The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Chapter 11



THE third session of the Thirty-seventh Congress opened  on the 1st day of December, 1862--the supporters of the  Administration having a large majority in both branches.  The general condition of the country, and the progress  made in quelling the rebellion, are clearly set forth in the  following Message of President Lincoln, which was sent  in to Congress at the beginning of the session:--

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:--

Since your last annual assembling, another year of health and bountiful  harvests has passed, and while it has not pleased the Almighty to bless  us with the return of peace, we can but press on, guided by the best light  He gives us, trusting that, in His own good time and wise way, all will  be well.

The correspondence, touching foreign affairs, which has taken place  during the last year, is herewith submitted, in virtual compliance with a  request to that effect made by the House of Representatives near the close  of the last session of Congress. If the condition of our relations with  other nations is less gratifying than it has usually been at former periods,  it is certinly more satisfactory than a nation so unhappily distracted as  we are might reasonably have apprehended. In the month of June last  there were some grounds to expect that the maritime Powers, which, at  the beginning of our domestic difficulties, so unwisely and unncessarily,  as we think, recognized the insurgents as a belligerent, would soon recede  from that position, which has proved only less injurious to themselves  than to our own country. But the temporary reverses which afterwards  befell the National arms, and which were exaggerated by our own  disloyal citizens abroad, have hitherto delayed that act of simple justice.

The civil war which has so radically changed for the moment the occupations and habits of the American people, has necessarily disturbed the social condition, and affected very deeply the prosperity of the nations  with which we have carried on a commerce that has been steadily in creasing throughout a period of half a century. It has, at the same time,  excited political ambitions and apprehensions which have produced a pro found agitation throughout the civilized world. In this unusual agitation  we have forborne from taking part in any controversy between foreign  States, and between parties or factions in such States. We have attempted no propagandism, and acknowledged no revolution. But we have left  to every nation the exclusive conduct and management of its own affairs.  Our struggle has been, of course, contemplated by foreign nations with  reference less to its own merits than to its supposed and often exaggerated  effects and consequences resulting to those nations themselves.. Nevertheless, complaint on the part of this Government, even of it were just,  would certainly be unwise.

The treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the slave-trade  has been put into operation with a good prospect of complete success. It is an occasion of special pleasure to acknowledge that the execution of it  on the part of Her Majesty's Government has been marked with a jealous  respect for the authority of the United States and the rights of their moral  and loyal citizens.

The convention with Hanover for the abolition of the state dues  has been carried into full effect, under the act of Congress for that purpose.

A blockade of three thousand miles of sea-coast could not be established  and vigorously enforced, in a season of great commercial activity like the  present, without committing occasional mistakes, and inflicting unintentional injuries upon foreign nations and their subjects.

A civil war occurring in a country where foreigners reside and carry  on trade under treaty stipulations is necessarily fruitful of complaints of  the violation of neutral rights. All such collisions tend to excite misapprehensions, and possibly to produce mutual reclamations between nations  which have a common interest in preserving peace and friendship. In  clear cases of these kinds I have, so far as possible, heard and redressed  complaints which have been presented by friendly Powers. There is still,  however, a large and an augmenting number of doubtful cases, upon  which the Government is unable to agree with the Governments whose  protection is demanded by the claimants. There are, moreover, many  cases in which the United States, or their citizens, suffer wrongs from the  naval or military authorities of foreign nations, which the Governments  of these States are not at once prepared to redress. I have proposed to  some of the foreign States thus interested mutual conventions to examine  and adjust such complaints. This proposition has been made especially  to Great Britain, to France, to Spain, and to Prussia. In each case it has  been kindly received, but has not yet been formally adopted.

I deem it my duty to recommend an appropriation in behalf of the  owners of the Norwegian bark Admiral P. Tordenskiold, which vessel was in May, 1861, prevented by the commander of the blockading force  off Charleston from leaving that port with cargo, notwithstanding a similar privilege had, shortly before, been granted to an English vessel. I  have directed the Secretary of State to cause the papers in the case to be  communicated to the proper committees.

Applications have been made to me by many free Americans of African  descent to favor their emigration, with a view to such colonization as was  contemplated in recent acts of Congress. Other parties, at home and  abroad--some from interested motives, others upon patriotic considerations, and still others influenced by philanthropic sentiments--have suggested similar measures; while, on the other hand, several of the Spanish-American Republics have protested against the sending of such colonies to their respective territories. Under these circumstances, I have  declined to move any such colony to any State without first obtaining the  consent of its Government, with an agreement on its part to receive and  protect such emigrants in all the rights of freemen; and I have at the  same time offered to the several States situated within the tropics, or  having colonies there, to negotiate with them, subject to the advice and  consent of the Senate, to favor the voluntary emigration of persons of that  class to their respective territories, upon conditions which shall be equal,  just, and humane. Liberia and Hayti are, as yet, the only countries to  which colonists of African descent from here could go with certainty of  being received and adopted as citizens; and I regret to say such persons,  contemplating colonization, do not seem so willing to migrate to those  countries as to some others, nor so willing as I think their interest demands. I believe, however, opinion among them in this respect is  improving; and that ere long there will be an augmented and considerable migration to both these countries from the United States.

The new commercial treaty between the United States and the Sultan  of Turkey has been carried into execution.

A commercial and consular treaty has been negotiated, subject to the  Senate's consent, with Liberia; and a similar negotiation is now pending  with the Republic of Hayti. A considerable improvement of the national  commerce is expected to result from these measures.

Our relations with Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia,  Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Rome, and  the other European States remain undisturbed. Very favorable relations also continue to be maintained with Turkey, Morocco, China, and  Japan.

During the last year there has not only been no change of our previous  relations with the Independent States of our own continent, but more  friendly sentiments than have heretofore existed are believed to be entertained by these neighbors, whose safety and progress are so intimately  connected with our own. This statement especially applies to Mexico,  Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, and Chili.

The commission under the convention with the Republic of New Granada closed its session without having audited and passed upon all the  claims which were submitted to it. A proposition is pending to revive  the convention, that it be able to do more complete justice. The joint  commission between the United States and the Republic of Costa Rica  has completed its labors and submitted its report.

I have favored the project for connecting the United States with Europe by an Atlantic telegraph, and a similar project to extend the telegraph from San Francisco to connect by a Pacific telegraph with the line  which is being extended across the Russian Empire.

The Territories of the United States, with unimportant exceptions,  have remained undisturbed by the civil war; and they are exhibiting  such evidence of prosperity as justifies an expectation that some of them  will soon be in a condition to be organized as States, and be constitution ally admitted into the Federal Union.

