Democrats Vote Against Abolishing Slavery


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, April 9, 1864

Welcome to our archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. Harper's Weekly was the most read newspaper during the Civil War, and served as the primary source of news for people during the War. The paper was read by millions of Americans, and today serves as a primary source for research into the war.

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Metropolitan Fair

New York Metropolitan Fair

Democrats Slavery vote

Democrats Vote Against Abolishing Slavery

Forrest's Attack of Union City

General Forrest's Attack on Union City

New York Fair

New York Fair

Knoxville in the Civil War

Slaves Escape From South

Hair Style Cartoon


Sanitary Commission

Sanitary Commission


Knoxville, Tennessee

Soldier's Ball in Huntsville

Soldier's Ball in Huntsville

Runaway Slaves

Runaway Slaves






OVERHEAD are the milk-white clouds, And the liquid blue of the April sky;

On either side are the jubilant crowds, And the marble buildings towering high, As up the street the veterans come With screaming fife and rattling drum.

In front, by the color-sergeant borne,

Is the battle-flag that each loves well, Grimy with battle smoke, and torn

By the whistling bullet and bursting shell; And long and loud the people cheer At sight of the flag that each holds dear.

Its stars were once of a glittering gold

On a field of glorious azure bright, Of newest silk was each shining fold,

With stripes of crimson and purest white,

And delicate hands, of women made

The woven tassel and corded braid.

As the drums beat loud and the people cheer Each veteran there remembers the day

When, parting with wives and sweet-hearts dear, From their peaceful homes they came away, And bade farewell to their native hills,

To the verdant meadows and sweet-voiced rills,

Ah, through what scenes of strife since then

Has that tattered battle-flag been borne! What meaning is there to these valiant men In each fluttering remnant stained and torn!

And proudly they follow it up the street

While the shrill fifes scream and the loud drums beat. It tells, of marches through wind and rain, In the summer heat and the solemn night! It tells of a gallant comrade slain

Who bore it safely in many a fight

Of the sudden skirmish where brave men bled, Of the battle-field with its gory dead.

It tells of capture by traitorous foe,

Of rescue again by the hand of friend; It tells of the enemy's overthrow,

Which must and shall be the glorious end, When their fitful, ill-begotten rag No more shall insult the dear old flag.

At sunset and at earliest morn,

At noon beneath the scorching heat,

On Southern slopes 'mid the tasseled corn, In trodden fields of rye and wheat,

Up the rocky pathway, strewn with dead, That banner the advance has led.

And now they have brought it home at last, Though black with the battle's smoke and torn—What tales it will tell of the stirring Past In future years to the child unborn,

'When gazing, mute, at the arsenal wall, His eye on that tattered flag shall fall !

Beat, beat, ye drums, still louder beat! Play fifes, with shriller, merrier sound! Roll out, oh drums, along the street, Till trembles all the solid ground!

And cheer, ye people, long and Iouder cheer,

For the brave old flag that your hearts hold dear!




HAS the Union Convention been called to meet at too early a day? There are some loyal journals which warmly insist that it has, and that it should be postponed until the first of September. Their chief argument seems to be that we have a momentous campaign before us, which requires the hearty and united support of all good citizens, while the discussion of the claims of the candidates will certainly distract us, and consequently weaken our efforts. One journal, indeed, goes so far as to suggest that the coming campaign is in some sense final, and that if we do not crush the rebellion this summer we shall relinquish the struggle—a view which seems to us simply incomprehensible. But all the advocates of postponing the nomination are agreed that the failure of the campaign will be the virtual defeat of Mr. LINCOLN.

Now, since there is a President to be elected in November, and since he ought certainly, in order to secure a full and fair canvass, to be nominated at least two or three months before the election, it is clear that the argument for postponement drawn from the campaign is very inconclusive, because it can not be assumed that the campaign will end before the fine weather is passed. The battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, and Lookout Mountain were all fought in the autumn or winter; and because we may be unfortunate in the opening, it does not follow that we may not be victorious at the close of the campaign. If it be asked whether great reverses during the summer would not be the proof of an incompetency in the conduct of the war which ought to be rebuked rather than rewarded? the reply is in the other question whether the best soldiers known to the country, and most cordially approved by loyal men, are not now in the chief military positions, and vested with all necessary discretion? If they are, and—after doing their best—fail, do these journals propose to sneer at the "interference" and "mismanagement" in Washington? Lieutenant-General GRANT, with a practically supreme military command, directs the pending operations. Even the stoutest advocates of postponing the nomination profess full faith in his ability to annihilate or disperse the rebel armies, but if he does not—woe to the President! is their remarkable conclusion. That he will be held responsible is very possible. That disappointment will produce a reaction which may lead to unhappy results, as it did in New York two years ago, when Mr. SEYMOUR 

was elected Governor, is very likely ; but we are now considering what is wisest—what really thoughtful and loyal men and journals ought to advise.

