FOR many months after the
death of John Brown, I felt that the defeat of his plans at Harper's Ferry
was a great calamity to the enslaved. I saw nothing in store for them but
toil and bondage for another generation. For who, at that time, foresaw the
mighty conflict that was soon to be inaugurated by the haughty
slave-holders, in which they and their cherished institution were to be
The seed sown at Harper's
Ferry, had fallen into rich soil. The slaveholders were convinced that
unless they could obtain from the North further guarantees for the
protection of the institution of slavery—that secession from the Free States
was their only salvation. Their insolent demands upon the North were met by
a quiet determination upon the part of the people; that not another foot of
the public domain should be given up to slavery. Northern politicians had
become so accustomed to yielding obedience to the commands of the slave
drivers, that strong efforts were made to effect a compromise with the
pro-slavery leaders in Congress.
But the patience of the
peace-loving people of the Free States, was at length exhausted; they had
submitted to the outrageous provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law; they had
looked on and seen the champions of freedom in Congress insuited and
assaulted by the slave drivers of the South; they had borne for years the
taunts and sneers of the Southern chivalry ; and now, they resolved to
assert their just rights and privileges as citizens of a free country.
The threats and demands of
the slaveholders were treated with the contempt they deserved.
CONFIDENTIAL SERVICE IN
A few months after the
inauguration of President Lincoln, I received a letter from a friend in
Washington, requesting me to visit him at my very earliest convenience; that
he desired to confer with me on a subject of importance.
The day after my arrival in
Washington, my friend introduced me to the President. Mr. Lincoln received
me very cordially, and invited me to dine with him that day. Assembled at
the President's table were several prominent gentlemen, to whom Mr. Lincoln
introduced me as "a red-hot abolitionist from Canada."
One of the guests, a
prominent member of Congress (severely injured in after years by coming in
contact with the credit Mobilier), remarked, in a slurring manner, that he
wished all the negroes of the United States would emigrate to Canada, as we
Canadians were so fond of them. Mr. Lincoln said: "It would be all the
better for the negroes, that's certain."
"Yes," I replied, a little
warmly, "it would be all the better for the negroes; for, under our flag,
the blackest negro is entitled to, and freely accorded every right and
privilege enjoyed by native Canadians. We make no distinction in respect to
the colour of a man's skin. It is true, we live under a monarchial form of
government; but, under that government, every man, and woman, whether white,
black, or brown, have equal rights before our laws."
Mr. Lincoln, in a jocular
way, said to the member of Congress, "If you are not careful, you will bring
on a war with Canada. I think we have got a big enough job on hand now."
The conversation then turned
on the attitude of England toward the Free States in their contest with the
slaveholders. One gentleman remarked that he was surprised to see so many
manifestations of unfriendliness on the part of the English and Canadian
people, and asked me how I accounted for it. I replied, "How can you expect
it otherwise, when there exists in the Northern States so wide a diversity
of opinion as to the justness of your cause? The unfriendly expressions of
an English statesman, or the avowed sympathy of a few English and Canadian
papers, are noted by you with painful surprise; while the treasonable
utterances and acts of some of your own political leaders and people are
quite overlooked. Besides, you cannot expect the sympathy of the Christian
world in your behalf, while you display such an utter disregard for the
rights and liberties of your own citizens, as I witnessed in this city
Mr. Lincoln asked what I
alluded to. I replied, "A United States Marshall passed through Washington
yesterday, having in his charge a coloured man, who he was taking over to
Virginia under the provisions of your Fugitive Slave Law. The man had
escaped from his master— who is an open rebel—and fled to Wilmington,
Delaware, where he was arrested, and taken back into slavery."
