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now owned by any person or persons now resident within the same, or hereafter born within it, shall ever be held in slavery without the limits of said District. Provided, That officers of the government of the United States, being citizens of the slaveholding States, coming into said District on public business, and remaining only so long as may be reasonably necessary for that object, may be attended into and out of said District, and while there, by the necessary servants of themselves and their families, without their right to hold such servants in service being thereby impaired.
“ SEC. 3. That all children born of slave mothers within said District, on or after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord 1850, shall be free; but shall be reasonably supported and educated by the respective owners of their mothers or by their heirs and representatives until they respectively arrive at the age of years, when they shall be entirely free. And the municipal authorities of Washington and Georgetown, within their respective jurisdictional limits, are hereby empowered and required to make all suitable and necessary provisions for enforcing obedience to this section, on the part of both masters and apprentices.
“ SEC. 4. That all persons now within said District, lawfully held as slaves, or now owned by any person or persons now resident within said District, shall remain such at the will of their respective owners, their heirs and legal representatives. Provided, That any such owner, or his legal representatives, may at any time receive from the treasury of the United States the full value of his or her slave of the class in this section mentioned ; upon which such slave shall be forthwith
and for ever free. And provided further, That the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall be a board, for determining the value of such slaves as their owners may desire to emancipate under this section, and whose duty it shall be to hold a session for the purpose, on the first Monday of each calendar month ; to receive all applications and on satisfactory evidence in each case, that the person presented for valuation is a slave, and of the class in this section mentioned, and is owned by the applicant, shall value such slave at his or her full cash value and give to the applicant an order on the treasury for the amount and also to such slave a certificate of freedom.
“SEC. 5. That the municipal authorities of Washington and Georgetown within their respective jurisdictional limits, are hereby empowered and required to provide active and efficient means to assert and deliver up to their owners all fugitive slaves escaping into said District.
“ SEC. 6. That the election officers within said District of Columbia are hereby empowered and required to open polls at all the usual places of holding elections on the first Monday of April next and receive the vote of every free white male citizen above the age of twenty-one years, having resided within said district for the period of one year or more next preceding the time of such voting for or against this act, to proceed in taking said votes in all respects herein not specified, as at elections under the municipal laws, and with as little delay as possible to transmit correct statements of the votes 80 cast to the President of the United States ; and it shall be the duty of the President to canvass said votes immediately and if a majority of them be found to be for this act to forthwith issue his proclamation, giving notice of the fact, and this act shall only be in full force and effect on and after the day of such proclamation.
“Sec. 7. That involuntary servitude for the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall in nowise be prohibited by this act.
“Sec. 8. That for all the purposes of this act the jurisdictional limits of Washington are extended to all parts of the District of Columbia not now included within the present limits of Georgetown.”
This bill shows us the real position of Mr. Lincoln on the slavery question, in 1849. He was opposed to the institution, to its extension into the territories, and was in favor of its abolition in the District of Columbia, but with compensation to the owner. He was for reform, but was a cautious, conservative reformer.
On the 31st of January, Mr. Edwards, of the Committee on the District of Columbia, reported a bill to prohibit the introduction of slaves into the District of Columbia as merchandise, or for sale or hire. After it was read twice a motion was made to lay it on the table, which motion was lost, Mr. Lincoln again voting no.
On the 21st of February, a test vote was taken in the House on a bill to abolish the franking privilege. The motion was made to lay the bill on the table. Mr. Lincoln voted with the friends of the bill, who saved it from immediate defeat.
The reader will easily discover Mr. Lincoln's position
in Congress upon the more important subjects before it in this record. On the slavery question he was always true to his principles, ever voting against the extension of slavery, and on the Mexican war occupying the ground of the Whigs of that day ; refusing to justify the war itself, but voting the supplies for it, that the war debt might be liquidated.
He steadily and earnestly opposed the annexation of Texas, and labored with all his powers in behalf of the Wilmot Proviso.
TEN YEARS AT HOME.
In the National Convention of 1848, of which he was a member, he advocated the nomination of General Taylor, and sustained the nomination by an active canvass in Illinois and Indiana.
From 1849 to 1854 Mr. Lincoln was engaged assiduously in the practice of his profession, and being deeply immersed in business, was beginning to lose his interest in politics, when the scheming ambition and grovelling selfishness of an unscrupulous aspirant to the Presidency brought about the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. That act of baseness and perfidy aroused him, and he prepared for new efforts. He threw himself at once into the contest that followed, and fought the battle of freedom on the ground of his former conflicts in Illinois with more than his accustomed energy and zeal. Those who recollect the tremendous battle fought in Illinois that year, will award to Abraham Lincoln fully three fourths of the ability and unwearying labor which resulted in the mighty victory which gave Illinois her first Republican Legislature, and placed Lyman Trumbull in the Senate of the United States.
The Chicago Tribune, the editor of which is a personal friend of Mr. Lincoln, and from whom we gather many of the facts of the early life of the subject of this volume, gives the following graphic sketches of the Illinois Campaign of 1854 :
“ The first and greatest debate of that year came off between Lincoln and Douglas at Springfield, during the progress of the State Fair, in October. We remember the event as vividly as though it transpired yesterday, and in view of the prominence now given to the chief actor in that exciting event, it cannot fail to be interesting to all.
“ The affair came off on the fourth day of October, 1854. The State Fair had been in progress two days, and the capital was full of all manner of men. The Nebraska bill had been passed on the previous twentysecond of May. Mr. Douglas had returned to Illinois to meet an outraged constituency. He had made a fragmentary speech in Chicago, the people filling up each hiatus in a peculiar and good-humored way. He called the people a mob—they called him a rowdy. The 'mob' had the best of it, both then and at the election which succeeded. The notoriety of all these events had stirred up the politics of the State from bottom to top. Hundreds of politicians had met at Springfield, expecting a tournament of an unusual character-Douglas, Breese, Korner, Lincoln, Trumbull, Matteson, Yates, Codding, John Calhoun (of the order of the candle-box), John M. Palmer, the whole house of the McConnells, Singleton (known to fame