« PreviousContinue »
coverts, insane, or absent persons. I presume this is an omis. sion by mere oversight, and I recommend that it be supplied by an amendatory or supplemental act. “ABRAHAM LINCOLN."
RE-OPENING OF SOUTHERN PORTS. During the month of May, 1862, two important proclamations were published one on the twelfth, declaring the ports of Beaufort, Port Royal, and New Orleans open for trade; and the second, a week later, repudiating an emancipation order of Major-General Hunter. This last document is too important a part of the history of the rebellion to be omitted here, and we therefore give it in full. It is as follows:
" Whereas, There appears in the public prints what purports to be a proclamation of Major-General Hunter, in the words and figures following. to wit:
* HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTI,
Hilton HEAD, S. C., May 9th, 1862. "GENERAL ORDERS No. 11.
“The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolinsky comprising the Military Department of the South, having deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it becomes a military necessity to declare them under martial law. This was accordingly done on the twenty-fifth day of April, 1862. Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons in these three States, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.
“ DAVID HUNTER, Major-General Commanding. - Official :
“* Ed. W. SMITH, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.' “And whereas, The same is producing some excitement and misunderstanding,
“Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and declare that the government of the United States had no knowledge or belief of an intention, on the part of General Hunter, to issue such a proclamation, nor has it yet any authentic information that the document is genuine; and further, that neither General Hunter nor any other commander or persou has been authorized by the government of the United States to make proclamation declaring the slaves of any State free, and that the supposed proclamation now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects such declara tion.
"I further make known, that whether it be competent for me as commander-in-chief of the army and navy to declare the slaves of any State or States free, and whether at any time, or in any case, it shall have become a necessity ivdispensable to the maintenance of the government to exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility, I reserve to myself
, and which I cannot feel justified in leaving to the decision of coinmanders in the field. These are totally different questions from those of police regulations in armies and camps.
"On the sixth day of March last, by a special message, I recommended to Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, to he substantially as follows :
Resolved, that the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State in its discretion to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.
“The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic, definite and solemn proposal of the nation to the States and people most immediately interested in the subject matter. To the people of these States I now earnestly appeal. I do not argue; I beseech you to make the arguments for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any.
It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending or wrecking any thing. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done by one effort in all past time, as in the Providence of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it.
“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 nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the cighty-sixth. By the President:
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN. “ War. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
THE PRESIDENT'S CONFERENCE WITH THE
LOYAL GOVERNORS—HIS INTERVIEW WITH TEE BORDER CONGRESSMEN.
On the first of July, 1862, the President, in accordance with the Act for the collection of direct taxes in
the insurrectionary districts, issued a proclamation declaring in what States and in what counties of Virginia insurrection existed ; and on the same day addressed a letter to the Governors of the loyal States, in reply to one received from them, asking that for the purpose of following up recent signal successes by measures which would ensure the speedy restoration of the Union, a sufficient number of men from each State to fill up existing regi ments and to form new organizations, might be called for. Mr. Lincoln fully concurred in the views of the Executives and expressed bis intention to call for an additional force of three hundred thousand men.
On the twelfth of July, an interesting interview took place at the White House, the Senators and Representatives of the Border States having assembled there by invitation of the President, who wished to converse with them upon the important topic of gradual emancipation. During an extended conversation, he expressed his views clearly and explicitly, requesting their calm consideration of the subject, and charging them to commend his suggestions to their constituents, and to prevent all doubt of bis meaning, read to them the following appeal :
“Gentlemen : After the adjournment of Congress, now near, I shall have no opportunity of seeing you for several months. Believing that you of the border States hold more power for good than any other equal number of members, I feel it a duty, which I cannot justifiably waive, to make this appeal to you.
“I intend no reproach or complaint when I assure you that, in my opinion, if you all had voted for the resolution in the gradual emancipation message of last March, the war would now be substantially ended. And the plan therein proposed is yet one of the most potent and swift means of ending it. Let the States which are in rebellion see definitely and certainly that, in no event, will the States you represent ever join their proposed confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest. But you cannot divest them of their hope to ultimately have you with them so long as you show a determination to perpetuate the institutions within your own States. Beat them at elections, as you have overwhelmingly done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own. You and I know what the lever of their power is. Break that lever before their faces, and they can shake you no more forever.
“Most of you have treated me with kindness and consideration, and I trust you will not now think I improperly touch what is exclusively your own, when, for the sake of the whole country, I ask, . Can you, for your States, do better than to take the course I urge ? Discarding punctilio and maxims adapted to more manageable times, and looking only to the unprecedentedly stern facts of our case, can you do better in any possible event? You prefer that the constitutional relation of the States to the nation shall be practically restored without disturbance of the institution; and, if this were done, my whole duty, in this respect, under the Constitution and my oath of office, would be performed. But it is not done, and
we are trying to accomplish it by war. The incidents of the war cannot be avoided. If the war continues long, as it must if the object be not sooner attained, the institution in your States will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion-by the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is gone already. How much better for you and for your people to take the step which at once shortens the war, and secures substantial compensation for that which is sure to be wholly lost in any other event! How much better to thus save the money which else we sink forever in the war! How much better to do it while we can, lest the war, ere long, render us pecuniarily unable to do it! How much better for you, as seller, and the nation, as buyer, to sell out and buy out that without which the war could never have been, than to sink both the thing to be sold and the price of it in cutting one another's throats.
"I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply and in abundance; and, when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be so reluctant to go.
“I am pressed with a difficulty not yet mentioned—one which threatens division among those who, united, are none too strong. An instance of it is known to you. General Hunter is an honest
He was, and I hope still is, my friend. I valued him none the less for his agreeing with me in the general wish that all men everywhere could be freed. He proclaimed all men free within certain States, and I repudiated the proclamation. He expected more good and less harm from the measure than I could believe would follow. Yet, in repudiating it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offence, to many whose support the country cannot afford to lose. And this is not the end of it. The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing. By conceding what I now ask, you can relieve me, and, much more, can relievo the country in this important point.
Upon these considerations I have again begged your atte: tion to the message of March last. Before leaving the capital, consider and discuss it among yourselves. You are patriots and statesmen, and, as such, I pray you consider this proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in nowise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government is saved to the world, its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assaro that happiness and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names therewith forever."
INSTRUCTIONS TO MILITARY AND NAVAL
COMMANDERS. On the twenty-second of July, he issued the following order :
“WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, July 22d, 1862. “ First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an ordinary manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several commands, for supplies, or for other military purposes; and that while property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness or malice.
"Second. That military and naval commanders shall employ as laborers, within and from said States, so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor.
“ Third. That, as to both property, and persons of African descent, accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quantities and amounts, and from whom both property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper cases; and the several de. partments of this government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts toward the execution of these orders. “ By order of the President.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
"Secretary of War." And on the twenty-fifth of July, by proclamation, be warned all persons to cease participating in aiding, counteDancing, or abetting the rebellion, and to return to their