After dinner, Mr. Lincoln led
me to a window, distant from the rest of the party, and said, "Mr. S. sent
for you at my request. We need a confidential person in Canada to look after
the rebel emissaries there, and keep us posted as to their schemes and
objects. You have been strongly recommended to me for the position. Your
mission shall be as confidential as you please. No one here but your friend
Mr. S. and myself, shall have any knowledge of your position. Your
communications may be sent direct to me, under cover to Major ----. Think it
over to-night; and if you can accept the mission, come up and see me at nine
o'clock to-morrow morning." When I took my leave of him, he said, "I hope
you will decide to serve us."
The position thus offered,
was one not suited to my tastes or feelings, but, as Mr. Lincoln appeared
very desirous that I should accept it, I concluded to lay aside my
prejudices and accept the responsibilities of the mission. I was also
persuaded to this conclusion by the wishes of my friend.
At nine o'clock next morning,
I waited upon the President, and announced my decision. He grasped my hand
in a hearty manner, and said "Thank you; thank you; I am glad of it,"
I said: "Mr. Lincoln, if even one of the objects
of your Government was the liberation from bondage of the poor slaves of the
South, I would feel justified in accepting any position where I could best
serve you, but when I see so much tenderness for that vile institution and
for the interests of slaveholders, I almost-doubt whether your efforts to
crush the rebellion will meet with the favour of heaven."
He replied: "I sincerely wish that all men were
free, and I especially wish for the complete abolition of slavery in this
country; but my private wishes and feelings must yield to the necessities of
my position. My first duty is, to maintain the integrity of the Union. With
that object in view, I shall endeavour to save it, either with or without
slavery. I have always been an anti-slavery man. Away back in 1839, when I
was a member of the Legislature of Illinois, I presented a resolution asking
for the emancipation of slavery in the District of Columbia, when, with but
few exceptions, the popular mind of my State was opposed to it. If the
destruction of the institution of slavery should be one of the results of
this conflict which the slaveholders have forced upon us, I shall rejoice as
hearty as you. In the meantime, help us to circumvent the machinations of
the rebel agents in Canada. There is no doubt they will use your country as
a communicating link with Europe, and also with their friends in New York.
It is quite possible also that they may make Canada a base, to annoy our
people along the frontier. Keep us well posted of what they say and do."
After a lengthy conversation relative to private
matters connected with my mission, I rose to leave, when he said: "I will
walk down to 'Wi!lards' with you, the hotel is on my way to the Capitol,
where I have an engagement at noon."
Before we reached the hotel, a man came up to
the President, and thrust a letter into his hand, at the same time applying
for some office in Wisconsin. I saw that the President was offended at the
rudeness, for he passed the letter back without looking at it, saying: "No,
sir! I am not going to open shop here." This was said in a most emphatic
manner, but accompanied by a comical gesture which caused the rejected
applicant to smile. As we continued our walk, the President remarked on the
annoyances incident to his position, saying: "These office-seekers are a
curse to this country. No sooner was my election certain, than I became the
prey of hundreds of hungry, persistent applicants for office, whose highest
ambition is to feed at the government crib."
When he bid me good-bye, he said: "Let me hear
from you once a week at least."
As he was about to leave me, a young army
officer stopped him, and made some request, to which the President replied
with a good deal of humour: "No; I can't do that. I must not interfere: they
would scratch my eyes out, if I did. You must go to the proper department."
I could not help watching the receding form of
the President, as with long, indifferent strides he wended his way towards
the Capitol. What a dreadful responsibility rested on that man! The hopes of
millions of Republicans throughout the world were fixed upon him; while
twenty millions of his own people looked to him for the salvation of the
Republic, and four millions of poor down-trodden slaves in the South looked
to him for freedom.
Lincoln was no ordinary man. He had a quick and ready perception of facts, a
retentive memory, and a logical turn of mind, which patiently and
unwaveringly followed every link in the chain of thought on every subject
which he investigated. He was honest, temperate, and forgiving. He was a
good man—a man of noble and kindly heart. I never heard him speak unkindly
of any man; even the rebels received no word of anger from him.
CONFEDERATES IN CANADA.
