The Great Conspiracy

“‘Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress 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

“ARTICLE–All officers or persons in the Military or Naval service 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
service or 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 the service.

“‘SECTION 2.–And be it further enacted, That this Act shall take effect
from and after its passage.’

“Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an Act entitled ‘An Act to
suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and
confiscate property of Rebels, and for other purposes,’ approved July
17, 1862, and which sections are in the words and figures following:

“‘SEC. 9.–And be it further enacted, That all Slaves of 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 captives of war, and shall be forever Free of their
servitude, and not again held as Slaves.

“‘SEC. 10.–And be it further enacted, That no Slave escaping into any
State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State,
shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty,
except for crime, or some offense against the laws, unless the person
claiming said Fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the
labor or service of such Fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful
owner, and has not borne 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 pretense whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the
claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or
surrender up any such Person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed
from the service.”

“And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the
Military and Naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and
enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the Act and
sections above recited.

“And the Executive will in due time recommend that all
citizens of the United States who shall have remained loyal thereto
throughout the Rebellion shall (upon the restoration of the
Constitutional relation between the United States and their respective
States and people, if that relation shall have been suspended or
disturbed) be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States,
including the loss of Slaves.

“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 twenty-second day of September, in
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of
the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

“By the President:

“WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
This Proclamation, promising Freedom to an Enslaved race, was hailed
with acclamations everywhere save in the rebellious Southern-Slave
States, and in the Border-Slave States.

At a meeting of Governors of Loyal States, held at Altoona,
Pennsylvania, to take measures for the more active support of the
Government, an Address was adopted, on the very day that the
Proclamation was promulgated, which well expressed the general feeling
prevailing throughout the Northern States, at this time. It was in
these patriotic words:

“After nearly one year and a half spent in contest with an armed and
gigantic Rebellion against the National Government of the United States,
the duty and purpose of the Loyal States and people continue, and must
always remain as they were at its origin–namely to restore and
perpetuate the authority of this Government and the life of the Nation.
No matter what consequences are involved in our fidelity, this work of
restoring the Republic, preserving the institutions of democratic
Liberty, and justifying the hopes and toils of our Fathers, shall not
fail to be performed.

“And we pledge, without hesitation, to the President of the United
States, the most loyal and cordial support, hereter as heretofore, in
the exercise of the functions of his great office. We recognize in him
the chief Executive magistrate of the Nation, the Commander-in-Chief of
the Army and Navy of the United States, their responsible and
constitutional head, whose rightful authority and power, as well as the
Constitutional powers of Congress, must be rigorously and religiously
guarded and preserved, as the condition on which alone our form of
Government and the constitutional rights and liberties of the People
themselves can be saved from the wreck of anarchy or from the gulf

“In submission to the laws which may have been or which may be duly
enacted, and to the lawful orders of the President, cooperating always
in our own spheres with the National Government, we mean to continue in
the most rigorous exercise of all our lawful and proper powers,
contending against Treason, Rebellion, and the public Enemies, and,
whether in public life or in private station, supporting the arms of the
Union, until its Cause shall conquer, until final victory shall perch
upon its standard, or the Rebel foe will yield a dutiful, rightful, and
unconditional submission. And, impressed with the conviction that an
Army of reserve ought, until the War shall end, to be constantly kept on
foot, to be raised, armed, equipped, and trained at home, and ready for
emergencies, we respectfully ask the President to call such a force of
volunteers for one year’s service, of not less than one hundred thousand
in the aggregate, the quota of each State to be raised after it shall
have led its quota of the requisitions already made, both for volunteers
and militia. We believe that this would be a Leasure of Military
prudence, while it would greatly promote the Military education of the

“We hail with heartfelt gratitude and encouraged hope the Proclamation
of the President, issued on the 22nd instant, declaring Emancipated from
their bondage all Persons held to Service or Labor as Slaves in the
Rebel States, whose Rebellion shall last until the first day of January
next ensuing.

“The right of any person to retain authority to compel any portion of
the subjects of the National Government to rebel against it, or to
maintain its Enemies, implies in those who are allowed possession of
such authority the right to rebel themselves; and therefore, the right
to establish Martial Law or Military Government in a State or Territory
in Rebellion implies the right and the duty of the Government to
liberate the minds of all men living therein by appropriate
Proclamations and assurances of protection, in order that all who are
capable, intellectually and morally, of loyalty and obedience, may not
be forced into Treason as the unwilling tools of rebellious Traitors.

“To have continued indefinitely the most efficient cause, support, and
stay of the Rebellion, would have been, in our judgment, unjust to the
Loyal people whose treasure and lives are made a willing sacrifice on
the altar of patriotism–would have discriminated against the wife who
is compelled to surrender her husband, against the parent who is to
surrender his child, to the hardships of the camp and the perils of
battle, in favor of Rebel masters permitted to retain their Slaves. It
would have been a final decision alike against humanity, justice, the
rights and dignity of the Government, and against sound and wise
National policy.

“The decision of the President to strike at the root of the Rebellion
will lend new vigor to efforts, and new life and hope to the hearts of
the People. Cordially tendering to the President our respectful
assurances of personal and official confidence, we trust and believe
that the policy now inaugurated will be crowned with success, will give
speedy and triumphant victories over our enemies, and secure to this
Nation and this People the blessing and favor of Almighty God.

“We believe that the blood of the heroes who have already fallen, and
those who may yet give their lives to their Country, will not have been
shed in vain.

“The splendid valor of our soldiers, their patient endurance, their
manly patriotism, and their devotion to duty, demand from us and from
all their countrymen the homage of the sincerest gratitude and the
pledge of our constant reinforcement and support. A just regard for
these brave men, whom we have contributed to place in the field, and for
the importance of the duties which may lawfully pertain to us hereafter,
has called us into friendly conference.

“And now, presenting to our National Chief Magistrate this conclusion of
our deliberations, we devote ourselves to our Country’s service, and we
will surround the President with our constant support, trusting that the
fidelity and zeal of the Loyal States and People will always assure him
that he will be constantly maintained in pursuing, with the utmost
vigor, this War for the preservation of the National life and hope of

“O. P. MORTON,–By D. G. ROSE, his Representative,
Some two months after the issue of his great Proclamation of Liberty,
President Lincoln (in his Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1,
1862), took occasion again to refer to compensated Emancipation, and,
indeed, to the entire matter of Slavery and Freedom, in most instructive
and convincing manner, as follows:

“On the 22d day of September last, a Proclamation was issued by the
Executive, a copy of which is herewith submitted.

“In accordance with the purpose in the second paragraph of that paper, I
now respectfully recall your attention to what may be called
‘compensated Emancipation.’

“A Nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its
laws. The territory is the only part which is of certain durability.
‘One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the
Earth abideth forever.’ It is of the first importance to duly consider
and estimate this ever-enduring part.

“That portion of the Earth’s surface which is owned and inhabited by the
People of the United States, is well adapted to be the home of one
National family; and it is not well adapted for two, or more. Its vast
extent, and its variety of climate and productions, are of advantage, in
this age, for one People, whatever they might have been in former ages.
Steam, telegraphs, and intelligence, have brought these to be an
advantageous combination for one united People.

“In the Inaugural Address I briefly pointed out the total inadequacy of
Disunion, as a remedy for the differences between the people of the two
Sections. I did so in language which I cannot improve, and which,
therefore, I beg to repeat:

“‘One Section of our Country believes Slavery is right, and ought to be
extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be
extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The Fugitive Slave
clause of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the
foreign Slave Trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can
ever be in a community where the moral sense of the People imperfectly
supports the law itself.

“The great body of the People abide by the dry legal obligation in both
cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be perfectly
cured; and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the
Sections, than before. The foreign Slave Trade, now imperfectly
suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction in one
Section; while Fugitive Slaves, now only partially surrendered, would
not be surrendered at all by the other.

“Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our
respective Sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall
between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and each go out of
the presence and beyond the reach of the other; but the different parts
of our Country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and
intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them.

“‘Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or
more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make
treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more
faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? suppose
you go to War, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on
both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old
questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.’

“There is no line, straight or crooked, suitable for a National boundary
upon which to divide. Trace through, from East to West, upon the line
between the Free and Slave Country, and we shall find a little more than
one third of its length are rivers, easy to be crossed, and populated,
or soon to be populated, thickly upon both sides; while nearly all its
remaining length are merely surveyors’ lines, over which people may walk
back and forth without any consciousness of their presence.

“No part of this line can be made any more difficult to pass, by writing
it down on paper or parchment as a National boundary. The fact of
separation, if it comes, gives up, on the part of the seceding Section,
the Fugitive Slave clause, along with all other Constitutional
obligations upon the Section seceded from, while I should expect no
treaty stipulations would ever be made to take its place.

“But there is another difficulty. The great interior region, bounded
East by the Alleghanies, North by the British dominions, West by the
Rocky Mountains, and South by the line along which the culture of corn
and cotton meets, and which includes part of Virginia, part of
Tennessee, all of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin,
Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Territories of
Dakota, Nebraska, and part of Colorado, already has above ten million
people, and will have fifty millions within fifty years, if not
prevented by any political folly or mistake.

“It contains more than one-third of the country owned by the United
States-certainly more than one million square miles. Once half as
populous as Massachusetts already is, it would have more than seventy-
five million people. A glance at the map shows that, territorially
speaking, it is the great body of the Republic. The other parts are but
marginal borders to it, the magnificent region sloping West, from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, being the deepest and also the richest
in undeveloped resources. In the production of provisions, grains,
grasses, and all which proceed from them, this great interior region is
naturally one of the most important in the World.

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