Most of these Northern-Democratic agitators, "Stealing the livery of Heaven to serve the Devil in," endeavored to conceal their treacherous designs under a veneer of gushing lip-loyalty, but that disguise was "too thin" to deceive either their contemporaries or those who come after them. Some of their language too, as well as their blustering manner, strangely brought back to recollection the old days of Slavery when the plantation-whip was cracked in the House, and the air was blue with execration of New England.
Said Voorhees, of Indiana, (January 11, 1864) when the House was considering a Bill "to increase the Internal Revenue and for other purposes:"
"I want to know whether the West has any friends upon the floor of this House? We pay every dollar that is to be levied by this Tax Bill. * * * The Manufacturing Interest pays not a dollar into the public Treasury that stays there. And yet airs of patriotism are put on here by men representing that interest. I visited New England last Summer, * * * when I heard the swelling hum of her Manufactories, and saw those who only a short time ago worked but a few hands, now working their thousands, and rolling up their countless wealth, I felt that it was an unhealthy prosperity. To my mind it presented a wealth wrung from the labor, the sinews, the bone and muscle of the men who till the soil, taxed to an illegitimate extent to foster and support that great System of local wealth. * * * I do not intend to stand idly by and see one portion of the Country robbed and oppressed for the benefit of another."
And the same day, replying to Mr. Morrill of Vermont, he exclaimed: "Let him show me that the plethoric, bloated Manufacturers of New England are paying anything to support the Government, and I will recognize it."
Washburne, of Illinois got back at this part of Mr. Voorhees's speech rather neatly, by defending the North-west as being "not only willing to stand taxation" which had been "already imposed, but * * * any additional taxation which," said he, "may be necessary to crush out this Rebellion, and to hang the Rebels in the South, and the Rebel sympathizers in the North." And, he pointedly added: "Complaint has been made against New England. I know that kind of talk. I have heard too often that kind of slang about New England. I heard it here for ten years, when your Barksdales, and your Keitts's, and your other Traitors, now in arms against the Government, filled these Halls with their pestilential assaults not only upon New England, but on the Free North generally."
Kelley of Pennsylvania, however, more fitly characterized the speech of Voorhees, when he termed it "a pretty, indeed a somewhat striking, paraphrase of the argument of Mr. Lamar, the Rebel Agent,—[in 1886, Secretary of the Interior]—to his confreres in Treason, as we find it in the recently published correspondence: 'Drive gold coin out of the Country, and induce undue Importation of Foreign products so as to strike down the Financial System. You can have no further hope for Foreign recognition. It is evident the weight of arms is against us; and it is clear that we can only succeed by striking down the Financial System of the Country.' It was an admirable paraphrase of the Instructions of Mr. Lamar to the Rebel Agents in the North."
The impression was at this time abroad, and there were not wanting elements of proof, that certain members of Congress were trusted Lieutenants of the Arch-copperhead and Outlaw, Vallandigham. Certain it is, that many of these leaders, six months before, attended and addressed the great gathering from various parts of the Country, of nearly one hundred thousand Vallandigham-Anti-War Peace-Democrats, at Springfield, Illinois—the very home of Abraham Lincoln—which adopted, during a lull, when they were not yelling themselves hoarse for Vallandigham, a resolution declaring against "the further offensive prosecution of the War" as being subversive of the Constitution and Government, and proposing a National Peace Convention, and, as a consequence, Peace, "the Union as it was," and, substantially such Constitutional guarantees as the Rebels might choose to demand! And this too, at a time (June 13, 1863), when Grant, after many recent glorious victories, had been laying siege to Vicksburg, and its Rebel Army of 37,000 men, for nearly a month, with every reason to hope for its speedy fall.
No wonder that under such circumstances, the news of such a gathering of the Northern Democratic sympathizers with Treason, and of their adoption of such treasonable Resolutions, should encourage the Rebels in the same degree that Union men were disheartened! No wonder that Lee, elated by this and other evidences of Northern sympathy with Rebellion, at once determined to commence a second grand invasion of the North, and on the very next day (June 14th,) moved Northward with all his Rebel hosts to be welcomed, he fondly hoped, by his Northern friends of Maryland and elsewhere! As we have seen, it took the bloody Battle of Gettysburg to undeceive him as to the character of that welcome.
Further than this, Mr. Cox had stumped Ohio, in the succeeding election, in a desperate effort to make the banished Traitor, Vallandigham—the Chief Northern commander of the "Knights of the Golden Circle" (otherwise known as the "Order of the Sons of Liberty," and "O. A. K." or "Order of American Knights")—Governor of that great State.
[The Rebel General Sterling Price being the chief Southern commander of this many-named treasonable organization, which in the North alone numbered over 500,000 men.
August, 1864.—See Report of Judge Advocate Holt on certain "Secret Associations," in Appendix,]
And it only lacked a few months of the time when quantities of copies of the treasonable Ritual of the "Order of American Knights"—as well as correspondence touching the purchase of thousands of Garibaldi rifles for transportation to the West—were found in the offices of leading Democrats then in Congress.
When, therefore, it is said, and repeated, that there were not wanting elements of proof, outside of Congressional utterances and actions, that leading Democrats in Congress were trusted Lieutenants of the Supreme Commander of over half a million of Northern Rebel-sympathizers bound together, and to secrecy, by oaths, which were declared to be paramount to all other oaths, the violation of which subjected the offender to a shameful death somewhat like that, of being "hung, drawn, and quartered," which was inflicted in the middle ages for the crime of Treason to the Crown—it will be seen that the statement is supported by circumstantial, if not by positive and direct, evidence.
Whether the Coxes, the Garret Davises, the Saulsburys, the Fernando Woods, the Alexander Longs, the Allens, the Holmans, and many other prominent Congressmen of that sort,—were merely in close communion with these banded "Knights," or were actual members of their secret organizations, may be an open question. But it is very certain that if they all were not oath-bound members, they generally pursued the precise methods of those who were; and that, as a rule, while they often loudly proclaimed loyalty and love for the Union, they were always ready to act as if their loyalty and love were for the so-called Confederacy.
Indeed, it was one of these other "loyal" Democrats, who even preceded Voorhees, in raising the Sectional cry of: The West, against New England. It was on this same Internal Revenue Bill, that Holman of Indiana had, the day before Voorhees's attack, said:
"If the Manufacture of the Northwest is to be taxed so heavily, a corresponding rate of increase must be imposed on the Manufactures of New England and Pennsylvania, or, will gentlemen tax us without limit for the benefit of their own Section? * * * I protest against what I believe is intended to be a discrimination against one Section of the Country, by increasing the tax three-fold, without a corresponding increase upon the burdens of other Sections."
But these dreadfully "loyal" Democrats—who did the bidding of traitorous masters in their Treason to the Union, and thus, while posturing as "Patriots," "fired upon the rear" of our hard-pressed Armies—were super-sensitive on this point. And, when they could get hold of a quiet sort of a man, inclined to peaceful methods of discussion, how they would, terrier-like, pounce upon him, and extract from him, if they could, some sort of negative satisfaction!
Thus, for instance, on the 22nd of January, when one of these quiet men —Morris of New York—was in the midst of an inoffensive speech, Mr. Cox "bristled up," and blusteringly asked whether he meant to say that he (Cox) had "ever been the apologist or the defender of a Traitor?"
And Morris not having said so, mildly replied that he did "not so charge"—all of which little bit of by-play hugely pleased the touchy Mr. Cox, and his clansmen.
But on the day following, their smiles vanished under the words of Spalding or Ohio, who, after referring to the crocodile-tears shed by Democratic Congressmen over the Confiscation Resolution—on the pretense that it would hunt down "innocent women and children" of the Rebels, when they had never a word of sympathy for the widows and children of the two hundred thousand dead soldiers of the Union-continued:
"They can see our poor soldiers return, minus an arm, minus a leg, as they pass through these lobbies, but their only care is to protect the property of Rebels. And we are asked by one of my colleagues, (Mr. Cox) does the gentleman from New York intend to call us Traitors? My friend, Mr. Morris, modestly answered no! If he had asked that question of me, he knows what my answer would have been! I have seen Rebel officers at Johnson's Island, and I have taken them by the hand because they have fought us fairly in the field and did not seek to break down the Government while living under its protection. Yes, Sir, that gentleman knows that I would have said to him that I have more respect for an open and avowed Traitor in the field, than for a sympathizer in this Hall. Four months have scarcely gone by since that gentleman and his political friends were advocating the election of a man for the Gubernatorial office in my State, who was an open and avowed advocate of Secession—AN OUTLAW AT THAT!"