The immense mineral resources of some of those Territories ought to  be developed as rapidly as possible. Every step in that direction would  have a tendency to improve the revenues of the Government and diminish the burdens of the people. It is worthy of your serious consideration whether some extraordinary measures to promote that end cannot  be adopted. The means which suggests itself as most likely to be effective, is a scientific exploration of the mineral regions in those Territories,  with a view to the publication of its results at home and in foreign coun tries--results which cannot fail to be auspicious.

The condition of the finances will claim your most diligent consideration. The vast expenditures incident to the military and naval operations required for the suppression of the rebellion have been hitherto  met with a promptitude and certainty unusual in similar circumstances;  and the public credit has been fully maintained. The continuance of the  war, however, and the increased disbursements made necessary by the  augmented forces now in the field, demand your best reflections as to the  best modes of providing the necessary revenue, without injury to business, and with the least possible burdens upon labor.

The suspension of specie payments by the banks, soon after the commencement of your last session, made large issues of United States notes  unavoidable. In no other way could the payment of the troops and the  satisfaction of other just demands, be so economically or so well provided  for. The judicious legislation of Congress, securing the receivability of  these notes for loans and internal duties, and making them a legal tender  for other debts, has made them a universal currency, and has satisfied,  partially at least, and for the time, the long felt want of a uniform circulating medium, saving thereby to the people immense sums in discounts  and exchanges.

A return to specie payments, however, at the earliest period compatible with due regard to all interests concerned, should ever be kept in  view. Fluctuations in the value of currency are always injurious, and  to reduce these fluctuations to the lowest possible point will always be a leading purpose in wise legislation. Convertibility, prompt and certain  convertibility into coin, is generally acknowledged to be the best and  surest safeguard against them; and it is extremely doubtful whether a  circulation of United States notes, payable in coin, and sufficiently large  for the wants of the people, can be permanently, usefully, and safely  maintained.

Is there, then, any other mode in which the necessary provision for  the public wants can be made, and the great advantages of a safe and  uniform currency secured?

I know of none which promises so certain results, and is, at the same  time, so unobjectionable as the organization of banking associations, under a general act of Congress, well guarded in its provisions. To such  associations the Government might furnish circulating notes, on the  security of United States bonds deposited in the Treasury. These notes,  prepared under the supervision of proper officers, being uniform in appearance and security, and convertible always into coin, would at once  protect labor against the evils of a vicious currency, and facilitate commerce by cheap and safe exchanges.

A moderate reservation from the interest on the bonds would compensate the United States for the preparation and distribution of the notes,  and a general supervision of the system, and would lighten the burden  of that part of the public debt employed as securities. The public credit,  -moreover, would be greatly improved, and the negotiation of new loans  greatly facilitated by the steady market demand for Government bonds  which the adoption of the proposed system would create.

It is an additional recommendation of the measure, of considerable  weight, in my judgment, that it would reconcile as far as possible all  existing interests, by the opportunity offered to existing institutions to  reorganize under the act, substituting only the secured uniform national  circulation for the local and various circulation, secured and unsecured,  now issued by them.

The receipts into the Treasury, from all sources, including loans, and  balance from the preceding year, for the fiscal year ending on the 30th  of June, 1862, were $583,885,247.60, of which sum $49,056,397.62 were  derived from customs; $1,795,331.73 from the direct tax; from public  lands, $152,203.77; from miscellaneous sources, $931,787,64; from loans  in all forms, $529,692,460.50. The remainder, $2,257,065.80, was the  balance from last year.

The disbursements during the same period were for Congressional,  Executive, and Judicial purposes, $5,939,009.29; for foreign intercourse,  $1,339,710.35; for miscellaneous expenses, including the mints, loans,  post-office deficiencies, collection of revenue, and other like charges,  $14,129,771.50; for expenses under the Interior Department, $3,102, 985.52; under the War Department, $394,368,407.36; under the Navy  Department, $42,674,569.69; for interest on public debt, $13,190,324.45;  and for payment of public debt, including reimbursement of temporary loan, and redemptions, $96,096,922.09; making an aggregate of $570, 841,700.25, and leaving a balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July,  1862, of $13,043,546.81.

It should be observed that the sum of $96,096,922.09, expended for  reimbursements and redemption of public debt, being included also in  the loans made, may be properly deducted, both from receipts and expenditures, leaving the actual receipts for the year $487,788,324.97, and the  expenditures, $474,744,778.16.

Other information on the subject of the finances will be found in the  report of the Secretary of the Treasury, to whose statements and views  I invite your most candid and considerate attention.

The reports of the Secretaries of War and of the Navy are herewith  transmitted. These reports, though lengthy, are scarcely more than  brief abstracts of the very numerous and extensive transactions and  operations conducted through those Departments. Nor could I give a  summary of them here, upon any principle which would admit of its  being much shorter than the reports themselves. I therefore condemn  myself with laying the reports before you, and asking your attention to  them.

It gives me pleasure to report a decided improvement in the financial  condition of the Post-Office Department, as compared with several pre ceding years. The receipts for the fiscal year 1861 amounted to  $8,349,296.40, which embraced the revenue from all the States of the  Union for three-quarters of that year. Notwithstanding the cessation  of revenue from the so-called seceded States during the last fiscal year,  the increase of the correspondence of the loyal States has been sufficient to produce a revenue during the same year' of $8,299,820.90,  being only $50,000 less than was derived from all the States of the  Union during the previous year. The expenditures show a still more  favorable result. The amount expended in 1861 was $13,606,759.11.  For the last year the amount has been reduced to $11,125,364.13, show ing a decrease of about $2,481,000 in the expenditures as compared with  the preceding year, and about $3,750,000 as compared with the fiscal year  1860. The deficiency in the Department for the previous year was  $4,551,966.98. For the last fiscal year it was reduced to $2,112,814.57.  These favorable results are in part owing to the cessation of mail service  in the insurrectionary States, and in part to a careful review of all expenditures in that department in the interest of economy. The efficiency  of the postal service, it is believed, has also been much improved. The  Postmaster-General has also opened a correspondence, through the Department of State, with foreign Governments, proposing a convention of  postal representatives for the purpose of simplifying the rates of foreign  postage, and to expedite the foreign mails. This proposition, equally important to our adopted citizens and to the commercial interests of this  country, has been favorably entertained and agreed to by all the Governments from whom replies have been received.

I ask the attention of Congress to the suggestions of the Postmaster General in his report respecting the further legislation required, in his  opinion, for the benefit of the postal service.

