John F. Hume
Part 3 out of 4
explanation of his mental operations. He was sentimentally opposed to
slavery, but he was afraid of freedom. He dreaded its effect on both
races. He was opposed to slavery more because it was a public nuisance
than because of its injustice to the oppressed black man, whose
condition, he did not believe, would be greatly, if at all, benefited
by freedom. Hence he wanted manumission put off as long as possible.
It was "ultimate extinction" he wanted, to be attended with payment to
the master for his lost property. Another thing he favored--and which
he seems to have thought entirely practicable--as a condition to
liberation, was the black man's removal to a place or places out of
contact with our white population.
But in entire fairness to Mr. Lincoln, it should be said that,
although his proclamation was inoperative for the immediate release of
any slaves, it was by no means wholly ineffectual. Its moral influence
was considerable. It helped to hasten a movement that had, however, by
that time become practically irresistible. Its political results were
far more marked and important. If it did not fully restore cordiality
between the President and the Abolition leaders, it prevented an open
rupture. It served as a bridge between them. Although they never took
Mr. Lincoln fully into their confidence again, the Abolitionists
interpreted his proclamation as a concession and an abandonment of his
previous policy, which it was much more in appearance than actually.
At all events, it was splendid politics. The somewhat theatrical
manner in which it was worked up and promulgated in installments, thus
arousing in advance a widespread interest and curiosity, showed no
little strategic ability. No more skillful move is recorded in the
history of our parties and partisans than this act of Mr. Lincoln, by
which he disarmed his Anti-Slavery critics without giving them any
material advantage or changing the actual situation. I am not now
speaking of the motive underlying the proclamation of the President,
but of its effect. Without it he could not have been renominated and
Another observation, in order to be entirely just to Mr. Lincoln,
after what has been stated, would at this point seem to be called for.
There is no doubt that from the first he was at heart an Anti-Slavery
man, which is saying a good deal for one born in Kentucky, raised in
southern Indiana and southern Illinois, and who was naturally of a
conservative turn of mind. Nevertheless, he was never an Abolitionist.
He was opposed to immediate--what he called "sudden"--emancipation. He
recognized the "right"--his own word--of the slave-owner to his pound
of flesh, either in the person of his bondman or a cash equivalent. He
was strongly prejudiced against the negro. Of that fact we have the
evidence in his colonization ideas. He favored the banishment of our
American-born black people from their native land. It was a cruel
proposition. True, the President did move from his first position,
which, as we have seen, was far from that occupied by the
Abolitionists, but from first to last he was more of a follower than
leader in the procession.
And here the author wishes to add, in justice to himself, that if, by
reason of anything he has said in this chapter, or elsewhere in this
work, in criticism of Mr. Lincoln's dealings with the slavery issue,
he should be accused of unfriendliness toward the great martyr
President, he enters a full and strong denial. He holds that, in view
of all the difficulties besetting him, Mr. Lincoln did well, although
he might have done better. Much allowance, must be made to one
situated as he was. He undoubtedly deserves the most of the encomiums
that have been lavished upon him. At the same time, the conclusion is
inevitable that his fame as a statesman will ultimately depend less
upon his treatment of the slavery issue than upon any other part of
his public administration. The fact will always appear that it was
the policy of Salmon P. Chase, Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens,
Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, and other advocates of the radical
cure, with whom the President was in constant opposition, that
prevailed in the end, and with a decisiveness that proves it to have
been feasible and sound from the beginning. Mr. Lincoln's most ultra
prescription--his Emancipation Proclamation--was ineffective. If it
was intended to eradicate slavery altogether, it was too narrow; if to
free the slaves of Rebels only, it was too broad. So with his other
propositions. His thirty-seven-year-liberation scheme, his "tinkering
off" policy (as he called it) for Missouri, his reconstruction
proposals, and his colonization projects, all failed. Indeed, if we
take his official action from first to last, it is a question whether
the President, owing to his extreme conservatism, was not more of an
obstructionist than a promoter of the Anti-Slavery cause.
Not that any change of opinion on the point just stated will
materially affect the general estimate in which Mr. Lincoln is held.
Although his popularity, due, in part at least, to the extravagance of
over-zealous admirers, has without much doubt already passed its
perihelion, it can never disappear or greatly diminish. His untiring
and exhaustive labors for the Union, the many lovable traits of his
unique personality, his unquestionable honesty, his courage, his
patriotism, and, above all, his tragic taking off, have unalterably
determined his place in the regard of his countrymen. Indeed, so
strong is the admiration in which he is held, that it would be vain to
attempt to disabuse many, by any amount of proof and argument, of the
opinion that African slavery in this country was actually and
exclusively killed by a presidential edict. So firmly fixed in the
popular belief is that historical myth that it will undoubtedly live
for many years, if not generations, although history in the end will
right it like all other misunderstandings.
Mr. Lincoln had his weaknesses and limitations, like other men. All
must admit that his treatment of the slavery question was not without
its mistakes. It has always seemed to the writer that his most ardent
admirers seriously blunder in claiming superlativeness for him in that
regard, and more especially in giving him credit for results that were
due to the efforts of other men. His fame is secure without such
misappropriation. He would not ask it if living, and it will in due
time be condemned by history.
THE END OF ABOLITIONISM
The original and distinctive Abolition movement that was directed
against slavery in all parts of the land without regard to State or
territorial lines, and because it was assumed to be wrong in principle
and practice, may be said, as far as the country at large was
concerned, to have culminated at the advent of the Republican party.
To a considerable extent it disappeared, but its disappearance was
that of one stream flowing into or uniting with another. The union of
the two currents extended, but did not intensify, the Anti-Slavery
sentiment of the country. It diluted it and really weakened
it. It brought about a crisis of great peril to the cause of
Anti-Slaveryism--in some respects the most critical through which it
was called upon to pass. Many of those attaching themselves to the
Republican party, as the new political organization was called, were
not in sympathy with Abolitionism. They were utterly opposed to
immediate emancipation; or, for that matter, to emancipation of any
kind. They wanted slavery to remain where it was, and were perfectly
willing that it should be undisturbed. They disliked the blacks, and
did not want to have them freed, fearing that if set at liberty they
would overrun what was then free soil.
The writer recollects hearing a prominent man in the new party, who
about that time was making a public speech, declare with great
emphasis that, "as for the niggers, they are where they ought to be."
The speaker on that occasion was one of many who belonged to the
_debris_ of the broken-up Whig party, and who drifted into
Republicanism because there was no other more attractive harbor to go
to. One of these men was Abraham Lincoln, whom I heard declare in his
debate with Douglas at Alton, Illinois: "I was with the old-line Whigs
from the origin to the end of their party." The Whigs were never an
Anti-Slavery party. The recruits to Republicanism from that quarter
were generally very tender on "the nigger question," and the most they
were prepared to admit was that they were opposed to slavery's
extension. These men largely dominated the new party. They generally
dictated its platforms, which, compared with earlier Abolition
utterances, were extremely timid, and they had much to do with making
party nominations. Their favorite candidates were not those whose
opinions on the slavery question were positive and well understood,
but those whose views were unsettled if not altogether unknown. When
General Fremont was nominated for the Presidency, not one in ten of
those supporting him knew what his opinions on that subject were, and
a good many of them did not care. Mr. Lincoln was accepted in much the
It is true that, from certain expressions about the danger to our
national house from being "half free" and "half slave," and other
generalizations of a more or less academic sort, it was known that
Mr. Lincoln was antagonistic to slavery; but as to whether he favored
that institution's immediate or speedy extinguishment, and, if so, by
what measures, was altogether unknown. We now know, from what has been
set forth in another chapter, that at the time of his first nomination
and election, he had very few things in common with the Abolitionists.
He then evidently had no thought of being hailed as the "liberator of
a race." He preferred, for the time at least, that the race in
question should remain where it was, and as it was, unless it could be
bodily transported to some other country and be put under the
protection of some other flag.
He did not break with the Abolitionists, although he kept on the edge
of a quarrel with them, and especially with what he called the
"Greeley faction," a good part of the time. He never liked them, but
he was a shrewd man--a born politician--and was too sagacious to
discard the principal round in the ladder by which he had climbed to
eminence. He managed to keep in touch with the Anti-Slavery movement
through all its steady advancement, but, as elsewhere stated, it was
as a follower rather than as a leader.
While a resident of the slave State of Missouri, I twice voted for Mr.
Lincoln, which was some evidence of my personal feeling toward him.
Both times I did it somewhat reluctantly. On the first occasion there
were four candidates. Breckenridge and Bell were Southern men--both by
residence and principle--and had no claim on Anti-Slavery support. But
with Douglas the case was different. He had quarreled with the
pro-slavery leaders, although of his own party. He had defied
President Buchanan in denouncing border-ruffianism in Kansas. He had
refused to give up his "popular sovereignty" dogma, although it
clearly meant ultimate free soil. The slave-masters hated him far more
than they did Lincoln. I heard them freely discuss the matter. They
were more afraid of the vindictiveness of the fiery Douglas than of
the opposition of good-hearted, conservative Lincoln. In my opinion
there was good reason for that feeling. Douglas, as President, would
undoubtedly have pushed the war for the Union with superior energy,
and slavery would have suffered rougher treatment from his hands than
it did from Mr. Lincoln's. There was another reason why the
slaveholders preferred the election of Lincoln to that of Douglas.
Lincoln's election would furnish the better pretext for the rebellion
on which they were bent, and which they had already largely planned.
They were resolved to defeat Douglas at all hazards, and they
Douglas had been very distasteful to the Abolitionists. They called
him a "dough-face." Nevertheless, quite a number of them where I lived
in Missouri voted for him. Missouri was the only State he carried, and
there he had less than five hundred majority. He got more than that
many free-soil votes. I was strongly tempted to give him mine. Chiefly
on account of political associations, I voted for Lincoln.
When it came to the second election, I again voted for Mr. Lincoln
with reluctance. The principal reason for my hesitancy was his
treatment of the Anti-Slavery people of the border slave States, and
especially of Missouri. The grounds for my objection on that score
will appear in the next chapter, which deals with the Missouri
embroglio, as it was called.