And old Thaddeus Stevens—the clear-sighted and courageous "Old Commoner"—followed up Spalding, and struck very close to the root and animus of the Democratic opposition, when he exclaimed:
"All this struggle by calm and dignified and moderate 'Patriots;' all this clamor against 'Radicals;' all this cry of 'the Union as it Was, and the Constitution as it Is;' is but a persistent effort to reestablish Slavery, and to rivet anew and forever the chains of Bondage on the limbs of Immortal beings. May the God of Justice thwart their designs and paralyze their wicked efforts!"
"THE FIRE IN THE REAR."
The treacherous purposes of professedly-loyal Copperheads being seen through, and promptly and emphatically denounced to the Country by Union statesmen, the Copperheads aforesaid concluded that the profuse circulation of their own Treason-breeding speeches—through the medium of the treasonable organizations before referred to, permeating the Northern States,—would more than counteract all that Union men could say or do. Besides, the fiat had gone forth, from their Rebel masters at Richmond, to Agitate the North.
Hence, day after day, Democrat after Democrat, in the one House or the other, continued to air his disloyal opinions, and to utter more or less virulent denunciations of the Government which guarded and protected him.
Thus, Brooks, of New York, on the 25th of January (1864), sneeringly exclaimed: "Why, what absurdity it is to talk at this Capitol of prosecuting the War by the liberation of Slaves, when from the dome of this building there can be heard at this hour the booming of cannon in the distance!"
Thus, also, on the day following, Fernando Wood—the same man who, while Mayor of New York at the outbreak of the Rebellion, had, under Rebel-guidance, proposed the Secession from the Union, and the Independence, of that great Metropolis,—declared to the House that: "No Government has pursued a foe with such unrelenting, vindictive malignity as we are now pursuing those who came into the Union with us, whose blood has been freely shed on every battle-field of the Country until now, with our own; who fought by our side in the American Revolution, and in the War of 1812 with Great Britain; who bore our banners bravest and highest in our victorious march from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, and who but yesterday sat in these Halls contributing toward the maintenance of our glorious institutions."
Then he went on, in the spirit of prophecy, to declare that: "No purely agricultural people, fighting for the protection of their own Domestic Institutions upon their own soil, have ever yet been conquered. I say further, that no revolted people have ever been subdued after they have been able to maintain an Independent government for three years." And then, warming up to an imperative mood, he made this explicit announcement: "We are at War. * * * Whether it be a Civil War, Rebellion, Revolution, or Foreign War, it matters little. IT MUST CEASE; and I want this Administration to tell the American People WHEN it will cease!" Again, only two days afterward, he took occasion to characterize a Bill, amendatory of the enrollment Act, as "this infamous, Unconstitutional conscription Act!"
C. A. White, of Ohio, was another of the malcontents who undertook, with others of the same Copperhead faith, to "maintain, that," as he expressed it, "the War in which we are at present engaged is wrong in itself; that the policy adopted by the Party in power for its prosecution is wrong; that the Union cannot be restored, or, if restored, maintained, by the exercise of the coercive power of the Government, by War; that the War is opposed to the restoration of the Union, destructive of the rights of the States and the liberties of the People. It ought, therefore, to be brought to a speedy and immediate close."
It was about this time also that, emboldened by immunity from punishment for these utterances in the interest of armed Rebels, Edgerton of Indiana, was put forward to offer resolutions "for Peace, upon the basis of a restoration of the Federal Union under the Constitution as it is," etc.
Thereafter, in both Senate and House, such speeches by Rebel-sympathizers, the aiders and abettors of Treason, grew more frequent and more virulent than ever. As was well said to the House, by one of the Union members from Ohio (Mr. Eckley):
"A stranger, if he listened to the debates here, would think himself in the Confederate Congress. I do not believe that if these Halls were occupied to-day by Davis, Toombs, Wigfall, Rhett, and Pryor, they could add anything to the violence of assault, the falsity of accusation, or the malignity of attack, with which the Government has been assailed, and the able, patriotic, and devoted men who are charged with its Administration have been maligned, in both ends of the Capitol. The closing scenes of the Thirty-Sixth Congress, the treasonable declarations there made, contain nothing that we cannot hear, in the freedom of debate, without going to Richmond or to the camps of Treason, where most of the actors in those scenes are now in arms against us."
With such a condition of things in Congress, it is not surprising that the Richmond Enquirer announced that the North was "distracted, exhausted, and impoverished," and would, "through the agency of a strong conservative element in the Free States," soon treat with the Rebels "on acceptable terms."
Things indeed had reached such a pass, in the House of Representatives especially, that it was felt they could not much longer go on in this manner; that an example must be made of some one or other of these Copperheads. But the very knowledge of the existence of such a feeling of just and patriotic irritation against the continued free utterance of such sentiments in the Halls of Congress, seemed only to make some of them still more defiant. And, when the 8th of April dawned, it was known among all the Democrats in Congress, that Alexander Long proposed that day to make a speech which would "go a bow-shot beyond them all" in uttered Treason. He would speak right out, what the other Conspirators thought and meant, but dared not utter, before the World.
A crowded floor, and packed galleries, were on hand to listen to the written, deliberate Treason, as it fell from his lips in the House. His speech began with an arraignment of the Government for treachery, incompetence, failure, tyranny, and all sorts of barbarous actions and harsh intentions, toward the Rebels—which led him to the indignant exclamation:
"Will they throw down their arms and submit to the terms? Who shall believe that the free, proud American blood, which courses with as quick pulsation through their veins as our own, will not be spilled to the last drop in resistance?"
Warming up, he proceeded to say: "Can the Union be restored by War? I answer most unhesitatingly and deliberately, No, never; 'War is final, eternal separation.'"
He claimed that the War was "wrong;" that it was waged "in violation of the Constitution," and would "if continued, result speedily in the destruction of the Government and the loss of Civil Liberty, and ought therefore, to immediately cease."
He held also "that the Confederate States are out of the Union, occupying the position of an Independent Power de facto; have been acknowledged as a belligerent both by Foreign Nations and our own Government; maintained their Declaration of Independence, for three years, by force of arms; and the War has cut asunder all the obligations that bound them under the Constitution."
"Much better," said he, "would it have been for us in the beginning, much better would it be for us now, to consent to a division of our magnificent Empire, and cultivate amicable relations with our estranged brethren, than to seek to hold them to us by the power of the sword. * * * I am reluctantly and despondingly forced to the conclusion that the Union is lost, never to be restored. * * * I see neither North nor South, any sentiment on which it is possible to build a Union. * * * in attempting to preserve our Jurisdiction over the Southern States we have lost our Constitutional Form of Government over the Northern. * * * The very idea upon which this War is founded, coercion of States, leads to despotism. * * * I now believe that there are but two alternatives, and they are either an acknowledgment of the Independence of the South as an independent Nation, or their complete subjugation and extermination as a People; and of these alternatives I prefer the former."
As Long took his seat, amid the congratulations of his Democratic friends, Garfield arose, and, to compliments upon the former's peculiar candor and honesty, added denunciation for his Treason. After drawing an effective parallel between Lord Fairfax and Robert E. Lee, both of whom had cast their lots unwillingly with the enemies of this Land, when the Wars of the Revolution and of the Rebellion respectively opened, Garfield proceeded:
"But now, when hundreds of thousands of brave souls have gone up to God under the shadow of the Flag, and when thousands more, maimed and shattered in the Contest, are sadly awaiting the deliverance of death; now, when three years of terrific warfare have raged over us, when our Armies have pushed the Rebellion back over mountains and rivers and crowded it back into narrow limits, until a wall of fire girds it; now, when the uplifted hand of a majestic People is about to let fall the lightning of its conquering power upon the Rebellion; now, in the quiet of this Hall, hatched in the lowest depths of a similar dark Treason, there rises a Benedict Arnold and proposes to surrender us all up, body and spirit, the Nation and the Flag, its genius and its honor, now and forever, to the accursed Traitors to our Country. And that proposition comes—God forgive and pity my beloved State!—it comes from a citizen of the honored and loyal Commonwealth of Ohio! I implore you, brethren in this House, not to believe that many such births ever gave pangs to my mother-State such as she suffered when that Traitor was born!"
As he uttered these sturdy words, the House and galleries were agitated with that peculiar rustling movement and low murmuring sound known as a "sensation," while the Republican side with difficulty restrained the applause they felt like giving, until he sadly proceeded:
"I beg you not to believe that on the soil of that State another such growth has ever deformed the face of Nature and darkened the light of God's day."
The hush that followed was broken by the suggestive whisper: "Vallandigham!"
"But, ah," continued the Speaker—as his voice grew sadder still—"I am reminded that there are other such. My zeal and love for Ohio have carried me too far. I retract. I remember that only a few days since, a political Convention met at the Capital of my State, and almost decided, to select from just such material, a representative for the Democratic Party in the coming contest; and today, what claims to be a majority of the Democracy of that State say that they have been cheated or they would have made that choice!"
