Page images



special Message, I recommended to Con- ed and organized forces in the field, but to gress the adoption of a joint resolution, to display such an overwhelming strength as be substantially as follows:

will convince all our antagonists, especially • Resoloed, That the United States ought to cooper

those of the governing aristocratic class, of ate with any Siate which may adopt gradnal abolish- the utter impossibility of resistance. Our Inent of Slavery, giving to suich State pecuniary aid, to latc reverses make this course imperative. be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and privatè, produced by such

Had we been successful in the recent battlo change of system.'

[first Bull Run), it is possible that we The resolution, in the language above might have been spared the labor and exquoted, was adopted by large majorities in pense of a great effort; now, we have no both branches of Congress, and now stands alternative. Their success will enable the an authentic, definite, and solemn proposal political leaders of the Rebels to convince of the Nation to the States and people the mass of their people that we are inmost interested in the subject-matter. To ferior to them in force and courage, and to the people of these States now, I mostly ap- cominand all their resources. The contest peal. I do not argue--I beseech you to began with a class; now it is with a people; inake the arguments for yourselves. You onr military success can alone restore the can not, if you would, be blind to the signs former issue.” of the times. “I beg of you a calm and enlarged con

After suggesting various military sideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far movements, including one down the above partisan and personal politics.

Mississippi, as required to constitute a “This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting . no reproaches general advance upon the strongholds upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The of the Rebellion, he proceeds : change it contemplates would come gently

« There is another independent moveas the dews of Heaven, not rending or

ment which has often been suggested, and wrecking any thing. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done by which has always recommended itself to one effort in all past time, as, in the Provi- my judgment. I refer to a movement from dence of God, it is now your high privilege Territory, upon Red river and western

Kansas and Nebraska, through the Indian to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it!

Texas, for the purpose of protecting and " In witness whereof, I have hereunto set developing the latent Union and Free State iny hand and caused the seal of the United sentiment, well known to predominate in

western Texas; and which, like a similar States to be hereunto affixed. "Done at the city of Washington this tected, ultimately organize that section into

sentiment in Western Virginia, will, if pro19th day of May, in the year of our

a Free State."
Lord 1862, and of the independence of
the United States the eighty-sixth. In view of these sensible and

“ (Signed)

tinent suggestions, it is impossible "By the President: “W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State." not to feel that Gen. McClellan's

naturally fair though not brilliant Contrary to a very general impres- mind was subjected, during his long sion, Gen. McClellan was among the sojourn thereafter in Washington, to first not only to perceive, but to as- sinister political influences and the sert, that the Rebellion was essential- whispered appeals and tempting sug. ly a slaveholders' enterprise, and gestions of a selfish and sordid ambithat it might be effectively assailed tion: During that Fall and Winter, through Slavery. Thus, in his Mem- his house was thronged with partisans orandum privately addressed to the of the extreme “Peace” wing of the President, Aug. 4th, 1861, when he Democratic party, who must have had but just taken command of the held out to him the golden lure of Army of the Potomac, he says: the Presidency as the reward of a for

"In this contest, it has become necessary. bearing, temporizing, procrastinating intelligent, and warlike; to constitute a na: policy, which would exhaust the retion. We have not only to defeat their arin-sources and chill the ardor of the

North, in enormous preparations and "The responsibility of determining, defruitless undertakings, until the con- claring, and supporting such civil and 'mili

tary policy, and of directing the whole joint pressure of Conscription and course of national affairs in regard to the Taxation, the impossibility of further Rebellion, must now be assuned and exerborrowing, and the heart-sickness of Constitution gives you power, even for the

cised by you, or our cause will be lost. The hope deferred, should impel a major- present terrible exigency. ity to acquiesce in any adjustment or

" This Rebellion has assumed the cliarac

ter of a war; as such it should be regarded ; compromise that would restore Peace and it should be conducted upon the highest to the country. Such seems the only principles known to Christian civilization. plausible explanation of his timid It should not be a war looking to the subju

gation of the people of any State, in any and dawdling military policy, his event