From what has just been stated, it will be seen that the cause of
Anti-Slaveryism had, at the formation of the Republican party, reached
a most perilous crisis. It was in danger of being submerged and
suffocated by unsympathetic, if not positively unfriendly,
associations. It ran the risk, after so many years of toil and
conflict, of being undone by those in whose support it was forced to
confide. Such would undoubtedly have been its fate if, owing to
circumstances over which no political party or other organization of
men had control, the current of Anti-Slavery sentiment had not risen
to a flood that swept all before it.
It is rather a curious circumstance that, at the crisis just alluded
to, the nearest approach to original Abolitionism that was to be
found, was in a slave State. In Missouri there was an organized
opposition to slavery that had been maintained for several years, and
which was never abandoned. The vitality displayed by this movement was
undoubtedly due in large measure to the inspiration of the man who was
its originator, if not its leader. That man was Thomas H. Benton.
Whether Benton was ever an Abolitionist or not, has been a
much-disputed question, but one thing is certain, and that is that the
men who sat at his feet, who were his closest disciples and imbibed
the most of his spirit--such as B. Gratz Brown, John How, the Blairs,
the Filleys, and other influential Missourians,--were Abolitionists.
Some of them weakened under the influence of the national
administration, but not a few of them maintained their integrity. Even
in the first days of the Civil War, when all was chaos there, an
organization was maintained, although at one time its only working and
visible representatives consisted of the members of a committee of
four men--a fifth having withdrawn--who were B. Gratz Brown,
afterwards a United States Senator; Thomas C. Fletcher, afterwards
Governor of the State; Hon. Benjamin R. Bonner, of St. Louis, and the
writer of this narrative. They issued an appeal that was distributed
all over the State, asking those in sympathy with their views to hold
fast to their principles, and to keep up the contest for unconditional
freedom. To that appeal there was an encouraging number of favorable
And thus it was that when Abolitionism may be said to have been lost
by merger elsewhere, it remained in its independence and integrity in
slaveholding Missouri, where it kept up a struggle for free soil, and
in four years so far made itself master of the situation that a
constitutional State convention, chosen by popular vote, adopted an
ordinance under which an emancipationist Governor issued his
proclamation, declaring that "hence and forever no person within the
jurisdiction of the State shall be subject to any abridgment of
liberty, except such as the law shall prescribe for the common good,
or know any master but God."
The writer entered on this work with no purpose of relating or
discussing the story of the Republican party, in whole or in any part.
His subject was Abolitionism, and his task would now be completed but
for the movement in the State of Missouri, to which reference has just
been made. That manifestation, he thinks, is deserving of recognition,
both on its own account and as a continuation of the original
movement, and he is the more inclined to contribute to its discussion
because he was then a Missourian by residence, and had something to do
with its successful prosecution.
In his interesting, though rather melodramatic, romance, _The Crisis_,
Winston Churchill tells the imaginary story of a young lawyer who went
from New England to St. Louis, and settled there shortly before the
outbreak of the Civil War. Having an abundance of leisure, and being
an Abolitionist, he devoted a portion of the time that was not
absorbed by his profession to writing articles on slavery for the
_Missouri Democrat_, which, notwithstanding its name, was the organ of
the Missouri emancipationists, and lived in part on the money he
received as compensation for that work. That in part describes the
author's experience. He was at that time a young lawyer in St. Louis,
to which place he had come from the North, and those who have read the
earlier chapters of this work are aware that he was an Abolitionist.
Having a good deal of time that was not taken up by his professional
employments, he occupied a portion of it in writing Anti-Slavery
contributions to the _Democrat_, and, so far as he knows, he was the
only person who to any extent did so. A collection was made of a
portion of his articles, and with money contributed by friends of the
cause, they were published in pamphlet form under the title of _Hints
toward Emancipation in Missouri_, and distributed throughout the
There the parallelism of the cases ceases. The writer got no pecuniary
compensation for his labor. He asked for none and expected none. The
_Democrat_ was then in no condition to pay for volunteer services,
having a hard struggle for existence. He was able to do it a service
that, possibly, saved it from at least a temporary suspension. One of
its chief difficulties was in getting printing paper, the manufacturer
it had been patronizing declining to furnish it except for cash, while
the _Democrat_ needed partial credit. At that time Louis Snyder, of
Hamilton, Ohio, a large paper-maker, visited St. Louis on business
that called for legal assistance, and I was employed by him. When the
work in hand was finished, I remarked that there was something else he
might do in St. Louis that would pay him. I explained the situation of
the _Democrat_, and assured him that, in my opinion, he would be
perfectly safe in giving trust to its proprietors, who were honest
"Will you indorse their paper?" he asked.
Mr. Snyder was a crafty as well as a thrifty German.
I replied that, as I was not a wealthy man, the question did not seem
to be pertinent.
"Will you indorse their paper for one thousand dollars?" was his next
Being by this time somewhat "spunked up," I replied that I would.
"Then I shall be pleased to meet your friends," said Mr. Snyder.
The result of the interview that followed was such that the
_Democrat_ was materially assisted in continuing its publication.
It is hardly necessary to state that I never heard anything more of
the one-thousand-dollar indorsement, the sole purpose of which was,
doubtless, to test my sincerity.
Soon afterwards I was offered the political editorship of the
_Democrat_, which I accepted on the one condition that there was to be
"no let-up on emancipation." I held the position until Missouri was a
In a surprisingly short time after the question of Missouri's status
in reference to the Union was decided, the issue between
Pro-Slaveryism and Anti-Slaveryism came up. Political parties ranged
themselves upon it. Those who favored slavery's immediate or speedy
abolishment became known as Radicals, while those advocating its
prolongation were called Conservatives. Those descriptives, however,
were too mild for such a time, and they were quickly superseded by a
more expressive local nomenclature. The Radicals, because of their
alleged sympathy with the negro, were branded as "Charcoals," and
their opponents, made up of Republicans, Democrats, and
Semi-Unionists, because of the variegated complexion of the mixture,
were set down as "Claybanks." Mulattoes are Claybanks.
The Claybanks, or Conservatives, at the outset enjoyed a decided
advantage in having the State government on their side. This was not
the regularly elected administration, which was driven out because of
its open support of secession, but its provisional successor. In
trying to take the State out of the Union with a show of legality, the
lawful Governor and his official associates made provision for a State
convention to be chosen by the people, which they expected to control,
but which, having a Unionist majority, played the boomerang on them by
sending them adrift and taking the affairs of the State into its own
hands. In this it had opposition. The most progressive men of the
State insisted that, after it had settled the question of Missouri's
relations to the Union, with reference to which it was specially
chosen, it was _functus officio_. They held that there should be a new
and up-to-date convention, especially as the old one, owing to the
desertion of many of its treasonably inclined members, including
General Sterling Price, of the Confederate Army, who was its first
president, had become "a rump," and so there were old-conventionists
and new-conventionists. The old-convention men, however, were in the
saddle. They had the governmental machinery, and were resolved to hold
on to it. In that spirit the convention proceeded to fill the vacant
offices. It was in sentiment strongly pro-slavery, as was shown by the
fact that a proposal looking to the very gradual extinguishment of
slavery was rejected by it in an almost unanimous vote, a circumstance
that led the leading pro-slavery journal of the State to boast that
the convention had killed emancipation "at the first pop." Very
naturally such a body selected pro-slavery officials. Hamilton R.
Gamble, whom it made Governor, was a bigoted supporter of "the
institution." He had not long before been mixed up in the proceedings
that compelled Elijah P. Lovejoy to leave Missouri for Alton,
Illinois, where he was murdered by a pro-slavery mob. Gamble was an
able and ambitious man.
The Conservatives, likewise, had the backing of the Federal
Administration--a statement that to a good many people nowadays will
be surprising. There were reasons why such should be the case. Judge
Bates, of Missouri, who was Attorney-General in Lincoln's Cabinet, had
long been Gamble's law partner and most intimate friend. He never was
more than nominally a Republican. Another member of the Cabinet was
Montgomery Blair, of Maryland, who had been a resident of Missouri,
and was a brother of General Francis P. Blair, Jr., of St. Louis.
General Blair had been the leader of the Missouri emancipationists,
but had turned against them. For his face-about there were, at least,
two intelligible reasons. One was that in the quarrel between him and
Fremont the most of his former followers had sided with Fremont. That
was enough to sour him against them. The other was a very natural
desire to be solid with the administration at Washington, which, as
elsewhere shown, was not then actively Anti-Slavery. It did not want
the question of slavery agitated, especially in the border slave
The Blairs were a clan as well as a family. The quarrel of one was the
quarrel of all, and the Missouri Radicals had no more effective
antagonist than the old Washington editor and politician, Francis P.
Blair, Sr., the family's head, who was so intimate with the President
that it was understood he could at any time enter the White House by
the kitchen door.
The writer was once a member of a delegation of Missouri "Charcoals"
that went to Washington to see the President. An hour was set for the
interview, and we were promptly at the door of the President's
chamber, where we were kept waiting for a considerable time. At last
the door opened, but before we could enter, out stepped a little old
man who tripped away very lightly for one of his years. That little
old man was Francis P. Blair, Sr., and we knew that we had been
forestalled. The President received us politely and patiently listened
to what we had to say, but our mission was fruitless.
The Radicals of Missouri sent deputation after deputation to the White
House, and got nothing they wanted. The Conservatives never sent a
deputation, and got all they wanted. They had advocates at the
President's elbows all the time.
With both State and Federal administrations against them, the Missouri
Charcoals may be regarded as foolhardy in persisting in the fight they
made for the deliverance of their State from slavery. They did
persist, however, and with such success in propagating their views
that Governor Gamble and the other Conservative leaders decided that
heroic measures to hold them in check were necessary. He undertook to
cut the ground from under their feet. The old convention that had
killed emancipation "at the first pop," or as much of it as was in
existence, was called together by the Governor, who appealed to it to
take such action as would quiet agitation on the slavery question.
Accordingly, it proceeded to enact what was called an emancipation
ordinance. The trouble with it was that it emancipated nobody. It
provided for the liberation of part of the slaves at a distant future
day, allowing the rest to remain as they were. The Radicals simply
laughed at the measure. They pronounced it a snare and a fraud, and
went right on with their work for unconditional freedom, and the
slave-owners continued to hold their human property the same as
The Conservatives, however, had not exhausted their resources. They
sought to secure the military as well as the civil control. On the
assurance that he could maintain peace and order, Governor Gamble was
given authority by the President to recruit an army of State troops,
which, although equipped and paid out of the national treasury, he was
to officer and direct. The organization was entrusted to General John
M. Scofield, a resident of Missouri, and one of the Governor's
The political advantage to the Conservatives of exercising military
control at such a time is obvious enough. But at first there was an
obstruction in the person of General Samuel R. Curtis, the Federal
commander of the district, who was not a man to waive his superior
prerogative at a time when martial law prevailed, and who was,
besides, openly in sympathy with the Radicals. They got not only
protection from him, but about all the patronage he had to give.