[This refers to Horatio Seymour, the Democratic Governor of New York.]
After referring to the "insidious work" of the "Knights of the Golden Circle" in seeking "to corrupt the Army and destroy its efficiency;" the "riots and murders which," said he, "their agents are committing throughout the Loyal North, under the lead and guidance of the Party whose Representatives sit yonder across the aisle;" he continued: "and now, just as the time is coming on when we are to select a President for the next four years, one rises among them and fires the Beacon, throws up the blue-light—which will be seen, and rejoiced over, at the Rebel Capital in Richmond—as the signal that the Traitors in our camp are organized and ready for their hellish work! I believe the utterance of to-day is the uplifted banner of revolt. I ask you to mark the signal that blazes here, and see if there will not soon appear the answering signals of Traitors all over the Land. * * * If these men do mean to light the torch of War in all our homes; if they have resolved to begin the fearful work which will redden our streets, and this Capitol, with blood, the American People should know it at once, and prepare to meet it."
At the close of Mr. Garfield's patriotic and eloquent remarks, Mr. Long again got the floor, declared that what he had said, he believed to be right, and he would "stand by it," though he had to "stand solitary and alone," and "even if it were necessary to brave bayonets, and prisons, and all the tyranny which may be imposed by the whole power and force of the Administration."
Said he: "I have deliberately uttered my sentiments in that speech, and I will not retract one syllable of it." And, to "rub it in" a little stronger, he exclaimed, as he took his seat, just before adjournment: "Give me Liberty, even if confined to an Island of Greece, or a Canton of Switzerland, rather than an Empire and a Despotism as we have here to-day!"
This treasonable speech naturally created much excitement throughout the Country.
On the following day (Saturday, April 9, 1864), immediately after prayer, the reading of the Journal being dispensed with, the Speaker of the House (Colfax) came down from the Speaker's Chair, and, from the floor, offered a Preamble and Resolution, which ended thus:
"Resolved, That Alexander Long, a Representative from the second district of Ohio, having, on the 8th day of April, 1864, declared himself in favor of recognizing the Independence and Nationality of the so-called Confederacy now in arms against the Union, and thereby 'given aid, Countenance and encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility to the United States,' is hereby expelled."
The debate which ensued consumed nearly a week, and every member of prominence, on both the Republican and Democratic sides, took part in it—the Democrats almost invariably being careful to protest their own loyalty, and yet attempting to justify the braver and more candid utterances of the accused member.
Mr. Cox led off, April 9th, in the defense, by counterattack. He quoted remarks made to the House (March 18, 1864) by Mr. Julian, of Indiana, to the effect that "Our Country, united and Free, must be saved, at whatever hazard or cost; and nothing, not even the Constitution, must be allowed to hold back the uplifted arm of the Government in blasting the power of the Rebels forever;"—and upon this, adopting the language of another—[Judge Thomas, of Massachusetts.]—Mr. Cox declared that "to make this a War, with the sword in one hand to defend the Constitution, and a hammer in the other to break it to pieces, is no less treasonable than Secession itself; and that, outside the pale of the Constitution, the whole struggle is revolutionary."
He thought, for such words as he had just quoted, Julian ought to have been expelled, if those of Long justified expulsion!
Finally, being pressed by Julian to define his own position, as between the Life of the Nation, and the Infraction of the United States Constitution, Mr. Cox said: "I will say this, that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CONCEIVABLE BY THE HUMAN MIND WOULD I EVER VIOLATE THAT CONSTITUTION FOR ANY PURPOSE!"
This sentiment was loudly applauded, and received with cries of "THAT IS IT!" "THAT'S IT!" by the Democratic side of the House, apparently in utter contempt for the express and emphatic declaration of Jefferson that: "A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the highest duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of Necessity, of Self-preservation, of SAVING OUR COUNTRY WHEN IN DANGER, are of higher obligation. To LOSE OUR COUNTRY by a scrupulous adherence to written law WOULD BE TO LOSE THE LAW ITSELF, with Life, Liberty, Property, and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absolutely SACRIFICING THE END TO THE MEANS."
[In a letter to J. B. Colvin, Sept. 20, 1810, quoted at the time for their information, and which may be found at page 542 of vol. v., of Jefferson's Works.]
Indeed these extreme sticklers for the letter of the Constitution, who would have sacrificed Country, kindred, friends, honesty, truth, and all ambitions on Earth and hopes for Heaven, rather than violate it—for that is what Mr. Cox's announcement and the Democratic endorsement of it meant, if they meant anything—were of the same stripe as those querulous Ancients, for the benefit of whom the Apostle wrote: "For THE LETTER KILLETH, but the Spirit giveth life."
And now, inspired apparently by the reckless utterances of Long, if not by the more cautious diatribe of Cox, Harris of Maryland, determining if possible to outdo them all, not only declared that he was willing to go with his friend Long wherever the House chose to send him, but added: "I am a peace man, a radical peace man; and I am for Peace by the recognition of the South, for the recognition of the Southern Confederacy; and I am for acquiescence in the doctrine of Secession." And, said he, in the midst of the laughter which followed the sensation his treasonable words occasioned, "Laugh as you may, you have got to come to it!" And then, with that singular obfuscation of ideas engendered, in the heads of their followers, by the astute Rebel-sympathizing leaders, he went on:
"I am for Peace, and I am for Union too. I am as good a Union man as any of you. [Laughter.] I am a better Union man than any of you! [Great Laughter.] * * * I look upon War as Disunion."
After declaring that, if the principle of the expulsion Resolution was to be carried out, his "friend," Mr. Long, "would be a martyr in a glorious cause"—he proceeded to announce his own candidacy for expulsion, in the following terms:
"Mr. Speaker, in the early part of this Secession movement, there was a Resolution offered, pledging men and money to carry on the War. My principles were then, and are now, against the War. I stood, solitary and alone, in voting against that Resolution, and whenever a similar proposition is brought here it will meet with my opposition. Not one dollar, nor one man, I swear, by the Eternal, will I vote for this infernal, this stupendous folly, more stupendous than ever disgraced any civilized People on the face of God's Earth. If that be Treason, make the most of it!
"The South asked you to let them go in peace. But no, you said you would bring them into subjugation. That is not done yet, and God Almighty grant that it never may be. I hope that you will never subjugate the South. If she is to be ever again in the Union, I hope it will be with her own consent; and I hope that that consent will be obtained by some other mode than by the sword. 'If this be Treason, make the most of it!'"
An extraordinary scene at once occurred—Mr. Tracy desiring "to know whether, in these Halls, the gentleman from Maryland invoked Almighty God that the American Arms should not prevail?" "Whether such language is not Treason?" and "whether it is in order to talk Treason in this Hall?"—his patriotic queries being almost drowned in the incessant cries of "Order!" "Order!" and great disorder, and confusion, on the Democratic side of the House.
Finally the treasonable language was taken down by the Clerk, and, while a Resolution for the expulsion of Mr. Harris was being written out, Mr. Fernando Wood—coming, as he said, from a bed of "severe sickness," quoted the language used by Mr. Long, to wit:
"I now believe there are but two alternatives, and they are either the acknowledgment of the Independence of the South as an independent Nation, or their complete subjugation and extermination as a People; and of these alternatives I prefer the former"—and declared that "if he is to be expelled for the utterance of that sentiment, you may include me in it, because I concur fully in that sentiment."
[He afterwards (April 11,) said he did not agree with Mr. Long's opinions.]
Every effort was unavailingly made by the Democrats, under the lead of Messrs. Cox—[In 1886 American Minister at Constantinople.]—and Pendleton,—[In 1886 American Minister at Berlin.]—to prevent action upon the new Resolution of expulsion, which was in these words:
"Whereas, Hon. Benjamin G. Harris, a member of the House of Representatives of the United States from the State of Maryland, has on this day used the following language, to wit: 'The South asked you to let them go in peace. But no; you said you would bring them into subjection. That is not done yet, and God Almighty grant that it never may be. I hope that you will never subjugate the South.' And whereas, such language is treasonable, and is a gross disrespect of this House: Therefore, 'Be it Resolved, That the said Benjamin G. Harris be expelled from this House.'"
Upon reaching a vote, however, the Resolution was lost, there being only 81 yeas, to 58 (Democratic) nays—two-thirds not having voted affirmatively. Subsequently, despite Democratic efforts to obstruct, a Resolution, declaring Harris to be "an unworthy Member" of the House, and "severely" censuring him, was adopted.
