Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be killed by him. Revenge and retaliation follow. And all this, as before said, may be among honest men only. But this is not all. Every foul bird comes abroad, and every dirty reptile rises up. These add crime to confusion. Strong measures deemed indispensable but harsh at best, such men make worse by maladministration. Murders for old grudges, and murders for pelf proceed under any cloak that will best serve for the occasion.
These causes amply account for what has occurred in Missouri, without ascribing it to the weakness or wickedness of any general. The newspaper files, those chroniclers of current events, will show that the evils now complained of, were quite as prevalent under Fremont, Hunter, Halleck, and Curtis, as under Schotield. If the former had greater force opposed to them, they also had greater force with which to meet it. When the organized rebel army left the State, the main Federal force had to go also, leaving the Department Commander at home, relatively no stronger than before. Without disparaging any, I affirm with confidence, that no Commander of that Department has, in proportion to his means, done better than General Schofield.
The first specific charge against General Schofield is, that the enrolled militia was placed under his command, whereas it had not been placed under the command of General Curtis. The fact is, I believe, true; but you do not point out, nor can I conceive how that did, or could, injure loyal men or the Union cause.
You charge that General Curtis being superseded by General Schofield, Franklin A. Dick was superseded by James 0. Broadhead as ProvostMarshal General. No very specific showing is made as to how this did or could injure the Union cause. It recalls, however, the condition of things, as presented to me, which led to a change of commander of that department.
To restrain contraband intelligence and trade, a system of searches, seizures, permits and passes, had been introduced, I think, by General Fremont. When General Halleck came, he found and continued the system, and added an order, applicable to some parts of the State, to lovy und collect contributions from noted rebels, to compensate losses, and relieve destitution caused by the rebellion. The action of General Fremont and General Halleck, as stated, constituted a sort of system which General Curtis found in full operation when he took command of the department. That there was a necessity for something of the sort was clear; but that it could only be justified by stern necessity, and that it was liable to great abuse in administration, was equally clear. Agents to execute it, contrary to the great prayer, were led into temptation. Some might, while others would not resist that temptation. It was not possible to hold any to a very strict accountability; and those yielding to the temptation, would sell permits and passes to those who would pay most, and most readily for them; and would seize property and collect levies in the aptest way to fill their own pockets. Money being the object, the man having money, whether loyal or disloyal, would be a victim. This practice doubtless existed to some extent, and it was a real additional evil, that it could be, and was plausibly charged to exist in greater extent than it did.
When General Curtis took command of the department, Mr. Dick, against whom I never knew anything to allege, had general charge of this system. A controversy in regard to it rapidly grew into almost unmanageable proportions. One side ignored the necessity and magnified the evils of the system, while the other ignored the evils and magnified the necessity; and each bitterly assailed the other. I could not fail to see that the controversy enlarged in the same proportion as the professed Union men there distinctly took sides in two opposing political parties. I exhausted my wits, and very nearly my patience also, in efforts to convince both that the evils they charged on each other were inherent in the case, and could not be cured by giving either party a victory over the other.
Plainly, the irritating system was not to be perpetual; and it was plausibly urged that it could be modified at once with advantage. The case could scarcely be worse, and whether it could be made better could only be determined by a trial. In this view, and not to ban, or brand General Curtis, or to give a victory to any party, I made the change of commander for the department. I now learn that soon after this change Mr. Dick was removed, and that Mr. Broadhead, a gentleman of no less good character, was put in the place. The mere fact of this change is more distinctly complained of than is any conduct of the new officer, or other consequence of the change.
I gave the new commander no instructions as to the administration of the system mentioned, beyond what is contained in the private letter afterward surreptiously published, in which I directed him to act solely for the public good, and independently of both parties. Neither anything you have presented me, nor anything I have otherwise learned, has convinced me that he has been unfaithful to this charge.