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plained all this. Its white population increased at a far higher ratio than its black. The result was evident and, clearly, a matter of time; and over this result, the people of Missouri had no control.
Judge Breckinridge had not voted for Lincoln, and did not now endorse the President's opinions; he spoke only as a citizen of the State when it was surrounded by dangers. Missouri must settle the question for herself. It was for her welfare that he proposed the constitutional amendment. The choice was gradual, or immediate, emancipation; and the burden of proof rested with others to maintain that the first was not preferable, and that by its adoption, the shock to the State would be less. At the end of twenty-five years, the free negroes should be taken from the State by the general government and removed to some locality, which they could make their country and their home. His plan should be submitted to the people for approval. A tide of immigration was flowing into the State. Its natural resources were illimitable. Slavery would prevent immigration, and the State would suffer.1 Its debt, already twenty-four millions, was a burden, crushing it to the earth. Attract to it a population accustomed to all kinds of skilled labor, and the State would speedily assume the highest rank in the Union. The choice open to the State was, either gradual abolition and prosperity, or, immediate abolition, as the result of the war, without compensation from the general government, but
1 The ideas of Judge Breckinridge of the disadvantage of slavery to Missouri are in contrast with the arguments for the advantages of slavery to a State, heard in Kentucky in 1849, when it was urged that slavery kept out a very undesirable foreign population. For an account of the opinions in Kentucky (1849-1850) see my Constitutional History of the American People, 17761850, II, pp. 151-182,
with the utter demoralization of society and of the industrial interests of the State.1
On the thirteenth, a message from Governor Gamble was read, in which he called attention to the joint resolution of Congress, on the tenth of April, offering to cooperate with any State in gradual abolition and largely at the expense of the United States.2 Commenting on the offer the Governor declared it a proposition of unexampled liberality, calling for courteous response. The President's offer should not be passed over in silence; yet it was well to remember that, at the time the convention was chosen, the subject of federal relations, rather than of emancipation, was in the public mind, and that in electing their delegates, the people of Missouri had never intended, or imagined, that the convention would effect a radical change in the social organization of the State. If, therefore, the delegates were satisfied, that any proposition, on the subject of emancipation, would produce excitement, dangerous to the peace of the State, a resolution to that effect, declining the offer of the government, ought to satisfy everyone, and could not be construed as disrespectful either to the President, or to Congress.3 Immediately, on reassembling in the afternoon, the convention took into consideration several resolutions on the subject, all of which agreed in declaring it to be the duty of the United States to co-operate and give the State aid, and on the following day, by an overwhelming vote, the delegates formally declared that they were not authorized to take action
1 Proceedings of the Convention, pp. 72, 82. But the whole proposition was startling in the extreme; it seemed untimely, and it was laid on the table by a majority of nearly three to one. Journal, p. 20.
2 Journal, p. 227. For the joint resolution, see Statutes at Large, XII, 617.
Proceedings, pp. 227, 228.
MISSOURI REJECTS COMPENSATORY EMANCIPATION. 51
on the subject, though fully appreciating the generosity of the general government.1
Thus Missouri rejected gradual and compensatory emancipation, and refused to co-operate with the national government on the plan which the President had outlined. Three days after this decision, there assembled, at Jefferson City, about one hundred and seventy-five delegates from the loyal counties of the State, for the purpose of inaugurating an emancipation campaign. They adopted resolutions favoring co-operation with the government, on the President's plan and proceeded to scatter these resolutions over the State, in order to influence the fall elections. When the President appealed to the border States Congressmen to unite in a policy of compensated abolition, the Missouri delegation was divided in sentiment, but the majority gave him no support, in view of what they considered their obligation to their constituents.
But the time for which Lincoln had been anxiously waiting had now come; Antietam was fought, and when the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued, the prospect, that Missouri would again have opportunity to receive compensation for its slaves, daily became fainter. The proclamation itself seemed to awaken the people of Missouri to the situation, and, from the day it was issued, the abolition sentiment strengthened in the State. The November elections proved this. The President's scheme was becoming popular. Two bills were introduced in Congress, one by Senator Henderson of Missouri, on the tenth, the other, on the eleventh, by one of its Representatives, John W. Noell.
The first appropriated twenty millions, the second ten to aid Missouri in the abolition
1 See Hitchcock's Resolutions, Proceedings, p. 29; Hendricks's, pp. 230, 231; and, on the 4th of June, the Resolutions of Judge Breckinridge, which were adopted by 37 to 33, p. 252.
ONE EMANCIPATORY ACT.
of slavery. On the sixth of January, Noell's bill passed, and, in the Senate, superseded the Henderson Bill. The debate turned largely upon the amount to be appropriated, and, on the twelfth, it was compromised at fifteen millions. The chief objections to the measure were the right of the United States to undertake a task which it was claimed properly belonged to a sovereign State; and the inability of Missouri, because of its heavy public debt, to raise the necessary co-operative funds,—at least twenty millions of dollars.
The Missouri legislature discussed the subject, but reached no practical conclusion. Thus both in Congress and in the State, the whole matter remained only a proposition. Had the Missouri legislature promptly acted and shown a willingness to co-operate with the government, it is probable that the President's plan of compensated emancipation would have been tried. Thus at the close of the year 1862, no State had taken active measures to abolish slavery. The President's September proclamation was the one emancipatory act of the year. In the great movement of abolition, the national government had taken the lead.
Missouri was not included within the area affected by the Proclamation. Though its military and civil affairs were in an almost hopeless maze, and were giving the President much anxiety and labor, the State was at heart true to the Union, and its population, long suffering from sudden invasions, from the atrocities of guerrilla bands and from enemies in their midst, were swiftly moving to
1 Noell's Bill passed by a vote of 73 to 46 in the House, and amended in the Senate by a vote of 23 to 18. The speeches of J. S. Rollins and E. H. Norton of Missouri, in the House on the 28th of February, give a good idea of the opinions in the State on the subject. Appendix to the Congressional Globe, Third Session, Thirty-seventh Congress, No. 2, pp. 143-151.
EMANCIPATION IN MISSOURI.
a correct conclusion of the whole matter. On the fifteenth of June, the State again met in convention at Jefferson City, under the call of the Governor, for the express purpose of consulting and acting upon the subject of emancipation. In his message to the general assembly, Governor Gamble had expressed himself as having long entertained the opinion that the material interests of the State would be promoted, and its resources more rapidly developed by the substitution of free, for slave, labor. The condition of the country made action necessary. The Governor had recommended a scheme of gradual emancipation to the legislature, but it was prohibited by the constitutionfrom passing any law for emancipation without the consent of their owners and without full compensation. The finances of the State made it impossible to offer compensation, and there was no longer hope that the United States would co-operate by furnishing the money. What the legislature could not do, the convention could do, because it could amend the constitution.3
On the first day, an ordinance was offered by Charles F. Drake, of St. Louis, for the emancipation of all slaves in the State, on the first day of January, 1864; for the perpetual prohibition of negro slavery after that date; and for a system of apprenticeship, to continue until the emancipated blacks were prepared for complete freedom. The ordinance should be submitted to the people for ratification. On the second day, a permanent committee on
1 Journal of the Missouri State Convention, held at Jefferson City, June, 1863, p. 3.
2 Constitution of 1820, Article III, Section 26. For an account of the controversy that grew out of this Article, see my Constitutional History of the American People, 1776-1850, Vol. I, Chapter X.
3 Journal, 1863, pp. 5, 12. 4 Journal, p. 12.