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tion is bad, as the basis of a controversy, and good for nothing at all--a merely pernicious abstraction. We all agree that the seccded States, so-called, are out of their proper practical relation with the Union, and that the sole object of the Government, civil and military, in regard to those States, is to again get them into that proper practical relation. I believe it is not only possible, but in fact casier to do this without deciding, or even considering, whether these States have ever been out of the Union, than with it. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad. Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper practical relations between these States and the Union, and each forever after innocently indulge his own opinion whether, in doing the acts, he brought the States from without into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it.
The amount of constituency, so to speak, on which the new Louisiana government rests, would be more satisfactory to all if it contained fifty, thirty, or even twenty thousand, instead of only about twelve thousand, as it really does. It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and those who serve our cause as soldiers. Still the question is not whether the Lou. isiana government, as it stands, is quite all that is desirable. The question is “Will it be wiser, to take it as it is, and help to improve it, or to reject and disperse it?" "Can Louisiana be brought into proper practical relation with the Union sooner by sustaining or by discarding her new State government ?”
Some twelve thousand voters, in the heretofore slave State of Louisiana, have sworn allegiance to the Union, assumed to be the rightful political power of the State, held elections, organized a State government, adopted a free Stato constitution, giving the benefit of public schools cqually to black and white, and empowering the Legislature to confer the elective franchise upon the colored man. Their legislature has already voted to ratify the constitutional amendment recently passed by Congress, abolishing slavery throughout the nation. These twelve thousand persons are thus fully committed to the Union, and to perpetual freedom in the States—committed to the very things and nearly all the things the nation wants and they ask the nation's recognition and its assistance to make good that committal. Now, if we reject and spurn them, do our utmost to disorganize and disperse them. We, in effect, say to the white men, “You are worthless, or worse, we will neither help you, nor be helped by you.” To the blacks wo
say, “This cup of Liberty which these, your old masters, hold to your lips, we will dash from you, and leave you to the chances of gathering the spilled and scattered contents in some vague and undefined when, where and how.” If this course, discouraging and paralyzing both white and black, has any tendency to bring Louisiana into proper practical relations with the Union, I have, so far, been unable to perceive it. If, on the contrary, we recognize and sustain the new government of Louisiana, the converse of all this is made true.
We encourage the hearts and nerve the arms of the twelve thousand to adhere to their work, and argue for it, and proselyte for it, and fight for it, and feed it, and grow it, and ripen it to a complete success. The colored man, too, seeing all united for him, is inspired with vigilance, and energy, and daring to the same end. Grant that he desires the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps towards it, than by running backward over them? Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it. [Laughter]. Again, if we reject Louisiana, we also reject one vote in favor of the proposed amendment to the National Constitution. To meet this proposition, it has been argued that no more than three-fourths of those States, which have not attempted secession, are necessary to validly ratify the amendment. I do not commit myself against this, further than to say
that such a ratification would be questionable, and sure to be persistently questioned, while a ratification by three-fourths of all the States would be unquestioned and unquestionable.
I repeat the question. “Can Louisiana be brought into proper practical relation with the Union sooner by sustaining or by discarding her new State government ?" What has been said of Louisiana will apply generally to other States. And yet so great peculiarities pertain to each State, and such important and sudden changes occur in the same State, and, withal, so new and unprecedented is the whole case, that no exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to details and collaterals. Such exclusive and inflexible plan would surely become a new entanglement. Important principles may, and must be inflexible.
In the present situation, as the phrase goes, it may be my duty to make some new announcement to the people of the South. I am considering, and shall not fail to act, when satisfied that action will be proper.
The change in the domestic situation, rendered it expedient to take new ground in regard to the concession of belligerent rights to the Rebels, made by certain foreign powers. The following proclamation-issued at this time-speedily accomplished its purpose of utterly outrooting this international heresy :
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA-A
PROCLAMATION. WHEREAS, for some time past, vessels of war of the United States have been refused, in certain foreign ports, privileges and immunities to which they were entitled by treaty, public law or the comity of nations, at the same time that vessels of war of the country wherein the said privileges and immunities have been withheld, have enjoyed them fully and uninterruptedly in ports of the United States, which condition of things has not always been forcibly resisted by the United States, although, on the other hand, they have not, at any time, failed to protest against and declare their dissatisfaction with the same. In the view of the United States, no condition any longer exists which can be claimed to justify the denial to them, by any one of such nations, of customary naval rights, as has heretofore been so unnecessarily persisted in.
