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The following statement of Senator Sumner, in regard to President Lincoln's earlier views and actions on this question, with a citation of the striking terms used by him in relation thereto, has an abiding interest:
The President saw the painful consequences of this concession, and especially that it was a first step toward the acknowledgment of Rebel slavery as an independent power. Clearly, if it were proper for a foreign power to acknowledge belligerency, it might, at a later stage, be proper to acknowledge independence; and any objection vital to independence would, if applicable, be equally vital to belligerency. Solemn resolutions by Congress on this subject were communicated to foreign powers, but the unanswerable argument against any possible recognition of a new power founded on slaverywhether as independent or as belligerent-was stated by the President, in a paper which I now hold in my hand, and which has never before seen the light. It is a copy of a resolution drawn by himself, which he gave to me, in his own autograph, for transmission to one of our valued friends abroad, as an expression of his opinion on the great question involved, and a guide to public duty. It is in these words:
"WHEREAS, While heretofore states and nations have tolerated slavery, recently, for the first [time] in the world, an attempt has been made to construct a new nation upon the basis of human slavery, and with the primary and fundamental object to maintain, enlarge and perpetuate the same; therefore,
"Resolved, That no such embryo state should ever be recognized by, or admitted into, the family of Christian and civilized nations; and that all Christian and civilized men everywhere should, by all lawful means, resist, to the utmost, such recognition or admission."
On the 11th day of April, also, the President issued a proclamation closing certain ports of entry, in accordance with an act of Congress, approved July 13, 1861, "further to provide for the collection of duties on imports and for other purposes," and recognizing the fact that the blockade had been conditionally set aside or relaxed, "in consequence of actual military occupation by this Government," at Norfolk and Alexandria, Virginia; Beaufort, North Carolina; Port Royal, South Carolina; Pensacola and Fernandina, Florida, and New Orleans,
Louisiana. The body of the proclamation, relating to the closing of Southern ports of entry, is in the following words:
"Now, therefore, be it known that I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim that the ports of Richmond, Tappahannock, Cherrystone, Yorktown and Petersburg, in Virginia; of Camden (Elizabeth City), Edenton, Plymouth, Washington, Newberne, Ocracoke and Wilmington, in North Carolina; of Charleston, Georgetown and Beaufort, in South Carolina; of Savannah, St. Marys and Brunswick (Darien), in Georgia; of Mobile, in Alabama; of Pearl River (Shieldsborough), Natchez and Vicksburg, in Mississippi; of St. Augustine, Key West, St. Marks (Port Leon), St. Johns (Jacksonville) and Apalachicola, in Florida; of Teche (Franklin), in Louisina; of Galveston, La Salle, Brazos de Santiago (Point Isabel) and Brownsville, in Texas, are hereby closed, and all right of importation, warehousing and other privileges shall, in respect to the ports aforesaid, cease until they shall have again been opened by order of the President; and if, while said ports are so closed, any ship or vessel from beyond the United States, or having on board any article subject to duties, shall attempt to enter any such port, the same, together with its tackle, apparel, furniture and cargo, shall be forfeited to the United States.
President Lincoln had made repeated demands upon Great Britain for indemnity for losses to our citizens from the depredations of the Alabama, and other cruisers constructed and equipped in English ports since the commencement of the war. Though refused by the British Government, Mr. Lincoln never relinquished the demand. It was specially renewed at this time, with a manifest determination to press the matter to a favorable determination.
On the 11th of April, Lynchburg was surrendered to a scouting party from Griffin's division of the Fifth Army Corps, and McKenzie's brigade of cavalry was ordered to occupy the place. Gen. Sherman was now moving on Raleigh, with little opposition, Johnston falling back before him. This advance was commenced by order of Gen. Grant, from Burkesville, with the apparent object of preventing a junction between Johnston and Lee, should the latter succeed in escaping Sheridan
and getting off toward Danville. Sherman occupied Raleigh
on the 13th. Gen. Canby captured Mobile on the following day. Gen. Wilson, having taken Selma, was raiding through Alabama and Georgia at will. Everywhere our arms were triumphant, and each Rebel army-it was now certain-must speedily follow the example of that in Virginia, under the Rebel General-in-Chief. President Lincoln accordingly determined on an immediate reduction of the military force in the field, as announced in the following dispatch:
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON,
Maj-Gen. Dix, New York:
The Department, after mature consideration and consultation with the Lieutenant-General upon the results of the recent campaign, has come to the following determination, which will be carried into effect by appropriate orders, to be issued immediately:
1. To stop all drafting and recruiting.
2. To curtail purchases for arms, ammunition, Quartermaster and Commissary supplies, and reduce the expense of the military establishment in its several branches.
