« AnteriorContinuar »
it was made the occasion for precipitating the revolution
people in a cordial and hearty support of the Government. The President regarded it as an armed attack upon the Government of the United States, in support of the combination which had been organized into a Confederacy to resist and destroy its authority, and he saw, at once, that it could be met and defeated only by the force placed in his hands for the maintenance of that authority. He accordingly, on the 15th of April, issued the following
Whereas, the laws of the United States have been for some time past and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law; now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINoolN, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventyfive thousand, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed.
The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department. I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country; and I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within twenty days from this date.
Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both houses of Congress. The Senators and Representatives are, therefore, summoned to assemble at their respective chambers, at twelve o'clock, noon, on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this fifteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.
ABRAHAM LINcoln. By the President.
WILLIAM H. SEwARD, Secretary of State.
The issue of this Proclamation created the most intense enthusiasm throughout the country. Scarcely a voice was raised in any of the Northern States against this measure, which was seen to be one of absolute necessity and of self-defence on the part of the Government. Every Northern State responded promptly to the President's demand, and from private persons, as well as by the legislatures, men, arms, and money were offered, in unstinted profusion and with the most zealous alacrity, in support of the Government. Massachusetts was first in the field; and on the first day after the issue of the Proclamation, her Sixth Regiment, completely equipped, started from Boston for the National Capital. Two more regiments were also made ready, and took their departure within forty-eight hours. The Sixth Regiment, on its way to Washington, on the 19th, was attacked by a mob in Baltimore, carrying a secession flag, and several of its members were killed or severely wounded. This inflamed to a still higher point the excitement which already pervaded the country. The whole Northern section of the Union felt outraged that troops should be assailed and murdered on their way to protect the Capital of the Na. tion. In Maryland, where the Secession party was strong, there was also great excitement, and the Governor of the State and the Mayor of Baltimore united in urging for prudential reasons, that no more troops should be brought through that city. To their representation the President made the following reply:
WASHINGton, April 29, 1861. Governor Hicks and Mayor BRowN:
GENTLEMEN:—Your letter by Messrs. Bond, Dobbin, and Brune is received. I tender you both my sincere thanks for your efforts to keep the peace in the trying situation in which you are placed.
For the future, troops must be brought here, but I make no point of bringing them through Baltimore. Without any military knowledge myself, of course I must leave details to General Scott. He hastily said this morning in the presence of these gentlemen, “March them around Baltimore, and not through it.” I sincerely hope the General, on fuller reflection, will consider this practical and proper, and that you will not object to it. By this a collision of the people of Baltimore with the troops will be avoided, unless they go out of their way to seek it. I hope you will exert your influence to prevent this.
Now and ever I shall do all in my power for peace consistently with the maintenance of the Government.
Your obedient servant, ABRAHAM LINCOIN.
And in further response to the same request from Governor Hicks, followed by a suggestion that the controversy between the North and South might be referred to Lord Lyons, the British Minister, for arbitration, President Lincoln, through the Secretary of State, made the following reply:—
DEPARTMENT or STATE, April 22, 1861.
His Excellency Thomas H. Hicks, Governor of Maryland:
SIR:—I have had the honor to receive your communication of this morning, in which you inform me that you have felt it to be your duty to advise the President of the United States to order elsewhere the troops then off Annapolis, and also that no more may be sent through Maryland; and that you have further suggested that Lord Lyons be requested to act as mediator between the contending parties in our country, to prevent the effusion of blood.
The President directs me to acknowledge the receipt of that communication, and to assure you that he has weighed the counsels it contains with the respect which he habitually cherishes for the Chief Magistrates of the several States, and especially for yourself. He regrets, as deeply as any magistrate or citizen of this country can, that demonstrations against the safety of the United States, with very extensive preparations for the effusion of blood, have made it his duty to call out the forces to which you allude.
The force now sought to be brought through Maryland is intended for nothing but the defence of the Capital. The President has necessarily consided the choice of the National highway which that force shall take in coining to this city to the Lieutenant-General commanding the Army of the United States, who, like his only predecessor, is not less distinguished for his humanity than for his loyalty, patriotism, and distinguished public service. The President instructs me to add, that the National highway thus selected by the Lieutenant-General has been chosen by him upon consultation with prominent magistrates and citizens of Maryland as the one which, while a route is absolutely necessary, is farthest removed from the populous cities of the State, and with the expectation that it would therefore be the least objectionable one. The President cannot but remember that there has been a time in the history of our country when a general of the American Union, with forces designed for the defence of its Capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in the State of Maryland, and certainly not at Annapolis, then, as now, the capital of that patriotic State, and then, also, one of the capitals of the Union. If eighty years could have obliterated all the other noble sentiments of that age in Maryland, the President would be hopeful, nevertheless, that there is one that would forever remain there and everywhere. That sentiment is, that no domestic contention whatever that may arise among the Parties of this Republic ought in any case to be referred to any foreign arbitrament, least of all to the arbitrament of a European monarchy. I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, your Excel. ency's obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEwARD.
At the President's request, the Mayor of Baltimore, and A number of leading influential citizens of Maryland, Waited upon him at Washington, and had an open conserence upon the condition of affairs in that State. The Mayor subsequently made the following report of the interview:—
The President, upon his part, recognized the good faith of the city and State authorities, and insisted upon his own. He admitted the excited state of feeling in Baltimore, and his desire and duty to avoid the fatal Consequences of a collision with the people. He urged, on the other hand, the absolute, irresistible necessity of having a transit through the State for such troops as might be necessary for the protection of the Federal Capital. The protection of Washington, he asseverated with great earnestness, was the sole object of concentrating troops there; and he protested that none of the troops brought through Maryland were intended for any purposes hostile to the State, or aggressive as against the Southern States. Being now unable to bring them up the Potomac in Security, the Government must either bring them through Maryland or abandon the Capital.