Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

HENRY WINTER DAVIS.

a

its mighty pulsations. It is for this reason that, long before the convention met, the popular instinct had plainly indicated you as its candidate, and the convention therefore merely recorded the popular will. Your character and career prove your unswerving fidelity to the cardinal principles of American liberty and of the American Constitution. In the name of that liberty and Constitution, sir, we earnestly request your acceptance of this nomination, reverently commending our beloved country and you, its Chief Magistrate, with all its brave sons who, on sea and land, are faithfully defending the good old American cause of equal rights, to the blessing of Almighty God.

In accepting the nomination the President observed the same wise rule of brevity which he had followed four years before. He made but one specific reference to any subject of discussion. While he accepted the resolution in regard to the supplanting of republican government upon the Western continent, he

(AFTER A PHOTOGRAPH BY POLLOCK.) gave the convention and the country distinctly to understand that he stood by the action reëstablish a State government republican in already adopted by himself and the Secretary form, and not contravening the oath above of State.

mentioned, that such should be recognized as There might be misunderstanding she said) were

the true government of the State, and should ! not to say that the position of the Government receive the benefits of the constitutional proin relation to the action of France in Mexico, as as- vision that “The United States shall guarantee sumed through the State Department and indorsed to every State in this Union a republican form by the convention among the measures and acts of of government, and shall protect each of them the Executive, will be faithfully maintained so long against invasion; and, on application of the as the state of facts shall leave that position perti- legislature, or of the executive (when the legnent and applicable.

islature cannot be convened), against domestic

violence.” The President also engaged by this THE WADE-DAVIS MANIFESTO.

proclamation not to object to any provision In his message to Congress of the 8th of which might be adopted by such State govDecember, 1863, Mr. Lincoln gave expression ernments in relation to the freed people of the to his ideas on the subject of reconstruction States which should recognize and declare more fully and clearly than ever before. He their permanent freedom and provide for their appended to that message a proclamation of education, “and which may yet be consistent, the same date guaranteeing a full pardon to as a temporary arrangement, with their present all who had been implicated in the rebellion, condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless with certain specified exceptions, on the con- class.” He suggested that in reconstructing dition of taking and maintaining an oath to the loyal State governments, the names, the support, protect, and defend the Constitution boundaries, the subdivisions, the constitutions, of the United States and the Union of the and the general codes of laws of the States States thereunder ; to abide by and support all should be preserved. He stated distinctly that acts of Congress and proclamations of the his proclamation had no reference to States President made during the rebellion with ref- where the loyal State governments had all the erence to slaves, so long and so far as not re- while been maintained; he took care to make pealed, modified, or held void by Congress or it clear that the respective Houses, and not the by decision of the Supreme Court. The ex- Executive, had the constitutional power to ceptions to this general amnesty were of those decide whether members sent to Congress from who, having held places of honor and trust any State should be admitted to seats; and he under the Government of the United States, concluded by saying: had betrayed this trust and entered the service of the Confederacy, and of those who had been This proclamation is intended to present the guilty of treatment of colored troops not justi- people of the States wherein the national authority fied by the laws of war. The proclamation have been subverted, a mode in and by which the

has been suspended, and loyal State governments further promised that when in any of the States national authority and loyal State governments in rebellion a number of citizens equal to one- may be reëstablished within said States, or in any tenth of the voters in the year 1860 should of them. And while the mode presented is the

[graphic]

a

best the Executive can suggest, with his present im- nance. In my judgment they have aided and will pressions, it must not be understood that no other further aid the cause for which they were intended. possible mode would be acceptable.1

