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[263] war must be prosecuted according to the laws of war, and
That, therefore, we do hereby declare that the President, as the Commander-in-chief of our army, and the officers in command under him, have the right to emancipate all persons held as slaves in any military district in a state of insurrection against the National Government; and that we respectfully advise that such order of Emancipation be issued, whenever tile same will avail to weaken the power of the Rebels in arms, or to strengthen the military power of the loyal forces.

Mr. Trumbull proposed to enact that the slaves of all persons who shall take up arms against the United States, or in any manner aid or abet the existing Rebellion, shall thereupon be discharged from service or labor, and become thenceforth forever free; any existing law to the contrary notwithstanding.

These propositions, with various modifications, were vehemently discussed in either House, not continuously, but alternately with other measures, nearly to the end of that long and excited session. By friend and foe, they were debated as though their success or failure would decide the issue of Union or Disunion. By all the anti-Republicans, and by some of the more conservative Republicans, they were denounced as utterly, glaringly, in antagonism to the Federal Constitution, and as calculated to extinguish the last vestige of Unionism in the Slave States, but especially in those that had seceded. Said Senator Cowan,1 of Pennsylvania:

Pass this bill, and the same messenger who carries it to the South will come back to us with the news of their complete consolidation as one man. We shall then have done that which treason could not do: we ourselves shall then have dissolved the Union ; we shall have rent its sacred charter, and extinguished the last vestige of affection for it in the Slave States by our blind and passionate folly.

In the same spirit, but more temperately, the bill was opposed by Messrs. Browning, of 111., Willey, of Va., Henderson, of Mo., and Collamer, of Vt. (the first and last Republicans; the others very decided Unionists), as well as more unsparingly by Messrs. Garret Davis and Powell, of Ky., Saulsbury, of Del., Carlile, of Va., and others of the Opposition; while it was supported by Messrs. Trumbull, of 111., Wilson and Sumner, of Mass., Howard, of Mich., Wade and Sherman, of Ohio, Morrill and Fessenden, of Maine, Clark and Hale, of N. H., and nearly all the more decided Republicans. So intense and formidable was the resistance that the Senate at length2 referred the bill to a Select Committee of seven--Mr. Clark, of N. H., chairman — who duly reported therefrom “A bill to suppress Insurrection, and punish Treason and Rebellion ;” which merely authorized the President, at his discretion, to proclaim free all slaves of persons who shall be found in arms against the United States thirty days after the issue of such proclamation. On this bill being taken up,3 Mr. Davis, of Ky., tried to have it so amended that the said slaves, instead of being freed, should be sold and the proceeds put into the Treasury; but only seven Senators were found sufficiently Democratic to sustain that proposition. lie next proposed that no slave should be emancipated Under this act, until he should be on his way to be colonized at some point outside of the United States: which proposition received but six votes. Here the Senate bill was dropped, in deference to the action

1 Elected as a Republican in 1861.

2 May 6, 1862.

3 May 16.

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