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the leaders of the rebellion and their sympathizers in the North- he would, perhaps, have been more slow in yielding his confidence, and more prompt in relieving him froin command.
On the 16th of November, a force under Generals Grant and McClernand, advanced from Cairo to Belmont, attacked the rebel camp under General Cheatham, captured twelve guns, burned the camp, and took many prisoners. The gunboats Tyler and Lexington accompanied the expedition, and rendered efficient aid.
A few months after this battle, there came to Washington a fine, intelligent, young man, of pleasing address and manly bearing, who had lost his right arm at Belmont.
He came highly recommended to ask the position of assistant commissary of subsistence, with the rank of captain. The Secretary of War, owing to some misapprehension, treated him with some rudeness, whereupon the Member of Congress by whom he was presented took him to the President. Upon his being introduced, Mr. Lincoln, glancing at the eloquent, empty sleeve, said: “My friend, can you write.” “O yes," said the young soldier, “here is some of my writing.” Looking at it, Mr. Lincoln instantly directed his appointment. “It is little I can do for you, to repay you for the loss of that arm,” said he, “but I gladly do this.” No wounded soldier ever approached Mr. Lincoln but he was received with the greatest kindness and friendship.
On the 10th of November, General Halleck assumed command of the Department of the West.
On the 8th of November, Commodore Wilkes, in the San Jacinto, intercepted the Trent, a British mail steamer from Havana, with Messrs. Mason and Slidell, late Senators, and then rebel agents on their way to represent the Confederacy at the Courts of St. James and St. Cloud. He took then prisoners, and bringing them to the United States, they were confined at Fort Warren, in Boston harbor.
The impulse of the people, already indignant at the conduct of Great Britain, exasperated by her early recognition of the rebels as belligerents, was to adopt, and take the consequences of an act which gratified popular passion and pride.
Congress was in session, and the House of Representatives, on motion of Lovejoy, immediately adopted a resolution of thanks to Captain Wilkes. Fortunately, the President and Secretary of State were cool and reticent, and did not yield to the passion of the day. Great Britain demanded their release. The President and Secretary carefully examined the precedents.
Were Mason and Slidell “contraband of war?” If so, was the method of their capture justifiable ? Resistance to the right of search had been one chief cause of the war with Great Britain in 1812. “One war at a time,” said Mr. Lincoln.
Mr. Seward concluded the argument of one of the ablest and most remarkable State papers of modern times in these words : “If I decide this case in favor of my own Government, I must disavow its most cherished principles, and reverse and forever abandon its essential policy. The country cannot afford the sacrifice. If I maintain those principles, and adhere to that policy, I must surrender the case itself." The rebel emissaries were cheerfully surrendered to Great Britain.
Had President Lincoln, yielding to popular clamor, accepted the challenge of Great Britain and gone to war, he would have done exactly what the rebels desired, and thus made Messrs. Mason and Slidell incomparably more useful to the insurgents than they were able to be by hanging around the courts to which they were accredited. The sober second thought of the public cheerfully acquiesced in the course which their judgments approved.
The Confederate Government had relied with great confidence on its early recognition by the great powers of Europe, and the immediate concession to them of belligerent rights, encouraged them in this expectation. The leaders of the rebellion had been, to a great extent, the governing power at Washington, and there is no doubt, had received before the war opened, the encouragement of the representatives of European Kingdoms. The Confederates, therefore, rather rejoiced in the seizure of Slidell and Mason, believing it would bring on a war with Great Britain, and their own
recognition. But Mr. Lincoln, with the sagacity which marked his career as a statesman, determined that so long as there was no recognition of the rebels as a nation, not to bring on a war.: “ One war at a time," said he.
It is known that Lord Palmerston, and it is believed that several other of the British Statesmen, desired to fight the United States in regard to the Trent affair. It is known that France would have followed Great Britian in recognizing the Confederacy. A war with France and England, and with the rebels at the same time, would have taxed the power
and resolution of the loyal people of the United States to the utmost. But it would have inspired an energy and an earnnestness, that was long wanting in the conduct of the war on our “ Southern brethren.”
The failure of Mr. Buchanan's administration to arrest persons known to be plotting treason, has caused some members of that administration to be regarded as particeps criminis in the civil war which followed. Mr. Lincoln's administration was slow in making such arrests; but as its absolute neces sity became clearly apparent, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended, the power was executed.
George P. Kane, Chief of Police of Baltimore, the Mayor and Police Commissioners of that city, the Mayor of Washington, and many others were arrested; but more important than all, was the arrest of the Legislature of Maryland.
The majority of the Legislature of Maryland were secessionists. The Executive, and a majority of people, were for the Union. Several of the insurgent States had been precipitated into hostilities by the Legislature passing acts or ordinances of secession.
In September, 1861, the Secretary of War received infor: mation that the insurgents in Maryland, were to procure the passage by the Legislature of that State, of an act of seces. sion, and he issued an order to General McClellan to prevent it, by the arrest of all, or any part of the members thereof.
Directions were issued by General McClellan to General Banks, to execute this order. In his instructions, dated September 12th, General McClellan says:
Some four or Ave of the chief men in the affair are to be arrested to-day. When they meet on the 17th, you will please have everything prepared to arrest the whole party, and be sure that none escape. • . If sucoessfully carried out, it will go far towards breaking the back-bone of the rebellion. ' * • I have but one thing to impress upon you; the absolute necessity of secresy and success.
The order was successfully executed; the meeting of the Legislature broken up, and Maryland saved from a civil war among her own citizens.
This act has been censured as an arbitrary arrest. However arbitrary, it was a necessary measure, and in the propriety of which General McClellan fully coincided.
Governor Hicks, said in the Senate of United States, “I believe that arrests, and arrests alone, saved the State of Maryland from destruction. I approved them then, and I approve them now.”
SECOND SESSION, THIRTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS — CONGRESS OF 1862.
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE-REPORT OF SECRETARY OF WAR-MODI
THE PRESIDENT — STANTON SUCCEEDS CAMERON ANTI-SLAVERY MEASURES — ARTICLE or WAR PROHIBITING THE RETURN OF FUGITIVE SLAVES - SLAVERY ABOLISHED AT THE CAPITAL PROHIBITED IN ALL THE TERRITORIES NEGBO SOLDIERS — MILITARY ORDERS IN REGARD TO SLAVES - HUNTER'S NEGRO REGIMENTS IN SOUTH CAROLINA — WIOKLIFFE'S RESOLUTION -HUNTER'S REPLY-BILL TO GIVE FREEDOM TO THE FAMILIES OF NEGRO SOLDIERS.
ONGRESS assembled at its regular session, December 2d,
1861, and found the grand drama of rebellion fully opened and developed. Two hundred thousand Union troops on the banks of the Potomac, confronted a rebel army
then supposed to be of equal numbers, but now known to have been far less. The magnitude of the American rebellion, and the principles involved, had attracted the attention of the world, which was watching with deep interest the progress of eventă. The common people, the lovers of liberty and free institutions, were hopeful, yet anxious for the issue. Those who had no faith in man's capacity for self-government, those whose interests were in making firm and permanent old dynasties, were already exulting over the failure of the American Republic, as “ another bubble burst," another fruitless effort at self-government. Meanwhile, the issue between freedom and slavery began to be more sharply defined.
The forbearance of the Government on the subject of slavery, was cited by rebel emissaries in Europe, as evidence