Pretty soon it was discovered that active efforts for the removal of
Curtis were in progress. Charges of irregularities--afterwards shown
to be without any foundation--were circulated against him. Indignant
because of such injustice to their friend, the Radicals were further
incensed when they learned that the scheme was to make Scofield his
Against General Scofield, as a gentleman and soldier, they had nothing
to say; but his affiliation with their opponents made him obnoxious to
them, and they sent a vigorous protest against his appointment to the
President. The proposed change, however, was made, and the inevitable
disagreement between the new commander and the Radicals quickly
Scofield's administration was not successful. The principal cause of
failure was the adoption of Governor Gamble's policy of trying to run
the State without the help of Federal troops. They were pretty much
all sent away, and an elaborate plan for substituting an "enrolled
militia" was put in operation. Here was an opportunity of which the
Rebels were quick to take advantage. They had a wholesome regard for
United States soldiers, particularly under Curtis, who at Pea Ridge
had given them the worst drubbing they ever received west of the
Mississippi, but they cared little for "Gamble's militia," into which
a good many of their friends were mustered, and when the pressure of
Curtis's strong hand was removed they at once aroused to pernicious
At this time it can be safely said that nowhere, outside of hell, was
there such a horrible condition as prevailed in Missouri. Singly and
in squads a good many of Price's men returned from the South, and
with local sympathizers forming guerrilla bands under such leaders as
"Bill" Anderson, Poindexter, Jackson, and Quantrell, soon had
practical possession of the greater part of the State. The Radicals
were the principal sufferers. Conservatives, except by the occasional
loss of property, were rarely molested. Between them and the Rebels
there was often an agreement for mutual protection--in fact, it was
not always easy to draw the line between them,--but the Charcoals,
especially if they were "Dutchmen," could look for no compassion. They
were shot down in their fields. They were called to their doors at
night and there dispatched. Their houses were burned and their stock
stolen. Many families of comparative wealth and refinement, including
women and children, because of the insecurity of their homes, slept in
the woods for weeks and months. The Radicals were not always fortunate
enough to escape bodily torture. Having captured one of the best known
among them, an old man and a civilian, some of "Bill" Anderson's men
set him up against the wall of his house as a target for pistol
practice. Their play consisted in seeing how near they could put their
shots without hitting, and this amusement they kept up while his wife
was running about in an effort to raise the amount of money that was
demanded for his ransom.
So successful were the Rebel bands at this time that Missouri was not
large enough to hold them. One of them, led by Quantrell, crossed the
Kansas line, captured the city of Lawrence, and butchered two hundred
of its peaceable inhabitants, while the border towns and cities of
Iowa and Illinois were greatly alarmed for their safety.
So intolerable did the situation become, that the Radicals from all
parts of the State met in conference and decided to send a delegation
to ask Mr. Lincoln to change the department commander, in the hope
that it would bring a change of policy.
It is to be presumed that no President was ever confronted with such a
motley crowd of visitors as the members of that delegation--between
seventy and eighty in number--as they formed in line around three
sides of the East Room in the White House. Their garments were a
sight! Some of the men were in full military dress and some in
civilian clothes, but the costumes of a majority were a mixture of
both kinds, just as accident had arranged it, and pretty much all
showed evidences of hard usage. One of the most forward of the
delegates had neither cuffs nor collar, and his shirt had manifestly
not been near a laundry for a long time. He apologized to the
President for his appearance, saying that he had been sleeping in the
woods where toilet accommodations were very indifferent. Two or three
of the men bore marks of battle with the guerrillas, in patched-up
faces, and one of them carried an arm that had been disabled by a gun
shot in a red handkerchief sling. In speaking of these visitors, the
President afterwards jocularly referred to them as "those crackerjacks
A formal address was presented, the principal point being that, as the
Missouri Unionists had furnished many thousand recruits to the Federal
Army, they had a right to look to the Government for soldiers to
assist in protecting their families and their property. And here it
will do no harm to state that, notwithstanding the heavy drain made by
the Confederacy, Missouri, during the war, furnished 109,000 men to
the national army.
After their formal address had been presented to the President, the
members of the delegation tackled him, one after the other, as the
spirit moved them, and it can truthfully be said that in some of the
bouts that ensued he did not come out "first best." He admitted as
much when, afterwards referring to this meeting, he spoke of the
Missouri Radicals as "the unhandiest fellows in the world to deal with
in a discussion."
The conclusion of the interview was attended with an unexpected
incident. The recognized leading spokesman of the Missourians was the
Hon. Charles D. Drake, of St. Louis, who was made Chief Justice of the
Court of Claims at Washington by Grant, when he became President. He
was a very forcible speaker. As Mr. Lincoln indicated by rising from
his seat that the conference was at an end, Mr. Drake stepped forward
and in well-chosen words thanked him for the lengthy and courteous
hearing he had given his visitors, and in their names bade him
good-by. Then he started for the door, but something seemed to arrest
him. Turning sharply to Mr. Lincoln, he said: "Mr. President, we are
about to return to our homes. Many of these men before you live where
rebel sentiments prevail and where they are surrounded by deadly
enemies. They return at the risk of their lives, and let me tell you
that if any of their lives are sacrificed by reason of the military
administration you maintain in Missouri, their blood will be upon your
garments and not upon ours."
The President, evidently greatly surprised, made no oral reply.
Instead of speaking he raised his handkerchief to his eyes. Seeing
that he was weeping, the delegates quietly and quickly filed out,
leaving Mr. Lincoln with his face still concealed.
The President denied the delegation's request, although his formal
decision was not announced for several days, and its members returned
to their homes, when fortunate enough to have them, sorely
It is here well enough to state that two or three months later the
President relieved Scofield from his Missouri command and sent him to
the front in the South, much to the betterment of his military
reputation, and doubtless to his own personal gratification. Rosecrans
was made his successor. Among the earliest things he did was the
bringing into the State of a considerable force of Federal troops
under Generals Pleasanton and A.J. Smith. These were sent through the
State. The effect was almost magical. Some of the guerrilla bands went
South to join Price, but the most of them dissolved and disappeared.
Their members, doubtless, went back to their former occupations, and
that was the last of them. Missouri was pacified.
But were the Missouri Radicals so far disheartened by their rebuffs
from the President that they gave up the fight? Not a bit of it. There
was a tribunal in some respects higher than the President, and to that
they resolved to go. The National Republican Convention to nominate a
successor to Mr. Lincoln was approaching, and they decided to appeal
to it in a way that would compel a decision between them and the
President. They appointed a delegation to the convention, which they
instructed for General Grant. The Claybanks also appointed a
delegation, which they instructed for Mr. Lincoln, and thus the issue
was made. The convention, although nominating Mr. Lincoln by a vote
that, outside of Missouri's, was unanimous, admitted the Charcoals and
excluded the Claybanks by the remarkable vote of four hundred and
forty to four.
While of no special consequence, some rather humorous experiences in
connection with the events just spoken of may not be lacking in
interest or altogether out of place in a work like this.
Before leaving Missouri for the National Republican Convention, which
was held in Baltimore, June 8, 1864, the Radical delegates, including
the writer, decided to go by way of Washington and call upon the
President, thinking that, as there was a contest ahead with his
professed Missouri supporters, a better understanding with him might
be of advantage. As they were pledged to vote for another man, such a
proceeding on their part was certainly somewhat audacious;
nevertheless, Mr. Lincoln received us graciously and listened
patiently to what we had to say.
"Mr. President," said one of the delegates, "if you were to go out to
Missouri you would find your best friends as well as practically all
the good Republicans of the State on our side of the dividing line."
"Well," remarked the President very deliberately, "in speaking of
dividing lines, the situation in Missouri recalls the story of the old
man who had an unruly sow and pigs. One day, when they escaped from
their enclosure and disappeared, he called his boys and started out to
hunt the runaways. Up one side of the creek they went; but while they
discovered plenty of tracks and rootings, they found no hogs. 'Now let
us go over to the other side of the creek,' said the old gentleman;
but the result was the same--many signs but no pigs. 'Confound those
swine!' exclaimed the old man, 'they root and root on both sides, but
it's mighty hard to find them on either.'"
We, of course, were left to make the application to ourselves, and
that was all the satisfaction we got.
Being greatly elated over our victory in the convention, and thinking
it settled some, if not all, disputed points, we decided to return by
way of Washington and again call on the President. We wanted to come
to some sort of understanding with him. As we had just voted against
his nomination such a step may have been more audacious than our
previous action. But, for all that, a pretty late hour on the night of
the convention found us at the door of the President's room, seeking
an interview that had been promised us in answer to a telegram.
Now, we had in our delegation a gentleman who was accustomed to imbibe
somewhat freely on occasions like that. He had pushed himself to the
front, and, when the door opened for us, in he rushed shouting: "Mr.
President! Mr. President! Mr. President! we have found that old sow
and pigs for you!"
The President, who was standing on the opposite side of the room,
looked somewhat startled at first; but as he evidently recalled the
illustration he had given to us, and which was being returned to him,
a broad grin went over his face, although nothing further was said
about the swine. But the incident was disastrous to our business. We
were relying on a prominent St. Louis lawyer, who was with us, to
present our case in a calm and impressive way; but he, taking offense
at being so unceremoniously forestalled, kept his intended speech to
himself. His dignity was hurt, and he had nothing to say. In fact, he
walked away and left us. The result was that our claims were rather
lamely presented, except by the first speaker, and we left the
official presence not a little chagrined and with no favorable
assurance having been obtained.
By all recognized party rules, when the nominating convention had
given the Missouri Radicals the stamp of regularity, the President was
bound to prefer them in the bestowal of patronage. He did nothing of
the kind. At his death, practically all of the offices in Missouri
that were under his control were held by Claybanks. These men became
enthusiastic supporters of Andrew Johnson, and, at the end of his
term, to a man went over to the Democratic party, of which their
leader, General Blair, was soon made, on the ticket with Horatio
Seymour, the Vice-Presidential candidate. At Lincoln's death, the
Claybanks, as an organization, went out of business.
