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wasting the nation's life, as the result of a most unnatural, utterly unjustifiable rebellion; involving the crime of treason against the best of human governments, and sin against God. It required our Government to submit to its own dismemberment and destruction, leaving it no alternative but to preserve the national integrity by the use of the national resources. If the Government had failed to use its power to preserve the unity of the nation, and maintain its authority, it would have been justly exposed to the wrath of Heaven, and to the reproach and scorn of the civilized world.
Our earnest and constant prayer is, that this cruel and wicked rebellion may be speedily suppressed; and we pledge you our hearty cooperation in all appropriate means to secure this object.
Loyal and hopeful in national adversity, in prosperity thankful, we most heartily congratulate you on the glorious victories recently gained, and rejoice in the belief that our complete triumph is near.
We believe that our national sorrows and calamities have resulted, in a great degree, from our forgetfulness of God, and oppression of our fellow-men. Chastened by affliction, may the nation humbly repent of her sins, lay aside her haughty pride, honor God in all future legislation, and render justice to all who have been wronged.
We honor you for your proclamations of liberty, and rejoice in all the acts of the Government designed to secure freedom to the enslaved.
We trust that when military usages and necessities shall justify interference with established institutions, and the removal of wrongs sanctioned by law, the occasion will be improved, not merely to injure our foes and increase the national resources, but, also, as an opportunity to recognize our obligations to God, and to honor His law. We pray that the time may speedily come when this shall be truly a republican and free country, in no part of which, either State or Territory, shall slavery be known.
The prayers of millions of Christians, with an earnestness never manifested for rulers before, daily ascend to Heaven, that you may be endued with all needed wisdom and power. Actuated by the sentiments of the loftiest and purest patriotism, our prayer shall be continually for the preservation of our country undivided, for the triumph of our cause, and for a permanent peace, gained by the sacrifice of no moral principles, but founded on the Word of God, and securing, in righteousness, liberty and equal rights to all.
Signed, in behalf of the General Conference of the Metho dist Episcopal Church.
PHILADELPHIA, May 14, 1864.
President Lincoln replied in the following words:
GENTLEMEN: In response to your address, allow me tc attest the accuracy of its historical statements, indorse the sentiments it expresses, and thank you, in the nation's name, the sure promise it gives.
Nobly sustained, as the Government has been by all the churches, I would utter nothing which might in the least appear invidious against any. Yet, without this, it may fairly be said that the Methodist Episcopal Church, not less devoted than the best, is, by its greater numbers, the most important of all. It is no fault in others that the Methodist Church sends more soldiers to the field, more nurses to the hospitals, and more prayers to heaven than any. God bless the Methodist Church; bless all the churches; and blessed be God, who, in this our great trial, giveth us the churches.
There was some corresponding action on the part of nearly or quite all the general ecclesiastical bodies of the United States. "All the churches," without regard to sectarian difference, not only confided in his high character, but also received from him a reciprocation of kindly feeling and thankfulness.
The first stage of the Presidential canvass was now passed. The nominations were made. The Administration platform was before the people. It now remained to be determined whether the Republican Union party should continue in the ascendant-whether a majority of the people of the nation, entitled to a voice on the question, should fully confirm and ratify what the party itself had with such cordial unanimity agreed upon, or should intrust the power of the nation to new men, on an entirely different basis of public policy.
Congress.-The Constitutional Amendment prohibiting Slavery.-lts Defeat in the House.-Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Laws.-New Bureaus Established.-Other Important Legislation.-"Reconstruction."-Opposition to the President's Policy.-The Davis Bill.Disagreement of the two Houses Thereon.-Its Final Passage.— The President withholds his Signature. -- His Proclamation on the Subject. The Wade-Davis Manifesto.-Letters of Mr. Lincoln in regard to Matters in New Orleans and St. Louis.--President Lincoln's Speech at the Philadelphia Fair.-A Democratic National Convention Called and Postponed.--Clay, Thompson and other Conspirators in Canada.-The Greeley Negotiations with them.-President Lincoln's Action in the Case.-North-western Conspiracy.The Chicago Nominations and Platform, 1864.
