On April 3, 1862, the United States
Senate passed a Bill to liberate all Persons of African
descent held to Service or Labor within the District
of Columbia, and prohibiting Slavery or involuntary
servitude in the District except as a punishment for
crime an appropriation being made to pay
to loyal owners an appraised value of the liberated
Slaves not to exceed $300 for each Slave. The
vote on its passage in the Senate was 29 yeas to 14
nays all the yeas being Republican, and
all but two of the nays Democratic.
April 11th, the Bill passed the House
by 92 yeas to 39 nays all the yeas save
5 being Republican, and all the nays, save three, being
April 7, 1862, the House adopted a
resolution, by 67 yeas to 52 nays all
the yeas, save one, Republican, and all the nays, save
12, Democratic for the appointment of a
Select Committee of nine, to consider and report whether
any plan could be proposed and recommended for the
gradual Emancipation of all the African Slaves, and
the extinction of Slavery in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, by the people or
local authorities thereof, and how far and in what
way the Government of the United States could and
ought equitably to aid in facilitating either of those
On the 16th President Lincoln sent
the following Message to Congress:
“Fellow citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives:
“The Act entitled ’An
Act for the release of certain Persons held to Service
or Labor in the District of Columbia,’ has this
day been approved and signed.
“I have never doubted the Constitutional
authority of Congress to abolish Slavery in this District;
and I have ever desired to see the National Capital
freed from the Institution in some satisfactory way.
Hence there has never been in my mind any question
upon the subject except the one of expediency, arising
in view of all the circumstances.
“If there be matters within
and about this Act which might have taken a course
or shape more satisfactory to my judgment, I do not
attempt to specify them. I am gratified that
the two principles of compensation and colonization
are both recognized and practically applied in the
“In the matter of compensation,
it is provided that claims may be presented within
ninety days from the passage of the Act, ’but
not thereafter;’ and there is no saving for
minors, femmes covert, insane, or absent persons.
I presume this is an omission by mere oversight, and
I recommend that it be supplied by an amendatory or
“April 16, 1862.”
Subsequently, in order to meet the
President’s views, such an amendatory or Supplemental
Act was passed and approved.
But now, Major General Hunter having
taken upon himself to issue an Emancipation proclamation,
May 9, 1862, the President, May 19, 1862, issued a
proclamation rescinding it as follows:
“Whereas there appears in the
public prints what purports to be a proclamation of
Major General Hunter, in the words and figures following,
“’Headquarters department of
’Hilton head, S. C., May 9, 1862.
’[General Orders No. 11.]
’The three States of Georgia,
Florida, and South Carolina, comprising the Military
Department of the South, having deliberately declared
themselves no longer under the protection of the United
States of America, and having taken up arms against
the said United States, it becomes a Military necessity
to declare them under Martial Law. This was
accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862.
Slavery and Martial Law, in a Free Country, are altogether
incompatible; the Persons in these three States Georgia,
Florida, and South Carolina-heretofore held as Slaves,
are therefore declared forever Free.
Ed. W. Smith,
‘Acting Assistant Adjutant General.’
“And whereas the same is producing some excitement
“Therefore, I, Abraham
Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim
and declare, that the Government of the United States
had no knowledge, information, or belief, of an intention
on the part of General Hunter to issue such a proclamation;
nor has it yet any authentic information that the
document is genuine. And further, that neither
General Hunter, nor any other Commander, or person,
has been authorized by the Government of the United
States to make proclamations declaring the Slaves of
any State Free; and that the supposed proclamation,
now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether
void, so far as respects such declaration.
“I further make known that whether
it be competent for me, as Commander-in-Chief of the
Army and Navy, to declare the Slaves of any State
or States free, and whether, at any time, in any case,
it shall have become a necessity indispensable to
the maintenance of the Government, to exercise such
supposed power, are questions which, under my responsibility,
I reserve to myself, and which I cannot feel justified
in leaving to the decision of Commanders in the field.
These are totally different questions from those
of police regulations in armies and camps.
“On the sixth day of March last,
by a Special Message, I recommended to Congress the
adoption of a Joint Resolution to be substantially
“’ Resolved, That the
United States ought to co-operate with any State which
may adopt a gradual abolishment of Slavery, giving
to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State,
in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences,
public and private, produced by such change of system.’
“The Resolution, in the language
above quoted, was adopted by large majorities in both
branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic,
definite, and solemn proposal of the Nation to the
States and people most immediately interested in the
subject-matter. To the people of those States
I now earnestly appeal I do not argue I
beseech you to make the argument for yourselves you
cannot, if you would, be blind to the signs of the
times I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration
of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal
and partisan politics. This proposal makes common
cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon
any. It acts not the Pharisee. The changes
it contemplates would come gently as the dews of Heaven,
not rending or wrecking anything. Will you not
embrace it? So much good has not been done,
by one effort, in all past time, as, in the providence
of God, it is now your high privilege to do.
May the vast future not have to lament that you have
“In witness thereof, I have
hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United
States to be affixed.
“Done at the city of Washington
this nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the
Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.
“By the President. Abraham Lincoln.
“William H. Seward, Secretary of State.”
On June 5th, 1862, General T. Williams issued the
“Headquarters second brigade,
“Baton Rouge, June 5, 1862.
“[General Orders No. 46.]
“In consequence of the demoralizing
and disorganizing tendencies to the troops, of harboring
runaway Negroes, it is hereby ordered that the respective
Commanders of the camps and garrisons of the several
regiments, Second Brigade, turn all such Fugitives
in their camps or garrisons out beyond the limits
of their respective guards and sentinels.
“By order of Brigadier-General T. Williams:
Lieutenant-Colonel D. R. Anthony,
of the Seventh Kansas Volunteers, commanding a Brigade,
issued the following order, at a date subsequent to
the Battle of Pittsburg Landing and the evacuation
“Headquarters Mitchell’s brigade,
“Advance column, first brigade,
“General army of the Mississippi,
“Camp Etheridge, Tennessee, June
“[General Orders N.]
“1. The impudence and
impertinence of the open and armed Rebels, Traitors,
Secessionists, and Southern-Rightsmen of this section
of the State of Tennessee, in arrogantly demanding
the right to search our camp for Fugitive Slaves,
has become a nuisance, and will no longer be tolerated.