The Secretary of the Interior reports as follows in regard to the public  lands:--

The Public lands have ceased to be a source of revenue. From the  1st July, 1861, to the 30th September, 1862, the entire cash receipts from  the sale of lands were $137,476.26--a sum much less than the expenses  of our land system during the same period. The homestead law, which  will take effect on the 1st of January next, offers such inducements to  settlers that sales for cash cannot be expected, to an extent sufficient to  meet the expense of the General Land Office, and the cost of surveying  and bringing the land into market.

The discrepancy between the sum here stated as arising from the  sales of the public lands, and the sum derived from the same source as  reported from the Treasury Department, arises, as I understand, from  the fact that the periods of time, though apparently, were not really  coincident at the beginning-point--the Treasury report including a considerable sum now which had previously been reported from the interior--sufficiently large to greatly overreach the sum derived from the  three months now reported upon by the Interior, and not by the  Treasury.

The Indian tribes upon our frontiers have, during the past year, manifested a spirit of insubordination, and, at several points, have engaged in  open hostilities against the white settlements in their vicinity. The  tribes occupying the Indian country south of Kansas renounced their  allegiance to the United States, and entered into treaties with the insurgents. Those who remained loyal to the United States were driven from  the country. The chief of the Cherokees has visited this city for the  purpose of restoring the former relations of the tribe with the United  States. He alleges that they were constrained, by superior force, to en ter into treaties with the insurgents, and that the United States neglected to furnish the protection which their treaty stipulations required.

In the month of August last, the Sioux Indians in Minnesota attacked  the settlement in their vicinity with extreme ferocity, killing, indiscriminately, men, women, and children. This attack was wholly unexpected,  and therefore no means of defence had been provided. It is estimated  that not less than eight hundred persons were killed by the Indians, and  a large amount of property was destroyed. How this outbreak was induced is not definitely known, and suspicions, which may be unjust, need  not be stated. Information was received by the Indian Bureau, from  different sources, about the time hostilities were commenced, that a simultaneous attack was to be made upon the white settlements by all the  tribes between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The  State of Minnesota has suffered great injury from this Indian war. A  large portion of her territory has been depopulated, and a severe loss has been sustained by the destruction of property. The people of that  State manifest much anxiety for the removal of the tribes beyond the  limits of the State as a guarantee against future hostilities. The Com missioner of Indian Affairs will furnish full details. I submit for your  especial consideration whether our Indian system shall not be remodelled.  Many wise and good men have impressed me with the belief that this can  be profitably done.

I submit a statement of the proceedings of commissioners, which shows  the progress that has been made in the enterprise of constructing the  Pacific Railroad. And this suggests the earliest completion of this road,  and also the favorable action of Congress upon the projects now pending  before them for enlarging the capacities of the great canals in New York  and Illinois, as being of vital and rapidly increasing importance to the  whole nation, and especially to the vast interior region hereinafter to be  noticed at some greater length. I purpose having prepared and laid be fore you at an early day some interesting and valuable statistical information upon this subject. The military and commercial importance of  enlarging the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and improving the Illinois  River, is presented in the report of Colonel Webster to the Secretary of  War, and now transmitted to Congress. I respectfully ask attention to it.

To carry out the provisions of the act of Congress of the 15th of May  last, I have caused the Department of Agriculture of the United States  to be organized.

The Commissioner informs me that within the period of a few months  this department has established an extensive system of correspondence  and exchanges, both at home and abroad, which promises to effect highly  beneficial results in the development of a correct knowledge of recent  improvements in agriculture, in the introduction of new products, and in  the collection of the agricultural statistics of the different States. Also,  that it will soon be prepared to distribute largely seeds, cereals, plants,  and cuttings, and has already published and liberally diffused much valuable information in anticipation of a more elaborate report, which will in  due time be furnished, embracing some valuable tests in chemical science  now in progress in the laboratory.

The creation of this department was for the more immediate benefit  of a large class of our most valuable fellow-citizens; and I trust that the  liberal basis upon which it has been organized will not only meet your  approbation, but that it will realize, at no distant day, all the fondest  anticipations of its most sanguine friends, and become the fruitful source  of advantage to all our people.

On the 22d day of September last, a proclamation was issued by the  Executive, a copy of which is herewith submitted.

In accordance with the purpose expressed in the second paragraph of  that paper, I now respectfully call your attention to what may be called  "compensated emancipation."

A nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people and its laws.

The territory is the only part which is of certain durability. "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth  forever." It is of the first importance to duly consider and estimate this  ever-enduring part. That portion of the earth's surface which is owned  and inhabited by the people of the United States is well adapted to the  home of one national family, and it is not well adapted for two or more.  Its vast extent, and its variety of climate and productions, are of advantage in this age for one people, whatever they might have been in former  ages. Steam, telegraphs, and intelligence have brought these to be an  advantageous combination for one united people.

In the Inaugural Address I briefly pointed out the total inadequacy of  disunion as a remedy for the differences between the people of the two  sections. I did so in language which I cannot improve, and which, there fore, I beg to repeat:--

"One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be  extended; while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be  extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive slave clause  of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a  community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the  law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation  in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be  cured, and it would be worse, in both cases, after the separation of the  sections than before. The foreign slave-trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one section; while  fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered  at all by the other.

"Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our  respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between  them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence  and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and intercourse,  either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible,  then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory  after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends  can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens  than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight  always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either,  you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse,  are again upon you.''

There is no line, straight or crooked, suitable for a national boundary,  upon which to divide. Trace through, from east to west, upon the line  between the free and slave country, and we shall find a little more than  one-third of its length are rivers, easy to be crossed, and populated, or  soon to be populated, thickly upon both sides; while nearly all its remaining length are merely surveyors' lines, over which people may walk  back and forth without any consciousness of their presence. No part of  this line can be made any more difficult to pass by writing it down on  paper or parchment as a national boundary. The fact of separation, if it comes, gives up, on the part of the seceding section, the fugitive slave  clause, along with all other constitutional obligations upon the section  seceded from, while I should expect no treaty stipulation would ever be  made to take its place.

But there is another difficulty. The great interior region, bounded east  by the Alleghanies, north by the British dominions, west by the Rocky  Mountains, and south by the line along which the culture of corn and  cotton meets, and which includes part of Virginia, part of Tennessee, all  of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri,  Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Territories of Dakota, Nebraska, and  part of Colorado, already has above ten millions of people, and will have  fifty millions within fifty years, if not prevented by any political folly or  mistake. It contains more than one-third of the country owned by the  United States--certainly more than one million of square miles. Once  half as populous as Massachusetts already is it would have more than  seventy-five millions of people. A glance at the map shows that, territorially speaking, it is the great body of the Republic. The other parts  are but marginal borders to it, the magnificent region sloping west from  the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific being the deepest, and also the richest  in undeveloped resources. In the production of provisions, grains, grasses,  and all which proceed from them, this great interior region is naturally  one of the most important of the world. Ascertain from the statistics the  small proportion of the region which has as yet been brought into cultivation, and also the large and rapidly increasing amount of its products,  and we shall be overwhelmed with the magnitude of the prospect presented. And yet this region has no sea-coast--touches no ocean any where. As part of one nation, its people now find, and may forever find,  their way to Europe by New York, to South America and Africa by New  Orleans, and to Asia by San Francisco. But separate our common country into two nations, as designed by the present rebellion, and every man  of this great interior region is thereby cut off from some one or more of  these outlets, not perhaps by a physical barrier, but by embarrassing and  onerous trade regulations.

