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who should thus serve the Government it was added: "And you will assure all persons held to involuntary labor, who may

be thus received into the service of the Government, that they will, under no circumstances, be again reduced to their former condition, unless at the expiration of their respective terms of service they freely choose to return to the service of their former masters."

This order marks the beginning of the enrollment of former slaves in the service of the Government, which was continued in force until there were enrolled two hundred and fifty thousand colored soldiers and laborers in the army. At the time this order was made President Lincoln had not reached the point at which he was willing to approve of the general enlistment in the Union army of former colored slaves, but he consented to this order because of the peculiar conditions in the section which the expedition under General Sherman was expected to occupy. The purpose to safeguard slavery against improper interference by the general Government which caused President Lincoln to disapprove of General Fremont's emancipation movement was still dominant in his mind and caused him to exercise constant supervision over his subordinates in military and civil services; and when preparing to submit to Congress in December, 1861, his annual message and the reports of the members of his Cabinet, he was astonished to discover that the annual report of the Secretary of War had been printed in pamphlet form without having been submitted to him, and had been sent by mail to the postmasters of the principal cities to be held by them in readiness to be given to the newspapers as soon as the President's message was read in the two houses of Congress.

The President's surprise at this unusual and irregular proceeding grew into displeasure when he discovered that said report contained recommendations for the general enlistment in the Union Army of colored slaves, and their employment in military activities. This was so widely at variance with the position of the President at that time that the pamphlet copies of the report which had been sent out were, by telegraph, immediately ordered to be returned and the report was changed so as to conform with the views of Mr. Lincoln.

6 War Records, Vol. VI., p. 176.

This affair was well calculated to cause a serious rupture in the President's Cabinet; the course pursued by the Secretary of War being not only at variance with the rules and customs in such cases, but of such a character as to produce the impression that it was an effort to circumvent the President by committing his administration to a policy of which he was known to disapprove.

It was claimed at the time that the report was printed without the President's approval because of the apprehension that he would not approve of the recommendation respecting the enlistment of colored troops, and that it was distributed to the newspapers as it was to make difficult if not impossible its recall. The high standing of Secretary Simon Cameron, who was responsible for this unusual proceeding, added to the embarrassment of President Lincoln and to the difficulties encountered by him in his efforts so to adjust matters as to avoid serious results. General Cameron was by ten years President Lincoln's senior. He had been twice elected to the United States senate from Pennsylvania and had for eight years served in that body with marked distinction. In the Chicago convention that nominated Mr. Lincoln he was a prominent candidate for the Presidency and was the unanimous choice of the Pennsylvania delegation for that office, and when the opportune time arrived he approved of the action by which his support in that convention was given to Mr. Lincoln, and made possible his nomination. He was a man of very superior ability, of strong personality, with a large and enthusiastic following. His pronounced antislavery convictions and tendencies caused him to be very closely allied with Seward and Chase, the two most prominent and influential members of the Lincoln Cabinet, and there is ample evidence that those three distinguished Cabinet ministers were in frequent consultation concerning the feature of General Cameron's report to which the President objected.

The situation was made more complicated by the manifest reasonableness of the position assumed by General Cameron and the preponderance of loyal public sentiment in approval of his recommendation. Few men in Mr. Lincoln's position and with his limited experience in public life could have measured up to the requirements of that hour. But Mr. Lincoln was more than equal to the emergency. He remained calm through all of the affair. The storm, though severe, did not disturb the deep waters of his nature and his unyielding firmness held him to his declared purposes.

My personal recollections of those events are still very vivid. The people did not know of the affair until the difficulties were adjusted, but were soon given the full text of the portion of General Cameron's reports to which the President objected as well as the portion written to conform to the President's wishes.

This incident was for a time very disturbing in official circles at Washington. It was generally supposed that it would cause the dismissal of Cameron from the Cabinet and possibly the withdrawal of other members from the President's official family. It is quite certain that General Cameron expected to be requested by the President to resign as Secretary of War. But Mr. Lincoln disappointed all expectations by not manifesting the least resentment of the indignity nor any displeasure with General Cameron. His official relations with him were not in the least affected, and after a few weeks, when General Cameron had expressed a preference for a position in foreign service, he was appointed and confirmed as minister to Russia, and Edwin M. Stanton was chosen to succeed him as Secretary of War. General Cameron continued as one of President Lincoln's most devoted and faithful friends and was one of the earliest and most ardent advocates of his re-election. By his magnanimous treatment of General Cameron and the appointment of Mr. Stanton as his successor, in the Cabinet, President Lincoln converted the disintegrating influences of the Cameron affair into elements of strength, binding the members of his administration more closely to each other and to himself.

The first regular session of Congress after President Lincoln's inauguration convened on the 2nd of December, 1861. Mr. Lincoln's nine months of experience as President had to some degree modified his position respecting slavery, but conscious that the trend of events was in the direction of relentless warfare against that institution he sounded a note of warning in his first regular message by saying: “The Union must be preserved and hence all indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in haste to determine that radical and extreme measures which may reach the loyal as well as the disloyal are indispensable.

In each of the two sentences here quoted the word “indispensable" is used, indicating that Mr. Lincoln was anticipating the coming of conditions that would make it necessary to destroy slavery in order to save the nation. But he could not regard himself as absolved from the meaning of his oath of office and from his solemn promises not to interfere with slavery within state limits until he became fully convinced that by no other method could the nation be saved. Hence, the use of the word "indispensable" in his first regular message to Congress and in other papers before and after that event. But President Lincoln's conscientious scruples about interfering with slavery were not shared by all of those to whom that message was addressed. That Congress was made up largely of men fresh from the people and the loyal masses were becoming restless under the policy of safeguarding and protecting the institution which was seeking to destroy the nation. Hence, no counsel, not even from the President, could avail to arrest the movement against slavery. That movement was rapidly gaining in momentum, and the results of the war, whether favorable or otherwise, added to the num

? Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. VII., P. 52.

ber and strength of the influences that were combining against the institution that all loyal people regarded as responsible for the war.

President Lincoln, in his great anxiety to hold the border states in loyalty to the Union, earnestly advised moderation in all measures relating to slavery. But the radical element in Congress was intent on advance in antislavery legislation, and before the close of that first regular session of the thirtyseventh Congress, five important measures respecting slavery were enacted and were given the President's approval.

The first and most important of those enactments was the law abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. The history of that measure cannot be correctly written without taking account of facts which are not matters of public record, such as the action of committees, conferences with the President and with members of his Cabinet, and the work of sub-committees.

The movement enlisted the efforts of a large number of the most prominent members of both branches of Congress, some of whom, though active and influential in securing its enactment, had no part in preparing the measure which became a law. Several members of Congress introduced bills upon that subject and if one considers the published official records only there is danger of failing correctly to determine the origin of the bill which was enacted. The complete official record of the proceedings that resulted in placing that important law upon the nation's statute books and the testimony of participants in those proceedings show that the law is not identical with any one of the bills introduced by individual members, but is a composite made up of portions of several bills, together with amendments made by committees and by action of Congress.

The bill introduced early in the session by Hon. James M. Ashley of Ohio consisted of only one sentence of twenty words, and provided “that slavery, or involuntary servitude, shall cease in the District of Columbia from and after the

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