Puslapio vaizdai

death, with the deeper guilt of the wily agitator, who claimed immunity through the Constitution he was endeavoring to destroy; the strong, yet humorous, common sense of his doubt whether a permanent taste for emetics could be contracted during a fit of sickness met with an immediate and eager appreciation among the citizens of the country, and rendered this letter remarkable in the long series of Mr Lincoln's political writings. It is needless to say that it did not meet with equal approbation in all quarters. It was received by the politicians of New York, to whom it was addressed, with the gravest displeasure. They answered in an angry yet forcible paper, claiming that the original act of tyranny by which Mr. Vallandigham was arrested had been aggravated by the claim of despotic power which they assumed to find in the President's letter. They wrote with so much heat and feeling that they hardly paused to measure their epithets; otherwise they would scarcely have been guilty of the impertinence of speaking to the President of his "pretensions to more than legal authority," and of criticising his crystal-clear statement as the "misty and cloudy forms of expression" in which these pretensions are set forth. But it is not worth while to rescue either of these letters from the oblivion which soon overtook them. In the words of Mr. Lincoln on another occasion, "the world little noted nor long remembered them." Their first letter had no function nor result but to call into being the President's admirable reply, and the second was little more than a cry under punishment.

In the State of Ohio the arrest of Mr. Vallandigham had precipitated an issue which was in its solution greatly to the advantage of the cause of the Union. When, on the 11th of June, the Democratic convention of the State met at Columbus, it was found to be completely under the control of those opposed to the war, and the excitement consequent upon Vallandigham's arrest and banishment designated him as the only serious candidate for the office of governor. Nominating him by acclamation was the readiest and most practical way of signifying their disapproval of the proceedings of the Government. They passed a series of resolutions affirming their devotion to the Union, denouncing the arrest and banishment of Vallandigham as a forcible violation of the Constitution and a direct insult offered to the sovereignty of the people of Ohio, saying that the Democratic party was fully competent to decide whether Mr. Vallandigham was a fit man to be nominated for governor, and that the attempt to deprive them of that right by his arrest and banishment was an unmerited imputation upon their intelligence and loyalty,

They therefore called upon the President to restore Mr. Vallandigham to his home in Ohio. The committee appointed to present these resolutions accompanied them with a long letter signed by the most prominent Democrats of Ohio, arguing, upon lines similar to those followed in the Albany letter, that the action of the Government towards Vallandigham was illegal and unconstitutional; that it had created widespread and alarming disaffection among the people of the State; that it was not an offense against any law to contend that the war could not be used as a means of restoring the Union, or that a war directed against slavery would inevitably result in the final destruction of both the Constitution and the Union. They took up the President's letter to the Albany committee and insisted that Mr. Vallandigham was not warring upon the military; they disagreed entirely with the President on the subject of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus; they represented the President as claiming that the Constitution is different in time of insurrection or invasion from what it is in time of peace or public security, and that he had the right to engraft limitations or exceptions upon these constitutional guarantees. whenever, in his judgment, the public safety required it. Having attributed to him these absurd pretensions, they proceeded solemnly to deny them, and ask:

If an indefinable kind of constructive treason is to be introduced and engrafted upon the Constitution unknown to the laws of the land and subject to the will of the President whenever an insurrection or invasion shall occur in any part of this vast country, what safety or security will be left for the liberties of the people?

The President sent a reply to this letter, briefer than the one he had devoted to Albany, tutional question at issue. For his views in this regard he referred the Ohio committee to his Albany letter. He simply repudiated the opinions and intentions which the Ohio committee had gratuitously imputed to him. But he assumed the full responsibility for the exercise of the enormous powers which he believed the Constitution, under the circumstances, conferred upon him.

and not so full in its discussion of the consti

You ask, in substance, whether I really claim that I may override all the guaranteed rights of individuals on the plea of conse ving the public safety — when I may choose to say the public safety requires it. This question, divested of the phraseology calculated to represent me as struggling for an arbitrary pershall decide, or an affirmation that nobody shall desonal prerogative, is either simply a question who cide, what the public safety does require in cases of rebellion or invasion. The Constitution contemplates the question as likely to occur for decision,

but it does not expressly declare who is to decide it. By necessary implication, when rebellion or invasion comes, the decision is to be made, from time to time, and I think the man whom, for the time, the people have, under the Constitution, made the commander-in-chief of their army and navy, is the man who holds the power, and bears the responsibility of making it. If he uses the power justly, the same people will probably justify him; if he abuses it, he is in their hands to be dealt with by all the modes they have reserved to themselves in the Constitution.