Very different was the treatment the Charcoals received at the hands
of General Grant when he became President. He made the leader of the
anti-Scofield delegation to Washington Chief Justice of the Court of
Claims. He made two or three other leading Missouri Radicals foreign
ministers and officially remembered many of the rest of them. He had
been a Missourian, and it was well known that he was in sympathy with
the Radicals in their fight with Lincoln.
Although the Missouri Radicals did not favor Mr. Lincoln's
candidature, with the exception of a few supporters of Fremont, they
gave him their loyal support at the polls, and through this a large
majority in the State. They acted towards him much more cordially than
he ever acted toward them.
That Mr. Lincoln, in antagonizing the Missouri Free Soilers, acted
otherwise than from the most conscientious impulses the writer does
not for a moment believe. He opposed them because he disapproved of
their views and policy. He said so most distinctly on one occasion.
Certain German societies of St. Louis, having adopted a set of
resolutions, entrusted them to James Taussig, a leading lawyer of that
city, to present to the President in person. Mr. Taussig's report of
the results of a two hours' interview can be found in several of Mr.
Lincoln's biographies. One passage from the report is here given
because it clearly shows Mr. Lincoln's attitude toward the Missouri
"The President," says Mr. Taussig, "said that the Union men in
Missouri who are in favor of gradual emancipation, represented
his views better than those who are in favor of immediate
emancipation. In explanation of his views on this subject the
President said that in his speeches he had frequently used as an
illustration the case of a man who had an excrescence on the back
of his neck, the removal of which in one operation would result in
the death of the patient, while tinkering it off by degrees would
"Although sorely tempted," continues Mr. Taussig, "I did not reply
with the illustration of the dog whose tail was amputated by
inches, but confined myself to arguments. The President announced
clearly that, so far as he was at present advised, the Radicals in
Missouri had no right to consider themselves the representatives
of his views on the subject of emancipation in that State."
The foregoing interview, it is well enough to state, was long after
the issuance of Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
In addition to carrying the State for Mr. Lincoln, the Missouri
Radicals carried it for themselves. They elected a constitutional
convention that promptly passed an unconditional freedom ordinance.
And thus terminated what is certainly one of the most notable contests
in our political history, bringing about, as it did, the triumph of a
reform of unquestionable value to civilization and humanity, which was
accomplished by men working without patronage or other outside help,
with no pecuniary interest at stake, and no incentive beyond the
Here follows an extract from the published proceedings of the National
Republican Convention of 1864, in which Mr. Lincoln was renominated.
"When that State [Missouri] was called, Mr. J.F. Hume addressed
the convention as follows:
"'It is a matter of great regret that we differ from the majority
of the convention that has been so kind to the Radicals of
Missouri, but we came here instructed. We represent those who are
behind us at home, and we recognize the right of instruction and
intend to obey our instruction; but, in doing so, we declare
emphatically that we are with the Union party of the nation, and
we intend to fight the battle through to the end with it, and
assist in carrying it to victory. We will support your nominees be
they whom they may. I will read the resolution adopted by the
convention that sent us here.'"
[Here resolution of instruction was read.]
"'Mr. President, in the spirit of that resolution I cast the
twenty-two votes of Missouri for them an who stands at the head of
the fighting Radicals of the nation--General U.S. Grant.'"
The contention between the Missouri Radical and Conservative
delegations was thrashed out before the committee on delegates, at an
evening session. Judge Samuel M. Breckenridge, of St. Louis, sustained
the cause of the Conservatives in a very ingenious argument, while the
writer spoke for the Radicals. The result was very satisfactory to the
latter, being, with the exception of one vote for compromise, a
unanimous decision in their favor. That decision was sustained by the
convention in its next day's session by a vote of four hundred and
forty to four.
Anticipating that the subject would be discussed on the floor of the
convention,--which was not the case, however,--I asked a very eloquent
St. Louis lawyer to take my place as chairman of the Radical
delegation and conduct the debate on the Radical side. He declined. I
then went to three or four Congressmen who were members of the Radical
delegation and made the same appeal to each one of them. All declined.
I suspected at the time that apprehension that a vote for anybody else
would be hissed by Lincoln's friends, had something to do with their
reticence. I had no such apprehension. I did not believe there was
anybody in that convention who would dare to hiss the name of Grant.
If Grant had been a candidate before the convention he would have been
When, as chairman of my delegation, I pronounced his name as
Missouri's choice I remained on my feet for fully a minute while a
dead silence prevailed. Meanwhile all eyes were turned upon me. Then
came a clap from a single pair of hands, being the expression of a
Missouri delegate. Others followed, both inside and outside of the
delegation, increasing until there was quite a demonstration. When
the clamor had subsided I made the next move according to the
programme agreed upon, and the incident was closed.
And here it can do no harm to state that General Grant knew that he
was to receive the vote of the Missouri Radicals if they were admitted
to the convention--the newspapers having generally published the
fact--and did not decline the intended compliment. Grant lived in
Missouri for a considerable period, married there, and was on most
friendly terms with the Radical leaders, many of whom he generously
remembered when he got to be President. For their action in voting for
Grant, the Missouri Radical delegates were sharply criticised at the
time, on the alleged ground that they secured admission to the
convention from Lincoln's supporters by concealing the fact--or at
least not revealing it--that they intended to vote for somebody else.
The fact, however, is that there was not a person in the convention
who did not from the first understand where they stood, and exactly
what they intended to do. Their Conservative contestants had
distributed a leaflet, intended as an appeal to the Lincoln men,
setting forth the instructions to both delegations. Instead of the
openly avowed opposition of the Radicals to Mr. Lincoln's nomination
being an impediment in their way, it strengthened them with the
convention, which, notwithstanding its seeming harmony in his support,
contained many delegates who would very much have preferred nominating
somebody else; but who, for lack of organized opposition, were
compelled to vote for him. A sufficient evidence of that fact was the
presence in the convention of a large number of Congressmen whose
antagonism to the President was notorious. An incident that strikingly
illustrated Congressional sentiment toward the President at that time,
is given in the _Life of Lincoln_, by Isaac N. Arnold, then a member
of Congress from Illinois. A Pennsylvanian asked Thaddeus Stevens, the
Republican Congressional leader, to introduce him to "a member of
Congress who was friendly to Mr. Lincoln's renomination." Thereupon
Stevens took him to Arnold, saying: "Here is a man who wants to find a
Lincoln member of Congress, and as you are the only one I know of I
bring him to you."
The same feeling largely prevailed among leading Republicans outside
of Congress. Henry J. Raymond, of the New York _Times_, in his _Life
of Lincoln_, says that at that time "nearly all the original
Abolitionists and many of the more decidedly Anti-Slavery members of
the Republican party were dissatisfied with the President." More
explicit testimony is the statement, in his _Political Recollections_,
of George W. Julian, for many years a leading member of Congress from
Indiana. He says:
"The nomination of Mr. Lincoln was nearly unanimous, only the
State of Missouri opposing him, but of the more earnest and
thoroughgoing Republicans in both Houses of Congress, probably not
more than one in ten really favored it. It was not only very
distasteful to a large majority of Congress, but to many of the
more prominent men of the party throughout the country."
The writer had an opportunity of witnessing a peculiar manifestation
of the feeling that has just been spoken of. He attended a conference
of radical Anti-Slavery people that was held in a parlor of one of the
old Pennsylvania Avenue hotels in Washington, a few months before the
nominating convention. A number of well-known politicians were
present, but probably the most prominent was Horace Greeley. The
writer had never before seen the great editor, and was considerably
amused by his unconventional independence on that occasion. He
occupied an easy chair with a high back. Having given his views at
considerable length, he laid his head back on its support and
peacefully went to sleep; but the half-hour lost in slumber did not
prevent him from joining vigorously in the discussion that was going
on as soon as he awoke.
There seemed to be but one sentiment on that occasion. All entertained
the opinion that, owing to Mr. Lincoln's peculiar views on
reconstruction, and especially his manifest inclination to postpone
actual freedom for the negro to remote periods, and other "unhappy
idiosyncrasies," as one of the speakers expressed it, his re-election
involved the danger of a compromise that would leave the root of
slavery in the soil, and hence his nomination by the Republicans
should be opposed. Chase was clearly the choice of those present, but
no one had a plan to propose, and, while some committees were
appointed, I never heard anything more of the matter. Two or three of
those present on that occasion were in the nominating convention and
quietly voted with the majority for Mr. Lincoln. The writer was the
only one in both gatherings that maintained his consistency.
All this, it is well enough to remember, was long after the
President's Emancipation Proclamation had appeared.
There was, however, another manifestation of the antagonism spoken of
which the public, for some reason, never seemed to "get on to," that
at one time threatened very serious consequences, and which, if it had
gone a little farther, might have materially changed the history of
the country. That was a movement, after Mr. Lincoln's nomination, to
compel him to retire from the ticket, or to confront him with a strong
independent Republican candidate. According to Messrs. Nicolay and
Hay, Mr. Lincoln's private secretaries and his biographers, the
movement started in New York City and had its ramifications in many
parts of the country. One meeting was held at the residence of David
Dudley Field, and was attended by such men as George William Curtis,
Noyes, Wilkes, Opdyke, Horace Greeley, and some twenty-five others. In
the movement were such prominent people as Charles Sumner, of
Massachusetts, and Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio. One of the men favorable
to the proposition was Governor Andrew of Massachusetts. "He," says
his biographer, Peleg W. Chandler, "was very busy in the movement in
1864 to displace the President." "The secrecy," he adds, "with which
this branch of the Republican politics of that year has been ever
since enveloped is something marvelous; there were so many concerned
in it. When it all comes out, if it ever does, it will make a curious
page in the history of the time." The signal for the abandonment of
the movement, according to Mr. Chandler, was given by Mr. Chase.
Almost at the beginning of the movement the _Missouri Democrat_,
doubtless because of its supposed opposition to Mr. Lincoln, was
approached on the subject. If the statements made to it were anywhere
near correct, the conspiracy, as it might be called, had the
countenance of a surprisingly great number of weighty Republicans. The
_Democrat_ declined to become a party to the proposed insurrection. It
held that after what had occurred in the Baltimore convention, it
could not consistently and honorably do so.