The debate upon the Long-expulsion Resolution now proceeded, and its mover, in view of the hopelessness of securing a two-thirds affirmative vote, having accepted an amendment comprising other two Resolutions and a Preamble, the question upon adopting these was submitted on the 14th of April. They were in the words following:
"Whereas, ALEXANDER LONG, a Representative from the second district of Ohio, by his open declarations in the National Capitol, and publications in the City of New York, has shown himself to be in favor of a recognition of the so-called Confederacy now trying to establish itself upon the ruins of our Country, thereby giving aid and comfort to the Enemy in that destructive purpose—aid to avowed Traitors, in creating an illegal Government within our borders, comfort to them by assurances of their success and affirmations of the justice of their Cause; and whereas, such conduct is at the same time evidence of disloyalty, and inconsistent with his oath of office, and his duty as a Member of this Body: Therefore,
"Resolved, That the said Alexander Long, a Representative from the second district of Ohio, be, and he is hereby declared to be an unworthy Member of the House of Representatives.
"Resolved, That the Speaker shall read these Resolutions to the said Alexander Long during the session of the House."
The first of these Resolutions was adopted, by 80 yeas to 69 nays; the second was tabled, by 71 yeas to 69 nays; and the Preamble was agreed to, by 78 yeas to 63 nays.
And, among the 63 Democrats, who were not only unwilling to declare Alexander Long "an unworthy Member," or to have the Speaker read such a declaration to him in a session of the House, but also refused by their votes even to intimate that his conduct evidenced disloyalty, or gave aid and comfort to the Enemy, were the names of such democrats as Cox, Eldridge, Holman, Kernan, Morrisson, Pendleton, Samuel J. Randall, Voorhees, and Fernando Wood.
Hence Mr. Long not only escaped expulsion for his treasonable utterances, but did not even receive the "severe censure" which, in addition to being declared (like himself) "an unworthy Member," had been voted to Mr. Harris for recklessly rushing into the breach to help him!
[The Northern Democracy comprised two well-recognized classes: The Anti-War (or Peace) Democrats, commonly called "Copperheads," who sympathized with the Rebellion, and opposed the War for the Union; and the War (or Union) Democrats, who favored a vigorous prosecution of the War for the preservation of the Union.]
"THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT" DEFEATED IN THE HOUSE.
The debate in the House of Representatives, upon the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution—interrupted by the treasonable episode referred to in the last Chapter—was subsequently resumed.
Meanwhile, however, Fort Pillow had been stormed, and its garrison of Whites and Blacks, massacred.
And now commenced the beginning of the end-so far as the Military aspect of the Rebellion was concerned. Early in May, Sherman's Atlanta Campaign commenced, and, simultaneously, General Grant began his movement toward Richmond. In quick succession came the news of the bloody battles of the Wilderness, and those around Spottsylvania, Va.; at Buzzard Roost Gap, Snake Creek Gap, and Dalton, Ga.; Drury's Bluff, Va.; Resaca, Ga.; the battles of the North Anna, Va.; those around Dallas, and New Hope church, Ga; the crossing of Grant's forces to the South side of the James and the assault on Petersburg. While the Union Armies were thus valiantly attacking and beating those of the Rebels, on many a sanguinary field the loyal men of the North, both in and out of Congress, pressed for favorable action upon the Thirteenth Amendment. "Friends of the wounded in Fredericksburg from the Battle of the Wilderness"—exclaimed Horace Greeley in the New York Tribune, of May 31st,—"friends and relatives of the soldiers of Grant's Army beyond the Wilderness, let us all join hands and swear upon our Country's altar that we will never cease this War until African Slavery in the United States is dead forever, and forever buried!"
Peace Democrats, however, were deaf to all such entreaties. On the very same day, Mr. Holman, in the House, objected even to the second reading of the Joint Resolution Amendatory of the Constitution, and there were so many "Peace Democrats" to back him, that the vote was: 55 yeas to 76 nays, on the question "shall the Joint Resolution be rejected!"
The old cry, that had been repeated by Hendricks and others, in the Senate and House, time and again, was still used—threadbare though it was—"this is not the right time for it!" On this very day, for instance, Mr. Herrick said: "I ask if this is the proper time for our People to consider so grave a measure as the Amendment of the Constitution in so vital a point? * * * this is no fitting time for such work."
Very different was the attitude of Kellogg, of New York, and well did he show up the depths to which the Democracy—the Peace Democracy—had now fallen. "We are told," said he, "of a War Democracy, and such there are—their name is legion—good men and true; they are found in the Union ranks bearing arms in support of the Government and the Administration that wields it. At the ballot-box, whether at home or in the camp, they are Union men, and vote as they fight, and hold little in common with the political leaders of the Democratic Party in or out of this Hall—the Seymours, the Woods, the Vallandighams, the Woodwards, and their indorsers, who hold and control the Democratic Party here, and taint it with Treason, till it is a stench in the nostrils of all patriotic men."
After referring to the fact that the leaders of the Rebellion had from the start relied confidently upon assistance from the Northern Democracy, he proceeded:
"The Peace Democracy, and mere Party-hacks in the North, are fulfilling their masters' expectations industriously, unceasingly, and as far as in them lies. Not even the shouts for victory, in these Halls, can divert their Southern allies here. A sullen gloom at the defeat and discomfiture of their Southern brethren settles down on their disastrous countenances, from which no ray of joy can be reflected. * * * They even vote solid against a law to punish guerrillas.
"Sir," continued he, "in my judgment, many of those who withhold from their Country the support they would otherwise give, find allegiance to Party too strong for their patriotism. * * * Rejecting the example and counsels of Stanton and Dickinson and Butler and Douglas and Dix and Holt and Andrew Johnson and Logan and Rosecrans and Grant and a host of others, all Democrats of the straightest sect, to forget all other ties, and cleave only to their Country for their Country's sake, and rejecting the overtures and example of the Republican Party to drop and forget their Party name, that all might unite and band together for their Country's salvation as Union men, they turn a deaf ear and cold shoulder, and sullenly pass by on the other side, thanking God they are not as other men are, and lend, if at all, a calculating, qualified, and conditional and halting support, under protest, to their Country's cause; thus justifying the only hope of the Rebellion to-day, that Party spirit at the North will distract its counsels, divide and discourage and palsy its efforts, and ultimately make way for the Traitor and the parricide to do their worst."
Besides the set speeches made against the proposed Constitutional amendment in the House, Peace-Democrats of the Senate continued to keep up a running fire at it in that Chamber, on every possible occasion. Garrett Davis was especially garrulous on the subject, and also launched the thunders of his wrath at the President quite frequently and even vindictively. For instance, speaking in the Senate—[May 31,1864,]—of the right of Property in Slaves; said he:
"This new-born heresy 'Military Necessity,' as President Lincoln claims, and exercises it, is the sum of all political and Military villainies * * * and it is no less absurd than it is villainous. * * * The man has never spoken or lived who can prove by any provision of the Constitution, or by any principle, or by any argument to be deduced logically and fairly from it, that he has any such power as this vast, gigantic, all-conquering and all-crushing power of Military Necessity which he has the audacity to claim.
"This modern Emperor, this Tiberius, a sort of a Tiberius, and his Sejanus, a sort of a Sejanus, the head of the War Department, are organizing daily their Military Courts to try civilians. * * *
"Sir, I want one labor of love before I die. I want the President of the United States, I want his Secretary of War, I want some of his high officers in Military command to bring a civilian to a Military execution, and me to have the proud privilege of prosecuting them for murder. * * * I want the law and its just retribution to be visited upon these great delinquents.
"I would sooner, if I had the power, bring about such an atonement as that, than I would even put down the Rebellion. It would be a greater victory in favor of Freedom and Constitutional Liberty, a thousand-fold, of all the People of America besides, than the subjugation of the Rebel States could possibly be."
But there seemed to be no end to the' attacks upon the Administration, made, in both Houses, by these peculiar Peace-Democrats. Union blood might flow in torrents on the fields of the rebellious South, atrocities innumerable might be committed by the Rebels, cold-blooded massacres of Blacks and Whites, as at Fort Pillow, might occur without rebuke from them; but let the Administration even dare to sneeze, and—woe to the Administration.
It was not the Thirteenth Amendment only, that they assailed, but everything else which the Administration thought might help it in its effort to put down the Rebellion. Nor was it so much their malignant activity in opposition to any one measure intended to strengthen the hands of the Union, but to all such measures; and superadded to this was the incessant bringing forward, in both Houses of Congress, by these restless Rebel-sympathizers, of Peace-Resolutions, the mere presentation of which would be, and were, construed by the Rebel authorities at Richmond, as evidences of a weakening.
