Jefferson Davis Reaction to Emancipation Proclamation


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 31, 1863

This WEB site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers serve as a resource to allow the serious student to gain new perspective and insights on the War.

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Rebel Reaction to Emancipation Proclamation



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Emancipated Contrabands


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Galveston, Texas

Battle of Galveston

Battle of Galveston

Charleston Blockade

Blockade of Charleston



JANUARY 31, 1863.]



(Previous Page) upon her travels, she must have observed that every hotel table is covered in the morning with hot bread. The reason is that people like it and eat it. They ought not to like it, but landlords provide what the public approves. Actors do exactly the same thing. The reform must begin in the customers. Let Mrs. Homespun and her family hiss lustily when there is swearing or indecency upon the stage, and she will soon purify it.


THERE is a loud outcry in certain quarters against people of one idea. We are informed that we are in prodigious danger from such people. There are plenty of us who have no ideas whatever, but we are not formidable. There are plenty more who have false and sophistical ideas, but they are honorable and innocent.

The danger, it seems, is not in having inhuman, impolitic, unjust, and extravagant ideas, if you only have enough of them. There must be enough to pass out of the singular number. But if a man has one idea, no matter how wise, how true, how elevated, and beneficent, he is a nuisance, a pest, and, in short, a man of one idea.

Let us look at this matter a little. Our own history, like that of every nation in the world, is full of one-idea men from the beginning. Washington was eminently their leader. He had one fixed, dominant idea. That idea governed his life and his thoughts. For that idea he relinquished the charms of home and risked his life and fortune. That idea he defended in debate and in the field. For the sake of that idea he was willing to see his native land desolated by war, he was willing to hazard the lives and fortunes of his neighbors. For that idea he saw trade languish and commerce expire. For that idea he endured every kind of contumely, slander, and enmity; and after working strenuously for seven years, with one idea in his soul and heart and brain, he saw it triumph in the independence of America. Had he swerved from that one idea of independence—had he yielded to the taunts and threats and sneers and arms of his opponents, he might indeed have won from shallow lips the praise of not being a man of one idea; but he would have lost from the heart of mankind, and the eternal gratitude of his country, the fame of Washington.

In this very moment of our history there are three classes of men, each of one idea. The first class believes in the maintenance of the Government by every means known to war. The second class hope solely at its destruction. The cause of the country, that is the one idea of every man who loves country more than party. The cause of the rebellion, that is the one idea of every man who hates the Union.

But there is a third class of one-idea men. It is composed of those who love party more than country, more than national union or disunion. It is the least respectable of all, and it is the one which incessantly denounces the first class as fanatics of one idea, and the second as gentlemen who have been goaded into hasty action. When a ship is in dire peril of going down there can be but three parties, and they have each one idea. The one would save her at all risks. The second would let her sink. The third is careless whether she sinks or swims.

In the peril of the ship of State every man must choose which one idea he will favor. And when he has decided, let him not be bullied by other one-idea men that he is a man of one idea.


THE country has been recently favored with another "Conservative" demonstration. There was a Senator to be elected in Pennsylvania. The "Conservatives" had one majority upon joint ballot. There were doubts as to the result; so Mr. M'Mullen, an eminent "Conservative," who is to Philadelphia what our own Rynders is to us, headed a thousand other Conservatives of the same kind, and went to Harrisburg. That the peace of that capital was endangered, that the Legislature sat in practical duress, and that a Pennsylvania Senator was elected under the menace of a mob, no sensible man will deny. In like manner the rowdies of Tammany Hall and the Five Points prevented the organization of the New York Assembly last week.

It was a truly "Conservative" proceeding. It was strictly in accordance with "Conservative" principles. Two years ago last autumn Mr. Yancey, who was then a most distinguished "Conservative," although his views are entirely unchanged, came to New York and made a speech, and told us that if we persisted in voting as we chose, and constitutionally electing a President, he and his friends would dissolve the Union. That was "National" and "Conservative" speech-making at that time. The thing is always the same, whatever you call it. It is a principle at war with. law, with order, with human rights, and with constitutional guarantees. It was so then; it is so now. And when well-meaning but deluded men observe that all disturbance of public order and outrage of law, all pandering to the basest prejudice and denial of generous principle, is made by the most unscrupulous politicians and the most disreputable men, who call themselves "Conservative," he will gradually wonder whether that word correctly describes that kind of thing and person. For some time in Paris at a certain cafe the most popular dish was hare curiously stewed. The demand was immense. Every body was eating and praising the wonderful hare. It was so exquisite, so delicate, so nutritious. Suddenly one of the patrons conceived a horrible suspicion. He inquired —he discovered—and cried out to the appalled company, "It's cat!" Hare ceased to be in demand from that day.