Immediately upon my arrival in Montreal, I
sought opportunities to familiarize myself with the names, habits, and
occupations of the various Confederates in Canada. I had but little
difficulty in accomplishing this purpose, as the Confederates looked upon
all Canadians as their friends.
The principal Confederate agent in Canada at
that time, was an ex-Member of Buchanan's administration. The contemptible
conduct of this man (while still a member of the Government), in warning the
rebels of Charleston of the sailing of the Steamer "Star of the West," with
provisions for the beseiged garrison at Fort Sumpter, will furnish a good
index to his character.
The plots and schemes devised by him and his
subordinates to furnish the rebels with clothing, boots and shoes, &c., via
Nassau and Cuba, and to keep open a channel of communication with the
Confederate States, kept me continually on the qui .vive to frustrate their
close of 1862, I received satisfactory information that a regular system of
postal service was in operation between the Confederate States and Europe,
via Canada. Diligently and earnestly I sought for a clue, week after week
passed away, but nothing was discovered. I placed detectives on all the
trains leaving Montreal, with instructions to closely watch every stranger,
and especially those of southern aspect. All my efforts, however, were
concluded to go to Detroit, and institute some enquiries in that section.
With that object in view, I sent for a cabman one that I usually employed,
to convey me to the depot for the 9 p. m. night train west; he came to
inform me that it would be impossible for him to drive me that night, as he
was obliged to take a lady from Lapraire to Champlain, a small village in
the State of New York, not far from the boundary line between Canada and the
United States. He said he had a brother living at Laprarie, who, was
regularly employed to carry a lady once a fortnight from Laprarie to
Champlain ; but that he was ill, and had sent for him to take his place.
Some further questions from me elicited the fact that my cabman had on one
former occasion filled his brother's place to carry the same lady over the
suspicions were now aroused, I felt confident that this lady had something
to do with the Confederate postal service, and I closely questioned him as
to her appearance and habits, and ostensible business, and why she travelled
in such an unusual manner and by such a roundabout route. I put these
questions in such a way as not to excite suspicion in his mind as to my
object. The information I obtained from him was of such importance that I
decided to reach Champlain in advance of the cabman and his strange
passenger. I consequently took the evening train to Rouse's Point, and from
thence was driven in a carriage to Champlain.
I engaged quarters at the principal hotel in the
village, and in a short time won the confidence of the talkative and
consequential little landlord, who finally, on my referring to the lady in
question, informed me that she was a Mrs. "Williams," (an alias, no doubt,)
an agent for a religious tract society ; that she passed over this route
from Canada about once a fortnight; and that she was a very excellent person
indeed. He, however, knew nothing about her, except that she said she was a
tract distributer, travelling between Upper Canada and Boston. He finally
remarked, "I expect her here either to-night or to-morrow night, on her way
to Boston. She always arrives here in the night: sometimes it's early
front bed-room, I was in a position to observe whoever came down the road
leading from Canada, as the hotel fronted the road. Patiently I waited at
the window from 10 p.m. to 3 am., looking out into the darkness. Shortly
after three o'clock, I heard the rumbling of an approaching carriage coming
down the road, and in a short time a cab drove up, and I saw my Montreal
cabman alight and open the door of the carriage, from which a lady, closely
muffled, stepped and entered the house. She was placed in a room on the
opposite side of the hail to the one I occupied. To prevent her leaving the
house without my knowledge, I determined to remain awake the rest of the
night. At six o'clock I saw my cabman drive away towards Canada.
At the breakfast table, I sat
vis-a-vis with the object of my search. She was a keen, intelligent, witty,
and handsome woman of medium size, with black eyes and hair, about 45 years
of age. She conversed quite freely with the landlord's wife, but at times
she would check herself, betraying a startled half-frightened look. Her
conversation was principally upon her experiences as an agent of a
"Religious Tract Society." At length an opportunity offered for me to engage
in conversation with her. When I informed her that I was Canadian, she
became less reserved in her manner, and chatted familiarly on her trips
through Canada I soon learned that it was her intention to go to Rouse's
Point by the noon train,
As soon as breakfast was over, I telegraphed to
a detective at Rouse's Point to meet me, on the arrival of the train,
prepared to make an arrest. When Mrs. Williams was seated in the car, I took
a seat near her, to prevent her from escaping. Before the train reached the
Point, it slackened up, and a detective officer came into the cars. I
pointed out Mrs. Williams to him, and ordered him to take her to his house
as soon as she stepped from the car, to watch every movement she made, and
not permit her to have any communication with confederates.