He disclaimed, in courteous language, any purpose of insult to Ohio in Mr. Vallandigham's case; and referring to the peremptory request of the committee that Vallandigham should be released from his sentence, and to the further claim of the committee that the Democracy of Ohio are loyal to the Union, he proposed, on what he considered very easy conditions, to comply with their request. He offered them the following propositions :

1. That there is now a rebellion in the United States, the object and tendency of which is to destroy the National Union, and that, in your opinion, an army and navy are constitutional means for suppressing that rebellion.

2. That no one of you will do anything which, in his own judgment, will tend to hinder the increase or favor the decrease or lessen the efficiency of the army and navy, while engaged in the effort to suppress that rebellion; and

3. That each of you will, in his sphere, do all he can to have the officers, soldiers, and seamen of the army and navy, while engaged in the effort to suppress the rebellion, fed, clad, and otherwise well provided for and supported.

If the committee, or a majority of them, would write their names upon the back of the President's letter, thus committing themselves to these propositions and to nothing else, he would then publish the letter and the names, which publication would be, within itself, a revocation of Vallandigham's sentence. This would leave Mr. Vallandigham himself absolutely unpledged; the President's object being to gain for the cause of the Union so large a moral reënforcement from this clear definition of the attitude of the other gentlemen as to compensate for any damage that Mr. Vallandigham could possibly do on his return. The President concluded this letter with the same frankness

1 John B. Jones, a clerk in the rebel war office, made on the 22d of June, 1863, the following entry in his diary: "To-day I saw the memorandum of Mr. Ould, of the conversation held with Mr. Vallandigham, for file in the archives. He says if we can only hold out this year that the peace party of the North would sweep the Lincoln dynasty out of political existence. He seems to have thought that our cause was sinking, and feared we would submit, which would, of course, be ruinous to his party. But he advises strongly against any invasion of Pennsylvania, for that would unite all

that he used in that to Albany. "Still," he said, "in regard to Mr. Vallandigham and all others, I must hereafter, as heretofore, do so much as the public service may seem to require." This overture of the President was promptly rejected by the committee. They treated it as an evasion on his part of the questions involved in the case, and as implying not only an imputation upon their own sincerity and fidelity as citizens of the United States, but also a concession of the legality of Mr. Vallandigham's arrest and banishment.

Evidently nothing could come from negotiations with parties whose points of view were Democratic leaders in New York and Ohio. so far apart as those of the President and the The case must be resolved by the people of the State whose sovereignty it was said had been violated, and the issue was made in the clearest possible manner by the nomination of Mr. Valfandigham for governor of Ohio. The con

vention which nominated him determined to leave no doubt of their position, not only denouncing the action of General Burnside and the President, but expressing their deep humiliation and regret at the failure of Governor Tod of Ohio to protect the citizens of the State in the enjoyment and exercise of their constitutional rights. The Union party, meeting at Columbus, nominated for governor John Brough, a war Democrat, and adopted a brief platform of unqualified devotion to the Union, in favor of a most vigorous prosecution of the war, and the laying aside of personal preferences and prejudices, and pledging hearty support to the President. Upon this issue the canvass proceeded to its close. Before it ended, Mr. Vallandigham himself intervened once more— not in person, indeed, but by letters from Canada. On entering the rebel lines he had gone at once to Richmond, where he was kindly and courteously received by the Confederate authorities, although both on his side and on theirs the forms appropriate to the fiction that he was a prisoner of war were carefully observed.1 After a conference with the leading men of the Confederate Government, he went southward and arrived on the 22d of June at Bermuda in a vessel called the Lady Davis, which had run the blockade at Wilmington. He made only a brief stay in Bermuda and then took

parties at the North, and so strengthen Lincoln's hands that he would be able to crush all opposition and trample upon the constitutional rights of the people. Mr. V. said nothing to indicate that either he or the party had any other idea than that the Union would be reconstructed under Democratic rule. The President [Davis] indorsed with his own pen on this document that in regard to invasion of the North experience proved the contrary of what Mr. V. asserted." [Jones, "A Rebel War Clerk's Diary," Vol. I., pp. 357, 358.]

passage for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he arrived on the 5th of July. From the Canadian side of Niagara Falls he issued an address to the people of Ohio,1 which began with this clever and striking exordium:

