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fcion. When they see a president making war without the assent of Congress; when they behold judges threatened because they maintain the writ of habeas counts, so sacred to freemen; when they see justice and law trampled under the armed heel of military authority, and upright men and innocent women dragged to distant dungeons upon the mere edict of a despot; when they find all this tolerated and applauded by a people who had been in the full enjoyment of freedom but a few months ago, they believe that there must be some radical incompatibility between such a people and themselves. With such a people we may be content to I live at peace, but the separation is final, and for the independence we have asserted we will accept no alternative."* The proceedings of the rebel congress were of no great interest or importance. The evident impression was, that the loyal states were resolved upon breaking down the confederacy, and were making preparations accordingly; still, so far as words went, and
• There were also some paragraphs expressing Davis's astonishment and horror at what he called the savage barbarism with which the government of the Union was trying to suppress the rebellion. The words are not worth quoting; Davis probably, if not certainly, knew them to be false; if he believed them himself he was more ignorant than anybody ever supposed. It is not meant to be asserted that instances—alas, too many—of acts of cruelty and inhumanity cannot be produced, war not being at any time tb.9 condition in
perhaps so far as their convictions reached, the rebel leaders held, that they were abundantly able to maintain the ground they had taken. Kentucky and Missouri, by a piece of foolish assumption, were voted into their ranks. A resolution was adopted refusing to make any advance to planters or purchase their produce, surprise being expressed that such application should be made. About $60,000,000 were appropriated for the army, and $4,000,000 for the rebel navy. One significant feature was noted at the time, and was held up to public indignation in the loyal states, viz., that most of the proceedings of the rebel congress were conducted in secret sessions; which was certainly a curious commentary on their pretensions to superior liberty aa [ representatives of a free people.
The Provisional Confederate Congress continued in session during the winter, and reached its end, Feb. 17th, | 1862. It was immediately succeeded i by the "permanent" congress, which began its session on the next day.
which the virtues of justice, moderation and gentleness especially flourish; but it is affirmed, and the history of the war proves it, that no one but a slanderer and falsifier of the truth can charge, as Davis and company do, the government and officers of our army and navy with intentional, systematic violations of the laws of humanity and right. On the contrary, they strove to mitigate the horrors and excesses of war ia every way that was in their power.
i Ch. VIIL] THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION. 101
MEETING OP CONGRESS —CLOSING OP THE YEAR.
Thirty-seventh Congress, second session —President's message — Character of its contents — Extracts relating to finances, judiciary, colonization scheme, etc.—Notices of army and navy operations—Reports of the secretaries — Secretary of war's views — Secretary of the navy's views'— Secretary of the treasury's statements
— National debt—Questions in Congress for discussion — Subject of slavery and what to do with the negroes — Difficult to agree upon — Course pursued in the House — Warm debates had, various acts passed, etc. — In the Senate, motion made to appoint commissioners to settle difficulties with the Confederate States
— Laid on the table — Bill for confiscating the property of rebels and giving freedom to their slaves — j Other action in the Senate — Review of the state and condition of affairs at the close of 1861 — Feelings and views of the people in the loyal states—Successes of the army and navy cheering—Army improving under McClellan—The drawback in McClellan's case — Estimate of numbers of rebels in the field — Probably exaggerated — " All quiet on tho Potomac " — Question as to exchange of prisoners, perplexing — Left to the generals and officers — Steps taken — No settlement — Foreign policy of the United States — Situation of the rebels—Causes of inactivity, according to Pollard, and abuses in administration, etc . — Sum
of the review as a whole. j
On Monday, the 2d of December, the Thirty-seventh Congress met for its second session. Senators and representatives from twenty-five states were present, and the national legislature entered at once upon its important duties. The next day, President Lincoln sent in his message,
| in which he laid before Congress a clear, carefully prepared review of the position of the government and „the progress of the war. "In the midst of unprecedented political troubles," were the opening words, " we have cause of great gratitude to God for unusual good health, and most abuudant har
| vests." The president then, in a few brief paragraphs, touched upon our foreign relations, and upon the efforts
J i of the rebels to induce other nations to
side with them against the Union. In j
The financial condition of affairs was j spoken of in encouraging terms: The j revenue from all sources, including j loans for the financial year ending on i the 30th June, 1861, was $86,835,900, |
and the expenditures for the same period, including payments on account of the public debts, were $84,578,034. For the first quarter of the financial year ending on the 30th September, 1861, the receipts from all sources, including the balance of July 1st, were $102,532,509, and the expenses $98,
239,723 It is gratifying to
know that the expenditures made necessary by the rebellion are not beyond the resources of the loyal people, and to believe that the same patriotism which has thus far sustained the government will continue to sustain it till peace and union again bless the land."