And that brings us to the fundamental weakness of this whole policy of delay. It is simply an assumption that the candidacy of Mr. LINCOLN is to depend not upon the whole course of his administration for three years in the midst of frightful and unprecedented perils and disasters, but simply upon the issue of one campaign, which, by the admission of the objectors, is in the best hands to which it could be confided. Now to this reasoning we utterly object. These authorities admit that the present Administration has been, upon the whole, so successful and fair," that it inspires more confidence than any untried Administration is likely to do. Why, then, we ask, should it be condemned by one detail? Upon what reasonable grounds is it maintained that the general success of three years is to be outweighed by the issue of a single campaign? If we have expressed an earnest preference for the re-election of the President, it is exactly because his course has been, "upon the whole, so successful and fair." It is because, in the extraordinary exigencies of these three years, he has shown such sagacity and fidelity, because he has so truly represented the great public opinion of that very heterogeneous mass, the American people, and has brought their cause steadily forward toward victory, that we can not agree that it is a wise thing to set him aside, even if General GRANT does not annihilate or disperse the rebel armies before the first of September, or even if he should suffer a reverse.

Indeed, whatever the event of the coming campaign may be, we think his re-election the best thing for the cause. If the campaign be fortunate, the journals of which we have been speaking concede his nomination. If it be unfortunate, it seems to us that the country will need more than ever a President whom it thoroughly knows. If we fail, an entire change of the executive department, except upon clear evidence of its culpability, would be as unwise as it would have been in the anguish and dismay of the first Bull Run defeat. Such moments are the very emergencies in which nations need tried, and not untried, magistrates. The sacrifice of faders to the rage and chagrin of momentary disappointment is surely not the action of an intelligent people, nor will it be the counsel of truly wise and patient men. For, let us suppose the campaign successful, the President re-elected, and the following winter and spring operations unfortunate. He will then be the President for four more years, and yet by this argument the event of the campaign will show that he ought not to have been elected.

Inasmuch, then, as we support Mr. LINCOLN for what he has done, and not for what General GRANT is or is not going to do, we wish that the nomination could be made by May-day. Then, if, as we hope, Mr. LINCOLN were the nominee, all difference among loyal Union men would cease, and their undivided interest, sympathy, and energy would be given to the prosecution of the war. On the other hand, if the nomination be deferred until September, the whole summer will ring with the preliminary contest. To be exposed to such a debate for five months more, then to be involved possibly in disaster, and obliged, in the midst of the universal tumult and disappointment, to select a candidate for the Presidency, does not seem to us to promise a very desirable result. How the Union men are to gain in unity, peace, and concord by such a course we do not see. Indeed, the collective wisdom of Mr. BELMONT's Chicago Convention would undoubtedly advise us to do that very thing. Fas est et ab, hoste doceri. Find out what the enemy wishes you to do, and then with all your might don't do it, was Napoleon's advice.

But it is said that the war Democrats will wish to join in the nomination. Certainly they will. And what prevents them ? They and we are equally devoted to the cause, and the names of Generals GRANT, BURNSIDE, BUTLER, DIX, LOGAN, and WALLACE, now in tile highest and most important commands, show that there is no partisan bias in the conduct of the Administration, while its policy has no more faithful friends than they. Into what convention could these gentlemen and their companions enter but into a Union convention? And in what other assembly would their position and claims be so honored and acknowledged ? It is, we presume, a matter of course, that one of the two names presented by that convention will be that of an old Democrat who has proved his democracy by his unconditional fidelity to the Union and Government. What PATRICK HENRY said of the Colonies is now true of old party lines : " Where are your landmarks, your boundaries of Colonies? They are all thrown down. The distinctions between Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American." So say we all. The boundaries of party are thrown down. We are not Democrats or Republicans, but loyal American citizens.

In that spirit, and at a time when our view of the requirements of the Presidency may be unclouded by temporary excitement, let us name the man, whoever he may be, whose career cer-

tifies the fidelity, the patience, and the sagacity that we need, and God defend him and the right !


MR. ROEBUCK, in the British Parliament, has been throwing dirt at our Government with amusing ferocity, and Mr. Senator SAULSBURY, and gentlemen who sympathize with him, have been doing the same thing in Congress. This is perfectly intelligible. Mr. ROEBUCK is the representative in Parliament of the hate with which a privileged class regards a government of the people ; just as Mr. SAULSBURY and his friends represent in this country the class and the policy which have always trampled upon the equal rights of men, which is the fundamental principle of our system. So long as the express and essential Constitutional guarantees of personal liberty and the right of speech for all citizens of the United States were openly scorned and lawlessly smothered in blood, throughout all the slave States, and in time of perfect peace, these latter-day patriots could see no danger to the Union or to the Government. They voted and acted in perfect accord with the despotism which left the country no alternative but the subversion of the Government or civil war. And now that the country has elected the latter they devote all their energies to perplexing and thwarting its efforts, and securing the restoration of that despotism in all its fatal supremacy.

The epithets of scorn and contempt which Mr. Senator SAULSBURY pours upon the Administration, the official representative of the American people, are re-echoed across the water by the bitter British Tory. It is not surprising. He instinctively applauds the fierce absolutism of the rebels, which is straining every nerve to destroy equal rights and to bring the name of Republic to shame. The successes of the people exasperate the British Tory as they dishearten the American Copperhead. If GRANT should be defeated Mr. ROEBUCK would cry, