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CHAP. XI. with a fanciful play upon the initials of his name,
spoke of him as “ Unconditional Surrender Grant." Buckner had no other balm for the sting of his defeat than to say that Grant's terms were “ungenerous and unchivalric,” but that necessity compelled him to accept them. That day Grant was enabled to telegraph to Halleck: “We have taken Fort Donelson and from 12,000 to 15,000 prisoners, including Generals Buckner and Bushrod R. John
son; also about 20,000 stands of arms, forty-eight to Hraneck, pieces of artillery, seventeen heavy guns, from 1862. W.R. 2000 to 4000 horses, and large quantities of com
By this brilliant and important victory Grants fame sprang suddenly into full and universal recognition. President Lincoln nominated him majorgeneral of volunteers, and the Senate at once confirmed the appointment. The whole military service felt the inspiriting event. Many of the colonels in Grant's army were made brigadier-generals; and promotion ran, like a quickening leaven, through the whole organization. Halleck also reminded the Government of his desire for larger power. “Make Buell, Grant, and Pope major
generals of volunteers," he telegraphed the day Helleskto. after the surrender, “and give me command in the Feb. r. West. I ask this in return for Forts Henry and
HE annual message of President Lincoln at Chap. XIL
the opening of Congress in December, 1861, treated many subjects of importance-foreign relations, the condition of the finances, a reorganization of the Supreme Court, questions of military administration, the building of a military railroad through Kentucky to East Tennessee, the newly organized Territories, a review of military progress towards the suppression of rebellion. It contained also a vigorous practical discussion of the relations between capital and labor, which pointed out with singular force that“the insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government, the rights of the people.” In addition to these topics, it treated another question of greater importance than all of them, but in so moderate a tone, and with such tentative suggestions, that it excited less immediate comment than any other. This was the question of slavery.
It had not escaped Mr. Lincoln's notice that the relations of slavery to the war were producing rapidly increasing complications and molding public thought to new and radical changes of opinion. His revocation of Frémont's proclamation had
CHAP. XII. momentarily checked the clamor of importunate
agitators for military emancipation; but he saw clearly enough that a deep, though as yet undefined, public hope clung to the vague suggestion that slavery and rebellion might perish together. As a significant symptom of this undercurrent of feeling, there came to him in November a letter from George Bancroft, the veteran Democratic politician and national historian; a man eminent not only for his writings upon the science of government, but who as a member of President Polk's Cabinet had rendered signal and lasting service in national administration. Mr. Bancroft had lately presided at a meeting in New York called to collect contributions to aid the suffering loyalists of North Carolina. As it happened on all such occasions, the patriotism of the hour sprang forward to bold speech and radical argument. Even the moderate words of Mr. Bancroft on taking the chair reflected this reformatory spirit: “If slavery and the Union are incompatible, listen to the words that come to you from the tomb of Andrew Jackson: The Union must be preserved at all hazards.' . . If any
one claims the compromises of the Constitution, let New-York
him begin by placing the Constitution in power by Nov. 8, 1861. respecting it and upholding it." In the letter
transmitting these remarks and the resolutions of the meeting to Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Bancroft made a yet more emphatic suggestion. He wrote: “Your Administration has fallen upon times which will be remembered as long as human events find a record. I sincerely wish to you the glory of perfect success. Civil war is the instrument of Divine Providence to root out social slavery; posterity will not be satis
Nov. 16, 1861. M8.
fied with the result, unless the consequences of the CHAP. XII. war shall effect an increase of free States. This is Bancroft the universal expectation and hope of men of all parties."
Such a letter, from a man having the learning, talent, and political standing of its author, is of itself historic; but Mr. Lincoln's reply gives it a special significance. November 18, 1861, he wrote: “I esteem it a high honor to have received a note from Mr. Bancroft, inclosing the report of proceedings of a New York meeting taking measures for the relief of Union people of North Carolina. I thank you and all others participating for this benevolent and patriotic movement. The main thought in the closing paragraph of your letter is one which does not escape my attention, and with which I must deal in all due caution, and with the best judgment Bancroft, I can bring to it." This language gives us the 1861. Ms. exact condition of Mr. Lincoln's mind on the subject of slavery at that time. He hoped and expected to effect an “increase of free States through emancipation; but we shall see that this emancipation was to come through the voluntary action of the States, and that he desired by such policy to render unnecessary the compulsory military enfranchisement which Frémont had attempted and which his followers advocated.
The caution and good judgment which President Lincoln applied to the solution of this dangerous problem become manifest when we reëxamine its treatment in his annual message mentioned above. Not referring directly to any general plan or hope of emancipation, he nevertheless approached the subject by discussing its immediate and practical
CHAP. XII. necessities in phraseology which gave him room
for expansion into a more decisive policy. It is worth while, not merely to quote the whole passage, but to emphasize the sentences which were plainly designed to lead Congress and the country to the contemplation of new and possible contingencies.
Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary Purposes," approved August 6, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and service of certain other persons have become forfeited; and numbers of the latter, thus liberated, are already dependent on the United States, and must be provided for in some way. Besides this, it is not impossible that some of the States will pass similar enactments for their own benefit respectively, and by operation of which persons of the same class will be thrown upon them for disposal. In such case I recommend that Congress provide for accepting such persons from such States, according to some mode of valuation, in lieu, pro tanto, of direct taxes, or upon some other plan to be agreed on with such States respectively; that such persons, on such acceptance by the General Government, be at once deemed free; and that, in any event, steps be taken for colonizing both classes (or the one first mentioned, if the other shall not be brought into existence) at some place or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization.. The war continues. In considering the policy to be adopted for suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and careful that the inevitable conflict for this purpose
shall not degenerate into violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle. I have, therefore, in every case, thought it proper to keep the integrity of the Union prominent as the primary object of the contest on our part, leaving all questions which are not of vital military importance to the more deliberate action of the Legislature.