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as you desire. I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but hold the matter under advisement. And I can assure you that the subject is on my mind, by day and night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do."

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Four days after this interview the battle of Antietam was fought, and when, after a few days of uncertainty, it was ascertained that it could be reasonably claimed as a Union victory, the President resolved to carry out his long-matured purpose. The diary of Secretary Chase has recorded a very full report of the interesting transaction. On this ever memorable September 22, 1862, after some playful preliminary talk, Mr. Lincoln said to his cabinet:

"GENTLEMEN: I have, as you are aware, thought a great deal about the relation of this war to slavery; and you all remember that, several weeks ago, I read to you an order I had prepared on this subject, which, on account of objections made by some of you, was not issued. Ever since then my mind has been much occupied with this subject, and I have thought, all along, that the time for acting on it might probably come. I think the time has come now. I wish it was a better time. I wish that we were in a better condition. The action of the army against the rebels has not been quite what I should have best liked. But they have been driven out of Maryland, and Pennsylvania is no longer in danger of invasion. When the rebel army was at Frederick, I determined, as soon as it should be driven out of Maryland, to issue a proclamation of emancipation, such as I thought most likely to be useful. I said nothing to any one, but I made the promise to myself and [hesitating a little] to my Maker. The rebel army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfil that promise. I have got you together to hear what I have written down. I do not wish your advice about

the main matter, for that I have determined for myself. This I say without intending anything but respect for any one of you. But I already know the views of each on this question. They have been heretofore expressed, and I have considered them as thoroughly and carefully as I can. What I have written is that which my reflections have determined me to say. If there is anything in the expressions I use, or in any minor matter, which any one of you thinks had best be changed, I shall be glad to receive the suggestions. One other observation I will make. I know very well that many others might, in this matter as in others, do better than I can; and if I was satisfied that the public confidence was more fully possessed by any one of them than by me, and knew of any constitutional way in which he could be put in my place, he should have it. I would gladly yield it to him. But, though I believe that I have not so much of the confidence of the people as I had some time since, I do not know that, all things considered, any other person has more; and, however this may be, there is no way in which I can have any other man put where I am. I am here; I must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take."

The members of the cabinet all approved the policy of the measure; Mr. Blair only objecting that he thought the time inopportune, while others suggested some slight amendments. In the new form in which. it was printed on the following morning, the document announced a renewal of the plan of compensated abolishment, a continuance of the effort at voluntary colonization, a promise to recommend ultimate compensation to loyal owners, and—

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all



persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."

Pursuant to these announcements, the President's annual message of December 1, 1862, recommended. to Congress the passage of a joint resolution proposing to the legislatures of the several States a constitutional amendment consisting of three articles, namely: One providing compensation in bonds for every State which should abolish slavery before the year 1900; another securing freedom to all slaves who, during the rebellion, had enjoyed actual freedom by the chances of war -also providing compensation to legal owners; the third authorizing Congress to provide for colonization. The long and practical argument in which he renewed this plan, "not in exclusion of, but additional to, all others for restoring and preserving the national authority throughout the Union," concluded with the following eloquent sentences:

"We can succeed only by concert. It is not, ‘Can any of us imagine better?' but, 'Can we all do better?' Object whatsoever is possible, still the question recurs, 'Can we do better?' The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of

this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. Weeven we here-hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth. Other means may succeed, this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

But Mr. Lincoln was not encouraged by any response to this earnest appeal, either from Congress or by manifestations of public opinion. Indeed, it may be fairly presumed that he expected none. Perhaps he considered it already a sufficient gain that it was silently accepted as another admonition of the consequences which not he nor his administration, but the Civil War, with its relentless agencies, was rapidly bringing about. He was becoming more and more

conscious of the silent influence of his official utterances on public sentiment, if not to convert obstinate opposition, at least to reconcile it to patient submission.

In that faith he steadfastly went on carrying out his well-matured plan, the next important step of which was the fulfilment of the announcements made in the preliminary emancipation proclamation of September 22. On December 30, he presented to each member of his cabinet a copy of the draft he had carefully made



of the new and final proclamation to be issued on New Year's day. It will be remembered that as early as July 22, he informed the cabinet that the main question involved he had decided for himself. Now, as twice before, it was only upon minor points that he asked their advice and suggestion, for which object he placed these drafts in their hands for verbal and collateral criticism.

In addition to the central point of military emancipation in all the States yet in rebellion, the President's draft for the first time announced his intention to incorporate a portion of the newly liberated slaves into the armies of the Union. This policy had also been under discussion at the first consideration of the subject in July. Mr. Lincoln had then already seriously considered it, but thought it inexpedient and productive of more evil than good at that date. In his judgment, the time had now arrived for energetically adopting it.

On the following day, December 31, the members brought back to the cabinet meeting their several criticisms and suggestions on the draft he had given them. Perhaps the most important one was that earnestly pressed by Secretary Chase, that the new proclamation should make no exceptions of fractional parts of States controlled by the Union armies, as in Louisiana and Virginia, save the forty-eight counties of the latter designated as West Virginia, then in process of formation and admission as a new State; the constitutionality of which, on this same December 31, was elaborately discussed in writing by the members of the cabinet, and affirmatively decided by the President.

On the afternoon of December 31, the cabinet meeting being over, Mr. Lincoln once more carefully rewrote the proclamation, embodying in it the suggestions which had been made as to mere verbal

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