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THE GREAT CONSPIRACY
Its Origin and History
JOHN A. LOGAN
FREEDOM PROCLAIMED TO ALL.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S PERSONAL APPEAL TO COLORED FREEMEN--HE BEGS THEM TO
HELP IN THE COLONIZATION OF THEIR RACE--PROPOSED AFRICAN COLONY IN
CENTRAL AMERICA--EXECUTIVE ORDER OF JULY 2, 1862--EMPLOYMENT OF NEGROES
FOR MILITARY PURPOSES OF THE UNION--JEFF. DAVIS RETALIATES--MCCLELLAN
PROMULGATES THE EXECUTIVE ORDER WITH ADDENDA OF HIS OWN--HORACE
GREELEY'S LETTER TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN--THE LATTER ACCUSED OF
"SUBSERVIENCY" TO THE SLAVE HOLDERS--AN "UNGRUDGING EXECUTION OF THE
CONFISCATION ACT" DEMANDED--MR. LINCOLN'S FAMOUS REPLY--HIS "PARAMOUNT
OBJECT, TO SAVE THE UNION, AND NOT EITHER TO SAVE OR DESTROY SLAVERY"--
VISIT TO THE WHITE HOUSE OF A RELIGIOUS DEPUTATION FROM CHICAGO--
MEMORIAL ASKING FOR IMMEDIATE EMANCIPATION, BY PROCLAMATION--THE
PRESIDENT'S REPLY TO THE DEPUTATION--"THE POPE'S BULL AGAINST THE
COMET"--VARIOUS OBJECTIONS STATED TENTATIVELY--"A PROCLAMATION OF
LIBERTY TO THE SLAVES" IS "UNDER ADVISEMENT"--THE PROCLAMATION OF
EMANCIPATION ISSUED--ITS POPULAR RECEPTION--MEETING OF LOYAL GOVERNORS
AT ALTOONA--THEIR STIRRING ADDRESS--HOMAGE TO OUR SOLDIERS--PLEDGED
SUPPORT FOR VIGOROUS PROSECUTION OF THE WAR TO TRIUMPHANT END--PRESIDENT
LINCOLN'S HISTORICAL RESUME AND DEFENSE OF EMANCIPATION--HE SUGGESTS TO
CONGRESS, PAYMENT FOR SLAVES AT ONCE EMANCIPATED BY BORDER STATES--
ACTION OF THE HOUSE, ON RESOLUTIONS SEVERALLY REPREHENDING AND ENDORSING
THE PROCLAMATION--SUPPLEMENTAL EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION OF JAN. 1, 1863
COURSE OF SOUTHERN OLIGARCHS THROUGHOUT--THEIR EVERLASTING GREED AND
RAPACITY--BROKEN COVENANTS AND AGGRESSIVE METHODS--THEIR UNIFORM GAINS
UNTIL 1861--UPS AND DOWNS OF THE TARIFF--FREE TRADE, SLAVERY, STATES-
RIGHTS, SECESSION, ALL PARTS OF ONE CONSPIRACY--"INDEPENDENCE" THE FIRST
OBJECT OF THE WAR--DREAMS, AMBITIONS, AND PLANS OF THE CONSPIRATORS--
LINCOLN'S FAITH IN NORTHERN NUMBERS AND ENDURANCE--"RIGHT MAKES MIGHT"--
THE SOUTH SOLIDLY-CEMENTED BY BLOOD--THE 37TH CONGRESS--ITS WAR
MEASURES--PAVING THE WAY TO DOWNFALL OF SLAVERY AND REBELLION
LINCOLN'S TROUBLES AND TEMPTATIONS.
INTERFERENCE WITH SLAVERY FORCED BY THE WAR--EDWARD EVERETT'S OPINION--
BORDER-STATES DISTRUST OF LINCOLN--IMPOSSIBILITY OF SATISFYING THEIR
REPRESENTATIVES--THEIR JEALOUS SUSPICIONS AND CONGRESSIONAL ACTION--
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE OF KINDLY WARNING--STORMY CONTENTION IN CONGRESS--
CRITTENDEN'S ARGUMENT ON "PROPERTY" IN MAN--BORDER--STATES "BID" FOR
MR. LINCOLN--THE "NICHE IN THE TEMPLE OF FAME" OFFERED HIM--LOVEJOY'S
ELOQUENT COUNTERBLAST--SUMNER (JUNE, 1862,) ON LINCOLN AND EMANCIPATION
--THE PRESIDENT HARRIED AND WORRIED--SNUBBED BY BORDER STATESMEN--
MCCLELLAN'S THREAT--ARMY-MISMANAGEMENT--ARMING THE BLACKS--HOW THE
EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION WAS WRITTEN--CABINET SUGGESTIONS--MILITARY
SITUATION--REBEL ADVANCE NORTHWARD--LINCOLN, AND THE BREAST-WORKS--
WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE MENACED--ANTIETAM, AND THE FIAT OF FREEDOM--
BORDER-STATE DENUNCIATION--KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, ETC.
"WHO WOULD BE FREE, HIMSELF MUST STRIKE THE BLOW!"--THE COLORED TROOPS
AT PORT HUDSON--THEIR HEROISM--STIRRING INCIDENTS--AT MILLIKEN'S BEND--
AT FORT WAGNER--AT PETERSBURG AND ABOUT RICHMOND--THE REBEL CONSPIRATORS
FURIOUS--OUTLAWRY OF GENERAL BUTLER, ETC.--JEFFERSON DAVIS'S MESSAGE TO
THE REBEL CONGRESS--ATROCIOUS, COLD-BLOODED RESOLUTIONS OF THAT BODY--
DEATH OR SLAVERY TO THE ARMED FREEMAN--PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S RETALIATORY
ORDER--THE BLOODY BUTCHERY AT FORT PILLOW--SAVAGE MALIGNITY OF THE REBELS--
A COMMON ERROR, CORRECTED--ARMING OF NEGROES COMMENCED BY THE REBELS--
SIMILAR SCHEME OF A REVOLUTIONARY HERO, IN 1778--REBEL CONGRESSIONAL ACT,
CONSCRIPTING NEGROES--JEFFERSON DAVIS'S POSITION--GENERAL LEE'S LETTER
TO BARKSDALE ON THE SUBJECT
FREEDOM PROCLAIMED TO ALL.
While mentally revolving the question of Emancipation--now, evidently
"coming to a head,"--no inconsiderable portion of Mr. Lincoln's thoughts
centered upon, and his perplexities grew out of, his assumption that the
"physical difference" between the Black and White--the African and
Caucasian races, precluded the idea of their living together in the one
land as Free men and equals.
In his speeches during the great Lincoln-Douglas debate we have seen
this idea frequently advanced, and so, in his later public utterances as
As in his appeal to the Congressional delegations from the Border-States
on the 12th of July, 1862, he had held out to them the hope that "the
Freed people will not be so reluctant to go" to his projected colony in
South America, when their "numbers shall be large enough to be company
and encouragement for one another," so, at a later date--on the 14th of
August following--he appealed to the Colored Free men themselves to help
him found a proposed Negro colony in New Granada, and thus aid in the
solution of this part of the knotty problem, by the disenthrallment of
the new race from its unhappy environments here.
The substance of the President's interesting address, at the White
House, to the delegation of Colored men, for whom he had sent, was thus
reported at the time:
"Having all been seated, the President, after a few preliminary
observations, informed them that a sum of money had been appropriated by
Congress, and placed at his disposition, for the purpose of aiding the
colonization in some country of the people, or a portion of them, of
African descent, thereby making it his duty, as it had for a long time
been his inclination, to favor that cause; and why, he asked, should the
people of your race be colonized, and where?
"Why should they leave this Country? This is perhaps the first question
for proper consideration. You and we are different races. We have
between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two
races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss; but this
physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think.
Your race suffers very greatly, many of them by living among us, while
ours suffers from your presence. In a word we suffer on each side. If
this is admitted, it affords a reason, at least, why we should be
separated. You here are Freemen, I suppose?
"A VOICE--Yes, Sir.
"THE PRESIDENT--Perhaps you have long been free, or all your lives.
Your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on
any people. But even when you cease to be Slaves, you are yet far
removed from being placed on an equality with the White race. You are
cut off from many of the advantages which the other race enjoys. The
aspiration of men is to enjoy equality with the best when free; but on
this broad continent not a single man of your race is made the equal of
a single man of ours. Go where you are treated the best, and the ban is
still upon you. I do not propose to discuss this, but to present it as
a fact, with which we have to deal. I cannot alter it if I would. It
is a fact about which we all think and feel alike, I and you. We look
to our condition.
"Owing to the existence of the two races on this continent, I need not
recount to you the effects upon White men, growing out of the
institution of Slavery. I believe in its general evil effects on the
White race. See our present condition--the Country engaged in War! our
white men cutting one another's throats--none knowing how far it will
extend--and then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your
race among us there could not be War, although many men engaged on
either side do not care for you one way or the other. Nevertheless, I
repeat, without the institution of Slavery, and the Colored race as a
basis, the War could not have an existence. It is better for us both,
therefore, to be separated.
"I know that there are Free men among you who, even if they could better
their condition, are not as much inclined to go out of the Country as
those who, being Slaves, could obtain their Freedom on this condition.
