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in hand, dudging behind trees iu the extreme distance. In the absence of any fuyitive master law,' the deserted slaves would be wholly without remedy, had not the crime of treason given them the right to pursuc, capture and bring back those persons, of whose protection they have been thus suddenly bcreft.
“To the third interrogatory, it is my painful duty to reply that I never have received any specific authority for issues of clothing, uniform, arms, equipments, etc., to the troops in question—my general instructions from Mr. Cameron to employ them in any manner I might find necessary and the military exigencies of the Department and the country, being my only, but, in my judgment, sufficient justification. Neither have I had any specific authority for supplying these persons with shovels, spades and pickaxes, when employing them as laborers, nor with boats and oars when using them as lightermen, but these are not points included in Mr. Wickliffe's resolution. To me, it seemed that liberty to employ men in one particular capacity, implied with it, liberty, also, to supply them with the necessary tools; and, acting upon this faith, I have clothed, equipped and armed the only loyal regiment yet raised in South Carolina.
“I must say, in vindication of my own conduct, that had it not been for the many other diversified and imperative claims on my time and attention, a much more satisfactory result might have been hoped for, and that in place of only one, as at present, at least five or six well drilled, brave and thoroughly acclimated regiments should by this time have been added to the loyal forces of the Union. The experiment of arming the blacks, so far as I have made it, has been a complete and marvellous success. They are so ber, docile, attentive and enthusiastic, displaying great natural capacity for acquiring the duties of the soldier. They are eager beyond all things to take the field and be led into action; and it is the unanimous opinion of the officers who have had charge of them, that, in the peculiarities of this climate and country, they will prove invaluable auxiliaries, fully equal to the similar reyiments so long and successfully used by the British authorities in the West India Islands.
“In conclusion, I will say it is my hope — there appearing no possibility of other reinforcements owing to the exigencies of the campaiyn in the Peninsula — to have organized by the end of next Fall, and to be able to present to the Government, from forty-eight to fifty thousand of these hardy and devoted soldiers."
The grim Secretary read this reply with great satisfaction, and hurried it down to Congress, and its reception there furnished one of the most amusing and interesting scenes which
ever occurred in a grave, deliberative body. The irascible Kentuckian foamed with rage, while shouts of laughter greeted the reading of the reply from all parts of the House. Hunter's successful movement in organizing colored soldiers, and this sarcastic reply, settled the question that negroes should have the privilege of fighting for the Union and their own liberty.
For this act of common sense, General Hunter was outlawed by the Confederates.
On the 9th of July, 1862, Senator Grimes, of Iowa, moved to amend the bill providing for the calling out of the militia, by providing; “ that there should be no exemption from military service on account of color; that when the militia should be called into service, the President should have full power and authority to organize them according to race or color."
Senator Carlisle, of West Virginia, declared that the negro constituted no part of the militia of his State.
Preston King, of New York, moved to amend the amendment of Mr. Grimes, by providing, that the President should be authorized to receive into the service of the United States for any war service for which they might be found competent, persons of African descent; clothing the President with full power to enroll and organize them and to feed, and pay them such compensation as they might agree to receive, and that when any man or boy of African descent, should render such service, he, his mother, and wife and children, should forever thereafter be free.” Mr. Grimes accepted this amendment.
Mr. Fessenden, the distinguished Senator from Maine, in the discussion of this bill, said:
“I tell the President from my place here as a Senator, and I tell the generals of our army, they must reverse their practices and their course of proceeding on this subject.
I advise it, here from my place-treat your enemies as enemies, as the worst of enemics, and avail yourselves like
of every power which God has placed in your hands, to accomplish your purpose, within the rules of civilized warfare.”
The ever faithful Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, said:
“ The Senator from Delaware, as he is accustomed to do, speaks boldly and decidedly. He asks if American soldiers will fight, if we organize colored men for military purposes. Did not American soldiers fight at Bunker Hill with negroes in the ranks, one of whom shot down Major Pitcairn as he mounted the works ? Did not American soldiers fight at Red Bank, with a black regiment from your own State sir? (Addressing Senator Anthony, of Rhode Island, then in the Chair.) Did they not fight on the battle-field of Rhode Island, with that black regiment, one of the best and bravest that ever trod the soil of this continent? Did not Americao soldiers fight at Fort Griswold with black men? Did they not fight with black men in almost every battle-field of the Revolution ? Did not the men of Kentucky and Tennessee, standing on the lines of New Orleans, under the eye of Andrew Jackson, fight with colored battallions whom he had summoned to the field, and whom he thanked publicly, for their gallantry in hurling back a British foe? It is all talk, idle talk, to say that the volunteers who are fighting the battles of this country, are governed by any such narrow prejudice or bigotry. These prejudices are the results of the teachings of demagogues and politicians, who have for years, undertaken to delude and deceive the American people, and to demean and degrade them.”