. It should not be at all a war upon liabitual doubling or trebling of the populations but against armed forces and Rebel force confrouting him, and of tion of property, political executions of per

political organizations. Neither confiscathe signal incoherence and incon- sons, territorial organization of States, nor sequence, especially with regard to forcible abolition of Slavery, should be con

templated for a moment. Slavery and negroes, of the lecture "In prosecuting the war, all private propwhich, directly after his retreat from erty and unarmed persons should be strictly the Chickahominy to the James had protected, subject only to the necessity of

military operations; all private property been consummated, he found time to taken for military use should be paid or reindite-or at least to transcribe and ceipted for; pillage and waste 'should be

treated as high crimes; all unnecessary tresdispatch-to his perplexed and sore- pass sternly prohibited, and offensive dely tried superior. . It is as follows: meanor by the military toward citizens

promptly rebuked. Military arrests should "HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, not be tolerated, except in places whero CAMP NEAP HARRISON'S LANDING, VA., active hostilities exist; and oaths, not re

July 7, 1862. quired by enactments, constitutionally made, “Mr. PRESIDENT: You have been fully in- should he neither demanded nor received. formed that the Rebel army is in the front, “Military government should be confined with the purpose of overwhelming us by to the preservation of public order and the attacking our position or reducing us by protection of political right. Military powblocking our river communications.

er should not be allowed to interfere with not but regard our condition as critical; and the relations of servitude, either by supI earnestly desire, in view of possible con porting or impairing the authority of the tingencies, to lay before your excellency, for master, except for repressing disorder, as your private consideration, my general in other cases.


Slaves, contraband, under views concerning the existing state of the the act of Congress, seeking military proRebellion, although they do not strictly re- tection, should receive it. The right of the late to the situation of this army, or strictly Government to appropriate permanently to come within the scope of my official duties. its own service claims to slave labor should These views amount to convictions, and are be asserted, and the right of the owner to deeply impressed upon my mind and heart. compensation therefor should be recognized. Our cause must never be abandoned; it is This principle might be extended, upon the cause of free institutions and self-gov- grounds of military necessity and security, ernment. The Constitution and the Union to all the slaves of a particular State, thus must be preserved, whatever may be the working manumission in such State ; and in cost in time, treasure, and blood. If Seces- Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also, sion is successful, other dissolutions are and possibly even in Maryland, the expeclearly to be seen in the future. Let neither diency of such a measure is only a question military disaster, political faction, nor for- of time. A system of policy thus constitueign war, shake your settled purpose to en- tional, and pervaded by the influences of force the equal operation of the laws of the Chri:tianity and freedom, would receive United States upon the people of every State. the support of alınost all truly loyal men,

"The time has come when the Govern- | would deeply impress the Rebel masses and ment must determine npon a civil and mili- all foreign nations, and it might be humbly tary policy, covering the whole ground of hoped that it would commend itself to the our national trouble.

faror of the Almighty.

[ocr errors]

I can



would soon cease to exist.

"Unless the principles governing the fu- and power over his slaves, or it will ture conduct of our struggle shall be made be seriously impaired—nay, utterly known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces will be alnıost hopeless. A defied and overthrown.

In "redeclaration of radical views, especially upon pressing" the “disorder” certain to Slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our prest arise in the premises, the commander ent arnies. The policy of the Government must be supported by concentration of mili- must inevitably decide which to suptary power. The national forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupa- port—the master's assertion of aution, and numerous armies, but should be thority, or the slave's claim to liberty. mainly collected into masses, and brought “Political rights” can receive "proto bear upon the armies of the Confederate States. Those armies thoroughly defeated, tection” only when it has been dethe political structure which they support termined where the right lies. The

“manumission," which Gen. M. foreany which you may form, you will require a shadowed in Missouri, West Virginia, commander-in-chief of the army, one who and Maryland, was not merely “a possesses your confidence, understands your views, and who is competent to execute question of time.” It was a ques your orders, by directing the military forces tion of power as well; since he plainof the nation to the accomplishment of the ly contemplated its achievement, not objects by you proposed. I do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you by popular action, but by military in such position as you may assign me, force. Paying the "owner” might, and I will do so as faithfully as ever subor- indeed, modify his wrath; but could dinate served superior.

"I may be on the brink of eternity; and, not affect the fundamental question as I hope forgiveness from my Maker, I of authority and right. have written this letter with sincerity toward you and from love for my country. " Very respectfully,

A letter addressed as to the Presi“ Your obedient servant, “GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN,

dent some weeks after this, entitled “Maj. Gen. Commanding.