ARREST OF A REBEL MAIL
As soon as the
train entered the depot at Rouse's Point, the detective arrested her, and,
with the aid of an assistant, took her to his house, where I immediately
followed. I directed the wife of the detective to rigidly search her, and,
if any documents were found, to call her husband and give them to him.
Notwithstanding her protests, tears, and prayers, Mrs. Williams was
thoroughly searched, and with good results, for eighty-two letters were
found sewed into her under garments. The majority of them were addressed to
rebel emissaries in Europe, the balance, to private individuals in the
Northern States. After copying the address, and placing a number on each
letter, I secured them safely on my person, and telegraphed to the President
the substance of the above facts. In less than an hour I received
instructions to hasten to Washington with the confiscated letters.
Before leaving Rouse's Point I had an interview
with Mrs. Williams, during which I offered to secure her release, providing
she would disclose certain information, that I knew she possessed, relative
to the rebel mail route from the Confederacy to Europe via Canada. She,
however, positively refused, and declared that she would die in prison
before she would disclose the secret.
Having instructed the officer to keep Mrs.
Williams under close arrest until he received further orders from me, I left
for Washington. On my arrival there (about midnight), I went direct to the
Executive mansion, and sent my card to the President, who had retired to
bed. In two or three minutes the porter returned, and requested me to
accompany him to the President's office, where, in a short time, Mr. Lincoln
would join me. The room into which I was ushered, was the same in which I
had spent several hours with the President on the occasion of my first
interview with him fourteen months before. Scattered about the floor, and
lying open on the table, were several military maps and documents indicating
recent use. On the wall I observed a picture of John Bright, of England.
INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
In a few minutes, the President came in, and
received me in the most friendly manner. I expressed my regret at disturbing
him at such an hour. He replied in a good humoured manner, saying, "No, no,
you may route rue up whenever you please. I have slept with one eye open
since I came to Washington I never close both, except when an office-seeker
is looking for me."
am glad (referring to a letter I had sent him) you are pleased with the
Emancipation Proclamation (issued a few weeks previously), but there is work
before us yet ; we must make that Proclamation effective by victories over
our enemies. It's a paper bullet after all, and of no account, except we can
President's efforts being now directed to give freedom to the poor,
despised, and long suffering people of the South, I expressed my belief that
God would now aid the cause of the Union. He replied, "Well, I hope so! but
the suffering and misery that attends this conflict, is killing me by
inches. I wish it was over."
CONFISCATED REBEL DESPATCHES.
I then laid before the President the "rebel
mail." He carefully examined the address of each letter, making occasional
remarks. At length he found one addressed to an ex-President of the United
States, then residing in New Hampshire, and another to an ex-Attorney
General of the United States, also a resident of that State. He appeared
much surprised, and remarked with a sigh, but, without the slightest tone of
asperity, " I will have copies made of these letters, after which they shall
be sent enclosed in official envelopes to these parties." When he had
finished examining the addresses, he tied up all those addressed to private
individuals, saying, "I will not bother with them ; but these look like
official letters I guess I'll go through them now." He then opened one after
the other, and read their contents slowly and carefully.
While he was thus occupied, I had an excellent
opportunity of studying this extraordinary man. A marked change had taken
place in his countenance since my first interview with him. He looked much
older, and bore traces of having passed through months of painful anxiety
and trouble. There was a sad, serious look in his eyes that spoke louder
than words of the disappointments, trials, and discourage in he had
encountered since the war began. The wrinkles about the eyes and forehead
were deeper; the lips were firmer, but indicative of kindness and
forbearance. The great struggle had brought out the hidden riches of his
noble nature, and developed virtues and capacities which surprised his
oldest and most intimate friends. He was simple but astute: he possessed the
rare faculty of seeing things just as they are : he was a just, charitable,
and honest man.