Garrett Davis, of Kentucky, said:
“ In my own State, I have no doubt that there are from eighty to a hundred thousand slaves, that belong to disloyal men. You propose to place arms in the hands of the men and boys, or such of them as are able to handle arms, and to manumit the whole mass, men, women, and children, and leave them among us. Do you expect us to give our sanction and our approval to these things? No, no! We would regard their authors as our worst enemies; and there is no foreign despotism that could coine to our rescue, that we would not joyously enibrace, before we would submit to any such condition of things as that. But hefore we had invoked this foreign despotism, we would arm every man and boy that we have in the land, and we would meet you in a death struggle, to overthrow together, such an oppression and our oppressors.”
The wise, sedate, and conservative Mr. Collamer said:
“I never could understand, and do not now understand why the Government of the United States has not the right to the use of every
man in it, black or white, for its defense; and every horse, every particle of property, every dollar in money of every man in it. The second section of the amendment provides, that when any man or boy of African descent, who, by the laws of any State, owes service or labor to any person, who, during the present rebellion, has borne arms against the United States, or adhered to their enemies, by giving them aid or comfort, shall render to the United States any such service as.is provided in the preceding section, he, his mother, and his wife and children, shall forever thereafter, be free, any law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding. I have a word to say about that. I am con. strained to say, whether it is to the honor or dishonor of my country, that, in the land of slavery, no male slave has a child ; none is known as father to a child; no slave has a wife, marriage being repudiated in the slave system. This is the condition of things; and wonderful as it may be, we are told that that is a Christian institution!”
Mr. Ten Eyck, a republican Senator from New Jersey, moved to strike out the words “military and naval,” before “service,” fearful of offending the sensitiveness of the public, in regard to employing negroes in the military service. Honest Preston King said, “ we may as well meet this question directly, and that he had done talking in such a manner as to avoid giving offence to our enemies in this matter." He related an incident, “that, in March, 1861, the Captain of the watch at the Capitol, desired permission to omit hoisting the National flag over the Senate chamber, because it hurt the feelings of some people to look at it!”
John Sherman, of Ohio, moved that the provisions, giving freedom to the slave and his family, as a reward for military service, should apply to those only, who are owned by rebel masters! He said:
“ When we take the slave of a logod man and make him work for us, I do not for that reason, wish to deprive the master entirely of what he regards as his property, or what is regarded by local law as his property. If we inflict iujury on him by taking his property and using it for the time being, we certainly should not in addition to that, deprive him of bis property altogether. The slave is in no worse condition than he was before, and I think it would be grossly unjust and improper now, or at any time, tw deprive the owner of a slave of the legal right to the
Service of his slave, if he is a loyal and true man, and has done his duty in the emergency. I certainly would not vote for such a proposition.”
Mr. King, in reply said:
“ When we take a slave to serve the country in this emergency, my own opinion is, that he should be made free, whether he belongs to a rebel or not. I should like to have a division on this amendment, so as to have an opportunity to record my vote upon it. It is so plain a proposition, that it does not need any discussion."
Mr. Browning, of Illinois, moved to amend so that the mother, wife, and children of the slave fighting for the country, should be free, only in those cases where they were owned by rebels. This proposition received in the United States Senate, 17 votes. Rough and blunt James Lane,
, Senator from Kausas, said:
“ After this war is over, a soldier, perhaps covered with scars, his mother, wife and children around him, having escaped, or their inasters escaped from them, are in Washington City. I say that the Government that would restore that mother, that wife and those chil. dren to slavery, after that father and husband has been covered with wounds in defence of the country, deserves to be damned. God himself would turn his face against a Government that would commit a crime like that. Let me tell the Senator from Illinois, the bill provides that if the mother, wife and children, belong to a loyal person, he is to get remuneration from the Government, as the Senator or I would for our property. I deny that this Government cannot take the slaves of the loyal and disloyal, and that they are estopped from making any use of them that they choose for the suppression of this rebellion; and having made use of them, I say it would be a crime before God to return them to slavery.”
Senators Sherman, and Browning, and all who voted for these amendments, have lived, I think, to blush for these votes, and wish that the record could be obliterated.
Senator Howard, of Michigan, said:
“I do not care how lowly, how humble, how Joyraded a negro may be, if he takes his musket or any other implevient of war, and risks