- Review of political questions in the — war. -- the thread of Anti-slavery legislation. -- President Lincoln's hesitation. -- the opposition to his administration. -- scheme of compensated emancipation. -- how visionary. -- Mr. Lincoln's motives in suggesting it. -- the President and the Chicago deputation. -- his characteristic discourse on slavery. -- his reference to the Pope's Bull against the Comet. -- political importance of the battle of Sharpsburg. -- the mask dropped. -- the proclamation of emancipation. -- misrepresentations of it. -- an act of malice towards the master, not one of mercy to the slave. -- pretence of “military necessity.” -- dishonour of the plea -- proof of its falsehood. -- effect of the emancipation proclamation on the Confederates. -- President Davis' commentary. -- spirit of the press and people of the Confederacy. -- effect of the proclamation in the North. -- analysis of the Northern elections of 1862. -- the Democratic protest; against President Lincoln's administration. -- speech of Mr. Cox in the Federal Congress. -- supposed design of “reconstruction” of the Union. -- how the idea was treated in Richmond. -- savage denunciations of it. -- Vice -- President Stephens' declaration of Independence or death. -- military operations in the early months of 1863. -- General character of the war in the winter season. -- the recapture of Galveston by the Confederates. -- fight between the cotton-boats and the Federal fleet. -- the Harriet Lane captured. -- the other Federal vessels surrender, but escape under white flags. -- renewed attempts against Vicksburg. -- shameful failure of Sherman's expedition. -- third attempt upon Vicksburg made by Gen. Grant. -- its failure. -- attempt of Farragut's fleet to run past Fort Hudson. -- destruction of the Mississippi. -- capture of Arkansas post by the Federals. -- its importance. -- attack of an iron-clad fleet upon Charleston. -- trial between iron-clads and artillery. -- combat of the Keokuk and Fort Sumter. -- complete triumph of the Confederates. -- the prestige of “Monitors” destroyed
The beginning of the year 1862-when the heavy operations of the war on land were suspended by the rigour of winter-presents a convenient period for review of some political questions in the war. The thread of Anti-Slavery legislation appeared for some time to have been broken with the decree of emancipation in the District of Columbia. President Lincoln evidently hesitated to identify his Administration further with the radical party in the war. A formidable opposition was gathering in the North with especial reference to the Anti-Slavery acts of the Government at Washington; it was declared that these acts were diverting  the war to the ends of fanaticism, and that the Government had deliberately violated the pledge contained in the resolution offered by Mr. Crittenden of Kentucky, and passed almost unanimously in the House of Representatives at the beginning of the civil conflict, to the effect that the war should not be waged in hostility to the institutions of any of the States. President Lincoln, as we have already seen, had been advised, in the summer of 1862, that McClellan disapproved of any infraction of the laws of civilized and Christian warfare; that he disapproved of arbitrary arrests in places where the insurrection did not prevail; that he did not contemplate any seizure of private property for the support of the army, or measures for punishing or desolating the region invaded; but that he earnestly desired that the war should be carried on as a duel between organized armies, and not against non-combatants; that the institutions of the States should be protected; that no proclamation of freedom, incensing a servile race to indiscriminate massacre of helpless whites, and inviting the destruction of unoffending blacks, should be permitted; in fine, that, wherever it was possible, the military should be subordinate to the civil authority, and the Constitution alone should be the guide and glory of heroic sacrifice. It is remarkable that President Lincoln, in the summer of 1862, gave no distinct and decided evidence that this plan of action was obnoxious to him. His course at this time on the slavery question was rather disposed to conciliate both parties in the North; and he did nothing more than make a bungling experiment at compromise in proposing a scheme of compensated emancipation, which being excessively visionary and impracticable, soon passed out of the public mind. It was readily seen by men of all parties that this scheme would create a pecuniary burden which the Government would be utterly unable to carry along with the expenses of the war. At the rate of $300, it was calculated that the slaves in the insurgent States would be worth $1,049,508,000; and adding the cost of compensation to the Border States, at the same rate, the aggregate expense of emancipation would be $1,185,840,300. There was no disposition on the part of the tax-paying public to meet such liabilities in addition to the war debt; and the scheme of compensated emancipation never went further than a record of votes in Congress. That body passed a resolution that “the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such a change of system.” In pursuance of this resolution, President Lincoln transmitted to Congress the draft of a bill upon the subject. The bill was referred to a committee, but no action was taken upon it, nor did any of the Border States respond to the President's invitation to take the initiative in his scheme, and try the virtue of the resolution adopted by Congress.  