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his life to defend me, my countrymen, my family, my Government, my property, my liberties, my rights, against any foe, foreign or domestic, it is my duty under God, it is my duty as a man, as a lover of justice, to see to it that he shall be free."
Senator Wilson called attention to the fact, that while thousands of negroes would have gladly sought refuge in the lines of our armies, and labored for low wages, they were repelled; and that thousands and thousands of the young men of New England, and the North, had been broken down by the labor of the spade in ditching and entrenching, which labor the fugitive slave would gladly have relieved them from.
The bill finally passed, giving freedom to all who should perform military service, but restricting liberty to the families of such only as belonged to rebel masters.
The bill passed the House on the 16th of July, 1862, and on the 17th, it received the sanction of the President, and became a law,
The measure thus sanctioned by Congress was the inauguration of a system which resulted in bringing into the service of the United States, 186,057 soldiers, nearly two hundred thousand! The loss by wounds, disease, and all causes, of the negro soldiers during the war, was sixty-eight thousand one hundred and seventy-eight. This was the contribution of the negro towards the preservation of the Union, and the acquisition of liberty for his race!
The good, faithful, and just Lincoln said, in this connection:
“Negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything for us, if we will do nothing for them. If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest of motives, even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made must be kept.” The job' of saving the Nation, was a great National one, and let none be slighted who bore an honorable part in it. There are some negroes living who can remember, and the cbildren of some who are dead, who will not forget, that some black men with steady eye and well poised bayonet, helped mankind to save liberty in America."
This measure was as important and effective in aiding in the overthrow of slavery, as in crushing armed resistance to the Union. To the accomplishment of both of these great objects, the President was anxiously but cantiously looking. Measures were immediately taken to enroll negro soldiers as well in the rebel territory, as in the border and free States, and this was a powerful agency in redeeming Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee, from the curse of slavery.
CONFISCATION AND EMANCIPATION.
Bill to CONFISCATE THE PROPERTY AND EMANCIPATE THE SLAVES
OF REBELS — ACTION OF THE SENATE-OF THE HOUSE-SPEECH OF CRITTENDEN — REPLY OF LOVEJOY — WADE, or OHIOSEDGWICK -PASSAGE OF THE BILL-JOINT RESOLUTION Ex. PLANATORY THEREOT-PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE_ELLIOTT'S EMAN. CIPATION RESOLUTION - PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE RECOMMENDING GRADUAL AND COMPENSATED EMANCIPATION-HUNTER'S ORDER FREEING SLAVES IN SOUTH CAROLINA, ETO.—LINCOLN DECLARES IT UNAUTHORIZED HIS ADDRESS TO BORDER STATE DELEGATION IN CONGRESS.
ON the 16th of July
, 1861, Senator Pomeroy, introduced a bill into the Senate, “ To suppress the slaveholder's rebellion.” This bill abolished slavery in the seceding states. It was a measure too bold and decided for that session, but time and war soon effected, what this bill sought to accomplish. Va rious propositions were introduced at the regular session for the purpose of giving freedom to the slaves of rebels.
Senator Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, on the 5th of December, introduced a bill which provided, that the slaves of persons who should take up arms against the United States, or in any manner aid or abet the rebellion, should be discharged from service and labor, and become forerer free, any law to the contrary notwithstanding. The measure was zealously advocated by Senators Morrill, Sumver, Wade, Wilmot, and others, and opposed by Senators Daris, Powell, Wiley and others. Finally, after a long discussion, the bill and the various amendments were referred to a conmittee of nine, with instructions to report as early as possible. This committee, through its Chairman, Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, reported a substitute for the various bills and amendments which bad been introduced. This substitute provided, in substance - First, That at any time after the passage of the act, the President might issue his proclamation, proclaiming the slaves of persons found thirty days after the issuing of the proclamation in arms against the Government, free, any law or custom to the contrary notwithstanding - Second, That no slave escaping from his master should be given up, unless the claimant should establish by proof that he had given no aid to the rebellion, and, Third, That the President should be authorized to employ persons of African descent for the suppression of the rebellion. This last clause illustrates the strength of the still lingering influence of slavery, as though a law of Congress was necesrary to enable the President to employ persons of African descent to suppress the rebellion! The whole people, black as well as white, were subject to the call of the President for the preservation of the Government.
Strange that any should dream that the master's claim to service, and especially a rebel master's claim, could stand in the way
of the Government's claim for service as a soldier. The Government could, forsooth, take the son from the father, but not the slave from the master! If the persons held to service were property, the Government could take it for the public and use it for its self preservation. If persons, then they were subject to call for military services.
Various propositions to effect purposes of confiscation and emancipation, were introduced into the House. The subject was debated in various forms during the Winter and Spring of 1862, and finally, on the 8th of April, the whole subject was referred to a Select Committee of nine, to report on the various propositions pending.
Perhaps one of the most interesting passages in the whole debate was that which occurred between Mr. Crittenden, the grey haired, venerable member from Kentucky, and Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois. Crittenden was the head of a leading and influential slaveholding family of his State, and had been the successor of Henry Clay, as the leader of the old Whig party of Kentucky. An able and eloquent man, his
influence was great in his own State, and considerable throughout the Union. In a great speech made on the 23d of April, in opposition to the confiscation bill, he said :
“I voted against Mr. Lincoln, and opposed him honestly and sincerely, but Mr. Lincoln has won me to his side. There is a niche in the temple of fame, a niche near to Washington, which should be occupied by the statue of him who shall save this country. Mr. Lincoln has a mighty destiny. It is for him, if he will, to step into that niche. It is for him to be but a President of the people of the United States, and there will his statue be. But if he choose to be, in these times, a mere sectarian and a party man, that niche will be reserved for some future and better patriot. It is in his power to occupy a place next to Washington—the founder and the preserver, side by side. Sir, Mr. Lincoln is no coward. His not doing what the Constitution forbade him to do, and what all of our institutions forbade him to do, is no proof of his cowardice.”
This Speech of Mr. Crittenden, was regarded as an appeal from the ablest, and most influential border State man, to Mr. Lincoln, to stay his hand; to withhold the proclamation of Emancipation, and save the imperiled institution of slavery.
The border State men were ready to crown him the peer of Washington, if he would save slavery. Lovejoy, who knew Mr. Lincolu well, and appreciated him, replied:
“The gentleman from Kentucky, says, he has a niche for Abraham Lincoln. Where is it? He points upwards. But sir, should the President follow the counsels of that gentleman, and become the defender and perpetuator of human slavery, he should point downward to some dungeon in the temple of Moloch, who feeds on human blood, and is surrounded with fires where are forged manacles and chains for human limbs—in the crypts and recesses of whose temple, woman is scourged and an tortured, and' outside the walls, are lying, dogs gorged with human flesh, as Byron describes them, stretched around Stamboul. • That' said he, is a suit:ible place for the statue of one who would defend and perpetuate slavery.
Sir, the friends of American slavery need not beslime the President with their praise. He is un anti-slavery man! He hates human bondage. The gentleman says he did not vote for him. Why did not the gentleman remind the House that he did vote for a man now among the rebels? I did vote for the occupant of the Executive Chair, and labured