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Chapter 12:

The year 1865, the last of the war, opened auspiciously for the Union cause. A feeling of confidence that the war was soon to end appeared to inspire every loyal heart. Our soldiers on the march and in the trenches felt it; the farmer, as he drove his ‘team afield,’ felt it; the mechanic in the workshop, the lawyer in his study, the minister in the pulpit, and the capitalist in his banking-house, felt it. This general confidence and buoyant hope had their origin and their growth mainly in the fact of [610] the triumphant re-election of President Lincoln, and the universal confidence reposed in Lieutenant-General Grant, whose wise and comprehensive policy had become known to the people.

The Legislature of Massachusetts assembled at the State House on Wednesday, Jan. 4. The Senate was called to order by Mr. Wentworth, of Middlesex, and organized by the choice of Jonathan E. Field, of Berkshire, for President, who received twenty-five votes, and John S. Eldridge, of Norfolk, ten; and by the choice of Stephen N. Gifford, clerk, who received all the votes that were cast. Mr. Field, on taking the chair, referred to national matters in the following words:—

The people have decided that the Union shall at all hazards be preserved. No man was bold enough to ask for popular indorsement, who held any other creed. By the election of Mr. Lincoln, it has been settled, that from ocean to ocean, from Aroostook to the Rio Grande, there shall be but one nation. We are not only to have but one flag, covering all with its ample folds, but all who live under it are to be free. In a short time, wherever this flag of the Union floats, there will be no involuntary servitude, except for crime. The breeze that opens its folds will cool the brow of no unpaid toil, will fan the cheek of no slave.

The House of Representatives was called to order by John I. Baker, of Beverly, and organized by the choice of Alexander H. Bullock for Speaker, and William S. Robinson for clerk, each of these gentlemen receiving an unanimous vote. Mr. Bullock, in his address to the House on taking the chair, thus spoke of the state of the country :—

Gentlemen,—I congratulate you upon the progress of the national arms. The end is not yet; but it is assured. The people of the United States, two months ago, upon a review of the four years of struggle, pronounced their irreversible decree that there shall be but one common government, one civil condition, from the Lakes to the Gulf. The only question remaining is a question of time, and of sacrifice; upon this, the East, the West, and the centre, are agreed. For the first time, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Missouri stand upon the same platform, and support the same theory of government. And they are united with all the others. The conclusion of the people, and the advance of their armies, furnish the promise of a restored unity, and an absolute free republic. To this august result, to this grand [611] vindication of the policy of the fathers, our State has committed herself by her soldiers and by her voters.

We in this House can add little to the solemnity of the decision. But I am sure we will not do any thing which shall place us out of sympathy with the cause and with the States which uphold it, nor any thing which shall give reason to our brave defenders to doubt our determination to encourage and succor them, nor any thing which may cast one slight shadow upon our civil or our martial fame.

On Friday, Jan. 6, Governor Andrew delivered his fifth and last inaugural address, the opening paragraph of which expresses the confidence which he felt of a speedy cessation of hostilities. He said,—

By the blessing of Almighty God, the people of Massachusetts witness to-day the inauguration of a new political year, under circumstances in which the victories of the past, blended with bright and well-grounded hope for the future, assure the early return of national peace, the firm establishment of liberty, and auspicate the lasting glory of the republic.

The address of the Governor was an exhaustive review of the services and sacrifices of Massachusetts in the war, of her financial condition, and of the educational and industrial progress which had been made during the period of his administration. The war-debt amounted to nearly fourteen and a half millions of dollars, much the larger part of which was held by our own citizens.

‘All the scrip,’ said the Governor, ‘issued by Massachusetts, she is bound to pay; and she will pay, both interest and principal, in gold, to all holders, with the cheerfulness which becomes her spotless honor, and the promptness of an industrious, economical, and thrifty commonwealth.’

The Governor then refers, in this connection, to the increased deposits in our savings institutions, and says,—

So that the very depositors of savings, out of this increased aggregate of their modest earnings saved and deposited, could lend money enough to pay the whole war-debt of the Commonwealth, and have left on deposit as much as they had when the war began, and more than three millions of dollars besides.

The Governor closed his address with an eloquent tribute [612] to the services of our officers and soldiers, from which we quote:—

In the vestibule of the Capitol of the Commonwealth, you pass to this hall of your deliberations beneath a hundred battle-flags, war-worn, begrimed, and bloody. They are sad but proud memorials of the transcendent crime of the Rebellion, the curse of slavery, the elastic energy of a free Commonwealth, the glory and the grief of war. There has been no loyal army, the shout of whose victory has not drowned the dying sigh of a son of Massachusetts. There has been no victory gained which her blood has not helped to win. Since the war began, four hundred and thirty-four officers, whose commissions bore our seal, or who were promoted by the President to higher than regimental commands, have tasted death in the defence of their country's flag. The names of nine general officers, sixteen colonels, seventeen lieutenant-colonels, twenty majors, six surgeons, nine assistant-surgeons, two chaplains, one hundred and ten captains, and two hundred and forty-five lieutenants, illustrate their roll of honor; nor will the history be deemed complete, nor our duty done, until the fate and fame of every man, to the humblest private of them all, shall have been inscribed upon the records of this Capitol, there to remain, I trust, until the earth and sea shall give up their dead; and thus shall the Capitol itself become for every soldier-son of ours a monument. . . . And whatever may hereafter tide, or befall me or mine, May the God of our fathers preserve our Commonwealth.

The roll of honor was not yet completed, when

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