Even some of the best of the Peace-Democrats, like S. S. Cox, for instance, not only assailed the Tariff—under which the Union Republican Party sought to protect and build up American Industry, as well as to raise as much revenue as possible to help meet the enormous current expenditures of the Government—but also denounced our great paper-money system, which alone enabled us to secure means to meet all deficiencies in the revenues otherwise obtained, and thus to ultimately conquer the hosts of Rebellion.
He declared (June 2, 1864) that "The People are the victims of the joint-robbery of a system of bounties under the guise of duties, and of an inconvertible and depreciated paper currency under the guise of money," and added: "No man is now so wise and gifted that he can save this Nation from bankruptcy. * * * No borrowing system can save us. The scheme of making greenbacks a legal tender, which enabled the debtor to cheat his creditor, thereby playing the old game of kingcraft, to debase the currency in order to aid the designs of despotism, may float us for a while amidst the fluctuations and bubbles of the day; but as no one possesses the power to repeal the Law of the Almighty, which decrees (and as our Constitution has established) that gold and silver shall be the standard of value in the World, so they will ever thus remain, notwithstanding the legislation of Congress."
Not satisfied with this sort of "fire in the rear," it was attempted by means of Democratic Free-Trade and antipaper-currency sophistries, to arouse jealousies, heart-burnings and resentful feelings in the breasts of those living in different parts of the Union—to implant bitter Sectional antagonisms and implacable resentments between the Eastern States, on the one hand, and the Western States, on the other—and thus, by dividing, to weaken the Loyal Union States.
That this was the cold-blooded purpose of all who pursued this course, would no doubt be warmly denied by some of them; but the fact remains no less clear, that the effect of that course, whether so intended or not, was to give aid and comfort to the Enemy at that critical time when the Nation most needed all the men, money, and moral as well as material support, it was possible to get, to put an end to the bloody Rebellion, now—under the continuous poundings of Grant's Army upon that of Lee in Virginia, and the advance of Sherman's Army upon that of Johnston in Georgia—tottering to its overthrow. Thus this same speaker (S. S. Cox), in his untimely speech, undertook to divide the Union-loving States "into two great classes: the Protected States and the Unprotected States;" and—having declared that "The Manufacturing States, mainly the New England States and Pennsylvania, are the Protected States," and "The Agricultural States," mainly the eleven Western States, which he named, "are the Unprotected States"—proceeded to intemperately and violently arraign New England, and especially Massachusetts, in the same way that had years before been adopted by the old Conspirators of the South when they sought—alas, too successfully!—to inflame the minds of Southern citizens to a condition of unreasoning frenzy which made attempted Nullification and subsequent armed Rebellion and Secession possible.
Well might the thoroughly loyal Grinnell, of Iowa—after exposing what he termed the "sophistry of figures" by which Mr. Cox had seen fit "to misrepresent and traduce" the Western States-exclaim: "Sir, I have no words which I can use to execrate sufficiently such language, in arraying the Sections in opposition during a time of War; as if we were not one People, descended from one stock, having one interest, and bound up in one destiny!"
The damage that might have been done to the Union Cause by such malignant Democratic attacks upon the National unity and strength, may be imagined when we reflect that at this very time the annual expenses of our Government were over $600,000,000, and growing still larger; and that $1.90 in legal tender notes of the United States was worth but $1.00 in gold, with a downward tendency. Said stern old Thaddeus Stevens, alluding on this occasion, to Statesmanship of the peculiar stamp of the Coxes and Fernando Woods: "He who in this time will pursue such a course of argument for the mere sake of party, can never hope to be ranked among Statesmen; nay, Sir, he will not even rise to the dignity of a respectable Demagogue!"
Within a week after this, (June 9, 1864), we find in the Senate also, similarly insidious attacks upon the strength of the Government, made by certain Northern Democrats, who never tired of undermining Loyalty, and creating and spreading discontent among the People. The Bill then up, for consideration, was one "to prohibit the discharge of persons from liability to Military duty, by reason of the payment of money."
In the terribly bloody Campaign that had now been entered upon by Grant —in the West, under Sherman, and in the East, under his own personal eye—it was essential to send to the front, every man possible. Hence the necessity for a Bill of this sort, which moreover provided, in order as far as possible to popularize conscription, that all calls for drafts theretofore made under the Enrolling Act of March 3, 1863, should be for not over one year's service, etc.
This furnished the occasion for Mr. Hendricks, among other Peace Democrats, to make opposing speeches. He, it seems, had all along been opposed to drafting Union soldiers; and because, during the previous Winter, the Senate had been unwilling to abolish the clause permitting a drafted man to pay a commutation of $300 (with which money a substitute could be procured) instead of himself going, at a time when men were not quite so badly needed as now, therefore Mr. Hendricks pretended to think it very strange and unjustifiable that now, when everything depended on getting every possible man in the field, the Senate should think of "abandoning that which it thought right last Winter!"
He opposed drafting; but if drafting must be resorted to, then he thought that what he termed "the Horror of the Draft" should be felt by as many of the Union people as possible!—or, in his own words: "the Horror of the Draft ought to be divided among the People." As if this were not sufficient to conjure dreadful imaginings, he added: "if one set of men are drafted this year to serve twelve months, and they have to go because the power of the Government makes them go, whether they can go well or not, then at the end of the year their neighbors should be subjected to the same Horror, and let this dreadful demand upon the service, upon the blood, and upon the life of the People be distributed upon all."
And, in order apparently to still further intensify public feeling against all drafting, and sow the seeds of dissatisfaction in the hearts of those drafted at this critical time, when the fate of the Union and of Republican Government palpably depended upon conscription, he added: "It is not so right to say to twenty men in a neighborhood: 'You shall go; you shall leave your families whether you can or not; you shall go without the privilege of commutation whether you leave starving wives and children behind you or not,' and then say to every other man of the neighborhood: 'Because we have taken these twenty men for three years, you shall remain with your wives and children safely and comfortably at home for these three years.' I like this feature of the amendment, because it distributes the Horror of the Draft more equally and justly over the whole People."
Not satisfied with rolling the "Horror of the Draft" so often and trippingly over his tongue, he also essayed the role of Prophet in the interest of the tottering god of Slavery. "The People," said he, "expect great results from this Campaign; and when another year comes rolling around, and it is found that this War is not closed, and that there is no reasonable probability of its early close, my colleague (Lane) and other Senators who agree with him will find that the People will say that this effusion of blood must stop; that THERE MUST BE SOME ADJUSTMENT. I PROPHESY THIS."
And, as a further declaration likely to give aid and comfort to the Rebel leaders, he said: "I do not believe many men are going to be obtained by a draft; I do not believe a very good Army will be got by a draft; I do not believe an Army will be put in the field, by a draft, that will whip General Lee."
But while all such statements were, no doubt, intended to help the foes of the Union, and dishearten or dismay its friends, the really loyal People, understanding their fell object, paid little heed to them. The predictions of these Prophets of evil fell flat upon the ears of lovers of their Country. Conspirators, however much they might masquerade in the raiment of Loyalty, could not wholly conceal the ear-marks of Treason. The hand might be the hand of Esau, but the voice was the voice of Jacob.
On the 8th of June—after a month of terrific and bloody fighting between the immediate forces of Grant and Lee—a dispatch from Sherman, just received at Washington, was read to the House of Representatives, which said: "The Enemy is not in our immediate front, but his signals are seen at Lost Mountain, and Kenesaw." So, at the same time, at the National Capital, while the friends of the Union there, were not immediately confronted with an armed Enemy, yet the signals of his Allies could be seen, and their fire upon our rear could be heard, daily and almost hourly, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The fight in the House, upon the Thirteenth Amendment, now seemed indeed, to be reaching a climax. During the whole of June 14th, until midnight, speech after speech on the subject, followed each other in rapid succession. Among the opposition speeches, perhaps those of Fernando Wood and Holman were most notable for extravagant and unreasoning denunciation of the Administration and Party in power—whose every effort was put forth, and strained at this very time to the utmost, to save the Union.
Holman, for instance, declared that, "Of all the measures of this disastrous Administration, each in its turn producing new calamities, this attempt to tamper with the Constitution threatens the most permanent injury." He enumerated the chief measures of the Administration during its three and a half years of power-among them the Emancipation Proclamation, the arming of the Blacks, and what he sneeringly termed "their pet system of finance" which was to "sustain the public credit for infinite years," but which "even now," said he, "totters to its fall!" And then, having succeeded in convincing himself of Republican failure, he exultingly exclaimed: "But why enumerate? What measure of this Administration has failed to be fatal! Every step in your progress has been a mistake. I use the mildest terms of censure!"
Fernando Wood, in his turn also, "mildly" remarked upon Republican policy as "the bloody and brutal policy of the Administration Party." He considered this "the crisis of the fate of the Union;" declared that Slavery was "the best possible condition to insure the happiness of the Negro race"—a position which, on the following day, he "reaffirmed" —and characterized those members of the Democratic Party who saw Treason in the ways and methods and expressions of Peace Democrats of his own stamp, as a "pack of political jackals known as War Democrats."