I suppose one of the principal difficulties in the way of colonization
is that the free colored man cannot see that his comfort would be
advanced by it. You may believe that you can live in Washington, or
elsewhere in the United States, the remainder of your life; perhaps more
so than you can in any foreign country, and hence you may come to the
conclusion that you have nothing to do with the idea of going to a
"This is, (I speak in no unkind sense) an extremely selfish view of the
case. But you ought to do something to help those who are not so
fortunate as yourselves. There is an unwillingness on the part of our
People, harsh as it may be, for you free Colored people to remain with
us. Now if you could give a start to the White people you would open a
wide door for many to be made free. If we deal with those who are not
free at the beginning, and whose intellects are clouded by Slavery, we
have very poor material to start with.
"If intelligent Colored men, such as are before me, could move in this
matter, much might be accomplished. It is exceedingly important that we
have men at the beginning capable of thinking as White men, and not
those who have been systematically oppressed. There is much to
"For the sake of your race you should sacrifice something of your
present comfort for the purpose of being as grand in that respect as the
White people. It is a cheering thought throughout life, that something
can be done to ameliorate the condition of those who have been subject
to the hard usages of the World. It is difficult to make a man
miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to
the great God who made him.
"In the American Revolutionary War, sacrifices were made by men engaged
in it, but they were cheered by the future. General Washington himself
endured greater physical hardships than if he had remained a British
subject, yet he was a happy man, because he was engaged in benefiting
his race, in doing something for the children of his neighbors, having
none of his own.
"The Colony of Liberia has been in existence a long time. In a certain
sense it is a success. The old President of Liberia, Roberts, has just
been with me the first time I ever saw him. He says they have, within
the bounds of that Colony, between three and four hundred thousand
people, or more than in some of our old States, such as Rhode Island, or
Delaware, or in some of our newer States, and less than in some of our
larger ones. They are not all American colonists or their descendants.
Something less than 12,000 have been sent thither from this Country.
Many of the original settlers have died, yet, like people elsewhere,
their offspring outnumber those deceased.
"The question is, if the Colored people are persuaded to go anywhere,
why not there? One reason for unwillingness to do so is that some of
you would rather remain within reach of the country of your nativity. I
do not know how much attachment you may have toward our race. It does
not strike me that you have the greatest reason to love them. But still
you are attached to them at all events.
"The place I am thinking about having for a colony, is in Central
America. It is nearer to us than Liberia--not much more than one-fourth
as far as Liberia, and within seven days' run by steamers. Unlike
Liberia, it is a great line of travel--it is a highway. The country is
a very excellent one for any people, and with great natural resources
and advantages, and especially because of the similarity of climate with
your native soil, thus being suited to your physical condition.
"The particular place I have in view, is to be a great highway from the
Atlantic or Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and this particular
place has all the advantages for a colony. On both sides there are
harbors among the finest in the World. Again, there is evidence of very
rich coal mines. A certain amount of coal is valuable in any country.
Why I attach so much importance to coal is, it will afford an
opportunity to the inhabitants for immediate employment till they get
ready to settle permanently in their homes.
"If you take colonists where there is no good landing, there is a bad
show; and so, where there is nothing to cultivate, and of which to make
a farm. But if something is started so that you can get your daily
bread as soon as you reach there, it is a great advantage. Coal land is
the best thing I know of, with which to commence an enterprise.
"To return--you have been talked to upon this subject, and told that a
speculation is intended by gentlemen who have an interest in the
country, including the coal mines. We have been mistaken all our lives
if we do not know Whites, as well as Blacks, look to their self-
interest. Unless among those deficient of intellect, everybody you
trade with makes something. You meet with these things here and
everywhere. If such persons have what will be an advantage to them, the
question is, whether it cannot be made of advantage to you?
"You are intelligent, and know that success does not as much depend on
external help, as on self-reliance. Much, therefore, depends upon
yourselves. As to the coal mines, I think I see the means available for
your self-reliance. I shall, if I get a sufficient number of you
engaged, have provision made that you shall not be wronged. If you will
engage in the enterprise, I will spend some of the money intrusted to
me. I am not sure you will succeed. The Government may lose the money,
but we cannot succeed unless we try; but we think, with care, we can
"The political affairs in Central America are not in quite as
satisfactory condition as I wish. There are contending factions in that
quarter; but it is true, all the factions are agreed alike on the
subject of colonization, and want it; and are more generous than we are
here. To your Colored race they have no objection. Besides, I would
endeavor to have you made equals, and have the best assurance that you
should be the equals of the best.
"The practical thing I want to ascertain is, whether I can get a number
of able-bodied men, with their wives and children, who are willing to
go, when I present evidence of encouragement and protection. Could I
get a hundred tolerably intelligent men, with their wives and children,
and able to 'cut their own fodder' so to speak? Can I have fifty? If I
could find twenty-five able-bodied men, with a mixture of women and
children--good things in the family relation, I think I could make a
"I want you to let me know whether this can be done or not. This is the
practical part of my wish to see you. These are subjects of very great
importance--worthy of a month's study, of a speech delivered in an hour.
I ask you, then, to consider seriously, not as pertaining to yourselves
merely, nor for your race, and ours, for the present time, but as one of
the things, if successfully managed, for the good of mankind--not
confined to the present generation, but as:
"From age to age descends the lay
To millions yet to be,
Till far its echoes roll away
President Lincoln's well-meant colored colonization project, however,
fell through, owing partly to opposition to it in Central America, and
partly to the very natural and deeply-rooted disinclination of the
Colored free men to leave the land of their birth.
Meanwhile, limited Military Emancipation of Slaves was announced and
regulated, on the 22d July, 1862, by the following Executive
Instructions, which were issued from the War Department by order of the
President--the issue of which was assigned by Jefferson Davis as one
reason for his Order of August 1, 1862, directing "that the commissioned
officers of Pope's and Steinwehr's commands be not entitled, when
captured, to be treated as soldiers and entitled to the benefit of the
cartel of exchange:"
"WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 1862.
"First. Ordered that Military Commanders within the States of Virginia,
North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana,
Texas, and Arkansas, in an orderly 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 departments of this Government shall
attend to and perform their appropriate parts towards the execution of
"By Order of the President:
"EDWIN M. STANTON,
"Secretary of War."
On the 9th of August, 1862, Major General McClellan promulgated the
Executive Order of July 22, 1862, from his Headquarters at Harrison's
Landing, Va., with certain directions of his own, among which were the
"Inhabitants, especially women and children, remaining peaceably at
their homes, must not be molested; and wherever commanding officers find
families peculiarly exposed in their persons or property to marauding
from this Army, they will, as heretofore, so far as they can do with
safety and without detriment to the service, post guards for their
"In protecting private property, no reference is intended to Persons
held to service or labor by reason of African Descent. Such Persons
will be regarded by this Army, as they heretofore have been, as
occupying simply a peculiar legal status under State laws, which
condition the Military authorities of the United States are not required
to regard at all in districts where Military operations are made
necessary by the rebellious action of the State governments.
"Persons subject to suspicion of hostile purposes, residing or being
near our Forces, will be, as heretofore, subject to arrest and
detention, until the cause or necessity is removed. All such arrested
parties will be sent, as usual, to the Provost-Marshal General, with a
statement of the facts in each case.
"The General Commanding takes this occasion to remind the officers and
soldiers of this Army that we are engaged in supporting the Constitution
and the Laws of the United States and suppressing Rebellion against
their authority; that we are not engaged in a War of rapine, revenge, or
subjugation; that this is not a contest against populations, but against
armed forces and political organizations; that it is a struggle carried
on with the United States, and should be conducted by us upon the
highest principles known to Christian civilization.
"Since this Army commenced active operations, Persons of African
descent, including those held to service or labor under State laws, have
always been received, protected, and employed as laborers at wages.
Hereafter it shall be the duty of the Provost-Marshal General to cause
lists to be made of all persons of African descent employed in this Army
as laborers for Military purposes--such lists being made sufficiently
accurate and in detail to show from whom such persons shall have come.
"Persons so subject and so employed have always understood that after
being received into the Military service of the United States, in any
capacity, they could never be reclaimed by their former holders. Except
upon such understanding on their part, the order of the President, as to
this class of Persons, would be inoperative. The General Commanding
therefore feels authorized to declare to all such employees, that they
will receive permanent Military protection against any compulsory return
to a condition of servitude."
Public opinion was now rapidly advancing, under the pressure of Military
necessity, and the energetic efforts of the immediate Emancipationists,
to a belief that Emancipation by Presidential Proclamation would be wise
and efficacious as an instrumentality toward subduing the Rebellion;
that it must come, sooner or later--and the sooner, the better.
Indeed, great fault was found, by some of these, with what they
characterized as President Lincoln's "obstinate slowness" to come up to
their advanced ideas on the subject. He was even accused of failing to
execute existing laws touching confiscation of Slaves of Rebels coming
within the lines of the Union Armies. On the 19th of August, 1862, a
letter was addressed to him by Horace Greeley which concluded thus:
"On the face of this wide Earth, Mr. President, there is not one
disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union Cause who
does not feel that all attempts to put down the Rebellion, and at the
same time uphold its inciting cause, are preposterous and futile--that
the Rebellion, if crushed out to-morrow, would be renewed within a year
if Slavery were left in full vigor--that Army officers, who remain to
this day devoted to Slavery, can at best be but half-way loyal to the
Union--and that every hour of deference to Slavery is an hour of added
and deepened peril to the Union.
"I appeal to the testimony of your embassadors in Europe. It is freely
at your service, not mine. Ask them to tell you candidly whether the
seeming subserviency of your policy to the Slaveholding, Slavery-
upholding interest, is not the perplexity, the despair, of Statesmen of
all parties; and be admonished by the general answer.
"I close, as I began, with the statement that what an immense majority
of the loyal millions of your countrymen require of you, is a frank,
declared, unqualified, ungrudging execution of the Laws of the Land,
more especially of the Confiscation Act. That Act gives Freedom to the
Slaves of Rebels coming within our lines, or whom those lines may at any
time inclose. We ask you to render it due obedience by publicly
requiring all your subordinates to recognize and obey it.
"The Rebels are everywhere using the late Anti-Negro riots in the North
--as they have long used your officers' treatment of Negroes in the
South--to convince the Slaves that they have nothing to hope from a
Union success--that we mean in that case to sell them into a bitter
Bondage to defray the cost of the War.
"Let them impress this as a truth on the great mass of their ignorant
and credulous Bondmen, and the Union will never be restored--never. We
can not conquer ten millions of people united in solid phalanx against
us, powerfully aided by Northern sympathizers and European allies.
"We must have scouts, guides, spies, cooks, teamsters, diggers, and
choppers, from the Blacks of the South--whether we allow them to fight
for us or not--or we shall be baffled and repelled.
"As one of the Millions who would gladly have avoided this struggle, at
any sacrifice but that of principle and honor, but who now feel that the
triumph of the Union is indispensable not only to the existence of our
Country, but to the well-being of mankind, I entreat you to render a
hearty and unequivocal obedience to the Law of the Land.
To this letter, President Lincoln at once made the following memorable
"WASHINGTON, Friday, August 22, 1862.
"HON. HORACE GREELEY
"DEAR SIR:--I have just read yours of the 19th inst. addressed to myself
through the New York Tribune.
"If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may
know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them.
"If there be any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I
do not now and here argue against them.
"If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I
waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always
supposed to be right.
"As to the policy I 'seem to be pursuing,' as you say, I have not meant
to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it in
the shortest way under the Constitution.
"The sooner the National authority can be restored, the nearer the Union
will be--the Union as it was.
"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the
same time save Slavery, I do not agree with them.
"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the
same time destroy Slavery, I do not agree, with them.
"My paramount object is to save the Union and not either to save or
"If I could save the Union without freeing any Slave, I would do it--and
if I could save it by freeing all the Slaves, I would do it--and if I
could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do
"What I do about Slavery and the Colored race, I do because I believe it
helps to save the Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not
believe it would help to save the Union.
"I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the
cause, and shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the
"I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall
adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
"I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty,
and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all
men everywhere could be free.
On the 13th of September, 1862, a deputation from all the religious
denominations of Chicago presented to President Lincoln a memorial for
the immediate issue of a Proclamation of Emancipation, to which, and the
Chairman's remarks, he thus replied:
"The subject presented in the Memorial is one upon which I have thought
much for weeks past, and I may even say, for months. I am approached
with the most opposite opinions, and advice, and that by religious men,
who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will. I am sure
that either the one or the other class is mistaken in that belief, and
perhaps, in some respects, both. I hope it will not be irreverent for
me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal His will to
others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed He
would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am more deceived in myself
than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence
in this matter. And if I can learn what it is, I will do it!
"These are not, however, the days of miracles, and I suppose it will be
granted that I am not to expect a direct Revelation; I must study the
plain physical aspects of the case, ascertain what is possible, and
learn what appears to be wise and right!
"The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree. For instance, the
other day, four gentlemen, of standing and intelligence, from New York,
called, as a delegation, on business connected with the War; but, before
leaving, two of them earnestly besought me to proclaim general
Emancipation, upon which the other two at once attacked them.
"You know also that the last Session of Congress had a decided majority
of Anti-Slavery men, yet they could not unite on this policy. And the
same is true of the religious people; why the Rebel soldiers are praying
with a great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our own troops, and
expecting God to favor their side; for one of our soldiers, who had been
taken prisoner, told Senator Wilson, a few days since, that he met
nothing so discouraging as the evident sincerity of those he was among,
in their prayers. But we will talk over the merits of the case.
"What good would a Proclamation of Emancipation from me do, especially
as we are now situated? I do not want to issue a document that the
whole World will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's
Bull against the Comet! Would my word free the Slaves, when I cannot
even enforce the Constitution in the Rebel States? Is there a single
Court or Magistrate, or individual that would be influenced by it there?
And what reason is there to think it would have any greater effect upon
the Slaves than the late law of Congress, which I approved and which
offers protection and Freedom to the Slaves of Rebel masters who came
within our lines? Yet I cannot learn that that law has caused a single
Slave to come over to us.
"And suppose they could be induced by a Proclamation of Freedom from me
to throw themselves upon us, what should we do with them? How can we
feed and care for such a multitude? General Butler wrote me a few days
since that he was issuing more rations to the Slaves who have rushed to
him, than to all the White troops under his command. They eat, and that
is all; though it is true General Butler is feeding the Whites also, by
the thousand; for it nearly amounts to a famine there.
"If, now, the pressure of the War should call off our forces from New
Orleans to defend some other point, what is to prevent the masters from
reducing the Blacks to Slavery again; for I am told that whenever the
Rebels take any Black prisoners, Free or Slave, they immediately auction
them off! They did so with those they took from a boat that was aground
in the Tennessee river a few days ago.
"And then I am very ungenerously attacked for it! For instance, when,
after the late battles at and near Bull Run, an expedition went out from
Washington, under a flag of truce, to bury the dead and bring in the
wounded, and the Rebels seized the Blacks who went along to help, and
sent them into Slavery, Horace Greeley said in his paper that the
Government would probably do nothing about it. What could I do?
"Now, then, tell me, if you please, what possible result of good would
follow the issuing of such a Proclamation as you desire? Understand, I
raise no objections against it on legal or Constitutional grounds, for,
as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, in time of War, I suppose I
have a right to take any measure which may best subdue the Enemy, nor do
I urge objections of a moral nature, in view of possible consequences of
insurrection and massacre at the South. I view this matter as a
practical War measure, to be decided on according to the advantages or
disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the Rebellion.
* * * * * * * * *
"I admit that Slavery is at the root of the Rebellion, or, at least, its
sine qua non. The ambition of politicians may have instigated them to
act, but they would have been impotent without Slavery as their
instrument. I will also concede that Emancipation would help us in
Europe, and convince them that we are incited by something more than
ambition. I grant, further, that it would help somewhat at the North,
though not so much, I fear, as you and those you represent imagine.
"Still, some additional strength would be added in that way to the War,
and then, unquestionably, it would weaken the Rebels by drawing off
their laborers, which is of great importance; but I am not so sure we
could do much with the Blacks. If we were to arm them, I fear that in
a few weeks the arms would be in the hands of the Rebels; and, indeed,
thus far, we have not had arms enough to equip our White troops.
"I will mention another thing, though it meet only your scorn and
contempt. There are 50,000 bayonets in the Union Army from the Border
Slave States. It would be a serious matter if, in consequence of a
Proclamation such as you desire, they should go over to the Rebels. I
do not think they all would--not so many, indeed, as a year ago, or as
six months ago--not so many to-day, as yesterday. Every day increases
their Union feeling. They are also getting their pride enlisted, and
want to beat the Rebels.
"Let me say one thing more: I think you should admit that we already
have an important principle to rally and unite the People, in the fact
that Constitutional Government is at stake. This is a fundamental idea
going down about as deep as anything!
* * * * * * * * *
"Do not misunderstand me because I have mentioned these objections.
They indicate the difficulties that have thus far prevented my action in
some such way 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.
"I trust that in the freedom with which I have canvassed your views I
have not in any respect injured your feelings."
On the 22d day of September, 1862, not only the Nation, but the whole
World, was electrified by the publication--close upon the heels of the
Union victory of Antietam--of the Proclamation of Emancipation--weighted
with consequences so wide and far-reaching that even at this late day
they cannot all be discerned. It was in these words:
"I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States of America, and
Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and
declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the War will be prosecuted for
the object of practically restoring the Constitutional relation between
the United States and each of the States and the people thereof, in
which States that relation is or may be suspended or disturbed.
"That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to again
recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to
the free acceptance or rejection of all Slave States, so called, the
people whereof may not then be in Rebellion against the United States,
and which States may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may
voluntarily adopt, immediate or gradual abolishment of Slavery within
their respective limits; and that the effort to colonize Persons of
African descent with their consent upon this continent or elsewhere,
with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there,
will be continued.
"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 authority 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.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by
Proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which
the people thereof respectively, shall then be in Rebellion against the
United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall
on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United
States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the
qualified voters of such States shall have participated, shall, in the
absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive
evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not in Rebellion
against the United States.
"That attention is hereby called to an Act of Congress entitled 'An Act
to make an additional Article of War,' approved March 31, 1862, and
which Act is in the words and figures following:
"'Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter the following
shall be promulgated as an additional Article of War, for the government
of the Army of the United States, and shall be obeyed and observed as
"ARTICLE--All officers or persons in the Military or Naval service of
the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under
their respective commands for the purpose of returning Fugitives from
service or labor who may have escaped from any persons to whom such
service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be
found guilty by a court-martial of violating this article shall be
dismissed from the service.
"'SECTION 2.--And be it further enacted, That this Act shall take effect
from and after its passage.'
"Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an Act entitled 'An Act to
suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and
confiscate property of Rebels, and for other purposes,' approved July
17, 1862, and which sections are in the words and figures following:
"'SEC. 9.--And be it further enacted, That all Slaves of persons who
shall hereafter be engaged in Rebellion against the Government of the
United States or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto,
escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the
Army; and all Slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them, and
coming under the control of the Government of the United States; and all
Slaves of such persons found on [or] being within any place occupied by
Rebel forces and afterward occupied by the forces of the United States,
shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever Free of their
servitude, and not again held as Slaves.
"'SEC. 10.--And be it further enacted, That no Slave escaping into any
State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State,
shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty,
except for crime, or some offense against the laws, unless the person
claiming said Fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the
labor or service of such Fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful
owner, and has not borne arms against the United States in the present
Rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person
engaged in the Military or Naval service of the United States shall,
under any pretense whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the
claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or
surrender up any such Person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed
from the service."
"And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the
Military and Naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and
enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the Act and
sections above recited.
"And the Executive will in due time recommend that all
citizens of the United States who shall have remained loyal thereto
throughout the Rebellion shall (upon the restoration of the
Constitutional relation between the United States and their respective
States and people, if that relation shall have been suspended or
disturbed) be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States,
including the loss of Slaves.
"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 twenty-second day of September, in
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of
the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
"By the President:
"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
This Proclamation, promising Freedom to an Enslaved race, was hailed
with acclamations everywhere save in the rebellious Southern-Slave
States, and in the Border-Slave States.
At a meeting of Governors of Loyal States, held at Altoona,
Pennsylvania, to take measures for the more active support of the
Government, an Address was adopted, on the very day that the
Proclamation was promulgated, which well expressed the general feeling
prevailing throughout the Northern States, at this time. It was in
these patriotic words:
"After nearly one year and a half spent in contest with an armed and
gigantic Rebellion against the National Government of the United States,
the duty and purpose of the Loyal States and people continue, and must
always remain as they were at its origin--namely to restore and
perpetuate the authority of this Government and the life of the Nation.
No matter what consequences are involved in our fidelity, this work of
restoring the Republic, preserving the institutions of democratic
Liberty, and justifying the hopes and toils of our Fathers, shall not
fail to be performed.
"And we pledge, without hesitation, to the President of the United
States, the most loyal and cordial support, hereter as heretofore, in
the exercise of the functions of his great office. We recognize in him
the chief Executive magistrate of the Nation, the Commander-in-Chief of
the Army and Navy of the United States, their responsible and
constitutional head, whose rightful authority and power, as well as the
Constitutional powers of Congress, must be rigorously and religiously
guarded and preserved, as the condition on which alone our form of
Government and the constitutional rights and liberties of the People
themselves can be saved from the wreck of anarchy or from the gulf
"In submission to the laws which may have been or which may be duly
enacted, and to the lawful orders of the President, cooperating always
in our own spheres with the National Government, we mean to continue in
the most rigorous exercise of all our lawful and proper powers,
contending against Treason, Rebellion, and the public Enemies, and,
whether in public life or in private station, supporting the arms of the
Union, until its Cause shall conquer, until final victory shall perch
upon its standard, or the Rebel foe will yield a dutiful, rightful, and
unconditional submission. And, impressed with the conviction that an
Army of reserve ought, until the War shall end, to be constantly kept on
foot, to be raised, armed, equipped, and trained at home, and ready for
emergencies, we respectfully ask the President to call such a force of
volunteers for one year's service, of not less than one hundred thousand
in the aggregate, the quota of each State to be raised after it shall
have led its quota of the requisitions already made, both for volunteers
and militia. We believe that this would be a Leasure of Military
prudence, while it would greatly promote the Military education of the
"We hail with heartfelt gratitude and encouraged hope the Proclamation
of the President, issued on the 22nd instant, declaring Emancipated from
their bondage all Persons held to Service or Labor as Slaves in the
Rebel States, whose Rebellion shall last until the first day of January
"The right of any person to retain authority to compel any portion of
the subjects of the National Government to rebel against it, or to
maintain its Enemies, implies in those who are allowed possession of
such authority the right to rebel themselves; and therefore, the right
to establish Martial Law or Military Government in a State or Territory
in Rebellion implies the right and the duty of the Government to
liberate the minds of all men living therein by appropriate
Proclamations and assurances of protection, in order that all who are
capable, intellectually and morally, of loyalty and obedience, may not
be forced into Treason as the unwilling tools of rebellious Traitors.
"To have continued indefinitely the most efficient cause, support, and
stay of the Rebellion, would have been, in our judgment, unjust to the
Loyal people whose treasure and lives are made a willing sacrifice on
the altar of patriotism--would have discriminated against the wife who
is compelled to surrender her husband, against the parent who is to
surrender his child, to the hardships of the camp and the perils of
battle, in favor of Rebel masters permitted to retain their Slaves. It
would have been a final decision alike against humanity, justice, the
rights and dignity of the Government, and against sound and wise
"The decision of the President to strike at the root of the Rebellion
will lend new vigor to efforts, and new life and hope to the hearts of
the People. Cordially tendering to the President our respectful
assurances of personal and official confidence, we trust and believe
that the policy now inaugurated will be crowned with success, will give
speedy and triumphant victories over our enemies, and secure to this
Nation and this People the blessing and favor of Almighty God.
"We believe that the blood of the heroes who have already fallen, and
those who may yet give their lives to their Country, will not have been
shed in vain.
"The splendid valor of our soldiers, their patient endurance, their
manly patriotism, and their devotion to duty, demand from us and from
all their countrymen the homage of the sincerest gratitude and the
pledge of our constant reinforcement and support. A just regard for
these brave men, whom we have contributed to place in the field, and for
the importance of the duties which may lawfully pertain to us hereafter,
has called us into friendly conference.
"And now, presenting to our National Chief Magistrate this conclusion of
our deliberations, we devote ourselves to our Country's service, and we
will surround the President with our constant support, trusting that the
fidelity and zeal of the Loyal States and People will always assure him
that he will be constantly maintained in pursuing, with the utmost
vigor, this War for the preservation of the National life and hope of
"A. G. CURTIN,
"JOHN A. ANDREW,
"ISRAEL WASHBURNE, Jr.,
"SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD,
"O. P. MORTON,--By D. G. ROSE, his Representative,
"F. H. PEIRPOINT,
"N. S. BERRY,
Some two months after the issue of his great Proclamation of Liberty,
President Lincoln (in his Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1,
1862), took occasion again to refer to compensated Emancipation, and,
indeed, to the entire matter of Slavery and Freedom, in most instructive
and convincing manner, as follows:
"On the 22d day of September last, a Proclamation was issued by the
Executive, a copy of which is herewith submitted.
"In accordance with the purpose in the second paragraph of that paper, I
now respectfully recall your attention to what may be called
"A Nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its
laws. The territory is the only part which is of certain durability.
'One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the
Earth abideth forever.' It is of the first importance to duly consider
and estimate this ever-enduring part.
"That portion of the Earth's surface which is owned and inhabited by the
People of the United States, is well adapted to be the home of one
National family; and it is not well adapted for two, or more. Its vast
extent, and its variety of climate and productions, are of advantage, in
this age, for one People, whatever they might have been in former ages.
Steam, telegraphs, and intelligence, have brought these to be an
advantageous combination for one united People.
"In the Inaugural Address I briefly pointed out the total inadequacy of
Disunion, as a remedy for the differences between the people of the two
Sections. I did so in language which I cannot improve, and which,
therefore, I beg to repeat:
"'One Section of our Country believes Slavery is right, and ought to be
extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be
extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The Fugitive Slave
clause of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the
foreign Slave Trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can
ever be in a community where the moral sense of the People imperfectly
supports the law itself.
"The great body of the People abide by the dry legal obligation in both
cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be perfectly
cured; and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the
Sections, than before. The foreign Slave Trade, now imperfectly
suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one
Section; while Fugitive Slaves, now only partially surrendered, would
not be surrendered at all by the other.
"Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our
respective Sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall
between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and each go out of
the presence and beyond the reach of the other; but the different parts
of our Country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and
intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them.
"'Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or
more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make
treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more
faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? suppose
you go to War, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on
both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old
questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.'
"There is no line, straight or crooked, suitable for a National boundary
upon which to divide. Trace through, from East to West, upon the line
between the Free and Slave Country, and we shall find a little more than
one third of its length are rivers, easy to be crossed, and populated,
or soon to be populated, thickly upon both sides; while nearly all its
remaining length are merely surveyors' lines, over which people may walk
back and forth without any consciousness of their presence.
"No part of this line can be made any more difficult to pass, by writing
it down on paper or parchment as a National boundary. The fact of
separation, if it comes, gives up, on the part of the seceding Section,
the Fugitive Slave clause, along with all other Constitutional
obligations upon the Section seceded from, while I should expect no
treaty stipulations would ever be made to take its place.
"But there is another difficulty. The great interior region, bounded
East by the Alleghanies, North by the British dominions, West by the
Rocky Mountains, and South by the line along which the culture of corn
and cotton meets, and which includes part of Virginia, part of
Tennessee, all of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin,
Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Territories of
Dakota, Nebraska, and part of Colorado, already has above ten million
people, and will have fifty millions within fifty years, if not
prevented by any political folly or mistake.
"It contains more than one-third of the country owned by the United
States-certainly more than one million square miles. Once half as
populous as Massachusetts already is, it would have more than seventy-
five million people. A glance at the map shows that, territorially
speaking, it is the great body of the Republic. The other parts are but
marginal borders to it, the magnificent region sloping West, from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, being the deepest and also the richest
in undeveloped resources. In the production of provisions, grains,
grasses, and all which proceed from them, this great interior region is
naturally one of the most important in the World.
"Ascertain from the statistics the small proportion of the region which
has, as yet, been brought into cultivation, and also the large and
rapidly increasing amount of its products, and we shall be overwhelmed
with the magnitude of the prospect presented. And yet this region has
no sea coast, touches no ocean anywhere. As part of one Nation, its
people now find, and may forever find, their way to Europe by New York,
to South America and Africa by New Orleans, and to Asia by San
"But separate our common Country into two nations, as designed by the
present Rebellion, and every man of this great interior region is
thereby cut off from some one or more of these outlets, not, perhaps, by
a physical barrier, but by embarrassing and onerous trade regulations.
"And this is true, wherever a dividing or boundary line may be fixed.
Place it between the now Free and Slave country, or place it South of
Kentucky, or North of Ohio, and still the truth remains, that none South
of it can trade to any port or place North of it, and none North of it
can trade to any port or place South of it except upon terms dictated by
a Government foreign to them.
"These outlets, East, West, and South, are indispensable to the well-
being of the people inhabiting, and to inhabit, this vast interior
region. Which of the three may be the best, is no proper question.
All, are better than either; and all, of right belong to that People,
and to their successors forever. True to themselves, they will not ask
where a line of separation shall be, but will vow rather that there
shall be no such line.
"Nor are the marginal regions less interested in these communications to
and through them, to the great outside World. They too, and each of
them, must have access to this Egypt of the West without paying toll at
the crossing of any National boundary.
"Our National strife springs not from our permanent part; not from the
Land we inhabit; not from our National homestead. There is no possible
severing of this, but would multiply, and not mitigate, evils among us.
In all its adaptations and aptitudes it demands Union, and abhors
separation. In fact it would, ere long, force reunion, however much of
blood and treasure the separation might have cost.
"Our strife pertains to ourselves--to the passing generations of men;
and it can, without convulsion, be hushed forever--with the passing of
"In this view I recommend the adoption of the following Resolution and
Articles Amendatory of the Constitution of the United States.
"'Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of both Houses
concurring). That the following Articles be proposed to the
Legislatures (or Conventions) of the several States, as Amendments to
the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles when
ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures (or Conventions) to
be valid as part or parts of the said Constitution, namely:
"'ARTICLE--Every State wherein Slavery now exists, which shall abolish
the same therein, at any time, or times, before the first day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred, shall
receive compensation from the United States, as follows, to wit;
"'The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State,
bonds of the United States, bearing interest at the rate of per cent.
per annum, to an amount equal to the aggregate sum of for each Slave
shown to have been therein by the eighth census of the United States,
said bonds to be delivered to such States by installments, or in one
parcel, at the completion of the abolishment, accordingly as the same
shall have been gradual, or at one time, within such State; and interest
shall begin to run upon any such bond only from the proper time of its
delivery as aforesaid. Any State having received bonds as aforesaid,
and afterward reintroducing or tolerating Slavery therein, shall refund
to the United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and
all interest paid thereon.
"'ARTICLE--All Slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom by the
chances of the War at any time before the end of the Rebellion, shall be
forever Free; but all owners of such, who shall not have been disloyal,
shall be compensated for them, at the same rates as is provided for
States adopting abolishment of Slavery, but in such way that no Slave
shall be twice accounted for.
"'ARTICLE--Congress may appropriate money, and otherwise provide for
colonizing Free Colored Persons, with their own consent, at any place or
places within the United States.'
"I beg indulgence to discuss these proposed Articles at some length.
Without Slavery the Rebellion could never have existed; without Slavery
it could not continue.
"Among the friends of the Union there is great diversity of sentiment
and of policy in regard to Slavery, and the African race among us. Some
would perpetuate Slavery; some would abolish it suddenly, without
compensation; some would abolish it gradually, and with compensation;
some would remove the Freed people from us; and some would retain them
with us; and there are yet other minor diversities. Because of these
diversities, we waste much strength in struggles among ourselves.
"By mutual Concession we should harmonize and act together. This would
be Compromise; but it would be Compromise among the friends, and not
with the enemies of the Union. These Articles are intended to embody a
plan of such mutual concessions. If the plan shall be adopted, it is
assumed that Emancipation will follow, at least, in several of the
"As to the first Article, the main points are: first, the Emancipation;
secondly, the length of time for consummating it--thirty-seven years;
and, thirdly, the compensation.
"The Emancipation will be unsatisfactory to the advocates of perpetual
Slavery; but the length of time should greatly mitigate their
dissatisfaction. The time spares both races from the evils of sudden
derangement--in fact from the necessity of any derangement--while most
of those whose habitual course of thought will be disturbed by the
measure will have passed away before its consummation. They will never
"Another class will hail the prospect of Emancipation, but will
deprecate the length of time. They will feel that it gives too little
to the now living Slaves. But it really gives them much. It saves them
from the vagrant destitution which must largely attend immediate
Emancipation in localities where their numbers are very great; and it
gives the inspiring assurance that their posterity shall be Free
"The plan leaves to each State, choosing to act under it, to abolish
Slavery now, or at the end of the century, or at any intermediate time,
or by degrees, extending over the whole or any part of the period; and
it obliges no two States to proceed alike. It also provides for
compensation,--and generally, the mode of making it. This, it would
seem, must further mitigate the dissatisfaction of those who favor
perpetual Slavery, and especially of those who are to receive the
compensation. Doubtless some of those who are to pay, and not to
receive, will object. Yet the measure is both just and economical.
"In a certain sense, the liberation of Slaves is the destruction of
Property--Property acquired by descent, or by purchase, the same as any
other property. It is no less true for having been often said, that the
people of the South are not more responsible for the original
introduction of this Property than are the people of the North; and when
it is remembered how unhesitatingly we all use cotton and sugar, and
share the profits of dealing in them, it may not be quite safe to say
that the South has been more responsible than the North for its
"If, then, for a common object, this Property is to be sacrificed, is it
not just that it be done at a common charge?
"And if, with less money, or money more easily paid, we can preserve the
benefits of the Union by this means than we can by the War alone, is it
not also economical to do it? Let us consider it then. Let us
ascertain the sum we have expended in the War since compensated
Emancipation was proposed last March, and consider whether, if that
measure had been promptly accepted, by even some of the Slave States,
the same sum would not have done more to close the War than has been
otherwise done. If so, the measure would save money, and, in that view,
would be a prudent and economical measure.
"Certainly it is not so easy to pay something as it is to pay nothing;
but it is easier to pay a large sum than it is to pay a larger one. And
it is easier to pay any sum when we are able, than it is to pay it
before we are able. The War requires large sums, and requires them at
"The aggregate sum necessary for compensated Emancipation of course
would be large. But it would require no ready cash, nor the bonds,
even, any faster than the Emancipation progresses. This might not, and
probably would not, close before the end of the thirty-seven years. At
that time we shall probably have a hundred million people to share the
burden, instead of thirty-one millions, as now. And not only so, but
the increase of our population may be expected to continue, for a long
time after that period, as rapidly as before; because our territory will
not have become full.
"I do not state this inconsiderately. At the same ratio of increase
which we have maintained, on an average, from our first National census
in 1790, until that of 1860, we should, in 1900, have a population of
103,208,415. And why may we not continue that ratio far beyond that
"Our abundant room--our broad National homestead--is our ample resource.
Were our territory as limited as are the British Isles, very certainly
our population could not expand as stated. Instead of receiving the
foreign born, as now, we should be compelled to send part of the Native-
"But such is not our condition. We have two million nine hundred and
sixty-three thousand square miles. Europe has three million and eight
hundred thousand, with a population averaging seventy-three and one-
third persons to the square mile. Why may not our Country at some time,
average as many? Is it less fertile? Has it more waste surface by
mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, or other causes? Is it inferior to
Europe in any natural advantage?
"If, then, we are at some time to be as populous as Europe, how soon?
As to when this may be, we can judge by the past and the present; as to
when it will be, if ever, depends much on whether we maintain the Union.
"Several of our States are already above the average of Europe--seventy-
three and a third to the square mile. Massachusetts has 157; Rhode
Island, 133; Connecticut, 99; New York and New Jersey, each, 80. Also
two other great States, Pennsylvania and Ohio, are not far below, the
former having 63, and the latter 59. The States already above the
European average, except New York, have increased in as rapid a ratio,
since passing that point, as ever before; while no one of them is equal
to some other parts of our Country in natural capacity for sustaining a
"Taking the Nation in the aggregate, and we find its population and
ratio of increase, for the several decennial periods, to be as follows:
YEAR. POPULATION. RATIO OF INCREASE
1800 5,305,937 35.02 Per Cent.
1810 7,239,814 36.45
1820 9,638,131 33.13
1830 12,866,020 33.49
1840 17,069,453 32.67
1850 23,191,876 35.87
1860 31,443,790 35.58
"This shows an average Decennial Increase of 34.69 per cent. in
population through the seventy years from our first to our last census
yet taken. It is seen that the ratio of increase, at no one of these
seven periods, is either two per cent. below or two per cent. above the
average; thus showing how inflexible, and, consequently, how reliable,
the law of Increase, in our case, is.
"Assuming that it will continue, gives the following results:
"These figures show that our Country may be as populous as Europe now is
at some point between 1920 and 1930--say about 1925--our territory, at
seventy-three and a third persons to the square mile, being of capacity
to contain 217,186,000.
