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Report of the Secretary of War.
foes from without. By agree- | they should not be turned over to the enemy is too ment between the States nam- plain to discuss. Why deprive him of supplies by a ed, such as was effected for blockade, and voluntarily give him men to produce similar purposes by Michigan and Ohio, and by Mis- supplies? The disposition to be made of the slaves souri and Iowa, their boundaries could be so chang- of rebels after the close of the war, can be safely ed as to render the capital more remote than at left to the wisdom and patrotism of Congress. The present from the influence of State Governments representatives of the people will, unquestionably, which have arrayed themselves in rebellion against secure to the loyal slaveholders every right to the Federal authority. To this end, the limits of which they are entitled under the Constitution of the Virginia must be so altered as to make her bounda- country." ries consist of the Blue Ridge on the east and Pennsylvania on the north, leaving those on the south and west as at present. By this arrangement two counties of Maryland (Alleghany and Washington) would be transferred to the jurisdiction of Virginia. All that portion of Virginia which lies between the Blue Ridge and Chesapeake Bay could then be added to Maryland, while that portion of the peninsula
between the waters of the Chesapeake and the At
lantic, now jointly held by Maryland and Virginia, could be incorporated into the State of Delaware. A reference to the map will show that these are great natural boundaries, which for all time to come would serve to mark the limits of these States.
"To make the protection of the capital complete, in consideration of the large accession of territory which Maryland would receive under the arrangement proposed, it would be necessary that that State should consent so to modify her constitution as to limit the basis of her representation to her white population.
"In this connection, it would be the part of wisdom to reannex to the District of Columbia that portion of its original limits which by act of Congress was retroceded to the State of Virginia."
The conclusion of the Report, as amended by the President,* read:
"It is already a grave question what shall be done by the slaves who are abandoned by their owners on the advance of our troops into Southern territory, as at Beaufort District, in South Carolina. The number left within our control at that point is very considerable, and similar cases will probably occur. What shall be done with them? Can we afford to send them forward to their masters, to be by them armed against us, or used in introducing supplies to maintain the rebellion? Their labor may be useful to us; withheld from the enemy, it lessens his military resources, and withholding them has no tendency to induce the horrors of insurrection even in the rebel communities. They constitute a rebel resource, and, being such, that
See Appendix, page, for the excised paragraphs.
Report of the Navy
The Report of the Navy Department possessed an interest scarcely second to that claimed for the War Department's exposition. It stated, at considerable length, the extraordinary obstacles encountered in reorganizing that arm of the service after its almost utter paralyzation by secession defection; it reviewed the labor performed during the summer and fall of 1861 in blockading the coast from Virginia to the Rio Grandein co-operating in the several expeditions which had resulted so gloriously to the cause of our arms-in chasing privateers, whose flag, though unrecognized by the nations of earth, still found admission and all necessary assistance in English ports to render them exceedingly dangerous and troublesome. To the capture of the rebel emissaries, Mason and Slidell, the Secretary referred approvingly— in that respect sanctioning an act which the The report gave a Executive repudiated. summary statement of the vessels employed up to December 1st. We quote its tables:
"When the vessels now bullding and purchased, of every class, are armed, equipped and ready for service, the condi tion of the Navy will be as follows: Number of Vessels.
6 Receiving ships, &c...
6 Screw frigates.....
6 First class screw sloops........... 109
4 First-class side-wheel steam-sloops.
5 Third-class screw-sloops....
4 Third-class side-wheel steamers....
Number of Vessels.
36 Side-wheel steamers.........
THE NAVY ESTIMATES.
The Iron Clads' Birth.
9,998 | the Mississippi river, was a
Making a total of 264 vessels, 2,557 guns, and 218,016 tuns.
The aggregate number of seamen in the service on the 4th of March last was 7,600. The number is now not less than -22.000"
The Iron Clads' Birth.
These figures included those ordered to be built by the special session of Congress. Only three "iron clads" were specified. It scarcely seems credible that, with but three of these experimental batteries in course of construction, in December, 1861, the month of December, 1862 should behold, in that species of craft, the nation's hope against both domestic and foreign foes. The three iron clads, or, as the Secretary called them-"armor steamers," were the embodiments of ideas which soon changed the entire aspect of the navies of the world. As in most instances, where a great change was to be introduced to the moral and physical forces of civilization, American skill and sagacity were the pioneers. Yet, it is to be written that, to the navy proper does not belong the idea of iron clad vessels. Naval officers and naval boards reported against their feasibility. The "Stevens' battery," which had been constructing for many years, was rejected, and the examining commission of eminent naval men in their report upon it declared against the practicability of iron clads. The genius of the country, led by such men as John Erricson, thoroughly aroused by the great demands of the hour, listened in quiet to the rejection of their iron ideas, but pressed their views nevertheless to their final brilliant endorsement. Naval gunnery, naval engineer science, naval construction, naval prejudices-all were cast to the wind in the new era inaugurated. Nor, were the Confederates behind the mechanics of the North in skill and foresight. Their "ram," at New Orleans, which had sent such consternation to the fleet blockading the passes of
"The amount appropriated at the last regular session of Congress for the naval service for the current year was $13,168,675.86. To this was added at the special session in July last $30,446,875.91-making for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1862, an ag
gregate of $43,615,551.77. This sum will not be sufficient, however, for the purpose, and therefore additional appropriations will be necessary. There will be required to pay for vessels purchased, and for necessary alterations incurred in fitting them for naval purposes, the sum of $2,530,000; for the purchase of additional vessels. $2,000,000; and for the construction and completion of twenty iron-clad vessels, $12,000,000—making a total of $16,530,000. This sum is independent of the estimates submitted for the next fiscal year, and being required for current expenses as well as objects of immediate importance, it is desirable should receive early attention from Congress.
The estimates submitted by this Department for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 1863, amount to $44,625,665.02, viz : For the navy proper....
For the marine corps........... For navy yards, hospitals, magazines and miscellaneous objects.....
The Treasury Depart ment Report.
2,423,478 00 The Treasury Department report did not make its appearance until Dec. 10th, owing to the labor required in its preparation. It was a lengthy document setting forth without reserve the condition of the nation's finances. The Secretary acknowledged his great obligations to the bankers of the country and to the people investing in the National Loan (7.30 per cents). His summary of expenses and estimates were thus tabularized:
"To obtain a clear understanding of the amount for which it will become necessary to resort to further loans, it is requisite to review the financial movement of the Treasury during the whole of the last and the first quarter of the current fiscal year, and compare, somewhat more closely than has already been done, the probable wants and probable resources of the Government for the remaining three quarters of the current and the whole of the following year.
In the July report the Secretary submitted a detailed statement, in part estimated, showing the receipts for the last fiscal year, ending on the 30th June, 1861, including the balance in the Treasury at its commencement, to have been $86,972,893.81, and the expenditures to have been $84,577,258.60, and the balance to have been $2,355,635.21. Actual returns show that the receipt, including balance, were $86,835,900.27, the expenditures $84,578,834.47, and the balance $2,257,065.80.
"For the first quarter of the current fiscal year, commencing 1st July, 1861, the receipts and expenditures are ascertained, and for the remaining three quarters, ending 30th June, 1862, are estimated as follows:
For the first quarter the actual receipts from customs, lands and miscellaneous sources, including the balance of $2,257,065.80,
"For the fiscal year 1863, commencing on the 1st of July, 1862, and ending on the 30th of June, 1863, no reliable estimates can be made. It is earnestly to be hoped, and, in the judgment of the Secretary, not without sufficient grounds, that the present war may be brought to an auspicious termination before midsummer. In that event the provision of revenue by taxation, which he has recommended, will amply suffice for all financial exigencies, without resort to additional loans; and not only so, but will enable the Government to begin at once the redac tion of the existing debt.
"It is the part of wisdom, however, to be prepared for all eventualities, and the Secretary, therefore, submits the estimates of the several departments for the fiscal year 1863, based on the sup posed continuance of the war, as follows:
"The estimated expenditures are:
For the civil list, including foreign intercourse and miscellaneous expenses other than on account of the public debt...... $23,086,971 23
THE POSTMASTER GENERAL'S DEFENSE
360,159,986 61 | On the 1st day of July, 1862, the
For the War Department.....
Redemption.... $2,883,364 11
1st July, 1862... 29,932,696 42 Interest on debt to
be contracted af
ter 1st July, 1862 10,000,000 00
Making an aggregate of estimated
and ordinary sour
Here was a debt whose magnitude placed us beside the Old World nationalties in the scale of "promises to pay;" but it was regarded by our people with a feeling of confidence. If the sums demanded were well 43,816,330 53 spent, the North would pour out its resources and its blood freely. Only restore the Union and the old-time prosperity, and a debt twice greater than that hinted at by the Secretary would be readily mastered in thirty or forty years. The inexhaustable resources of the soil, the matchless energy of the people, the new avenues to wealth constantly being discovered, rendered a public debt of magnitude a national impetus instead of a national incubus. In that respect how republican America differed from monarchial Europe!
Making an aggregate of estimated
And leaving a balance to be provided for of......
The Postmaster-General's Defense.
The report of the Postmaster - General possessed several points of permanent interest. Making loyalty or disloyalty
The whole amount required from loans may the test, he had deprived disloyal men of
Making an aggregate of......... $654,980,920 61 The total may be stated in round numbers at six hundred and fifty-five millions of dollars.
"A tabular statement will accompany this report, showing somewhat more in detail the actual and estimated receipts and expenditures of the financial years 1861, 1862 and 1863.
14 THE REBEL DEBT IN 1860, 1861, 1862 AND 1863. "It only remains, in order to complete the view of the financial situation, to submit a statement of the public debt as it was on the 1st day of July, 1860 and 1861, and will be, according to the esti
In his own defense Mr. Blair assumed that "it was positively unsafe to intrust the transportation of the mails to a person who refused or failed to recognize the sanctity of an oath, but to continue payment of public money to the enemies of the Government and their allies, was to give direct aid and comfort to treason in arms. We could not thus permit this branch of Government to contribute to its own overthrow." He also gave his reasons for "excluding disloyal publications from the mails. To await the results of slow judicial prosecution was to allow crime to be consummated, with the expecta90,867,828 68 tion of subsequent punishment, instead of
The Postmaster General's Defense.
Excitement in Congress.
These several reports excited general attention and appeared to give satisfaction. But, Congress seethed and bubbled with a commotion which portended an outbreak against the President's policy of conciliating those in arms against the country. Mr. Lincoln clearly favored what was deemed to be a "conservative" course—that is, he would not strike at Slavery as the source of strength to those in arms; he would protect all slave catchers from among those professedly loyal, by enforcing the fugitive slave law; he would not decree the release of the jail full of wretched negroes confined as "runaways" in the Washington jail; he would not favor a decree of emancipation because of the rights of the loyal Border States; he would, in fact, prosecute the war in such a way as to effect a restoration of the Union with the old guarantees to Slave property unimpeached.
preventing its accomplishment by prompt and direct interference. Of the cases presented for his action, upon the principles which he named, he had, by order, excluded from the mails twelve of those treasonable publications, of which several had been previously presented by the Grand Jury as incendiary and hostile to constituted authority. While he did not claim the authority to suppress any newspaper, however disloyal and treasonable its contents, the Department could not be called upon to give them circulation. It could not and would not interfere with the freedom secured by law, but it could and did obstruct the dissemination of that license which was without the pale of the Constitution and Law. The mails established by the United States Government could not, upon any known principles of law or public right, be used for its destruction. As well could the common carrier be legally required to transport a machine designed for the destruction of the vehicle conveying it, or an inn-keeper be compelled to entertain a traveler whom he knew to be intending to commit a robbery in his house." He found these views supported by the high authority of the late Chief Justice Story, of the Supreme Court of the United States, whose opinion he quoted. This was the patriotic if not conclusive answer to the grievances of those anxious to secure the dissemination of conspiracy and sedition under the guise of a stoutly asseverated "freedom of the press." The fact that the complainants were chiefly disloyal or semi-loyal men did not impair the force of the Department's excuse for its procedure. Yet, in spite of the good intent-perhaps of the actual propriety of the officer's coursethe acts as alleged were arbitrary exercises of authority, depending for their justification upon the voice of loyal men rather than upon any construction of law. It was another of those instances, occurring during the war, * See Volume I. Congressional proceedings. We wherein the Executive branches of Governmay here indicate the vote on Dunn's resolution, ment clearly overreached precedent and tech- page 82; on Winter Davis' resolve, page 104; on nical construction in order to accomplish what the resolves submitted by Mr. Seward to the Comto them seemed necessary results. The ver-mittee of Thirteen, page 123; the final vote on Cordict of posterity doubtless will be less censo-win's resolve, pages 463–67; and finally and conclu rious than that visited upon the offending sively to the vote on Sherman's resolution, page officers by the “ opposition” of 1862.
It is foreign to the nature of this work to enter upon an examination of the questions of policy and of law which, after this date, (December, 1861,) became paramount themes of discussion. Clearly, the Slave institution had rights, and, as clearly the Republican members of Congress had conceded those rights.* But, quite as conclusively was the fact, urged by what afterwards proved to be a Congressional majority, that it was the vital source, cause and sustenance of the rebellion-that the Slaves were loyal and had a right to protection-that the old status of the States in insurrection could only be restored by their unconditional submission and pardon for offences, the first of which was improbable and the last impossible, except at a sacrifice of every Constitutional obligation for the punishment of sedition, conspiracy and treason. The President, it may well be supposed, was exceedingly perplexed as to what course to pursue. As in the case of the first five