WHEN paragraphs appeared in the newspapers stating that a wonderful little lady was holding court at the St. Nicholas Hotel, and that she was all that the most fastidious fancy could desire in a

small woman, the thoughts of the sagacious instantly turned to the American Museum. But when a "correspondence" was published between Mr. Barnum and the prodigy, in which the latter declined his offer of ten thousand dollars a day, more or less, upon the plea that she was only waiting the completion of her wardrobe and of the setting of her precious stones before sailing for Europe to visit the "crowned heads," etc., every body knew that Mr. Barnum had secured another dwarf, and was advertising his success. Her name is Lavinia Warren. She is 21 years old, 32 inches high, and weighs 29 pounds. Unquestionably she is one of the most interesting of the many wonders of the kind which the Museum has offered to the public. General Tom Thumb and Commodore Nutt are henceforth not without hope. The poets of the press describe her faultless form, her winning voice, her sparkling dark eyes, her rich, dark, waving hair, her exquisitely modeled neck and shoulders, her bust a sculptor's study (!), and her singular intelligence. If Bottom should stray into the American Museum he would be sure that he beheld Titania. In the words of one of the enthusiasts—"What more could we desire?"


"How is it you never wear a great-coat?" said Jones to a friend. "Because I never was," replied the wag.

Wetherbee, who "drives the Harleck stage," is a great wag. "There's a young woman lying in that 'ere house yender," said he to us, as we were riding on the outside with him last summer; "there's a young woman been a lyin' there near about a month, and they haven't buried her yet!" "Why not?" we innocently inquired. "Cause she ain't dead!" quietly remarked Mr. Wetherbee, and then he tickled the ear of the nigh leader slightly with his whip.

A gentleman who is in the habit of never "going home till morning," while dining at a friend's house, ventured to suggest that he thought there was more noise made about garroting than was necessary, and addressing his conversation to the hostess, said, "No attempt has ever been made to garrote me, and I go out a great deal." "That is," replied the lady, "because you go out too late for the garroters."

It is singular how rapidly some young gentlemen from the country lose their color when visiting large cities. They go there very green, and invariably come away done very brown.

An old bachelor, who has dined out on Christmas-Day for several years, says: "If, when you visit a friend, his wife tells you, in a husky voice, to 'make yourself at home,' obey her literally as soon as possible."

"Mamma," said Harry, "how fat Amelia has grown!" "Yes," replied his mamma; "but don't say 'fat,' dear; say 'stout.'" At the dinner-table on the following day Harry was asked if he would take any fat. "No, thank you," said Harry; "I'll take some stout."

A wealthy French financier being suspected of filling his own coffers at the expense of the royal treasury, was deprived of his office and dismissed from the court. He manifested no confusion at his disgrace, and was merely heard to say, "They have acted very foolishly to dismiss me. I had provided sufficiently for myself, and was just going to exert myself for the state."

The swell of the ocean is said to be a dandy midshipman.

An elderly dandy, who was more noted for running into debt than for paying his tradesmen, made an exception in favor of his wig-maker, that he might be enabled to say that he wore his "own hair."

What is the schoolmaster's tree?—Birch

"Say, Jack, can you tell us what's the best thing to hold two pieces of rope together?" "I guess knot, Jack."

For a lady to sweep her carpet with embroidered under-sleeves would be considered indecently dirty; but to drag the pavement with her skirts seems to be very genteel.

What kind of a fever have those who wish to get their names in print?—Type-us fever.

At a recent conference meeting the members were asked, "How many brethren can you accommodate at your house?" One lady rose and said, "I can sleep two, but I can eat as many as you will send."

Few ladies are so modest as to be unwilling to sit in the lap of ease and luxury.

A French paper represents the Chancellor of the Exchequer as having delivered his well-known speech in Newgate instead of Newcastle.