Various matters connected with the judiciary and its arrangements, and other topics of domestic policy, were referred to Congress; among them the project of a military railroad connecting the loyal regions of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina with Kentucky and other parts of the Union. "The territories of Colorado, Dakotah, and Nevada, created by the last Congress, have been organized, and civil administration has been inausurated therein under auspices especially gratifying, when it is considered that the leaven of treason was found existing in some of these new countries when the federal officers arrived there."
Reference was made to the confiscation act of the recent session of Congress, and was noticeable for its suggestion of a measure which became afterward a prominent subject of discussion—the furtherance of a system of colonization for the disposal of negroes liberated by the war or by concert with some of the slave-holding
states; while the suggestion with which it was coupled of remuneration by Congress for the slaves set free, paved the way for the plans of compensated emancipation afterward strongly urged by the president.
The progress of the war was briefly noted, and due commendation bestowed upon our gallant navy and army. Not only Maryland, but Kentucky and Missouri had furnished 40,000 troops in all, and were warmly and decidedly in favor of supporting the govern ment; and the various successes, especially of the navy, "demonstrated," in the opinion of the president, "that the cause of the Union was advancing; steadily and certainly southward." Gen. Scott's retirement was appropriately noticed, and high expectations were founded on the appointment of Gen. McClellan as his successor. The proceedings of Davis and his coadjutors were denounced as evidencing a liking for and a return to despotism; and it was ably argued that " labor is prior to, and independent of, capital;" consequently, the dignity and honor of labor against southern aristocracy and pride were to be understood and maintained. With words of gratulation in regard to the population and prospects of our country in general, the president closed his message as follows :—" The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day; it is for a vast future also. With a firm reliance on Providence, all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us."
The reports of the several secretaries, referred to in the message, contained Ch. VIII.]
ARMY, NAVY, AND TREASURY REPORTS.
numerous and valuable details for the information and guidance of Congress. Tlie secretary of war estimated the strength of the army for suppressing the rebellion at 660,971, and cited this as an evidence of the wonderful vigor of our institutions, seeing that this vast military array was procured without conscriptions, levies or drafts.* The secretary also discussed the questions, which began now to be pressing, as to what we were to do with the slaves abandoned by their masters; he urged the economical view of the matter, and asked, " why deprive the rebels of supplies by a blockade, and give them men to produce supplies?" The whole subject was commended to the earnest attention of Congress, nothing doubting that they in their wisdom would dispose of it properly and safely.f
The secretary of the navy reported the vessels of all ranks as 212 in number, half of them or more being steam vessels ; while fifty-two others, steamers, were in process of construction. The seamen in service were 22,000. Secretary Welles spoke also of the course, in his judgment, to be pursued in regard to fugitive slaves. His remarks were sensible and to the point, viz., that if fugitives came on board any of our ships, and if they were free from any voluntary participation in the rebellion,
* Gen. McClellan, in his report, estimated the rebel force in Virginia at 115,500 men, with over 300 guns for field and siege service. One of the journals of the day set forth the entire rebel force at not less than 500,000 men. Later writers and critics, with more reliable means of information, have shown that the above numbers, given by McClellan, are greatly exaggerated, and that the rebels at no time had more than 60,000 encamped in our front.
