LINCOLN’S POLICY OF MERCY
STRANGE as it seems, not one man of all those who in the armies and in civil stations had worked and fought so resolutely to destroy the old order in the South had made out any complete scheme of what should come after it. As to the political, the social, the economic arrangements which should take the place of those based on slavery, men’s ideas were vague. It had so long been felt that slavery was the source of all the trouble, to put down the Confederacy was so imperative a programme, to free the slaves so great an opportunity, that the statesmen and the captains of the North, absorbed in these tasks, had forborne to question a remoter future.
The exception was Lincoln. Though every day was filled with its own cares, importunate in their demands upon his strength, his unrelenting conscience had not granted him surcease of forethought. In the midst of war, he had not been unmindful of the problems peace would bring. His very last days, which to some lesser, happier nature might have been a time of triumph and fruition only, were filled, on the contrary, with anxious planning, darkened, even, with sad forebodings. Indeed, he could not have put by the future if he had tried. From an early period in the struggle the necessity had been upon him to lay some sort of foundation for a new order in the South. What he had done was now a great part of the situation with which his successor had to deal. If we would follow with intelligence the course of Reconstruction under Johnson and Grant, we must begin with that beginning which Lincoln had already made.
His general conception of the problem, and of his own duty, was first indicated in his first inaugural address. “ In view of the Constitution and the laws,” he had then said, “the Union is still unbroken.” His duty, as he then saw it, was, accordingly, merely to reorganize and to restore. It was to enforce the Constitution and the laws against the individual men who were resisting them, and thus to bring the states whose governments had been usurped back into their proper relations with the other states and with the Union. For he considered that he was not making war on states, but only on disloyal men, and that a part of his duty was to protect the loyal men of the South, none of whose rights were forfeited. And all this, he held, was incumbent upon him, not upon Congress, because he was charged with the preservation of the Union and with the enforcement of the laws, and more particularly because he was commander-in-chief of all the forces. To this view he adhered with a characteristic constancy.
It was neither unnatural nor illogical that the President should treat as one the two tasks of putting down the insurrection, and of restoring what had been destroyed. In the actual course of events, the work of laying waste began from the first to pass into the work of rebuilding. The government of territory conquered from the Confederates was a necessary part of war-making; as unavoidable as the marches and the battles. Long before the end of the fighting, the President found himself the well-nigh absolute ruler of wide areas. Even in the North there were considerable regions under martial law,2 and there had been a still plainer necessity to extend it over the border states. As the armies advanced into the Confederacy, they left behind them no authority that could sustain itself unaided, and in some quarters no machinery of government whatever. The actual approach to Reconstruction had to be made through an administration of military government on a great scale.
The powers which the President came thus to exercise, chiefly through subordinate commanders, were many and formidable; it is no wonder that even in the North some were soon crying out that the liberties of the whole people were in danger. At the very outbreak of hostilities, martial law being proclaimed in Maryland, the general commanding at Baltimore had found it expedient to disband the police force of the city, which was thought to be disaffected, and to set up another establishment in its stead. Measures equally arbitrary were soon common. Throughout northern Missouri, for example, local government was for a time entrusted to standing committees chosen from among the officers of the army. Congress having confirmed to the President the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, he took that radical course freely wherever disaffection appeared, even in quarters far remote from the scenes of the actual fighting, and Stanton ’s hand was heavy upon the people of the border states and of the old Northwest, where there was sympathy with the South. Nor did this regime in the North end with the fighting. It lasted until the close of 1866, when the Supreme Court ordered the discharge of one Milligan, of Indiana, who rested under a sentence of death pronounced by a military commission and approved by the commander-in-chief. In this important case, Exparte Milligan, it was decided that the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus did not deprive a citizen of his right to be tried in a regular civil court if he lived in a region where the courts were open and continued to exercise their jurisdiction. The right of trial by jury in criminal cases, it was held, persists in time of war. The decision, and the arguments of the distinguished counsel also, leaned to the view that the power to suspend the writ belonged to Congress; for the reasoning was based on the act of Congress, not on the earlier precedents made by the executive alone.
But it was in the South that military rule had the widest scope. Within a few weeks from the first outbreak of hostilities, all that part of Virginia which lay to the west of the principal Appalachian range was cleared of the Confederate arms. In Tennessee, a battleground from the first, the Union forces were in control of the western counties oftener than their adversaries, and after September, 1863, eastern Tennessee, a country of small farms and few negroes, and a Unionist stronghold, was never at any time controlled by the Confederates. With the fall of New Orleans, in April, 1862, southern Louisiana came within the Union lines. During the same spring, a considerable part of eastern North Carolina was won. Northern Arkansas, where the Unionists were strong, was also soon cleared of the Confederates, and their power in central and southern Arkansas practically ended with the fall of Vicksburg in the summer of 1863. Save that a new civil government was at once established in western Virginia, military rule in one form or another was at once extended into all these regions. From time to time, other areas were given over to the same regime. At the end, practically the entire South was governed in that way. As the permanent new order, whatever it might be, must emerge from this temporary order, the character of the first measures to be taken was naturally determined by the actual situation, and by precedents made in time of war.
Even those measures of the President and his subordinates which affected the social and economic, as distinguished from the political problem, were adopted as accessory to the conduct of the war, and accomplished by the exercise of military powers. A careful regulation of trade and commerce was attempted. No one was permitted to buy or sell cotton, now become fabulously dear, without the consent of representatives of the government, which was made contingent on the attested loyalty of both the parties to the exchange. Special agents of the treasury were appointed to collect and sell all property captured or confiscated by the military or abandoned by its owners, and these officials found much to do ; for through its plan of produce loans the Confederate government had acquired a. claim to great quantities of cotton, scattered over the country. By the end of March, 1865, some eighty thousand bales had been seized, and by capture, confiscation, and abandonment much property of other sorts had come into the hands of the various commanders. Secretary McCulloch, having spent much time in investigating charges against the treasury agents, reported that they were, as a rule, without foundation. There is, however, only too good reason to believe that agents, persons pretending to be agents, licensed traders, and others, often profited in the meanest ways by the ruined fortunes of the Southern people.