There was another reason why it stood aloof. Before the nomination it
was, naturally enough, looking out for some one who might be urged as
a suitable competitor for Mr. Lincoln's place. Andrew Johnson, of
Tennessee, was then quite popular with a good many people of radical
views. The writer prepared an article discussing his availability as
presidential timber and suggested him as a good man for the
nomination. The article appeared as a leader in the _Democrat_, and
was followed by others in the same vein. The suggestion attracted
attention and led to a good deal of newspaper discussion. Herein we
have, according to the writer's opinion, the leading cause of
Johnson's nomination for the Vice-Presidency. At all events, he was on
the ticket with Lincoln, and the _Democrat_ could not very well go
back on its own man.
The new departure, as the proposition for another Republican
candidate in case Mr. Lincoln resolved to stick might be called, that
appeared so formidable at one time, faded away without the public
knowing anything of its existence. The reason was that it had no
candidate. It had relied on Chase, knowing the unfriendliness there
was between him and the President, but Chase said "No," and that was
the end of it.
The nomination of Mr. Chase for the Chief Justiceship has always been
regarded as an act of great magnanimity on Mr. Lincoln's part, as well
as a clear perception of merit. It was doubtless all that, but the
actions of the two men at this time certainly make out a case of
striking coincidence. Such things rarely come by accident.
From what has been stated, it will be seen that the Missouri Radicals
were by no means alone in their opposition to the President's
nomination, for which they are so sharply taken to task by some of his
biographers and eulogists. They had plenty of company, the only
difference being that they stood out in the open while the others
The Missouri Germans, who mostly approved the candidature of Fremont,
and some of whom refused to vote for Lincoln, have been particularly
assailed. Messrs. Nicolay and Hay, in their Lincoln biography, even go
so far as to attack them on the ground of their religious, or rather
anti-religious, beliefs, calling them "materialist Missourians,"
"Missouri agnostics," etc., etc.
Now, after having lived among the Missouri Germans at the time of our
civil troubles, the writer is impelled to say a few words in their
behalf. He does not hesitate to say that, in his opinion, there was
no body of men of equal numerical strength in this country to whom, at
that crisis, the Government and country had cause to feel under
greater obligation, and justice would require its acknowledgment at
this time. But for them the enemies of the Union would have captured
the city of St. Louis with its great Government arsenal, and with the
arms and ammunition thus secured would have overrun both the States of
Missouri and Kansas. A large preponderance of the American-born
citizens of St. Louis were Rebels. The Union people of that city who
saved the day, were principally the "Dutch," as they were called.
A large army was needed at that point to protect the Government's
interests, when it had practically no available forces. There was no
law under which it could be organized on the spot. No man could be
made to serve. No pay for service was assured, or even promised. The
army, however, was created by the voluntary and patriotic action of
its members. Nearly a dozen full regiments were organized and
equipped. Nine tenths of their members were Germans. They did not wait
for hostilities to begin. Foreseeing the emergency near at hand, they
organized into companies and regiments, and put themselves on a war
footing before a blow had been struck or a shot had been fired. They
met by night to drill in factory lofts, in recreation halls, and in
whatever other places were most available, the words of command being
generally delivered in German. The writer has a lively recollection of
the difficulties involved in trying to learn military evolutions from
instructors speaking a language he did not understand.
Many of the Germans of Missouri had seen service in the Old World.
They had served under Sigel in the struggle of 1848. They found
themselves under Sigel again. It was with the step and bearing of
veterans that they marched (the writer was an eye-witness) in May of
1861, only a few days after Sumter had been fired on, to open the
military ball in the West at Camp Jackson, near St. Louis.
The same people went with Lyon to the State capital, from which the
Rebel officials were driven, never to return. They were with Lyon at
Wilson's Creek, and with him many of them laid down their lives on
that bloody field. They were wherever hard fighting was to be done in
that part of the country. The writer believes he is correct in saying
they furnished more men to the Government's service than any other
numerically equal body of citizens. So large was their representation
in the Union's forces in that region, that the Rebels were accustomed
to speak of the Union soldiers as "the Dutch."
The fact that the Germans were fighting for an adopted government
makes their loyalty more conspicuous. What they did was not from a
love of war, but because they were Abolitionists. They were opposed to
slavery. They owned no slaves. They wanted the Government sustained,
because they believed that meant the end of slaveholding. They
supported Fremont largely because of his freedom proclamation.
And here the writer, before closing his work, wants to say something
about Fremont. He believes no man in this country was made the victim
of greater injustice than he was.
It has always been the opinion of the writer that, if Fremont had been
permitted to take his own way in his Western command a little longer,
he would have achieved a brilliant military success. He was a weak man
in some respects, being over fond of dress parade. The financial
management of his department was bad, or, rather, very careless. Of
these shortcomings, which were considerably misrepresented and
exaggerated, Fremont's enemies took advantage, and succeeded in
effecting his overthrow in the Western Department. But,
notwithstanding his admitted failings, he gave evidence of military
ability. He showed that he possessed both physical and moral courage,
and he knew how to plan a campaign. He undoubtedly formulated the
movement that resulted in the capture of Forts Donelson and Henry in
Tennessee, taking the initial steps, but of which Halleck got the
credit. He was removed from command when in the field, and almost on
the eve of battle. He had an enthusiastic army and the prospect of a
decisive victory. His recall gave up nearly the whole of Missouri to
the enemy, and was one of the causes of complaint that the Missouri
Unionists had against the National Administration.
Not long afterwards, with no more than even chances, Fremont defeated
Stonewall Jackson in Virginia--at Cross Keys--which was more than any
of the other Union generals then in that department could do. His
prompt removal made it sure that he should not do it again.
It was the misfortune of Fremont that his independence caused him to
clash with selfish interests, and he was sacrificed. He was selected
for the Trans-Mississippi command by the Blairs, evidently with the
expectation that he would bend to their wishes. He soon showed that he
was his own master, and the trouble began. The Union people of his
department were mostly with him, but the Blairs had control of the
administration in Washington.
As for his freedom proclamation, it was, to a certain extent, an act
of insubordination, but it was right in principle and sound in policy.
Its adoption by the General Government would have saved four years of
contention and turmoil in Missouri, spent in upholding a tottering
institution that was doomed from the first shot of the Rebellion. The
President, however, for reasons elsewhere explained, did not at that
time want slavery interfered with.
The story of Fremont's fall is best told by Whittier in four lines:
"Thy error, Fremont, simply was to act
A brave man's part without the statesman's tact,
And, taking counsel but of common-sense,
To strike at cause as well as consequence."
SOME ABOLITION LEADERS
The references that have been made to General Frank P. Blair of
Missouri have not been complimentary to that individual. They would
indicate on the part of the writer no very exalted admiration for or
estimate of the man. In that particular they are not altogether just.
The stormy period of the Rebellion brought out few more picturesque
figures than his, or in some respects more admirable characters. There
is no question that, but for the efforts of Blair, the Rebels would
have effected the capture of St. Louis at the beginning of the war, to
be followed by the at least temporary control of the entire State of
Missouri, and possibly of Kansas as well. To that end preparations had
been carefully and skillfully made. The leader in the movement was
none other than Missouri's Governor, Claiborne F. Jackson, who was
justly looked upon as one of the most consummate and accomplished
schemers of the time. He was a Rebel from head to foot. He had taken
office with the deliberate purpose of swinging his State into the
Confederate column, and without regard to the wishes of the majority
of the people whom he officially represented. He was supported by a
sympathetic corps of official assistants, including a majority of the
Legislature of his State, who gave him whatever legislation he wanted.
Every advantage seemed to be on his side. He would undoubtedly have
succeeded but for the opposition of Blair. In him he encountered an
equal in cunning, and more than a match in courage and energy.
When the Governor and his helpers were busy raising an army pursuant
to the conditions of a law that had been enacted for the purpose, and
which hampered their operations, Blair went ahead in raising and
equipping an army on the other side without the slightest regard to
law. The presence or absence of a statute did not trouble him in the
least. He called on the Unionists to organize and arm, and when a
sufficient force, composed in greater part of loyal Germans, had
responded he struck the first blow. In a legal aspect the whole
proceeding was irregular, but it was none the less effective.
When the Governor's army was quietly encamped on the outskirts of St.
Louis, for the capture and occupancy of which it was getting ready, it
found itself unexpectedly surrounded by a superior force, and its
surrender was demanded in a way that admitted of no denial. The writer
was present on the occasion. From a convenient eminence he witnessed
the whole proceeding. When Jackson's men--the rendezvous had in honor
of his Excellency the Governor been named Camp Jackson--were enjoying
themselves on a pleasant summer's day, sleeping on the grass, playing
cards, or escorting their lady friends and other visitors about the
grounds, suddenly they realized that their position was commanded by
hostile guns. Pointing downward from higher ground not far off were
nearly a score of frowning cannons, behind which stood men with
burning fuses. I had watched the Union forces as they approached. At
the foot of the hill that hid them from the camp they paused for a few
moments, and then up the hill went the horses that were dragging the
cannons at a run. They were wheeled when the summit was reached, and
the guns thrown into position. Everything was ready for action. At the
same time large bodies of armed men, their arms glittering in the
sunlight, were seen approaching from all sides on the double quick.
The Rebels were completely entrapped, and their immediate capitulation
was a thing of course. The credit for the manoeuvres of the day was
given to Captain--afterwards General--Nathaniel Lyon, who was in
immediate command of the Unionists, but everybody understood that the
real leader, as well as instigator, of the movement was Blair.
Blair had been the admitted leader of the Missouri Abolitionists. He
was as radical as any man among them. One day he stopped me on the
street for the purpose of thanking me for a paper I had contributed to
the _Missouri Democrat_, in which I had favored what was practically
immediate emancipation in Missouri. He said that was the right kind of
talk, and what we had to come to. I felt greatly flattered, because
there was nothing in the article that disclosed its authorship, and
Mr. Blair had taken the trouble to inquire about it.
Blair turned against the Missouri Abolitionists when a decided
majority of them turned against him in his quarrel with Fremont. They
indorsed Fremont's emancipation proclamation, which the President, at
Blair's instigation, it was charged at the time, revoked.