“Officers will see that this class of men, who
visit our camp for this purpose, are excluded from
“2. Should any such persons
be found within our lines, they will be arrested and
sent to headquarters.
“3. Any officer or soldier
of this command who shall arrest and deliver to his
master a Fugitive Slave, shall be summarily and severely
punished, according to the laws relative to such crimes.
“4. The strong Union sentiment
in this Section is most gratifying, and all officers
and soldiers, in their intercourse with the loyal,
and those favorably disposed, are requested to act
in their usual kind and courteous manner and protect
them to the fullest extent.
“By order of D. R. Anthony,
Lieutenant-Colonel Seventh Kansas Volunteers, commanding:
“W. W. H. Lawrence,
“Captain and Assistant-Adjutant General.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony was subsequently
placed under arrest for issuing the above order.
It was about this time, also, that
General McClellan addressed to President Lincoln a
letter on “forcible Abolition of Slavery,”
and “a Civil and Military policy” in
“Headquarters army of the
“Camp near Harrison’s landing,
Va., July 7, 1862.
“Mr. President: You
have been fully informed that the Rebel Army is in
the front, with the purpose of overwhelming us by attacking
our positions or reducing us by blocking our river
communications. I cannot but regard our condition
as critical, and I earnestly desire, in view of possible
contingencies, to lay before your Excellency, for your
private consideration, my general views concerning
the existing state of the Rebellion, although they
do not strictly relate to the situation of this Army,
or strictly come within the scope of my official duties.
These views amount to convictions, and are deeply
impressed upon my mind and heart.
“Our cause must never be abandoned;
it is the cause of Free institutions and Self-government.
The Constitution and the Union must be preserved,
whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood.
“If Secession is successful,
other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future.
Let neither Military disaster, political faction,
nor Foreign War shake your settled purpose to enforce
the equal operation of the Laws of the United States
upon the people of every State.
“The time has come when the
Government must determine upon a Civil and Military
policy, covering the whole ground of our National trouble.
“The responsibility of determining,
declaring, and supporting such Civil and Military
policy, and of directing the whole course of National
affairs in regard to the Rebellion, must now be assumed
and exercised by you, or our Cause will be lost.
The Constitution gives you power, even for the present
“This Rebellion has assumed
the character of a War; as such it should be regarded,
and it should be conducted upon the highest principles
known to Christian civilization. It should not
be a War looking to the subjugation of the people
of any State, in any event. It should not be
at all a war upon population, but against armed forces
and political organizations. Neither Confiscation
of property, political executions of persons, territorial
organizations of States, or forcible Abolition of
Slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.
“In prosecuting the War, all
private property and unarmed persons should be strictly
protected, subject only to the necessity of Military
operations; all private property taken for Military
use should be paid or receipted for; pillage and waste
should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary
trespass sternly prohibited and offensive demeanor
by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked.
“Military arrests should not
be tolerated, except in places where active hostilities
exist; and oaths, not required by enactments, Constitutionally
made, should be neither demanded nor received.
“Military Government should
be confined to the preservation of public order and
the protection of political right. Military power
should not be allowed to interfere with the relations
of Servitude, either by supporting or impairing the
authority of the master, except for repressing disorder,
as in other cases. Slaves, contraband under the
Act of Congress, seeking Military protection, should
“The right of the Government
to appropriate permanently to its own service claims
to Slave-labor should be asserted, and the right of
the owner to compensation therefor should be recognized.
“This principle might be extended,
upon grounds of Military necessity and security, to
all the Slaves of a particular State, thus working
manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps
in Western Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland,
the expediency of such a measure is only a question
“A system of policy thus Constitutional,
and pervaded by the influences of Christianity and
Freedom, would receive the support of almost all truly
Loyal men, would deeply impress the Rebel masses and
all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped
that it would commend itself to the favor of the Almighty.
“Unless the principles governing
the future conduct of our Struggle shall be made known
and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces
will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical
views, especially upon Slavery, will rapidly disintegrate
our present Armies.
“The policy of the Government
must be supported by concentrations of Military power.
The National Forces should not be dispersed in expeditions,
posts of occupation, and numerous armies, but should
be mainly collected into masses, and brought to bear
upon the Armies of the Confederate States. Those
Armies thoroughly defeated, the political structure
which they support would soon cease to exist,
“In carrying out any system
of policy which you may form, you will require a Commander-in-chief
of the Army, one who possesses your confidence, understands
your views, and who is competent to execute your orders,
by directing the Military Forces of the Nation to the
accomplishment of the objects by you proposed.
I do not ask that place for myself, I am willing
to serve you in such position as you may assign me,
and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate
“I may be on the brink of Eternity;
and as I hope forgiveness from my Maker, I have written
this letter with sincerity towards you and from love
for my Country.
“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“George B. MCCLELLAN,
“His Excellency A. Lincoln, President.”
July 12, 1862, Senators and Representatives
of the Border Slave-holding States, having been specially
invited to the White House for the purpose, were addressed
by President Lincoln, as follows:
the adjournment of Congress, now near, I shall have
no opportunity of seeing you for several months.
Believing that you of the Border States hold more
power for good than any other equal number of members,
I feel it a duty which I cannot justifiably waive,
to make this appeal to you.
“I intend no reproach or complaint
when I assure you that, in my opinion, if you all
had voted for the Resolution in the Gradual Emancipation
Message of last March, the War would now be substantially
ended. And the plan therein proposed is yet one
of the most potent and swift means of ending it.
Let the States which are in Rebellion see definitely
and certainly that in no event will the States you
represent ever join their proposed Confederacy, and
they cannot much longer maintain the contest.
“But you cannot divest them
of their hope to ultimately have you with them so
long as you show a determination to perpetuate the
Institution within your own States. Beat them
at elections, as you have overwhelmingly done, and
nothing daunted, they still claim you as their own.
You and I know what the lever of their power is.
Break that lever before their faces, and they can
shake you no more forever.
“Most of you have treated me
with kindness and consideration, and I trust you will
not now think I improperly touch what is exclusively
your own, when, for the sake of the whole Country,
I ask, ’Can you, for your States, do better
than to take the course I urge?’ Discarding punctilio
and maxims adapted to more manageable times, and looking
only to the unprecedentedly stern facts of our case,
can you do better in any possible event?