The first attempts to find for the negroes a place under freedom belong also to the history of the military government of conquered territory. As the Union armies advanced, the subject quickly forced itself to the front. Many slaves were abandoned by their fleeing masters, and these and other negroes flocked into the camps. Along the coasts, many also came aboard the Union vessels. At once, a great diversity of ideas and of practices appeared. A distinction was attempted between the negroes from the border states and those from the states in insurrection, but with the latter the generals in the field dealt, for a time, according to their own differing views and inclinations. Benjamin F. Butler, commanding at Norfolk, refused to return slaves to their owners, and put his refusal on the cleverly chosen ground that the blacks might be employed on the military works of the Confederates, and were therefore contraband. Buell and Hooper, in the West, respected the owners’ claims, and Attorney-General Bates instructed all the United States marshals to execute the Fugitive Slave Law. McClellan and Patterson not merely returned such fugitives as took refuge in their camps,but considered it good military policy to assure the inhabitants of their districts that the soldiers of the Union were come among them to give them security in all their rights and possessions. A little later, General Frémont was actually decreeing an emancipation of all the slaves in Missouri whose masters were disloyal to the Union; and in the spring of 1862 General Hunter attempted the same sweeping change in the three states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. General Halleck advanced in a proclamation a plan to avoid rather than solve the problem by keeping the negroes away from the camps; but with the rapid increase of the area under military rule that escape soon became impossible. The number of negroes within the Union lines was too great, and their helplessness appealed too strongly to the commanders and to the country. Special camps were established for them. Whenever it was practicable, they were employed on government works. Many were colonized on abandoned and confiscated lands. Others were hired out to private individuals. Voluntary organizations, the Freedmen’s Aid Societies, were formed to help them. Soon after the capture of Hilton Head, South Carolina (November, 1861), Edward L. Peirce, of Massachusetts, acting by authority from the Treasury Department, set to work to organize on a basis of freedom the industry of the densely ignorant blacks of the South Carolina Sea Islands. Before the end, there were some two hundred thousand negroes enlisted in the army and navy. Finally, in March, 1865, the entire subject was by act of Congress committed to a separate Bureau of the Department of War, to be known as the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Major-General O.O. Howard, a conscientious and humane of ficer, was set at its head. Under him were assistant commissioners for all the states in insurrection. The principal duty of these officials was to divide among the blacks the lands which the government had seized, and the plan was to allot forty acres of good land to every competent male, in the hope that he might in the end become its owner. But rations and other alms were also generously distributed, and it was intended that the commissioners should exercise a kind of general guardianship over the freedmen. For some such agency as this there was indeed a clear demand. So long as its officers stuck to its original objects, the Bureau was a natural and a not unwise response to the situation which successful warfare had created.
The Northern public had shown from the first a lively interest in the fate of the negroes in the conquered territory. Frémont’s proclamation in Missouri had quickened once more the abolitionist design and hope. And Congress responded warmly to the popular feeling. It enacted a forfeiture of all slaves owned by persons in insurrection and employed in aid of the Confederacy, forbade commanders in the field to employ troops to return fugitive slaves, and passed, finally, a confiscation act so sweeping in its terms that some have thought it would have worked the overthrow of slavery even if nothing more had been done. Taken with the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and then in the territories, these measures certainly went far beyond the hopes of any but the most sanguine anti-slavery men at the beginning of the war.
But meanwhile the President had been slow to act; so slow that ardent friends of the negro were bitterly disappointed. He held, apparently, to the announcement he had made so pointedly, that he did not propose to interfere with the domestic institutions of any state. Impatient with his conservatism, many accused him of indifference. When he countermanded the emancipation orders of Frémont and Hunter, the abolitionists for the most part turned against him. It was doubtless because he saw this drift of public sentiment that he wrote, in August, 1862, his famous reply to an antislavery open letter of Horace Greeley. “My paramount object,” he said, “is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing some, and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.” Yet at the end he added: “I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.”
The truth is that Lincoln’s views on the whole subject of slavery were like those of Washington and other of our earlier statesmen. Deeply desirous of emancipation for all the slaves, he yet believed that it ought to be gradual; that it ought to be accomplished through the state governments; that the owners ought to be compensated; and that if possible the mass of the negroes ought to be deported from the country. Up to the summer of 1862, he labored earnestly and persistently with Congress, and particularly with the representatives of the border states, in favor of that programme. But the border states could not yet be brought to take any voluntary action, and Congress, although extremists in both houses were actually proposing to abolish slavery everywhere by ordinary statute, would not appropriate the money to compensate the owners. When it became plainly necessary to decide at once the fate of the fast increasing number of negroes delivered from slavery by the progress of the Union arms, Lincoln therefore turned reluctantly away from the hope which for a hundred years the wisest Americans had cherished. Still firmly of the opinion that neither he nor Congress had any right to interfere with the domestic institutions of states, save only in the prosecution of the war, he made up his mind, after much thought, that emancipation could reasonably be considered a necessary and proper means to the supreme end of saving the Union. He accordingly decreed emancipation in those states and parts of states which on January 1,1863, were still in insurrection against the government. He plainly stated his opinion both that the act was military, and that he could not if he would have thrown upon Congress any part of the responsibility for it. Few momentous deeds have ever been done so cautiously; yet few have been braver.
But all that he could do by military decree was to emancipate slaves. The institution of slavery persisted. Outside of the area covered by his proclamation, it had not been struck at all. Even within that area, it might conceivably be revived. The new state of West Virginia had adopted a scheme of gradual emancipation, but the other border states still declined to act. The commander-in-chief having done his utmost, the constitutional President, the anti-slavery leader, turned to the effort already making to abolish slavery everywhere and forever by an amendment to the Constitution. Lincoln supported the proposed Thirteenth Amendment against all rival schemes in Congress until, at the very end of his first administration, it passed. Notwithstanding the afterthought of the congressional leaders that it did not need his signature, he signed it. When his successor came into office, it had gone to the states for the approval of their legislatures.
It is quite clear that Lincoln considered his setting up of loyal governments in the Southern states as of a piece with the Emancipation Proclamation. This also, he held, was a means to the main end of the war. It was executing the laws. It was defending the Constitution. It was an essential part of his great obligation to save the Union — “barring the broken eggs.” Holding to that simple theory of the task, he avoided the worst bewilderment American statesmen have ever encountered in their efforts to harmonize the demands of actual situations with the Constitution’s mandates and restraints.