On the 15th of June, Farnsworth made a reply to Ross—who had claimed to be friendly to the Union soldier—in which the former handled the Democratic Party without gloves. "What," said he, referring to Mr. Ross, "has been the course of that gentleman and his Party on this floor in regard to voting supplies to the Army? What has been their course in regard to raising money to pay the Army? His vote will be found recorded in almost every instance against the Appropriation Bills, against ways and means for raising money to pay the Army. It is only a week ago last Monday, that a Bill was introduced here to punish guerrillas * * * and how did my colleague vote? Against the Bill.* * * On the subject of arming Slaves, of putting Negroes into the Army, how has my colleague and his Party voted? Universally against it. They would strip from the backs of these Black soldiers, now in the service of the Country, their uniforms, and would send them back to Slavery with chains and manacles. And yet they are the friends of the soldier!"* * * "On the vote to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law, how did that (Democratic) side of the House vote? Does not the Fugitive Slave Law affect the Black soldier in the Army who was a Slave? That side of the House are in favor of continuing the Fugitive Slave Law, and of disbanding Colored troops. How did that side of the House vote on the question of arming Slaves and paying them as soldiers? They voted against it. They are in favor of disbanding the Colored regiments, and, armed with the Fugitive Slave Law, sending them back to their masters!"
He took occasion also to meet various Democratic arguments against the Resolution,—among them, one, hinging on the alleged right of Property in Slaves. This was a favorite idea with the Border-State men especially, that Slaves were Property—mere chattels as it were,—and, only the day before, a Northern man, Coffroth of Pennsylvania, had said:
"Sir, we should pause before proceeding any further in this Unconstitutional and censurable legislation. The mere abolition of Slavery is not my cause of complaint. I care not whether Slavery is retained or abolished by the people of the States in which it exists —the only rightful authority. The question to me is, has Congress a right to take from the people of the South their Property; or, in other words, having no pecuniary interest therein, are we justified in freeing the Slave-property of others? Can we Abolish Slavery in the Loyal State of Kentucky against her will? If this Resolution should pass, and be ratified by three-fourths of the States—States already Free—and Kentucky refuses to ratify it, upon what principle of right or law would we be justified in taking this Slave-property of the people of Kentucky? Would it be less than stealing?"
And Farnsworth met this idea—which had also been advanced by Messrs. Ross, Fernando Wood, and Pruyn—by saying: "What constitutes property? I know it is said by some gentlemen on the other side, that what the statute makes property, is property. I deny it. What 'vested right' has any man or State in Property in Man? We of the North hold property, not by virtue of statute law, not by virtue of enactments. Our property consists in lands, in chattels, in things. Our property was made property by Jehovah when He gave Man dominion over it. But nowhere did He give dominion of Man over Man. Our title extends back to the foundation of the World. That constitutes property. There is where we get our title. There is where we get our 'vested rights' to property."
Touching the ethics of Slavery, Mr. Arnold's speech on the same occasion was also able, and in parts eloquent, as where he said: 'Slavery is to-day an open enemy striking at the heart of the Republic. It is the soul and body, the spirit and motive of the Rebellion. It is Slavery which marshals yonder Rebel hosts, which confront the patriot Armies of Grant and Sherman. It is the savage spirit of this barbarous Institution which starves the Union prisoners at Richmond, which assassinates them at Fort Pillow, which murders the wounded on the field of battle, and which fills up the catalogue of wrong and outrage which mark the conduct of the Rebels during all this War.
"In view of all the long catalogue of wrongs which Slavery has inflicted upon the Country, I demand to-day, of the Congress of the United States, the death of African Slavery. We can have no permanent Peace, while Slavery lives. It now reels and staggers toward its last death-struggle. Let us strike the monster this last decisive blow."
And, after appealing to both Border-State men, and Democrats of the Free States, not to stay the passage of this Resolution which "will strike the Rebellion at the heart," he continued: "Gentlemen may flatter themselves with a restoration of the Slave-power in this Country. 'The Union as it was!' It is a dream, never again to be realized. The America of the past, has gone forever. A new Nation is to be born from the agony through which the People are now passing. This new Nation is to be wholly Free. Liberty, Equality before the Law, is to be the great Corner-stone."
So, too, Mr. Ingersoll eloquently said—among many other good things: —"It is well to eradicate an evil. That Slavery is an evil, no sane, honest man will deny. It has been the great curse of this Country from its infancy to the present hour, And now that the States in Rebellion have given the Loyal States the opportunity to take off that curse, to wipe away the foul stain, I say let it be done. We owe it to ourselves; we owe it to posterity; we owe it to the Slaves themselves to exterminate Slavery forever by the adoption of the proposed Amendment to the Constitution. * * * I believe Slavery is the mother of this Rebellion, that this Rebellion can be attributed to no other cause but Slavery; from that it derived its life, and gathers its strength to-day. Destroy the mother, and the child dies. Destroy the cause, and the effect will disappear.
"Slavery has ever been the enemy of liberal principles. It has ever been the friend of ignorance, prejudice, and all the unlawful, savage, and detestable passions which proceed therefrom. It has ever been domineering, arrogant, exacting, and overbearing. It has claimed to be a polished aristocrat, when in reality it has only been a coarse, swaggering, and brutal boor. It has ever claimed to be a gentleman, when in reality it has ever been a villain. I think it is high time to clip its overgrown pretensions, strip it of its mask, and expose it, in all its hideous deformity, to the detestation of all honest and patriotic men."
After Mr. Samuel J. Randall had, at a somewhat later hour, pathetically and poetically invoked the House, in its collective unity, as a "Woodman," to "spare that tree" of the Constitution, and to "touch not a single bough," because, among other reasons, "in youth it sheltered" him; and furthermore, because "the time" was "most inopportune;" and, after Mr. Rollins, of Missouri, had made a speech, which he afterward suppressed; Mr. Pendleton closed the debate in an able effort, from his point of view, in which he objected to the passage of the Joint Resolution because "the time is not auspicious;" because, said he, "it is impossible that the Amendment proposed, should be ratified without a fraudulent use of the power to admit new States, or a fraudulent use of the Military power of the Federal Government in the Seceded States," —and, said he, "if you should attempt to amend the Constitution by such means, what binding obligation would it have?"
He objected, also, because "the States cannot, under the pretense of amending the Constitution, subvert the structure, spirit, and theory of this Government." "But," said he, "if this Amendment were within the Constitutional power of amendment; if this were a proper time to consider it; if three-fourths of the States were willing to ratify it; and if it did not require the fraudulent use of power, either in this House or in the Executive Department, to secure its adoption, I would still resist the passage of this Resolution. It is another step toward consolidation, and consolidation is Despotism; confederation is Liberty."
It was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon of June 15th, that the House came to a vote, on the passage of the Joint Resolution. At first the strain of anxiety on both sides was great, but, as the roll proceeded, it soon became evident that the Resolution was doomed to defeat. And so it transpired. The vote stood 93 yeas, to 65 nays—Mr. Ashley having changed his vote, from the affirmative to the negative, for the purpose of submitting, at the proper time, a motion to reconsider.
That same evening, Mr. Ashley made the motion to reconsider the vote by which the proposed Constitutional Amendment was rejected; and the motion was duly entered in the Journal, despite the persistent efforts of Messrs. Cox, Holman, and others, to prevent it.
On the 28th of June, just prior to the Congressional Recess, Mr. Ashley announced that he had been disappointed in the hope of securing enough votes from the Democratic side of the House to carry the Amendment. "Those," said he, "who ought to have been the champions of this great proposition are unfortunately its strongest opponents. They have permitted the golden opportunity to pass. The record is made up, and we must go to the Country on this issue thus presented." And then he gave notice that he would call the matter up, at the earliest possible moment after the opening of the December Session of Congress.
SLAVERY DOOMED AT THE POLLS.
The record was indeed made up, and the issue thus made, between Slavery and Freedom, would be the chief one before the People. Already the Republican National Convention, which met at Baltimore, June 7, 1864, had not only with "enthusiastic unanimity," renominated Mr. Lincoln for the Presidency, but amid "tremendous applause," the delegates rising and waving their hats—had adopted a platform which declared, in behalf of that great Party: "That, as Slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength, of this Rebellion, and as it must be, always and everywhere, hostile to the principles of Republican government, Justice and the National safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic; and that while we uphold and maintain the Acts and Proclamations by which the Government, in its own defense, has aimed a death-blow at this gigantic evil, we are in favor, furthermore, of such an Amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the People in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and forever prohibit the existence of Slavery within the limits or the jurisdiction of the United States."