And this is true, wherever a dividing or boundary line may be fixed.  Place it between the now free and slave country, or place it south of  Kentucky, or north of Ohio, and still the truth remains that none south  of it can trade to any port or place north of it, and none north of it can  trade to any port or place south of it, except upon terms dictated by a  Government foreign to them. These outlets, east, west, and south, are  indispensable to the well-being of the people inhabiting and to inhabit  this vast interior region. Which of the three may be the best is no  proper question. All are better than either, and all of right belong  to that people and to their successors forever. True to themselves,  they will not ask where a line of separation shall be, but will vow  rather that there shall be no such line. Nor are the marginal regions  less interested in these communications to and through them to the great outside world. They too, and each of them, must have access to this  Egypt of the West, without paying toll at the crossing of any national  boundary.

Our national strife springs not from our permanent part; not from the  land we inhabit; not from our national homestead. There is no possible  severing of this, but would multiply and not mitigate evils among us. In  all its adaptations and aptitudes it demands union and abhors separation.  In fact, it would ere long force reunion, however much of blood and  treasure the separation might have cost.

Our strife pertains to ourselves--to the passing generations of men;  and it can, without convulsion, be hushed forever with the passing of one  generation.

In this view, I recommend the adoption of the following resolution and  articles amendatory to the Constitution of the United States:--

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United  States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of both Houses con  curring), That the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures (or  Conventions) of the several States as amendments to the Constitution of  the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures (or Conventions), to be valid as part or  parts of the said Constitution, viz.:--

ARTICLE.--Every State, wherein slavery now exists, which shall abolish  the same therein at any time or times before the first day of January, in  the year of our Lord one thousand and nine hundred, shall receive compensation from the United States as follows, to wit:

The President of the United States shall deliver to every such State  bonds of the United States, bearing interest at the rate of ----- per cent.  per annum, to an amount equal to the aggregate sum of ----- for each  slave shown to have been therein by the eighth census of the United  States, said bonds to be delivered to such State by instalments, or in one  parcel, at the completion of the abolishment, accordingly as the same  shall have. been gradual, or at one time, within such State; and interest  shall begin to run upon any such bond only from the proper time of its  delivery as aforesaid. Any State having received bonds as aforesaid, and  afterwards reintroducing or tolerating slavery therein, shall refund to the  United States the bonds so received, or the value thereof, and all interest  paid thereon.

ARTICLE.--All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom by the  chances of the war, at any time before the end of the rebellion, shall be  forever free; but all owners of such, who shall not have been disloyal,  shall be compensated for them at the same rates as is provided for States  adopting abolishment of slavery, but in such way that no slave shall be  twice accounted for.

ARTICLE.--Congress may appropriate money, and otherwise provide  for colonizing free colored persons, with their own consent, at any place  or places without the United States.

I beg indulgence to discuss these proposed articles at some length.  Without slavery the rebellion could never have existed; without slavery  it could not continue.

Among the friends of the Union there is great diversity of sentiment and of policy in regard to slavery and the African race amongst us  Some would perpetuate slavery; some would abolish it suddenly, and  without compensation; some would abolish it gradually, and with compensation; some would remove the freed people from us, and some  would retain them with us: and there are yet other minor diversities.  Because of these diversities we waste much strength among ourselves.  By mutual concession we should harmonize and act together. This  would be compromise; but it would be compromise among the friends,  and not with the enemies of the Union. These articles are intended to  embody a plan of such mutual concessions. If the plan shall be adopted,  it is assumed that emancipation will follow in at least several of the  States.

As to the first article, the main points are: first, the emancipation:  secondly, the length of time for consummating it--thirty-seven years;  and, thirdly, the compensation.

The emancipation will be unsatisfactory to the advocates of perpetual  slavery; but the length of time should greatly mitigate their dissatisfaction. The time spares both races from the evils of sudden derangement  --in fact, from the necessity of any derangement; while most of those  whose habitual course of thought will be disturbed by the measure will  have passed away before its consummation. They will never see it.  Another class will hail the prospect of emancipation, but will deprecate  the length of time. They will feel that it gives too little to the now liv ing slaves. But it really gives them much. It saves them from the vagrant  destitution which must largely attend immediate emancipation in localities  where their numbers are very great; and it gives the inspiring assurance  that their posterity shall be free forever. The plan leaves to each State  choosing to act under it, to abolish slavery now, or at the end of the cen tury, or at any intermediate time, or by degrees, extending over the whole  or any part of the period; and it obliges no two States to proceed alike.  It also provides for compensation, and generally the mode of making it.  This, it would seem, must further mitigate the dissatisfaction of those who  favor perpetual slavery, and especially of those who are to receive the  compensation. Doubtless some of those who are to pay and not receive  will object. Yet the measure is both just and economical. In a certain  sense the liberation of slaves is the destruction of property--property  acquired by descent or by purchase, the same as any other property. It  is no less true for having been often said, that the people of the South are  not more responsible for the original introduction of this property than  are the people of the North; and when it is remembered how unhesitatingly we all use cotton and sugar, and share the profits of dealing in them,  it may not be quite safe to say that the South has been more responsible than the North for its continuance. If, then, for a common object  this property is to be sacrificed is it not just that it be done at a common  charge?

And if with less money, or money more easily paid, we can preserve the benefits of the Union by this means than we can by the war alone, is  it not also economical to do it? Let us consider it, then. Let us ascertain the sum we have expended in the war since compensated emancipation  was proposed last March, and consider whether, if that measure had been  promptly accepted by even some of the slave States, the same sum would  not have done more to close the war than has been otherwise done. If  so, the measure would save money, and, in that view, would be a prudent  and economical measure. Certainly it is not so easy to pay something as  it is pay nothing; but it is easier to pay a large sum than it is to pay a  larger one. And it is easier to pay any sum when we are able, than it is  to pay it before we are able. The war requires large sums, and requires  them at once. The aggregate sum necessary for compensated emancipation of course would be large. But it would require no ready cash, nor  the bonds even, any faster than the emancipation progresses. This might  not, and probably would not, close before the end of the thirty-seven  years. At that time we shall probably have a hundred millions of people  to share the burden, instead of thirty-one millions, as now. And not only  so, but the increase of our population may be expected to continue for a  long time after that period as rapidly as before; because our territory will  not have become full. I do no state this inconsiderately.