The case of western Virginia, at the very outset, had been quickly disposed of, and in a way that accorded, at least superficially, with Lincoln’s view. The inhabitants of that region, a mountainous country of small farms, had no great interest in slavery, and but little sympathy with the people of the eastern parts of the state. When Virginia seceded they determined to resist. Doubtless prompted and certainly supported from without, they quickly assembled in convention, repudiated the ordinance, formed a new government for the whole state, and then proceeded to partition the old commonwealth. To recognize this convention as the government of Virginia seemed a good way to take care of these loyal people. It would be a means also to weaken the insurrection at home and abroad. Congress, as well as the President, quickly decided in favor of that course. Representatives from Virginia were at once seated in both houses of Congress.3 At the end of 1862, West Virginia was admitted to the Union. Francis H. Peirpoint, who had been chosen by the convention governor of Virginia, was also permitted to set up an establishment at Alexandria, within the Union lines, where a miniature legislature went through the forms of law-making, and whence he endeavored to extend his authority over such territory in eastern Virginia as from time to time was won from the Confederates. In May, 1863, a few votes, cast in the fringes of the state then occupied by the Federal armies, were held sufficient to reëlect him. There was actually held at Alexandria a constitutional convention, composed of sixteen members, representing five counties, which voted to abolish slavery. Federal commanders, it is true, when now and then they found Peirpoint’s civil officials in their way, showed them but scant courtesy. At Norfolk, where a Union municipal government had been established, the people voted by a great majority to return to military rule. The President himself is reported to have said: “I have a government in Virginia, the Peirpoint government. It has but a small margin, and I am not disposed to increase it.” But he continued to recognize and sustain it. Clearly, to his mind, the whole question of the method in restoration was but a secondary matter. The main thing was, that Virginia should somehow be restored.
All his plans to evolve out of military rule a civil order which might be permanent had, of purpose, the same tentative and flexible character. Outside of Virginia, no move was made for a permanent establishment in any state until the second year of the war. On March 3, 1862, the President appointed Andrew Johnson military governor of Tennessee, with the rank of brigadier-general; and this appointment the Senate confirmed. The duties of the office were never precisely stated. The only precedent for it was a somewhat obscure one, made in the time of the war with Mexico, when New Mexico and Upper California had been governed in this way. In all cases of conflict of authority the military governor was required to yield to the army officer in command of the district; but he was expected to discharge most of the ordinary functions of a civil governor in time of peace, and his power was restrained by none of those limitations which a state constitution usually imposes on the executive. He could not only fill existing offices and tribunals, but set up new ones; he could even suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus. During the next six months, Edward Stanley, George F. Shepley, and John S. Phelps, all commissioned in the same fashion, were sent, respectively, to North Carolina, to Louisiana, and to Arkansas. Lincoln called these and other agents whom he set at work in the South “quasi-military.” However they might subserve the objects of warfare, they looked toward peace. Their work was supplementary to the work of the armies; they were charged to protect loyal Southerners; but their principal business was to make an end of that very order to which they themselves belonged. To Johnson in Tennessee, who doubted if the powers of his office were adequate to this object, Lincoln gave express authority to do whatever might be necessary to enable the loyal Tennesseeans to erect a government.
But the first attempt was made in southern Louisiana. It began with the courts of law, and the method of it was thoroughly arbitrary. A provost court, organized by General Butler in June, 1862, quickly extended its jurisdiction over causes not at all related to military affairs; and Shepley, coming into office a little later, revived as many as he could of the courts that existed before the war. The President soon went farther still. In December, there arrived from New York a complete Court of Record for the State of Louisiana, — judge, marshal, clerk, and prosecuting attorney, — with jurisdiction over “all causes, civil and criminal, including cases in law, equity, revenue, and admiralty,” and over all the territory held by the Union arms. Such a ready-made judiciary did not look like a beginning of self-government; but it was not long before Judge Peabody, the head of this extraordinary court, was appointed Chief Justice of the old Supreme Court of Louisiana.
Meanwhile, the President, replying to certain remonstrances against military rule, had taken occasion to assure the people of southern Louisiana that if they disliked military and quasi-military government they could get rid of it of their own motion. “Let them"—he wrote to one correspondent — “in good faith reinaugurate the national authority, and set up a state government conforming thereto under the Constitution. . . . The army will be withdrawn so soon as such state government can dispense with its presence; and the people of the state can then, upon the old constitutional terms, govern themselves to their own liking.” One very natural step toward this end would be to elect representatives in Congress; and Lincoln, warning his agents that such an election, to be of any use, must be the voluntary act of bonafide citizens, not the sending up of a parcel of Northern men chosen “at the point of the bayonet,” told them to direct and help the Union party in the movement. Shepley accordingly arranged an election in the two New Orleans districts, and it was held in December, 1862. To the qualifications which the state constitution required of electors he added merely an oath of allegiance to the Union. Though the vote was light, and in some of the precincts the polls could not be opened, the House of Representatives seated the two successful candidates.
But the President himself, by his proclamation of emancipation, had made the complete reestablishment of the old order in Louisiana impossible. Certain parishes, including New Orleans, where the people were not held to be in insurrection on January 1, 1863, were, it is true, expressly exempted in the proclamation. But the exemption at once became of itself a source of dissension among the Union men. A strong party of radicals desired to begin with a convention which should adapt the old constitution to the new order by repealing everything in it that recognized or protected slavery. On the other hand, a conservative party was ready, and did in fact attempt, to go on at once and elect the full list of state officials required by the old constitution, leaving to the future the task of adapting laws and constitution to the great change. Shepley favored the free-state plan. Banks, in command of the department, so far differed with him as to prefer that the election of state officials should come before the convention. The President at first welcomed the suggestion of a convention, and expressed a hope that it might devise “some practical system by which the two races could gradually live themselves out of the old relation to each other,” — a phrase which indicates how deeply he was already pondering the entire new phase of the problem of the races. But he would not be drawn away, by any larger hope, from that immediate and attainable purpose which he had in mind. He was willing to recognize any government which could sustain itself and become a nucleus for Union men, provided only it did not try to undo what had already been done for the negroes.
At the end of 1863, the object lesson of reestablishment in Louisiana was still in this stage, and nowhere else could even so much progress be reported. In Tennessee, it is true, Johnson’s aggressive disposition had impelled him to various activities. But as yet a permanent establishment was not feasible. In Arkansas, it was a year before a military advance permitted Governor Phelps to attempt any exercise of his powers. Nor had Stanley made any headway in North Carolina.
