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The black man from this time, became not only a soldier, but a fellow soldier.
Congress, not less emphatically than the people, endorsed the proclamation.
On the 15th of December, 1862, on motion of Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, the House, by a very large majority of votes,
“ Resolved, That the proclamation of the President of the United States, of the date of the 22d of September, 1862, is warranted by the Constitution; that the policy of emancipation, as indicated in that proclamation, is well adapted to hasten the restoration of peace, was well chosen as war measure, and is an exercise of power, with proper regard for the rights of the States, and the prosperity of free Government."
The principle of justice to the colored man, and liberty to all, theretofore advocated by a party long stigmatized as abolitionists, a name wbich had ceased to be a term of reproach, had advanced until the proclamation was justly regarded as heralding its final and complete triumph.
Along the pathway of the once feeble, obscure, and contemned abolitionist, to final victory, can be traced the wrecks of many parties, many ecclesiastical organizations, and many great names of those who had fallen by placing themselves in the way of its progress. Truth and justice, right and liberty be mighty things to conjure with, and vain is the power of man when he tries to stop their advance. The timid and over cautious were startled by the boldness of the measure, and the opponents of the administration and those who sympathized with secession, hoped to make this act the means of the political defeat of the administration. They under-estimated the strength of a great cause, and the power of boldness in behalf of a great principle. From this day down to its final triumph, the success of the Union cause was crowned with victory and success. Meanwhile, addresses of congratulation and sympathy poured in from the peoples of European Kingdoms. By presenting the National struggle as a clearly defined contest between liberty and slavery, the attitude of Europe towards the United States was changed. The Government of no intelligent people, could now afford to intervene
THE PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION.
in behalf of slavery. And yet, when this proclamation reached England, Lord Russell, in a dispatch to Lord Lyons, the British Minister at Washington, sneered at the paper,
as a measure of a very questionable kind;” an act of vengeance on the slave owner; “ It professes” said he, “ to emancipate slaves, where the United States cannot make emancipation a reality, but emancipates no one where the decree can be carried into effect."
But perhaps to his Lordships' regret, the United States did make emancipation a reality, and did carry the proclamation into effect, to the extent of freeing every slave in the Republic.
It will be observed that the proclamation did not include the great State of Tennessee. It is known that it was omitted in deference to the judgment of Andrew Johnson, and other distinguished Union men of that State.* A year had not elapsed before many of them regretted the omission, and the Unionists of Tennessee, ere long vindicated the wisdom of President Lincoln, by providing a remedy for the omission in adopting a new Constitution abolishing and prohibiting slavery. +
*Such was the statement of Mr. Lincoln to the author.
† A letter, of which the following is a copy, was placed in the hands of Mr. Johnson, early in August, 1866:
CHICAGO, August 1, 1866. To the Honorable ANDREW JOHNSON, President of the United States:
Sir : I am preparing a History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery in the United States. There are some circumstances connected with the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, about which, before the book comes from the press, I should be glad to be advised by you.
I understood Mr. Lincoln to say, that Tennessee was not included in the proclamation, because you and other earnest Union men of Tennessee, in whose patriotism, loyalty and devotion to freedom, he had the greatest confidence, thought it would, at the time, embarrass the Union cause in that State; but that before a year had gone by, such was the change in public sentiment, that you, and other Union men in Tennessee, expressed regret that Tennessee had not been included in the proclamation ; but, he added, they have remedied the mistake, if it was one, by abolishing and prohibiting slavery in their new State Constitution of Tennessee. This was the substance of what I understood Mr. Lincoln to say. I do not feel at liberty, however, to make the statement as a part of the history of the great event without submitting it to you, and respectfully asking your recollection upon the subject.
Congratulating you upon the restoration of Tennessee to the Union, as a free
I. N. ARNOLD. No reply having been received to this letter, the author concludes that Mr. Johnson does not suggest any alteration in the statement.