At the same ratio of increase which we have maintained, on an average,  from our first national census, in 1790, until that of 1860, we should, in  1900, have a population of one hundred and three million two hundred  and eight thousand four hundred and fifteen. And why may we not continue that ratio--far beyond that period? Our abundant room--our broad  national homestead--is our ample resource. Were our territory as limited  as are the British Isles, very certainly our population could not expand as  stated. Instead of receiving the foreign born as now, we should be compelled to send part of the native born away. But such is not our condition. We have two million nine hundred and sixty-three thousand  square miles. Europe has three million and eight hundred thousand,  with a population averaging seventy-three and one-third persons to the  square mile. Why may not our country at some time average as many?  Is it less fertile? Has it more waste surface, by mountains, rivers, lakes,  deserts, or other causes? Is it inferior to Europe in any natural advantage? If then we are, at some time, to be as populous as Europe, how  soon? As to when this maybe, we can judge by the past and the present;  as to when it will be, if ever, depends much on whether we maintain the  Union. Several of our States are already above the average of Europe- seventy-three and a third to the square mile. Massachusetts one hundred  and fifty-seven; Rhode Island one hundred and thirty-three; Connecticut  ninety-nine; New York and New Jersey, each eighty. Also two other  great States, Pennsylvania and Ohio, are not far below, the former having  sixty-three and the latter fifty-nine. The States already above the  European average, except New York, have increased in as rapid a ratio  since passing that point, as ever before; while no one of them is equal to some other parts of our country in natural capacity for sustaining a dense  population.

Taking the nation in the aggregate, and we find its population and ratio  of increase, for the several decennial periods, to be as follows:--







per cent. ratio of increase.





































This shows an average decennial increase of 34.60 per cent. in population through the seventy years, from our first to our last census yet taker  It is seen that the ratio of increase, at no one of these two periods, is  either two per cent. below or two per cent. above the average; thus show ing how inflexible, and consequently how reliable, the law of increase in  our case is. Assuming that it will continue, it gives the following results:--















These figures show that our country may be as populous as Europe now  is at some point between 1920 and 1930--say about 1925--our territory,  at seventy-three and a third persons to the square mile, being of capacity  to contain two hundred and seventeen million one hundred and eighty six thousand.

And we will reach this, too, if we do not ourselves relinquish the chance,  by the folly and evils of disunion, or by long and exhausting war spring ing from the only great element of national discord among us. While it  cannot be foreseen exactly how much one huge example of secession,  breeding lesser ones indefinitely, would retard population, civilization, and  prosperity, no one can doubt that the extent of it would be very great and  injurious.

The proposed emancipation would shorten the war, perpetuate peace,  insure this increase of population, and proportionately the wealth of the.  country. With these we should pay all the emancipation would cost,  together with our other debt, easier than we should pay our other debt with out it. If we had allowed our old national debt to run at six per cent. per  annum, simple interest, from the end of our Revolutionary struggle until  to-day, without paying any thing on either principal or interest, each man  of us would owe less upon that debt now than each man owed upon it then; and this because our increase of men, through the whole period,  has been greater than six per cent.; has run faster than the interest upon  the debt. Thus, time alone relieves a debtor nation, so long as its population increases faster than unpaid interest accumulates on its debt.

This fact would be no excuse for delaying payment of what is justly  due; but it shows the great importance of time in this connection--the  great advantage of a policy by which we shall not have to pay until we  number a hundred millions, what, by a different policy, we would have to  now, when we number but thirty-one millions. In a word, it shows that  a dollar will be much harder to pay for the war than will be a dollar for the  emancipation on the proposed plan. And then the latter will cost no  blood, no precious life. It will be a saving of both.

As to the second article, I think it would be impracticable to return to  bondage the class of persons therein contemplated. Some of them, doubt less, in the property sense, belong to loyal owners; and hence provision  is made in this article for compensating such.

The third article relates to the future of the freed people. It does not  oblige, but merely authorizes Congress to aid in colonizing such as may  consent. This ought not to be regarded as objectionable on the one hand or  on the other, insomuch as it comes to nothing unless by the mutual con sent of the people to be deported, and the American voters, through their  representatives in Congress.

I cannot make it better known than it already is, that I strongly favor  colonization. And yet I wish to say there is an objection urged against  free colored persons remaining in the country which is largely imaginary,  if not sometimes malicious.

It is insisted that their presence would injure and displace white labor  and white laborers. If there ever could be a proper time for mere catch  arguments, that time surely is not now. In times like the present men  should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible  through time and in eternity. Is it true, then, that colored people can  displace any more white labor by being free than by remaining slaves?  If they stay in their old places, they jostle no white laborers; if they leave  their old places, they leave them open to white laborers. Logically, there  is neither more nor less of it. Emancipation, even without deportation,  would probably enhance the wages of white labor, and, very surely, would  not reduce them. Thus the customary amount of labor would still have  to be performed--the freed people would surely not do more than their  old proportion of it, and very probably for a time would do less, leaving  an increased part to white laborers, bringing their labor into greater  demand, and consequently enhancing the wages of it. With deportation,  even to a limited extent, enhanced wages to white labor is mathematically  certain. Labor is like any other commodity in the market--increase the  demand for it and you increase the price of it. Reduce the supply of  black labor, by colonizing the black laborer out of the country, and by  precisely so much you increase the demand for and wages of white labor But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth and covet the  whole land! Are they not already in the land? Will liberation make  them any more numerous? Equally distributed among the whites of the  whole country, and there would be but one colored to seven whites.  Could the one, in any way, greatly disturb the seven? There are many  communities now having more than one free colored person to seven  whites; and this, without any apparent consciousness of evil from it.  The District of Columbia and the States of Maryland and Delaware are  all in this condition. The District has more than one free colored to six  whites; and yet, in its frequent petitions to Congress, I believe it has  never presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its grievances. But why should emancipation South send the freed people North?People of any color seldom run unless there be something to run from.  Heretofore colored people to some extent have fled North from bondage;  and now, perhaps, from bondage and destitution. But if gradual emancipation and deportation be adopted, they will have neither to flee from.  Their old masters will give them wages at least until new laborers can be  procured, and the freedmen in turn will gladly give their labor for the  wages till new homes can be found for them in congenial climes and with  people of their own blood and race. This proposition can be trusted on  the mutual interests involved. And in any event, cannot the North decide for itself whether to receive them?