Bat although the scheme of compensated emancipation was visionary with regard to the objects it professed, it is quite possible that it may have served a secret purpose of Mr. Lincoln, and that it was really intended to test the sentiment of both sections of the country, and to prepare the way for the more vigorous treatment of the subject of slavery. The time was coming when he would have to decide between the conservative and radical elements of the North, and determine a question which was being pressed upon him by public sentiments which could not be compromised. On the 15th September, 1862, a memorial was presented to him by a deputation from Chicago, praying for the immediate issue of a proclamation of emancipation. Mr. Lincoln entertained the delegation with a long and rambling discourse. He was represented in the Northern newspapers to have made the following characteristic and interesting reply:
The subject presented in the memorial is one upon which I have thought much for weeks past, and I may may even say for months. I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will. I am sure that either the one or the other class is mistaken in that belief, and perhaps in some respects both. I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal His will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed He would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is, I will do it I! These are not, however, the days of miracles; and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation. I must study the plain physical facts of the case, ascertain what is possible, and learn what appears to be wise and right. The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree. For instance, the other day, four gentlemen of standing and intelligence from New York, called as a delegation on business connected with the war; but before leaving, two of them earnestly besought me to proclaim general emancipation, upon which the other two at once attacked them. You know also that the last session of Congress had a decided majority of anti-slavery men, yet they could not unite on this policy. And the same is true of the religious people. Why, the rebel soldiers are praying with a great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our own troops, and expecting God to favour their side: for one of our soldiers, who had been taken prisoner, told Senator Wilson, a few days since, that he met nothing so discouraging as the evident sincerity of those he was among in their prayers. But we will talk over the merits of the case. What good would a proclamation of emancipation from me do, especially as we are now situated? I do not want to issue a document that the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope's bull against the comet! Would my word free the slaves, when I cannot even enforce the Constitution in the rebel States? Is there a single court, or magistrate, or individual that could be influenced by it there? And what reason is there to think it would have any greater effect upon the slaves than the late law of Congress, which I approved, and which offers protection and freedom to the slaves of rebel masters who come within our lines? Yet I cannot learn that that law has caused a single slave to come over to us. And suppose they could be induced by a proclamation of freedom from me to throw themselves upon us, what should we do with them? How can we .feed and care for such a multitude? Gen. Butler wrote me a few days since  that he was issuing more rations to the slaves who have rushed to him than to all the white troops under his command. They eat, and that is all.Such were the views entertained by Mr. Lincoln on the 15th day of September, 1862, on the subject of emancipation. Tie time of this conference was significant. The progress of the war was inauspicious; the Confederates had penetrated the North, and were actually threatening Washington; and at all such periods of wavering confidence in the war, the Northern Government was singularly prompt to incline towards the moderate party, and to hold up in its progress to radicalism. It was certainly no time to decide domestic institutions in the Confederacy when that belligerent was actually threatening the existence of the Government at Washington. But at this precise conjuncture of politics the battle of Sharpsburg was fought; the mask was dropped; and on the 22d September, 1862, President Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation of emancipation, of which the following is the important portion:
That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any States or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.This was followed by the proclamation of 1st January, 1863, designating the States in which emancipation should take immediate effect; the notice of one hundred days, counting from the preliminary proclamation, having expired. Thus was consummated the triumph of the Abolition party of the North. Thus was, at last, avowed the war upon slavery, and thus deliberately planned the robbery of the Southern people to the extent of two thousand millions of dollars. It is true that this proclamation was for the time of no effect, and that when it was issued it was worth no more than the paper on which its bold iniquity was traced; nevertheless, it was the avowal of a principle, the declaration of a wish, the deliberate attempt of the Chief Magistrate of a nation to do that which was repugnant to civilization  and all morals. The misrepresentation of the emancipation proclamation, as a deed of philanthropy, was absurd enough. A candid world found no difficulty in interpreting it as an act of malice towards the master rather than one of mercy to the slave. A crime was attempted in the name of liberty and humanity; and various hypocritical pretences were used to cover up what was an unholy infatuation, a ruthless persecution, a cruel and shameful device, adding severity and bitterness to a wicked and reckless war. The new measure was adopted in the name of a “military necessity.” Aside from its falsehood, the plea was one that dishonoured the North, and placed it in shameful inconsistency. Again and again it had been proclaimed to the world, that “the rebellion was weak, and would be crushed out in sixty days;” at other times, it was declared that “Union men” abounded in the South, and would welcome Federal troops as deliverers; and yet now the invader was so hopeless of his task, that it was a “military necessity” that he obtain help of slaves! If the proclamation had been designed as a “military necessity,” it was very clear that it should end with the war, and be confined to the special mission for which it had been invoked. The fact was that the real design was political, not military; that emancipation was not the exigency of the war, but the permanent triumph of fanaticism under a false pretence. We shall see at a future time how beyond the point of this proclamation the Anti-Slavery legislation at Washington was enlarged by the establishment of a Bureau of Freedmen's Affairs, to determine all questions relating to persons of African descent, and finally, by an amendment of the Constitution, the effect of which was to entomb slavery forever, to erect emancipation into a constitutional reform, and thus exhibit and confirm what was its original design. The effect of the emancipation proclamation on the Confederates was decided. It secured a new lease of war, and animated the people of the South to desperate exertion. In a message, communicated on the 12th January, 1863, to the Congress at Richmond, President Davis said: “The proclamation will have a salutary effect in calming the fears of those who have constantly evinced the apprehension that this war might end by some reconstruction of the old Union, or some renewal of close political relations with the United States. These fears have never been shared by me, nor have I been able to perceive on what basis they could rest. But the proclamation affords the fullest guaranty of the impossibility of such a result. It has established a state of things which can lead to but one of three consequences — the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole white population of the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States.” The entire newspaper press of the Confederacy echoed the sentiment of the President. It was declared that .he outrage of forcible emancipation would awaken a deeper resentment  than ever inflamed the people of the South before; that it had quenched the last sentiment of respect that lingered in their breasts for the United States Government; that it would unite them more resolutely than ever, and make it to the individual interest of every person in the bounds of the Confederacy to sustain and strengthen it with every dollar and every arm, and every prayer, and every energy of manly virtue and Christian encouragement. The effect of the proclamation in the North was to strengthen the Opposition; and the preliminary announcement of emancipation in September, 1862, was undoubtedly a main element of success in the Democratic triumphs in the fall elections of that year. The gains of the Democratic party at this time were the subject of great concern to those in power at Washington. In the face of a majority of 107,000 against them in 1860, the Democrats had carried the State of New York. The metropolis of New York was carried by a Democratic majority of 31,000-a change of 48,000 votes in twelve months. Within the great States of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, the results of the popular elections were a more or less emphatic avowal of opposition to the schemes of those who were using the power of the Government for narrow and sectional and despotic purposes. The significance of these elections was not only confined to the issue of emancipation. A large portion of the Northern people pronounced against the entire policy of Mr. Lincoln's Administration. They condemned that relic of the worst times of French tyranny, the lettres de cachet; they raised their voices against irresponsible arrests; they complained of the small measure of success in the war, and the disappointment of the hopes of the people in this regard; and while protesting against the edict of emancipation, they reminded Mir. Seward of his declaration, made on the 10th March, 1862, in a letter to Mr. Adams in London, that such a measure “would re-invigorate the declining insurrection in every part of the South.” On the 15th December, 1862, Mr. Cox, Democratic member from Ohio, in a speech in the House of Representatives, described the condition of the North, and exhibited a bill of particulars against Mr. Lincoln's Administration, which may be taken as a declaration of the principles and views of