Nevertheless, Lincoln decided that the time was come for a formal statement of his policy. Complaints of his course were already beginning to be heard. There were signs of cooperation against it between the radical free - state party in Louisiana and a radical anti - slavery group in Congress, and to forestall this opposition may have been a part of his design. But it was also desirable to name clearly terms of amnesty and pardon to Confederates, and Congress had by a special act empowered the President to name them. His announcement took, accordingly, the form of a proclamation of amnesty. It appeared Decembers 8, 1863. In a message which he sent to Congress on the same day, he amplified, explained, and defended it.
To all persons who were or had been in insurrection, certain classes barred, he offered a free pardon, with restitution of all their rights in property other than slaves, save in cases where the rights of third parties had intervened. One sole condition was imposed: they must take an oath to support the Constitution and the Union, and to abide by the acts and the proclamations which bore on slavery. The excepted classes were, all the higher civil and military officers of the Confederacy, all who had left judicial places or seats in Congress or military offices in the service of the United States to aid the insurrection, and all who had treated otherwise than as prisoners of war negroes, or persons in charge of negroes, taken in the service of the United States. If, in any state which had been in insurrection, properly qualified electors should take the oath, to a number not less than one tenth of the number of votes cast in that state in the presidential election of 1860, they might set up a state government, and this would be recognized and protected under the authority of that clause of the Constitution which guarantees to each state a republican form of government. They were advised, however, to make no changes in the boundary, the name, or the laws of their state, unless the new conditions should seem to demand them. All that was asked for the freedmen was some arrangement which should recognize their freedom, provide for their education, and consist with their present condition as “a laboring, landless, and homeless class.” But the President carefully pointed out that each of the two houses of Congress must decide for itself whether it would admit to seats members who should come up from a state in this way restored. The proclamation did not apply to any state in which a Union government had been all along maintained. In the earnest and reasonable concluding paragraphs of his message to Congress, Lincoln further explained that while he felt it only just to the loyal men in the South to show them one safe way to reëstablish their state governments, he was not saying that if they proceeded in some other way he would not accept their work. He closed by reminding Congress that, however the government might prefer to move toward its objects, the war power afforded the only means which in the unhappy state of the South it was as yet possible to employ. He did not add, what his acts sufficiently suggested, that the war power, in this particular use of it, belonged to the executive alone.
Here was the same cautious and deliberate courage he had shown in his other proclamation of emancipation. For he was taking on himself the initiative in a task which he foresaw to be hardly less important, and even more intricate and difficult, than waging war or freeing the slaves. In the plan he proposed, notwithstanding his willingness to consider other plans, there was a bold attempt to decide at once questions which were certainly debatable. He was in effect declaring that there ought to be no further punishment of the mass of the Confederates; and he was committing to Southerners, with no proviso but that they should be Union men and accept the fact of emancipation, the future of the negro as a freedman. On the question whether the executive or the legislature should have control of reconstruction, Congress at once took issue with him; and the whole country was soon in angry debate over the wisdom of his course with the Southerners and the negroes.
But before the opposition could stay the President’s hand something had been accomplished. In Louisiana, soon after the proclamation. General Banks hit upon a way out of the controversy between the two Union parties, and the President promptly approved it. The plan was, to go on and hold an election for a legislature and state officials, treating the old constitution and laws of the state as still in force, save in so far as they related to slavery or conflicted with military arrangements. If, later, it should seem wise to form a new constitution, a convention could be called.
A state election was accordingly held on Washington’s Birthday, 1864. Polls were opened in seventeen of the fortyeight parishes, and a total vote of 11,411 was cast. Part of it was cast by refugees from other parts of the state, and part by soldiers and sailors claiming to be citizens; but there is little doubt that the qualified electors who voted were more than ten per cent of the total of 1860. Michael Hahn, a conservative anti-slavery man, opposed to making citizens of the negroes, was elected governor by a clear majority over Flanders, the radical free-state candidate, and Fellows, a pro-slavery conservative. The free-state party attacked the validity of the election, declaring that it was the “mere registration of a military edict,” but Hahn was promptly inaugurated; and the President, as if to insist again that the main point was to get an effective loyal government, at once invested him with all the powers which the military governor had exercised. At the same time, in a private letter, Lincoln modestly offered some advice to the new executive. “Now,” he wrote, “you are about to have a convention which, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest for your private consideration whether some of the colored people may not be let in, — as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone.” He was, as usual, thinking ahead of the passing moment and its demands; but he was also, as usual, completely mindful of actual conditions and patiently considerate of public opinion, even of prejudice, as factors in the problem.
The remaining steps were quickly taken. Against the will of a conservative minority, a convention was held. It at once passed an ordinance to emancipate all slaves, with no compensation to the owners. A new constitution was also framed and submitted to the people. Both Lincoln and Banks took extraordinary measures in support of it, and there were few who actively opposed it.4 But the vote was very light; the conservatives, apparently, stayed away from the polls. At the same time, representatives in Congress were chosen. When the legislature met, it named two Senators and the state’s quota of presidential electors.
In Arkansas, the machinery of restoration was set at work early in 1864. The President began by directing the military to proceed as in Louisiana, and hold an election as if the old constitution were for the most part still in force. But he soon learned that the Union men had already begun in a different way: in two fifths of the counties, delegates to a constitutional convention had already been elected. This initiative he promptly accepted. The convention met and carried through its part of the programme. Secession was nullified, slavery abolished, the Confederate debt repudiated. A new constitution was drawn up, and the people ratified it by a vote considerably larger than the proclamation required. When the new representatives of Louisiana arrived at Washington, Senators and Congressmen were already there demanding seats as from Arkansas; and their case was probably the strongest that any Southern state could at this time present to the two houses. But Arkansas took no part in the presidential election of 1864.
In Tennessee, the way to reestablishment proved far rougher. Virginia excepted, no other state was the scene of so many great military operations. More than once, when a beginning in civil government was about to be made, it became suddenly necessary to abandon the field to the Confederates. Even so late as January, 1863, a convention called to meet at Nashville had to wait while a battle was fought there.
