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and accepted in form at least the principles enunciated in its platform and proclaimed by its advocates and leaders. Accepting them as a military or political necessity, forced upon them by the exigencies of the war, was altogether another and different affair than yielding to the impulse of moral convictions with an honest, well-considered indorsement of the fundamental doctrines of human equality and its consequent rights. This, then, was the practical problem with which Mr. Lincoln and his administration were confronted, these the difficulties with which they had to contend. They were required to persuade and hold the free States to the terrific sacrifices and expenditures of blood and treasure for the support of a war whose logical results were the vindication of the principles and the realization of the purposes which the great majority had been accustomed to oppose and treat with scorn during the long years of the antislavery struggle. More difficult still, they were required not only to retain the border slave States in the Union, but to secure from them quotas of men and means to fight the battles of a war for which they had defiantly refused at the outset to meet the requisitions of the government, a war that was destined, if not designed, to destroy the very system they cherished equally with the seceding States, and for whose conservation the war was made. Is it wonderful that Mr. Lincoln's course should sometimes have seemed too hesitating and equivocal? But is not the wonder greater, that, surrounded with difficulties so great and peculiar, the struggle should have been so wisely managed, and that a conclusion so satisfactory should have at length been reached?
It soon became manifest, therefore, that an indeterminate policy could not be safely maintained, and that it would be impossible to strike effective blows against the Rebellion, and at the same time leave the guilty cause unharmed. Among the first developments that forced this subject upon the government was the escape of slaves within the lines of the Union forces. Several having come to the quarters of General Butler, general commanding in the department of Eastern Virginia, a Confederate officer in the neighborhood demanded their resto
ration. The general refused on the ground that they were contraband of war and could not be given up. Flocking to him, however, in such numbers, he was compelled to report the case at Washington, and ask for instructions. The Secretary of War, while approving of his action, took occasion to define the position maintained by the government at that time. "The government," he said, "cannot recognize the rejection by any State of the Federal obligations, nor can it refuse the performance of the Federal obligations resting upon itself. Among these Federal obligations, however, none can be more important than that of suppressing and dispersing armed combina tions formed for the purpose of overthrowing its whole constitutional authority. While, therefore, you will permit no interference, by persons under your command, with the relations of persons held to service under the laws of any State, you will, on the other hand, so long as any State within which your military operations are conducted is under the control of such armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged masters any persons coming within your lines."
Another illustration of Northern misapprehension was afforded by the general opinion that slavery, in the case of war, would become a source of weakness to the States in which it existed. On the contrary, however, it soon became manifest that it was a source of strength and added materially to the effectiveness of their assault upon the government. Instead of availing themselves of their masters' treason to assert and vindicate their own rights by helping to maintain those of the Union, it was soon discovered that the slaves were aiding the conspirators, and that their help was utilized in various ways, by working on forts, by performing menial services for officers and privates even in the Rebel armies, and especially by remaining at their homes to perform the ordinary labor on farms and plantations, thus allowing the white population to repair to the seat of actual hostilities. How this difficulty should be met, and how slaves thus employed should be treated, became, therefore, for the moment, mainly a military question, though its moral and political elements could not be hidden from view, even if in practice they should be in great degree ignored.
on the 20th of July, 1861, Mr. Trumbull of ois, chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, reported, Order of that committee, a bill to confiscate the property used for insurrectionary purposes. The bill provided that, if te during the present or any future insurrection against the govti ernment of the United States, after the President shall have declared by proclamation that the laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution obstructed, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, any person or persons, his, her, or their agent, attorney, or employé, shall purchase or acquire, sell or give, any property, of whatsoever kind or description, with intent to use or employ the same, or suffer the same to be used or employed, in aiding, abetting, or promoting such insurrection, or any person or persons engaged therein; or if any peror persons, being the owner or owners of any such property, shall knowingly use or employ, or consent to the use or employment of, the same, all such property is to be declared to be lawful subject of prize and capture wherever found.
e also added, by way of amendment, an additional sec
"That whenever any person claiming to be entitled to the service or labor of any other person under the laws of any State, shall employ such person in aiding or promoting any insurrection, or in resisting the laws of the United States, or shall permit or suffer him to be so employed, he shall forfeit all right to such service or labor; and the person whose labor or service is thus claimed shall be henceforth discharged therefrom, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."