his party. He stated that the present cost of the war to the North was $1,000,000 per day, which was not being replaced; for all that was spent in. war was, by the laws of economy, a loss to those who spend it, as a mere pecuniary transaction, and not counting ultimate and moral results. He declared that since Mr. Lincoln's Administration came into power there had been lost to the country, merely as a matter of business, not counting debt and taxes of a national or State character, at least three hundred millions in the destruction of property, interference with established business, increase in wages, spoliation of railroads, depots, produce, corn, wheat,  flour, cotton, hay, crops, &c. He pointed out the fact that the Government had devised a system of taxation by tariff which imposed a burden on the West, to benefit manufacturing in New England, and paid indirectly sixty millions into the treasury and hundreds of millions into the pockets of capitalists, from the consumers, who were mostly farmers in the West. He complained of a system of internal taxation, costing for collection some four millions extra, which might have been saved, and levying in one year $150,000,000 as interest only on a great national debt, and with an army of newly-made office-holders, with exorbitant salaries. He stated that within six hundred and fifty-one days, a party had succeeded which proposed, by legislation and proclamation, to break down a labour system in eleven States, of four millions of negroes, whose industry had been productive hitherto, worth, on or before the 4th of March, 1861, an average of $500 apiece, being in all two thousand millions of dollars. He prophesied that when this capital was destroyed the objects of this pseudophilanthropy would remain on hand, North and South, as a mass of dependent and improvident black beings, for whose care the tax would be almost equal to the war-tax, before their condition would again be fixed safely and prosperously. He concluded with the summary and startling statement that within these six hundred and fifty-one days the rights of personal liberty, freedom from arrest without process, freedom for press and speech, and the right of habeas corpus had been suspended and limited, and, at times, destroyed; and in the place of resurrected and promised liberty to four million blacks, the North had the destruction of that liberty which the past eight hundred years had awarded to the Anglo-Saxon race. The triumphs of the Democratic party had taken place in the most powerful and populous States of the North. The States in which the party gained in the fall elections of 1862 contained a majority of the Free State population; had two-thirds of the wealth of the North; and furnished a majority of the troops in the field against us. This important and imposing demonstration of public opinion in the North was interpreted by the Republican party as significant of a Democratic design of “reconstruction,” in which the Southern States might be brought back into the Union with new constitutional guaranties. But this idea, if it was ever seriously entertained by the Democratic party of the North, found enough to discourage it in the manner in which the bare suggestion of it was cried down in all parts of the Confederacy, and by every organ of public opinion there. The Confederate press desperately and savagely denounced the idea of “reconstruction.” The Examiner said of the Northern people: “They do not yet understand that we are resolute to be rid of them forever, and determined rather to die than to live with them in the same political community again.” The Dispatch declared:
We warn the  Democrats and conservatives of the North to dismiss from their minds at once the miserable delusion that the South can ever consent to enter again, upon any terms, the old Union. If the North will allow us to write the Constitution ourselves, and give us every guaranty we would ask, we would sooner be under the Government of England or France than under a Union with men who have shown that they cannot keep good faith, and are the most barbarous and inhuman, as well as treacherous of mankind. ... But do not expect us to degrade ourselves and cast dishonour upon the graves of our kindred by ever returning to the embrace of those whose hands are dripping with the tears and blood of our people.The leaders and politicians of the Confederacy were not behind the press in denouncing the idea of any possible reunion with the North. Alexander I. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States, made a speech in North Carolina, which in view of the sequel attached to this man, is a curious personal reminiscence of the war. He said: “As for reconstruction, such a thing was impossible-such an idea must not be tolerated for an instant. Reconstruction would not end the war, but would produce a more horrible war than that in which we are now engaged. The only terms on which we can obtain permanent peace is final and complete separation from the North. Rather than submit to anything short of that, let us resolve to die like men worthy of freedom.” It appeared indeed that the people of the South had fully made up their minds; that they were prepared to suffer all the calamities of the most protracted war; and that they would never, on any terms, politically affiliate with a people, who were guilty of an invasion of their soil, and whose atrocities in the war had caused the whole civilized world to shudder.