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The Popular Voice in 1863.–First Session of the Thirty-eighth Con.
gress.-Amnesty Proclamation.-Message.-Orders, Letters and Addresses.-Popular Sentiment in 1864.-Appointment of Lieutenant General Grant.--Opening of the Military Campaigns of 1864.Conclusion,
The great popular reaction in favor of the Administration of Mr. Lincoln, indicated by the spring elections, was fully apparent in the verdict of every loyal State in the autumn of 1863. In Ohio, the so-called Democratic organization, which had prevailed in that State by a small majority in October, 1862, put forward, as its candidate for Governor, a notorious Peace Democrat named Vallandigham, whose action, while a member of the previous Congress, had been in strict conformity with his avowed motto: “Not a man or a dollar for the war.” To such an extent was his support of the rebellion carried, by haranguing his followers, and all who would hear him, against the Government and the measures it had adopted in the prosecution of the war, that he had been arrested by Gen. Burnside, then in command of the Department including Ohio, tried for his treasonable practices, convicted, and ordered to be sent through the lines of our army to his friends at the South, The proceedings under which he was thus condemned, wero fully reviewed before the United States District Court at Cincinnati, on a motion for a writ of habeas corpus, and sustained by the decision of Judge Leavitt. It may be added that this action was further confirmed, several months later, on a hear ing before the Supreme Court of the United States. Hor. John Brough, the Administration candidate, was chosen Goyernor of Ohio, after a protracted and earnest canvass, by more than 100,000 majority over Vallandigham.
In Pennsylvania, the Republican candidate for Governor, Hon. Andrew G. Curtin, was reëlected by a large majority over
Judge Woodward, another Peace Democrat. In New York, where the most violent opposition was made to "conscription," resulting in a barbarous riot in New York city, the Administration ticket for sundry State officers had a very large majority over the candidates of the Seymour and Wood Democracy. Notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the Opposition, and the fact that hundreds of thousands of soldiers had been lately called into the field, every other loyal State, except New Jersey, (in which there were Administration gains,) gave similarly decided majorities for the supporters of Mr. Lincoln.
During the earlier, as well as the later, elections of this year, a prominent issue before the people was the course of the Administration in regard to Emancipation. Both at home and abroad, this policy had proved an element of great strength in shaping public opinion favorably to Mr. Lincoln. It identified his Administration, from the day this great step was taken, with not only a most effective means for suppressing the rebellion, but also with a measure in accordance with the high behests of justice, and the clearest interests of civilization and humanity. At the beginning of the year, the President received a gratifying testimonial of sympathy and confidence from the workingmen of Manchester, in England, and of their warm appreciation, especially, of his action in issuing the Proclamation of Emancipation. To this address, Mr. Lincoln sent the following reply:
WASHINGTON, January 19, 1863. TO THE WORKINGMEN OF MANCHESTER: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the address and resolutions which you sent me on the eve of the new year.
When I came, on the 4th of March, 1861, through a free and constitutional election, to preside in the Governmont of the United States, the country was found at the verge of civil war. Whatever might have been the cause, or whosesoever the fault, one duty, paramount to all others, was before me, namely, to maintain and preserve at once the Constitution and the integrity of the Federal Republic. A conscientious purpose to perform this duty is the key to all the measures of administration which have been, and to all which will hereafter be pursued. Under our frame of government and my official oath, I could
not depart from this purpose if I would. It is not always in the power of governments to enlarge or restrict the scope of moral results which follow the policies that they may deem it necessary, for the public safety, from time to time to adopt.
I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation rests solely with the American people. But I have, at the same time, been aware that the favor or disfavor of foreign nations might have a material influence in enlarging and prolonging the struggle with disloyal men in which the country is engaged. A fair examination of history has seemed to authorize a belief that the past action and influences of the United States were generally regarded as having been beneficial toward mankind. I have, therefore, reckoned upon the forbearance of nations. Circumstances—to some of which you kindly alludeinduced me especially to expect that, if justice and good faith should be practiced by the United States, they would
encounter no hostile influence on the part of Great Britain. It is now a pleasant duty to acknowledge the demonstration you have given of your desire that a spirit of peace and amity toward this country may prevail in the councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in your own country only more than she is by the kindred pation which has its home on this side of the Atlantic.
