Imágenes de páginas

House without official rebuke ; and that traitors, like Burnett, of Kentucky, and Reid, of Missouri, retained their seats therein through the extra session, going directly after into the Eebel military or civil service. Toleration to treason in utterance was now no longer a virtue.

On the first day of the session, Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, offered a joint resolution, reviving the rank of Lieutenant General in the army. This resolution was adopted by both Houses in the last days of February, and was approved by the President. All eyes were now turned upon Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the hero of so many victories, who was seen to be, if not the most earnest and the most unselfish, at least the most successful, commander in a war, in which so many officers had won a high place in popular regard, as the fit person to receive this chief honor, with its immense responsibilities. The President immediately nominated Gen. Grant as Lieutenant General, and he was unanimously confirmed, on the 2d day of March, by the Senate. Having been called to Washington without delay, he received his commission with a rare modesty, and at once proceeded to organize a grand campaign, embracing the armies of the East and the West in a combined effort for their closing work.

In intrusting this great power to Lieut.-Gen. Grant, the direction of military affairs was limited by no hampering conditions. The entire forces of the country, with such subordinates and such preparations as he chose to ask, were freely placed at his disposal.

The Lieutenant General had not only heartily supported the Administration in its endeavors to put down, by vigorous attacks, a wantonly wicked insurrection, but he had emphatically expressed, in his correspondence, his personal approval of the President's policy of emancipation and of enrolling colored soldiers in the armies of the Government.

Earlier movements in Florida and in Louisiana, already undertaken, afforded no very auspicious opening to the cam paigning season; Fort Pillow on the Mississippi and Plymouth in North Carolina were captured by the Rebels, followed by massacres unparalleled in barbarism by the acts of any professedly civilized people since the darkest ages; but the grand armies of Eastern Tennessee and in Virginia, heavily increased in strength by new levies and by the withdrawal of troops from positions in which their action could not be effective in executing the intended advance upon the great central points of the rebellion, were put in condition for striking the last mortal blows upon a tottering conspiracy, too long suffered to gather hope from the delay of retribution on its crimes.

The following speech, delivered by Mr. Lincoln on the 18th of April, 1864, at a fair held in Baltimore for the benefit of the United States Sanitary Commission, is particularly suggestive, in regard to the date, place, and occasion of its delivery. On his way to Washington, in February, 1861, he passed through the city of Baltimore incognito, to escape from a plot of assassination, of which he had been forewarned. On the 19th of April, in the same year, the blood of loyal soldiers, on marching to protect the National Capital, had flowed in the streets of that city. He now stood before an immense throng in the Dame city, on the anniversary eve of the assault upon those soldiers, at the fair in aid of an organization for the benefit of Union soldiers every-where. He spoke, too, of slavery, and was loudly cheered when he referred to the practically accomplished annihilation of that institution in Maryland. He even took this opportunity—the first public occasion presented—to announce his determined purpose of enforcing retaliation (long before enjoined on the army by special orders) for the crime, then just perpetrated, of massacreing tho colored garrison of Fort Pillow, refusing quarter.

The report of this speech, as it appeared in the Baltimore journals at the time, is here given:

After the cheering had ended, and after, with great exertions, order had been secured—every body being anxious to sa the President—he said, substantially:

Ladies And Gentlemen: Calling it to mind that we are in Baltimore, we can not fail to note that the world moves. [Applause.] Looking upon the many people I see assembled tere to serve as they best may the soldiers of the Union, it occurs to mo that three years ago those soldiers could not pass through Baltimore. I would say, blessings upon the men who have wrought these changes, and the ladies who have assisted them. £ Applause.] This change which has taken place in Baltimore, is part only of a far wider change that is taking place all over the country.

When the war commenced, three years ago, no one expected that it would last this long, and no one supposed that the institution of slavery would be materially affected by it. But here we are. The war is not yet ended, and slavery has been very materially affected or interfered with. [Loud applause.] So true is it that man proposes and God disposes.