IN NEW BRUNSWICK.
Having finished reading a letter, he said "Read this (handing me a letter
signed by the Confederate Secretary of State), and tell me what you think of
it." The letter was addressed to the rebel envoy at the French Court, and
stated that preparations were being made to invade the Eastern frontier of
the United States in the vicinity of Calais, Maine. It also expressed the
opinion that an attack in so unexpected a quarter would dishearten the
Northern people, and encourage the Democrats to oppose the continuation of
I told the
President that this confirmed the truth of the information I had received
several weeks previously, and satisfied me that the rebels would make an
attempt to raid on some of the Eastern States from the British Provinces. He
replied: "I wish you would go to New Brunswick, and see what the rebels are
up to. The information contained in these despatches is of great importance.
Two of them I cannot read, as they are written in cipher; but I'll find some
way to get at their contents."
I then rose to go, saying that I would go to the
hotel, and have a rest. 'No, no! it is now three o'clock; you shall stay
here while you are in town. Come with me, I'll find you a bed," said the
President ; and, leading the way, he took me into a bedroom, saying: "Take a
good sleep, you shall not be disturbed." Bidding me "Good-night," he left
the room to go back and pore over the rebel letters until daylight, as he
afterwards told me.
ever the Almighty raised up an individual to perform a special service, that
person was Abraham Lincoln. No parent could evince a greater interest in the
welfare of his family than he did for the safety and influence of his
country. Every faculty he possessed was devoted to the salvation of the
I did not awake
from my sleep until eleven o'clock in the forenoon, soon after which Mr.
Lincoln came to my room, and laughingly said: "When you are ready, I'll
pilot you down to breakfast," which he did; and, seating himself at the
table, expressed his fears that trouble was brewing in the Province of New
Brunswick that he had gathered further information on that point from the
correspondence, that convinced him that such was the case. He was here
interrupted by a servant, who handed him a card ; upon reading which he left
me, saying, "Come up to my room after breakfast."
On entering his room, I found him busily engaged
in writing, at the same time repeating in a low voice the words of a poem,
which I remembered reading many years before. When he stopped writing, I
asked him who was the author of that poem. He replied, "I do not know. I
have written the verses down from memory at the request of a lady who is
much pleased with them. I wish I knew who was the author of them." He passed
the sheet on which he had written the verses to me, saying, "Have you ever
read them ?" I replied that I had many years ago; and that I should be happy
to have a copy of them in his handwriting, when he had time and inclination
for such work. He said, "Well, you may keep that copy, if you wish."
The following is the poem as copied from Mr.
Lincoln's manuscript given me on that occasion:-
OH! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL BE PROUD
Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.
The leaves of the oak and the willows shall
Be scattered around and together be laid;
As the young and the old, the low and the high,
Shall crumble to dust, and together shall die.
The infant a mother attended and loved
The mother that infant's affection who proved
The father, that mother and infant who blest—
Each, all are away to that dwelling of rest.
The maid, on whose brow, on whose cheek, in
Shone beauty and pleasure—her triumphs are by
And alike from the minds of the living erased,
Are the memories of mortals that loved her and praised.
The hand of the king that the sceptre hath
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn;
The eye of the sage, the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.
The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap;
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep;
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass which we tread.
So the multitude goes, like the flower or the
That withers away to let others succeed
.So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told..
For we are the same our fathers have been
We see the same sights they often have seen;
We drink the same stream, we see the same sun,
And. run the same course our fathers have run.
The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers did
From the death we are shrinking, our fathers did shrink;
To the life we are clinging, our fathers did cling;
But it speeds from us all like the bird on the wing.