Facts have already been stated, indicating the deep religious solemnity of feeling under which Mr. Lincoln issued this proclamation. Another circumstance may be stated, illustrating alike a religious feeling approaching superstition, as well as the characteristic playfulness of the President. A friend on one occasion, reminded him that he had given the pen with which the proclamation was signed, to Senator Sumner. “Yes," said the President, “I had promised Sumner the pen. On New Years' day, (the 1st of January, 1863) the final proclamation was all ready to be signed and sent to the press, except that some blanks of portions of the State of Louisiana, which were to be excepted were to be filled up: I went down to the parlor and held à very crowded reception. During the time I was receiving calls, the information which would enable me to fill up these blanks was furnished me, and I left the drawing room and hastened up stairs to sign and send to the associated press, the proclamation. As I took up a pen to sign the paper, my hand and arm trembled and shook so violently, that I could not write. I could not for a moment, control my arm. I paused, and a superstitious feeling came over me which made me hesitate. (No wonder the hand of the President shook when about to seize and hurl this thunderbolt of war!) In a moment I remembered that I had been shaking hands for hours, with several hundred people, and hence a very simple explanation of the trembling and shaking of my arm. With a laugh at my own superstitious thought, I signed and sent off the paper. Sumner soon after calling for the pen, out of half a dozen on my table, I gave him the one I had most probably used."*
In this connection, it may not be out of place to add, that it was during this year that Edward Bates, the Attorney General, gave an elaborate opinion, establishing the conclusion, that free colored persons born in the United States, were citizens. After a very learned examination, he came
* Mr. Carpenter, in his “Six Months at the White House," says, “Mr. Lincoln said to Mr. Seward, who was present, 'I have been shaking hands all day, and my right arm is nearly paralyzed. If my name ever gets into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. If my hand trembles, when I sign the proclamation, all who examine the document hereafter, will say, 'He hesitated. He then turned to the table, took up the pen, and slowly and firmly wrote ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He looked up, smiled, and said, “That will do."
TIE PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION.
to the conclusion that “all free persons, without distinction of race or color, if native born, are citizens.” This conclusion was a very great revolution from the dogmas of the Dred Scott opinions. He made the distinction between inherent civil rights of citizens, and political privileges of cere tain classes. All citizens, male or female, white or black, are entitled to equal protection by the law; but only those designated enjoy the political privilege of voting.
MILITARY OPERATIONS OF 1862.
INACTIVITY OF MCCLELLAN — PRESIDENT'S ORDER FOR A GENERAL
ADVANCE — ACTIVE OPERATIONS IN THE WEST — BATTLE OF MIDDLE CREEK- MILL SPRING-CAPTURE OF FORTS HENRY AND DONELSON — MITCHELL's March TO BOWLING GREEN — UNION Troops Occupy NASHVILLE-CAPTURE OF ROANOKE ISLAND AND NEWBERN— PEA RIDGE- NEW MADRID — ISLAND NUMBER TEN - Shiloh — CORINTH - CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS.
N order that a consecutive narration of the series of measIN
ures adopted by Congress and the Executive, upon the all-important question of slavery, might be given, down to the period of emancipation, military movements in their chronological order have been omitted. We now return to take up the history of these events, which, though more attractive perhaps to the general reader, are less important than a clear and accurate understanding of the progress of ideas and their embodiment in the forms of law.
It was not until late in 1861, that the country fully appreciated, or was at all prepared for the stupendous war impending.
The work of 1861 was that of preparation. By the 1st of December, the whole number of men mustered into the army had reached nearly or quite 640,000.* The leading features of the plan of the war seemed to be — First, To blockade the entire coast of the insurgent States. Second, The military occupation of the border slave States. Third, The recovery of the Mississippi River to the Gulf, by which the Confederacy would be divided, and the great outlet of the Northwest be secured. Fourth, The destruction of the rebel army in Virginia, and the conquest of Richmond, the rebel Capital. To accomplish these great purposes, and to
Report of the Secretary of War, December, 1861.