“You prefer that the Constitutional
relations of the States to the Nation shall be practically
restored without disturbance of the Institution; and,
if this were done, my whole duty, in this respect,
under the Constitution and my oath of office, would
be performed. But it is not done, and we are
trying to accomplish it by War.
“The incidents of the War cannot
be avoided. If the War continues long, as it
must, if the object be not sooner attained, the Institution
in your States will be extinguished by mere friction
and abrasion by the mere incidents of the
War. It will be gone, and you will have nothing
valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is
“How much better for you and
for your people to take the step which at once shortens
the War and secures substantial compensation for that
which is sure to be wholly lost in any other event!
How much better to thus save the money which else
we sink forever in the War! How: much better
to do it while we can, lest the War ere long render
us pecuniarily unable to do it! How much better
for you, as seller, and the Nation, as buyer, to sell
out and buy out that without which the War could never
have been, than to sink both the thing to be sold and
the price of it in cutting one another’s throats!
“I do not speak of Emancipation
at once, but of a decision at once to Emancipate gradually.
Room in South America for colonization can be obtained
cheaply and in abundance, and when numbers shall be
large enough to be company and encouragement for one
another, the freed people will not be so reluctant
“I am pressed with a difficulty
not yet mentioned; one which threatens division among
those who, united, are none too strong. An instance
of it is known to you. General Hunter is an
honest man. He was, and I hope still is, my
friend. I value him none the less for his agreeing
with me in the general wish that all men everywhere
could be freed. He proclaimed all men Free within
certain States, and I repudiated the proclamation.
He expected more good and less harm from the measure
than I could believe would follow.
“Yet, in repudiating it, I gave
dissatisfaction, if not offense, to many whose support
the Country cannot afford to lose. And this is
not the end of it. The pressure in this direction
is still upon me, and is increasing. By conceding
what I now ask, you can relieve me, and, much more,
can relieve the Country in this important point.
“Upon these considerations I
have again begged your attention to the Message of
March last. Before leaving the Capitol, consider
and discuss it among yourselves. You are Patriots
and Statesmen, and as such I pray you consider this
proposition; and, at the least, commend it to the
consideration of your States and people. As you
would perpetuate popular Government for the best people
in the World, I beseech you that you do in nowise
“Our common Country is in great
peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action
to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its
form of Government is saved to the World, its beloved
history and cherished memories are vindicated, and
its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivable
grand. To you, more than to any others, the privilege
is given to assure that happiness and swell that grandeur,
and to link your own names therewith forever.”
The gentlemen representing in Congress
the Border-States, to whom this address was made,
subsequently met and discussed its subject matter,
and made written reply in the shape of majority and
minority replies, as follows:
The majority reply:
“Washington, July 14, 1862.
“To the president:
“The undersigned, Representatives
of Kentucky, Virginia, Missouri, and Maryland, in
the two Houses of Congress, have listened to your address
with the profound sensibility naturally inspired by
the high source from which it emanates, the earnestness
which marked its delivery, and the overwhelming importance
of the subject of which it treats. We have given
it a most respectful consideration, and now lay before
you our response. We regret that want of time
has not permitted us to make it more perfect.
“We have not been wanting, Mr.
President, in respect to you, and in devotion to the
Constitution and the Union. We have not been
indifferent to the great difficulties surrounding you,
compared with which all former National troubles have
been but as the summer cloud; and we have freely given
you our sympathy and support. Repudiating the
dangerous hérésies of the Secessionists, we believed,
with you, that the War on their part is aggressive
and wicked, and the objects for which it was to be
prosecuted on ours, defined by your Message at the
opening of the present Congress, to be such as all
good men should approve.
“We have not hesitated to vote
all supplies necessary to carry it on vigorously.
We have voted all the men and money you have asked
for, and even more; we have imposed onerous taxes
on our people, and they are paying them with cheerfulness
and alacrity; we have encouraged enlistments, and
sent to the field many of our best men; and some of
our number have offered their persons to the enemy
as pledges of their sincerity and devotion to the
“We have done all this under
the most discouraging circumstances, and in the face
of measures most distasteful to us and injurious to
the interests we represent, and in the hearing of
doctrines avowed by those who claim to be your friends,
must be abhorrent to us and our constituents.
“But, for all this, we have
never faltered, nor shall we as long as we have a
Constitution to defend and a Government which protects
us. And we are ready for renewed efforts, and
even greater sacrifices, yea, any sacrifice, when
we are satisfied it is required to preserve our admirable
form of Government and the priceless blessings of
“A few of our number voted for
the Resolution recommended by your Message of the
6th of March last, the greater portion of us did not,
and we will briefly state the prominent reasons which
influenced our action.
“In the first place, it proposed
a radical change of our social system, and was hurried
through both Houses with undue haste, without reasonable
time for consideration and debate, and with no time
at all for consultation with our constituents, whose
interests it deeply involved. It seemed like
an interference by this Government with a question
which peculiarly and exclusively belonged to our respective
States, on which they had not sought advice or solicited
“Many of us doubted the Constitutional
power of this Government to make appropriations of
money for the object designated, and all of us thought
our finances were in no condition to bear the immense
outlay which its adoption and faithful execution would
impose upon the National Treasury. If we pause
but a moment to think of the debt its acceptance would
have entailed, we are appalled by its magnitude.
The proposition was addressed to all the States,
and embraced the whole number of Slaves.
“According to the census of
1860 there were then nearly four million Slaves in
the Country; from natural increase they exceed that
number now. At even the low average of $300,
the price fixed by the Emancipation Act for the Slaves
of this District, and greatly below their real worth,
their value runs up to the enormous sum of $1,200,000,000;
and if to that we add the cost of deportation and
colonization, at $100 each, which is but a fraction
more than is actually paid by the Maryland
Colonization Society, we have $400,000,000 more.
“We were not willing to impose
a tax on our people sufficient to pay the interest
on that sum, in addition to the vast and daily increasing
debt already fixed upon them by exigencies of the
War, and if we had been willing, the Country could
not bear it. Stated in this form the proposition
is nothing less than the deportation from the Country
of $1,600,000,000 worth of producing labor, and the
substitution, in its place, of an interest-bearing
debt of the same amount.
“But, if we are told that it
was expected that only the States we represent would
accept the proposition, we respectfully submit that
even then it involves a sum too great for the financial
ability of this Government at this time. According
to the census of 1860:
in the whole .. 1,196,112
we have the
sum of ... $478,038,133
“We did not feel that we should
be justified in voting for a measure which, if carried
out, would add this vast amount to our public debt
at a moment when the Treasury was reeling under the
enormous expenditure of the War.