To now abandon them would be not only to reThe message contained an unusually forcible and an astounding breach of faith. I may add, at

linquish a lever of power, but would also be a cruel and luminous expression of the principles em- this point, that while I remain in my present pobraced in the proclamation. The President sition I shall not attempt to retract or modify the referred to the dark and doubtful days which Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I return to followed the announcement of the policy of slavery any person who is free by the terms of that emancipation and of the employment of black proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress. soldiers; the gradual justification of those acts The President called attention to the fact by the successes which the national arms had that this part of the oath is subject to the since achieved; of the change of the public modifying and abrogating power of legislation spirit of the border States in favor of emancipa- and supreme judicial decision; that the whole tion; the enlistment of black soldiers, and their purpose and spirit of the proclamation is perefficient and creditable behavior in arms; the missive and not mandatory. absence of any tendency to servile insurrection or to violence and cruelty among the negroes; tional Executive in any reasonable temporary State

The proposed acquiescence (he said) of the Nathe sensible improvement in the public opinion arrangement for the freed people is made with the of Europe and of America. He then explained view of possibly modifying the confusion and desthe purpose and spirit of his proclamation. titution which must at best attend all classes by a Nothing had been attempted beyond what was total revolution of labor throughout whole States. It amply justified by the Constitution; the form is hoped that the already deeply afflicted people in of an oath had been given, but no man was those States may be somewhat more ready to give coerced to take it; the Constitution authorized up the cause of their affliction if, to this extent, the Executive to grant or withhold a pardon this vital matter be left to themselves, while no at his own absolute discretion, and this includes power of the National Executive to prevent an abuse

is abridged by the proposition. the power to grant on terms, as is fully established by judicial authority. He therefore He had taken the utmost pains to avoid referred to the provision of the Constitution the danger of committal on points which could guaranteeing to the States a republican form be more safely left to further developments. of government as providing precisely for the “Saying that on certain terms certain classes case now under treatment; where the element will be pardoned with rights restored, it is not within a State favorable to republican govern- said that other classes or other terms will never ment in the Union might“ be too feeble for an be included; saying that reconstruction will opposite and hostile element external to or be accepted if presented in a specified way, it even within the State."

is not said it will never be accepted in any other An attempt (said the President] to guaranty and way.” The President expressed his profound protect a revived State government, constructed in congratulation at the movement towards emanwhole or in preponderating part from the very cipation by the several States, and urged once element against whose hostility and violence it is to more upon Congress the importance of aiding be protected, is simply absurd. There must be a these steps to the great consummation. test by which to separate the opposing elements, so It is rare that so important a state paper as to build only from the sound; and that test is å has been received with such unanimous tokens sufficiently liberal one which accepts as sound who- of enthusiastic adhesion. However the leadever will make a sworn recantation of his former unsoundness.

ing Republicans in Congress may have been

led later in the session to differ with the PresiIn justification of his requiring in the oath dent, there was apparently no voice of discord of amnesty a submission to and support of the raised on the day the message was read to antislavery laws and proclamations, he said : both Houses. For a moment all factions in

Those laws and proclamations were enacted and Congress seemed to be of one mind. One put forth for the purpose of aiding in the suppres- who spent the morning on the floor of Congress sion of the rebellion. To give them their fullest wrote on the same day: “ Men acted as effects, there had to be a pledge for their mainte- though the millennium had come. Chandler

1 In some instances this proclamation was misun- lamation applied only to those persons who, being derstood by generals and commanders of departments, yet at large and free from any arrest, confinement, or so that prisoners of war were allowed on their volun- duress, should voluntarily come forward and take the tary application to take the amnesty oath. This was said oath with the purpose of restoring peace and es. not the President's intention, and would have led to tablishing the national authority; and that persons serious embarrassment in the matter of the exchange excluded from the amnesty offered in the proclamation of prisoners.

might apply to the President for clemency, like all He therefore, on the 26th of March, 1864, issued other offenders, and that their application would receive a supplementary proclamation declaring that the proc- due consideration.

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

BENJAMIN F. WADE.