The world is in want of a good definition of the word liberty. We all declare ourselves to be for liberty, but we do not all mean the same thing. Some mean that a man can do as he pleases with himself and his property. With others, it means that some men can do as they please with other men and other men's labor. Each of these things are called liberty, although they are entirely different. To give an illustration: A shepherd drives the wolf from the throat of his sheep when attacked by him, and the sheep, of course, thanks the shepherd for the preservation of his life; but the wolf denounces him as despoiling the sheep of his liberty—especially if it be a black sheep. (Applause.]

This same difference of opinion prevails among some of the people of the North. But the people of Maryland have recently been doing something to properly define the meaning of 6Le word, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for what they have done and are doing. [Applause.]

It is not very becoming for a President to make a speech at great length, but there is a painful rumor afloat in the country, in reference to which a few words shall be said. It is reported that there has been a wanton massacre of some hundreds of colored soldiers at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, during a recent engagement there, and it is fit to explain some facts in relation to the affair. It is said by some persons that the Government is not, in this matter, doing its duty. At the commencement of ihe war, it was doubtful whether black men would be used as soldiers or not. The matter was examined into very carefully, and after mature deliberation, the whole matter resting as it were with himself, he, in his judgment, decided that they should. [Applause.]

He was responsible for the act to the American people, to a Christian nation, to the future historian, and, above all, to his God, to whom he would have, one day,-to render an account of his stewardship. He would now say that in his opinion the black soldier should have the same protection as tho white soldier, and he would have it. [Applause.] It was an error to say that the Government was not acting in the matter. The Government has no direct evidence to confirm the reports in existence relative to this massacre, but he himself believed the facts in relation to it to be as stated. When the Government does know the facts from official sources, and they prove to substantiate the reports, retribution will be surely given. [Applause.]

A month earlier, Mr. Lincoln had made the following happy response to a call of the assembled multitude at a fair, for similar objects, held in Washington:

Ladies And Gentlemen: I appear, to say but a word. This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and, while all contribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country's cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.

In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and among these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And the chief agents in these fairs are tho women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of the language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say that, if all that has been said by orators and poets, since the creation of the world, in praise of women, were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America! [Great applause.]

The spring elections of 1864, in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island, showed still more decidedly than those of the previous year, that the Administration had becomo strong in the confidence and affection of the people. That this gratifying result had a direct relation to Mr. Lincoln in person, is seen in the fact that the Administration party in each of those States, had committed itself, without dissent, in favor of his reelection, making this a distinct issue of the canvass. In twelve other States, nearly at the same time, the popular voice, as declared through State Conventions or Legislatures, demanded, with like unanimity and enthusiasm, that Mr. Lincoin should continue in tho Presidency for another term. A similar current of opinion was seen to exist in every other loyal State. Since the celebrated "era of good feeling," in the days of President Monroe, this manifestation of popular sentiment has had no parallel. Abroad, too, no less than at home, the true friends of our Government have almost universally looked upon the reelection of Mr. Lincoln, under the pr:sent circumstances of the country, as the manifest interest and duty of the American people.

The policy of Mr. Lincoln's Administration has been fully set forth in his own words. No dissembling, no insincerity, gives the least false tinge to any of his public papers or addresses. This outspoken, frank, confiding way of his, has given him a hold upon the popular heart, and upon the love of all true men, such as few statesmen have ever had. "Honesty" is the word which has been commonly used in speaking of this trait—coupled with a sterling integrity that excludes all selfish and sinister ends; yet it is something more, as the Gotden Rule has a wider scope than simple justice. He not only really believes in the right and the true as infinitely preferable to the wrong and the false, both in means and in end, but he is also sure that the people have the same pure faith, and will judge him with that degree of candor which he uses in unfolding to them his purposes and his thoughts. The spirit of that Diplomacy which conceals, and feigns, and doubles, and deceives, never for a moment darkened his mind.

Of necessity, the questions relating to slavery and the African element of our population, have occupied the foremost ground during all this great struggle, in which Mr. Lincoln has been called to lead the organized action of the nation. His whole policy on this general subject, and a concise history of his action and of the processes of his mind thereon, are set forth, with admirable frankness and precision, in the following letter to a gentleman in Kentucky:

Executive Mansion, 1 Washington, April 4,1864. j A. G. Hodges, Esq., Frankfort, Ky.—My Dear Sir: You ask me to put in writing the substance of what I verbally said,

« AnteriorContinuar »