Imágenes de páginas

and are retiring from their late advance towards the Ohio. General McClellan has just met the invaders of Maryland and driven them back towards the Potomac. The loyalty of Maryland has not been disturbed, and Pennsylvania is freed from the apprehensions of danger. With steadiness of purpose, prudence in council, and activity and energy of execution on the part of our commanders, great advantages may be derived from recent misfortunes, and the recklessness of the insurgents may result in the speedy ruin of their always desperate cause.

September 19, 1862. — On the 6th instant Robert E. Lee, claiming to be general commanding all the insurgent armies, startled the country by appearing in Fredericktown with a force, as he alleged, of two hundred thousand men. He immediately proclaimed deliverance to the people of Maryland, and invited them to join the treasonable confederacy which he served. To-day without having gained a hundred adherents in the state, and after being defeated in two pitched battles, he is recrossing, under the fire of the Federal troops, into Virginia. This result is indicative of the moral soundness of the Union cause, as well as of the physical strength which it commands.

September 19, 1862. — Your despatch in which you [Mr. Dayton] express so much confidence in the stability of the Union, has arrived just at the moment when General McClellan is driving the combined insurgent armies from the Maryland bank of the Potomac back into Virginia. A republican education has, indeed, made all of us politicians; but it must now be confessed that the same education has also made us soldiers, as cheerful to fight the battles of our country as we are bold to discuss its affairs. I think no nation has ever exhibited such voluntary armies.

September 22, 1862. — The aggressive movement of the insurgents against the loyal states is arrested, and the renewed and reinvigorated forces of the Union are again prepared for a new and comprehensive campaign. The financial strength of the insurrection is rapidly declining, and its ability to bring soldiers into the field has been already taxed to its utmost. On the other hand, the fiscal condition of the country is sound, and the response to the calls for new levies is being made promptly, without drawing seriously upon the physical strength of the people.

It has never been expected by the President that the insurgents should protract this Avar until it should exhaust not only themselves but the loyal states, and bring foreign armies or navies into the conflict, and still be allowed to retain in bondage, with the consent of this government, the slaves who constitute the laboring and producing masses of the insurrectionary states. At the same time, the emancipation of the slaves could be effected only by executive authority, and on the ground of military necessity. As a preliminary to the exercise of that great power, the President must have not only the exigency, but the general consent of the loyal people of the Union in the border slave states where the war was raging, as well as in the free states which have escaped the scourge, which could only be obtained through a clear conviction on their part that the military exigency had actually occurred. It is thus seen that what has been discussed so earnestly at home and abroad as a question of morals or of humanity has all the while been practically only a military question, depending on time and circumstances. The order for emancipation,1 to take effect on the first of January, in the states then still remaining in rebellion against the Union, was issued upon due deliberation and conscientious consideration of the actual condition of the war, and the state of opinion in the whole country.

No one who knows how slavery was engrafted upon the nation when it was springing up into existence; how it has grown and gained strength as the nation itself has advanced in wealth and power; how fearful the people have hitherto been of any change which might disturb the parasite, will contend that the order comes too late. It is hoped and believed that after the painful experience we have had of the danger to which the Federal connection with slavery is exposing the Republic there will be few indeed who will insist that the decree which brings the connection to an end either could or ought to have been further deferred.

The interests of humanity have now become identified with the cause of our country, and this has resulted not from any infraction of constitutional restraints by the government, but from persistent unconstitutional and factious proceedings of the insurgents, who have opposed themselves to both.

l See post , page

You are well aware how long political controversy has been wearing a gulf to divide opinion in our country on the subject of interference with slavery in the slaveholding states. You know how deep that gulf has become, and how confessedly impassable it is except under the pressure of absolute, immediate, and irretrievable danger to the Union itself. Notwithstanding many respected counsellors at home, and all our representatives abroad, have long and earnestly urged an earlier adoption of such a measure as the President has at last accepted, it was nevertheless wisely delayed until the necessity for it should become so manifest as to make it certain that, instead of dividing the loyal people of the Union into two parties, one for and the other against the prosecution of the war for the maintenance of the Union, it would be universally accepted and sustained. It is now apparent that the measure will be thus sustained.