" 3

was delighted, Sumner was joyous, apparently forgetting for the moment his doctrine of State suicide, while at the other political pole Dixon and Reverdy Johnson said the message was highly satisfactory.” 2 Henry Wilson said to the President's secretary : “He has struck another great blow. Tell him for me, God bless him." The effect was similar in the House of Representatives. Mr. Boutwell, who represented the extreme antislavery element of New England, said: “It is a very able and shrewd paper. It has great points of popularity, and it is right.” Lovejoy, the leading abolitionist of the West, seemed to see on the mountain the feet of one bringing good tidings, “I shall live,” he said, " to see slavery ended in America." Garfield gave his unreserved approval; Kellogg of Michigan went shouting about the lobby: “ The President is the only man. There is none like him in the world. He sees more widely and more clearly than any of us." Mr. Henry T. Blow, the radical member from St. Louis (who six months later was denouncing Mr. Lincoln as a traitor to freedom), said: “God bless old Abe! I am

(FROM A DAGUERREOTYPE.) one of the radicals who have always believed question is, Who constitute the State ? When in him." Mr. Greeley, who was on the floor that is decided, the solution of subsequent quesof the House, went so far as to say the mes- tions is easy."3 He wrote in his original draft sage was “ devilish good.", The Executive of the message that he considered the discusMansion was filled all day by a rush of con- sion as to whether a State had been at any time gressmen, congratulating the President and out of the Union as vain and profitless. We assuring him of their support in his wise and know they were, we trust they shall be, in the humane policy. The conservatives and rad- Union. It does not greatly matter whether in icals vied with each other in claiming that the the meantime they shall be considered to have message represented their own views of the been in or out." But afterwards, considering crisis. Mr. Judd of Illinois said to the Presi- that the Constitution empowered him to grant dent: “ The opinion of people who read your protection to States " in the Union,” he saw message to-day is, that on that platform two that it would not answer to admit that the of your ministers must walk the plank — Blair States had at any time been out of it; he and Bates.” To which the President answered: erased that sentence as possibly suggestive of “ Both of these men acquiesced in it without evil. He preferred, he said, “ to stand firmly objection; the only member of the Cabinet based on the Constitution rather than to work who objected was Mr. Chase.” For a mo, in the air." He was specially gratified by ment the most prejudiced Democrats found little to say against the message; they called reports which came to him of the adhesion of

the Missourians in Congress to his view. it “very ingenious and cunning, admirably calculated to deceive." This reception of the I know she said these radical men have in them message was extremely pleasing to the Presi- the stuff which must save the state and on which dent. A solution of the most important prob- we must mainly rely: They are absolutely incorrolem of the time which conservatives like Dixon sive by the virus of secession. It cannot touch or and Reverdy Johnson thoroughly approved, about for votes to carry through their plans, are

taint them; while the conservatives, in casting and to which Mr. Sumner made no objection, attempting to affiliate with those whose record is was of course a source of profound gratifi- not clear. If one side must be crushed out and the cation. He took it as a proof of what he had other cherished, there cannot be any doubt which often said, that there was no essential contest side we must choose as fuller of hope for the future; between loyal men on this subject if they would but just there she continued) is where their wrong consider it reasonably. He said in conversa- begins. They insist that I shall hold and treat tion on the 10th of December: “The only Governor Gamble and his supporters, men appointed

by the loyal people of Missouri as representatives of 1 See resolutions introduced in Senate Feb. 11, 1862. Missouri loyalty, and who have done their whole 2 J. H., Diary.

duty in the war faithfully and promptly, who when 3 J. H., Diary.

they have disagreed with me have been silent and

[graphic]

a

66

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

66

kept about the good work — that I shall treat these the next Congress, sought an interview with men as copperheads and enemies of the Government. him, the result of which the President placed This is simply monstrous.