There was, moreover, a division of the people of this state which made its experience peculiar, both in war and in Reconstruction. Not only were there more Unionists in Tennessee than in any other member of the Confederacy after the partition of Virginia, but the great mass of them inhabited a region separated by natural barriers from the rest of the state, and indeed from all the country about it. The long, high, rolling valley of eastern Tennessee, drained by the Tennessee River and its earlier confluents, and shut in by great ranges of mountains, had in 1861 a population of some three hundred thousand souls, of whom an overwhelming majority opposed secession. Nor did they, like so many other Southern Unionists, content themselves with votes and protests. When the state was irregularly joined to the Confederacy,they still stood firm. So far, the situation was like that in western Virginia. But the loyalty of the Union men of western Virginia was never put to such a test as that the Union men of eastern Tennessee had now to endure. The truth is, no other community anywhere in the country suffered for its loyalty as this did. When the east Tennesseeans took their stand, there was not a Federal regiment south of the Potomac. It was two long years and more before the flag of the Union reappeared among them or a single blue-clad soldier came across the mountains.
Many of these people came, however, of a stock which for centuries had displayed an exceeding stubbornness in its religious and political convictions, and a great love of liberty. The Scotch-Irish or Covenanter strain predominated among them. It was their fathers and grandfathers who had followed Shelby and Sevier over the Great Smokies to perform at King’s Mountain the most astounding exploit of the Revolutionary war; and the years since 1780 had wrought no radical changes in their ideals or their lives. Their position in the heart of the Confederacy has often been compared to that of the province of La Vendee in Revolutionary France. But to their own minds their stand may have seemed more fairly comparable to that of their ancestors at the siege of Londonderry or in the old religious wars of Scotland. They were amply true to the tradition of their race. An important factor in the war, their course in Reconstruction was scarcely less important. Lincoln, impressed with their courage, and sympathizing deeply with their sufferings, was tireless in his efforts to send them succor. Urging General Thomas to go to their rescue, he justly pronounced them “the most valuable stake we have in the South.” But the project did not accord with the wider plans of the Union generals, and a relief expedition which started in the autumn of 1861 was quickly recalled. Unfortunately, however, a number of the bolder spirits among the east Tennesseeans had already attempted to coöperate with it by burning bridges along the railway which traversed their valley. Several of them were caught and hanged, and military arrests, already begun, became at once so common that thousands sought refuge in the mountains, while other thousands passed beyond the mountains into years of exile. Of the able-bodied, from thirty to thirty-five thousand found their way into the Union armies. Some of these were with Burnside when at last, in September, 1863, he marched into Knoxville and was welcomed as no other Federal commander was ever welcomed anywhere in the South. But there were still to follow the siege of Knoxville and other military operations which brought east Tennessee close to a famine. The end of the long story of this stubborn loyalty came only with the peace.
It is not a negligible circumstance that Andrew Johnson’s home was among these people. He was one of the leaders who held them firm in 1861. It was his conduct then, and the stormy experience he had later as military governor, that made him so much more conspicuous than any other Union man in the South. A contemporary eloquently described him as standing “in the furnace of treason,” and the phrase went far to win for him the second place in the government. As military governor in the very midst of arms, he found, we may well suppose, the best opportunity he ever found for his unpolished integrity, his insupple strength of will. Within the changing limits which the fortunes of war had set to his authority, he had asserted it with the utmost vigor and with some severity. He had exacted an oath of allegiance of all persons charged with civil trusts. He had rigidly censored the press and the pulpit. He had raised troops from the Union population, and found them arms and supplies. He had reinstated courts and filled judicial and executive offices with Union men. He had levied taxes on the rich, fed and clothed and sheltered the poor. He had seized and operated, and even built, railroads. Cut off, however, from the main body of his supporters, he could accomplish little until near the end of the fighting. The east Tennesseeans themselves tried repeatedly to hold a convention and form a civil government; but each time some advance of the Confederates brought their plans to naught. Their principal leader, William G. Brownlow, who as “Parson” Brownlow was scarcely less well known to the country than Johnson himself, was an ardent but bigoted and violent champion of the Union and of freedom. Following his advice, a mass meeting held at Nashville in the summer of 1863 called upon Johnson to issue writs for the election of a legislature; but Johnson could not at that time see his way to proceed. Even in March, 1861, when he did try an election for county and local officers alone, the result was disappointing; the vote was inconsiderable. The oath which on this occasion the military governor required of the electors was more stringent than the President’s, but Lincoln, eager as always for a reasonable beginning, yielded the point without a controversy. All that was accomplished in 1864 was to bring a presidential and congressional ticket before such of the voters as would take the test oath; and this was done against a bitter protest from the Democratic National Committee. Along with the claims of the electors from Louisiana and the representatives both from Louisiana and Arkansas, Congress had therefore to consider the claims of certain persons from Tennessee to be considered electors.
A gathering more like a party caucus than a constitutional convention, held in Nashville in January, 1865, immediately after the battle there, finally did in an irregular fashion what it was essential to do under the President’s proclamation. Recognizing the old constitution as still in force, it proceeded by amendments to abolish slavery, to nullify secession, and to repudiate the Confederate debt. For the first election of state officials it made the amplest provision, actually nominating candidates for all the offices. The amended constitution was ratified in February by a sufficient vote, and in March the convention’s ticket was elected. Brownlow became the first free-state governor, and the legislature, after choosing two United States Senators, passed an act which clearly revealed the temper of the men who, after long persecution, were now in power. It disfranchised so many voters for serving the Confederacy that all political control was fixed in the hands of the original Union men. The ballot was denied, for a period of fifteen years, to three fourths of the old electorate of the state.
These things which had been done toward the ushering in of a new order in the South were all, to an astonishing extent, the work of Lincoln’s hands. And they stood as long as he lived; for the opposition in Congress was not yet strong enough to undo anything that he had done. It was, however, strong enough to harass and vex him, to make a division in the party, and to keep him from achieving, in any state, the whole of his design.