Arrested and confined for three weeks in the United States a prisoner of state, banished thence to the Confederate States, and there held as an alien enemy and prisoner of war, though on parole, fairly and honorably dealt with, and given leave to depart, an act possible only by running the blockade at the hazard of being fired upon by ships flying the flag of my own country, I found myself first a free man when on British soil. And to-day, under protection of the British flag, I am here to enjoy and, in part, to exercise the privileges and rights which usurpers insolently deny me at home. . . . Six weeks ago, when just going into banishment because an audacious but most cowardly despotism caused it, I addressed you as a fellow-citizen. To-day, and from the very place then selected by me, but after wearisome and most perilous journeyings for more than four thousand miles by land and upon sea, still in exile, though almost within sight of my native State, I greet you as your representative.

He thanked and congratulated the Democrats of Ohio upon the nominations they had made. He indorsed their platform, which he called "elegant in style, admirable in sentiment." He claimed that his arrest was the issue before the country. "The President," he said, "accepts the issue. . . . In time of war there is but one will supreme-his will; but one law military necessity, and he the sole judge." He was convinced that the war could never be prosecuted to a successful termination.

If this civil war [he said] is to terminate only by the subjugation or submission of the Southern force in arms, the infant of to-day will not see the end of it. .. Traveling a thousand miles or more, through nearly one-half of the Confederate States, and sojourning for a time at widely different points, I met not one man, woman, or child who was not resolved to perish rather than to yield to the pressure of arms, even in the most desperate extremity.

He announced, therefore, that he returned with his opinion in favor of peace not only unchanged, but confirmed and strengthened.

1 "Rebellion Records," Vol. VII. Documents, pp. 438, 439.

2 While sojourning at Niagara Falls, Mr. Vallandigham had come into communication with a person who called himself William Cornell Jewett of Colorado, who passed his time writing letters to the newspapers and to public men in favor of putting an end to the war by foreign mediation. After the result of the Ohio election had convinced Vallandigham that little was to be expected in the way of peace from the efforts of the Democratic party, he wrote Jewett a letter strongly favoring an immediate acceptance of the mediation of France in the controversy between the States. He said: "The South and the North are both

But nothing availed. Mr. Vallandigham was defeated by the unprecedented majority of 101,000 votes, 62,000 of which were cast in the State and 39,000 by the soldiers in the field, to whom a State statute had given the privilege of voting.

In view of this overwhelming defeat, Mr. Vallandigham thought it prudent to remain during the winter beyond the jurisdiction of the United States. He was in constant correspondence, however, with his associates and adherents,2 and demonstrations were made from time to time against the Government for its treatment of him. On the 29th of February, 1864, Mr. Pendleton of Ohio offered a resolution in the House of Representatives that the arrest and banishment of Mr. Vallandigham were "acts of mere arbitrary power in palpable violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States," which was rejected by a strict party vote, 47 Democrats voting in favor of it, and 77 Union members voting against it, only two Democrats voting with the majority. Vallandigham's course in opposition to the war had been so exasperating to the Union sentiment of the country, his speeches had been so full of vehement malice, that even those who thought his original arrest an unjustifiable stretch of military power felt no sympathy with the object of it and were inclined to acquiesce in the President's disposition of the case. The situation was not without a humorous element also, to which the American mind is always hospitable. The spectacle of this furious agitator, condemned by court-martial to a long imprisonment and then handed over by the contemptuous mercy of the President to the care and keeping of his friends beyond the Union lines; his frantic protests that the Confederates were not his friends, but that he was their most formidable and dreaded enemy; the friendly receptions and attentions he met with in the South and among the sympathizing British officials in the West Indies and the Northern provinces; his nomination by the Democratic convention of his State, which was forced immediately to apply to the President to give them back their candidate-affected the popular mind as an event rather ridiculous than indebted to the great powers of Europe for having so long withheld recognition from the Confederate States. The South has proved her ability to maintain herself by her own strength and resources, without foreign aid, moral or material; and the North and Westthe whole country, indeed - these great powers have served incalculably, by holding back a solemn proclamation to the world that the Union of these States was finally and formally dissolved. They have left to us every motive and every chance for reunion. Foreign recognition now of the Confederate States could avail little to delay or prevent final reunion." (W. C. Jewett, Letter to "Liverpool Mercury," November 4.)

serious, and the constitutional question involved received probably less attention than it deserved. His letters from Canada aroused little or no sympathy, and when, in June, 1864, he returned to the United States, the President declined to take any notice of his presence.1

Emboldened by impunity, Vallandigham began at political meetings a new series of speeches more violent in tone than those which had caused his arrest. But as the effect of them was clearly beneficial to the Union cause, no means were taken to silence him. He defied the Government and the army; he made vague threats that in case he was arrested the persons and property of those instigating such a proceeding should be held as hostages. He was not molested, and in August was allowed to take a prominent part in the National Democratic Convention at Chicago, where he rendered valuable service to the Union party 3 as chairman of the Committee on Resolutions, and offered the motion that the nomination of General McClellan should be made unanimous.