"How often do you knead bread?" asked one house-keeper of another. "How often? Why, I might say we need it continually," the other replied.

A machine has been invented which is to be driven by the force of circumstances.

Why is a bird a greedy creature?—Because it never eats less than a peck.

What musical instrument has had an honorary degree conferred upon it?—Fiddle D. D.

Resolve on that course of life which is most excellent, and habit will render it the most delightful.

Why is the sun like a good loaf?—Because it's light when it rises.

A man so intoxicated that he can't hold up his head is a tip-top fellow.

What is that which never asks any questions, but requires many answers?—The street door.

A promising young man may do very well, perhaps—a paying one much better.

What light could not possibly be seen in a dark room?—An Israelite.

A man with a scolding wife, when inquired of respecting his occupation, said he kept a hot-house.


With what two animals do you always go to bed?

Two calves.

Why is the cook at the Palace like a man sitting on the top of St. Paul's?

Because both are in a high cool and airy (culinary) sitnation.

My first is a ruffian that riots in blood;

My second has a rough coat, and is son of the wood;

My whole is a phantom that scares you by night,

When the tapers burn blue and the moon gives pale light.


What English word has all the vowels following each other?

Facetiously (a e i o u y).

What famous battle was fought in a most vulgar place?

Agincourt (a gin court).



ON Wednesday, January 14, in the Senate, ex-Governor Hicks, the new Senator from Maryland, was qualified and took his seat. The Judiciary Committee reported back the House bill granting aid for the emancipation of slaves in Missouri, with an amendment. The Military Committee reported back the bill to consolidate the regiments now in the field. The Committee on the Conduct of the War were directed to inquire relative to the transportation of disloyal women to and from within the rebel lines. The consideration of the joint resolution annulling treaties and forfeiting the lands and annuities of the Sioux Indians, was postponed till the 21st inst.—In the House, a joint resolution providing for the immediate payment of the army and navy, was adopted. A resolution directing the arrest of Simon Stevens, for contempt in refusing to answer questions before the Select Committee on Government Contracts, was adopted. A bill to provide for a military and postal road between New York and Washington was referred to the Select Committee on the subject. The remainder of the session was occupied in debate on the war and national politics.

On Thursday, 15th, in the Senate, the credentials of Mr. Charles R. Buckalew, the new Senator from Pennsylvania, were presented. A resolution calling for information respecting the accident to the steamer Ossipee was adopted. The papers relating to the French Spoliation claims were referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Finance Committee reported back the joint resolution to provide for the payment of the army and navy, and it was adopted by a vote of 38 against 2. Senator Collamer introduced a bill relative to suits for damages growing out of arbitrary arrests. The bill making appropriations for the support of the Military Academy at West Point was next considered, and, after some debate, passed, by a vote of 29 against 10.—In the House, the credentials of Mr. Jennings Piggot, of North Carolina, and the protest of Charles Henry Foster against his admission to a seat, were presented and referred to the Committee on Elections. The remainder of the session was devoted to debate, in Committee of the Whole, on the bill to provide ways and means for the support of the Government.

On Friday, 16th, in the Senate, a communication was received from the Secretary of the Interior asking for an appropriation of half a million for the Capitol extension, and two hundred thousand dollars for the new dome. The Military Committee reported back the bill to suspend the sale of land on the South Carolina and Georgia coast, with an amendment as a substitute. A resolution directing the Naval Committee to inquire into the efficiency of the construction of iron-clad vessels of war was introduced. It was stated that the whole matter had been referred to a board of competent engineers, whereupon the resolution was rejected. The bill providing pecuniary aid for emancipating the staves in Missouri was then taken up, and Senator Henderson, of Missouri, made a speech in support of the measure. At the conclusion of his remarks the bill was laid aside. The bill providing for consolidating the regiments in the field was discussed and postponed. A resolution was adopted instructing the Committee on Territories to report whether the publication of the Message of the Governor of Utah had been suppressed; if so, what were the causes and what was the message. The bill to increase the clerical force of the Quarter-master's Department was called up, and Senator Lane reiterated his suspicions of the loyalty of General Meigs.—In the House, several private bills were considered. The bill reported last June from the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, with amendments, authorizing the enlargement of the Mississippi and Michigan canal for the passage of gun-boats, munitions of war, etc., and also the enlargement of the Erie and Oswego canals for similar purposes, connecting Lakes Erie and Ontario with the Hudson River, was taken up, and a motion to lay on the table disagreed to by a vote of 42 against 93. The debate on the bill providing ways and means for the support of the Government was then resumed, and continued until the adjournment. Both Houses adjourned until Monday.