Blair was a man not only of strong ambition but of arbitrary
temperament. He could not tolerate the idea of a newcomer pre-empting
what he had considered his premises. If he could not rule he was ready
to ruin. That disposition accorded with both his mental and physical
make-up. Bodily he was a bundle of bones and nerves without a particle
of surplus flesh. His hair was red, his complexion was sandy, and his
eyes, when he was excited and angry, had a baleful expression that led
some one in my presence on a certain occasion to speak of them as
He was not an eloquent man, although a ready and frequent public
speaker. His voice was not musical. His strong forte was invective. He
was nearly always denouncing somebody. Apparently, he was never so
happy as when making another miserable. Sometimes his personal
allusions were very broad. He was accustomed in his speeches to refer
to one of Missouri's United States Senators as "that lop-eared
vulgarian." That he was not almost all the time in personal
difficulties was due to the fact that he was known to be a man of
exceptional courage. He was a born fighter. Physically I think he was
the bravest man I ever knew. I witnessed several manifestations of his
fearlessness, but one particularly impressed me.
I have spoken of the Camp Jackson affair. Although the people in the
Rebel encampment surrendered without a blow, the incident was
attended with considerable bloodshed. A mob of Rebel sympathizers,
consisting largely of half-grown boys--I was in the midst of the
throng at the time--with their pistols opened fire on a German Union
regiment and killed several of its men. The troops, in return, poured
a volley into the crowd of spectators from which the shots had come,
killing or wounding over forty persons, the most of them, as is usual
in such cases, being inoffensive onlookers. A man standing beside me
and, like myself, a spectator, had the top of one ear clipped off by a
Minie ball as cleanly as if it had been done with a knife. I found
when, soon afterwards, I reached the business center of the city,
where the Rebel element then largely predominated, that the story of
the tragedy had swelled the number of the victims to one thousand.
Intense excitement and the most furious indignation prevailed.
Hundreds of men, with flaming faces, were swearing the most dreadful
oaths that they would shoot Frank Blair, whom they seemed to regard as
wholly responsible, on sight. Many of them were flourishing pistols in
confirmation of their bloody purpose. Just then the attention of the
crowd was drawn to an unusual spectacle. Down Fourth Street, which was
then the leading business avenue of St. Louis, and at that time
densely packed with the excited people, came the Union soldiers with
the prisoners from Camp Jackson on their way to the United States
Arsenal grounds. At the head of the procession marched the men of the
First Missouri volunteer regiment, their guns "aport" and ready for
immediate service, and at their head--the only mounted man in the
regiment, according to my recollection--rode their Colonel, who was
Frank Blair. He was in full uniform, which made him still more
conspicuous. No better target could have been offered. I watched the
audacious man, expecting to hear a shot at any moment from the
sidewalk, or from a window of one of the high buildings lining the
street, and to see him topple from his saddle. He understood very well
the danger he was braving. He knew that in that throng, where
everybody was armed, there were hundreds toying with the triggers of
their guns, and trying to muster sufficient courage to shoot him down.
Slowly, and as calmly as if on ordinary dress parade, he led the way
until he passed out of sight. I thought then, and still think, it was
the pluckiest thing I ever witnessed.
The effect of the breaking up and capture of Camp Jackson was
something wonderful. Up to that time, the Rebels of St. Louis and
their sympathizers had been very demonstrative. In portions of the
city the Rebel cockade, which was a red rosette pinned to the side of
the hat, was conspicuous, and any one not displaying that decoration
was in danger of having his hat smashed upon his head. After Camp
Jackson's surrender, I never saw a Rebel cockade openly worn in St.
At the same time there was an extensive shifting of positions. A good
many men of prominence and wealth, who had been leaning over towards
the South, suddenly straightened up, and not a few of them showed a
strong inclination the other way. Some of the evolutions they executed
were amusing. One of the first to discuss with the writer the Union
defeat at Bull Run was a former United States Government official. He
was tremendously excited and correspondingly exultant. After
describing how the Southerners had vanquished the Government's men,
and particularly how the South Carolina "black horse" had ridden them
down in deadly slaughter, he cried out, "That's the way we will give
it to you fellows all the time."
Not very long afterwards General Grant, having entered Tennessee, and
captured Fort Donelson, and many prisoners, was about to visit St.
Louis, and the leading Unionists there decided to give him a grand
reception and an elaborate dinner. Money had to be raised, and among
those I met who were soliciting it was my ex-Government-official
friend. He was fully as happy as he had been before, when the Fort
Donelson affair was alluded to. "Didn't we give it to those fellows
down there?" he exclaimed.
Out in western Missouri was a young lawyer of great ambition and
considerable promise. He was afterwards a member of Congress. Like a
good many others he was at first puzzled to know what course to take.
In his dilemma he concluded to consult an old politician in that
section who was much famed for his sagacity, and who bore the military
title of General.
"If you contemplate remaining in Missouri," said the older man to the
junior, "you should take the Southern side. Missouri is a slave State
and a Southern State, and she will naturally go with her section."
The young man availed himself of an opportunity to make a public
address, in which he aligned himself in the strongest terms with those
who had gone into rebellion. But scarcely had this been done when
Lincoln issued his first call for troops, and among those nominated to
command them was the old Missouri General. It was announced that he
had accepted the appointment. The younger man was amazed. He went in
hot haste for an explanation.
"It's all true," said the General. "The fact is, when I talked with
you before, I did not think the Northern people would fight for the
Union, but I now see that I was mistaken; and when the Northern
people, being the stronger and richer, do decide to go to war, they
are almost certain to win. You had better take the Northern side."
"But it is too late," said the youngster. "I have committed myself in
that speech I made."
"Oh! as for that matter," was the reply, "it's of very little
consequence if you have committed yourself. It's easy to make a speech
on the other side and take the first one back. Nobody looks for
consistency in times like these."
Many Missourians, as well as many citizens of other border slave
States, at the beginning of the trouble advocated a policy of
neutrality. They saw no necessity for taking sides. I was at a meeting
out in the interior of Missouri, where many citizens had come together
to consult as to the policy they had better pursue. Among them was an
old gentleman who seemed to be looked upon by his neighbors as a
regular Nestor. He was called upon for his views. "Gentlemen," said
he, "we have got to take sides and maintain our neutrality."
In that section of the country was another distinguished and unique
personage who conspicuously figured in the events that are here being
I knew him intimately. I now refer to James H. Lane, who was better
known as "Jim Lane," of Kansas. Like Blair, Lane was a born leader of
men, and a leader under exceptional conditions. He was generally
credited with being a fighter--a dare-devil, in fact--and a desperado;
but in the writer's opinion he was by no means Blair's equal in
personal courage. He had a great deal to do in raising troops and
organizing military movements, but he did not go to the front. His
fighting was chiefly in "private scraps," in one of which he killed
His paramount ability was as a talker rather than as a fighter. He was
an orator, and his oratory was of a kind that was exactly suited to
his surroundings. No man could more readily adapt himself to the humor
of his hearers. He knew precisely how to put himself on their level. I
have seen him face an audience that was distinctly unfriendly, that
would scarcely give him a hearing; and in less than half an hour every
man in the crowd would be shouting his approval. He could go to his
hearers if he could not bring them to him. I witnessed one of his
performances in that line.
He was a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate. There
was one rival that he particularly feared. The man was the late
General Thomas Ewing, then a resident of Kansas. At that particular
time he was in the Army and the commandant of the St. Louis District
in Missouri. Lane came to St. Louis and had a talk with the writer,
freely admitting his dread of Ewing and asking for the _Missouri
Democrat's_ support. Having a considerable admiration for Lane as well
as a liking for the man, I promised him such assistance as I could
reasonably give. It happened to be at the time when General Sterling
Price, in making his last raid into Missouri, was threatening St.
Louis with an army of nearly twenty thousand men, and there was no
adequate opposing force at hand. Ewing, with barely a tenth as many
troops, went to the front and heroically engaged the enemy. With no
protection but the walls of a little mud fort he succeeded in
repelling the attack of his powerful adversary. That timely action
probably saved St. Louis.
At this particular time it was arranged that there should be a meeting
of the Republicans of St. Louis--it was in the midst of an exciting
presidential campaign--at which Lane was to be the principal speaker.
The meeting was held and Lane was addressing a large audience with
great acceptance when the news of Ewing's achievement was received.
It was then customary, when war intelligence arrived in the course of
any political gathering, and sometimes of religious gatherings, to
suspend all other proceedings until it had been announced and the
audience had time enough to manifest its feeling on the subject.
Lane was in the midst of an eloquent passage when he was interrupted
by the arrival of the news referred to. He stepped back, and the
news-bearer, taking his place, proceeded to give a graphic
description of Ewing's performance, concluding with a glowing eulogy
on that personage, and which was received with tremendous cheering.
Understanding Lane's feelings towards Ewing, I watched his face while
these events were passing. It plainly showed his vexation. It was
almost livid with suppressed emotion. But the time for him to resume
his address had come. What would he do was the question I asked
myself. He answered it very promptly. Jauntily stepping forward with
his countenance fairly wreathed in smiles, he exclaimed, "Ladies and
gentlemen, that is glo-o-orious news for us, but it 's ter-r-r-ible
for the other fellows."
Lane's enemies were confident they had him beaten as a candidate for
the Senate. He had done certain things that rendered him unpopular
with his constituents. So certain were they that they did not think it
necessary to make an effort, and, in consequence, remained inactive.
Not so with Lane. He quietly waited until a few days before the
choosing of the Legislature that was to decide on his case, and then
he entered on a lightning canvass. Arranging for relays of fast
horses--it was before the days of railroads in Kansas--he began a tour
that would bring him practically face to face with every voter in the
State. He traveled and spoke both by day and by night. Sometimes he
addressed as many as a dozen audiences in twenty-four hours. The
excitement attending his progress was great. Men came many miles to
hear him, sometimes bringing their families with them. He succeeded in
completely revolutionizing public opinion. It was too late for his
adversaries to attempt a counter-movement, and the result was that
Lane was re-elected by an almost unanimous vote.