“Again, it seemed to us that
this Resolution was but the annunciation of a sentiment
which could not or was not likely to be reduced to
an actual tangible proposition. No movement
was then made to provide and appropriate the funds
required to carry it into effect; and we were not
encouraged to believe that funds would be provided.
And our belief has been fully justified by subsequent
“Not to mention other circumstances,
it is quite sufficient for our purpose to bring to
your notice the fact that, while this resolution was
under consideration in the Senate, our colleague, the
Senator from Kentucky, moved an amendment appropriating
$500,000 to the object therein designated, and it
was voted down with great unanimity.
“What confidence, then, could
we reasonably feel that if we committed ourselves
to the policy it proposed, our constituents would reap
the fruits of the promise held out; and on what ground
could we, as fair men, approach them and challenge
“The right to hold Slaves, is
a right appertaining to all the States of this Union.
They have the right to cherish or abolish the Institution,
as their tastes or their interests may prompt, and
no one is authorized to question the right or limit
the enjoyment. And no one has more clearly affirmed
that right than you have. Your Inaugural Address
does you great honor in this respect, and inspired
the Country with confidence in your fairness and respect
for the Law. Our States are in the enjoyment
of that right.
“We do not feel called on to
defend the Institution or to affirm it is one which
ought to be cherished; perhaps, if we were to make
the attempt, we might find that we differ even among
ourselves. It is enough for our purpose to know
that it is a right; and, so knowing, we did not see
why we should now be expected to yield it.
“We had contributed our full
share to relieve the Country at this terrible crisis;
we had done as much as had been required of others
in like circumstances; and we did not see why sacrifices
should be expected of us from which others, no more
loyal, were exempt. Nor could we see what good
the Nation would derive from it.
“Such a sacrifice submitted
to by us would not have strengthened the arm of this
Government or weakened that of the Enemy. It
was not necessary as a pledge of our Loyalty, for
that had been manifested beyond a reasonable doubt,
in every form, and at every place possible. There
was not the remotest probability that the States we
represent would join in the Rebellion, nor is there
now, or of their electing to go with the Southern
Section in the event of a recognition of the Independence
of any part of the disaffected region.
“Our States are fixed unalterably
in their resolution to adhere to and support the Union.
They see no safety for themselves, and no hope for
Constitutional Liberty, but by its preservation.
They will, under no circumstances, consent to its
dissolution; and we do them no more than justice when
we assure you that, while the War is conducted to prevent
that deplorable catastrophe, they will sustain it as
long as they can muster a man, or command a dollar.
“Nor will they ever consent,
in any event, to unite with the Southern Confederacy.
The bitter fruits of the peculiar doctrines of that
region will forever prevent them from placing their
security and happiness in the custody of an association
which has incorporated in its Organic Law the seeds
of its own destruction.
“We cannot admit, Mr. President,
that if we had voted for the Resolution in the Emancipation
Message of March last, the War would now be substantially
ended. We are unable to see how our action in
this particular has given, or could give, encouragement
to the Rebellion. The Resolution has passed;
and if there be virtue in it, it will be quite as
efficacious as if we had voted for it.
“We have no power to bind our
States in this respect by our votes here; and, whether
we had voted the one way or the other, they are in
the same condition of freedom to accept or reject
“No, Sir, the War has not been
prolonged or hindered by our action on this or any
other measure. We must look for other causes
for that lamented fact. We think there is not
much difficulty, not much uncertainty, in pointing
out others far more probable and potent in their agencies
to that end.
“The Rebellion derives its strength
from the Union of all classes in the Insurgent States;
and while that Union lasts the War will never end
until they are utterly exhausted. We know that,
at the inception of these troubles, Southern society
was divided, and that a large portion, perhaps a majority,
were opposed to Secession. Now the great mass
of Southern people are united.
“To discover why they are so,
we must glance at Southern society, and notice the
classes into which it has been divided, and which still
distinguish it. They are in arms, but not for
the same objects; they are moved to a common end,
but by different and even inconsistent reasons.
“The leaders, which comprehend
what was previously known as the State Rights Party,
and is much the lesser class, seek to break down National
Independence and set up State domination. With
them it is a War against Nationality.
“The other class is fighting,
as it supposes, to maintain and preserve its rights
of Property and domestic safety, which it has been
made to believe are assailed by this Government.
This latter class are not Disunionists per se;
they are so only because they have been made to believe
that this Administration is inimical to their rights,
and is making War on their domestic Institutions.
As long as these two classes act together they will
never assent to a Peace.
“The policy, then, to be pursued,
is obvious. The former class will never be reconciled,
but the latter may be. Remove their apprehensions;
satisfy them that no harm is intended to them and their
Institutions; that this Government is not making War
on their rights of Property, but is simply defending
its legitimate authority, and they will gladly return
to their allegiance as soon as the pressure of Military
dominion imposed by the Confederate authority is removed
“Twelve months ago, both Houses
of Congress, adopting the spirit of your Message,
then but recently sent in, declared with singular unanimity
the objects of the War, and the Country instantly
bounded to your side to assist you in carrying it
on. If the spirit of that Resolution had been
adhered to, we are confident that we should before
now have seen the end of this deplorable conflict.
But what have we seen?
“In both Houses of Congress
we have heard doctrines subversive of the principles
of the Constitution, and seen measure after measure,
founded in substance on those doctrines, proposed
and carried through, which can have no other effect
than to distract and divide loyal men, and exasperate
and drive still further from us and their duty the
people of the rebellious States.
“Military officers, following
these bad examples, have stepped beyond the just limits
of their authority in the same direction, until in
several instances you have felt the necessity of interfering
to arrest them. And even the passage of the
Resolution to which you refer has been ostentatiously
proclaimed as the triumph of a principle which the
people of the Southern States regard as ruinous to
them. The effect of these measures was foretold,
and may now be seen in the indurated state of Southern
“To these causes, Mr. President,
and not to our omission to vote for the Resolution
recommended by you, we solemnly believe we are to attribute
the terrible earnestness of those in arms against the
Government, and the continuance of the War.
Nor do we (permit us to say, Mr. President, with all
respect to you) agree that the Institution of Slavery
is ’the lever of their power,’ but we
are of the opinion that ’the lever of their
power’ is the apprehension that the powers of
a common Government, created for common and equal
protection to the interests of all, will be wielded
against the Institutions of the Southern States.
“There is one other idea in
your address we feel called on to notice. After
stating the fact of your repudiation of General Hunter’s
Proclamation, you add:
“’Yet, in repudiating
it, I gave dissatisfaction, if not offense, to many
whose support the Country cannot afford to lose.
And this is not the end of it. The pressure
in this direction is still upon me and is increasing.
By conceding what I now ask, you can relieve me, and,
much more, can relieve the Country, in this important
“We have anxiously looked into
this passage to discover its true import, but we are
yet in painful uncertainty. How can we, by conceding
what you now ask, relieve you and the Country from
the increasing pressure to which you refer?
We will not allow ourselves to think that the proposition
is, that we consent to give up Slavery, to the end
that the Hunter proclamation may be let loose on the
Southern people, for it is too well known that we
would not be parties to any such measure, and we have
too much respect for you to imagine you would propose
“Can it mean that by sacrificing
our interest in Slavery we appease the spirit that
controls that pressure, cause it to be withdrawn, and
rid the Country of the pestilent agitation of the
Slavery question? We are forbidden so to think,
for that spirit would not be satisfied with the liberation
of 100,000 Slaves, and cease its agitation while 3,000,000
remain in bondage. Can it mean that by abandoning
Slavery in our States we are removing the pressure
from you and the Country, by preparing for a separation
on the line of the Cotton States?
“We are forbidden so to think,
because it is known that we are, and we believe that
you are, unalterably opposed to any division at all.
We would prefer to think that you desire this concession
as a pledge of our support, and thus enable you to
withstand a pressure which weighs heavily on you and
“Mr. President, no such sacrifice
is necessary to secure our support. Confine yourself
to your Constitutional authority; confine your subordinates
within the same limits; conduct this War solely for
the purpose of restoring the Constitution to its legitimate
authority; concede to each State and its loyal citizens
their just rights, and we are wedded to you by indissoluble
ties. Do this, Mr. President, and you touch
the American heart, and invigorate it with new hope.
You will, as we solemnly believe, in due time restore
Peace to your Country, lift it from despondency to
a future of glory, and preserve to your countrymen,
their posterity, and man, the inestimable treasure
of a Constitutional Government.
“Mr. President, we have stated
with frankness and candor the reasons on which we
forbore to vote for the Resolution you have mentioned;
but you have again presented this proposition, and
appealed to us with an earnestness and eloquence which
have not failed to impress us, to ’consider
it, and at the least to commend it to the consideration
of our States and people.’
“Thus appealed to by the Chief
Magistrate of our beloved Country, in the hour of
its greatest peril, we cannot wholly decline.
We are willing to trust every question relating to
their interest and happiness to the consideration
and ultimate judgment of our own people.
“While differing from you as
to the necessity of Emancipating the Slaves of our
States as a means of putting down the Rebellion, and
while protesting against the propriety of any extra-territorial
interference to induce the people of our States to
adopt any particular line of policy on a subject which
peculiarly and exclusively belongs to them, yet, when
you and our brethren of the Loyal States sincerely
believe that the retention of Slavery by us is an
obstacle to Peace and National harmony, and are willing
to contribute pecuniary aid to compensate our States
and people for the inconveniences produced by such
a change of system, we are not unwilling that our
people shall consider the propriety of putting it
“But we have already said that
we regard this Resolution as the utterance of a sentiment,
and we had no confidence that it would assume the
shape of a tangible practical proposition, which would
yield the fruits of the sacrifice it required.
Our people are influenced by the same want of confidence,
and will not consider the proposition in its present
impalpable form. The interest they are asked
to give up is, to them, of immense importance, and
they ought not to be expected even to entertain the
proposal until they are assured that when they accept
it their just expectations will not be frustrated.
“We regard your plan as a proposition
from the Nation to the States to exercise an admitted
Constitutional right in a particular manner, and yield
up a valuable interest. Before they ought to
consider the proposition, it should be presented in
such a tangible, practical, efficient shape, as to
command their confidence that its fruits are contingent
only upon their acceptance. We cannot trust anything
to the contingencies of future legislation.
“If Congress, by proper and
necessary legislation, shall provide sufficient funds
and place them at your disposal to be applied by you
to the payment of any of our States, or the citizens
thereof, who shall adopt the Abolishment of Slavery,
either gradual or immediate, as they may determine,
and the expense of deportation and colonization of
the liberated Slaves, then will our States and people
take this proposition into careful consideration,
for such decision as in their judgment is demanded
by their interest, their honor, and their duty to the
whole Country. We have the honor to be, with
“C. A. Wickliffe, Ch’man,
Chas. B. Calvert,
C. L. L. Leary,
Edwin H. Webster,
J. J. Crittenden,
John S. Carlile,
J. W. Crisfield,
James S. Rollins,
J. S. Jackson,
J. W. Menzies,
Thomas L. Price,
John S. Phelps,
G. W. Dunlap,
William A. Hall.”
THE MINORITY REPLY.
“Washington, July 15, 1863.
“Mr. President: The
undersigned, members of Congress from the Border States,
in response to your address of Saturday last, beg leave
to say that they attended a meeting, on the same day
the address was delivered, for the purpose of considering
the same. The meeting appointed a Committee
to report a response to your address. That report
was made on yesterday, and the action of the majority
indicated clearly that the response, or one in substance
the same, would be adopted and presented to you.
“Inasmuch as we cannot, consistently
with our own sense of duty to the Country, under the
existing perils which surround us, concur in that
response, we feel it to be due to you and to ourselves
to make to you a brief and candid answer over our
“We believe that the whole power
of the Government, upheld and sustained by all the
influences and means of all loyal men in all Sections,
and of all Parties, is essentially necessary to put
down the Rebellion and preserve the Union and the
Constitution. We understand your appeal to us
to have been made for the purpose of securing this
“A very large portion of the
People in the Northern States believe that Slavery
is the ‘lever-power of the Rebellion.’
It matters not whether this belief be well-founded
or not. The belief does exist, and we have to
deal with things as they are, and not as we would have
“In consequence of the existence
of this belief, we understand that an immense pressure
is brought to bear for the purpose of striking down
this Institution through the exercise of Military authority.
