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country and the States interested. On the 6th CHAP. XII. of March he sent to the Senate and the House of Representatives a special message, recommending the adoption of the following joint resolution: “Resolved, That the United States ought to coöperate with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and March 6, private, produced by such change of system.” His message explained that this was merely the proposal of practical measures which he hoped would follow. He said:
The point is not that all the States tolerating slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate emancipation, but that while the offer is equally made to all, the more Northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more Southern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed Confederacy. I say "initiation” because, in my judgment, gradual, and not sudden, emancipation is better for all. . . Such a proposition on the part of the General Government sets up no claim of a right by Federal authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, referring, as it does, the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State and its people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them. In the annual message last December, I thought fit to say, “The Union must be preserved; and hence, all indispensable means must be employed.” I said this, not hastily, but deliberately. War has been made, and continues to be, an indispensable means to this end. A practical reacknowledgment of the national authority would render the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue; and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which may attend and all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem
1862, pp. 1102,
CHAP. XII. indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency
towards ending the struggle, must and will come.
To this public recommendation he added some cogent reasons in private letters to influential persons. Thus, three days after his message, he wrote to the editor of "The New York Times”:
I am grateful to the New York journals, and not less so to the “Times" than to others, for their kind notices of the late special message to Congress. Your paper, however, intimates that the proposition, though well intentioned, must fail on the score of expense. I do hope you will reconsider this. Have you noticed the facts that less than one-half day's cost of this war would pay for all the slaves in Delaware, at $400 per head! - that eighty-seven days' cost of this war would pay for all in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Missouri at the same price! Were those States to take the step, do you doubt
that it would shorten the war more than eighty-seven days, Lincoln to and thus be an actual saving of expense! Please look at Raymond, these things, and consider whether there should not be 1862. MÁ. another article in the “ Times."
So again, to Senator McDougall, who was opposing the scheme with considerable earnestness in the Senate, he wrote privately on March 14:
As to the expensiveness of the plan of gradual emancipation, with compensation, proposed in the late message, please allow me one or two brief suggestions. Less than one half-day's cost of this war would pay for all the slaves in Delaware, at $400 per head. Thus: All the slaves in Delaware by the census of 1860 are...1798
$400 Cost of slaves
.$719,200 One day's cost of the war
.$2,000,000 Again, less than eighty-seven days' cost of this war would, at the same price, pay for all in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Missouri. Thus:
Slaves in Delaware
3,181 .225,490 .114,965
Cost of slaves
$173,048,800 Eighty-seven days' cost of the war.
174,000,000 Do you doubt that taking the initiatory steps on the part of those States and this District would shorten the war more than eighty-seven days, and thus be an actual saving of expense? A word as to the time and manner of incurring the expense. Suppose, for instance, a State devises and adopts a system by which the institution absolutely ceases therein by a named day - say January 1, 1882. Then let the sum to be paid to such State by the United States be ascertained by taking from the census of 1860 the number of slaves within the State, and multiplying that number by 400 — the United States to pay such sum to the State in twenty equal annual instalments, in six per cent. bonds of the United States. The sum thus given, as to time and manner, I think, would not be half as onerous as would be an equal sum raised now for the in- McDougall, definite prosecution of the war; but of this you can judge 1882. Ms. as well as I.
It was between the dates of these letters that President Lincoln made the most important personal effort to secure favorable action on his project of gradual abolishment. At his request such Members of Congress from the border slave States of Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri as were present in Washington came in a body to the Executive Mansion on March 10, where a somewhat prolonged discussion of this subject ensued, the substance of which was authentically reported by them. In reading the account of the interview, it must be remembered that Lincoln was
CHAP. XII. addressing the representatives of such slave States
as had remained loyal, and his phrases respecting his attitude and intention towards slavery were not intended by him to apply to the States whose persistent rebellion had forfeited the consideration and rights which the others could justly claim. Mr. Crisfield thus relates the substance of the President's address :
After the usual salutations and we were seated, the President said, in substance, that he had invited us to meet him to have some conversation with us in explanation of his message of the 6th; that since he had sent it in, several of the gentlemen then present had visited him, but had avoided any allusion to the message, and he therefore inferred that the import of the message had been misunderstood, and was regarded as inimical to the interests we represented; and he had resolved he would talk with us, and disabuse our minds of that erroneous opinion. The President then disclaimed any intent to injure the interests or wound the sensibilities of the slave States. On the contrary, his purpose was to protect the one and respect the other. That we were engaged in a terrible, wasting, and tedious war; immense armies were in the field, and must continue in the field as long as the war lasts; that these armies must, of necessity, be brought into contact with slaves in the States we represented, and in other States as they advanced; that slaves would come to the camps, and continual irritation was kept up. That he was constantly annoyed by conflicting and antagonistic complaints : on the one side, a certain class complained if the slave was not protected by the army - persons were frequently found who, participating in these views, acted in a way unfriendly to the slaveholder; on the other hand, slaveholders complained that their rights were interfered with, their slaves induced to abscond and protected within the lines. These complaints were numerous, loud, and deep; were a serious annoyance to him, and embarrassing to the progress of the war; that it kept alive a spirit hostile to the Govern