THE reverses sustained by the Union arms during the summer and autumn of 1862 had their direct effect in the field of politics. Every unsuccessful movement, and especially every defeat of the National forces, increased the strength and the audacity of the opposition to the Government and the war. There were, it is true, hundreds of thousands of Democratic soldiers in the ranks fighting to uphold the Union; and as a result of this-because men's sentiments are far more influenced by their actions than their actions are inspired by their sentiments - they were generally induced to take the Republican view of public affairs, and by degrees to unite themselves with the Republican party. But they seemed to exert no influence whatever upon their friends and re

1 When Mr. Lincoln first heard of Vallandigham's return he wrote a joint letter to Governor Brough and General Heintzelman, who had succeeded Burnside in command of the department, directing them to "consult together freely; watch Vallandigham and others closely, and upon discovering any palpable injury or imminent danger to the military proceeding from him, them, or any of them, arrest all implicated; otherwise do not arrest without further order. Meanwhile report the signs to me from time to time." But, after writing the letter, he concluded not to send it. [Unpublished MS., June 20, 1864.]

He was, in fact, a little nonplused by Vallandigham's return. He had seriously thought of annulling the sentence of exile, but had been too much occupied with other matters to do it. After he had returned, the President said: "The only question to decide was whether he could afford to disregard the contempt of authority and breach of discipline displayed in Vallandigham's VOL. XXXVIII.— 19.

lations at home. The Democratic party remained as solid in its organization, as powerful in its resistance to the Government, as ever. The great liberating measure of the President, the proclamation of September, had its influence also in exasperating and consolidating the opposition. This act, which not only renders his name immortal, but glorifies the age in which he lived, contributed to the defeat of his party in some of the most important States of the Union. In the autumn of 1862 the Democrats carried New York, electing Horatio Seymour governor over that patriotic and accomplished gentleman, General James S. Wadsworth; the adjoining State of New Jersey was also carried by them. There were heavy losses of congressmen in the great States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana; and even in the President's own State of Illinois the opposition inflicted upon him a peculiarly painful defeat, electing nine of his opponents and only four of his friends.

The Union sentiment was still sufficiently powerful throughout the North to elect an easy working majority in the House of Representatives, and the Republican predominance in the Senate was, of course, untouched; so that so far as legislation was concerned there was no danger that the Government would be embarrassed by an opposition majority. But the losses it met with in the elections were none the less serious and discouraging. A war disapproved by a free people cannot long be carried on by the will of the Government, and if the ratio of losses indicated by the elections of 1862 had continued another year the permanency of the Republic would have been gravely compromised. But the intelligence of the American people gradually acknowledged the wisdom and accepted the leadership of the President, and moved forward to the advanced platform upon which Mr. Lincoln had placed himself. The right of suffrage given by the State legislatures to the soldiers in the field reenforced the voting strength of the Republicans


action; otherwise, it could not but result in benefit to the Union cause to have so violent and indiscreet a man go to Chicago as a firebrand to his own party." Fernando Wood had told him that he could do nothing more politic than to bring Vallandigham back. that case," he said, "he could promise him two Democratic candidates for the Presidency this year. These war Democrats," said Mr. Wood," are scoundrelly hypocrites; they want to oppose you and favor the war at once, which is nonsense. There are but two sides in this fight - yours and mine; war and peace. You will succeed while the war lasts, I expect, but we shall suc ceed when the war is over. I intend to keep my record clear for the future."

