legislative vote of one hundred and eleven ayes to forty nays.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the President
, at the beginning of his official term, opposed Anti-Slavery agitation and Anti-Slavery action with all his might, he promptly faced about as soon as he discovered that the subject was one that would not “down.”
No one ever worked harder to find a solution of a difficult problem than he did of the slavery question.
He began to formulate plans to that end, the most distinguishing feature, however, being the spirit of compromise by which they were pervaded.
All of them stopped before an ultimatum was reached.
Besides his proclamation, which, as we have seen, applied to only a part of the slaves, he devised a measure that would have been applicable to all of them.
In his special message of December, 1863, he proposed to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment that would work universal liberation.
There were conditions, however.
One was that the slaves should be paid for by the Government
; another that the masters might retain their uncompensated services until January i, 90000; that is, for a period of thirty-seven years, unless they were sooner emancipated by the grave, as the most of them would be. (See Appendix.)
The President's somewhat fantastic proposition was not claimed by him to be for the bondman's benefit.
He urged it as a measure of public economy, holding that, as slavery was the admitted cause of the Rebellion
, the quickest and surest way to remove that cause would be by purchase of all