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On the 7th of July, 1862, he wrote a long letter of ailvice to President Lincoln, in which he told him that he thought the war should not look to the subjugation of the people of any State, in any erent.
That there should be no confiscation, no forcible abolition of slavery.
In the middle of 1862, the events of the war having gone from bad to worse, Mr. Lincoln began to think that he must "change his tactics, or lose his game."
Under these circumstances he prepared his original proclamation of emancipation, without consulting his cabinet or giving them any intimation of what he was doing. In the latter part of July, or early in August, he called a cabinet meeting, and were present except Mr. Blair, who arrived in time for business, but none of them knew the object of the meeting. After all were ready for business, there was a delav.
Mr. Lincoln was about to inaugurate the crowning act of his life, and he took his own way of doing it. The pressure upon his mind had wrought it up to a high key. He took from a shelf a copy of “Artemus Ward-His Book," and read an entire chapter of its drollery, laughing so heartily at its contents that some of his dignified advisers were more pained than amused. On closing the trifling volume, the whole manner of the President changed instantly, and rising to a grandeur of demeanor that inspired all with profound respect akin to awe, he announced to his cabinet the object of the meeting. He had written a Proclamation of Emancipation, and had determined to issue it; therefore, he had not called them together to ask their advice upon the main question, as he had determined that for himself. He wished to inform them of his purpose, and receive such suggestions upon minor points as they might be moved to make. "Mr. Chase wished the language stronger with regard to arning the negroes ; Mr. Blair thought it would cost the administration the fall elections, but he
saw no occasion to make any change until Mr. Seward said: “Mr. President, I approve of the Proclamation, but I question the expediency of its issue at this juncture. The depression of the public mind, consequent upon our repeated reverses, is so great that I fear the effect of so important a step. It may be viewed as the last measure of an exhausted government; a cry for help; the government stretching forth its hands to Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching forth her hands to the government; our last shriek in the retreat." Mr. Seward thought it would be hest to postpone it until it could be given to the country after a military success, rather than after the general disasters then prevalent.
Mr. Lincoln admitted the force of the objections, and permitted the matter to be suspended for a brief period. The retreat of the army of the Potomac, under General Pope, on Washington, and the invasion of Maryland soon followed, making the situation still more gloomy, and the proclamation waited, being occasionally taken out and retouched. At last the battle of Antietam came, ith victory to the Union armis. The battle of Antietam was fought on Wednesday, the 17th of September, but it was not until Saturday that it was certainly known to be a victory, and it was too late to issue the proclamation that week, but Mr. Lincoln held a cabinet meeting that day, at which he declared that the time for promulgating the emancipation policy had arrived. Public sentiment, he thought, would snstain it; many of his warmest friends and supporters demanded it, and in a low and reverent tone he said: “I have promised my God that I will do it.” Mr. Chase said, "Do I understand you correctly, Mr. President.” Mr. Lincoln replied; " I made a solemn vow before God that if General Lee should be driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves."
On Sunday Mr. Lincoln retouched it a little, and on Monday, September 22, 1862, the proclamation was issued, declaring that, at the end of one hundred davs, or on the first day of January, 1863, he would issue another proclamation, declaring that, “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 thenceforward and forever free."
There was not the slightest attention given to the proclamation, neither was it expected that there would be. The one hundred days expired on the first day of January, 1863, and on that day President Lincoln issued the proclamation of which he had given previous notice. In the proclamation the President point
, ed out the States and parts of States in which it should take effect. By that proclamation about three millions of slaves were made free. Simultaneous with its publication came the victory to the Union arms at Stone's River, and a general advance on the rebels east and west. From that time forward the Union forces were victorious in almost every engagement.
As midsummer approached, the military operations in the west were chiefly concentrated on Vicksburg as the key to the navigation of the Mississippi river. The rebel forces in Virginia, under General Lee, commenced the invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania in June. They were opposed by the army of the Potomac, under General Hooker. While the two armies were running a race across the State of Maryland, Gen. Hooker was relieved and Gen. Meade placed in command. The two armies came into collision at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the first of July. The battle raged with teriffic fury for three days. On the night of the third it was evident that the rebels were defeated. President Lincoln announced the fact on the Fourth by a dispatch sent over the whole country under control of the government. He alluded to the fact that it was the aniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and closed by the invocation, that: “ He whose will, not ours, should ever be done, be everywhere remembered and renewed with profoundest gratitude.” This was only half the work for the glorious day. On that day the entire rebel force at Vicksburg, amounting to about thirty thousand men, 200 cannon, and 70,000 stand of small arms, under Gen. Pemberton,surrendered to Gen. Grant. The reconsecration of the Fourth of July to freedom was most grand, and inspired the loyal people of the nation with new courage to press forward to the task of crushing the rebellion.
The State of Pennsylvania purchased a piece of land adjoining the cemetery of the town, where much of the fighting had been done, among broken monuments and tombs, and over the graves of those who had died and been buried in peaceful times, and set it apart as a burying ground for the loyal soldiers who had there yielded up their lives a willing sacrifice on the altar of freedom. The ground was dedicated on the 19th of November, 1863, by an oration from the Hon. Edward Everett, in the presence of Mr. Lincoln and his cabinet, and a large concourse of people assembled to take part in the exercises. After the oration by Mr. Everett, the President delivered a brief address from which I take an extract:
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedi. cate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The