September 27,1862.—The law of compensation, which makes reaction always follow effort, and which measures progress by the balance between advance and retreat, applies as well in war as in peace. We had a series of brilliant and most effective victories during the months of February, March, April, May and June. On the first of July we incurred a failure at Richmond, which was followed by considerable reverses during that month and the following months. This change in the tide of the war produced some popular consternation and alarm. Our new levies, however, began to come in about the first of September, and we have since that time been able to meet successfully an invasion of the loyal states, which was projected with much deliberation by the insurgents during the summer, and assumed a menacing form with the opening of the autumn. None of our really important positions have been lost, and we expect soon to resume aggressive movements with vigor and effect.

October 8, 1862. — Your despatch of September "l7 has been received.

The unfavorable aspect of our affairs under which it was written has given place to another which illustrates the strength and vigor of the Union and the loyalty and enthusiasm of the people.

The repulsion of the insurgents from Maryland, Cincinnati, and Ohio, with the recent triumphs of the national arms in Missouri and Mississippi, need no explanations to show their importance.

October 13,1862. — There is an opinion in foreign circles that does appear unaccountable, namely, that this government, with the loyal people that are sustaining it, are desiring, or being prepared to desire, a compromise with the insurrection. No country in the world has ever poured out, in an equal period, so much of its treasure and its blood to save its integrity and its independence. These precious streams have flowed from springs as free as they are abundant. They are renewed now as freely and as plentifully as before. Temporary and partial disappointments not only produce no despair or despondency, but they stimulate and invigorate. Our cause is now, as it was in the time of our great revolution, the cause of human nature. It deserves and it yet will win the favor of all nations and of all classes and conditions of men.

October 13, 1862. — I do not dwell upon the military situation of our own country and its prospects. They are changed much for the better since your despatch was written. But this is so apparent as to need no special effort on my part to make it manifest. Careful and candid observers, I think, would agree that the civil war is at its crisis, and that the country is not likely to be either divided or to lose its invaluable institutions.

October 18, 1862. — The military and political situations in this country are in perfect contrast with the imaginary ones which were expected to win the advantages of European intervention. Instead of being in possession of or threatening Philadelphia and New York, and occupying Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Washington, the invading armies of the insurgents in the east, in the west, and in the south, are in the retreat before the national forces, and as rapidly as possible evacuating all the loyal border States.

October 18, 1862. — It is not now doubted here that the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, followed by the retreat of the insurgents from Maryland, and by the President's proclamation of warning to the insurgent States, have well sustained the reaction abroad which has been already mentioned.

At the same time you will need to know the present military and political conditions of the country, and the exjaectations of the President based upon them. I do not think that I can better describe these conditions than by saying, on the whole, that there has been only this change since the month of June last, namely, that whereas at that time it was believed here that the government had virtually suppressed the revolt, the reverses and successes of our arms within the period that has intervened have now brought about the conviction that the revolt, practically speaking, has failed. The battle of Corinth was a great conflict, and it has produced large results. It leaves us but little trouble to relieve the Mississippi River of insurgent forces, and we are rapidly preparing the land and naval expeditions necessary for that purpose.

The invasion of Kentucky seems to have virtually come to an end with the defeat of the insurgents at Corinth and at Perryville. They are leaving the state with as much haste as they rushed through it towards Louisville and Cincinnati. Their demonstrations against Missouri have been equally unsuccessful. General McClellan is being rapidly reinforced, and reconnoissances which he has made truly indicate a new trial of strength between his army and that of Lee near Winchester. Only the impossibility of finding room for more workers upon our iron-clad navy delays the despatch of vessels of that class believed to be sufficient without the present navy to recover all the ports of the country which are yet remaining in the possession of the insurgents. Charleston and Mobile will be early visited with that view, and thus we may reasonably expect to relieve ourselves of the inconveniences which result to the national cause from the success of British-built and equipped vessels in carrying arms and supplies to the insurgents, since we are compelled to despair of any other correction of that great wrong.

October 21, 1862. — The present military situation here may be described in a few words. Our spring campaign, so fruitful in victories, closed with reverses in the last weeks of July. An insurgent invasion of the loyal states began with successes in August and was arrested in September. Our armies are now renewed, our naval force increasing, and a decisive campaign will soon be opened. The insurgents excited in European capitals the most sanguine hopes of the success of their campaign of invasion, promising nothing less than the capture and capitulation of Washington, with the occupation of Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. They built high hopes of recognition upon this magnificent, though precarious, foundation. From Europe we hear little that is definite, but there is manifestly some difficulty there in digesting disappointments. The abuses of the neutrality proclaimed

« AnteriorContinuar »