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All officers who receive such oaths are hereby authorized to give certificates thereof to the persons respectively by whom they are made, and such officers are hereby required to transmit the original records of such oaths at as early a day as may be convenient, to the Department of State, where they will be deposited, and remain in the archives of the Government.
The Secretary of State will keep a registry thereof, and will, on application, in proper cases, issue certificates of such records in the customary form of official certificates.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Wash[L. S.] ington, the 26th day of March. in the year of our Lord 1864, and of the independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth. By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
The action of Congress at this session has not been of special interest or importance. Public attention continued to be absorbed by military operations, and Congress, at its previous session, had so fully provided for the emergencies, present and prospective, of the war, that little in this direction remained to be done. Resolutions were introduced by members of the opposing parties, some approving and others condemning the policy of the Administration. Attempts were made to amend the conscription bill, but the two houses failing to agree on some of the more important changes proposed, the bill, as finally passed, did not vary essentially from the original law. The leading topic of discussion in this connection was the employment of colored men, free and slave, as soldiers: The policy of thus employing them had been previously established by the action of the Government in all departments; and all that remained was to regulate the mode of their enlistment. A proviso was finally adopted by both houses that colored troops, "while they shall be credited in the quotas of the several States or subdivisions of States wherein they are respectively drafted, enlisted, or shall volunteer, shall not be assigned
as State troops, but shall be mustered into regiments or companies as 'United States Colored Volunteers.""
The general tone of the debates in Congress indicates the growing conviction on the part of the people of the whole country, without regard to party distinctions, that the destruction of slavery is inseparable from the victorious prosecution of the war. Men of all parties have acquiesced in the position that the days of slavery are numbered, that the rebellion, organized for the purpose of strengthening it, has placed it at the mercy of the national force, and compelled the Government to assail its existence as the only means of subduing the rebellion and preserving the Union. The certainty that the prosecution of the war must result in the emancipation of the slaves, has led to the proposal of measures suited to this emergency. On the 6th of February, a bill was reported in the House for the establishment of a Bureau of Freedmen's Affairs, which should determine all questions relating to persons of African descent, and make regulations for their employment and proper treatment on abandoned plantations; and after a sharp and discursive debate, it was passed by a vote of 69 to 67. A resolution has also been adopted to submit to the action of the several States, an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, prohibiting the existence of slavery within the States and Territories of the Union forever. This proposition has encountered but little opposition. The experience of the last three years has left but little inclination in any quarter to prolong the existence of slavery, and the political necessities which formerly gave it strength and protection, have ceased to exist. At the commencement of the session resolutions were offered by several members in both Houses, aiming at its prohibition by such an amendment of the Constitution. This mode of accomplishing the object sought was held to be free from the objections to which every other is exposed, as it is unquestionably competent for the people to amend the Con
stitution, in accordance with the forms prescribed by its own provisions. One or two Southern senators, Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, and Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, being prominent, have urged that it is a palpable violation of State rights for the people thus to interfere with any thing which State laws declare to be property; but they were answered by Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, who urged that when the Constitution was originally framed this prohibition of slavery might unquestionably have been embodied in it, and that it was competent for the people to do now whatever they might have done then.
A bill was passed in both Houses restoring the grade of Lieutenant-General, and, on the nomination of the President, General Grant was appointed by the Senate to that office, and invested with the command of the armies of the United States.
Toward the close of the year, as the terms of service of many of the volunteer forces were about to expire, the President issued a proclamation for 300,000 volunteers. The military successes of the season had raised the public courage and inspired new confidence in the final issue of the contest for the preservation of the Union; it was believed, therefore, that an appeal for volunteers would be responded to with alacrity, and save the necessity for a resort to another draft. The proclamation was as follows:
By the President of the United States.
Whereas, the term of service of part of the volunteer forces of the United States will expire during the coming year; and, whereas, in addition to the men raised by the present draft, it is deemed expedient to call out three hundred thousand volunteers to serve for three years or during the war, not, however, exceeding three years; Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States and Commanderin-Chief of the army and navy thereof, and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do issue this my proclamation, calling upon the Governors of the different States to raise, and have
enlisted into the United States service, for the various companies and regiments in the field from their respective States, the quotas of three hundred thousand men.
I further proclaim that all the volunteers thus called out and duly enlisted shall receive advance pay, premium, and bounty, as heretofore communicated to the Governors of States by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal General's office, by special letters.
I further proclaim that all volunteers received under this call, as well as all others not heretofore credited, shall be duly credited and deducted from the quotas established for the next draft.
I further proclaim that if any State shall fail to raise the quota assigned to it by the War Department under this call, then a draft for the deficiency in said quota shall be made in said State, or on the districts of said State for their due proportion of said quota, and the said draft shall commence on the 5th day of January, 1864.
And I further proclaim that nothing in this proclamation shall interfere with existing orders, or with those which may be issued for the present draft in the States where it is now in progress, or where it has not yet been commenced.
The quotas of the States and districts will be assigned by the War Department through the Provost-Marshal General's office, due regard being had for the men heretofore furnished, whether by volunteering or drafting; and the recruiting will be conducted in accordance with such instructions as have been or may be issued by that Department.
In issuing this proclamation, I address myself not only to the Governors of the several States, but also to the good and loyal people thereof, invoking them to lend their cheerful, willing, and effective aid to the measures thus adopted, with a view to re-enforce our victorious army now in the field, and bring our needful military operations to a prosperous end, thus closing forever the fountains of sedition and civil war.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the . seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 17th day of October, [L. 8.] 1863, and of the independence of the United States the eighty
By the President:
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
By the act of 1861 for raising troops, a government bounty of one hundred dollars was paid to each volunteer; and this
amount had been increased from time to time until each soldier who had already filled his term of service was entitled to receive four hundred dollars on re-enlisting, and each new volunteer three hundred. After the President's proclamation was issued, enlistments, especially of men already in the service, proceeded with great rapidity, and the amount to be paid for bounties threatened to be very large. Under these circumstances, Congress adopted an amendment to the enrolment act, by which the payment of all bounties except those authorized by the act of 1861, was to cease after the 5th day of January. Both the Secretary of War and the Provost-Marshal General feared that the effect of this, when it came to be generally understood, would be to check the volunteering which was then proceeding in a very satisfactory manner; and on the 5th of January, the day when the prohibition was to take effect, the President sent to Congress the following communication:
WASHINGTON, January 5, 1864.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:
By a joint resolution of your honorable bodies, approved December 23, 1863, the paying of bounties to veteran volunteers, as now practised by the War Department, is, to the extent of three hundred dollars in each case, prohibited after the fifth day of the present month. I transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, accompanied by one from the Provost-Marshal General to him, both relating to the subject above mentioned. I earnestly recommend that this law be so modified as to allow bounties to be paid as they now are, at least to the ensuing 1st day of February. I am not without anxiety lest I appear to be importunate in thus recalling your attention to a subject upon which you have so recently acted, and nothing but a deep conviction that the public interest demands it could induce me to incur the hazard of being misunderstood on this point. The executive approval was given by me to the resolution mentioned, and it is now by a closer attention and a fuller knowledge of facts that I feel constrained to recommend a reconsideration of the subject..