There was no doubt about Lane's attitude on the slavery question. He
was not only a radical Abolitionist, but the acknowledged leader of
the Free-State men of Kansas. He recognized no right of property in
man, as many Missouri slaveholders learned to their sorrow. I was
present when he congratulated a Kansas regiment that had just returned
from a raid into Missouri, bringing many black people with it. "Fellow
soldiers," he shouted, "you entered Missouri a white body, but you
have returned surrounded by a great black cloud. It is the work of the
There was another man whose name, the author thinks, properly belongs
under the heading of this chapter, and to whom, on account of pleasant
personal recollections, he would like to refer. He was not a fighter
like Blair and Lane, with whom his life was in striking contrast. He
was essentially a man of peace. He was a Quaker. Although born in
Kentucky he was an Abolitionist. I now refer to Levi Coffin of
Cincinnati, who was credited with successfully assisting over three
thousand runaway slaves on their way to freedom, and, in consequence,
became distinguished among both friends and foes as the "President of
'The Underground Railroad.'" The most remarkable thing in his case was
his immunity from legal punishment. The slaveholders knew very well
what he was doing, but so expert was he in hiding his tracks that they
could never get their clutches upon him.
I had rather an amusing experience with Coffin. Having when a boy
heard so much about him, I was anxious to see him and make his
acquaintance. On the occasion of a visit to Cincinnati, with a letter
of introduction from an acquaintance of Coffin, I went to his office,
but not without trepidation. I found the great man engaged in a
conversation with some one, his back being toward me, as I took my
stand just inside of his door. How he became aware of my presence I
don't know--I certainly made no noise to attract him--but he certainly
knew I was there. Suspending the conversation in which he was
engaged--he was seated in a revolving chair--he suddenly turned so as
to confront me, and silently looked me over. At last he arose, and,
stepping up to me, lifted my hat with one hand, and laid the other
upon my head. I understood very well what his movements meant. He was
looking for outward evidences of negro blood. So far as my complexion
went a suspicion of African taint might very well have been
entertained. I had been assisting my father in harvesting his wheat
crop, and my face and hands had a heavy coating of tan, but my hair
was straight and stiff. I could see that the old gentleman was
puzzled. Not a word, so far, had been spoken on either side.
"Where is thee from?" was the question that broke the silence.
I answered that I was from Clark County, meaning Clark County, Ohio.
Coffin, however, evidently thought I referred to Clark County,
Kentucky, from which there had been many fugitives, and that settled
the matter in his mind. "But, my boy, thee seems to have had a good
home," continued the old gentleman as he looked over my clothes and
general appearance. "Why is thee running away?"
Then came the explanation and the solemn Quaker indulged in a hearty
laugh. He remarked that he knew my family very well by reputation, and
that he had met my father in Abolitionist conventions--meetings he
Then he invited me to go to his home and break bread with him. I
vainly tried to decline. The old man would accept no excuse.
"Thy father would not refuse my hospitality."
That settled the matter, and I accompanied my entertainer to his
domicile. I was glad that I did so, as it gave me the opportunity to
see and greet Coffin's wife, who was a charming elderly Quaker lady.
She had gained a reputation as a helper of the slave almost equal to
that of her husband.
When runaways set out on their venturesome journeys, they were
generally very indifferently equipped. Ordinarily they had only the
working garments they wore on the plantations, and these furnished but
slight relief for a condition very near to nudity. Mrs. Coffin set
apart a working room in her house, and there sympathizers of both
races joined her in garment-making, the result being that very few
fugitives left Cincinnati without being decently clothed.
At the Coffin table were several guests beside myself. One was a
colored man. He had been a slave, I learned, but his freedom had been
purchased, largely through the Coffins' efforts.
After I left the Coffin mansion, I remembered my unused letter of
introduction, which I had altogether forgotten. It was no longer
ROLLS OF HONOR
The first honors of Abolitionism unquestionably belong to the
organizers of the first societies formed for its promotion. The first
of these in the order of time was the New England Anti-Slavery
Society, which came into being on the first day of January, 1832.
William Lloyd Garrison was chief promoter and master spirit. It
consisted at the outset of twelve men, and that was not the only
evidence of its apostolic mission. It was to be the forerunner in an
ever-memorable revolution. The names of the twelve subscribers to its
declaration of views and aims will always have a place in American
history. They were William Lloyd Garrison, Oliver Johnson, William J.
Snelling, John E. Fuller, Moses Thatcher, Stillman E. Newcomb, Arnold
Buffum, John B. Hall, Joshua Coffin, Isaac Knapp, Henry K. Stockton,
and Benjamin C. Bacon.
As a suggestion from, if not an offshoot of, the New England
organization, came the National Anti-Slavery Society, which was
organized in Philadelphia in 1834. It was intended that the meeting of
its promoters should be held in New York, but so intense was the
feeling against the Abolitionists in that city that no suitable room
could there be found, and the "conspirators," as they were called by
their enemies, were compelled to seek for accommodation and protection
among the Philadelphia Quakers.
In that circumstance there was considerable significance. Two great
declarations of independence have issued from Philadelphia. One was
for political freedom; the other was for personal freedom. One was for
the benefit of its authors as well as of others. The other one was
wholly unselfish. Which had the loftier motive?
Ten States were represented in the Philadelphia meeting, which,
considering the difficulties incident to travel at that time, was a
very creditable showing. One man rode six hundred miles on horseback
to attend it.
The following is the list of those in attendance, who became
subscribers to the declaration that was promulgated:
David Thurston, Nathan Winslow, Joseph Southwick, James F. Otis, Isaac
Daniel Southmayd, Effingham C. Capron, Amos Phelps, John G. Whittier,
Horace P. Wakefield, James Barbadoes, David T. Kimball, Jr., Daniel E.
Jewitt, John R. Campbell, Nathaniel Southard, Arnold Buffum, William
John Prentice, George W. Benson.
Samuel J. May, Alpheus Kingsley, Edwin A. Stillman, Simeon Joselyn,
Robert B. Hall.
Beriah Green, Lewis Tappan, John Rankin, William Green, Jr., Abram T.
Cox, William Goodell, Elizur Wright, Jr., Charles W. Denison, John
Jonathan Parkhurst, Chalkly Gillinghamm, John McCullough, James White.
Evan Lewis, Edwin A. Altee, Robert Purviss, James McCrummill, Thomas
Shipley, Bartholomew Fussell, David Jones, Enoch Mace, John McKim,
Anson Vickers, Joseph Loughead, Edward P. Altee, Thomas Whitson, John
R. Sleeper, John Sharp, Jr., James Mott.
Milton Sutliff, Levi Sutliff, John M. Sterling.
* * * * *
The writer finds it quite impossible to carry out the idea with which
this chapter was begun, which was to furnish a catalogue embracing all
active Anti-Slavery workers who were Abolitionists. Space does not
permit. He will therefore condense by giving a portion of the list,
the selections being dictated partly by claims of superior merit, and
partly by accident.
As representative men and women of the East--chiefly of New England
and New York--he gives the following:
David Lee Child, of Boston, for some time editor of the _National
Anti-Slavery Advocate_. He was the husband of Lydia Maria Child, who
wrote the first bound volume published in this country in condemnation
of the enslavement of "those people called Africans"; Samuel E.
Sewell, another Bostonian and a lawyer who volunteered his services in
cases of fugitive slaves; Ellis Gray Lowell, another Boston lawyer of
eminence; Amos Augustus Phelps, a preacher and lecturer, for whose
arrest the slaveholders of New Orleans offered a reward of ten
thousand dollars; Parker Pillsbury, another preacher and lecturer, who
at twenty years of age was the driver of an express wagon, and with no
literary education, but who, in order that he might better plead the
cause of the slave, went to school and became a noted orator; Theodore
Weld, who married Angelina Grimke, the South Carolina Abolitionist,
and who as an Anti-Slavery advocate was excelled, if he was excelled,
only by Henry Ward Beecher and Wendell Phillips; Henry Brewster
Stanton, a very vigorous Anti-Slavery editor and the husband of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the champion of women's rights; Theodore
Parker, the great Boston divine; O.B. Frothingham, another famous
preacher; Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the writer; Samuel Johnson,
C.L. Redmond, James Monroe, A.T. Foss, William Wells Brown, Henry C.
Wright, G.D. Hudson, Sallie Holley, Anna E. Dickinson, Aaron M.
Powell, George Brodburn, Lucy Stone, Edwin Thompson, Nathaniel W.
Whitney, Sumner Lincoln, James Boyle, Giles B. Stebbins, Thomas T.
Stone, George M. Putnam, Joseph A. Howland, Susan B. Anthony, Frances
E. Watkins, Loring Moody, Adin Ballou, W.H. Fish, Daniel Foster, A.J.
Conover, James N. Buffum, Charles C. Burleigh, William Goodell, Joshua
Leavitt, Charles M. Denison, Isaac Hopper, Abraham L. Cox.
To the above should be added the names of Alvin Stewart of New York,
who issued the call for the convention that projected the Liberty
party, and of John Kendrick, who executed the first will including a
bequest in aid of the Abolition cause.
And here must not be omitted the name of John P. Hale, of New
Hampshire, who was a candidate for the Presidency on the Liberty party
ticket, and also a conspicuous member of the U.S. Senate.
Going westward, we come to Ohio, which became, early in the movement,
the dominating center of Abolitionist influence. Salmon P. Chase was
there. James G. Birney, after being forced out of Kentucky, was there.
Ex-United States Senator Thomas Morris, a candidate for the
Vice-Presidency on the Liberty party ticket, was there. Leicester King
and Samuel Lewis, Abolition candidates for the governorship of the
State, were there. Joshua R. Giddings and United States Senator Ben.
Wade were there.
One great advantage the Ohio Abolitionists enjoyed was that they were
harmonious and united. In the East that was not the case. There was a
bitter feud between the Garrisonians, who relied on moral suasion, and
the advocates of political action. All Ohio Abolitionists were ready
and eager to employ the ballot.
There is another name, in speaking of Ohio, that must not be omitted.
Dr. Townsend was the man who made Salmon P. Chase a United States
Senator, and at a time when the Abolition voting strength in
Ohio was a meager fraction in comparison with that of the old
parties--numbering not over one in twenty. It happened to be a time
when the old parties--the Whigs and the Democrats--had so nearly an
equal representation in the State Legislature that Townsend, who was a
State Senator, and two co-operating members, held a balance of power.
Both parties were exceedingly anxious to control the Legislature, as
that body, under the State constitution then in force, had the
distribution of a great deal of patronage. The consideration for the
deciding vote demanded by Townsend and his associates was the election
of Chase to the Senate. They and the Democrats made the deal.