So, too, with vociferous plaudits, had they received and adopted another Resolution, wherein they declared "That we approve and applaud the practical wisdom, the unselfish patriotism and the unswerving fidelity to the Constitution and the principles of American Liberty, with which Abraham Lincoln has discharged, under circumstances of unparalleled difficulty, the great duties and responsibilities of the Presidential Office; that we approve and endorse, as demanded by the emergency, and essential to the preservation of the Nation, and as within the provisions of the Constitution; the Measures and Acts which he has adopted to defend the Nation against its open and secret foes; that we approve, especially, the Proclamation of Emancipation, and the employment, as Union soldiers, of men heretofore held in Slavery; and that we have full confidence in his determination to carry these and all other Constitutional Measures essential to the salvation of the Country, into full and complete effect."
Thus heartily, thoroughly and unreservedly, endorsed in all the great acts of his Administration—and even more emphatically, if possible, in his Emancipation policy—by the unanimous vote of his Party, Mr. Lincoln, although necessarily "chagrined and disappointed" by the House-vote which had defeated the Thirteenth Amendment, might well feel undismayed. He always had implicit faith in the People; he felt sure that they would sustain him; and this done, why could not the votes of a dozen, out of the seventy Congressional Representatives opposing that Amendment, be changed? Even failing in this, it must be but a question of time. He thought he could afford to bide that time.
On the 29th of August, the Democratic National Convention met at Chicago. Horatio Seymour was its permanent President; that same Governor of New York whom the 4th of July, 1863, almost at the moment when Vicksburg and Gettysburg had brought great encouragement to the Union cause, and when public necessity demanded the enforcement of the Draft in order to drive the Rebel invader from Northern soil and bring the Rebellion speedily to an end—had threateningly said to the Republicans, in the course of a public speech, during the Draft-riots at New York City: "Remember this, that the bloody, and treasonable, and revolutionary doctrine of public necessity can be proclaimed by a mob as well as by a Government. * * * When men accept despotism, they may have a choice as to who the despot shall be!"
In his speech to this Democratic-Copperhead National Convention, therefore, it is not surprising that he should, at this time, declare that "this Administration cannot now save this Union, if it would." That the body which elected such a presiding officer,—after the bloody series of glorious Union victories about Atlanta, Ga., then fast leading up to the fall of that great Rebel stronghold, (which event actually occurred long before most of these Democratic delegates, on their return, could even reach their homes)—should adopt a Resolution declaring that the War was a "failure," was not surprising either.
That Resolution—"the material resolution of the Chicago platform," as Vallandigham afterward characters it, was written and "carried through both the Subcommittee and the General Committee" by that Arch-Copperhead and Conspirator himself.—[See his letter of October 22, 1864, to the editor of the New York News,]
It was in these words: "Resolved, That this Convention does explicitly declare as the sense of the American People, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of War, during which, under the pretense of a military necessity, or War-power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public Liberty and private right alike trodden down and the material prosperity of the Country essentially impaired—Justice, Humanity, Liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate Convention of the States, or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment Peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States."
With a Copperhead platform, this Democratic Convention thought it politic to have a Union candidate for the Presidency. Hence, the nomination of General McClellan; but to propitiate the out-and-out Vallandigham Peace men, Mr. Pendleton was nominated to the second place on the ticket.
This combination was almost as great a blunder as was the platform—than which nothing could have been worse. Farragut's Naval victory at Mobile, and Sherman's capture of Atlanta, followed so closely upon the adjournment of the Convention as to make its platform and candidates the laughing stock of the Nation; and all the efforts of Democratic orators, and of McClellan himself, in his letter of acceptance, could not prevent the rise of that great tidal-wave of Unionism which was soon to engulf the hosts of Copperhead-Democracy.
The Thanksgiving-services in the churches, and the thundering salutes of 100 guns from every Military and Naval post in the United States, which —during the week succeeding that Convention's sitting—betokened the Nation's especial joy and gratitude to the victorious Union Forces of Sherman and Farragut for their fortuitously-timed demonstration that the "experiment of War" for the restoration of the Union was anything but a "Failure" all helped to add to the proportions of that rapidly-swelling volume of loyal public feeling.
The withdrawal from the canvass, of General Fremont, nominated for the Presidency by the "radical men of the Nation," at Cleveland, also contributed to it. In his letter of withdrawal, September 17th, he said:
"The Presidential contest has, in effect, been entered upon in such a way that the union of the Republican Party has become a paramount necessity. The policy of the Democratic Party signifies either separation, or reestablishment with Slavery. The Chicago platform is simply separation. General McClellan's letter of acceptance is reestablishment, with Slavery. The Republican candidate is, on the contrary, pledged to the reestablishment of the Union without Slavery; and, however hesitating his policy may be, the pressure of his Party will, we may hope, force him to it. Between these issues, I think no man of the Liberal Party can remain in doubt."
And now, following the fall of Atlanta before Sherman's Forces, Grant had stormed "Fort Hell," in front of Petersburg; Sheridan had routed the Rebels, under Early, at Winchester, and had again defeated Early at Fisher's Hill; Lee had been repulsed in his attack on Grant's works at Petersburg; and Allatoona had been made famous, by Corse and his 2,000 Union men gallantly repulsing the 5,000 men of Hood's Rebel Army, who had completely surrounded and attacked them in front, flank, and rear.
All these Military successes for the Union Cause helped the Union political campaign considerably, and, when supplemented by the remarkable results of the October elections in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Maryland, made the election of Lincoln and Johnson a foregone conclusion.
The sudden death of Chief-Justice Taney, too, happening, by a strange coincidence, simultaneously with the triumph of the Union Party of Maryland in carrying the new Constitution of that State, which prohibited Slavery within her borders, seemed to have a significance* not without its effect upon the public mind, now fast settling down to the belief that Slavery everywhere upon the soil of the United States must die.
[Greeley well said of it: "His death, at this moment, seemed to mark the transition from the Era of Slavery to that of Universal Freedom."]
Then came, October 19th, the Battle of Cedar Creek, Va. where the Rebel General Early, during Sheridan's absence, surprised and defeated the latter's forces, until Sheridan, riding down from Winchester, turned defeat into victory for the Union Arms, and chased the armed Rebels out of the Shenandoah Valley forever; and the fights of October 27th and 28th, to the left of Grant's position, at Petersburg, by which the railroad communications of Lee's Army at Richmond were broken up.
At last, November 8, 1864, dawned the eventful day of election. By midnight of that date it was generally believed, all over the Union, that Lincoln and Johnson were overwhelmingly elected, and that the Life as well as Freedom of the Nation had thus been saved by the People.
Late that very night, President Lincoln was serenaded by a Pennsylvania political club, and, in responding to the compliment, modestly said:
"I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's work (if it be as you assure, and as now seems probable) will be to the lasting advantage, if not to the very salvation, of the Country. I cannot at this hour say what has been the result of the election. But whatever it may be, I have no desire to modify this opinion, that all who have labored to-day in behalf of the Union organization have wrought for the best interests of their Country and the World, not only for the present but for all future ages.
"I am thankful to God," continued he, "for this approval of the People; but, while deeply gratified for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one; but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the People's resolution to stand by Free Government and the rights of Humanity."
On the 10th of November, in response to another serenade given at the White House, in the presence of an immense and jubilantly enthusiastic gathering of Union men, by the Republican clubs of the District of Columbia, Mr. Lincoln said:
"It has long been a grave question whether any Government, not too strong for the Liberties of its People, can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emergencies. On this point the present Rebellion has brought our Republic to a severe test, and a Presidential election, occurring in regular course during the Rebellion, has added not a little to the strain. * * * But the election, along with its incidental and undesired strife, has done good, too. It has demonstrated that a People's Government can sustain a National election in the midst of a great Civil War, until now it has not been known to the World that this was a possibility. It shows, also, how sound and how strong we still are.
"But," said he, "the Rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common effort to save our common Country?
"For my own part," continued he—as the cheering, elicited by this forcible appeal, ceased—"I have striven, and shall strive, to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom. While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a reelection, and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result."
And, as the renewed cheering evoked by this kindly, Christian utterance died away again, he impressively added: "May I ask those who have not differed with me, to join with me in this same spirit, towards those who have?"
So, too, on the 17th of November, in his response to the complimentary address of a delegation of Union men from Maryland.
