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in the hope that it will do good, without danger of harm. It will save labor and avoid confusion."
It will be observed that this suggestion in regard to the maintenence of the boundaries and names of the old States, is put exclusively upon the ground of convenience. As the hostile government was expelled by the military power from the seceding and belligerent States, and the territory which had been in rebellion was brought under National control, Mr. Lincoln, as President and Commander-in-Chief, governed that territory. It has been seen that, as early as his first annual Message, “unwilling to go beyond the pressure of neces sity, in the unusual exercise of power," he asked Congress to relieve him by passing laws establishing courts in such conquered territory.
Immediately after the rebel power was subjugated and overthrown in any portion of the belligerent territory, Mr. Lincoln recognized it as his duty, as the Executive, to preserve the peace, punish crime, prevent anarchy, and see that justice was done to all. This he did first through the mili tary power, then, he appointed Provisional Governors, who, as the Union sentiment developed itself, initiated proceedings to organize civil Government under the direction of the Executive, as in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The civil Government thus organized, was always treated by Mr. Lincoln as a permissive, subordinate Government, until it should be sanctioned by Congress. The rebel State Governments he regarded as public enemies to be overthrown, and an entirely new Government, Republican in form, was to be established in place of them. In initiatory steps to organize new, loyal, Republican State Governments in place of those expelled and overthrown, he, as the Executive, prescribed the qualifications of voters, and required, that all participating in the preliminary proceedings, should be loyal to the Union, and should support the acts of Congress, and the Proclamation emancipating the slaves. Mr. Lincoln always treated these proceedings, as preliminary, and as requiring the action of Congress, before the new State Government would be entitled to resume its former relations, and be entitled to
representation in Congress and to vote in the electoral college.
The evidence of this will be more fully presented hereafter. Without going more into detail, it may be asserted without fear of successful contradiction, that Mr. Lincoln, as President, treated the Confederates as public enemies; that not only were all the acts of the Confederate Government so called, but those also of the State Governments of the States in rebellion, regarded and treated by him as void, and these organizations were to be subjugated and overthrown; and the territory from which they were expelled by arms, was to be governed for the time being by martial law; but he was always anxious to bring back such territory, freed from the curse of slavery, to its "proper practical relations to the Union." In a letter to General Banks in regard to Louisiana, the President said: "If Louisiana sends members to Congress, their admission to their seats will depend, as you know upon the respective Houses of Congress and not upon the Executive."
In his Proclamation of July 8, 1864, Mr. Lincoln presented the bill which had passed Congress, and which for reasons therein stated he did not sign, "as a very proper plan (of reconstruction,) for the loyal people of any State, choosing to adopt it," and announcing his intention under certain circumstances, to adopt and execute the plan therein set forth.* This bill, it will be remembered, was that of Henry Winter Davis, reported from the Reconstruction Committee of the House, and the provisions of which have been heretofore given.
After the conference at Hampton Roads, one of the rebel Commissioners, Mr. Hunter, formerly a Senator of the United States, and before the rebellion, a man of high personal character, in giving a semi-official statement of these negotiations, said: "whenever we go into the Union as a conquered people, we give up the laws of the United States, and must take such as they choose to make for us, and we go in without representation in making those laws: for Mr. Lincoln told us, told me,
Proclamation of July 8, 1864.
that while we could send Representatives to the Yankee Congress, yet it rested with that Congress to say, whether they would receive them or not."*
The Confederates came under the National authority as a "conquered people," they submitted without terms, except as to the personal security of those who surrendered to Grant and Sherman. This speech of Mr. Hunter establishes that they came with knowledge that they must take such laws as the Government they had sought to overthrow should prescribe; and "that they must come in without Representation in making those laws;" and that Mr. Lincoln notified them that it would be for Congress to determine whether their Representatives would be received. This is in strict accordance with the statements contained in Mr. Lincoln's carefully prepared speech, made on the evening of the 11th of April, 1865. In that speech he said, alluding to his Annual Message of 1863: "I distinctly protested that the Executive claimed no right to say when or whether, members should be admitted to seats in Congress from such States." A member of the Cabinet, (understood to be Mr. Seward,) said, he "suggested that I should omit the protest against my own power in regard to the admission of members of Congress," but he would not, and did not omit it. These statements establish the fact, that in his judgment, whether the people of a State which had been in rebellion, were in a condition to be represented in Congress, and take part in the Government, and upon what terms they should be represented, was a question for the determination of Congress.
Upon the vital question, when States, whose people had been in rebellion, would be entitled to vote in the Electoral College, a right correlative with the right of representation in Congress, Mr. Lincoln was equally explicit. He said in a Message, dated February 8, 1865: "The Joint Resolution declaring certain States not entitled to representation in the Electoral College etc.," has been signed by the Executive. But he went on to say, that to the two Houses of Congress belonged exclusively the right "to exclude from counting
*The Speech of Mr. Hunter, making this report, will be found in Appleton's Encyclopedia for 1865, p. 191.
all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal." This resolution has been set forth in these pages, and it excluded from the Electoral College of 1864, the votes of the eleven States in rebellion.
Mr. Lincoln concurred with Congress, that they ought not to vote, for he signed the joint resolution, but he at the same time declared Congress to have exclusive jurisdiction over the subject. *
I will now proceed to exhibit Mr. Lincoln's views upon another most important practical question, in regard to reconstruction—namely, upon what basis should the reconstructed States be built? Should loyalty be the basis of reconstruction? Should the foundation of the reconstructed States be the Union men, or the disloyal? In all his efforts to reconstruct, Mr. Lincoln built upon the loyal Union men, excluding certain classes of disloyal both from voting and holding office. In his message of December, 1863, he says: "There must be a test, so as to build only from the sound." He further says: "An attempt to guarantee a revived State Government, constructed in whole, or in preponderating part from the very element, against whose hostility and violence it is to be protected, is simply absurd." And so, in all his building, he made loyal men, union men, the foundation of political power; pardoned rebels, and sincerely repentant rebels, who took the amnesty oath, might vote, none others. He appointed none but Union men to office. He took none of his provisional Governors from the rebel ranks. No man
*The following is the message referred to: "To THE HONORABLE THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The joint resolution entitled, 'Joint resolution declaring certain States not entitled to representation in the Electoral College,' has been signed by the Executive, in deference to the view of Congress implied in its passage and presentation to him. In his own view, however, the two Houses of Congress, convened under the twelfth article of the Constitution, have complete power to exclude from counting all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal; and it is not competent for the Executive to defeat or obstruct that power by a veto, as would be the case if his action were at all essential in the matter. He disclaims all right of the Executive to interfere in any way in the matter of canvassing or counting electoral votes; and he also disclaims that, by signing said resolution, he has expressed any opinion on the recitals of the preamble, or any judgment of his own upon the subject of the resolution.
"EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 8th, 1865."
From the Congressional Globe, Second Session, Thirty-eighth Congress, p. 711. + Message of 1863.
ever received office from him, who could not take the "Iron clad oath." He did not say: "Rebels must take the back seats," but he placed loyal men in the front seats.
Mr. Lincoln was all kindness, generosity, and magnanimity, to sincerely repentant rebels; he harbored no thought of vengeance, but to the brave, persecuted, cruelly abused Union men of the rebellious States, his heart yearned with affection. Those who, in times of trial, had stood firm, and maintained their integrity, these were the men, to be entrusted with power, and clothed with authority in the rebellious States. These were the men he ever sought for to fill all places of honor, emolument, and power. Such was the "reconstruction policy" of Abraham Lincoln.
What were his views as to the position the loyal negro should occupy, in the reconstructed Republic? He desired that "the intelligent, and those who have fought gallantly in our ranks of the colored men," should have the privilege of voting.*
In his last speech, before quoted from, made April 11, speaking of negro suffrage, he says: "I would myself prefer that suffrage were now conferred upon the very intelligent, and on those who served our cause as soldiers." The following extract from a letter to General Wadsworth is in harmony with the foregoing: "I cannot see if universal amnesty is granted, how, under the circumstances, I can avoid exacting in return, universal suffrage, or at least suffrage on the basis of intelligence and military service." Regarding it a religious duty, as the nation's guardian of these people who have so heroically vindicated their manhood on the battle-field, when in assisting to save the life of the Republic, they have demonstrated in blood their right to the ballot, which is but the humane protection of the flag they have so fearlessly defended."†
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* Letter to Governor Hahn, March 12, 1864.
†The following is an extract from the Wadsworth letter. I have never seen the authenticity of this letter denied, and it bears internal evidence of being genuine: "NEW YORK, September 25.
"The Southern Advocate, of September 12, publishes the following extracts from the late President Lincoln's letter to General Wadsworth, who fell at the battle of the Wilderness. The letter, which is of a private character, is to be sent to General Wadsworth's family. It shows that Mr. Lincoln, who desired the bestowal of the