Congress had not, in fact, been far behind the President in setting forth its view of Reconstruction; and it appears that at the outset the legislature and the executive were in close accord. At the special session in the summer of 1861, the venerable Crittenden, of Kentucky, who to the last had striven for a compromise like the compromises of Henry Clay, offered in the House of Representatives a resolution stating the purpose of the war. It defined the public enemy as “the disunionists of the Southern states,” — not the states themselves, or the Confederacy, — and then went on to declare “that this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, or for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, or purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those states; but to maintain and defend the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several states unimpaired.” The day after the first battle of Bull Run, the whole North being in an anxious and sober mood, this resolution passed the House without debate. On each of its two clauses, only two nays were recorded. When Andrew Johnson offered in the Senate a declaration identical in all but two or three unimportant words, it provoked a heated debate; but only five Senators opposed it. While from this common point of departure the executive was advancing by such steps as the blockade, the emancipation, the various measures of military government, and the proclamation of amnesty, the advance of the legislature, though marked by no such practical commitments, was decidedly more rapid; and it was in the direction of a far more radical policy. In the list of those who voted for the Crittenden resolution the name of the leader of the House of Representatives does not appear. Even at this time, Thaddeus Stevens was opposed to pledges, opposed to any policy of conciliation. He alone, it seems, of all the men in both houses of Congress, kept in his own mind from the very beginning to the far-off end the same view and the same practical purpose. Within a fortnight, he was flatly proclaiming that the laws of war were the only laws which were any longer binding on the government in dealing with the South. In December, at the opening of the regular session, the Crittenden resolution being again proposed in a slightly altered form, he moved to table it, and by a few votes his motion carried. Thereafter, as from time to time opportunity offered, he never failed to present his own radical view; now coldly and bluntly, now passionately, now with ridicule of his associates’ halting progress toward it, but always with a stern confidence that it must in the end prevail. Once, he quietly called on members to fix it in their minds against the day when they should all accede to it. The essence of it was that the Constitution no longer either guided or restrained the government in its dealings with the insurrection. The Confederacy, he held, stood to the Union in the relation of an open enemy. War was the main fact of the situation. Treaties, compacts, laws, compromises, and “everything else,” were abrogated. When the insurrection should be suppressed, Congress must deal with the Southern states as with “conquered provinces.” 5
Nor was it long before an equally powerful voice was raised in the other chamber for a theory not less radical, an even clearer purpose. In February, 1862, Charles Sumner stated his view in an elaborate series of resolutions. The central idea in them all was that the Southern states, though they had not indeed succeeded in withdrawing from the Union, had by their insurrection abdicated the powers and forfeited the rights of statehood. They were felo de se; and in their suicide they had killed also every institution of theirs which drew its life from their own laws. In that corollary was the practical import of his contention. Slavery, resting solely on the statutes of these states, had fallen in fact long before the President made up his mind to strike it with his military edict. It was but a step farther to Sumner’s ultimate position, that all legal distinctions between the races, since they also had been erected by the same state authority, were likewise obliterated, and to his proposal of citizenship and the ballot for the blacks.
Congress, however, was as yet by no means ready to go the lengths of these two radical leaders. Both were much in advance of their own party; and the opposition never once moved in their direction. On the contrary, if the Democrats departed at all from the stand which both parties had taken in 1861, they wavered toward an even more conciliatory policy with the South. But by the time of the Amnesty Proclamation it was plain that the majority of the Republicans in Congress were following, though still with a long interval, the lead of Stevens and Sumner. They were fast growing discontented with the milder attitude of the President. The confiscation act was evidence enough that the legislature was no longer minded to keep the pledge it had given in the Crittenden resolution. Other acts, and many utterances of individual members, showed the same drift. But the breach with the President did not become open until the close of 1863, when the House of Representatives refused to seat the claimants from Louisiana and Virginia. The whole subject was then taken up, and with a clear assumption of full power to deal with it, by referring to a special committee so much of the President’s message as related to the duty of the United States to guarantee to every state a republican form of government.
The chairman of this committee was Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, and he became at once, and remained throughout the session, the leader of the opposition movement in the House; for Stevens, apparently, found in the committee’s moderate proposals no sign that his hour was come. The name of Davis being associated with no other remembered measure, his place in American history is like “ Single - Speech Hamilton’s” in the history of England. He owes it to a single bill. An impassioned Unionist from a border state, and by all accounts an eloquent orator, he was distinguished also by a jealous concern for the prerogatives of the legislature and a sensitive pride in his own personal independence. His speeches reveal how strongly Congress was coming to resent its comparative eclipse by the executive. The debate over the bill which he soon introduced also showed that the Republicans differed widely among themselves over the problems war was bringing in its train.
The bill itself can be regarded only as a fairly accurate expression of the will of the majority of the majority party in Congress at this stage of its advance. It was offered distinctly in fulfillment of the guaranty of a republican form of government to every stale. Like the President’s proclamation, it proceeded on the theory that the states in insurrection were still states within the meaning of the Constitution, and that their governments had been “usurped.” But it assumed that Congress, not the executive, was charged with the duty to “restore” them. The word “reconstruction” was not yet used. The plan of restoration was rigid and uniform. A provisional governor, to be named by the President, was to administer the civil government of each Southern state until the insurrection should be completely suppressed within its borders. All white male citizens were then to be enrolled. Whenever, in any state, a majority should be found to have taken the oath of allegiance, they might proceed by a convention to erect a government; but the new constitution must disfranchise the leaders in the insurrection and disqualify them for holding public office, it must prohibit slavery, and it must repudiate all debts contracted in aid of the Confederacy. Not until Congress should approve the new government and the President, authorized by Congress, should formally recognize it, would the state be entitled to Senators and Representatives in Congress and membership in the electoral college.
This programme plainly annulled the President’s tentative proposals. It virtually denied the authority of the President to proceed at all of his own motion. It also ingeniously found a way to attack slavery, through the contention that it had already proved itself destructive of republican institutions. The purpose thus made plain was a motive scarcely less powerful in the minds of the majority than the desire to put a check upon the President. The bill set forth the plan of Congress not merely to restore civil governments in the insurgent states, but to effect abolition as well. It covered, and more than covered, the ground of the two great proclamations; and it was a kind of substitute for the proposed Thirteenth Amendment.