The Government cannot maintain this great struggle
if the support and influence of the men who entertain
these opinions be withdrawn. Neither can the
Government hope for early success if the support of
that element called “Conservative” be
“Such being the condition of
things, the President appeals to the Border-State
men to step forward and prove their patriotism by making
the first sacrifice. No doubt, like appeals have
been made to extreme men in the North to meet us half-way,
in order that the whole moral, political, pecuniary,
and physical force of the Nation may be firmly and
earnestly united in one grand effort to save the Union
and the Constitution.
“Believing that such were the
motives that prompted your Address, and such the results
to which it looked, we cannot reconcile it to our sense
of duty, in this trying hour, to respond in a spirit
of fault-finding or querulousness over the things
that are past.
“We are not disposed to seek
for the cause of present misfortunes in the errors
and wrongs of others who now propose to unite with
us in a common purpose.
“But, on the other hand, we
meet your address in the spirit in which it was made,
and, as loyal Americans, declare to you and to the
World that there is no sacrifice that we are not ready
to make to save the Government and institutions of
our fathers. That we, few of us though there
may be, will permit no man, from the North or from
the South, to go further than we in the accomplishment
of the great work before us. That, in order to
carry out these views, we will, so far as may be in
our power, ask the people of the Border States calmly,
deliberately, and fairly to consider your recommendations.
“We are the more emboldened
to assume this position from the fact, now become
history, that the leaders of the Southern Rebellion
have offered to abolish Slavery among them as a condition
to foreign intervention in favor of their Independence
as a Nation.
“If they can give up Slavery
to destroy the Union, we can surely ask our people
to consider the question of Emancipation to save the
“With great respect, your obedient servants,
“John W. Noell,
“Samuel L. Casey,
“George P. Fisher,
“A. J. Clements,
“William G. Brown,
“Jacob B. Blair,
“W. T. Willey.”
[The following separate replies, subsequently
made, by Representative Maynard of Tennessee,
and Senator Henderson of Missouri, are necessarily
given to complete this part of the Border State
“House of representatives, July
“Sir: The magnitude
and gravity of the proposition submitted by you to
Representatives from the Slave States would naturally
occasion diversity, if not contrariety, of opinion.
You will not, therefore, be surprised that I have
not been able to concur in view with the majority
“This is attributable, possibly,
to the fact that my State is not a Border State, properly
so called, and that my immediate constituents are
not yet disenthralled from the hostile arms of the
Rebellion. This fact is a physical obstacle
in the way of my now submitting to their consideration
this, or any other proposition looking to political
action, especially such as, in this case, would require
a change in the Organic Law of the State.
“But do not infer that I am
insensible to your appeal. I am not; you are
surrounded with difficulties far greater than have
embarrassed any of your predecessors. You need
the support of every American citizen, and you ought
to have it active, zealous and honest.
The union of all Union men to aid you in preserving
the Union, is the duty of the time. Differences
as to policy and methods must be subordinated to the
“In looking for the cause of
this Rebellion, it is natural that each Section and
each Party should ascribe as little blame as possible
to itself, and as much as possible to its opponent
Section and Party. Possibly you and I might not
agree on a comparison of our views. That there
should be differences of opinion as to the best mode
of conducting our Military operations, and the best
men to lead our Armies, is equally natural.
Contests on such questions weaken ourselves and strengthen
our enemies. They are unprofitable, and possibly
unpatriotic. Somebody must yield, or we waste
our strength in a contemptible struggle among ourselves.
“You appeal to the loyal men
of the Slave States to sacrifice something of feeling
and a great deal of interest. The sacrifices
they have already made and the sufferings they have
endured give the best assurance that the appeal will
not have been made in vain. He who is not ready
to yield all his material interests, and to forego
his most cherished sentiments and opinions for the
preservation of his Country, although he may have
periled his life on the battle-field in her defense,
is but half a Patriot. Among the loyal people
that I represent, there are no half-patriots.
“Already the Rebellion has cost
us much, even to our undoing; we are content, if need
be, to give up the rest, to suppress it. We have
stood by you from the beginning of this struggle,
and we mean to stand by you, God willing, till the
end of it.
“I did not vote for the Resolution
to which you allude, solely for the reason that I
was absent at the Capital of my own State. It
“Should any of the Slave States
think proper to terminate that Institution, as several
of them, I understand, or at least some of their citizens
propose, justice and a generous comity require that
the Country should interpose to aid in lessening the
burden, public and private, occasioned by so radical
a change in its social and industrial relations.
“I will not now speculate upon
the effect, at home or abroad, of the adoption of
your policy, nor inquire what action of the Rebel leaders
has rendered something of the kind important.
Your whole administration gives the highest assurance
that you are moved, not so much from a desire to see
all men everywhere made free, as from a higher desire
to preserve free institutions for the benefit of men
already free; not to make Slaves, Freemen, but to
prevent Freemen from being made Slaves; not to destroy
an Institution, which a portion of us only consider
bad, but to save institutions which we all alike consider
good. I am satisfied you would not ask from
any of your fellow-citizens a sacrifice not, in your
judgment, imperatively required by the safety of the
“This is the spirit of your
appeal, and I respond to it in the same spirit.
“I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“To the president.”
“Washington city, July 21, 1862.
“Mr. President: The
pressure of business in the Senate during the last
few days of the session prevented my attendance at
the meeting of the Border-State members, called to
consider your proposition in reference to gradual
emancipation in our States.
“It is for this reason only,
and not because I fail to appreciate their importance
or properly respect your suggestions, that my name
does not appear to any of the several papers submitted
in response. I may also add that it was my intention,
when the subject came up practically for consideration
in the Senate, to express fully my views in regard
to it. This of course would have rendered any
other response unnecessary. But the want of
time to consider the matter deprived me of that opportunity,
and, lest now my silence be misconstrued, I deem it
proper to say to you that I am by no means indifferent
to the great questions so earnestly, and as I believe
so honestly, urged by you upon our consideration.
“The Border States, so far,
are the chief sufferers by this War, and the true
Union men of those States have made the greatest sacrifices
for the preservation of the Government. This
fact does not proceed from mismanagement on the part
of the Union authorities, or a want of regard for
our people, but it is the necessary result of the War
that is upon us.
“Our States are the battle-fields.