f- Secretary Cameron's report, as originally prepared
and sought the shelter and protection of our flag, then they should be cared for and employed in some useful manner, and might be enlisted to serve on our public vessels or in our navy yards, receiving wages for their labor. The difficult and important work of the navy was clearly pointed out; due honor was bestowed upon what had already been done at Hatteras and Port Royal, and by Captain Wilkes; and the highest expectations were freely entertained of the valuable assistance yet to be rendered by the navy in crushing the rebellion.
The secretary of the treasury discussed fully and carefully the condition of the finances, the probable income of the treasury, and the steps necessary to be taken in order to provide for deficiencies. Mr. Chase reported that his expected income of July preceding had fallen short some $30,000,000, and he asked for $200,000,000 additional, to meet the expenditures growing out of the vast increase of the army and navy; thus, making the outlay for the year, from June, 1861, to June, 1862, about $543,500,000. The probable wants of the fiscal year, ending in June, 1863, were set down at about $475,000,000, to provide for which, with the supply of the previous year's deficiencies, would necessitate an aggregate of $655,000,000 in loans. On the 1st day of July, 1860, it was stated, the public debt
(and printed in advance in the newspapers), dwelt much more fully and pointedly on this subject; tho president modified it more considerably. Other suggestions were also made in the report, respecting the "expediency of a reconstruction of the boundaries of the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia," but they do not seem to have met with favor or counten ance.
was less than $65,000,000; on the 1st day of July, 1863, supposing the war to continue, it was estimated it would reach $900,000,000. This amount seemed almost incredible to a people like ours, who had heretofore lived in freedom from national debt and its burdens; but no one, probably, at that day could have contemplated without shuddering, that, before the rebellion should be finally crushed out, the debt would mount up to some four times that amount, or over three thousand millions of dollars!—thus putting us on a footing with the nations of the old world in a particular least of all to be desired.
During the present session of Congress, various and important questions came up for discussion in relation to slavery and its concern with the rebellion, and also as to the position of the government in the struggle now going on. As is evident from what we have noted on previous pages, and from the suggestions and statements of the secretaries of war and the navy, the subject of slavery and what to do with the negroes was perplexing and very difficult of settlement. The opinions of the people were divided, and by no means in harmony. Some held, what was thought to be the more extreme view, that slavery, being the primal cause of the rebellion, ought to be done away with at once and forever. Others, considering themselves as more conservative in their views, wished to have the war conducted irrespective of the question of slavery, as not interfering with it at all, and even going so far as to sustain it, to the evident benefit aui advantage of the
rebellion. The ground taken in the be ginning, and persisted in for a long time, by the national authorities, was. that the insurrectionary states were to be brought to submission to the Consti tution without regard to, or interference with, state institutions, and especially that the abolition or destruction of slavery was in no respect a part of the purpose of the government. The progress of events, however, and the necessity of dealing with the negroes on something of a settled plan, compelled a change or modification of public sentiment; and as we shall see on subsequent pages, slavery was doomed to universal and complete destruction.
In the House, slavery was denounced as the cause of the rebellion, and movements were made looking to the in".mediate emancipation of slaves who had left their masters. A bill was introed, Dec. 5th, "to confiscate the property of rebels, to liberate their slaves, and employ or colonize the same, and for other purposes," which was referred to the committee on military affairs. Gen. Halleck's order (see p. 88) was severely commented on by some members, and defended and explained by others; the resolution respecting it was laid on the table. A discussion was had on the general question, with various disagreements as to facts and the purposes of the government. A motion was made, Dec. 16th, to raise a volunteer force to protect Kentucky. It was opposed by many members; it passed the House, however, but it failed in the Senate. On the 20th, the committee on the judiciary was instructed to report a bill amending the fugi