On Monday, 19th, in the Senate, a communication was received from the Post-Office Department, stating that the detention of the mails between New York and Washington was caused mainly by the increased travel on account of the war, but that it would be remedied. Senator McDougall introduced a series of resolutions declaring the attempt of the French to subjugate Mexico hostile not only to the United States but to free institutions every where ; that it is the duty of the Government to require the withdrawal of the French forces; and that it is also the duty of the Government to lend such aid to Mexico as may be required to prevent the forcible interposition of European Powers in the political affairs of that republic. The resolutions were laid over till Thursday next. The debate on the bill in relation to the discharge of state prisoners was then resumed by Senators Powell and Wright. A special Message was received from the President, stating that he had approved the joint resolution authorizing the issue of an additional $100,000,000 of United States notes for the payment of soldiers and sailors, and urging upon Congress the necessity of restricting the circulation of paper currency, and the expediency of taxing the paper issues of banking institutions. —In the House, a bill appropriating $10,000,000 in aid of the emancipation of slaves in Maryland was introduced and referred to the select committee on the subject. A bill authorizing duties on importations to be paid, if desired by importers, in legal tender notes, with 33 per cent. added, was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. The Secretary of War was requested to inform the House what sums had been paid since the breaking out of the rebellion to the various railroad companies for the transportation of troops and munitions of war between Washington and New York. The credentials of John B. Rogers, claiming a seat as a representative from Tennessee, was referred to the Committee on Elections. The debate on the Finance bill was then resumed in Committee of the Whole and continued till the adjournment.

On Tuesday, 20th, in the Senate, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs reported a bill to pay the French spoliation claims. The bill provides that these claims are to be adjusted to an amount not exceeding five millions of dollars, and to be paid pro rata in United States five per cent. stock. The Naval Committee reported back the bill to authorize letters of marque and reprisal, with amendments, and notice was given that it would be called up at an early day.—In the House, the President's special Message recommending a tax on the paper issues of State banks, etc., was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and ordered to be printed. A resolution was adopted that the Secretary of the Navy communicate any information in his possession to show that American vessels, cleared for any foreign ports, have engaged in the coolie slave-trade, or submit such suggestions to prevent it as he may deem proper. The Judiciary Committee submitted resolutions explanatory of the Tax law, that the salaries of the President, Vice-President, and Judges of the Supreme Court and inferior courts of the United States be exempted from tax.. The resolution declaring Mr. Vandever, of Iowa, not entitled to a seat in the House since he joined the army as Colonel of the Ninth Iowa regiment, in 1861, was discussed, and finally adopted by a majority vote. The question was raised that the resolution was one of expulsion, and consequently required a two-thirds vote. The Speaker overruled the point, and an appeal from the decision was made. Pending the question the House went into Committee of the Whole on the Finance bill. Mr. Spaulding, on behalf of the Committee of Ways and Means, proposed amendments to the first section, which were agreed to, viz.: To authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to borrow, from time to time, on the credit of the United States, a sum not exceeding $300,000,000 for the current fiscal year, and $600,000,000 for the next fiscal year, and to issue therefor coupon or registered bonds, payable at the pleasure of the Government after twenty years from date, and of such denominations (though not less than fifty dollars) as the

Secretary may deem expedient, bearing interest at a rate not exceeding six per cent. per annum, payable semi-annually in coin. Mr. Thomas offered an amendment, which was agreed to, making the coupon or registered bonds payable at the pleasure of the Government after twenty years from date in coin. Mr. Spaulding moved to strike out the restriction of the sale of bonds at not less than par, so that the Secretary may in his discretion dispose of them at any time upon the best terms he can obtain. Pending the consideration of this amendment the Committee rose and the House adjourned.


The news received in Washington from the Army of the Potomac on 20th is said to have caused a great deal of excitement there. The character of the news has not been promulgated.


