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THIRD SESSION THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS.
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE DEC., 1862— PROPOSAL TO AID MISSOURI
IN EMANCIPATION - BILL AUTHORIZING ENROLLING COLORED TROOPS — ENROLLMENT BILL-DEBATE IN SENATE AND HOUSEBINGHAM — Cox - Dunn THOMAS- SENATOR WILSON — MCDOUGALL - ADMISSION OF WEST VIRGINIA DEBATE — May. NARD -STEPHENS - BINGHAM- THOMAS — ADMISSION OF MEMBERS FROM LOUISIANA — WAR POWERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARBITRARY ARRESTS - VALLANDIGHAM- LINCOLN'S REPLY TO ALBANY MEETING — HABEAS CORPUS- CLOSE OF THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS- SPEAKER Grow's VALEDICTORY.
THE 'HE action of the drama calls us again from the field of war
to the forum of Congress; from the conflict of arms to the conflict of principles in the National council, and before the people. The tyranny over mind, which two centuries of slavery had riveted, was being broken, and the loyal people of the Nation had learned in the school of war clearly to see that the unity of the Nation, with a homogeneous people, was a necessity to its grand destiny; and to secure that unity, slavery must be removed. Whatever the purposes of the administration at the beginning, the inexorable logic of war was driving it to abolition. The Republic was based upon man's equality before the law. Slavery was an anomaly, inconsistent with the principles upon which the government was founded, and must either yield itself or overturn the Government. The war was a natural and perhaps inevitable conflict between the systems of free and slave labor. These truths gradually became more and more the settled convictions of the American people, and resulted in the proclamation of emancipation. The effect of this proclamation abroad, was sharply to define the issue between an established Government fighting for liberty, and a rebellion inaugurated to maintain and secure slavery. The emissaries of the insurgents abroad were disarmed by this act; from the hour of its promulgation, the danger of foreign recognition and foreign intervention ceased to exist. The response of the people of Europe, in hearty, genuine sympathy, was such as to prevent intervention by those of their rulers who wished success to the rebel cause.
The President in his annual message, calls attention to the success of the financial measures which, under the able lead of Mr. Chase, had been sanctioned by Congress. Large issues of Treasury notes had been made, and these had been declared by law receivable for loans and internal duties, and made a legal tender in payment of all debts; and this made them a universal and very welcome and popular currency. The President recommended the passage of a law authorizing banking associations; the Government to furnish the notes for circulation on the deposit in the Treasury of the United States, of Government bonds as security. The bill authorized the conversion of existing State banks into National banking associations.
The leading feature of the message was that which treated the great questions of emancipation, and the necessity of National unity. The President announced to Congress that on the 22d of September he had issued a preliminary proclamation, announcing his intention to proclaim freedom to the slave, and communicated a copy of the paper.
In accordance with the second paragraph of the proclamation, in language which, for Statesman like views, and clearness of statement, will compare favorably with any State paper in American annals, he recalled to the attention of Congress the proposition of " compensated emancipation.” He said : *
“A Nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people and its laws. The territory is the only part which is of certain durability. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever.' It is of the first importance to duly consider and estimate this ever-enduring part. That portion of the earth's surface which is owned and inhabited by the people of the United States is well
• McPherson, p. 220,
adapted to be the home of one National family; and it is not well adapted for two or more. Its vast extent and its variety of climate and productions are of advantage in this age for one people, whatever they might have been in former ages. Steam, telegraphs, and intelligence, have brought these to be an advantageous combination for one united people. *
“ There is no line, straight or crooked, suitable for a National boundary upon which to divide. Trace through from East to West, upon the line between the free and slave country, and we shall find a little more than one-third of its length are rivers easy to be crossed, and populated, or soon to be populated, thickly upon both sides, while nearly all its remaining length are merely surveyor's lines, over which people may walk back and forth, without any consciousness of their presence. No part of this line can be made any more difficult to pass, by writing it down on paper or parchment as a National boundary.
“But there is another difficulty. The great interior region bounded east by the Alleghanies, north by the British dominions, west by the Rocky mountains, and south by the line along which the culture of corn and cotton meets, and which includes part of Virginia, part of Tennessee, all of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wiconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Territories of Dakota, Nebraska, and part of Colorado, already has above ten millions of people, and will have fifty millions within fifty years, if not prevented by any political folly or mistake. It contains more than one-third of the country owned by the United States, certainly more than one million square miles. Once half as populous as Massachusetts already is, it would have more than seventy-five millions of people. A glance at the map shows that, territorially speaking, it is the great body of the Republic. The other parts are but marginal borders to it, the magnificent region sloping West from the Rocky mountains to the Pacific being the deepest, and also the richest in undeveloped resources. In the production of provisions, grains, grasses, and all which proceed from them, this great interior region is naturally one of the most important in the world. Ascertain from the statistics the small proportion of the region which has as yet been brought into cultivation, and also the large and rapidly increasing amount of its products, and we shall be overwhelmed with the magnitude of the prospect presented. And yet this region has no seacoast, touches no ocean anywhere. As part of one nation, its peo ple now find, and may forever find their way to Europe by New York to South America and Africa by New Orleans, and to Asia by Sao Francisco. But separate our common country into two nations, as designed by the present rebellion, and every man of this great interior region is thereby cut off from some one or more of these outlets ; not
perhaps by a physical barrier, but by embarrassing and onerous trade regulations."
The absolute necessity of the Union to the Northwest, the vast grain growing region, was never more strikingly presented. The President as the leading mind of the Mississippi Valley, spoke its convictions and sentiments, when he thus presented the impossibility of disunion. He knew that the great West, with one hand clasped the East, and with the other would, if necessary, grasp the South, and hold the Union together forever.
The President went on to say:
“ And this is true wherever a dividing or boundary line may be fixed. Place it between the now free and slave country, or place it south of Kentucky, or north of the Ohio, and still the truth remains, that none south of it can trade to any port or place north of it, and none north of it can trade to any port or place south of it except upon terms dictated by a Government foreign to them. These outlets, east, west, and south, are indispensable to the well being of the people inhabiting, and to inhabit this vast interior region. Which of the three may be the best, is no proper question. All are better than either; and all of right belong to that people and to their successors forever. True to themselves, they will not ask where a line of separation shall be, but will vow rather that there shall be no such line. Nor are the marginal regions less interested in these communications to and through them, to the great outside world. They too, and each of them, must have access to this Egypt of the west, without paying toll at the crossing of any National boundary.
“ Our national strife springs not from our permanent part; not from the land we in habit; not from our national homestead. There is no possible severing of this, but would multiply and not mitigate evils among us. In all its adaptations and aptitudes it demands Union and abhors separation. In fact, it would ere long force re-union, however much of blood and treasure the separation might have cost. Our strife pertains to ourselves--to the passing generations of men; and it can, without convulsion, be hushed forever with the passing of one generation."
And thereupon the President suggested to Congress the adoption of amendments of the Constitution, providing
compensation to every State, wherein slavery then existing, should abolish it before the year 1900. These proposed amendments would operate only in those States in which slavery had not been abolished by the proclamation. The amendments proposed compensation to loyal owners, whose slaves had been freed by the operations and chances of war. In urging these amendments upon Congress, the President declared the now generally conceded truth, that “without slavery, the rebellion could never have existed; without slavery it could not continue.” He closes a most earnest appeal for the system of compensated emancipation in these memorable words:
“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We-even we here hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free-honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just —a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.” *
In pursuance of the recommendation of the President, a bill passed the House of Representatives, appropriating ten millions to compensate the owners of slaves in Missouri, on condition that that State should emancipate all her slaves, within one year from January, 1863.
In the Senate, the bill was so amended as to appropriate twenty millions in United States bonds for compensation to the owners of slaves, provided that State should adopt a valid and Constitutional law for gradual or immediate emancipation of all slaves in Missouri, and the exclusion of slavery from that State forever thereafter. Such a law to be passed within twelve months, and to provide that slavery should forever cease on some day not later than the 4th of July, 1876. • McPherson's History, p. 224.