3. To reduce the number of general and staff officers to the actual necessities of the service.
4. To remove all military restrictions upon trade and commerce, so far as it may be consistent with public safety.
As soon as these measures can be put in operation, it will be made known by public order.
EDWIN M. STanton,
In the evening of the 13th, the city of Washington was brilliantly illuminated, in honor of the great victories achieved, and in recognition of the near approach of peace.
On the 14th day of April, at the regular meeting of the Cabinet, the mode of dealing with the Rebel States and people was discussed at some length. President Lincoln expressed himself decidedly in favor of lenient measures with the great mass of the offenders, and found, it is understood, no discordant opinion in his council. The re-organization of the revolted States was determined upon substantially in accordance with the principles heretofore acted on in Virginia, Missouri and Louisiana-almost the identical policy since carried into effect.
The order of Gen. Weitzel, at Richmond, practically recognizing the disloyal Virginia Legislature, and William Smith as Governor of the State, was revoked by the President, who manifestly can not have intended to vest any authority of this sort in the military commander at Richmond, or to annul his former recognition of the Pierpoint Government.
On the same day-the cycle of war having now revolved quite around to its starting point-the flag hauled down from Fort Sumter, four years before, was again run up by the hand of Gen. Robert Anderson, who was then compelled to surrender the Fort to traitors; Henry Ward Beecher represented New England ideas in the city of Charleston; and William Lloyd Garrison spoke there, as he listed, of slavery.
The grand sweep of events since the 4th of March-six swift weeks-culminating in the complete downfall of the Rebellion, the unresisting submission of the traitors, the re-occupation and possession of all the Government forts, the destruction of slavery, and the restoration of peace, had, at length, under the guidance of a good Providence, crowned the Administration of Abraham Lincoln with immortal honor. His earnest grapple with the monster treason, that struck at the nation's life, had never relaxed until the work was done. It only remained that he should seal the great result with the sacrifice of his life.
Last Days of Mr. Lincoln.-His Assassination.-Attack on Mr. Seward.-Remains of Mr. Lincoln lying in State.-Obsequies at Washington.--Removal of the Remains to Springfield, Illinois.--Demonstration along the route.--Obsequies at Springfield.-The Great Crime, its authors and abettors.-The Assassin's End.-The Conspiracy. Complicity of Jefferson Davis.-How assassins were trained to their work.-Tributes and Testimonials.-Mr. Lincoln as a Lawyer.--Incidents and Reminiscences.-Additional Speeches.Letter to Gov. Hahn, on Negro Suffrage.-Letter to Mrs. Gurney.— Letter to a Widow who had lost five Sons in the War.-Letter to a Centenarian.-A letter written in early life.-A speech made in 1839.-Letter to Mr. Choate, on the Pilgrim Fathers.-Letter to Dr. Maclean, on receiving the Degree of LL. D.-Letter to Gov. Fletcher, of Missouri, on the restoration of order.-A message to the Miners.-Speech at Independence Hall in 1861.-Concluding remarks.
AFTER years of weary toil, Mr. Lincoln seemed now to be entering on a period of comparative repose. The first step had been taken for putting the army on a peace footing. A policy had been matured for the re-establishment of loyal local governments in the insurgent States. Forbearance, clemency, charity were to control the executive action in dealing with the difficult problems still awaiting practical solution. After the Cabinet meeting on the 14th of April,* the President was in unusually buoyant spirits. His remaining tasks evidently seemed lighter than ever before. His gladsome humor was noticed by his friends.
As he went on an afternoon drive with Mrs. Lincoln, she could not forbear an expression of slight foreboding, suggested
*At a Cabinet meeting at which General Grant was present to-day, the subject of the state of the country and the prospects of speedy peace was discussed. The President was very cheerful and hopeful, spoke very kindly of General Lee, and others of the Confederacy, and the establishment of Government in Virginia.-Secretary Stanton's Dispatch, April 14th.