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tion has been widely and sharply assailed in various quarters, as contrary to the precedents of our early listory; but we believe it to be substantially in accordance with the theory of the Constitution upon this subject.
The progress of our armies in certain portions of the Southern States had warranted the suspension, at several ports, of the restrictions placed upon commerce by the blockade. On the 12th of May the President accordingly issued a proclamation declaring that the blockade of the ports of Beaufort, Port Royal, and New Orleans should so far cease from the 1st of June, that commercial intercourse from those ports, except as to contraband of war, might be resumed, subject to the laws of the United States and the regulations of the Treasury Department.
On the 1st of July he issued another proclamation, in pursuance of the law of June 7th, designating the States and parts of States that were then in insurrection, so that the laws of the United States concerning the collection of taxes could not be enforced within their limits, and declaring that “the taxes legally chargeable upon real estate, under the act referred to, lying within the States or parts of States thus designated, together with a penalty of fifty per cent. of said taxes, should be a lien upon the tracts or lots of the same, severally charged, till paid."
On the 20th of October, finding it absolutely necessary to provide judicial proceedings for the State of Louisiana, a part of which was in our military possession, the Presi. dent issued an order establishing a Provisional Court in
the City of New Orleans, of which Charles A. Peabody was made Judge, with authority to try all causes, civil and criminal, in law, equity, revenue, and admiralty, and particularly to exercise all such power and jurisdiction as belongs to the Circuit and District Courts of the United States. His proceedings were to be conformed, as far as possible, to the course of proceedings and practice usual in the Courts of the United States of Louisiana, and his judgment was to be final and conclusive.
Congress adjourned on the 17th of July, having adopted many measures of marked though minor importance, be.
sides those to which we have referred, to aid in the prosecution of the war. Several Senators were expelled for adherence, direct or indirect, to the rebel cause ; measures were taken to remove from the several departments of the Government employés more or less openly in sympathy with secession ; Hayti and Liberia were recognized as independent republics; a treaty was negotiated and ratified with Great Britain which conceded the right, within certain limits, of searching suspected slavers carrying the American flag, and the most liberal grants in men and money were made to the Government for the prosecution of the war. The President had appointed military governors for several of the Border States, where public sentiment was divided, enjoining them to protect the loyal citizens, and to regard them as alone entitled to a voice in the direction of civil affairs.
Public sentiment throughout the loyal States sustained the action of Congress and the President, as adapted to the emergency, and well calculated to aid in the suppression of the rebellion. At the same time it was very evident that the conviction was rapidly gaining ground that slavery was the cause of the rebellion ; that the paramount object of the conspirators against the Union was to obtain new guarantees for the institution; and that it was this interest alone which gave unity and vigor to the rebel cause. A very active and influential party at the North had insisted from the outset that the most direct way of crushing the rebellion was hy crushing slavery, and they had urged upon the President the adoption of a policy of immediate and unconditional emancipation, as the only thing necessary to bring into the ranks of the Union armies hundreds of thousands of enfranchised slaves, as well as the great mass of the people of the Northern States who needed this stimulus of an appeal to their moral sentiment. After the adjournment of Congress these demands became still more clamorous and importunate. The President was summoned to avail himself of the opportunity offered by the passage of the Confiscation Bill, and to decree the instant liberation of every slave belonging to a rebel master. These demands soon assumed, with the more impatient and intemperate portion of the friends of the Administration, a tone of complaint and condemnation, and the President was charged with gross and culpable remissness in the discharge of duties imposed upon him by the act of Congress. They were embodied with force and effect in a letter addressed to the President by Hon. Horace Greeley, and published in the New York Tribune of the 19th of August, to which President Lincoln made the following reply :
EXECUTIVE MANsioN, WABUINGTON, August 22, 1862 Hon. HORACE GREELEY:
DEAR SIR-I have just read yours of the 19th instant, addressed to myself through the Vero York Tribune.
If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them.
If there be any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and lere argue against them.
If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waivo it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I“seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it in the shortest way under the Constitution.
The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be—the Union as it was.
If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them.
If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them.
My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to sare or to destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it-if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it—and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
What I lo about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts tho cause, and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the cause.
I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adort new views so fast as they shall appear to be truo views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty, and I inter.d 110 modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. Yours,
It was impossible to mistake the President's meaning after this letter, or to have any doubt as to the policy by which he expected to re-establish the authority of the Constitution over the whole territory of the United States. His “paramount object,” in every thing he did and in every thing he abstained from doing, was to “save the Union.” He regarded all the power conferred on him by Congress in regard to slavery, as having been conferred to aid him in the accomplishment of that object-and he was resolved to wield those powers so as best, according to his own judgment, to aid in its attainment. He forhore, therefore, for a long time, the issue of such a proclamation as he was authorized to make by the sixth section of the Confiscation Act of Congress-awaiting the developments of public sentiment on the subject, and being especially anxious that when it was issued it should receive the moral support of the great body of the people of the whole country, without regard to party distinctions. He sought, therefore, with assiduous care, every opportunity of informing himself as to the drift of public sentiment on this subject. He received and conversed freely with all who came to see him and to urge upon him the adoption of their peculiar views; and on the 13th of September gave formal audience to a deputation from all the religious denominations of the City of Chicago, which had been appointed on the 7th, to wait upon him. The committee presented a memorial requesting him at once to issue a proclamation of universal emancipation, and the chairman followed it by some remarks in support of this request.
The President listened attentively to the memorial, and then made to those who had presented it the following reply :-
The subject presented in the memorial is one upon wliich I have thought much for weeks past, and I may even say for months. I am approached
with the inost opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will. I ain sure that either the one or the other class is inistaken in that belief, and perhaps in some respects both. I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is I will do it! These are not, however, the days of miracles, and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation. I must study the plain physical facts of the case, ascertain what is possible, and learn what appears to be wise and right.
The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree. For instance, the other day, four gentlemen of standing and intelligence from New York called as a delegation on business connected with the war; but before leaving two of them earnestly besought me to proclaim general emancipation, upon which the other two at once attacked them. You know also that the last session of Congress had a decided majority of antislavery men, yet they could not unite on this policy. And the sanie is true of the religious people. Why, the rebel soldiers are praying with a great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our own troops, and expecting God to favor their side: for one of our soldiers who had been taken prisoner told Senator Wilson a few days since that he met nothing so discouraging as the evident sincerity of those he was among in their prayers. But we will talk over the merits of the case.
What good would a proclaination of emancipation from me do, especially as we are now situated? I do not want to issue a document that the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's bull against the connet! Would my word free the slaves, when I cannot even enforce the Constitution in the rebel States? Is there a single court, or magistrate, or individual that would be influenced by it there? And what reason is there to think it would have any greater effect upon the slaves than the late law of Congress, which I approved, and which offers protection and freedom to the slaves of rebel masters who come within our lines? Yet I cannot learn that that law has caused a single slave to come over to us. And suppose they could be induced by a proclation of freedom from me to throw themselves upon us, what should we do with them? How can we feed and care for such a multitude? General Butler wrote me a few days since that he was issuing more rations to the slaves who have rushed to him than to all the white troops under his command. They eat, and that is all; though it is true General Butler is feeding the whites also by the thousand; for it nearly amounts to a famine there. If, now, the pressure of the war should call off our forces from New Orleans to defend some other pent, what is to prevent the masters from reducing the blacks to slavery again ? for J
feed and cares upon us, by a proc.