All these springs and motives of the opposition appeared in the debates; for the bill was before one or the other of the two houses from February to July. In the Senate, its manager and champion was Wade, of Ohio, successor of Douglas as chairman of the committee on territories, — a veteran in anti-slavery politics, abrupt, fearless, and harshly intolerant of any tolerance of the slave power. It bears his name, as well as Davis’s. Few men of any note in either house kept entirely out of the discussion. The Democrats, who about this time were committing their blunder of calling the war a failure, made for the most part undiscriminating attacks both on the President and on the diverging adversaries before them; but Pendleton, of Ohio, a sincere and strong man, in brief, passionate sentences went straight to the practical import of the bill, and convicted the majority in Congress of trying to change the objects of the war. One of the Senators from Virginia, Carlile, a Republican, attacking the constitutional grounding of the measure, effectively ridiculed it for absurdly widening the scope of the guaranty by absurdly narrowing the definition of a republican form of government. Stevens alone excepted, both sides in both houses were still looking for authority and guidance to particular clauses of the Constitution; all, apparently, still assumed that the Constitution had provided somewhere for the existing emergency. Congress would not yet embark on that wide sea of controversy over the entire theory of our national existence toward which,however, the current of debate was logically moving. The talk was still of the guaranty, and who should fulfill it, of the right of every state to be represented in the Senate, and of whether the states in insurrection ought to be considered as within or without the Union. Of the Democrats, the majority took but little heed; their heaviest fire was reserved for the President. The attack was strongest when they criticised the character and the constituencies of the new governments in Arkansas and Louisiana. When, however, the more violent assailants of the President charged that he was governed by ambition, and was making use of these establishments to secure his own reölection, they doubtless weakened their case. None of these men was Lincoln’s match in political strategy; and Congress, with its confused voices, is usually at a disadvantage when it competes with the executive, a crowd against a man, for popular approval. Besides, the time for the contest was illchosen. While the bill was still under debate, Lincoln was renominated by a convention which had seated the delegates from Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana.6 Few Republicans dared to incur the charge of disloyalty to their party’s chosen leader on the eve of an election which might involve the fate of the Union. Some had thought, perhaps, that he himself would yield rather than risk his nomination or cause a division among his followers before the people.
Doubtless he would have yielded if the charge had been true that his course in Louisiana was governed by ambition. Ambition he had, as indeed no human motive whatsoever was entirely alien to his nature; but it was the kind of ambition that made him fight for his convictions harder than for any office. Behind his modesty and his patience there was always a peasant-like tenacity of what was essential in his purpose. Watching every move of his adversaries, and studying its effects as carefully as he formed his own opinions or resolved upon his policies, he saw no signs that the country was taking fire from Congress. He felt that the current of public opinion was with him. It is not unreasonable to suppose that he had calculated the very moment of the final breach. The bill did not pass the Senate in its final form until Congress was within an hour of adjourning; and it was then brought immediately to the President’s room at the Capitol where, according to the custom, Lincoln was awaiting the last measures of the session. He must therefore sign it within the hour, or it would fail to become a law. How great the crisis was could not then be understood; even the present generation may not fully appreciate the issues that depended on the President’s decision. The course which he proposed was milder than the bill’s provisions, but it now seems that by yielding to the will of Congress he might perhaps have spared the South its worst humiliation, and the whole country years of turmoil.
He laid the bill aside and went on with the others. Sumner and other Senators, unable to contain their anxiety about its fate, came into the room. Chandler, of Michigan, bluntly asked the President if he were not going to sign it. Lincoln answered that the matter was too big to be swallowed in that way. Chandler blurted out that the important part was the clause which dealt with slavery. “That,” said the President, “is the point on which I doubt the authority of Congress to act.” “It is no more than you yourself have done,” said the Senator. “I conceive,” said the President, “that I may in an emergency do things on military grounds which cannot be done constitutionally by Congress.” They saw that he would not sign, and left him. But he continued to talk with the members of his Cabinet, who sat about him. He could not see, he said, how they could now admit, what they had all along denied, that Congress had power over slavery in the states. Neither could he admit that the states in insurrection had succeeded in dissolving their connection with the Union. If that were true, then he was not the President; the men who had passed the bill were not Congress. That question he had striven to avoid altogether, for it was sure to divide the friends of the Union. It was “a merely metaphysical question, and one unnecessary to be forced into discussion.” He kept on in this strain until he entered his carriage. The bill remained unsigned.
But if he had made use of the pocket veto, it was not to hide his mind. On the contrary, many members of Congress had not yet reached their homes when, by an extraordinary method, he laid before the country the reasons for his course. In an executive proclamation he explained that he was unwilling to commit himself to any single, exclusive plan of restoration, and that he could not believe in the competence of Congress to abolish slavery by statute. Nor could he consent to nullify what at his suggestion loyal men had done in Louisiana and in Arkansas. But he would, he said, promise his support to the congressional plan in any state that should choose to adopt it.
Davis and Wade instantly replied with an angry remonstrance; but again they won no response from the country. On the contrary, Lincoln’s popularity was now fast rising to its greatest height. Davis himself failed to win a renomination from his Republican constituents; and when the Thirty-Eighth Congress gathered for its last session, it quickly appeared that there also, as well as throughout the country, the opposition had lost ground. The bill was promptly introduced again, this time by Ashley, of Ohio; but its managers, seeing that it would not pass, tried to arrange a compromise. Their first offer was to recognize the “ten per cent” government in Louisiana, provided that in the other states the President would let them have their way. Even Sumner consented to this concession, and in an interview with Lincoln he somehow got the notion that the offer would be accepted. But it was soon widened to cover Arkansas also; and even with these changes the bill was twice tabled in the House, and by decisive votes. Its friends in the Senate did not venture to bring it forward at all. On the other hand, however, a radical faction, demanding for the negroes not merely freedom but citizenship and suffrage, was growing bolder and more outspoken. From this time forward, Sumner never again offered to accept anything short of these demands. Nor was Winter Davis a party to the attempt at compromise. On the contrary, his speeches grew more and more bitter and impassioned. When the session closed, and his own term with it, he did not give up the fight, but throughout the summer, after the death of the President, he kept on with the propaganda of resistance. He himself died in the autumn, and the next Congress, hoping to offset whatever sentimental support Andrew Johnson got from the memory of Lincoln, tried to use the taking off of Davis as a sort of countervailing martyrdom. He received the extraordinary honor of a funeral oration pronounced before both houses.
On the question of counting the electoral votes of Tennessee and Louisiana, Congress had stood firm. Both states were excluded from the college, and after some debate the exclusion was put on the ground that at the time of the election these and other Southern states were “in such a condition of rebellion” that no valid election could be held in them. On a broad view of the whole situation, this may well have been the fairest course to take. It was taken, however, by a joint resolution; and a joint resolution requires the signature of the President. Lincoln signed it, but he could not forbear to win from it a humorous advantage over his opponents. In a special message he mildly explained that he was signing only in obedience to the wish of Congress. He did not mean to claim any right to interfere in the count of the electoral vote, — a function which the Constitution assigned to Congress alone. Neither did he mean to commit himself to the reasoning in the preamble.