I know, and deeply deplore, the sufferings which the workingmen at Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this Government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the action of our disloyal citizens, the workingmen of Europe have been subjected to severe trial, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under these circumstances, I can not but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth, and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom. I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained by your great nation; and, on the other hand, I have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and the most reciprocal feelings of friendship among the American people. I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that, whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exist between
the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.
Later in the season, Mr. Lincoln was invited to revisit hic home in Springfield, on the occasion of a mass meeting of the people of Illinois, who were unconditionally for the Union, to be held at that place. The letter addressed by bim, in reply. to the chairman of the Committee of Invitation, an esteemed personal friend, was published at the time, and received with satisfaction by the loyal people of the country. The subject of Emancipation is again treated therein, after discussing the possible terms of peace, and the issue brought directly home to the minds of the people, with pointed force and sunlike learness. The letter is in these words :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
August 26, 1863. MY DEAR SIR: Your letter inviting me to attend a mass meeting of unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital of Illinois on the 3d day of September, has been received. It would be very agreeable to me thus to meet my old friends at my own home; but I can not just now be absent from this city 30 long as a visit there would require.
The meeting is to be of all those who maintain unconditional devotion to the Union; and I am sure that my old political friends will thank me for tendering, as I do, the nation's gratitude to those other noble men whom no partisan malice or partisan hope can make false to the nation's life. There are those who are dissatisfied with me. To such I would say: You desire peace, and you blame me that we do not have it But how can we attain it? There are but three conceivable ways : First, to suppress the rebellion by force of arms. This I am trying to do. Are you for it? If you are, so far we are agreed. If you are not for it, a second way is to give up the Union. I am against this. If you are, you should say so, plainly. If you are not for force, nor yet for dissolution, there only remains some imaginable compromise.
I do not believe that any compromise embracing the maintenance of the Union is now possible. All that I learn leads to a directly opposite belief. The strength of the rebellion is its military-its army. That army dominates all the country and all the people within its range. Any offer of any terms mado by any man or men within that range in opposition to that
arıny, is simply nothing for the present, because such man or men have no power whatever to enforce their side of a compromise, if one were made with them. To illustrate : Suppose refugees from the South and peace men of the North get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a compromise embracing the restoration of the Union. In what way can that compromise be used to keep Gen. Lee's army out of Pennsylvania ? Gen. Meade's army can keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania, and I think can ultimately drive it out of existence. But no paper compromise to which the controllers of Gen. Lee's army are not agreed, can at all affect that army. In an effort at such compromise we would waste time, which the enemy would improve to our disadvantage, and that would be all. A compromise, to be effective, must be made either with those who control the Rebel army, or with the people, first liberated from the domination of that army by the success of our army. Now, allow me to assure you that no word or intimation from the Rebel army, or from any of the men controlling it, in relation to any peace compromise, has ever come to my knowledge or belief. All charges and intimations to the contrary are deceptive and groundless. And I promise you that if any such proposition shall hereafter come, it shall not be rejected and kept secret from you. I freely acknowledge myself to be the servant of the people, according to the bond of service, the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.
But, to be plain. You are dissatisfied with me about the negro. Quite likely there is a difference of opinion between you and myself upon that subject. I certainly wish that all men could be free, while you,
do not. Yet I have neither adopted nor proposed any measure which is not consistent with even your view, provided you are for the Union. I suggested compensated emancipation, to which you replied that you wished not to be taxed to buy negroes. But I have not asked you to be taxed to buy negroes, except in such way as to save you from greater taxation, to save the Union exclusively by other means.
You dislike the Emancipation Proclamation, and perhaps would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional. I think differently. I think that the Constitution invests its Commander-in-chief with the law of war in the time of war. The most that can be said, if so much, is, that the slaves are property. Is there, has there ever been, any question that by the law of war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed? And is it not needed whenever taking it helps us or hurts the enemy? Armies, the world hver, destroy