Again, as practice proves more than theory, in any case, has there been  any irruption of colored people northward because of the abolishment  of slavery in this District last spring?

What I have said of the proportion of free colored persons to the  whites in the District is from the census of 1860, having no reference to  persons called contrabands, nor to those made free by the act of Congress  abolishing slavery here.

The plan consisting of these articles is recommended, not but that a  restoration of national authority would be accepted without its adoption.

Nor will the war, nor proceedings under the proclamation of September 22, 1862, be stayed because of the recommendation of this plan. Its  timely adoption, I doubt not, would bring restoration, and thereby stay  both.

And, notwithstanding this plan, the recommendation that Congress  provide by law for compensating any State which may adopt emancipation before this plan shall have been acted upon, is hereby earnestly renewed. Such would be only an advanced part of the plan, and the same  arguments apply to both.

This plan is recommended as a means, not in exclusion of, but additional to, all others for restoring and preserving the national authority  throughout the Union. The subject is presented exclusively in its economical aspect. The plan would, I am confident, secure peace more  speedily, and maintain it more permanently, than can be done by force  alone; while all it would cost, considering amounts, and manner of payment, and times of payment, would be easier paid than will be the additional cost of the war, if we solely rely upon force. It is much--very  much--that it would cost no blood at all.

The plan is proposed as permanent constitutional law. It cannot be come such, without the concurrence of, first, two-thirds of Congress, and  afterwards three-fourths of the States. The requisite three-fourths of the  States will necessarily include seven of the slave States. Their concurrence, if obtained, will give assurance of their severally adopting emancipation, at no very distant day, upon the new constitutional terms. This  assurance would end the struggle now, and save the Union forever.

I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed  to the Congress of the nation by the Chief Magistrate of the nation. Nor  do I forget that some of you are my seniors; nor that many of you have  more experience than I in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I trust that,  in view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will perceive no  want of respect to yourselves in any undue earnestness I may seem to  display.

Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten  the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood? Is it  doubted that it would restore the national authority and national prosperity, and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we here- Congress and Executive--can secure its adoption? Will not the good  people respond to a united and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can  they, by any other means, so certainly or so speedily assure these vital  objects? We can succeed only by concert. It is not "Can any of us imagine better?" but "Can we all do better?", Object whatsoever is possible,  still the question recurs, "Can we do better?" The dogmas of the quiet  past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high  with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new,  so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disinthrall ourselves,  and then we shall save our country.

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and  this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The  fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor  to the latest generation. We say that we are for the Union. The world  will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The  world knows we do know how to save it. We--even we here--hold the  power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we as sure freedom to the free--honorable alike in what we give and what we  preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth.  Other means may succeed; this could not, cannot fail. The way is plain,  peaceful, generous, just--a way which, if followed, the world will forever  applaud, and God must forever bless.


December 1, 1862.

At the very outset of the session, resolutions were inroduced by the opponents of the Administration, censuring, in strong terms, its arrest of individuals in the loyal States, suspected of giving, or intending to give, aid and comfort to the rebellion. These arrests were denounced as utterly unwarranted by the Constitution and laws of -the United States, and as involving the subversion of the public liberties. In the Senate, the general subject was discussed in a debate, commencing on the 8th of December, the opponents of the Administration setting forth very fully and very strongly their opinion of the unjustifiable nature of this action, and its friends vindicating it, as made absolutely necessary by the emergencies of the case. Every department of the Government, and every section of the country, were filled at the outset of the war with men actively engaged in doing the work of spies and informers for the rebel authorities; and it was known that, in repeated instances, the plans and purposes of the Government had been betrayed and defeated by these aiders and abettors of treason. It became absolutely necessary, not for purposes of punishment, but of prevention, to arrest these men in the injurious and perhaps fatal action they were preparing to take; and on this ground the action of the Government was vindicated and justified by the Senate. On the 8th of December, in the House of Representatives, a bill was introduced, declaring the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to have been required by the public safety; confirming and declaring valid all arrests and imprisonments, by whomsoever made or caused to be made, under the authority of the President; and indemnifying the President, secretaries, heads of departments, and all persons who have been concerned in making such arrests, or in doing or advising any such acts, and making void all prosecutions and proceedings whatever against them in relation to the matters in question. It also authorized the President, during the existence of the war, to declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, "at such times, and in such places, 
and with regard to such persons, as in his judgment the public safety may require." This bill was passed, receiving ninety votes in its favor, and forty-five against it. It  was taken up in the Senate on the 22d of December, and  after a discussion of several days, a new bill was substituted and passed; ayes 33, noes 7. This was taken up  in the House on the 18th of February, and the substitute  of the. Senate was rejected. This led to the appointment  of a committee of conference, which recommended that  the Senate recede from its amendments, and that the bill,  substantially as it came from the House, be passed. This  report was agreed to after long debate, and the bill thus  became a law.

The relations in which the rebel States were placed by  their acts of secession towards the General Government  became a topic of discusion in the House of Representatives, in a debate which arose on the 8th of January, upon  an item in the Appropriation Bill, limiting the amount to  be paid to certain commissioners to the amount that might  be collected from taxes in the insurrectionary States. Mr.  Stevens, of Pennsylvania, pronounced the opinion that  the Constitution did not embrace a State that was in arms  against the Government of the United States. He maintain ed that those States held towards us the position of alien  enemies--that every obligation existing between them and  us had been annulled, and that with regard to all the  Southern States in rebellion, the Constitution has no bind ing force and no application. This position was very  strongly controverted by men of both parties. Those who  were not in full sympathy with the Administration opposed  it, because it denied to the Southern people the protection  of the Constitution; while many Republicans regarded it  as a virtual acknowledgment of the validity and actual  force of the ordinances of secession passed by the Rebel  States. Mr. Thomas, of Massachusetts, expressed the  sentiment of the latter class very clearly when he said  that one object of the bill under discussion was to impose  a tax upon States in rebellion--that our only authority  for so doing was the Constitution of the United States- and that we could only do it on the ground that the authority of the Government over those States is just as valid  now as it was before the acts of secession were passed,  and that every one of those acts is utterly null and void.  No vote was taken which declared directly the opinion  of the House on the theoretical question thus involved.