“ The Prayer of Twenty Millions," " His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President." and exhorting Mr. Lincoln—not to

If Gen. M. had been asked to re- proclaim all the slaves in our country concile the precepts of this letter re- free, but to execute the laws of the garding Slavery-how “the relations land which operated to free large of servitude," for example, could be classes of the slaves of Rebels-conpreserved in a district subject to cludes as follows: “military power," without a distinct • On the face of this wide earth, Mr. Presirecognition and support of those re- dent, there is not one disinterested, deter

, lations” by the military authority cause who does not feel that all attempts to there dominant; or in what manner put down the Rebellion, and at the saine he would have “disorder” repressed, terous and futile—that the Rebellion, if

time uphold its inciting cause, are preposwhen it was caused by the slave's as- crushed out tomorrow, would be renewed serting his right to control his own

within a year if Slavery were left in full

vigor—that army officers, who remain to actions and the master's resisting it this day devoted to Slavery, can at best be - he might have answered ingen- but half-way loyal to the Union—and that

every hour of deference to Slavery is an iously, but to what purpose? Mani- hour of added and deepened peril to the festly, the ruling authority, whether Union. I appeal to the testimony of your civil or military, must either support Embassadors in Europe. It is freely at

[ocr errors]

service, not mine. Ask them to tell the slaveholder's claim of property in you candidly whether the seeming subser

Aug. 19 1862.


viency of your policy to the slaveholding, | erroneous, I do not now and here controSlavery-upholding interest, is not the per- vert them. plexity, the despair, of statesmen of all par- “ If there be any inferences which I may ties; and be admonished by the general believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now answer!

and here argue against them. “I close as I began, with the statement “If there be perceptible in it an impatient that what an immense majority of the loyal and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference millions of your countrymen require of you to an old friend whose lieart I have always is a frank, declared, unqualified, ungrudg- supposed to be right. ing execution of the laws of the land, more "As to the policy I seem to be pursuespecially of the Confiscation Act. That ing,' as you say, I have not meant to leave act gives freedom to the slaves of Rebels any one in doubt. I would save the Union. coming within our lines, or whom those I would save it in the shortest way under lines may at any time inclose—we ask you the Constitution. to render it due obedience by publicly re- The sooner the national authority can quiring all your subordinates to recognize be restored, the nearer the Union will be and obey it. The Rebels are everywhere the Union as it was. using the late anti-negro riots in the North "If there be those who would not save --as they have. long used your officers' the Union unless they could at the same treatment of negroes in the South-to con- time save Slavery, I do not agree with vince the slaves that they have nothing to them; hope from a Union success-that we mean " If there be those who would not save in that case to sell them into a bitter bond- the Union unless they could at the same age to defray the cost of the war. Let time destroy Slavery, I do not agree with them impress this as a truth on the great them. mass of their ignorant and credulous bond- My paramount object is to save the men, and the Union will never be restored Union, and not either to save or destroy

never. We can not conquer ten millions Slavery. of people united in solid phalanx against "If I could save the Union without freeus, powerfully aided by Northern sympa- ing any slave, I would do it--if I could save thizers and European allies. We must have it by freeing all the slaves, I would do itscouts, guides, spies, cooks, teamsters, dig- and if I could do it by freeing some and gers, and choppers, froin the Blacks of the leaving others alone, I would also do that. South-whetlier we allow them to fight for 6. What I do about Slavery and the us or not—or we shall be baffled and re- Colored Race, I do because I believe it pelled. As one of the millions who would helps to save this Union; and what I forgladly have avoided this struggle at any bear, I forbear because I do not believe it sacrifice but that of principle and honor, would help to save the Union. but who now feel that the triumph of the " I shall do less whenever I shall believe Union is indispensable not only to the ex- what I am doing hurtsthe cause; and I istence of our country, but to the well-being shall do more whenever I believe doing of mankind, I entreat you to render a hearty more will help the cause. and unequivocal obedience to the law of the “I shall try to correct errors when shown land.