Naturally enough, the Whigs expressed great indignation until it was
shown that they had offered to enter into very much the same
Some years before the events just spoken of, Townsend had been a
medical student in Cincinnati. One day he stepped into the courthouse,
where a fugitive-slave case was being tried. There he listened to an
argument from Salmon P. Chase, the negro's defender, that made an
Abolitionist of him. The senatorial incident naturally followed.
There was another Ohioan--not an individual this time, but an
institution--that will always hold a high place in the annals of
Abolitionism. Oberlin College was a power in the land. It had a corps
of very able professors who were, without exception, active
Anti-Slavery workers. They regarded themselves as public instructors
as well as private teachers. There was scarcely a township in Ohio
that they did not visit, either personally or through their disciples.
They were as ready to talk in country schoolhouses as in their own
college halls. Of course, they were violently opposed. Mobs broke up
their meetings very frequently, but that only made them more
persistent. Their teachings were viciously misrepresented. They were
accused of favoring the intermarriage of the races, and parents were
warned, if they sent their children to Oberlin, to look out for
colored sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. For such slanders, however,
the men and women of Oberlin--for both sexes were admitted to faculty
and classes--seemed to care no more than they did for pro-slavery
There is another name which, although it belongs exclusively neither
to the East nor to the West, to the North nor to the South, should not
be omitted from a record like this. Doctor Gamaliel Bailey resided in
the District of Columbia, and issued the _National Era_ from
Although a journal of small folio measurement and issued but once a
week, it was for a considerable time the most influential organ of the
Abolitionists. Its circulation was large and its management very
able. Of course, it took no little courage and judgment to conduct
such a publication in the very center of slaveholding influence, and
more than once it barely escaped destruction by mobs.
If there was nothing else to his credit there was one thing
accomplished by the _Era's_ owner that entitles him to lasting
remembrance. He was the introducer, if not the real producer, of
_Uncle Tom's Cabin._ It first appeared in the _Era_ in serial numbers.
It is perfectly safe to say that no other newspaper in the country, of
any standing, would have touched it. Without Dr. Bailey's
encouragement the work would not have been written. This was admitted
by Mrs. Stowe.
Up to this point the people whose names have been mentioned in these
pages have, to a certain extent, been public characters and leaders.
They were generals, and colonels, and captains, and orderly sergeants,
in the army of emancipation. There were, also, privates in the ranks
whose services richly deserve to be commemorated, showing, as they do,
the character of the works they performed. The writer cannot resist
the temptation to refer to two of them in particular, although,
doubtless, there were many others of equal merit. A reason for the
preference he shows in this case, that will not be misunderstood, is
the fact that one of the men was his uncle and the other his father.
James Kedzie and John Hume were plain country farmers residing in
southwestern Ohio, neither very rich nor very poor. They were natives
of Scotland, and stating that fact is almost equivalent to saying
they were Abolitionists. None of the Scotch of the writer's personal
knowledge, at the period referred to, were otherwise than strongly
Anti-Slavery. There are said to be exceptions to all rules, and there
was one in this instance. He was a kinsman of the author, and a "braw"
young Scotchman who came over to this country with the expectation of
picking up a fortune in short order. Finding the North too slow, he
went South. There he met a lady who owned a valuable plantation well
stocked with healthy negroes. He married the woman, and became
something of a local nabob, with the reputation of great severity as a
master. One day, with his own hand, he inflicted a cruel flogging on a
slave who had the name of a "bad nigger." That night, when the master
was playing chess with a neighbor by candlelight on the ground floor
of his dwelling, all the windows being open, the negro crept up with a
loaded gun and shot him dead.
The sad affair was regretfully commented on by the dead man's
relatives, who, I remember, referred to his untimely ending as "his
judgment," and as a punishment he had brought upon "himself."
My uncle and father did not conceal their unpopular views. They openly
voted the Abolition ticket. In eight years, beginning with their two
ballots, they raised the third party vote in their immediate vicinity
to eight, and they boasted of the progress they had made.
They did not make public addresses, but they faithfully listened to
those made by others in support of the cause. They attended all
Abolition meetings that were within reach. They took the _National
Era_. Not only that, but they got up clubs for it. The first club I
recollect my father's securing consisted of half a dozen subscribers,
for one half of which he paid. The next year's was double in size, and
so was my father's contribution. There was no fund for the promotion
of the Abolitionist cause, for which they were called upon, to which
they did not cheerfully pay according to their means.
All Abolition lecturers and colporteurs were gratuitously entertained,
although their presence was sometimes a cause of abuse, and even of
danger. There were other travelers who sometimes applied for help.
Their faces were of dusky hue, and their great whitish eyes were like
those of hunted beasts of the forest. They went on their way
strengthened and rejoicing--always in the direction of the North Star.
The men are dead, but Slavery is dead also, partly through their
labors and sacrifices. Their unpretentious, patient, earnest lives
were not in vain. They contributed to the final triumph of Freedom's
January 1, 1863.--Whereas, on the 22d day of September, 1862, a
proclamation was issued by the President of the United States,
containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
That on the 1st day of January, 1863, all persons held as slaves
within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof
shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then,
thenceforward and forever free, and the Executive government of the
United States, including the naval and military authority thereof,
will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do
no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them in any efforts
they may make for their actual freedom.
That the Executive will on the first day of January aforesaid, by
proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in
which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion
against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people
thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the
Congress of the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections,
wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such States have
participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing
testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the
people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-chief of the Army
and Navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion
against the authority and government of the United States, and as a
fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do on
this first day of January, 1863, and in accordance with my purpose so
to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days
from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States
and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively are this
day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the Parishes of St. Bernard,
Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension,
Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans,
including the City of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the
forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the
counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York,
Princess Ann, and Norfolk and Portsmouth) and which excepted parts are
for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order
and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated
States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free, and
that the Executive government of the United States, including the
military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain
the freedom of such persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain
from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend
to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for
And I further declare and make known that such persons, of suitable
condition, will be received into the armed service of the United
States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and
to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the
considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this first day of January, 1863, and of
the independence of the United States the Eighty-seventh.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
BORDER SLAVE-STATE MESSAGE
Amendment to the National Constitution recommended by President
Lincoln in his Message to Congress of December I, 1862.
_Resolved_ by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled: that the following articles
be proposed to the Legislatures (or conventions) of the several States
as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of
which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said
Legislatures (or conventions) to be valid as parts of the said
Article.--Every State wherein Slavery now exists, which shall abolish
the same therein, at any time or times before the 1st day of January
in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred, shall receive
compensation from the United States as follows, to wit:
(Then follows a provision to issue bonds of the United States
Government, which shall be delivered to the States in amounts
sufficient to compensate the owners of slaves within their
jurisdictions for the loss of their slave property.)
Article.--All slaves who shall have enjoyed actual freedom by the
chances of the war, at any time before the end of the rebellion, shall
be forever free; but all owners of such, who shall not have been
disloyal, shall be compensated for them at the same rates as is
provided for States adopting abolishment of slavery, but in such way
that no slave shall be twice accounted for.
Article.--Congress may appropriate money and otherwise provide for
colonizing free colored persons, with their own consent, at any place
or places without the United States.
"PRAYER OF TWENTY MILLIONS"
On the 19th of August, 1862, Horace Greeley, under the above heading,
addressed a letter to the President, which appeared over his signature
in the New York _Tribune_ of that date. The conclusion of Mr.
Greeley's epistle was as follows:
"On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one
disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union cause who
does not feel that all attempts to put down the rebellion, and at the
same time uphold its inciting cause, are preposterous and futile--that
the rebellion, if crushed out to-morrow, would be renewed within a
year if Slavery were left in full vigor--that army officers who
remain to this day devoted to Slavery can at best be but halfway loyal
to the Union--and that every hour of deference to Slavery is an hour
of added and deepened peril to the Union. I appeal to the testimony of
your embassadors in Europe. Ask them to tell you candidly whether the
seeming subserviency of your policy to the slaveholding,
slavery-upholding interest is not the perplexity, the despair of
statesmen of all parties, and be admonished by the general answer."
Abolitionism, and Republicanism, 8, 9;
end of, 150-156.
Abolitionist movement, v.
Abolitionists, hysterical praise of, 1;
and dissolution of the Union, 1, 2;
and political expediency, 5;
convention at Pittsburgh, 7;
vote of, 7;
founders of Republican party, 8;
pro-slavery mobbing, 9;
voting strength, 9;
stump orators, 11;
preparatory work, 12;
hostility to Union, 13;
place in history, 15;
physical courage, 16;
unselfishness of, 16;
persecution of, 20;
feelings against, 22;
hopefulness of, 26;
first presidential ticket, 28;
prejudice against, 30;
abuse by "gentlemen," 32;
preliminary victory of, 47;
denunciation of early, 49;
Adams, John Quincy, 21, 41;
attempted expulsion of, from Congress, 69-71;
speech in his own defense in Congress, 89.
Altee, Edward P., 203.
Altee, Edwin A., 203.
Anderson "Bill," 165.
Andrew, Governor, of Massachusetts, Peleg's _Life of_, 179.
Anthony, Susan B., 102, 205.
Anti-Slavery, causes, 2;
matter excluded from United States mails, 4;
formation of party, 13;
in Haverhill, 108;
in Nantucket, 109;
sentiment, in England, 130.
Anti-Slavery societies, organization, 26;
in New England, 72, 74, 75, 130, 201;
National, 76, 79, 87, 201.
* * * * *
Bacon, Benjamin C., 201.
Bailey, Dr. Gamaliel, 100, 207.
Ballou, Adin, 205.
Barbadoes, James, 202.
Bates, Judge, 161.
Beecher, Henry Ward, 90, 142, 148;
speech in England, 90-93;
and Lincoln, 92.
Benson, George W., 203.
Benton, Thomas H., 154.
Birney, Jas. G., 2, 5, 42, 56-58, 205.
"Black laws" 35;
in Ohio, 35.
Black Republic of Texas, 135.
Blair, Gen. Prank P., 158, 186-191;
and Missouri emancipationists, 161;
and Missouri Abolitionists, 188;
appearance of, 189;
quarrel with Fremont, 189;
and capture of Camp Jackson, 189-191;
threats against, 190.
Blair, Montgomery, 158, 161.
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