The employment of negroes as soldiers was subjected to  a vigorous discussion, started on the 27th of January, by  an amendment offered to a pending bill by Mr. Stevens,  directing the President to raise, arm, and equip as many  volunteers of African descent as he might deem useful,  for such term of service as he might think proper, not  exceeding five years--to be officered by white or black  persons, in the President's discretion--slaves to be accept ed as well as freemen. The members from the Border  States opposed this proposition with great earnestness, as  certain to do great harm to the Union cause among their constituents, by arousing prejudices which, whether reason able or not, were very strong, and against which argument  would be found utterly unavailing. Mr. Crittenden, of  Kentucky, objected to it mainly because it would convert  the war against the rebellion into a servile war, and establish abolition as the main end for which the war was  carried on. Mr. Sedgwick, of New York, vindicated the  policy suggested, as having been dictated rather by necessity than choice. He pointed out the various steps by  which the President, as the responsible head of the Government, had endeavored to prosecute the War success fully without interfering with slavery, and showed also  how the refusal of the Rebel States to return to their  allegiance had compelled him to advance, step by step,  to the more rigorous and effective policy which had now  become inevitable. After considerable further discussion,  the bill, embodying substantially the amendment of Mr.  Stevens, was passed; ayes 83, noes 54. On reaching the  Senate it was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs,  which, on the 12th of February, reported against its pas sage, on the ground that the autherity which it was in tended to confer upon the President was already sufficiently granted in the act of the previous session, approved

July 17, 1862, which authorized the President to employ,  in any military or naval service for which they might be  found competent, persons of African descent.

One of the most important acts of the session was that  which provided for the creation of a national force by  enrolling and drafting the militia of the whole country- each State being required to contribute its quota in the  ratio of its population, and the whole force, when raised,  to be under the control of the President. Some measure  of the kind seemed to have been rendered absolutely necessary by the revival of party spirit throughout the loyal  States, and by the active and effective efforts made by  the Democratic party, emboldened by the results of the  fall elections of 1862, to discourage and prevent volunteering. So successful had they been in this work, that the  Government seemed likely to fail in its efforts to raise  men for another campaign; and it was to avert this threatening evil that the bill in question was brought forward  for the action of Congress. It encountered a violent resistance from the opposition party, and especially from those  members whose sympathies with the secessionists were  the most distinctly marked. But after the rejection of  numerous amendments, more or less affecting its character  and force, it was passed in the Senate, and taken up on  the 23d of February in the House, where it encountered  a similar ordeal. It contained various provisions for  exempting from service persons upon whom others were  most directly and entirely dependent for support--such as  the only son of a widow, the only son of aged and infirm  parents who relied upon him for a maintenance, &c. It  allowed drafted persons to procure substitutes; and, to  cover the cases in which the prices of substitutes might  become exorbitant, it also provided that upon payment  of three hundred dollars the Government itself would  procure a substitute, and release the person drafted from  service. The bill was passed in the House, with some  amendments, by a vote of 115 to 49; and the amendments  being concurred in by the Senate, the bill became a law.

One section of this act required the President to issue a proclamation offering an amnesty to deserters, and he accordingly issued it, in the following words:--


By the President of the United States of America.


In pursuance of the twenty-sixth section of the act of Congress entitled  "An Act for enrolling and calling out the National Forces, and for other  purposes," approved on the third of March, in the year one thousand eight  hundred and sixty-three, I, Abraham Lincoln, President, and commander in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, do hereby order and  command that all soldiers enlisted or drafted into the service of the United  States, now absent from their regiments without leave, shall forthwith  return to their respective regiments; and I do hereby declare and pro claim that all soldiers now absent from their respective regiments without  leave, who shall, on or before the first day of April, 1863, report them selves at any rendezvous designated by the General Orders of the War  Department, No. 58, hereto annexed, may be restored to their respective  regiments without punishment, except the forfeiture of pay and allowances during their absence; and all who do not return within the time  above specified shall be arrested as deserters, and punished as the law  provides.

And whereas evil-disposed and disloyal persons, at sundry places, have  enticed and procured soldiers to desert and absent themselves from their  regiments, thereby weakening the strength of the armies, and prolonging  the war, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and cruelly exposing the  gallant and faithful soldiers remaining in the ranks to increased hardships  and dangers:

I do therefore call upon all patriotic and faithful citizens to oppose and  resist the aforementioned dangerous and treasonable crimes, and aid in  restoring to their regiments all soldiers absent without leave, and assist  in the execution of the act of Congress for "Enrolling and calling out the  National Forces, and for other purposes," and to support the proper  authorities in the prosecution and punishment of offenders against said  act, and aid in suppressing the insurrection and the rebellion.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand.

Done at the City of Washington, this tenth day of March, in the year  of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of  the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.


By the President:  EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

The finances of the country enlisted a good deal of  attention during this session. It was necessary to provide in some way for the expenses of the war, and also  for a currency; and two bills were accordingly introduced  at an early stage of the session relating to these two subjects. The Financial Bill, as finally passed by both  Houses, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to  borrow and issue bonds for nine hundred millions of  dollars, at not more than six per cent. interest, and  payable at a time not less than ten nor more than forty  years. It also authorized the Secretary to issue treasury  notes to the amount of four hundred millions of dollars,  bearing interest, and also notes not bearing interest to the  amount of one hundred and fifty millions of dollars.  While this bill was pending, a joint resolution was  passed by both Houses, authorizing the issuing of treasury notes to the amount of one hundred millions of  dollars, to meet the immediate wants of the soldiers and  sailors in the service.

The President announced that he had signed this resolution, in the following


To the Senate and House of Representatives:--

I have signed the joint resolution to provide for the immediate payment of the army and navy of the United States, passed by the House  of Representatives on the 14th, and by the Senate on the 15th inst.  The joint resolution is a simple authority, amounting, however, under the.  existing circumstances, to a direction to the Secretary of the Treasury to  make an additional issue of one hundred millions of dollars in United  States notes, if so much money is needed, for the payment of the army  and navy. My approval is given in order that every possible facility may  be afforded for the prompt discharge of all arrears of pay due to our soldiers and our sailors.

While giving this approval, however, I think it my duty to express my  sincere regret that it has been found necessary to authorize so large an  issue of United States notes, when this circulation, and that of  the suspended banks together, have become already so redundant as to  increase prices beyond real values, thereby augmenting the cost of living,  to the injury of labor, and the cost of supplies--to the injury of the whole  country. It seems very plain that continued issues of United States notes,  without any check to the issues of suspended banks, and without adequate  provision for the raising of money by loans, and for funding the issues, so  as to keep them within due limits, must soon produce disastrous consequences; and this matter appears to me so important that I feel bound to  avail myself of this occasion to ask the special attention of Congress to it.

That Congress has power to regulate the currency of the country can  hardly admit of doubt, and that a judicious measure to prevent the deterioration of this currency, by a reasonable taxation of bank circulation  or otherwise, is needed, seems equally clear. Independently of this gen eral consideration, it would be unjust to the people at large to exempt  banks enjoying the special privilege of circulation, from their just proportion of the public burdens.