HORACE GREELEY." to be errors; and I shall adopt new views

so fast as they shall appear to be true views. The President—very unexpected- “I have here stated my purpose accordly--replied to this appeal by tele- ing to my view's of official duty; and I in

tend no modification of iny oft-expressed graph: in order, doubtless, to place personal wish that all men everywhere could before the public matter deemed by be free. Yours,

A. LINCOLN." him important, and which had prob

Many others called on or wrote to ably been prepared for issue before the President about this time, urging the receipt of the letter to which he him to action in the spirit of Mr. thus obliquely responded:

Greeley's letter. He heard all with " EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, courtesy, suggesting objections that Aug. 22, 1862.

were not intended for conclusions, Hon. Horace Greeley :

“Dear Sir: I have just read yours of the but rather to indicate and enforce 19th instant, addressed to myself through the grave importance of the topic, The Neio York Tribune. “If there be in it any statements or as

the peril of making a mistake upon sumptions of fact which I may know to be lit, and the difficulty of reaching the

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


Blacks with any proffer of Freedom. | great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our
The slaveholders--especially those in own troops, and expecting God to favor their

side: for one of our soldiers, who had been
the loyal States—would all hear of it taken prisoner, told Senator Wilson a few
forth with, and be influenced by it; days since that he met nothing so discourag-
the slaves in the disloyal States would ing as the evident sincerity of those he was

in their prayers. But we will talk
receive all tidings of it through hos- over the merits of the case.
tile channels-from those interested

“ What good would a proclamation of

Emancipation from mo do, especially as we in deceiving and misleading them are now situated ? I do not want to issue a with regard to it. Even if correctly document that the whole world will see must

necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's and promptly advised, what could bull against the comet. Would iny word free they do? Bayonets glittered on eve- the slaves, when I can not even enforce the ry side; arms were borne by nearly Constitution in the Rebel States? Is there a

single court, or magistrate, or individual, that every able-bodied White; while the would be influenced by it there? And what Blacks could oppose to these but their reason is there to think it would have any empty (and shackled) hands. What greater effect upon the slaves than the late law

of Congress, which I approved, and which good, then, could be secured by an offers protection and freedom to the slaves Abolition policy ? “It is a Pope's of Rebel masters who come within our

lines ? Yet I can not learn that that law has bull against the comet," suggested the caused a single slave to come over to us. President. "It will unite the South And, suppose they could be induced by a and divide the North,” fiercely clam- proclamation of freedoin from me to throw

upon us, what should we do with ored the entire Opposition. So the them? How can we feed and care for such President-habitually cautious, dil- a multitude ? Gen. Butler wrote me a few

days since that he was issuing more rations atory, reticent—hesitated, and de- to the slaves who have rushed to him than murred, and resisted-possibly after to all the White troops under his command. he had silently resolved that the step Gen. Butler is fúeding the Whites also by

They eat, and that is all; thongh it is true must finally be taken.

the thousand; for it nearly amounts to a Mr. Lincoln was soon visited,

famine there. If, now, the pressure of the

war should call off our forces from New among others, by a deputation from Orleans to defend some other point, what is the various Protestant denominations to prevent the masters from reducing the of Chicago, Illinois, charged with the Blacks to Slavery again; for I am told that

whenever the Rebels take any Black prisonduty of urging on him the adoption ers, free or slave, they immediately auction of a more decided and vigorous policy them off! They did so with those they of Ernancipation. He listened to the Tennessee river a few days ago. And then

took from a boat that was aground in the reading of their memorial, and re- I am very ungenerously attacked for it! sponded in substance as follows:

For instance, when, after the late battles at

and near Bull Run, an expedition went out "The subject is difficult, and good men from Washington, under a flag of truce, to do not agree. For instance: the other day, bury the dead and bring in the wounded, four gentlemen of standing and intelligence and the Rebels seized the Blacks who went from New York called as a delegation on along to help, and sent them into Slavery, business connected with the war; but be- Horace Greeley said in his paper that the fore leaving two of them earnestly besought Government would probably do nothing me to proclaim general Emancipation ; upon about it. What could I do? which the other two at once attacked them. Now, then, tell me, if you please, what You know also that the last session of Con- possible result of good would follow the gress had a decided majority of anti-Slavery issuing of such a proclamation as you desire ? men, yet they could not unite on this policy. Understand : I raise no objections against it And the same is true of the religious people. on legal or constitutional grounds; for, as Why, the Rebel soldiers are praying with a Commander-in-chief of the army and navy

2 Sept. 13.

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »