Category Archives: Reconstruction

Banks Initiates Reconstruction in Louisiana

January 11, 1864 – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, commanding the Federal Department of the Gulf from New Orleans, issued orders calling for the election of Louisiana state officials and delegates to a convention that would rewrite the Louisiana constitution.

Major General Nathaniel P. Banks | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

The state officials were to comprise “the civil government of the State under the Constitution and laws of Louisiana, except so much of the said Constitution and laws as recognize, regulate, or relate to slavery, which, being inconsistent with the present condition of public affairs, and plainly inapplicable to any class of persons now existing within its limits, must be suspended.”

Banks had been prodded by President Abraham Lincoln to implement his “Ten Percent Plan” in Louisiana. Banks resolved that “the only speedy and certain method” to do this was to hold a special election for state officials under the current Louisiana constitution while declaring that the provisions in that document regarding slavery were “inoperative and void.”

Most Unionists opposed Banks’s plan because they wanted to amend the constitution to not only abolish slavery but to abolish other alleged injustices that favored planters over the masses. Banks responded by also calling for the election of delegates that would revise or replace the Louisiana constitution at a later date.

Those eligible to vote in the elections for state officials and delegates were white men who swore allegiance to the Union and adhered to the Emancipation Proclamation. However, the proclamation exempted many areas of Louisiana from abolishing slavery. Also, the election would be held when Federal occupation forces controlled only 17 of the state’s 48 parishes. Regardless, Banks had the 10 percent of 1860 voters he needed to call for the election, and it was set for February 22.

Some objected to the notion that only white men would be voting to revise Louisiana’s constitution. A petition was sent to Washington, signed by over 1,000 men, calling on the Federal government to grant the “free people of color” in New Orleans the right to vote. The signees included 27 veterans of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and the relatives of many men currently serving in the military. Radical Republicans in Congress applauded the delegates who delivered the petition, and Lincoln invited them to the White House.

But while the Radicals favored granting black men the right to vote, many opposed Lincoln’s “Ten Percent Plan.” Congressman Henry W. Davis of Maryland introduced a resolution stating, “There is no legal authority to hold any election in the State of Louisiana; … (and) any attempt to hold an election… is a usurpation of sovereign authority against the authority of the United States.” Politics played a part in Davis’s opposition, as Lincoln had not supported Davis’s bitter struggle against the Blairs’ political machine in Maryland.

Despite the opposition, Lincoln directed Banks to “proceed with all possible despatch” to install a Unionist state government in Louisiana. He reminded Banks that, as department commander, he was “at liberty to adopt any rule which shall admit to vote any unquestionably loyal free state men and none others. And yet I do wish they would all take the oath.”

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References

Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government: All Volumes (Heraklion Press, Kindle Edition 2013, 1889), Loc 16850; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 359; Donald, David Herbert, Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 10346-58, 10391; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 388-89, 393; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 454, 459; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 707; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q164

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The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

December 9, 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln outlined a plan to bring the Confederate states back into the Union. This was part of his effort to exacerbate political dissension in the Confederacy while uniting the factions within his own Republican Party.

As the Confederacy seemed about to collapse, Federal politicians began considering how the post-war South should be administered. By this time, three clear plans had taken shape in Congress:

  • Democrats supported canceling the Emancipation Proclamation and offering general amnesty to all Confederates if they agreed to return to the Union; once returned, they could send representation to Congress and all would continue as it did before the war.
  • Conservative Republicans supported upholding the Emancipation Proclamation and offering conditional amnesty, with the Confederate states sending representation to Congress only after certain conditions were met, including accepting black freedom.
  • Radical Republicans supported upholding the Emancipation Proclamation and revoking the civil rights of those who supported the Confederacy; the states would be treated as conquered territories and brought back into the Union after several conditions were met, including accepting both black freedom and equality.

16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln | Image Credit: histmag.org

As the leader of the conservative faction, Lincoln proclaimed, “Whereas it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugrate loyal State governments,” he offered a “full pardon” to those who “directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion” if they swore loyalty to the Union and promised to obey Federal laws.

Those excluded from the pardons included high-ranking Confederates, officers who relinquished U.S. military commissions to join the Confederacy, and those who treated Federal soldiers “otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war.” Those receiving a pardon would have all their property rights restored, “except as to slaves.” The decree also included Lincoln’s proposed policy on converting slavery into free labor in the South:

“Any provision which may be adopted… in relation to the freed people (by the new state governments), which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the national Executive.”

Lincoln’s proclamation also included what became known as the “Ten Percent Plan,” which proposed that if 10 percent of a state’s registered voters (according to the 1860 census) swore loyalty to the Union and recognized the “permanent freedom of slaves,” then those voters could form a new government and send Federal representation to Washington. It would then be for Congress to decide whether to seat those new representatives in the House and Senate.

This marked a significant political shift for Lincoln. When the war began, he argued that the rebellion consisted of a small minority who did not represent the majority of southern sentiment. But by proposing the “Ten Percent Plan,” he acknowledged that 90 percent of every Confederate state constituency most likely wanted no part of reunion. As such, harsher measures would be needed to bring their states back into the Union and ensure that their leaders would be loyal.

Democrats were the plan’s loudest critics. They argued that it violated the Constitution’s guarantee that each state have a republican form of government since 10 percent of a state’s voters would be dictating how the remaining 90 percent should be governed. They also noted that since no Confederate state would likely have a 10 percent loyalty rate, that percentage would be made up of former slaves and northerners migrating to the states. Moreover, forcing people to swear allegiance to the government violated the principle stated in the Declaration of Independence that government “derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The pro-Democrat New York World pointed out that “By setting up… State governments, representing one-tenth of the voters, in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and North Carolina,” the Lincoln administration “could control as many electoral votes as may be needed to turn the scale” in next year’s presidential election. Democratic New York Governor Horatio Seymour argued that this plan would give 70,000 voters in the southern states just as many votes in the Electoral College as 16 million voters in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

But this proclamation was not intended to satisfy the minority Democrats; it was intended to appease both Radicals and conservatives within the Republican Party. Radicals supported the demands that Confederates swear loyalty to the Union and acknowledge the end of slavery. Conservatives supported the “Ten Percent Plan” because it undermined Radical ideas to reorganize southern states as conquered territories.

Radicals favored disqualifying anybody with Confederate sympathies from voting, along with any southern professional who lacked Union sympathies. Radicals also insisted that all slaves should be immediately freed without compensation to slaveholders, and that newly freed slaves should be allowed to vote in some cases. They also argued that Congress, not the president, had the constitutional authority to restore the Union.

Conservatives argued that most southerners owned no slaves and had not voted to secede, and thus should not be penalized for merely fighting to defend their homes. Lincoln saw revoking emancipation as a “cruel and an astounding breach of faith,” but he also saw no reason to further punish the South since both sides had been so terribly punished by the war itself.

Behind the conflict between Radicals and conservatives was a growing conflict between Lincoln and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase. While Lincoln was largely viewed as the conservative leader of the Republican Party, Chase aspired to replace him as president in 1864, and thus he was supported by most Radicals.

However, some Radicals voiced support for Lincoln’s plan, including influential Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. Sumner said that Lincoln’s proclamation gave him “great satisfaction” because it touched upon “his idea of proper reconstruction without insisting on the adoption of his peculiar theories.” And Joseph Medill, editor of the pro-Radical Chicago Tribune, wrote that the “political future begins to look clear,” and stated that this decree proved there was only one politician “in whom the nation more and more confides–Abraham Lincoln.”

Newspapers critical of Lincoln’s proclamation included the New York Journal of Commerce, which called it a “ukase from the chambers of an autocrat,” and the Chicago Times, which contended that Lincoln was either “insane with fanaticism, or a traitor who glories in his country’s shame.”

However, the pro-Democrat New York World praised the decree because it canceled out the “abolition plan of Senator (Charles) Sumner” (i.e., the Radical plan to immediately free all slaves and punish all Confederates). The influential Blair family, representing the conservative Republicans, also commended it because it canceled “Sumner’s and Chase’s territorial project.”

Despite the rift between the two Republican factions, Lincoln’s proclamation temporarily united the party by offering concessions to both sides. Lincoln also assured members of Congress that he would be willing to change the plan to suit future events if necessary. Furthermore, it threatened to disrupt Confederate politics by enticing some southerners to push for restoring the Union under this plan. This marked the first significant Federal step toward restoring the Union.

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References

Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government: All Volumes (Heraklion Press, Kindle Edition 2013, 1889), Loc 16790, 16807-33; Donald, David Herbert, Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 9950-71, 10048-72; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 382; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), p. 563-64, 588-89; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 444-45; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 698, 709; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 618; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q463

Andrew Johnson’s Presidential Restoration Plan

May 29, 1865 – President Andrew Johnson issued two proclamations designed to continue former President Abraham Lincoln’s plan to restore the Confederates states to the U.S.