THE first session of the Thirty-eighth Congress terminated on the 4th day of July, 1864. On the 10th day of February, Mr. Trumbull, in the Senate, had reported from the Committee on the Judiciary a joint resolution proposing to the legislatures of the several States (to become valid when ratified by three-fourths of the same) the following article as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
ARTICLE XIII.-Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This resolution passed the Senate on the 8th of April, by a vote of 38 to 6 (the negative votes being given by Messrs. Davis and Powell, of Kentucky, Riddle and Salisbury, of Delaware, Hendricks, of Indiana, and McDougall, of California). The resolution having been transmitted to the House of Representatives, was taken up on the 31st of May, when, Mr.
Holman, of Indiana, having objected to its second reading, that body was brought to a direct vote on its rejection, which stood, yeas 55, nays 76, the Democratic opposition voting unanimously against any consideration of the question. On the 15th of June, the resolution was directly voted on, and rejected for want of the requisite two-thirds vote-the yeas being 95, and the nays 66. Mr. Ashley, of Ohio, having voted in the negative, with a view to secure a reconsideration of the vote at the next session, entered a motion to that effect on the same day. Thus a great measure of vital consequence to the nation for all time, was defeated by the Democratic opposition, still unwilling to cut loose from the doomed institution, and still apparently hopeful of renewing a Southern bondage which had been so long the basis of their political power. On the other hand, the Republican Union party had adopted this measure in its platform, as a vital issue of the time, and supported it with entire unanimity in both branches. of Congress. President Lincoln himself had already given his hearty approval to this method for the utter and final cxtinction of slavery wherever the jurisdiction of the United States extends.
The time had now come when the odious legislation for returning to bondage the slaves who had asserted their natural right to freedom by escaping into free territory, should cease to have a place among the laws of a free republic. Various attempts had been made to this end, both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, during this and the previous sessions of Congress, without final effect, until, on the 13th of June, 1864, Mr. Morris, cf New York, from the Committee on the Judiciary, reported an act repealing the fugitive slave act of 1850, and the third and fourth sections of that of 1793. This repealing act passed by nearly a strict party vote-yeas 86, nays 60-the Administration members, save Mr. Smithers, of Delaware, voting unitedly for the repeal, and the Opposition members, except Mr. Griswold, of New York, voting in the negative. This bill passed the Senate on the 22d day of June, and received the approval of the Executive on the 28th.
The Bureau of National Currency, in the Treasury Depart
ment, was created at this session, and Hon. Hugh McCulloch, of Indiana, appointed to the office of Comptroller of the Currency. In the War Department, the Bureau of Military Justice was established, at the head of which Hon. Joseph Holt, of Kentucky, was appointed, as Judge Advocate General, with the rank of brigadier-general. An additional loan of $400,000,000 was authorized; the enrollment act was materially modified, by repealing the commutation clause (releasing any drafted man on the payment of three hundred dollars), and otherwise rendering it more efficient; important amendments were made in the pension laws; and acts were passed for the punishment of guerrillas, for increasing the efficiency of the navy, and in aid of the proposed international telegraph by British and Russian America to Asia.
In his annual message, with the accompanying proclamation of amnesty, President Lincoln had, somewhat at length and in detail, given his views as to the best means of restoring practical relations between the insurrectionary States and the National Government. These views were in accord with those hitherto acted upon, and approved by every branch of the Government, although, coupled as they were with proffers of amnesty, they were extended to embrace particular suggestions not before presented. The methods of reorganization proposed were recommendations merely, properly guarded, and the purpose of prescribing any invariable rule of action in the premises, was distinctly disavowed. As already seen, the President, in this proclamation of amnesty with certain conditions, was not only exercising the prerogative belonging to the pardoning power conferred on him by the Constitution, but was also carrying out the formally expressed will of Congress. Early in the session (December 15, 1863), Mr. Davis, of Maryland, moved the reference of so much of the President's message as related to this subject to a committee of nine, which was agreed to, the mover being appointed chairman. On the 4th of May following, a bill and preamble were reported by Mr. Davis, embodying a fixed and elaborate plan of "reconstruction." It provided for the appointment of a Provisional * Ante page 459