in writing in a letter dated March 18: For the first few days there was no hint of There will be in the new House of Representaany hostile feeling in Congress. There was, in tives, as there were in the old, some members openly fact, no just reason why the legislative body opposing the war, some supporting it unconditionshould regard its prerogative as invaded. The ally, and some supporting it with “buts” and President had not only kept clearly within his ifs" and "ands.” They will divide on the organconstitutional powers, but his action had been ization of the House — on the election of a speaker. expressly authorized by Congress. The act of As you ask my opinion, 1 give it, that the support

ers of the war should send no man to Congress who July 17, 1862, had provided that the President will not pledge himself to go into caucus with the might thereafter at any time, by proclamation, unconditional supporters of the war, and to abide extend pardon and amnesty to persons partici- the action of such caucus and vote for the person pating in the rebellion, “ with such exceptions therein nominated for speaker. Let the friends of and on such conditions as he might deem ex- the Government first save the Government, and then pedient for the public welfare.” Of course a

administer it to their own liking. general amnesty required general conditions ; Mr. Davis answered : and the most important of these was one which should provide for the protection of the freed- sired, and will greatly aid us in bringing our

Your favor of the 18th is all that could be demen who had been liberated by the war.

friends to a conclusion such as the interests of the It soon enough appeared, however, that the country require. millennium had not arrived; that in a Congress composed of men of such positive convictions

In spite of all the efforts which the Presiand vehement character there were many who dent made to be on friendly terms with Mr. would not submit permanently to the leader. Davis, the difference between them constantly ship of any man, least of all to that of one so

widened. Mr. Davis grew continually more gentle, so reasonable, so devoid of malice as confirmed in his attitude of hostility to every the President. Mr. Henry Winter Davis at once proposition of the President. He became moved that that part of the message relating to one of the most severe and least generous reconstruction should be referred to a special

critics of the Administration in Congress. He committee, of which he was made chairman,

came at last to consider the President as and on the 15th of February he reported “à unworthy of even respectful treatment; and bill to guarantee to certain States whose gov; and aggressive campaign against European

: Mr. Seward, in the midst of his energetic ernments have been usurped or overthrown a republican form of government.” Mr. Davis was unfriendliness, was continually attacked by him a man of too much integrity and elevation of as a truckler to foreign powers and little less character to allow the imputation that his action than a traitor to his country. The President, on public matters was dictated entirely by per

however, was a man so persistently and incorsonal feeling or prejudice; but at the same timeit rigibly just, that even in the face of this provocannot be denied that he maintained towards cation he never lost his high opinion of Mr. the President from beginning to end of his ad- Davis's ability nor his confidence in his inherministration an attitude of consistent hostility. ent good intentions. He refused, in spite of This was a source of chagrin and disappoint- the solicitations of most of his personal friends ment to Mr. Lincoln. He came to Washington in Maryland, to discriminate against the faction with a high opinion of the ability and the char- headed by Mr. Davis in making appointments to acter of Mr. Davis, and expected to maintain office in that State; and when, during an imwith him relations of intimate friendship. He portant campaign, a deputation of prominent was cousin to one of the President's Osest supporters of the Administration in Maryland friends in Illinois, Judge David Davis, and his came to Washington to denounce Mr. Davis attitude in the Congress which preceded the for his outspoken hostility to the President, sayrebellion was such as to arouse in the mind of ing that such a course, if it continued unMr. Lincoln the highest admiration and regard. checked, would lose Mr. Lincoln the electoral But the selection of Mr. Blair of Maryland vote of the State, he replied: as a member of the Cabinet estranged the I understood that Mr. Davis is doing all in his sympathies of Mr. Davis and his friends, and power to secure the success of the emancipation the breach thus made between him and the ticket in Maryland. If he does this, I care nothing Administration was never healed, though the

about the electoral vote. President did all in his power to heal it. In the In the preamble to his bill Mr. Davis exspring of 1863 Mr. Davis, assuming that the pressed, with his habitual boldness and lucidity, President might be inclined to favor unduly his fundamental thesis that the rebellious States the conservative candidate in the election for were out of the Union.