On the 22d, the day after the battle of Bull Run, the resolution was taken up for consideration. Mr. Breckinridge characterized the amendment as "very objectionable," though he expressed the conviction that it would "command a decided majority in the Senate." He closed by calling for the yeas and nays. Mr. Trumbull replied by explaining the provisions of the amendment he had offered, and indicating the spirit and purpose that prompted it and the line of argument by which it was to be, and was, sustained. The amendment provides, he
said, that if ever any slave is employed "in aid of this Rebellio: in digging ditches or intrenchments, or in any other way, ori used for carrying guns, or if used to destroy this government by the consent of his master, his master shall forfeit all righ to him, and he shall be forever discharged; and I am gla the yeas and nays are called, to let us see who is willing t vote that the traitorous owner of a negro shall employ him t shoot down the Union men of the country, and yet insist upo restoring him to the traitor that owns him. I understand tha negroes were in the fight which has recently occurred. I tak it that negroes who are used to destroy the Union, and t shoot down the Union men by the consent of traitorous mas ters, ought not to be restored to them. If the Senator fro Kentucky is in favor of restoring them, let him vote agains the amendment." To these remarks of Mr. Trumbull Mi Breckinridge replied, with some warmth of manner, "Th line of remarks made by the Senator appears to me to be alt gether uncalled for. I expect to do my duty here as a Sena tor, upon my own conscience and upon my own judgment according to the Constitution. I shall enter into no argumen in reply. I showed my willingness to vote by asking for th yeas and nays. In my opinion, the amendment will be one o a series which will amount, before we are done with it,-il unhappily, we have no settlement or adjustment soon,-to general confiscation of all property, and a loosing of all bonds The inferences the Senator draws are not deducible from m motives and purpose in calling for the yeas and nays on amendment, and the vote I shall give."
"I shall vote," said Mr. Wilson of Massachusetts, "with more heart than I vote for ordinary measures, for this prope sition. I hope the Senate and the House of Representative will sustain it, and that this government will carry it out with an inflexibility that knows no change. The idea that me who are in arms destroying their country shall be permitted t use others for that purpose, and that we shall stand by an issue orders to our commanders that we should disgrace ou cause and our country by returning such men to their traito! ous masters, ought not longer to be entertained. The tim
has come for that to cease; and by the blessing of God, as far as I am concerned, I mean it shall cease. If there is anybody in this chamber that chooses to take the other path, let him do it; let him know what our purpose is. Our purpose is to save this government, and save this country, and to put down treason; and if traitors use bondmen to destroy this country, my doctrine is that the government shall at once convert those bondmen into men that cannot be used to destroy our country. I have no apologies to make for this position. I take it proudly. I think the time has come when this government, and the men who are in arms under the government, should cease to return to traitors their fugitive slaves, whom they are using to erect batteries to murder brave men who are fighting under the flag of their country. The time has come when we should deal with the men who are organizing negro companies, and teaching them to shoot down loyal men for the only offence of upholding the flag of their country. I hope further, sir, that there is a public sentiment in this country that will blast men who will rise in the Senate, or out of it, to make apologies for treason, or to defend or to maintain the doctrine that this government is bound to protect traitors in converting their slaves into tools for the destruction of the Republic."
Mr. McDougall of California, regarding the amendment "to be in the nature of confiscation for treason," favored its adoption. Mr. Ten Eyck of New Jersey said that on the previous Saturday he had voted, in the Committee on the Judiciary, against the amendment, for two reasons: first, his disbelief that the Rebels would employ slaves for the purposes indicated, and, second, because he did not know what was to become of the poor wretches if they were discharged. "God knows," he said, "we do not want them in our section of the Union. But, sir, having learned, and believing that these persons have been employed with arms in their hands to shed the blood of Union-loving men of this country, I shall now vote in favor of that amendment, with less regard to what may become of these people than I had on Saturday."
The border-State Unionists found voice in a speech of Mr. Pearce of Maryland. "It will not be surprising to the Senate,"