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[733] region of country. From that moment it became the duty of loyalty as well as policy to anticipate the crisis with which those States were threatened, by offering them a peaceful and legal solution of the question of slavery through purchase and gradual emancipation. This is what Mr. Lincoln did in his message to Congress of March 6th. He proposed not to interfere with the legislation of States to force emancipation upon them, but to declare that the Federal government would be ready to assist those States financially if they would take the initiative. This proposition was the subject of a resolution passed by the House of Representatives on the 11th of March. But the opposition of the local governments, and of the representatives of the States concerned, rendered fruitless for a time such prudent and considerate overtures of the central power, and Mr. Lincoln, despite all his efforts, was unable to persuade them to co-operate in carrying out his plan.

However, as the formal orders of the government regarding the treatment of slaves who sought refuge near the armies were not always executed, Congress determined to give them a legal sanction; and on the 25th of February and the 13th of March both the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced a new article in the military code, prohibiting officers, at the risk of dismissal, from interfering to restore fugitive slaves to their masters. Notwithstanding the powers with which the government was thus armed, great difficulty was experienced in applying this law in those regiments whose commanders openly professed their sympathies in favor of slavery. We shall have many instances to record of open violations of this law, and at the very gates of Washington; less than a fortnight after Congress had passed the law, slave-owners from Maryland were seen to visit a Federal camp, provided with an order from General Hooker, to take away some slaves whom they suspected to have taken refuge in it. It is true that their presence caused a terrible commotion among the soldiers, and that General Sickles' conduct in driving them away, despite the order of his chief, was approved. In order to secure the execution of the will of Congress, however, even in the city of Washington it required a special order from General Doubleday, commanding the place, on the 6th of April, which recapitulated

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