The following has been received at the head-quarters of General Grant:


POST OP ARKANSAS, Jan. 11, 1863. Major-General U. S. Grant, commanding the Department of the Tennessee:

GENERAL,—I have the honor to report that the forces under my command attacked the Post of Arkansas to-day at one o'clock, having stormed the enemy's works. We took a large number of prisoners, variously estimated at from seven to ten thousand, together with all his stores, animals, and munitions of war.

Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, commanding the Mississippi squadron, effectively and brilliantly co-operated in accomplishing this complete success.


Major-General Commanding.


Jeff Davis has issued his annual Message to the rebel Congress. He speaks of the early determination of England, France, and other European Powers to confine themselves to recognizing the self-evident fact of the existence of a strict neutrality during the progress of the war, but draws from this the conclusion that their course of action was but an actual decision against the South, and in favor of the Union, at the same time tending to prolong hostilities. He denounces the conduct of the Union armies as atrocious and cruel.


In relation to President Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, he says he may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure of which several millions of human beings of an inferior race, peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination; while, at the same time, they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation to abstain from violence, unless in necessary self-defense. Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable massacre recorded in the history of guilty man is tinctured by a profound sentiment for the impotent rage which it discloses. As far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to informing you that I shall, unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient, deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States, providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrections. In its political aspect this measure possesses great signification, and to it in this light I invite your attention. It affords to our people the complete and crowning proof of the true nature of the designs of the party which elevated to power the present occupant of the Presidential chair at Washington, and which sought to conceal its purposes by every variety of artful grace, and by the perfidious use of the most solemn and repeated pledges on every practicable occasion. He gives extracts from President Lincoln's inaugural, and comments fully upon the subsequent acts by Congress and the Administration.


After briefly referring to the campaigns since his last annual message, he says:

The anticipations which entered into the contest have now ripened into a conviction, which is not only shared with us by the common opinion of neutral nations, but is evidently forcing itself upon our enemies themselves. The advent of peace will be hailed with joy. Our desire for it has never been concealed. But, earnest as has been our wish for peace, and great as have been our sacrifices and sufferings during the war, the determination of this people has, with each succeeding month, become more unalterably fixed to endure any suffering, and continue any sacrifice, however prolonged, until their right to self-government, and the sovereignty and independence of these States, shall have been triumphantly vindicated and established.


The Alabama is again at her work of destruction upon our merchant ships. The schooner Union, which arrived at Jamaica on the 8th inst., was captured by the rebel pirate, but subsequently released, as her cargo belonged to British subjects. She brought with her, however, the crew of a Boston bark—the Parker Cook—which had only the protection of the Stars and Stripes, and not the ensign of England, to protect her, and hence was seized and burned by the Alabama.

The Vanderbilt has arrived at Fortress Monroe after an unsuccessful cruise after the Alabama.


Major-General Dix contradicts the statements of the Richmond papers that our troops were defeated by the rebel General Roger A. Pryor on the 9th inst., at Providence Church, near Suffolk. It appears from the official report of General Peck that the euemy crossed the Blackwater in considerable force, and attempted to drive in our right wing. Infantry, cavalry, and artillery were employed by the rebels; but they were repulsed by Major Wheelan's New York mounted rifles. At dusk the enemy's advance was charged upon and driven back upon his support. So that it was a victory for our arms, instead of a defeat, as boastingly claimed by Pryor.


Orders have been issued by Jeff Davis that officers of the United States Array captured after the 12th inst. are to be handed over to the Governors of the rebel States within whose jurisdiction they are taken, to be dealt with in accordance with Jeff Davis's recent declaration that they are to be regarded as persons inciting servile insurrection under President Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. General Halleck has issued an order, which may be regarded as retaliatory, commanding that no rebel officers shall be released until further orders.




IN France the Emperor Napoleon did not allude to American affairs in his reply to the diplomatic corps during his New Year's reception. When the Emperor passed where the United States Minister (Mr. Dayton) stood, he inquired, "What news, Mr. Dayton?" and on Mr. Dayton referring to the bad news which had just been received, his Majesty replied that he regretted it, and hoped "it would be better within the year."


The French transport Seine has received instructions to go to Alexandria for a battalion of one thousand men, composed of negroes of Darfour, which Said Pacha, of Egypt, has offered the Emperor for his expedition to Mexico. They are old, well-trained troops, sufficiently brave, and not liable to be affected by hot weather or fever, which qualities will give them an immense advantage over the Mexican guerrillas.




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