They loved—but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned—but the heart of the haughty is cold
They grieved—but no wail from their slumbers will come.
They joyed—but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.
They died ; ah! they died. We things that are
That walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
And make in their dwelling a transient abode—
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.
Yea, hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain;
And the smile and the tear, and the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other like surge upon surge.
'Tis the wink of an eye, the draught of a
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud.
Oh I why should the spirit of mortal be proud.
OFF TO NEW BRUNSWICK.
The rebel documents contained abundant evidence
that the Confederate Government was organizing a band in Canada to raid upon
the United States frontier, and the President requested me to "go to New
Brunswick, and ascertain what the rebels were up to in that quarter."
That night I left Washington, and arrived in
Boston iii time to take the steamer for St. John, N. B. The boat was crowded
with passengers; and I had to share my stateroom with a gentleman who came
aboard at Portland. The features of my room companion were dark and coarse
his hair black and curling. He was about six feet in height, of tough and
wiry frame. His language and general appearance was strikingly Southern. I
retired to my berth before him, selecting the top one, that I might the more
readily observe him; for I had already concluded that my room-companion was
ROOM WITH A REBEL.
he entered the stateroom, he introduced himself as the owner of one of the
berths, and said: 'I am glad you are not a Yankee." I asked him how he knew
that. He replied: "I asked the clerk, and he said you were a Canadian;
besides, you don't look like a Yankee." "Well," I said, "you do not look
like a Canadian or a Yankee either; I would take you to be a Southern
military officer." This touched his vanity, and he admitted that he had been
in the military set-vice of the Confederacy, but that he was now engaged on
special service. I felt now that I had sprung the mine. I told him that I
thought the Confederate Government were blind to their own interests, in
this, that no advantage had been taken of the Canadian frontier to harass
and annoy the Yankees along the border.
WAR ON THE UNITED STATES FRONTIER.
"Well," said he, "we have had all we could do to
keep the Yanks from our homes; but they will soon know how it feels to have
the war carried into their own homes. I tell you, before long, you will hear
something exciting." I replied: "I have heard that so frequently that I
don't place much reliance upon such reports." 1 saw he was nettled at what I
had said, and hoped it-would make him indiscreet. He remained silent a
moment, and then said "What I have told you is the truth, and before two
weeks are over you will hear something exciting from Eastport. I don't mind
telling you, because you are a Canadian, and the Canadians are all on our
side. Yes, sir; we have already a number of picked men in St. Andrews and
St. Johns, New Brunswick, and we have a good supply of stores on Grand Menan
Island. I expect thirty men from Canada next week. As soon as they arrive,
we shall all go to Grand Menan, and prepare for an attack on Eastport; and,
by ------, we intend to wipe it out. And then we shall attack Calais in the
rear, and, if hard pressed, retreat into New Brunswick." This astounding
news corroborated the information obtained from the captured letters.
ARREST OF A REBEL OFFICER.
On the arrival of the steamer at Eastport, I
secured the arrest of my new acquaintance, and had him placed in prison. I
telegraphed to Washington the information obtained from the rebel officer,
and a gunboat was sent from Portland to Eastport. In forty-eight hours from
my arrival, Eastport and Calais were fully prepared to meet the raiders. The
Provincial authorities were also warned from Washington, and prompt steps
taken to prevent any infraction of the Neutrality Laws on the New Brunswick
Portland, I sent the President a detailed narrative of the facts above
related, and then returned to Montreal. In a few days, I received the
following letter from Mr. Lincoln :-
PERSECUTION OF JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS.
The cruel and unnecessary arrest of the Hon.