2 McPherson, "History of the Rebellion," p. 176. 3 The Illinois Democrats were greatly troubled by Vallandigham's apparition. W. R. Morrison said to J. H., June 18, How much did you fellows give Fernandy Wood for importing him?" [J. H., Diary.]

at home, and the ballot and the bullet worked harmoniously together. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 1862 Mr. Lincoln was exposed to the bitterest assaults and criticisms from every faction in the country. His conservative supporters reproached him with having yielded to the wishes of the radicals; the radicals denounced him for being hampered, if not corrupted, by the influence of the conservatives. On one side he was assailed by a clamor for peace, on the other by vehement and injurious demands for a more vigorous prosecution of the war. He stood unmoved by these attacks, converging upon him from every quarter, and rarely took the trouble to defend himself against them. Coming from every side, the pressure neutralized itself, like that of the atmosphere. To one friend who assailed him with peculiar candor, he made a reply which may answer as a sufficient defense to all the radical attacks which were so rife at the time.

I have just received and read your letter of the 20th. The purport of it is that we lost the late elections, and the Administration is failing because the war is unsuccessful, and that I must not flatter myself that I am not justly to blame for it. I certainly know that if the war fails, the Administration fails, and that I will be blamed for it, whether I deserve it or not. And I ought to be blamed, if I could do better. You think I could do better; therefore you blame me already. I think I could not do better; therefore I blame you for blaming me. I understand you now to be willing to accept the help of men who are not Republicans, provided they have "heart in it."— Agreed. I want no others. But who is to be the judge of hearts, or of "heart in it"? If I must discard my own judgment, and take yours, I must also take that of others; and by the time I should reject all I should be advised to reject, I should have none left, Republicans or others- not even yourself. For be assured, my dear sir, there are men who have "heart in it" that think you are performing your part as poorly as you think I am performing mine. I certainly have McClellan; but before I relieved them I had great fears I should not find successors to them who would do better; and I am sorry to add, that I have seen little since to relieve those fears. I do not clearly see the prospect of any more rapid movements. I fear we shall at last find out the difficulty is in our case rather than in particular generals. I wish to disparage no one-certainly not those who sympathize with me; but I must say I need success more than I need sympathy, and that I have not seen the so much greater evidence of getting success from my sympathizers than from those who are denounced as the contrary. It does seem to me that in the field the two classes have been very much alike in what they have done and what they have failed to do. In sealing their faith with their blood, Baker, and Lyon, and Bohlen, and Richardson, Republicans, did all that men could do; but did they any more than Kearney, Stevens, and Reno, and Mansfield, none of whom were Republicans, and some at least

been dissatisfied with the slowness of Buell and

of whom have been bitterly and repeatedly denounced to me as secession sympathizers? I will not perform the ungrateful task of comparing cases been publicly stated in the newspapers, and apparof failure. In answer to your question, Has it not ently proved as a fact, that from the commencement of the war the enemy was continually supplied with information by some of the confidential subordinates of as important an officer as AdjutantGeneral Thomas? I must say "No," as far as my knowledge extends. And I add that if you can give any tangible evidence upon the subject, I will thank you to come to this city and do so.1

The movements for peace which were made at this period on both sides of the line were feeble and without result. Mr. Foote of Tennessee introduced a resolution in the Confederate House of Representatives to the effect" that the signal success with which Divine Providence has so continually blessed our arms for several months past would fully justify the Confederate Government in dispatching a commissioner or commissioners to the Government at Washington City, empowered to propose the terms of a just and honorable peace." Mr. Holt of Georgia offered as a substitute a resolution setting forth that the people of the Confederate States have been always anxious for peace, and that "whenever the Government of the United States shall manifest a like anxiety it should be the duty of the President of the Confederate States to appoint commissioners to treat upon the subject." But both resolution and substitute were laid on the table by a large majority. In the Senate of the United States Mr. Garrett Davis offered a resolution 2 recommending to the States to choose delegates to a convention to be held at Louisville, Kentucky, to take into consideration the condition of the United States and the proper means for a restoration of the Union; this was laid upon the table. Mr. Vallandigham also offered resolutions for peace in the House of Representatives; but neither in the North nor in the South was there at that time a party sufficiently powerful to bring any measures for peace to the point of legislation, though on both sides there was a strong current of agitation for the termination of the war, which, being regarded and treated as treasonable, was easily held in check.

From time to time there were unauthorized

attempts of individuals, inspired by restlessness or a love of notoriety, to set on foot amateur negotiations for peace. One of the most active and persistent of the peace politicians of the North was Fernando Wood of New York. He held a unique position in his party. While strongly sympathizing with the secessionists, and openly affiliating with them in public, he

1 Lincoln to Schurz, Nov. 24, 1862. MS. 2 "Congressional Globe," third session Thirtyseventh Congress, Part I., p. 4, Dec. 2, 1862.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »