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This bill having reached the House, Mr. Stevens, of Pa., in Committee of the Whole, moved1 the laying aside successively of each bill preceding it on the calendar, and thus reached this one; which was taken up and debated by Judge Thomas, of Mass., and Mr. Crittenden, of Ky., in opposition. Mr. Stevens tried to close the debate next day, but failed; and the bill was advocated by Messrs. F. P. Lair, of Mo., Bingham, Blake, Riddle, Ashley, and Hutchins, of Ohio, Rollins, of N. H., and Van Horn, of N. Y. Mr. Stevens at length induced the Committee to rise and report the bill; when the measure was further opposed by Messrs. H. B. Wright, of Pa., Wadsworth, Harding, Menzies, and Wickliffe, of Ky., and supported by Messrs. Hickman, of Pa., Train, of Mass., Lovejoy, of Ill., Dunn, of Ind., Cox and Vallandigham, of Ohio; and passed under the Previous Question: Yeas 92; Nays 39. [Messrs. G. H. Browne, of R. I., English, of Conn., Haight and Odell, of N. Y., Sheffield, of R. I., and B. F. Thomas, of Mass., voted Yea with the Republicans; while Messrs. J. B. Blair and Wm. G. Brown, of Va., James S. Rollins, of Mo., and Francis Thomas, of Md., voted Nay with the Democrats and Kentuckians.] The bill, thus passed on the 11th, was signed by the President on the 16th of April, 1862.2

President Lincoln made his first overt, yet cautious, demonstration against Slavery as the main cause of our subsisting troubles in a Special Message3 which proposed that the Houses of Congress should unite in adopting this joint resolution:

Resolved, That the United States, in order to cooperate with any State which may adopt gradual abolition of Slavery, give to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to compensate it for the inconvenience, public and private, produced by such change of system.

This proposition he commended in these guarded and deferential terms:

If the proposition contained in tile resolution does not meet the approval of Congress and tile country, there is an end of it. But, if it does command such approval, l, I deem it of importance that the States and people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it.

The Federal Government would find its highest interest in such a measure, as one of the most important means of self-preservation. Tile leaders of the existing Rebellion entertain the hope that this Government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region, and that all the Slave States north of such part will then say, “The Union for which we have struggled being already gone, we now choose to go with the Southern section.” To deprive them of this hope substantially ends tile Rebellion; and the initiation of Emancipation deprives them of it, and of all the States initiating it.

The point is not that all the States tolerating Slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate Emancipation; but, while the offer is equally made to all, tile more Northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more Southern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed Confederacy. * * * While it is true that tile adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important practical results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to

1 April 10.

2 Some of the anomalies of the slaveholding system were brought to light in the execution of this measure. For instance: while it had long been usual for White men to sell their parti-colored children, there were no known precedents for a like thrifty procedure on the part of Blacks; but U. S. Treasurer Spinner was waited on by a District negro (free), who had bought and paid for his (slave) wife, and who required payment not only for her but for their half-dozen children — all his legal and salable chattels — and the claim could not be disallowed.

3 March 6, 1862.

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