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served, will live to see it contain two hundred and fifty millions. The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.
WASHINGTON, December 3, 1861.
The organization of an opposition party, taking the Democratic name, had been effected under the auspices of a few antiwar men in Congress, who had occasionally ventured to speak. out their dissent at the previous session. This faction, represented in Ohio by Vallandigham, and in Illinois by Richardson, having apparently very little support among the people, began at this session to work in earnest, boldly aspiring to assume control of the House of Representatives to be elected during the coming season. Already, too, plans were formed for carrying the next Presidential election, and there were not wanting sagacious observers, who believed that schemes of this sort had the sympathy of at least one Major General in the army.
At this session of Congress it was early apparent that a great advance had taken place in the public mind on the question of Slavery. Neither Secretary Seward's diplomatic assurances to Governments abroad that no change in Southern institutions was contemplated in any event, nor McClellan's manifesto on this subject to the people of Virginia, nor Halleck's order excluding fugitive slaves from the lines of the Army of the West, nor the 22d of July resolution of Mr. Crittenden, were now satisfactory to the people, who began already to demand that the Rebellion should be attacked in its vital and vulnerable point. On the third day of the session, the Crittenden Resolution was laid on the table, in the popular branch of Congress, by a vote of 71 to 65. The demand of the people for the destruction of Slavery was daily becoming more manifest. and more earnest. The President, in his inaugural address, had clearly foreseen a time when, if war should come, the destruction of Slavery must follow. He made no pledge, under such circumstances, not to hasten its destruction by all the means in his power. So soon as the people, whose will he
intended faithfully to execute, should sustain him in such a war measure—now beginning to be deemed necessary-he had no dread to strike. A joint committee of both Houses to inquire into the conduct of the war was appointed in the Senate, on the 18th, and in the House on the 19th of December. It is needless to say that this proceeding arose from the general dissatisfaction felt at the inaction of the Army of the Potomac, in the face of a greatly inferior enemy, as well as from the disastrous issue of the only positive movement yet attempted-that at Ball's Bluff. The members of that committee were: Messrs. Wade, Chandler, and Andrew Johnson (whose place was subscquently supplied by Mr. Wright, of Indiana), of the Senate; and Messrs. Gooch, Covode, Julian, and Odell, of the House. The evidence collected by this committee from the best sources of information, including the testimony of the highest Generals, was, from time to time, laid before the President for his consideration, and subsequently given to the public.
The exciting subject of the arrest of Mason and Slidell was early seized upon by the leaders of the Opposition in the House, as one suited to their purpose. An adroitly worded resolution with an elaborate preamble, reciting the complimentary order of the Secretary of the Navy on this arrest, and the unanimous thanks of the House to Com. Wilkes already passed, was offered in the House, calling upon the President not to yield "to any menace or demand of the British Government." This was referred, against the wishes of the mover, to the Committee on Foreign Affairs-ayes 109, nays 16. At a later period, December 30, the President transmitted to Congress the correspondence between Mr. Seward and the authorities of Great Britain on this subject, conceding the illegality of the arrest, though strictly according to English precedent, and offering the proper satisfaction. Mason and Slidell were placed on board a British vessel lying off Boston, to be transported to their original destination. If this decision caused a momentary disappointment, its profound wisdom and prudence were at once apparent. It was to the supporters of Davis, and to the sympathizers with him, the defeat of an ardently cherished hope. that so unimportant a matter as the detention or surrender
of their two diplomatic friends would involve this country in a foreign war.
A motion in the House, on the 10th of December, involving the question of the "arbitrary arrests" of bold complotters of treason, in the loyal States, showed 108 members in favor of sustaining the President, and 26 in opposition.
At this session, Congress provided for the issue of legaltender notes, and passed an internal revenue bill, which should largely increase the receipts into the Treasury, insuring a basis. for the payment of interest on loans, also authorized, and confidence in the redemption of the National currency. The policy adopted was substantially that recommended and approved by the distinguished head of the Treasury Department, Mr. Chase. Much of the time of Congress was also occupied in considering various bills for confiscating the property of Rebels, and in maturing the measure ultimately passed.
On the 13th of January, 1862, Mr. Cameron resigned his place in the Cabinet as Secretary of War, receiving an appointment as Minister to Russia, and the Hon. Edwin M. Stanton was appointed in his stead.
The message sent by President Lincoln to Congress on the 6th of March, in regard to gradual and compensated emancipation, shows that he had now come to look seriously upon the question of employing some means for the complete eradication of Slavery. He intimates plainly that such a conviction was on his mind when preparing his message of Dec. 3, 1861. His emancipation message is in these words:
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I recommend the adoption of a joint resolution by your honorable bodies, which shall be substantially as follows:
Resolved, That the United States ought to coöperate with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such charge of system.
If the proposition contained in the resolution does not meet the approval of Congress and the country, there is the end; but if it does command such approval, I deem it of importance
that the States and people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it. The Federal Government would find its highest interest in such a measure as one of the most efficient means of self-preservation. The leaders of the existing insurrection entertain the hope that this Government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region, and that all the Slave States north of such part will then say, "the Union for which we have struggled being already gone, we now choose to go with the southern section." To deprive them of this hope substantially ends the rebellion, and the initiation of emancipation completely deprives them of it as to all the States initiating it. The point is not that all the States tolerating slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate emancipation, but that, while the offer is equally made to all, the more northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more southern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed confederacy. I say "initiation," because, in my judgment, gradual, and not sudden emancipation, is better for all. In the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member of Congress, with the census tables and treasury reports before him, can readily see for himself how very soon the current expenditures of this war would purchase, at fair valuation, all the slaves in any named State. Such a proposition on the part of the General Government sets up no claim of a right by Federal authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, referring, as it does, the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State and its people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them.
In the annual message last December I thought fit to say, "the Union must be preserved; and hence all indispensable means must be employed." I said this not hastily, but deliberately. War has been made, and continues to be an indispensable means to this end. A practical reacknowledgment of the National authority would render the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue, and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which may attend and all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency toward ending the struggle, must and will come.
The proposition now made, though an offer only, I hope it may be esteemed no offense to ask whether the pecuniary consideration tendered would not be of more value to the States and private persons concerned than are the institutions and property in it, in the present aspect of affairs.
While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important practical results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.
March 6, 1862.
The resolution recommended in the foregoing paper was passed by the House on the 11th of March-ayes 97, noes 36. Only five of the affirmative votes were from the Slave States. The resolution was concurred in by the Senate, with little opposition, and signed by the President on the 10th of April.
Early in April the Senate passed a bill abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, with compensation to the loyal owners of slaves. This bill passed the House on the 11th of the same month, four days after its transmission-ayes 92, noes 39. In communicating his approval of this measure, the President, departing from the usual practice, sent a message to Congress in the following terms:
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The act entitled "An act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia,” has this day been approved and signed.
I have never doubted the constitutional authority of Congress to abolish slavery in this District, and I have ever desired to see the National Capital freed from the institution in some satisfactory way. Hence there has never been, in my mind, any question upon the subject except the one of expediency, arising in view of all the circumstances. If there be matters within and about this act which might have taken a course or shape more satisfactory to my judgment, I do not attempt to specify them. I am gratified that the two principles of compensation and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in the act.
In the matter of compensation it is provided that claims may be presented within ninety days from the passage of the act, "but not thereafter," and there is no saving for minors, femmes-covert, insane or absent persons. I presume this is an