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do hereby make known that, if, after a reasonable time shall have elapsed for intelligence of this proclamation to have reached any foreign country in whose ports the said privileges and immunities shall have been refused, as aforesaid, they shall continue to be so refused, then and henceforth the same privileges and immunities shall be refused to the vessels of war of that country in the ports of the United States, and this refusal shall continue until the war vessels of the United States shall have been placed upon an entire equal. ity, in the foreign ports aforesaid, with similar vessels of other countries, the United States, whatever claim or pretence may have existed heretofore, are now, at least, entitled to claim and concede an entire and friendly equality of rights and hospitalities with all maritime nations.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and have caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this eleventh day of April, in the
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty. five, and of the Independence of the United States of Amer. ica the eighty-ninth.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President: WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
The following statement of Senator Sumner, in regard to President Lincoln's earlier views and actions on this question, with a citation of the striking terms used by him in relation thereto, has an abiding interest:
The President saw the painful consequences of this concession, and especially that it was a first step toward the acknowledgment of Rebel slavery as an independent power. Clearly, if it were proper for a foreign power to acknowledge belligerency, it might, at a later stage, be proper to acknowledge independence; and any objection vital to independence would, if applicable, be equally vital to belligerency. Solemn resolutions by Congress on this subject were communicated to foreign powers, but the unanswerable argument against any possible recognition of a new power founded on slaverywhether as independent or as belligerent-was stated by the President, in a paper which I now hold in my hand, and which has never before seen the light. It is a copy of a resolution drawn by himself, which he gave to me, in his own autograph, for transmission to one of our valued friends abroad, as an expression of his opinion on the great question involved, and a guide to public duty. It is in these words:
“WHEREAS, While heretofore states and nations have tolerated slavery, recently, for the first [time] in the world, an attempt has been made to construct a new nation upon the basis of human slavery, and with the primary and fundamental object to maii.tain, enlarge and perpetuate the same; therefore,
“ Resolved, That no such embryo state should ever be recog: nized by, or admitted into, the family of Christian and civilized nations; and that all Christian and civilized men everywhere should, by all lawful means, resist, to the utmost, such recog.nition or admission."
On the 11th day of April, also, the President issued a proc. lamation closing certain ports of entry, in accordance with an act of Congress, approved July 13, 1861, “ further to provide for the collection of duties on imports and for other purposes," and recognizing the fact that the blockade had been conditionally set aside or relaxed, “in consequence of actual military occupation by this Government,” at Norfolk and Alexandria, Virginia; Beaufort, North Carolina ; Port Royal, South Caro. lina ; Pensacola and Fernandina, Florida, and New Orleans,
Louisiana. The body of the proclamation, relating to the closing of Southern ports of entry, is in the following words:
“Now, therefore, be it known that I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim that the ports of Richmond, Tappahannock, Cherrystone, Yorktown and Petersburg, in Virginia; of Camden (Elizabeth City), Edenton, Plymouth, Washington, Newberne, Ocracoke and Wilmington, in North Carolina; of Charleston, Georgetown and Beaufort, in South Carolina; of Savannah, St. Marys and Brunswick (Darien), in Georgia; of Mobile, in Alabama; of Pearl River (Shieldsborough), Natchez and Vicksburg, in Mississippi; of St. Augustine, Key West, St. Marks (Port Leon), St. Johns (Jacksonville) and Apalachicola, in Florida; of Teche (Franklin), in Louisina ; of Galveston, La Salle, Brazos de Santiago (Point Isabel) and Brownsville, in Texas, are hereby closed, and all right of importation, warehousing and other privileges shall, in respect to the ports aforesaid, cease until they shall have again been opened by order of the President; and if, while said ports are so closed, any ship or vessel from beyond the United States, or having on board any article subject to duties, shall attempt to enter any such port, the same, together with its tackle, apparel, furniture and cargo, shall be forfeited to the United States.
President Lincoln had made repeated demands upon Great Britain for indemnity for losses to our citizens from the depredations of the Alabama, and other crufsers constructed and cquipped in English ports since the commencement of the war. Though refused by the British Government, Mr. Lin. coln never relinquished the demand. It was specially renewed at this time, with a manifest determination to press the matter to a favorable determination.
On the 11th of April, Lynchburg was surrendered to a scouting party from Griffin's division of the Fifth Army Corps, and McKenzie's brigade of cavalry was ordered to occupy the place. Gen. Sherman was now moving on Raleigh, with little opposition, Johnston falling back before him. This advance was commenced by order of Gen. Grant, from Burkesville, with the apparent object of preventing a junction between Johnston and Lee, should the latter succeed in escaping Sheridan and getting off toward Danville. Sherman occupied Raleigh