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His Answer to Kentuckians.
Slavery Subordinate to the Country
tect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I could not take the office without taking the oath. Nor was it my view, that I might take an oath to get power, and break the oath in using the power. I understood, too, that in ordinary civil administration, this oath even forbade me to practically indulge my primary, abstract judgment, on the moral question of slavery. I had publicly declared this many times, and in many ways. And I aver that, to this day, I have done no official act in mere deference to my abstract judgment and feeling on slavery.
"I did understand, however, that my oath to preserve the Constitution to the best of my ability, imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensable means, the Government that Nation-of which that Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the Nation, and yet preserve the Constitution?
"By general law, life and limb must be protected: yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I feel that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution, through the preservation of the Nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground and now avow it. I could not feel that to the best of my ability I had even tried to preserve the Constitution, if to save slavery or any minor matter, I should permit the wreck of Government, Country and Constitution, all together When early in the war, Gen. Fremont attempted military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it an indispensable necessity. When a little later, Gen. Cameron, then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable necessity. When, still later, Gen. Hunter attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity had come.
"When, in March, and May, and July, 1862, I made
His Answer to Kentuckians.
earnest and successive appeals to the Border States to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition, and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union, and with it the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the latter. In choosing it, I hoped for greater gain than loss; but of this I was not entirely confident. More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it, in our foreign relations; none in our home popular sentiment; none in our white military force-no loss by it anyhow or anywhere. On the contrary, it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen, and laborers. These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there can be no caviling. We have the men, and we could not have had them without the measure.
"And now, let any Union man who complains of the measure, test himself, by writing down in one line that he is for subduing the rebellion by force of arms, and in the next that he is for taking these one hundred and thirty thousand men from the Union side, and placing them where they would be, but for the measure he condemns. If he can not face his cause so stated, it is only because he can not face the truth.
"I add a word, which was not in the verbal conversation. In telling this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the Nation's condition is not what either party or any man devised or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending, seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find
Employing Negro Soldiers.
therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God. Yours truly,
The results of the employment of negro soldiers—a measure which, at the time it was first announced, caused no little commotion among the over-sensitive in the loyal States, and was looked upon with disfavor by many white soldiers, as well -as shown in the above letter, precluded further arguments upon the question.
The Davis combination at Richmond, having announced that none of the immunities recognized under the laws of war would be granted to colored soldiers or their officers, General Orders No. 100, under date of April 24, 1863, "previously approved by the President," promulgating general instructions for the government of our armies, was issued, containing the following:
"The law of nations knows of no distinction of color; and if an enemy of the United States should enslave and sell any captured persons of their army, it would be a case for the severest retaliation, if not redressed upon complaint. The United States cannot retaliate by enslavement; therefore, death must be the retaliation for this crime against the law of nations.
"All troops of the enemy known or discovered to give no quarter in general, or to any portion of the army, will receive
The following order of the President, issued by him as Commander-in-chief, and communicated to the entire army, deals with this subject alone :
"Executive Mansion, Washington, July 30, 1863. "It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its citizens, of whatever class, color or condition, and especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations, and the usages and cus
The Flag Protects.
Kind of Retaliation.
toms of war, as carried on by civilized powers, prohibit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person, on account of his color, and for no offence against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime against the civil ization of the age.
"The Government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
"It is therefore ordered, that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continued at such labor until the one shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war. ABRAHAM LINCOLN."
Lieut. Gen. Grant-His Military Record-Continued Movements-Correspondence with the President-Across the Rapidan-Richmond Invested-President's Letter to a Grant Meeting-Meeting of Republican National Convention-The Platform-The Nomination -Mr. Lincoln's Reply to the Committee of Notification-Remarks to Union League Committee-Speech at a Serenade-Speech to Ohio Troops.
IN 1864, those grand military combinations were planned and had their commencement which were to give the quietus to that gigantic rebellion, which, as we had been gravely and repeatedly assured by patronizing foreigners and ill-wishers of the Republic here at home, could never be subdued-to which, they being judges, the United States would eventually be forced to succumb.
Lieut. Gen. Grant.
What he has Done.
On the 2nd of March, the President approved a bill, passed by Congress on the 26th of February, reviving the grade of Lieutenant-General in the Army, to which position he at once nominated, and the Senate unanimously confirmed, Ulysses S. Grant, then Major-General.
Like the President, Gen. Grant sprang from "plain people;" arose from humble circumstances, and had none of those advantages of birth, or family connections, or large estate, which have so often furnished such material leverage for men who have attained distinction. Entering the army as Colonel of an Illinois regiment, on the point of being disbanded, which within a month he had made noticeable for its discipline and character, even when compared with those noteworthy regiments which Illinois has furnished; promoted to the grade of Brigadier-General; preventing, by the battle of Belmontcriticised at the time, but, like many other engagements, little understood-the reinforcement of the rebels in Southern Missouri by troops from Columbus; seizing, with a strong force, which he had quietly gathered near Smithland, almost at one fell swoop, Forts Henry and Donelson-a rebel army, with artillery, and material, being captured in each; starting the till then defiant rebels on a run from Kentucky and Tennessee, which did not end until they reached Corinth; next fighting the battle of Shiloh, a critical point of the war, with Sherman as Chief Lieutenant-Shiloh, of which he said, at the close of the first day's fight, when every thing seemed against us, "Tough work to-day, but we'll beat them to-morrow;" superseded by Buell, patiently sitting at the long, unprofitable siege of Corinth, until he was transferred to Vicksburg, which in due time greeted him with the surrender of another rebel army, reopening the Father of Waters to navigation; then Chattanooga, which he ordered Thomas to hold fast, and not to give up, if he starved-and it was not given up, and East Tennessee was freed from rebels; these had been the prominent points of Grant's military career during the rebellion up