It is clear that his policy was at this time close to a substantial triumph. The House Committee on Elections had reported in favor of several applicants for seats from Arkansas and from Louisiana. In the Senate, the Committee on the Judiciary, holding that before the Senators from Louisiana should be seated the new government ought to be recognized, reported in favor of the recognition; and test votes on the resolution showed that a majority favored it. Only a most determined fight by the radical faction kept it from passing; had not this been a short session, it would have passed. Charles Sumner, leading the opposition, spoke repeatedly, and introduced long sets of substitute resolves. One of these displayed, with perfect accuracy, the train of reasoning and sentiment by which the radicals had come to their demand of suffrage for the negroes. It declared that, as their muskets had helped to defend the nation against open rebellion, so were their ballots needed now against the subtler enemies of the Union. But to prevent a vote before adjournment Sumner was driven to plain filibustering. He announced that in this crisis he felt himself justified in employing all the weapons in the parliamentary arsenal.
Congress never again showed any willingness to accept the policy of Lincoln. When we search for the reasons why it never was accepted, it is hard to believe that the chief of them was the doubt of its being constitutional. On that score, more could be said for it than for the partition of Virginia. To some Congressmen, no doubt, it was a sufficient objection that the policy was so distinctly executive, for they believed that Reconstruction was their business, and not the President’s. His powers, they thought, were already too much increased, and ought to be diminished. But a greater number probably opposed his plan because it did not promise certain very practical results which they desired. They wished to make an end of slavery at once. They wished to destroy, completely and forever, the power of the men who had formerly ruled the South, and who had made the insurrection. They wished also to build up, in the reconstructed South, a strong Union party. It is no wonder that with these ends in view more and more of them were coming to look with favor on the radical plan to give the suffrage to the blacks. In that proposal. partisanship was fast inclining to join hands with philanthropy. It is not unjust to add that the majority of these men were quite incapable of approaching the matter in that high mood which Lincoln’s constant soul had kept from the beginning. They had come to think of the Southerners not as fellow countrymen, but as rebels and slave-masters. They could not forget the thousands of brave youths slain in battle for the Union, the prison-pen at Andersonville, or the maimed and halt, the widows and orphans, who were left behind.
It was, in truth, easy enough to find imperfections in the President’s handiwork. His “ten per cent” governments presented abundant opportunities for criticism. for ridicule. In Louisiana, the men who sat in the convention of 1864 had been, with few exceptions, of such a character that they would never, in ordinary times, have risen to the least distinction. Many of their proceedings were absurd. Their anxiety about their own perquisites was contemptible. Their constituency was painfully scant. General Banks himself had once admitted that the city of New Orleans was for the time being the State of Louisiana; and in the city the registrar officially declared, in March, 1865, that of some seven thousand names on his rolls at least three thousand had been put there by fraud. Even among the avowed Unionists there were some who would not support the government. In the heart of many a Creole there was, after all these years, far more loyalty to France than to either of these two warring American republics. A government built up from such material, by the power and menace of the military arm, did not appeal successfully either to the American sense of the practical or to the American sense of humor. “The fact, is,” an observer and participant had written, “the whole civil reorganization of Louisiana is a cheat and a swindle, and everybody knows it.” The Arkansas establishment, though it may perhaps have had a broader and more genuine popular support, was also far from impressive. In personnel, it was below all ordinary standards. In Virginia, Peirpoint and his Lilliput Legislature excited nothing but amusement. In Tennessee, the implacable temper of Brownlow and his followers boded ill for any stable order, even in time of peace.
Lincoln saw and owned that these things were so; but they did not convince him that he was wrong. In the very last of all his public speeches, turning, even from the clamor of a multitude rejoicing over Lee’s surrender, to the subject which absorbed him, he admitted most of what was said against the Louisiana government. But such a beginning, he contended, was better than none. “Concede,” he said, “that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.” Nor would he yet forbear practical measures on any ground of theory. He still declined to argue whether the states in insurrection were inside or outside of the Union. “Finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad.” He was, he admitted, considering a new announcement to the people of the South. But he could see no good reason to undo what had been done. To the hour of his death his words were all of restoration, of reconciliation, of forgiveness. To those about him who spoke of punishments, he repeated, more than once, “ Judge not, lest ye be judged.” At his last Cabinet meeting, the day of the assassination, he served notice on his advisers that he would be no party to any acts of revenge. He would not consent to the hanging of a single Confederate, — not the most malignant. With a comical gesture, as though he were scaring sheep, he exclaimed, “ Open the gates, let down the bars, scare them off.” He had found his heart’s desire in the words of David to them that counseled vengeance upon Shimei: “ What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me ? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel ?” Whatever faults there were in this his policy of mercy, there was a wisdom in it wanting to the schemes of all that stood against him: the wisdom of the knowledge of the hearts of men. Many will always believe that it would have prevailed, and have warded off countless ills, had he himself only lived to perfect it, to adapt it to changing conditions, to labor for it with his inexhaustible patience and his unequaled skill in conciliating opposition and in guiding public opinion. Incomplete as he now left it , beaten and abandoned though it was, it proves forever the greatness of his own spirit. Nothing else in his whole noble life better commends him to the love of all his countrymen.
- Copyright, 1905, by WILLIAM GARROTT BROWN.↩
- This phrase, as Mr. David Dudley Field pointed out in his argument in the Milligan case, is incorrect. " Martial rule " is preferable. But the usage is fixed.↩
- But Congress soon began to vacillate on this point. In 1863, the lower house refused to seat persons claiming to represent Virginia. The next year, when the term of one of the Senators expired, his successor was not seated. The other Senator kept his place until 1865.↩
- EXECUTIVE MANSION,↩
- Washington, August 9, 1864,↩
- MAJOR-GENERAL, BANKS, — I have just seen the new constitution of Louisiana, and am anxious that it shall be ratified by the people. I will thank you to let the civil officers in Louisiana, holding under me, know that this is my wish, and to let me know at once who of them declare for the constitution, and who of them, if any, decline to so declare.↩
- (Signed) A. LINCOLN.↩
- Lincoln’s Complete Works, ii, 560.↩
- Julian (Political Recollections) reports a conversation between Stevens and Secretary Stanton as early as April, 1862, in which the Secretary agreed with the Congressman. They both held “ that there was no Constitution so far as the prosecution of the war is concerned ; and that we should strip the rebels of all their rights and give them a reconstruction on such terms as would end treason forever.”↩
- Delegates from Virginia were admitted to the floor, but were not allowed to vote.↩