President Lincoln pushes for Compensated Emancipation of Slaves

July 14, 1862

President Lincoln proposes bill for compensated emancipation.   His draft legislation that he transmits to the Senate and House of Representatives:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That whenever the President of the United States shall be satisfied that any State shall have lawfully abolished slavery within and throughout such State, either immediately, or gradually, it shall be the duty of the President, assisted by the Secretary of the Treasury, to prepare and deliver to such State, an amount equal to the aggregate value, at –  dollars per head, of all the slaves within such State, as reported by the census of the year On thousand, eight hundred and sixty–the whole amount for any one State, to be delivered at once, if the abolishment be immediate, or, in equal annual instalments, if it be gradual–interest to begin running on equal annual instalments, if it be gradual–interest to begin running on each bond at the time of it’s delivery, and not before.

And be it further enacted, That if any State, having so received any such bonds, shall at any time afterwards, by law, reintroduce, or tolerate slavery within it’s limits, contrary to the act of abolishment, upon which such bonds shall have been received, said bonds, so received by said State, shall at once be null and void in whosoever hands they may be, and such State shall refund to the United States, all interest which may have been paid on such bonds.

The day after he had talked with Secretaries Welles and Seward about emancipation, President Lincoln meets with two Illinois congressman at the Soldiers Home where the Lincoln family stayed during the summer.  He complained to Congressman Owen Lovejoy and Isaac Arnold about the failure of his meeting with congressmen from the Border States: “Oh, how I wish the border states would accept my proposition.  Then, you, Lovejoy, and you, Arnold, and all of us, would not have lived in vain!  The labor of your life, Lovejoy, would be crowned with success.”

The new commander of the Army of Virginia, General John Pope, issued a highly controversial message to soldiers in his new command – suggesting that he will conduct the military command in a manner much different from that of General George B. McClellan:

By special assignment of the President of the United States I have assumed the command of this army.  I have spent two weeks in learning your whereabouts, your condition, and your wants, in preparing you for active operations, and in placing you in positions from which you can act promptly and to the purpose.  These labors are nearly completed, and I am about to join you in the field.
Let us understand each other.  I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary and to beat him when he was found whose policy has been attack and not defense.  In but one instance has the enemy been able to place our Western armies in defensive attitude.
I presume that I have been called here to pursue the same system and to lead you against the enemy.  It is my purpose to do so, and that speedily.  I am sure you long for an opportunity to win the distinction you are capable of achieving.  That opportunity I shall endeavor to give you.
Meantime I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases, which I am sorry to find so much in vogue amongst you.  I hear constantly of ‘taking strong positions and holding them’ of ‘lines of retreat,’ and of ‘bases of supplies.’
Let us discard such ideas.  The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can most easily advance against the enemy.  Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves.  Let us look before us, and not behind.  Success and glory are in the advance, disaster and shame lurk in the rear.  Let us act on this understanding, and it is safe to predict that your banners shall be inscribed with many a glorious deed and that your names will be dear to your countrymen forever.

General McClellan writes President Lincoln outlining the number of his forces: “Your telegram of yesterday has been received.  The difference between the effective force of troops and that expressed  in returns is considerable in every army.  All commanders find the actual strength less than strength represented on paper.  I have not my own returns for the trimonthly periods since arriving at Fortress Monroe, at hand at this moment, but even on paper I will not, I am confident, be found to have received 160,000 officers and men present — although present and absent my returns will be accountable for that number.

You can arrive at the number of absentees, however, better by my returns of July 10, which will be ready to send shortly.  I find from official reports that I have present for duty.
Officers 3215.  Enlisted men 85,450.  In all present for duty, 88,6565.  Absent by authority 34,472; without authority 3778.  Present and absent 144,407.
The number of officers and men present sick is 16,619.
The Medical Director will fully explain the cause of the amount of sickness, which I hope will begin to decrease shortly.
Thus the number of men really absent is 38,250.  Unquestionably of the number reported present, some are absent, say 40,000 will cover the absentees.
I quite agree with you that more than one half these men are probably fit for duty to day.
I have frequently called the attention lately of the War Department to the evil of absenteeism.
I think that the exciting of the public press to persistent attacks upon officers and soldiers absent from the Army; the employment of deputy marshals to arrest and send back deserters; summary dismissals of officers whose names are reported for being absent without leave and the publication of those names will exhaust the remedies applicable by the War Department.  It is to be remembered that many of those absent by authority and those who have got off either sick or wounded or under pretense of sickness or wounds, and having originally pretext of authority, are still so reported absent by authority.  If I could receive back the absentees, could get my sick me up I would need but small reinforcements to enable me to take Richmond.
After the battle of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks &c &c most of these men got off.  Well men got on board hospital boats taking care of sick et, etc.  There is always confusion and haste in shipping and taking care of wounded after a battle.  There is no time for nice examination of permits to pass here or there.
I can now control people getting away better, for the natural opportunities are better.  Leakages by desertion occur in every Army — and will occur here of course but I do not at all, however, anticipate anything like a recurrence of what has taken place.

Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning writes: “At the Presidents this morning.  I gave him a copy of the Confiscation bill as it passed, and expressed to him very freely my opinion that it was a violation of the Constitution and ought to be vetoed.  I said to him that he had reached the culminating point in his administration, and his course upon this bill was to determine whether he was to control the abolitionists and radicals, or whether they were to control him.  That the tide in his affairs had come and he ought to take it at its flood.  That if he vetoed it he would raise a storm of enthusiasm in support of the Administration in the border states which would be worth to us 100,000 muskets, whereas if he approved it I feared our friends could no longer sustain themselves there.  That we could not succeed without unity of sentiment and purpose which would be secured by a veto as that would at once bring to his support every loyal Democrat in the free states, and consolidate all truly loyal men into one party – whereas if approved it would form the basis upon which the democratic party would again rally, and reorganize an opposition to the administration &c.  He said he would give it his profound consideration.  We then had a conversation about Stanton & McClellan.  Said that all that Stanton had done in regard to the army had been authorized by him the President – That Stanton had had much to provoke him – that immediately after Fiz Jno: Porters fight McClellan telegraphed to Stanton in very harsh terms, charging him as the author of the disaster – that Stanton came to him with the telegram in his hand, and said to him with much feeling ‘You know – Mr President that all I have done was by your authority & That about the 4th inst Genl March was here and said in a conversation with Stanton that he would not be surprised if McClellan’s army should be obliged to capitulate.

“This excited Stanton very much, and he went directly to the President and reported what had been said.  It also excited the President, whereupon he sent for Marcy, and said to him sternly, ‘Genl. I understand you have used the word ‘Capitulate’ – that is a word not to be used in connection with our army &c’ That Marcy blundered out some kind of explanation, excuse or apology – That after this Marcy and Stanton had another interview which resulted in the restoration of kind and friendly feeling between the two – that after this Stanton wrote the letter, to Genl McClellan, a copy of which was shown me a few days ago by Senator Rice, and brought the letter and showed it to him before he sent it….

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Published in: on July 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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