"And we will reach this, too, if we do not ourselves relinquish the
chance by the folly and evils of Disunion or by long and exhausting War
springing from the only great element of National discord among us.
While it cannot be foreseen exactly how much one huge example of
Secession, breeding lesser ones indefinitely, would retard population,
civilization and prosperity, no one can doubt that the extent of it
would be very great and injurious.
"The proposed Emancipation would shorten the War, perpetuate Peace,
insure this increase of population, and proportionately the wealth of
the Country. With these, we should pay all the Emancipation would cost,
together with our other debt, easier than we should pay our other debt
"If we had allowed our old National debt to run at six per cent. per
annum, simple interest, from the end of our Revolutionary Struggle until
to-day, without paying anything on either principal or interest, each
man of us would owe less upon that debt now than each man owed upon it
then; and this because our increase of men through the whole period has
been greater than six per cent.; has run faster than the interest upon
the debt. Thus, time alone, relieves a debtor Nation, so long as its
population increases faster than unpaid interest accumulates on its
"This fact would be no excuse for delaying payment of what is justly
due, but it shows the great importance of time in this connection--the
great advantage of a policy by which we shall not have to pay until we
number a hundred millions, what, by a different policy, we would have to
pay now, when we number but thirty-one millions. In a word, it shows
that a dollar will be much harder to pay for the War, than will be a
dollar for Emancipation on the proposed plan. And then the latter will
cost no blood, no precious life. It will be a saving of both.
"As to the Second Article, I think it would be impracticable to return
to Bondage the class of Persons therein contemplated. Some of them,
doubtless, in the property sense, belong to loyal owners and hence
provision is made in this Article for compensating such.
"The Third Article relates to the future of the Freed people. It does
not oblige, but merely authorizes, Congress to aid in colonizing such as
may consent. This ought not to be regarded as objectionable on the one
hand or on the other, insomuch as it comes to nothing, unless by the
mutual consent of the people to be deported, and the American voters,
through their Representatives in Congress.
"I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor
colonization. And yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against
free Colored persons remaining in the Country which is largely
imaginary, if not sometimes malicious.
"It is insisted that their presence would injure and displace White
labor and White laborers. If there ever could be a proper time for mere
catch arguments, that time surely is not now. In times like the present
men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be
responsible through Time and in Eternity.
"Is it true, then, that Colored people can displace any more White labor
by being Free, than by remaining Slaves? If they stay in their old
places, they jostle no White laborers; if they leave their old places,
they leave them open to White laborers. Logically, there is neither
more nor less of it.
"Emancipation, even without deportation, would probably enhance the
wages of White labor, and, very surely would not reduce them. Thus, the
customary amount of labor would still have to be performed; the freed
people would surely not do more than their old proportion of it and,
very probably, for a time would do less, leaving an increased part to
White laborers, bringing their labor into greater demand, and
consequently enhancing the wages of it.
"With deportation, even to a limited extent, enhanced wages to White
labor is mathematically certain. Labor is like any other commodity in
the market-increase the demand for it and you increase the price of it.
Reduce the supply of Black labor by colonizing the Black laborer out of
the Country, and by precisely so much you increase the demand for and
wages of White labor.
"But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth and cover the
whole Land! Are they not already in the Land? Will liberation make
them any more numerous? Equally distributed among the Whites of the
whole Country, there would be but one Colored, in seven Whites. Could
the one, in any way, greatly disturb the seven?
"There are many communities now, having more than one free Colored
person to seven Whites; and this, without any apparent consciousness of
evil from it. The District of Columbia, and the States of Maryland and
Delaware, are all in this condition. The District has more than one
free Colored to six Whites; and yet, in its frequent petitions to
Congress I believe it has never presented the presence of free Colored
persons as one of its grievances.
"But why should Emancipation South, send the freed people North? people
of any color, seldom run, unless there be something to run from.
Heretofore, Colored people, to some extent, have fled North from
bondage, and now, perhaps, from both bondage and destitution. But if
gradual Emancipation and deportation be adopted, they will have neither
to flee from.
"Their old masters will give them wages at least until new laborers can
be procured; and the freed men, in turn, will gladly give their labor
for the wages, till new homes can be found for them, in congenial
climes, and with people of their own blood and race.
"This proposition can be trusted on the mutual interests involved. And,
in any event, cannot the North decide for itself, whether to receive
"Again, as practice proves more than theory, in any case, has there been
any irruption of Colored people Northward because of the abolishment of
Slavery in this District last Spring? What I have said of the
proportion of free Colored persons to the Whites in the District is from
the census of 1860, having no reference to persons called Contrabands,
nor to those made free by the Act of Congress abolishing Slavery here.
"The plan consisting of these Articles is recommended, not but that a
restoration of the National authority would be accepted without its
"Nor will the War, nor proceedings under the Proclamation of September
22, 1862, be stayed because of the recommendation of this plan. Its
timely adoption, I doubt not, would bring restoration, and thereby stay
"And, notwithstanding this plan, the recommendation that Congress
provides by law for compensating any State which may adopt Emancipation
before this plan shall have been acted upon, is hereby earnestly
renewed. Such would be only an advance part of the plan, and the same
arguments apply to both.
"This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but
additional to, all others, for restoring and preserving the National
authority throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in
its economical aspect.
"The plan would, I am confident, secure Peace more speedily, and
maintain it more permanently, than can be done by force alone; while all
it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of payment, and times of
payment, would be easier paid than will be the additional cost of the
War, if we rely solely upon force. It is much, very much, that it would
cost no blood at all.
"The plan is proposed as permanent Constitutional Law. It cannot become
such without the concurrence of, first, two-thirds of Congress, and
afterward, three-fourths of the Slave States. The requisite three-
fourths of the States will necessarily include seven of the Slave
States. Their concurrence, if obtained, will give assurance of their
severally adopting Emancipation at no very distant day upon the new
Constitutional terms. This assurance would end the struggle now and
save the Union forever.
"I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed
to the Congress of the Nation by the Chief Magistrate of the Nation.
Nor do I forget that some of you are my seniors, nor that many of you
have more experience than I in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I
trust that in view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will
perceive no want of respect to yourselves in any undue earnestness I may
seem to display.
"Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten
the War, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood? Is it
doubted that it would restore the National authority and National
prosperity, and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we
here--Congress and Executive--can secure its adoption; will not the good
people respond to a united and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can
they, by any other means so certainly or so speedily assure these vital
objects; 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
"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. We even 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 would forever applaud, and God must
The popular Branch of Congress responded with heartiness to what Mr.
Lincoln had done. On December 11, 1862, resolutions were offered by Mr.
Yeaman in the House of Representatives, as follows:
"Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate Concurring), That
the Proclamation of the President of the United States, of date the 22d
of September, 1862, is not warranted by the Constitution.
"Resolved, That the policy of Emancipation as indicated in that
Proclamation, is not calculated to hasten the restoration of Peace, was
not well chosen as a War measure, and is an assumption of power
dangerous to the rights of citizens and to the perpetuity of a Free
These resolutions were laid on the table by 95 yeas to 47 nays--the yeas
all Republicans, save three, and the nays all Democrats save five.
On December 15, 1862, Mr. S. C. Fessenden, of Maine, offered resolutions
to the House, in these words:
"Resolved, That the Proclamation of the President of the United States,
of the date of 22d September, 1862, is warranted by the Constitution.
"Resolved, That the policy of Emancipation, as indicated in that
Proclamation, is well adapted to hasten the restoration of Peace, was
well chosen as a War measure, and is an exercise of power with proper
regard for the rights of the States, and the perpetuity of Free
These resolutions were adopted by 78 yeas to 52 nays--the yeas all
Republicans, save two, and the nays all Democrats, save seven.
The Proclamation of September 22d, 1862, was very generally endorsed and
upheld by the People at large; and, in accordance with its promise, it
was followed at the appointed time, January 1st, 1863, by the
supplemental Proclamation specifically Emancipating the Slaves in the
rebellious parts of the United States--in the following terms:
"WHEREAS, On the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a Proclamation was issued by
the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the
following, to wit:
"'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 Authority 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.
"'That the Executive will, on the First day of January aforesaid, by
Proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which
the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in Rebellion against the
United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall
on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United
States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the
qualified voters of such States shall have participated, shall, in the
absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive
evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in
Rebellion against the United States.'
"Now, therefore, I ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, by
virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and
Navy of the United States, in time of actual armed Rebellion against the
authority and Government of the United States, and as a fit and
necessary War measure for suppressing said Rebellion, do, on this First
day of January, in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly
proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day first
above mentioned, Order and designate as the States and parts of States
wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in Rebellion
against the United States, the following, to wit:
"Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard,
Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension,
Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafouche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans,
including the City of New Orleans,) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the
forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties
of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann,
and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which
excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this
Proclamation were not issued.
"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do Order
and declare that all Persons held as Slaves within said designated
States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, Free; and
that the Executive Government of the United States, including the
Military and Naval authorities thereof; will recognize and maintain the
Freedom of said Persons.
"And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be Free, to abstain
from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to
them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for
"And I further declare and make known that such Persons, of suitable
condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States
to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man
vessels of all sorts in said service.
"And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
warranted by the Constitution upon Military necessity, I invoke the
considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
"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 First day of January, in the year
of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
"By the President:
"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
Let us now refresh recollection by glancing backward over the history of
our Country, and we shall see, as recorded in these pages, that, from
the first, there existed in this Nation a class of individuals greedily
ambitious of power and determined to secure and maintain control of this
Government; that they left unturned no stone which would contribute to
the fostering and to the extension of African Slavery; that, hand in
hand with African Slavery--and as a natural corollary to it--they
advocated Free Trade as a means of degrading Free White labor to the
level of Black Slave labor, and thus increasing their own power; that
from the first, ever taking advantage of the general necessities of the
Union, they arrogantly demanded and received from a brow-beaten People,
concession after concession, and compromise after compromise; that every
possible pretext and occasion was seized by them to increase,
consolidate, and secure their power, and to extend the territorial
limits over which their peculiar Pro-Slavery and Pro-Free-Trade
doctrines prevailed; and that their nature was so exacting, and their
greed so rapacious, that it was impossible ever to satisfy them.
Nor were they burdened with over-much of that high sense of honor--a
quality of which they often vaunted themselves--which impelled others to
stand by their agreements. It seemed as though they considered the most
sacred promises and covenants of no account, and made only to be
trampled upon, when in the way of their Moloch.
We remember the bitter Slavery agitation in Congress over the admission
of the State of Missouri, and how it eventuated in the Missouri
Compromise. That compromise, we have seen, they afterward trod upon,
and broke, with as little compunction as they would have stepped upon
and crushed a toad.
They felt their own growing power, and gloried in their strength and
arrogance; and Northern timidity became a scoff and by-word in their
The fact is, that from its very conception, as well as birth, they hated
and opposed the Union, because they disliked a Republican and preferred
a Monarchical form of Government. Their very inability to prevent the
consummation of that Union, imbittered them. Hence their determinaion
to seize every possible occasion and pretext afterward to destroy it,
believing, as they doubtless did, that upon the crumbled and mouldering
ruins of a dissevered Union and ruptured Republic, Monarchical ideas
might the more easily take root and grow. But experience had already
taught them that it would be long before their real object could even be
covertly hinted at, and that in the meantime it must be kept out of
sight by the agitation of other political issues. The formulation and
promulgation therefore, by Jefferson, in the Kentucky Resolutions of
1798, and by Madison, in the Virginia Resolutions of 1799, of the
doctrine of States Rights already referred to, was a perfect "God-send"
to these men. For it not only enabled them to keep from public view and
knowledge their ultimate aim and purpose, but constituted the whip which
they thenceforth everlastingly flourished and cracked over the shrinking
heads of other and more patriotic people--the whip with which, through
the litter of their broken promises, they ruthlessly rode into, and, for
so long a period of years held on to, supreme power and place in the
Including within the scope of States Rights, the threats of
Nullification, Disunion and Secession--ideas abhorrent to the Patriot's
mind--small wonder is it that, in those days, every fresh demand made by
these political autocrats was tremblingly acceded to, until patience and
concession almost utterly exhausted themselves.
Originally disturbing only South Carolina and Georgia to any extent,
these ambitious men, who believed in anything rather than a Republic,
and who were determined to destroy the Union, gradually spread the
spirit of jealousy and discontent into other States of the South; their
immediate object being to bring the Southern States into the closest
possible relations the one with the other; to inspire them all with
common sympathies and purposes; to compact and solidify them, so that in
all coming movements against the other States of the Union, they might
move with proportionately increased power, and force, and effect,
because of such unity of aim and strength.
This spirit of Southern discontent, and jealousy of the Northern States,
was, as we have seen, artfully fanned by the Conspirators, in heated
discussions over the Tariff Acts of 1824, and 1828, and 1832, until, by
the latter date, the people of the Cotton-States were almost frantic,
and ready to fight over their imaginary grievances. Then it was that
the Conspirators thought the time had come, for which they had so long
and so earnestly prayed and worked, when the cotton Sampson should wind
his strong arms around the pillars of the Constitution and pull down the
great Temple of our Union--that they might rear upon its site another
and a stronger edifice, dedicated not to Freedom, but to Free-Trade and
to other false gods.
South Carolina was to lead off, and the other Cotton States would
follow. South Carolina did lead off--but the other Cotton-States did
It has been shown in these pages how South Carolina declared the Tariff
Acts aforesaid, null and void, armed herself to resist force, and
declared that any attempt of the general Government to enforce those
Acts would cause her to withdraw from the Union. But Jackson as we know
throttled the treason with so firm a grip that Nullification and
Secession and Disunion were at once paralyzed.
The concessions to the domineering South, in Clay's Compromise Tariff of
1833, let the Conspirators down easily, so to speak; and they pretended
to be satisfied. But they were satisfied only as are the thirsty sands
of Africa with the passing shower.
The Conspirators had, however, after all, made substantial gains. They
had established a precedent for an attempt to secede. That was
something. They had demonstrated that a single Southern State could
stand up, armed and threatening, strutting, blustering, and bullying,
and at least make faces at the general Government without suffering any
very dreadful consequences. That was still more.
They had also ascertained that, by adopting such a course, a single
Southern State could force concessions from the fears of the rest of the
United States. That was worth knowing, because the time might come,
when it might be desirable not only for one but for all the Southern
States to secede upon some other pretext, and when it would be awkward,
and would interfere with the Disunion programme, to have the other
States either offer or make concessions.
They had also learned the valuable lesson that the single issue of Free-
Trade was not sufficiently strong of itself to unite all the Southern
States in a determination to secede, and thus dissolve the Union. They
saw they must agitate some other issue to unify the South more
thoroughly and justify Disunion. On looking over the whole field they
concluded that the Slavery question would best answer their purpose, and
they adopted it.
It was doubtless a full knowledge of the fact that they had adopted it,
that led Jackson to make the declaration, heretofore in these pages
given, which has been termed "prophetic." At any rate, thenceforth the
programme of the Conspirators was to agitate the Slavery question in all
ways possible, so as to increase, extend and solidify the influence and
strength of the Slave power; strain the bonds uniting them with the Free
States; and weaken the Free States by dividing them upon the question.
At the same time the Free-Trade question was to be pressed forward to a
triumphal issue, so that the South might be enriched and strengthened,
and the North impoverished and weakened, by the result.
That was their programme, in the rough, and it was relentlessly adhered
to. Free-Trade and Slavery by turns, if not together, from that time
onward, were ever at the front, agitating our People both North and
South, and not only consolidating the Southern States on those lines, as
the Conspirators designed, but also serving ultimately to consolidate,
to some extent--in a manner quite unlooked for by the Conspirators--
Northern sentiment, on the opposite lines of Protection and Freedom.
The Compromise Tariff Act of 1833--which Clay was weak enough to
concede, and even stout old Jackson to permit to become law without his
signature--gave to the Conspirators great joy for years afterward, as
they witnessed the distress and disaster brought by it to Northern homes
and incomes--not distress and disaster alone, but absolute and
apparently irreparable ruin.
The reaction occasioned by this widespread ruin having brought the Whigs
into power, led to the enactment of the Protective-Tariff of 1842 and--
to the chagrin of the Conspirators--industrial prosperity and plenty to
the Free North again ensued.
Even as Cain hated his brother Abel because his sacrifices were
acceptable in the sight of God, while his own were not, so the Southern
Conspirators, and other Slave-owners also, had, by this time, come to
hate the Northern free-thinking, free-acting, freedom-loving mechanic
and laboring man, because the very fact and existence of his Godgiven
Freedom and higher-resulting civilization was a powerful and perpetual
protest against the--abounding iniquities and degradations of Slavery as
practiced by themselves.
Hence, by trickery, by cajoling the People With his, and their own,
assurances that he was in favor of Protection--they secured the election
in 1844 of a Free-Trade President, the consequent repeal of the
Protective-Tariff of 1842--which had repaired the dreadful mischief
wrought by the Compromise Act of 1833--and the enactment of the infamous
Free-Trade Tariff of 1846, which blasted the manufacturing and farming
and trade industries of the Country again, as with fire.
The discovery of the great gold fields of California, and the enormous
amount of the precious metal poured by her for many succeeding years
into the lap of the Nation, alone averted what otherwise would
inevitably have been total ruin. As it was, in 1860, the National
credit had sunk to a lower point than ever before in all its history.
It was confessedly bankrupt, and ruin stalked abroad throughout the
But while, with rapid pen, the carrying out of that part of the Southern
Conspirators' Disunion programme which related to Free-Trade, is thus
brought again to mind, the other part of that programme, which related
to Slavery, must not be neglected or overlooked. On this question they
had determined, as we have seen, to agitate without ceasing--having in
view, primarily, as already hinted, the extension of Slave territory and
the resulting increase of Slave power in the Land; and, ulteriorly, the
solidifying of that power, and Disunion of the Republic, with a view to
its conversion into an Oligarchy, if not a Monarchy.
The bitterness of the struggle over the admission of Missouri as a Slave
State in 1820, under the Missouri Compromise, was to be revived by the
Conspirators, at the earliest possible moment.
Accordingly in 1836--only three years after the failure of Nullification
in South Carolina, the Territory, of Arkansas was forced in as a Slave
State, and simultaneously the Slave-owning henchmen of the Conspirators,
previously settled there for the purpose, proclaimed the secession from
Mexico, and independence, of Texas. This was quickly followed, in 1844,
by Calhoun's hastily negotiated treaty of annexation with Texas; its
miscarriage in the Senate; and the Act of March 2, 1845--with its sham
compromise--consenting to the admission of Texas to the Union of States.