VOL. XXXVIII.—55.

a

Whereas she said), the so-called Confederate labor as slaves, and to inflict a penalty of fine States are a public enemy, waging an unjust war, or imprisonment upon the persons claiming whose injustice is so glaring that they have no right them. Another section declared any person to claim the mitigation of the extreme rights of hereafter holding any important office, civil war which are accorded by modern usage to an enemy or military, in the rebel service not to be a citwho has the right to consider the war a just one; izen of the United States. and, Whereas, none of the States which, by a regu

This bill was supported by Mr. Davis in a larly recorded majority of its citizens, have joined speech of extraordinary energy. Without hesithe so-called Southern Confederacy can be consid- tation he declared it a test and standard of ered and treated as entitled to be represented in antislavery orthodoxy; he asserted boldly that Congress or to take any part in the political govern- Congress, and Congress alone, had the power ment of the Union.

to revive the reign of law in all that territory This seemed to Congress too trenchant a which through rebellion had put itself outside solution of a constitutional knot which was of the law. "Until,” he said, “Congress recogpuzzling the best minds of the commonwealth, nizes a State government organized under its and the preamble was rejected; but the spirit auspices, there is no government in the rebel of it breathed in every section of the bill. Mr. States except the authority of Congress.” The Davis's design was to put a stop to the work duty is imposed on Congress to administer which the President had already begun in civil government until the people shall, under Tennessee and Louisiana, and to prevent the its guidance, submit to the Constitution of the extension of that policy to other Southern United States, and, under the laws which it States. The bill authorized the appointment of shall impose and on the conditions Congress a provisional governor in each of the States may require, reorganize a republican govin rebellion, and provided that, after the mili- ernment for themselves and Congress shall tary resistance to the United States should recognize that government. He declared there have been suppressed and the people suffi- was no indication which came from the South, ciently returned to their obedience to the from the darkness of that bottomless pit, that Constitution and laws, the white male citizens there was a willingness to accept any terms of the State should be enrolled, and when a that even the Democrats were willing to offer ; majority of them should have taken the oath of he believed that no beginning of legal and allegiance the loyal people of the State should orderly government could be made till milibe entitled to elect delegates to a conven- tary opposition was absolutely annihilated; tion to reëstablish a State government. The that there were only three ways of bringing convention was required to insert in the con

about a reorganization of civil governments. stitution three provisions: First, to prevent One was to remove the cause of the war by an prominent civil or military officers of the Con- amendment to the Constitution of the United federates to vote for or to be members of the leg- States, prohibiting slavery everywhere within islature or governor; second, that involuntary its limits: that, he said, “ goes to the root of servitude is forever prohibited, and the free- the matter, and should consecrate the nation's dom of all persons guaranteed in said States ; triumph"; but this measure he thought involved third, no debt, State or Confederate, created infinite difficulty and delay. Though it met his by or under the sanction of the usurping power hearty approval, it was not a remedy for the shall be recognized or paid by the State. Upon evils to be dealt with. The next plan he conthe adoption of the constitution by the con- sidered was that of the President's amnesty vention, and its ratification by the electors proclamation. This he denounced as utterly of the State, the provisional government shall so lacking in all the guarantees required: certify to the President, who, after obtaining

If, in any manner (he said), by the toleration of the assent of Congress, shall by proclamation martial law, lately proclaimed the fundamental law, recognize the government so established, and under the dictation of any military authority, or none other, as the constitutional government under the prescriptions of a provost-marshal, someof the State; and from the date of such recog- represented to rest on the votes of one-tenth of the

thing in the form of a government shall be presented, nition, and not before, congressmen and Pres- population, the President will recognize that, proidential electors may be elected in such State. vided it does not contravene the proclamation of Pending the reorganization, the provisional freedom and the laws of Congress. governor shall enforce the laws of the Union and of the State before rebellion. Another sec

Having dismissed both of these plans with tion of the bill emancipated all slaves in those brief censure, he then made a powerful plea for States, with their posterity, and made it the the bill he had reported. He called upon Conduty of the United States courts to discharge gress to take the responsibility of saying: them on habeas corpus if restrained of their In the face of those who clamor for speedy recliberty on pretense of any claim to service or ognition of governments tolerating slavery, that the

« AnkstesnisTęsti »