« PreviousContinue »
secured in the seized forts and arsenals,but which were required for local defense. The Governor, as if to ease his mind of its load of secrets, also confessed to his designs against Fortress Monroe, where the vigilant and resolute Colonel Dimmick was in command, much to the discomfiture of treason. He said:
"It is to be regretted that Fortress Monroe is not in our possession; that it was not as easily captured as the Navy Yard and Harper's Ferry. As far back as the 8th of January last, I consulted with a gentleman whose position enabled him to know the strength of that fortress, and whose experience in military matters enabled him to form an opinion as to the number of men that would be required to capture it. He represented it to be one of the strongest fortifications in the world, and expressed his doubts whether it could be taken, unless assailed by water as well as by land, and simultaneously. He stated, emphatically and distinctly, that
with the force then in the Fortress, it would be useless to attempt its capture without a large force, thoroughly equipped and well appointed. At no time previous to the secession of Virginia had we a military organization sufficient to justify an attempt
to take it, and events since that occurrence demontion since, and now existing, it has not been deemed strate very clearly that with our military organizaprudent to make the attempt."
As Virginia did not secede until April 17th, 1861, the Governor's confessions are refreshingly redolent of the treason which presided over Virginia's destiny. Macbeth's witches would have to learn new powers of incantation to preside fittingly over the artifice and diabolism which the conspirators against the General Government practiced in the incipient stages of the revolution. Were the Great Poet now alive with what zest would his quick intuitions seize upon the conspirators for his dramatis persona!
MEETING OF THE FEDERAL CONGRESS (DECEMBER, 1861.)
MR. LINCOLN'S CONSERVATISM.
Assemblage of Congress.
Assemblage of Con
THE Federal Congress is understood, "assumed (XXXVII. 2d Session) as- the responsibility," and sembled at Washington, himself modified the reMonday, December 2d, 1861. Its organization was not followed by the reception of the President's annual Message and the accompanying department reports. The delay in their transmission was understood to arise from the discovery, in the Report of the Secretary of War, of passages enunciating a policy in regard to slaves fleeing to the Federal lines, which the Executive was not ready to adopt. A cabinet meeting was called on the subject, Monday afternoon, at which the President expressed his dissent. Mr. Cameron regarded his original recommendations of vital importance and is reported to have been unwilling to modify them. Whereupon Mr. Lincoln, it
port, excising its entire conclusion and sub stituting in its stead the closing paragraph as it was submitted to Congress.
The first day's session made manifest the strong set of the current in the direction of negro emancipation and confiscation of rebel estates. Cameron's original report, in a great degree, represented this feeling, and became its official exponent. When it was ascertained that the President had determined to make a stand against the "radical" programme, the two Houses betrayed unmistakeable signs of the ferment to follow. In the Senate, Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, as spokesman of the State which Mr. Lincoln called his own, gave
Assemblage of Con
THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE.
The President's Message.
be unfortunate and injurious to
notice of a resolution to confiscate the property of persons in rebellion and to give freedom to persons in the Slave States. In the House, several resolutions looking to the same end were offered. The spirit of anti-slavery, taking alarm at the slow progress of our arms, and viewing the 'peculiar institution' as the right hand of the rebellion, had silently yet decidedly gathered its forces for an assault upon the "Border State policy," which aimed to prosecute the war so as to leave slavery unharmed. Here came the shadow of a palpable issue; and the President soon found opponents to his "conserva-preservation of the Union. If we could dare to betive" policy even in those who were his supporters in a vigorous prosecution of the war. The second session of the Thirty-seventh Congress therefore assumes an importance in the history of the war second only to the memorable session of 1860-61. It inaugurated the great movement which, while it made the war one for the restoration of the Union to its old integrity and solidarity, also made it a war against the principle of human slavery. Though not avowed, this yet was the actual, form which the opposition to the Border State policy assumed; and it consummated its final triumph in the passage of the Emancipation act of 1862, and the issue of the Decree of January 1st, 1863.
The President's Message.
The Message and reports were sent in on the morning of December 3d. We subjoin such portions of these documents as have historical significance and value:
"In the midst of unprecedented political troubles, we have cause of great gratitude to God for unusual good health and most abundant harvests.
"You will not be surprised to learn that, in the peculiar exigencies of the times, our intercourse with foreign nations has been attended with profound solicitude, chiefly turning upon our own domestic affairs. A disloyal portion of the American people have, during the whole year, been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union. A nation which endures factious domestic divisions is exposed to disrespect abroad, and one party, if not both, is sure, sooner or later, to invoke foreign intervention. Nations, thus tempted to interfere, are not always able to resist the counsels of seeming expediency and ungenerous ambition, although meaeures adopted under such influences seldom fail to
lieve that foreign nations are actuated by no higher principle than this, I am quite sure a second argument could be made to show them that they can reach their aim more readily and easily by aiding to crush this rebellion than by giving encouragement to it. The principal lever relied on by the insurgents for exciting foreign nations to hostility against us, as already intimated, is the embarrassment of commerce. Those nations. however, not improb ably saw from the first that it was the Union which made as well our foreign as our domestic commerce. They can scarcely have failed to perceive that the effort for disunion produces the existing difficulty, and that one strong nation promises more durable peace, and a more extensive, valuable and reliable commerce, than can the same nation broken into hostile fragments.
"It is not my purpose to review our discussions with foreign States, because, whatever might be their wishes or dispositions, the integrity of our country and the stability of our Government mainly depend, not upon them, but on the loyalty, virtue, patriotism and intelligence of the American people. The correspondence itself, with the usual reserva tions, is herewith submitted. I venture to hope it will appear that we have practiced prudence and liberality toward foreign powers, averting causes of irritation, and, with firmness, maintaining our own rights and honor. Since, however, it is apparent that here, as in every other State, foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the public defenses on every side. While, under this general recommen. dation, provision for defending our coast line readily occurs to the mind, I also, in the same connection, ask the attention of Congress to our great lakes and rivers. It is believed that some fortifications and depots of arms and munitions, with harbor and navigation improvements, at well-selected points upon
The President's Message.
these, would be of great importance to the National defense and preservation. "I ask attention to the views of the Secretary of War, expressed in his Report, upon the same general subjects.
"I deem it of importance that the loyal regions of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina be connected with Kentucky and other faithful parts of the Union by railroad; I therefore recommend, as a military measure, that Congress provide for the construction of such road as speedily as possible.
"Kentucky will, no doubt, co-operate, and, through her Legislature, make the most judicious selection of a line. The Northern terminus must connect with some existing railroad, and, whether the route shall be from Lexington or Nicholasville to the Cumberland Gap, or from Lebanon to the Tennessee line in the direction of Knoxville, or on some still different line, can easily be determined. Kentucky and the General Government co-operating, the work can be completed in a very short time, and when done it will be not only of vast present usefulness, but also a valuable, permanent improvement, worth its cost in all the future.
"The operations of the Treasury during the period which has elapsed since your adjournment, have been conducted with signal success. The patriotism of the people has placed at the disposal of the Government the large means demanded by the public exigencies. Much of the National loan has been taken by citizens of the industrial classes, whose confidence in their country's faith, and zeal for their country's deliverance from its present peril, have induced them to contribute to the support of the Government the whole of their limited This fact imposes peculiar obligaacquisitions. tions to economy in disbursement and energy in action.
year ending on the 30th of September, 1861, the receipts from all sources, including the balance of July 1st, were $102,532,509.27, and the expenses $98,239,733.09, leaving a balance on the 1st of October, 1861, of $4,292,776.18.
"The revenue from all sources, including loans, for the financial year ending on the 30th of June,, 1861, was $86,835,900.27, and the expenditures for the same period, including payments on account of "Some treaties, designed chiefly for the interests the public debt, were $84,578,834.47, leaving a balof commerce, and having no grave political importance in the Treasury on the 1st of July, of anco, have been negotiated, and will be submitted $2,257,065.80. For the first quarter of the financial to the Senate for their consideration. Although we have failed to induce some of the commercial powers to adopt a desirable melioration of the rigor of maritime war, we have removed all obstructions from the way of this humane reform, except such as are merely of temporary and accidental occurrence. I invite your attention to the correspondence between her Britannic Majesty's Minister, accredited to this Government, and the Secretary of State, relative to the detention of the British ship Perthshire, in June last, by the United States steamer Massachusetts, for a supposed breach of the blockade. As this detention was occasioned by an obvious misapprehension of the facts, and as justice requires that we should commit no belligerent act not founded in strict right as sanctioned by public law, I recommend that an appropriation be made to satisfy the reasonable demand of the owners of the vessel for her detention.
By the act of the 5th of August last, Congress authorized the President to instruct the commanders of suitable vessels to defend themselves against and to capture pirates. This authority has been exercised in a single instance only. For the more effectual protection of our extensive and valuable commerce in the Eastern seas, especially, it seems to me that it would also be advisable to authorize
"Estimates for the remaining three quarters of the year, and for the financial year of 1863, together with his views of the ways and means for meeting the demands contemplated by them, will be submitted to Congress by the Secretary of the Trea sury. It is gratifying to know that the expenses made necessary by the rebellion are not beyond the resources of the loyal people, and to believe that the same patriotism which has thus far sustained the Government will continue to sustain it till peace and union shall again bless the land.
"I respectfully refer to the report of the Secretary of War for information respecting the numer ical strength of the army, and for recommendations having in view an increase of its efficiency, and the well being of the various branches of the service intrusted to his care. It is gratifying to know that the patriotism of the people has proved equal to the occasion, and that the number of troops tendered greatly exceeds the forces which Congress au thorized me to call into the field. I refer with plea sure to those portions of his report which make
The President's Mes
THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE.
allusion to the creditable degree of discipline already attained by our troops, and to the excellent sanitary condition of the entire army. The recommendation of the Secretary for an organization of the militia upon a uniform basis is a subject of vital importance to the future safety of the country, and is commended to the serious attention of Congress. The large addition to the regular army, in connection with the defection that has so considerably diminished the number of its officers, gives peculiar importance to his recommendation for increasing the corps of Cadets to the greatest capacity of the Military Academy.
"The Report of the Secretary of the Navy presents in detail the operations of that branch of the service, the activity nnd energy which have characterized its administration, and the results of measures to increase its efficiency and power. Such have been the additions, by construction and purchase, that it may almost be said a Navy has been created and brought into service since our difficulties commenced. Beside blockading our extensive coast, squadrons, larger than ever before assembled under our flag, have been put afloat, and performed deeds which have increased our naval renown.
The President's Mes sage.
to do it, not because I had any doubt that the end proposed, the collection of the debts, was just and right in itself, but because I have been unwilling to go beyond the pressure of necessity in the unusual exercise of power. But the powers of Congress, I suppose, are equal to the anomalous occasion; and therefore I refer the whole matter to Congress, with the hope that a plan may be devised for the administration of justice in all such parts of the insurgent States and Territories as may be under the control of this Government, whether by a voluntary return to allegiance and order, or by the power of our arms; this, however, not to be a permanent institution, but a temporary substitute, and to cease as soon as the ordinary courts can be reestablished in peace.
"It is important that some more convenient means should be provided, if possible, for the adjustment of claims against the Government, especially in view of their increased number by reason of the war, It is as much the duty of the Government to render prompt justice against itself in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same between private individuals.
"I ask attention to the report of the Postmaster General, the following being a summary statement of the condition of the Department:
"The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year, ending June 30, 1861, including the annual permanent appropriation of $700,000 for the trans
"I would invite special attention to the recommendation of the Secretary for a more perfect organization of the Navy, by introducing additional grades in the service. The present organization is defective and unsatisfactory, and the suggestions submitted by the Department will, it is believed, if adopt-portation of free mail matter, was $9,049,296.40, ed, obviate the difficulties alluded to, promote the harmony and increase the efficiency of the Navy.
"One of the unavoidable consequences of the present insurrection is the entire suppression in many places of all ordinary means of administering civil justice by the officers and in the forms of existing law. This is the case in whole or in part in all the insurgent States, and as our armies advance upon and take possession of parts of those States, the practical evil becomes more apparent. There are no courts nor officers to whom the citizens of other States may apply for the enforcement of their lawful claims against citizens of the insurgent States, and there is a vast amount of debt constituting such claims. Some have estimated it as high as $200,000,000, due in large part from insurgents, in open rebellion, to loyal citizens, who are even now making great sacrifices in the discharge of their patriotic duty to support the Government. Under these circumstances I have been urgently solicited to establish by military power courts to administer summary justice in such cases. I have thus far declined
being about two per cent. less than the revenue for 1860. The expenditures were $13,606,759.11, showing a decrease of more than eight per cent. as compared with those of the previous year, and leaving an excess of expenditures over the revenue for the last fiscal year of over $4,557,462.71. The gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 1863, is estimated at an increase of four per cent. on that of 1861, making $8,683,000, to which should be added the earnings of the department carrying free matter, viz: $700,000, making $9,383,000. The total expenditures for 1863 are estimated at $12,528,000, leaving an estimated deficiency of $3,145,000, to be sup plied from the treasury, in addition to the perma nent appropriation.
"The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension of this District across the Potomac river, at the time of establishing the Capital here, was eminently wise; and, consequently, that the relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the State of Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration the expediency of regaining that part of the District, and the restoration of
The President's Message.
The President's Mes sage.
"The execution of the laws for the suppression of the African slave trade has been confided to the Department of the Interior. It is a subject of congrat
the original boundaries thereof | try by the Federai forces, the through negotiations with the Indians will rapidly cease all State of Virginia. hostile demonstrations, and re"The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with sume their former relations to the Government. the accompanying documents, exhibits the condition of the several branches of the public business pertaining to that department. The depressing influences of the insurrection have been especially felt in the operations of the Patent and General Landulation that the efforts which have been made for Offices. The cash receipts from the sales of public lands during the pas year have exceeded the expenses of our land system only about $200,000. The sales have been entirely suspended in the Southern States, while the interruptions to the business of the country, and the diversion of large numbers of men from labor to military service, have obstructed set-penalty of fine and imprisonment, and one captain tlements in the new States and Territories of the northwest. The receipts of the Patent Office have declined in nine months about $100,000, rendering a large reduction of the force employed necessary to make it self-sustaining.
"The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely increased by the insurrection. Numerous applications for pensions based upon the casualties of the existing war, have already been made. There is reason to believe that many who are now upon the pension rolls and in receipt of the bounty of the Government, are in the ranks of the insurgent army, or giving them aid and comfort. The Secretary of the Interior has directed a suspension of the payment of the pensions of such persous, upon proof of their disloyalty. I recommend that Congress authorize that officer to cause the names of such persons to be stricken from the pension rolls.
"The relations of the Government with the Indian tribes have been greatly disturbed by the insurrection, especially in the Southern superintendency and in that of New Mexico. The Indian country south of Kansas is in possession of the insurgents from Texas and Arkansas. The Agents of the United States, appointed since the 4th of March for this superintendency, have been unable to reach their posts, while the most of those who were in office before that time, have espoused the insurrectionary cause and assume to exercise the power of agents by virtue of commissions from the insurrectionists. It has been stated in the public press that a portion of these Indians have been organized as a military force, and attached to the army of the insurgents. Although the Government has no official information upon the subject, letters have been written to the Commissioner on Indian Affairs by several prominent chiefs, giving assurances of their loyalty to the United States, and expressing a wish for the presence of the Federal troops to protect them. It is believed that, upon the repossession of the coun
the suppression of this inhuman traffic have been recently attended with unusual success. Five vessels being fitted out for the slave trade have been seized and condemned. Two mates engaged in the trade and one person in equipping a vessel as a slaver have been convicted and subjected to the
taken with a cargo of Africans on board his vessel, has been convicted of the highest grade of offense under our laws, the punishment of which is death.
The Territories of Colorado, Dakota and Nevada, created by the last Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been inaugurated therein under auspices especially gratifying when it is considered that the leaven of treason was found existing in some of these new countries when the Federal officers arrived there. The abundant natural resources of these Territories, with the security and protection afforded by organized Government, will doubtless invite to them a large immigra tion when peace shall restore the business of the country to its accustomed channels. I submit the resolutions of the Legislature of Colorado, which evidence the patriotic spirit of the people of that Territory. So far, the authority of the United States has been upheld in all the Territories, as it is hoped it will be in the future. I commend their interests and defense to the enlightened and generous care of Congress.
"I recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress the interests of the District of Columbia. The insurrection has been the cause of much suffer ing and sacrifice to its inhabitants, and, as they have no representative in Congress, that body should not overlook their just claims upon the Government.
"Under and by virtue of the act of Congress, entitled an act to confiscate property used for insur rectionary purposes, approved August 6th, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and services of certain other persons have become forfeited, and numbers of the latter, thus liberated, are already dependent on the United States, and must be provided for in some way. Beside this, it is not impossible that some of the States will pass similar enactments for their own benefit respectively, and by the operation of which persons of the