Our people, divided among themselves, maddened by
the struggle, and blinded by the smoke of battle,
invited upon our soil contending armies the
one to destroy the Government, the other to maintain
it. The consequence to us is plain. The
shock of the contest upturns Society and desolates
the Land. We have made sacrifices, but at last
they were only the sacrifices demanded by duty, and
unless we are willing to make others, indeed any that
the good of the Country, involved in the overthrow
of Treason, may expect at our hands, our title to
patriotism is not complete.
“When you submitted your proposition
to Congress, in March last, ’that the United
States ought to co-operate with any State which may
adopt a gradual abolishment of Slavery, giving to
such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State
in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences,
public and private, produced by such change of system,’
I gave it a most cheerful support, and I am satisfied
it would have received the approbation of a large
majority of the Border States delegations in both
Branches of Congress, if, in the first place, they
had believed the War, with its continued evils the
most prominent of which, in a material point of view,
is its injurious effect on the Institution of Slavery
in our States could possibly have been
protracted for another twelve months; and if, in the
second place, they had felt assured that the party
having the majority in Congress would, like yourself,
be equally prompt in practical action as in the expression
of a sentiment.
“While scarcely any one doubted
your own sincerity in the premises, and your earnest
wish speedily to terminate the War, you can readily
conceive the grounds for difference of opinion where
conclusions could only be based on conjecture.
“Believing, as I did, that the
War was not so near its termination as some supposed,
and feeling disposed to accord to others the same
sincerity of purpose that I should claim for myself
under similar circumstances, I voted for the proposition.
I will suppose that others were actuated by no sinister
“In doing so, Mr. President,
I desire to be distinctly understood by you and by
my constituents. I did not suppose at the time
that I was personally making any sacrifice by supporting
the Resolution, nor that the people of my State were
called upon to make any sacrifices, either in considering
or accepting the proposition, if they saw fit.
“I agreed with you in the remarks
contained in the Message accompanying the Resolution,
that ’the Union must be preserved, and hence
all indispensable means must be employed. War
has been and continues to be an indispensable means
to this end. A practical reacknowledgment of
the National authority would render the War unnecessary,
and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance
continues, the War must also continue; and it is impossible
to foresee all the incidents which may attend and
all the ruin which may follow it.’
“It is truly ‘impossible’
to foresee all the evils resulting from a War so stupendous
as the present. I shall be much rejoiced if something
more dreadful than the sale of Freedom to a few Slaves
in the Border States shall not result from it.
“If it closes with the Government
of our Fathers secure, and Constitutional Liberty
in all its purity guaranteed to the White man, the
result will be better than that having a place in the
fears of many good men at present, and much better
than the past history of such revolutions can justify
us in expecting.
“In this period of the Nation’s
distress, I know of no human institution too sacred
for discussion; no material interest belonging to the
citizen that he should not willingly place upon the
altar of his Country, if demanded by the public good.
“The man who cannot now sacrifice
Party and put aside selfish considerations is more
than half disloyal. Such a man does not deserve
the blessings of good government. Pride of opinion,
based upon Sectional jealousies, should not be permitted
to control the decision of any political question.
These remarks are general, but apply with peculiar
force to the People of the Border States at present.
“Let us look at our condition.
A desolating War is upon us. We cannot escape
it if we would. If the Union Armies were to-day
withdrawn from the Border States without first crushing
the Rebellion in the South, no rational man can doubt
for a moment that the adherents of the Union Cause
in those States would soon be driven in exile from
their homes by the exultant Rebels, who have so long
hoped to return and take vengeance upon us.
“The People of the Border States
understand very well the unfriendly and selfish spirit
exercised toward them by the leaders of this Cotton-State
Rebellion, beginning some time previous to its outbreak.
They will not fail to remember their insolent refusal
to counsel with us, and their haughty assumption of
responsibility upon themselves for their misguided
“Our people will not soon forget
that, while declaiming against Coercion, they closed
their doors against the exportation of Slaves from
the Border States into the South, with the avowed purpose
of forcing us into Rebellion through fears of losing
that species of Property. They knew very well
the effect to be produced on Slavery by a Civil War,
especially in those States into which hostile Armies
might penetrate, and upon the soil of which the great
contests for the success of Republican Government
were to be decided.
“They wanted some intermediate
ground for the conflict of arms-territory where the
population would be divided. They knew, also,
that by keeping Slavery in the Border States the mere
‘friction and abrasion’ to which you so
appropriately allude, would keep up a constant irritation,
resulting necessarily from the frequent losses to which
the owners would be subjected.
“They also calculated largely,
and not without reason, upon the repugnance of Non-Slaveholders
in those States to a Free Negro population.
In the meantime they intended persistently to charge
the overthrow of Slavery to be the object of the Government,
and hostility to this Institution the origin of the
War. By this means the unavoidable incidents
of the strife might easily he charged as the settled
purposes of the Government.
“Again, it was well understood,
by these men, that exemplary conduct on the part of
every officer and soldier employed by the Government
could not in the nature of things be expected, and
the hope was entertained, upon the most reasonable
grounds, that every commission of wrong and every
omission of duty would produce a new cause for excitement
and a new incentive to Rebellion.
“By these means the War was
to be kept in the Border States, regardless of our
interests, until an exhausted Treasury should render
it necessary to send the tax-gatherer among our people,
to take the little that might be left them from the
devastations of War.
“They then expected a clamor
for Peace by us, resulting in the interference of
France and England, whose operatives in the meantime
would be driven to want, and whose aristocracy have
ever been ready to welcome a dissolution of the American
“This cunningly-devised plan
for securing a Gulf-Confederacy, commanding the mouths
of the great Western rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, and
the Southern Atlantic ocean, with their own territory
unscathed by the horrors of war, and surrounded by
the Border States, half of whose population would
be left in sympathy with them, for many years to come,
owing to the irritations to which I have alluded, has,
so far, succeeded too well.
“In Missouri they have already
caused us to lose a third or more of the Slaves owned
at the time of the last census. In addition to
this, I can make no estimate of the vast amount of
property of every character that has been destroyed
by Military operations in the State. The loss
from general depreciation of values, and the utter
prostration of every business-interest of our people,
is wholly beyond calculation.
“The experience of Missouri
is but the experience of other Sections of the Country
similarly situated. The question is therefore
forced upon us, ’How long is this War to continue;
and, if continued, as it has been, on our soil, aided
by the Treason and folly of our own citizens, acting
in concert with the Confederates, how long can Slavery,
or, if you please, any other property-interest, survive
in our States?’