Then came the War with Mexico; the attempt by means of the Wilmot
proviso to check the growing territorial-greed and rapacity of the
Slave-power; and the acquisition by the United States, of California and
New Mexico, under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which brought
Then occurred the agitation over the organization of Territorial
governments for Oregon, California, and New Mexico, and the strong
effort to extend to the Pacific Ocean the Missouri-Compromise line of
36 30', and to extend to all future Territorial organizations the
principles of that compromise.
Then came the struggle in 1850, over the admission of California as a
State, and New Mexico and Utah to Territorial organization--ending in
the passage of Clay's Compromise measures of 1850.
Yet still the Southern Conspirators--whose forces, both in Congress and
out, were now well-disciplined, compacted, solidified, experienced, and
bigotedly enthusiastic and overbearing--were not satisfied. It was not
their intention to be satisfied with anything less than the destruction
of the Union and of our Republican form of Government. The trouble was
only beginning, and, so far, almost everything had progressed to their
liking. The work must proceed.
In 1852-3 they commenced the Kansas-Nebraska agitation; and, what with
their incessant political and colonizing movements in those Territories;
the frequent and dreadful atrocities committed by their tools, the
Border-ruffians; the incessant turmoil created by cruelties to their
Fugitive-slaves; their persistent efforts to change the Supreme Court to
their notions; these-with the decision and opinion of the Supreme Court
in the Dred Scott case--together worked the Slavery question up to a
dangerous degree of heat, by the year 1858.
And, by 1860--when the people of the Free States, grown sick unto death
of the rule of the Slave-power in the General Government, arose in their
political might, and shook off this "Old Man of the Sea," electing,
beyond cavil and by the Constitutional mode, to the Presidential office,
a man who thoroughly represented in himself their conscience, on the one
hand, which instinctively revolted against human Slavery as a wrong
committed against the laws of God, and their sense of justice and equity
on the other, which would not lightly overlook, or interfere with vested
rights under the Constitution and the laws of man--the Conspirators had
reached the point at which they had been aiming ever since that failure
in 1832 of their first attempt at Disunion, in South Carolina.
They had now succeeded in irritating both the Free and the Slave-holding
Sections of our Country against each other, to an almost unbearable
point; had solidified the Southern States on the Slavery and Free-Trade
questions; and at last--the machinations of these same Conspirators
having resulted in a split in the Democratic Party, and the election of
the Republican candidate to the Presidency, as the embodiment of the
preponderating National belief in Freedom and equality to all before the
Law, with Protection to both Labor and Capital--they also had the
pretext for which they had both been praying and scheming and preparing
all those long, long years--they, and some of their fathers before them.
It cannot be too often repeated that to secure a Monarchy, or at least
an Oligarchy, over which the leading Conspirators should rule for life--
whether that Monarchy or that Oligarchy should comprise the States of
the South by themselves, or all the States on a new basis of Union--was
the great ultimate aim of the Conspirators; and this could be secured
only by first disrupting the then existing Republican Union of
The doctrine of the right of Secession had now long been taught, and had
become a part of the Southern Slave-holders' Democratic creed, as fully
as had the desirability of Slavery and Free-Trade--and even many of the
Northern Democrats, and some Republicans as well, were not much inclined
to dispute, although they cared not to canvass, the point.
The programme of action was therefore much the same as had been laid
down in the first attempt in 1832:--first South Carolina would secede
and declare her independence; then the other Slave States in quick
succession would do likewise; then a new Constitution for a solid
Southern Union; then, if necessary, a brief War to cement it--which
would end, of course, in the independence of the South at least, but
more probably in the utter subjugation and humiliation of the Free
When the time should come, during, or after this War--as come, in their
belief, it would--for a change in the form of Government, then they
could seize the first favorable occasion and change it. At present,
however, the cry must be for "independence." That accomplished, the
rest would be easy. And until that independence was accomplished, no
terms of any sort, no settlement of any kind, were either to be proposed
or accepted by them.
These were their dreams, their ambitions, their plans; and the tenacious
courage with which they stuck to them "through thick and thin," through
victory and disaster, were worthy of a better cause.
While, therefore, the pretexts for Secession were "Slavery" and "Free-
Trade"--both of which were alleged to be jeopardized in the election and
inauguration of Abraham Lincoln--yet, no sooner had hostilities
commenced between the seceding States and the Union, than they declared
to the World that their fight was not for Slavery, but for Independence.
They dared not acknowledge to the World that they fought for Slavery,
lest the sympathies of the World should be against them. But it was
well understood by the Southern masses, as well as the other people of
the Union, that both Slavery and Free-Trade were involved in the fight--
as much as independence, and the consequent downfall of the Union.
President Lincoln, however, had made up his mind to do all he properly
could to placate the South. None knew better than he, the history of
this Secession movement, as herein described. None knew better than he,
the fell purpose and spirit of the Conspirators. Yet still, his kindly
heart refused to believe that the madness of the Southern leaders was so
frenzied, and their hatred of Free men, Free labor, and Free
institutions, so implacable, that they would wilfully refuse to listen
to reason and ever insist on absolutely inadmissible terms of
From the very beginning of his Administration, he did all that was
possible to mollify their resentment and calm their real or pretended
fears. Nor was this from any dread or doubt as to what the outcome of
an armed Conflict would be; for, in his speech at Cincinnati, in the
Autumn of 1859, he had said, while addressing himself to Kentuckians and
other Southern men: "Why, gentlemen, I think you are as gallant and as
brave men as live; that you can fight as bravely in a good cause, man
for man, as any other people living; that you have shown yourselves
capable of this upon various occasions; but man for man, you are not
better than we are, and there are not so many of you as there are of us.
You will never make much of a hand at whipping us. If we were fewer in
numbers than you, I think that you could whip us; if we were equal it
would likely be a drawn battle; but being inferior in numbers, you will
make nothing by attempting to master us."
And early in 1860, in his famous New York Cooper Institute speech he had
said "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let
us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." He plainly
believed to the end, that "right makes might;" and he believed in the
power of numbers--as also did Napoleon, if we may judge from his famous
declaration that "The God of battles is always on the side of the
heaviest battalions." Yet, so believing, President Lincoln exerted
himself in all possible ways to mollify the South. His assurances,
however, were far from satisfying the Conspirators. They never had been
satisfied with anything in the shape of concession. They never would
be. They had been dissatisfied with and had broken all the compacts and
compromises, and had spit upon all the concessions, of the past; and
nothing would now satisfy them, short of the impossible.
They were not satisfied now with Lincoln's promise that the Government
would not assail them--organized as, by this time, they were into a so-
called Southern "Confederacy" of States--and they proceeded accordingly
to assail that Government which would not assail them. They opened fire
on Fort Sumter.
This was done, as has duly appeared, in the hope that the shedding of
blood would not only draw the States of the Southern Confederacy more
closely together in their common cause, and prevent the return of any of
them to their old allegiance, but also to so influence the wavering
allegiance to the Union, of the Border States, as to strengthen that
Confederacy and equivalently weaken that Union, by their Secession.
Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, of the Border States
that were wavering, were thus gathered into the Confederate fold, by
this policy of blood-spilling--carried bodily thither, by a desperate
and frenzied minority, against the wishes of a patriotic majority.
Virginia, especially, was a great accession to the Rebel cause. She
brought to it the prestige of her great name. To secure the active
cooperation of "staid old Virginia," "the Mother of Statesmen," in the
struggle, was, in the estimation of the Rebels, an assurance of victory
to their cause. And the Secession of Virginia for a time had a
depressing influence upon the friends of the Union everywhere.
The refusal of West Virginia to go with the rest of the State into
Rebellion, was, to be sure, some consolation; and the checkmating of the
Conspirators' designs to secure to the Confederacy the States of
Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, helped the confidence of Union men. In
fact, as long as the National Capital was secure, it was felt that the
Union was still safe.
But while the Confederacy, by the firing upon Fort Sumter, and thus
assailing that Government which Lincoln had promised would not assail
the Rebels, had gained much in securing the aid of the States mentioned,
yet the Union Cause, by that very act, had gained more. For the echoes
of the Rebel guns of Fort Moultrie were the signal for such an uprising
of the Patriots of the North and West and Middle States, as, for the
moment, struck awe to the hearts of Traitors and inspired with courage
and hopefulness the hearts of Union men throughout the Land.
Moreover it put the Rebels in their proper attitude, in the eyes of the
World--as the first aggressors--and thus deprived them, to a certain
extent, of that moral support from the outside which flows from
Those echoes were the signal, not only of that call to arms which led to
such an uprising, but for the simultaneous calling together of the
Thirty-seventh Congress of the United States in Extra Session--the
Congress whose measures ultimately enabled President Lincoln and the
Union Armies to subdue the Rebellion and save the Union--the Congress
whose wise and patriotic deliberations resulted in the raising of those
gigantic Armies and Navies, and in supplying the unlimited means,
through the Tariff and National Bank Systems and otherwise, by which
those tremendous Forces could be both created and effectively operated--
the Congress which cooperated with President Lincoln and those Forces in
preparing the way for the destruction of the very corner-stone of the
Confederacy, Slavery itself.
LINCOLN'S TROUBLES AND TEMPTATIONS.
The Rebels themselves, as has already been noted, by the employment of
their Slaves in the construction of earthworks and other fortifications,
and even in battle, at Bull Run and elsewhere, against the Union Forces,
brought the Thirty-seventh Congress, as well as the Military Commanders,
and the President, to an early consideration of the Slavery question.
But it was none the less a question to be treated with the utmost