Joshua R. Giddings, Consul General of the United States, at Montreal, for
the alleged connivance at the kidnapping of one Redpath, was incited by the
Confederates in Montreal. Red- path had fled to Canada to escape punishment
for crimes committed during the draft riots in New York. A detective officer
was sent to Montreal to arrest him. He was arrested, ironed, placed in a
close carriage, and driven to the depot. Where he was then guarded by an
assistant while the New York detective went to the United States Consulate,
and told Mr. Giddings that he had arrested a man charged with murder in New
York ; and that having complied with the requirements of the Extradition
Treaty, he wished Mr. Giddings to give him a letter to General Dix advising
the General to compensate the detective for the services of an assistant
required to convey Redpath to New York. Mr. Giddings, without ascertaining
(for which he was in fault) whether all the formalities of the extradition
treaty had been complied with, gave the detective a note to General Dix, in
which he simply requested the General to remunerate the detective for the
service of an assistant When the detective reached New York with his
prisoner, Redpath obtained legal advice. The result of which was, that the
Canadian authorities demanded the return of Redpath to Canada. He was
consequently brought back and liberated. Then the Southern agents in
Montreal, took charge of this criminal, and induced him to prosecute Mr.
Giddings. This was done to gratify their feelings of hatred toward a man who
had for thirty years fought for the cause of human freedom.
Mr. Giddings was arrested on Sunday evening
while dining at the house of a friend. The arrest was made on a day and at
an hour when it was hoped he would be unable to obtain bail, and
consequently would have to lay in jail over night. Messrs. Harrison Stephens
and Ira Gould, two prominent and wealthy citizens of Montreal gave bonds for
thirty thousand dollars for Mr. Giddings's appearance at the trial of the
case. Thus his enemies were baulked in their mean attempt to throw an
innocent old man into prison. Mr. Giddings was in poor health at the time
this outrage was perpetrated; and he fretted and grieved over it
continually. After the rebel agents had used Redpath for their purpose, they
cast him off. I concluded it was now a good time to get rid of Redpath and
this persecution of Mr. Giddings. I found the miserable creature after
considerable search, and prevailed upon him to withdraw the suit, and
confess that he had been urged by the Confederate agents in in Montreal to
take action against Mr. Giddings. This persecution, I have no doubt,
hastened the death of this noble old standard-bearer of liberty.
DEATH OF MR. GIDDINGS.
He died suddenly while amusing himself with a
game of billiards in the St. Lawrence Hall. In Congress, Mr. Giddings stood
shoulder to shoulder with John Quincy Adams, in resisting the tyrannical and
despotic demands of the slave drivers. On one occasion when Mr. Giddings was
addressing the House in behalf of freedom, a Southern member approached him
with a bowie knife in his hand, and threatened to kill him on the spot, if
he did not cease speaking. Mr. Giddings was immediately surrounded by his
friends, and continued his speech, while the cowardly ruffian who threatened
him sneaked back to his seat. Mr. Giddings was not only a good man, but he
was morally and physically a brave man. He espoused the cause of the slave
at a time when an abolitionist was despised and persecuted; and he remained
all his life a warm and constant friend of the oppressed. The many happy
hours passed in his company, during the darkest periods of the war, will
ever remain bright spots in my memory.
STEPS TOWARD EMANCIPATION.
The following Acts and Proclamation indicate the
progressive steps by which, in the end, complete emancipation was reached.
Attention is hereby called to an Act of
Congress, entitled "An Act to make an additional article of war," approved
March 13, 1862, and which Act is in the words and figures following :
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of America in Conqress assembled: That
hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional article of
war, for the government of the army of the United States, and shall be
obeyed and observed as such:
Article. All officers or persons in the military
or naval ser- vice of the United States are prohibited from employing any of
the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning
fugitives from service or labor, who may have escaped from any persons to
whom such labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be found
guilty by a court-martial of violating this article, shall be dismissed from
And be it further enacted, That this Act shall take effect from and after
the ninth and tenth sections of an Act entitled, "An Act to suppress
insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and confiscate the
property of rebels, and for other purposes," approved July 17, 1862, and
which sections are in the words and figures following Sac. 9. And be it
farther enacted, That all slaves or persons who shall hereafter be engaged
in rebellion against the Government of the United States, or who shall in
any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking
refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such
persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the Government
of the United States; and all slaves of such persons found on (or being
within) any place occupied by rebel forces and afterward occupied by the
forces of the United States, shall be deemed captures of war, and shall be
forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.