The “Amnesty Proclamation” pardoned anyone involved in the “existing rebellion” if they swore to “henceforth” fully support, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution, abide by Federal laws, and acknowledge the end of slavery. This generally followed the model Lincoln had established, but while Lincoln had created six classes of southerners ineligible for amnesty, Johnson added eight more. Ineligible southerners included those who:

  • Held civil or diplomatic offices in the Confederacy
  • Resigned from the U.S. Congress or a U.S. judicial post to join the Confederacy
  • Resigned from the U.S. military “to evade duty in resisting the rebellion”
  • Mistreated Federal prisoners of war
  • Served in a rank of colonel or higher in the Confederate army
  • Served in a rank of lieutenant or higher in the Confederate navy
  • Had been educated at a U.S. military academy before joining the Confederacy
  • Served as governors of Confederate states
  • Left their homes in loyal states to live in Confederate states
  • Engaged in destroying Federal commerce
  • Violated prior oaths [1]
17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson | Image Credit: learnnc.org

17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson | Image Credit: learnnc.org

Johnson also excluded every southerner owning more than $20,000 in taxable property. He sought to punish aristocrats—especially wealthy slaveholders—whom he believed had persuaded fellow southerners to support secession. Besides these exclusions, Johnson restored all property to southerners except for slaves. Voting rights would be restored when voters swore loyalty to the U.S. and accepted the end of slavery.[2]

Disqualified southerners were required to personally request a pardon from Johnson and “realize the enormity of their crime,” whereupon “such clemency will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case and the peace and dignity of the United States.”[3]

A second proclamation, drafted by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, restored civil government in North Carolina and named William W. Holden as provisional governor. Holden would temporarily rule the state while Federal duties such as tariff collection and mail delivery resumed.[4]

Holden was authorized to organize and schedule an election for delegates to a convention that would draft a new state constitution. The election would take place once 10 percent of the state’s eligible voters (according to the 1860 census) had sworn loyalty to the U.S. Convention delegates would be chosen among the eligible voters. Since blacks had been ineligible to vote in 1860, they were excluded from becoming voters or convention delegates.[5]

The convention delegates were required to:

  • Reject the ordinance of secession
  • Repudiate the Confederate debt
  • Ratify the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery [6]

They also determined requirements for permanent voting and office-holding rights, which had traditionally been state, not Federal, prerogatives. After drafting the new constitution, it would become law when 10 percent of registered voters approved it in a general election. Once the constitution took effect, elections would be held to fill local, state, and Federal offices.[7]

The “North Carolina Proclamation” violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a republican form of government for each state because Holden was not a popularly elected governor, and 10 percent of the voters would overrule the other 90. Nevertheless, Lincoln had used this plan to restore Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas to the Union, and Johnson also used it to restore the remaining conquered states (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas) during the summer of 1865.[8]

Like most events of the post-Civil War era, politics played a major role in shaping these proclamations.

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[1] Ferrell, Claudine L., Reconstruction (Greenwood, 2003), p. 18-19; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 690-91; Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 32

[2] CivilWarHome.com/presidentalreconstructionpartII.html (2002); Ferrell, Reconstruction, p. 18-19; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 690-91; Stewart, David O., Impeached (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009), p. 17; Woods, Jr., Thomas E., The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2004), p. 78

[3] Ferrell, Claudine L., Reconstruction (Greenwood, 2003), p. 18-19; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 690-91

[4] Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 690-91; Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 32

[5] Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 690-91; Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 32

[6] Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 32; Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M., The Almanac of American History (Greenwich, CT: Brompton Books Corp., 1993), p. 294

[7] Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 32; Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M., The Almanac of American History (Greenwich, CT: Brompton Books Corp., 1993), p. 294

[8] CivilWarHome.com/presidentalreconstructionpartII.html (2002); Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 32; Napolitano, Andrew P., Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America (Thomas Nelson, Kindle Edition, 2009); Schweikart, Larry and Allen, Michael, A Patriot’s History of the United States (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), p. 361

Reconstruction Efforts of May 1865

May 9, 1865 – President Andrew Johnson continued efforts to quickly restore the Union by approving the installment of Virginia’s new pro-U.S. government.