“As things now are, the people
of the Border-States yet divided, we cannot expect
an immediate termination of the struggle, except upon
condition of Southern Independence, losing thereby
control of the lower Mississippi. For this,
we in Missouri are not prepared, nor are we prepared
to become one of the Confederate States, should the
terrible calamity of Dissolution occur.
“This, I presume, the Union
men of Missouri would resist to the death. And
whether they should do so or not, I will not suppose
for an instant, that the Government of the United
States would, upon any condition, submit to the loss
of territory so essential to its future commercial
greatness as is the State of Missouri.
“But should all other reasons
fail to prevent such a misfortune to our people of
Missouri, there is one that cannot fail. The
Confederates never wanted us, and would not have us.
I assume, therefore, that the War will not cease,
but will be continued until the Rebellion shall be
overcome. It cannot and will not cease, so far
as the people of Missouri are concerned, except upon
condition of our remaining in the Union, and the whole
West will demand the entire control of the Mississippi
river to the Gulf.
“Our interest is therefore bound
up with the interests of those States maintaining
the Union, and especially with the great States of
the West that must be consulted in regard to the terms
of any Peace that may be suggested, even by the Nations
of Europe, should they at any time unfortunately depart
from their former pacific policy and determine to
intervene in our affairs.
“The War, then, will have to
be continued until the Union shall be practically
restored. In this alone consists the future safety
of the Border-States themselves. A separation
of the Union is ruinous to them. The preservation
of the Union can only be secured by a continuation
of the War. The consequences of that continuation
may be judged of by the experience of the last twelve
months. The people of my State are as competent
to pass judgment in the premises as I am. I have
every confidence in their intelligence, their honesty,
and their patriotism.
“In your own language, the proposition
you make ’sets up no claim of a right by Federal
authority to interfere with Slavery within State limits,’
referring, as it does, the absolute control of the
subject in each case to the State and its people immediately
interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly
free choice with them.
“In this view of the subject
I can frankly say to you that, personally, I never
could appreciate the objections so frequently urged
against the proposition. If I understood you
properly, it was your opinion, not that Slavery should
be removed in order to secure our loyalty to the Government,
for every personal act of your administration precludes
such an inference, but you believe that the peculiar
species of Property was in imminent danger from the
War in which we were engaged, and that common justice
demanded remuneration for the loss of it.
“You then believe, and again
express the opinion, that the peculiar nature of the
contest is such that its loss is almost inevitable,
and lest any pretext for a charge of injustice against
the Government be given to its enemies, you propose
to extend to the people of those States standing by
the Union, the choice of payment for their Slaves or
the responsibility of loss, should it occur, without
complaint against the Government.
“Placing the matter in this
light, (a mere remuneration for losses rendered inevitable
by the casualties of War), the objection of a Constitutional
character may be rendered much less formidable in the
minds of Northern Representatives whose constituents
will have to share in the payment of the money; and,
so far as the Border States are concerned, this objection
should be most sparingly urged, for it being a matter
entirely of their ‘own free choice,’ in
case of a desire to accept, no serious argument will
likely be urged against the receipt of the money,
or a fund for Colonization.
“But, aside from the power derived
from the operations of war, there may be found numerous
precedents in the legislation of the past, such as
grants of land and money to the several States for
specified objects deemed worthy by the Federal Congress.
And in addition to this may be cited a deliberate
opinion of Mr. Webster upon this very subject, in one
of the ablest arguments of his life.
“I allude to this question of
power merely in vindication of the position assumed
by me in my vote for the Resolution of March last.
“In your last communication
to us, you beg of us ’to commend this subject
to the consideration of our States and people.’
While I entirely differ with you in the opinion expressed,
that had the members from the Border States approved
of your Resolution of March last ’the War would
now be substantially ended,’ and while I do not
regard the suggestion ‘as one of the most potent
and swift means of ending’ the War, I am yet
free to say that I have the most unbounded confidence
in your sincerity of purpose in calling our attention
to the dangers surrounding us.
“I am satisfied that you appreciate
the troubles of the Border States, and that your suggestions
are intended for our good. I feel the force
of your urgent appeal, and the logic of surrounding
circumstances brings conviction even to an unwilling
“Having said that, in my judgment,
you attached too much importance to this measure as
a means for suppressing the Rebellion, it is due to
you that I shall explain.
“Whatever may be the status
of the Border States in this respect, the War cannot
be ended until the power of the Government is made
manifest in the seceded States. They appealed
to the sword; give them the sword. They asked
for War; let them see its evils on their own soil.
“They have erected a Government,
and they force obedience to its behests. This
structure must be destroyed; this image, before which
an unwilling People have been compelled to bow, must
be broken. The authority of the Federal Government
must be felt in the heart of the rebellious district.
To do this, let armies be marched upon them at once,
and let them feel what they have inflicted on us in
the Border. Do not fear our States; we will stand
by the Government in this work.
“I ought not to disguise from
you or the people of my State, that personally I have
fixed and unalterable opinions on the subject of your
communication. Those opinions I shall communicate
to the people in that spirit of frankness that should
characterize the intercourse of the Representative
with his constituents.
“If I were to-day the owner
of the lands and Slaves of Missouri, your proposition,
so far as that State is concerned, would be immediately
accepted. Not a day would be lost. Aside
from public considerations, which you suppose to be
involved in the proposition, and which no Patriot,
I agree, should disregard at present, my own personal
interest would prompt favorable and immediate action.
“But having said this, it is
proper that I say something more. The Representative
is the servant and not the master of the People.
He has no authority to bind them to any course of
action, or even to indicate what they will, or will
not, do when the subject is exclusively theirs and
“I shall take occasion, I hope
honestly, to give my views of existing troubles and
impending dangers, and shall leave the rest to them,
disposed, as I am, rather to trust their judgment upon
the case stated than my own, and at the same time
most cheerfully to acquiesce in their decision.
“For you, personally, Mr. President,
I think I can pledge the kindest considerations of
the people of Missouri, and I shall not hesitate to
express the belief that your recommendation will be
considered by them in the same spirit of kindness
manifested by you in its presentation to us, and that
their decision will be such as is demanded ’by
their interests, their honor, and their duty to the
“I am very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“To his Excellency,
“A. Lincoln, president.”