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Emancipation proclamations. For many years there has been a fiction that Gen. Benjamin F. Butler issued the first proclamation freeing the slaves. That officer never issued such a proclamation, but he was the first to suggest to the government a partial solution of the very perplexing question as to what was to be done with the slaves during the Civil War. It was held that the Constitution of the United States did not give to Congress, or to the non-slave-holding States, any right to interfere with the institution of slavery. This was reaffirmed by Congress in a resolution passed by the House, Feb. 11, 1861, without a dissenting voice, to reassure the South that, in spite of the election of Mr. Lincoln, the North had no intention of usurping power not granted by the Constitution. But when, after the outbreak of the war, the army began to occupy posts in the seceding and slave-holding States, the negroes came flocking into the Union lines, large numbers being set free by the d