The process of restoring the conquered states to the Union began accelerating this month with the surrender of most Confederate troops. The process was more advanced for some states than others. In Missouri, Governor Thomas Fletcher replaced the state supreme court and some 800 other state employees without legislative or popular approval. Fletcher had been authorized to do so by the Missouri constitutional convention, whose delegates voted 43 to 5 to replace all significant state employees with those “loyal” to the U.S.[1]

17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson | Image Credit: learnnc.org

17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson | Image Credit: learnnc.org

Johnson met with a Pennsylvania delegation to discuss his reconstruction policies. The delegation was dominated by “Radical” Republicans seeking harsh retribution against the South. The Radicals hoped that Johnson would be an ally, but Johnson explained that while he intended to punish Confederate leaders, he also intended to offer mercy to Confederate soldiers that he felt had been forced into service by Confederate draft laws.[2]

On May 9, Johnson approved the restoration of Virginia, which included installing Francis H. Pierpont as the new governor. Pierpont had been the provisional governor in a pro-U.S. version of Virginia before the war in that state had ended. The next day, Johnson issued a proclamation that “armed resistance to the authority of this Government (from) the said insurrectionary States may be regarded as virtually at an end…” The Federal naval blockade was gradually lifted, and the military was slowly demobilized.[3]

Johnson appointed Major General Oliver O. Howard to lead the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide government aid to newly freed slaves. On May 22, Johnson announced that all seaports except for some in Texas would be opened for commerce, and all commercial activity east of the Mississippi River would resume. Five days later, Johnson ordered the liberation of those imprisoned by military authorities for various offenses, including protesting the war. By month’s end, Johnson prepared to issue his official announcement of restoration for all conquered states.[4]

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[1] White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Locations 60190-92

[2] White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Locations 60190-92

[3] Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 686-87

[4] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox (Vintage Civil War Library, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2011), Locations 21343-67; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 688

Amnesty

Article originally published in Harper’s Weekly, 8 April 1865 (courtesy of sonofthesouth.net)

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Harper’s Weekly Banner

THE mischief which is done by the well meaning but foolish clamor that the President shall offer fresh terms of peace is incalculable. That the malignant Copperhead opposition should seek to embarrass the situation by representing him as averse to peace is natural; but that loyal papers should persistently poison the public mind with the impression that the President is reluctant or obtuse in the matter is most unfortunate. To destroy public confidence in the chief executive by incessant complaint that he does not act wisely to insinuate that peace is at every moment possible if only the President chose; to declare that the rebels are merely waiting for a kind word from him before laying down their arms, is to be guilty of the greatest injustice to him and the gravest injury to the country.

The President has already several times declared to the rebels and the world all that he has the authority to say upon the subject of peace. On the 8th of December, 1863, under the act of Congress which authorized him to promise pardon and amnesty to rebels with such exceptions and conditions as he chose, the President issued his amnesty proclamation. By this act he pardoned all rebels who should solemnly take and faithfully keep the oath of allegiance to the Government, restoring all rights of property except as to slaves, and excepting from the pardon certain classes of persons who have held civil or military positions, and who had treated our colored soldiers, seamen, laborers, and officers otherwise than as prisoners of war. Last summer he repeated the substance of this offer in saying to whom it might concern that submission to the laws and emancipation were the conditions of peace. On the 6th of December, 1864, the President in his Message renewed the offer of amnesty of the previous year, announcing, however, that the time might come when public duty would demand that the door of grace should be closed. On the 3d of February, at Hampton Roads, he repeated the conditions plainly : the restoration of the national authority, no modification of his position upon the slavery question, and no cessation of hostilities without a final disbanding of the insurgent armies.

What more can or ought the President to do? “What we desire of the President,” says one man, “is that he clear it [the subject] of all ambiguities, by publicly setting forth precisely what the Southern people hitherto in revolt against the Federal authority are to gain or save by promptly throwing down the weapons of rebellion and returning to loyalty and peace.” This is exactly what the President has done, and repeated, and reiterated. It is just as well known today to every man who cares to know it as it could be if it were announced twice a week. His amnesty is addressed to the rank and file of the rebel army, to the deluded people of the South. It could not be clearer or more complete. More than he offers he ought not to offer, nor would public opinion justify. As a citizen of the United States he may believe, as we do, that there is no desire of blood or revenge in the hearts of loyal men. But as President he certainly ought not to say that DAVIS, HUNTER, & Co. shall not be indicted, tried, and punished for treason. The pardoning power is not a dispensing power.