In order to raise money by way of loans most easily and cheaply, it is  clearly necessary to give every possible support to the public credit. To  that end, a uniform currency, in which taxes, subscriptions, loans, and all  other ordinary public dues may be paid, is almost if not quite indispensable. Such a currency can be furnished by banking associations authorized  under a general act of Congress, as suggested in my message at the beginning of the present session. The securing of this circulation by the pledge  of the United States bonds, as herein suggested, would still further facilitate loans, by increasing the present and causing a future demand for  such bonds.

In view of the actual financial embarrassments of the Government, and  of the greater embarrassment sure to come if the necessary means of relief be not afforded, I feel that I should not perform my duty by a simple  announcement of my approval of the joint resolution, which proposes  relief only by increasing the circulation, without expressing my earnest  desire that measures, such in substance as that I have just referred to, may  receive the early sanction of Congress. By such measures, in my opinion,  will payment be most certainly secured, not only to the army and navy,  but to all honest creditors of the Government, and satisfactory provision  made for future demands on the Treasury.


The second bill--that to provide a national currency,  secured by a pledge of United States stocks, and to provide  for the circulation and redemption thereof, was passed in  the Senate--ayes twenty-three, noes twenty-one; and in  the House, ayes seventy-eight, noes sixty-four--under  the twofold conviction that so long as the war continued  the country must have a large supply of paper money,  and that it was also highly desirable that this money  should be national in its character, and rest on the faith  of the Government as its security.

Another act of importance, passed by Congress at this  session, was the admission of West Virginia into the  Union. The Constitution of the United States declares that no new State shall be formed within the jurisdiction of any State without the consent of the legislature of the State concerned, as well as of the Congress. The main question on which the admission of the new State turned, therefore, was whether that State had been formed with the consent of the Legislature of Virginia. The facts of the case were these: In the winter of 1860-61, the Legislature of Virginia, convened in extra session, had called a convention, to be held on the 14th of February, 1861, at Richmond, to decide on the question of secession. A vote was also to be taken, when the delegates to this convention should be elected, to decide whether an ordinance of secession, if passed by the convention, should be referred back to the people; and this was decided in the affirmative, by a majority of nearly sixty thousand. The convention met, and an ordinance of secession was passed, and referred to the people, at an election to be held on the fourth Tuesday of May. Without waiting for this vote, the authorities of the State levied war against the United States, joined the Rebel Confederacy, and invited the Confederate armies to occupy portions of their territory. A convention of nearly five hundred delegates, chosen in Western Virginia under a popular call, met early in May, declared the ordinance of secession null and void, and called another convention of delegates from all the counties of Virginia, to be held at Wheeling, on the 11th of June, in case the secession ordinance should be ratified by the popular vote. It was so ratified, and the convention met. It proceeded on the assumption that the officers of the old Government of the State had vacated their offices by joining the rebellion; and it accordingly proceeded to fill them, and to reorganize the Government of the whole State. On the 20th of August the convention passed an ordinance to "provide for the formation of a new State out of a portion of the territory of this State." Under that ordinance, delegates were elected to a convention which met at Wheeling, November 26th, and proceeded to draft a Constitution for the, State of West Virginia, as the new State was named, which was submitted to the people of West Virginia in April,  1862, and by them ratified -- eighteen thousand eight  hundred and sixty-two voting in favor of it, and five hu dred and fourteen against it. The Legislature of Virginia,  the members of which were elected by authority of the  Wheeling Convention of June 11th, met, in extra session,  called by the Governor appointed by that convention, on  the 6th of May, 1862, and passed an act giving its consent  to the formation of the new State, and making application  to Congress for its admission into the Union. The question to be decided by Congress, therefore, was whether  the legislature which met at Wheeling on the 11th of June  was "the Legislature of Virginia," and thus competent  to give its consent to the formation of a new State within  the State of Virginia. The bill for admitting it, notwithstanding the opposition of several leading and influential  Republicans, was passed in the House--ayes ninety-six,  noes fifty-five. It passed in the Senate without debate,  and was approved by the President on the 31st of December, 1862, and on the 20th of April, 1863, the President  issued the following proclamation for the admission of the  new State:--

Whereas, by the act of Congress approved the 31st day of December last,  the State of West Virginia was declared to be one of the United States of  America, and was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the  original States in all respects whatever, upon the condition that certain  changes should be duly made in the proposed Constitution for that State.

And whereas, proof of a compliance with that condition, as required by  the second section of the act aforesaid, has been submitted to me:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the  United States, do hereby, in pursuance of the act of Congress aforesaid,  declare and proclaim that the said act shall take effect and be in force  from and after sixty days from the date hereof.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal  of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.


[L. S.]

By the President  WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.



Book Navigation Title Page Preface Illustrations Memorandum Table of Contents   ► Chapter I.   ► Chapter II.   ► Chapter III.   ► Chapter IV.   ► Chapter V.   ► Chapter VI.   ► Chapter VII.   ► Chapter VIII.   ► Chapter IX.   ► Chapter X.   ► Chapter XI.   ► Chapter XII.   ► Chapter XIII.   ► Chapter XIV.   ► Chapter XV.   ► Chapter XVI.   ► Chapter XVII.   ► Chapter XVIII.   ► Chapter XIX.   ► Chapter XX.   ► Chapter XXI. Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln.   ► Mr. Lincoln's Sadness   ► His Favorite Poem   ► His Religious Experience   ► His Sympathy   ► His Humor, Shrewdness, and Sentiment   ► The Emancipation Proclamation Appendix. Letters on Sundry Occasions.   ► To Mr. Lodges, of Kentucky   ► To General Hooker   ► To John B. Fry   ► To Governor Magoffin   ► To Count Gasparin   ► The President and General McClellan   ► Warnings Against Assassination Reports, Dispatches, and Proclamations Relating to the Assassination.   ► Secretary Stanton to General Dix   ► The Death-Bed   ► The Assassins   ► Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton   ► Flight of the Assassins   ► The Conspiracy Organized in Canada   ► Booth Killed. Harold Captured   ► Reward Offered by President Johnson   ► The Funeral Official Announcements   ► Acting Secretary Hunger to Minister Adams   ► Acting Secretary Hunter to his Subordinates   ► Orders from Secretary Stanton and General Grant   ► Orders from Secretary "Welles   ► Order from Secretary McCulloch   ► Order from Postmaster-General Dennison   ► Proclamation by President Johnson of a Day of Humiliation and Mourning.   ► Secretary Stanton to Minister Adams   ► Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth   ► Indictment of the Conspirators   ► The Finding of the Court