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[744] nevertheless, firmly believed in the necessity of maintaining and protecting slavery. They continued to support the Federal government in the struggle it had undertaken against the South, but resolved to thwart its policy by trying to regain a majority in Congress, which was to be partially renewed before its next meeting. Their plan of action was perfectly defined in the order issued by General McClellan on the 7th of October, which we have quoted elsewhere, wherein, after reminding his soldiers of their duty to obey without questioning the orders of the President, who was their government superior, he added that it was in their power to rectify the errors of the government by their ballots at the next election.

These elections proved, in fact, favorable to Democratic candidates, and of one hundred and twenty-four representatives elected in the early part of November, sixty-seven belonged to this party; the government thus lost fifty-one votes, and instead of a majority of forty-one, it found itself in a minority of ten. This result, without changing its policy, compelled it to be more conciliatory toward the party which had just achieved such a success than it had been in the past.

Congress assembled on the 1st of December. The subject of emancipation occupied an important space in the President's message. He treated the question in a simple and dignified manner, with a moderation and logical force which showed that his strong and upright mind was gathering strength amid the extraordinary difficulties of the situation. After clearly demonstrating that the division of the republic into several nationalities was a thing impossible, that the same Constitution must govern all its parts and represent their common interest as in the past, he asserted that unless the supremacy of slavery was recognized, it was necessary to fix a term for the existence of that institution. It was the cause of the war; by condemning it in a definite manner, this fatal struggle would be speedily ended, and no sacrifice should be considered too great to secure that object. No change was to be introduced in the measures adopted to put down slavery in the States which persisted in their rebellion against the national authority. The confiscation laws should continue to be enforced. The proclamation of September 22d, which was to go into operation

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