There is no conceivable good end to be accomplished by insisting that with every step of General SHERMAN the President ought to say to the rebels, “There! will you give it up now? Do, please.” The rank and file of the rebel armies and the citizens of the Southern States know perfectly well that when they take the oath of allegiance in good faith they are not molested, and are in no danger of a trial for treason. If they do not know it, after four distinct proclamations of the fact, a fifth will not help them. To say that our armies open a way to reach the people with the fifth is idle, because as fast and as far as they go the amnesty goes with them. When the President is ready to offer other conditions and exceptions he will say so. Until then humanity and national dignity require him to do exactly what he is doing.

Saturday, December 3, 1864. Peace.

Article originally published in Harper’s Weekly, 3 December 1864 (courtesy of sonofthesouth.net)

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Harper’s Weekly Banner

THE air is full of rumors of peace. It has been so at intervals from the beginning, and will be so to the end of the war. Nothing was more natural than that after the election the blowers of rumors should take out their longest pipes and blow the largest and most glittering of bubbles. Nothing also was truer than General BUTLER’S remark that, having ascertained how unanimous the country is for war if necessary, it is a good time to ascertain whether it be necessary. It is a good time, because there can be no possible misunderstanding. An invitation to the rebels to lay down their arms could not be misinterpreted now, as it might have been at any other period of the war, as a sign of doubt upon the part of the Government. It would be the indication of conscious power and conscious right. It would be the summons to a doomed fortress to surrender after the irresistible strength of the besiegers had been displayed to the garrison in full view.

The experience of his administration teaches us that we may trust the President to do the right thing in this matter at the right time and in the right way. In whatever he does he will neither compromise the authority of the people nor acknowledge any shadow of right in the theory or fact of the rebellion. Neither will he do any thing impatiently or passionately. There is nothing finer in his whole career than his passionless but unswerving patriotism. There has been no self seeking, and a sagacious independence in all his actions. He has not hesitated to alienate at times all parties of his immediate adherents, whenever his sense of duty demanded it, secure always of the permanent approval of the people. Our history does not furnish his master as a statesman.

It is probable that in his Message there will be a frank expression of his views upon the present aspect of the rebellion, and very possibly a direct appeal to the insurgent section of the country, bidding the rebels to ponder the significance of the election ; to look with their own eyes, not through the illusive words of their leaders, at the actual condition and prospect of the rebellion, assuring them that their loyal fellow citizens have but one wish, and that is to live peaceably with them under a common Government, and but one determination—that they will do so.

The conditions of peace are to day what they have always been. They are the same for every man and party in every part of the country. They are submission to the laws and acts in pursuance of the Constitution. If any citizen doubts whether the Confiscation act or the Emancipation proclamation are Constitutional, the President has already referred the question to the Supreme Court. As to “terms” in regard to the rebel leaders, the American people will undoubtedly require that, at the least, they shall be forever ineligible as citizens.

Of course the Government of the people must determine when it is satisfied that any State has resumed its proper relations in the Union. It can not be enough that the State says so. It can not be enough that it goes through the forms of an election. The Government will, of necessity, hold every part of the rebel section which it recovers until it is perfectly assured that the national peace would not be endangered by relinquishing it. The insurgent States, for instance, claimed to secede in their sovereign capacity. If in their sovereign capacity they return, the United States Government will naturally inquire whether, in their sovereign capacity, under any pretense whatever, they propose to secede again. So long as the majority of citizens in any State holds to the doctrine of supreme State sovereignty, the peace of the Union is as much threatened by it as Pennsylvania was by LEE’S army. Can the forces of the United States be withdrawn from a State which claims the right of secession at will? And can the existence of such a majority be determined except by a fair vote upon a constitutional amendment, expressly affirming the indestructibility of the Union?

We shall, however, be spared the present solution of such questions, because whatever the action of our Government in regard to peace, the attitude of the rebels will remain unchanged. While they have any effective military force they will hear only of war. When that force is broken, the anarchy into which the rebel section must surely fall will make the presence of the United States arms a necessity until society can be reconstructed. It is useless, says the President, to jump before you reach the stream. Be ready to leap when you are there. Great questions of policy which perplex us in advance are very apt to present themselves finally in a practicable form. All that we need is to keep certain controlling principles clearly in mind, and as fast as possible adapt our policy to them. Conscious of wishing for honorable peace, and taught by our experience and by reason upon what terms peace can be permanent, we may tranquilly await the opportunity which the rebels alone can furnish.