Sac. 10. And be it further enacted, That no
slave escaping into any State, territory, or the district of Columbia, from
any of the States shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered
of his liberty, except for crime or some offence against the laws, unless
the person claiming said fugitive shall first makeoath that the person to
whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due, is his
lawful owner, and has not been in arms against the United States in the
present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no
person engaged in the military or naval service of the United States shall,
under any pretence whatever, arsumc to decide on the validity of the claim
of any person to the service or labour of any other person, or surrender up
any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the
By the President of the United States of
the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and sixty-two, a Proclamation was issued by the President of
the United States, containing among other things the following, to wit;
"That on the first day of January, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, 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,
thenceforth and forever free, and the Executive Government of the United
States, including the military and naval authorities 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 make for their
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 he in rebellion against the United States,
and the fact that any State or the people thereof, shall on that (lay 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 State shall 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 (lay
of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to (10, publicly proclaim
for the full period of one hundred (lays from the day of the first
above-mentioned order, and designate, as the States and part of States
wherein the people thereof respectively are this (lay in rebellion against
the United States, the following, to wit: ARKANSAS, TEXAS, LOUISIANA (except
the Parishes of St. Bernard, Palquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles,
St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St.
Martin, and Orleans, including the City of 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, Aeconae, Northampton, Elizabeth
City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and
Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely
as if this Proclamation had not been issued.
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 author- ities thereof, will recognize and maintain the
freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared
to be free, to abstain from all violence, unless in self-defence, and I
recommend to them that in all cases, when allowed, they labour faithfully
for reasonable wages.
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 favour of Almighty God.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my
name, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed..
THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM OF 1864 (LINCOLN AND
Convention which assembled at Baltimore on the 7th of June, 1864, and there
nominated ABRAHAM LINCOLN for re-election as President, with ANDREW JOHNSON
as Vice-President, adopted and presented to the American people the
That, as Slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength, of this
rebellion, and as it must be always and everywhere hostile to the principles
of Republican government, justice, and the national safety demand its utter
and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic; and that we uphold
and maintain the acts and proclamations by which the Government, in its own
defence, has aimed a death-blow at this gigantic evil. We are in favour,
furthermore, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the
people in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and for ever
prohibit the existence of Slavery within the limits of the jurisdiction of
the United States.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS, MARCH 4, 1865.
FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: At this second appearing to
take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an
extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in
detail, of a course to be pursued seemed very fitting and proper. Now, at
the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been
constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which
still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little
that is new could be presented.
The progress of our arms, upon which all else
chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I
trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for
the future, no prediction wit regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this, four
years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war.
All dreaded it; all sought to avoid it. While the inaugural address was
being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union
without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without
war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide the effects by negotiation.
Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let
the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it
perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were coloured
slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the
Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful
interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To
strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest, was the object for which
the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government
claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of
expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already
attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease
with, or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an
easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same
God; and each invokes the aid against the other. It may seem strange that
any man should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread
from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not
judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been
answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world
because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to
that mail whom the offence cometh." If we shall suppose that American
slavery is one of these offences, which, in the providence of God, must
needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, He now
wills to remove, and that lie gives to both North and South this terrible
war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern
therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a
living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray,
that this mighty scourge of war may soon pass away. Vet, if God wills that
it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and
fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood
drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn by the sword; as was
said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, "The judgments of
the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity to all,
with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive
on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for
him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans; to
do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among
ourselves and with all nations.
The following amendment to the Constitution of
the United States was ratified by vote of the Legislative Branches of the
United States Government, February i, 1865 :-
SEC. 1. Neither Slavery nor involuntary
servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have
been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place
subject during their jurisdiction.
SEC. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce
this article by appropriate legislation.