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[745] on the 1st of January, 1863, was communicated to Congress simply by way of information, and not submitted to its sanction, the President having acted in the plenitude of the powers which had been conferred upon him. But Congress in its turn had to decide graver questions yet. The moment had arrived for grappling with the very principle of slavery and solving the question by a modification of the Federal compact. Resuming his project of emancipating the slaves by compensating the owners who had remained loyal to the Federal laws, Mr. Lincoln proposed a constitutional amendment to Congress guaranteeing an indemnity to all the States who should proclaim the emancipation of slaves, either immediate or gradual, provided it should be accomplished before the close of the present century. All the slaves emancipated by the chances of war should be declared definitely free, but those owners who had taken no part in the rebellion should be entitled to compensation. Finally, while acknowledging the want of success that had attended the emigration plans, and condemning the prejudices against the colored race which had generally inspired them, he asked Congress to encourage them if they were deemed practicable.

This was the sum total of the propositions contained in the proclamation of September 22d characterizing the policy to be followed by the government in the future. In those States which, being at war against the Constitution, could no longer invoke its protection in behalf of their particular laws, he disposed of the question in a radical way by no longer recognizing the servile institution. Where this institution had still a legal existence, he proposed to abolish it gradually by observing all the prescribed forms—that is to say, by a two-thirds vote of each House of Congress and the sanction of the State legislatures in three-fourths of the States. In order to accomplish this object, he recommended the adoption of a compromise, which, not being entirely satisfactory either to the partisans of absolute and immediate abolition or those who favored the pure and simple maintenance of slavery, might serve as a common ground for all the supporters of the Union to rally upon. The problem of slavery was at last placed before the nation by its first magistrate in a truly statesmanlike manner, without passion

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