[W. H. Purnell, Esq., in behalf of the Committee, delivered an address, in which he said they rejoiced that the People, by such an overwhelming and unprecedented majority, had again reelected Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency and endorsed his course—elevating him to the proudest and most honorable position on Earth. They felt under deep obligation to him because he had appreciated their condition as a Slave-State. It was not too much to say that by the exercise of rare discretion on his part, Maryland to-day occupies her position in favor of Freedom. Slavery has been abolished therefrom by the Sovereign Decree of the People. With deep and lasting gratitude they desired that his Administration, as it had been approved in the past, might also be successful in the future, and result in the Restoration of the Union, with Freedom as its immutable basis. They trusted that, on retiring from his high and honorable position, the universal verdict might be that he deserved well of mankind, and that favoring Heaven might 'Crown his days with loving kindness and tender mercies.']
The same kindly anxiety to soften and dispel the feeling of bitterness that had been engendered in the malignant bosoms of the Copperhead-Democracy by their defeat, was apparent when he said with emphasis and feeling:
"I have said before, and now repeat, that I indulge in no feeling of triumph over any man who has thought or acted differently from myself. I have no such feeling toward any living man;" and again, after complimenting Maryland for doing "more than double her share" in the elections, in that she had not only carried the Republican ticket, but also the Free Constitution, he added: "Those who have differed with us and opposed us will yet see that the result of the Presidential election is better for their own good than if they had been successful."
The victory of the Union-Republican Party at this election was an amazing one, and in the words of General Grant's dispatch of congratulation to the President, the fact of its "having passed off quietly" was, in itself, "a victory worth more to the Country than a battle won,"—for the Copperheads had left no stone unturned in their efforts to create the utmost possible rancor, in the minds of their partisans, against the Administration and its Party.
Of twenty-five States voting, Lincoln and Johnson had carried the electoral votes of twenty-two of them, viz.: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Oregon, Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada; while McClellan and Pendleton had carried the twenty-one electoral votes of the remaining three, viz.: New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky—the popular vote reaching the enormous number of 2,216,067 for Lincoln, to 1,808,725 for McClellan—making Lincoln's popular majority 407,342, and his electoral majority 191!
But if the figures upon the Presidential candidacy were so gratifying and surprising to all who held the cause of Union above all others, no less gratifying and surprising were those of the Congressional elections, which indicated an entire revulsion of popular feeling on the subject of the Administration's policy. For, while in the current Congress (the 38th), there were only 106 Republican-Union to 77 Democratic Representatives, in that for which the elections had just been held, (the 39th), there would be 143 Republican-Union to 41 Democratic Representatives.
It was at once seen, therefore, that, should the existing House of Representatives fail to adopt the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, there would be much more than the requisite two-thirds majority for such a Measure in both Houses of the succeeding Congress; and moreover that in the event of its failure at the coming Session, it was more than probable that President Lincoln would consider himself justified in calling an Extra Session of the Thirty-ninth Congress for the especial purpose of taking such action. So far then, as the prospects of the Thirteenth Amendment were concerned, they looked decidedly more encouraging.
FREEDOM AT LAST ASSURED.
As to the Military situation, a few words are, at this time, necessary: Hood had now marched Northward, with some 50,000 men, toward Nashville, Tenn., while Sherman, leaving Thomas and some 35,000 men behind, to thwart him, had abandoned his base, and was marching Southward from Atlanta, through Georgia, toward the Sea.
On the 30th of November, 1864, General Schofield, in command of the 4th and 23rd Corps of Thomas's Army, decided to make a stand against Hood's Army, at Franklin, in the angle of the Harpeth river, in order to give time for the Union supply-trains to cross the river. Here, with less than 20,000 Union troops, behind some hastily constructed works, he had received the impetuous and overwhelming assault of the Enemy—at first so successful as to threaten a bloody and disastrous rout to the Union troops—and, by a brilliant counter-charge, and subsequent obstinate defensive-fighting, had repulsed the Rebel forces, with nearly three times the Union losses, and withdrew the next day in safety to the defenses of Nashville.
A few days later, Hood, with his diminished Rebel Army, sat down before the lines of Thomas's somewhat augmented Army, which stretched from bank to bank of the bight of the Cumberland river upon which Nashville is situated.
And now a season of intense cold set in, lasting a week or ten days. During this period of apparent inaction on both sides—which aroused public apprehension in the North, and greatly disturbed General Grant—I was ordered to City Point, by the General-in-Chief, with a view to his detailing me to Thomas's Command, at Nashville.
On the way, I called on President Lincoln, at the White House. I found him not very well, and with his feet considerably swollen. He was sitting on a chair, with his feet resting on a table, while a barber was shaving him. Shaking him by the hand, and asking after his health, he answered, with a humorous twinkle of the eye, that he would illustrate his condition by telling me a story. Said he: "Two of my neighbors, on a certain occasion, swapped horses. One of these horses was large, but quite thin. A few days after, on inquiry being made of the man who had the big boney horse, how the animal was getting along?—whether improving or not?—the owner said he was doing finely; that he had fattened almost up to the knees already!"
Afterward—when, the process of shaving had been completed, we passed to another room—our conversation naturally turned upon the War; and his ideas upon all subjects connected with it were as clear as those of any other person with whom I ever talked. He had an absolute conviction as to the ultimate outcome of the War—the final triumph of the Union Arms; and I well remember, with what an air of complete relief and perfect satisfaction he said to me, referring to Grant—"We have now at the head of the Armies, a man in whom all the People can have confidence."
But to return to Military operations: On December 10th? Sherman reached the sea-board and commenced the siege of Savannah, Georgia; on the 13th, Fort McAllister was stormed and Sherman's communications opened with the Sea; on the 15th and 16th, the great Battle of Nashville was fought, between the Armies of Thomas and Hood, and a glorious victory gained by the Union Arms—Hood's Rebel forces being routed, pursued for days, and practically dispersed; and, before the year ended, Savannah surrendered, and was presented to the Nation, as "a Christmas gift," by Sherman.
And now the last Session of the Thirty-eighth Congress having commenced, the Thirteenth Amendment might at any time come up again in the House. In his fourth and last Annual Message, just sent in to that Body, President Lincoln had said:
"At the last Session of Congress a proposed Amendment of the Constitution abolishing Slavery throughout the United States, passed the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress, and nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present Session. Of course the abstract question is not changed; but an intervening election shows, almost certainly, that the next Congress will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to when the proposed Amendment will go to, the States for their action. And as it is to so go, at all, events, may we not agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a duty on members to change their views or their votes, any farther than, as an additional element to be considered, their judgment may be affected by it. It is the voice of the People now, for the first time, heard upon the question. In a great National crisis like ours, unanimity of action among those seeking a common end is very desirable—almost indispensable. And yet no approach to such unanimity is attainable unless some deference shall be paid to the will of the majority simply because it is the will of the majority. In this case the common end is the maintenance of the Union; and, among the means to secure that end, such will, through the election, is most clearly declared in favor of such Constitutional Amendment."
After affirming that, on the subject of the preservation of the Union, the recent elections had shown the existence of "no diversity among the People;" that "we have more men now than we had when the War began;" that "we are gaining strength" in all ways; and that, after the evidences given by Jefferson Davis of his unchangeable opposition to accept anything short of severance from the Union, "no attempt at negotiation with the Insurgent leader could result in any good," he appealed to the other Insurgents to come back to the fold—the door of amnesty and pardon, being still "open to all." But, he continued:
"In presenting the abandonment of armed resistance to the National Authority, on the part of the Insurgents, as the only indispensable condition to ending the War, on the part of the Government, I retract nothing heretofore said as to Slavery. I repeat the declaration made a year ago, that 'while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I return to Slavery any Person who is Free by the terms of that Proclamation, or by any of the Acts of Congress.' If the People should, by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty to Reenslave such Persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it. In stating a single condition of Peace I mean simply to say that the War will cease on the part of the Government, whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who began it."
On the 22d of December, 1864, in accordance with the terms of a Concurrent Resolution that had passed both Houses, Congress adjourned until January 5, 1865. During the Congressional Recess, however, Mr. Lincoln, anxious for the fate of the Thirteenth Amendment, exerted himself, as it afterward appeared, to some purpose, in its behalf, by inviting private conferences with him, at the White House, of such of the Border-State and other War-Democratic Representatives as had before voted against the measure, but whose general character gave him ground for hoping that they might not be altogether deaf to the voice of reason and patriotism.
[Among those for whom he sent was Mr. Rollins, of Missouri, who afterward gave the following interesting account of the interview:
"The President had several times in my presence expressed his deep anxiety in favor of the passage of this great measure. He and others had repeatedly counted votes in order to ascertain, as far as they could, the strength of the measure upon a second trial in the House. He was doubtful about its passage, and some ten days or two weeks before it came up for consideration in the House, I received a note from him, written in pencil on a card, while sitting at my desk in the House, stating that he wished to see me, and asking that I call on him at the White House. I responded that I would be there the next morning at nine o'clock.