Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Appeal to Border States.

Anticipations.

“The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic, definite and solemn proposal of the nation to the States and people most immediately interested in the subject matter. To the people of these States I now earnest ly appeal. I do not argue; I beseech you to make the argu ments for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending or wrecking any thing. Will you not embrace it ? So much good has not, been done by one effort in all past time, as in the Providence of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it.

“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my band, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

"Done at the City of Washington, this nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth. “By the President:

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. " WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."

A short time before the adjournment of Congress, while the country was in a state of great despondency, owing to the miscarriage of the Peninsular Campaign, the President, kuowing that whatever measures events should point out as necessary to put down the rebellion must be adopted, and anticipating that a blow directed at the institution of slavery would, probably, at no distant period have to be dealt, invited the Senators and Representatives of the Border Slave States to a conference, for the purpose of preparing their

Cinference.

Appeal to Border States

minds for the happening of such a contingency. On this oc. casion he read to them the following carefully prepared address, to which he received an approving response from but vine of the twenty-nine :

“ GENTLEMEN :-After the adjournment of Congress, Dow near, I shall have no opportunity of seeing you for several months. Believing that you of the Border States hold more power for good than any other equal number of members, I feel it a duty which I can not justifiably waive to make this appeal to you.

“I intend no reproach or complaint when I assure you that, in my opinion, if you all had voted for the resolution in the

gradual emancipation message of last March, the war would mow be substantially ended. And the plan therein proposed is yet one of the most potent and swift means of ending it. Let the States which are in rebellion see definitely and certainly that in no event will the States you represent ever join their proposed Confederacy, and they can not much longer maintain the contest. But you can not divest them of their hope to ultimately have you with them so long as you show a determination to perpetuate the institution within your own States. Beat them at elections, as you have overwhelmingly done, and, nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own. You and I know what the lever of their power is. Break that lever before their faces, and they can shake you no more forever.

"Most of you have treated me with kindness and consideration, and I trust you will not now think I improperly touch what is exclusively your own, when, for the sake of the whole country, I ask, “Can you, for your States, do better than to take the course I urge ?! Discarding punctilio and maxims Adapted to more manageable times, and looking only to the unprecedentedly stern facts of our case, can you do better in uny possible event? You prefer that the constitutional relations o the States to the nation shall be practically restored

Conference.

Gradual Emancipation

without disturbance of the institution; and, if this were done, my whole duty in this respect, under the Constitution and my oath of office, would be performed. But it is not done, and we are trying to accomplish it by.war. The incidents of the war can not be avoided. If the war continues long, as it must if the object be not sooner attained, the institution in your States will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasionby the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is gone already. How much better for you and for your people to take the step which at once shortens the war, and secures substantial compensation for that which is sure to be wholly lost in any other event! How much better to thus save the money which else we sink forever in the war! How much better to do it while we can, lest the war, ere long, render us pecuniarily unable to do it ! How much better for you, as seller, and the nation, as buyer, to sell out and buy out that without which the war could never have been, than to sink both the thing to be sold and the price of it, in cutting one another's throats !

“I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply and' in abundance, And when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be so reluctant to go.

"I am pressed with a difficulty not yet mentioned-one which threatens division among those who, united, are none too strong. An instance of it is known to you. General Hunter is an honest man. He was, and I hope still is, my friend. I valued him none the less for his agreeing with me in the general wish that all men everywhere could be freed He proclaimed all men free within certain States, and I repudiated the proclamation. He expected more good and less barm from the measure than I could believe would follow.

onference.

Military Order

Yet, in repudiating it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offence, to many whose support the country can not afford to lose. And this is not the end of it. The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing. By conceding what I now ask you can relieve me, and, much more, can relieve the country in this important point.

“Upon these considerations, I have again begged your attention to the Message of March last. Before leaving the Capitol, consider and discuss it among yourselves. You are patriots and statesmen, and as such, I pray you consider this proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in no wise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government saved to the world, its beloved history and cher. ished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more tban to any others, the privilege is given to assure that bappiness, and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names therewith forever."

assured and render the privilege is givenith your own ne

On the twenty-second of July, the following order was issued :

“WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, July 22d, 1862. "First. Ordered that military commanders within the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, in an ordinary manner seize and use any property, real or personal, wbich 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 em.

confiscation Proclamation.

General War Order,

ploy 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 toward the execution of these orders. “By order of the President..

"EDWIN M. Stanton, Secretary of War.” And on the twenty-fifth of July, by proclamation, the Predent warned all persons to cease participating in aiding, countenancing, or abetting the rebellion, and to return to their allegiance, under penalty of the forfeitures and seizures provided by an act "to suppress insurrections, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved July 17th, 1862.

CHAPTER XII.

THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN.

President's War Order-Reason for the same-Results in West and South-west-Army of the Potomac-Presidential Orders-Letter to McClellan-Order for Army Corps-Tho Issue of the Campaign-Unfortunate Circumstances-President's Speech at Union Meet ing-Comments-Operations in Virginia and Maryland-In the West and South-west.

EARLY in 1862 appeared the following:

Executive Mansion, Washington, January 27th, 1862 (Presidents General War Order, No. 1.]

“ ORDERED, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces.

« AnteriorContinuar »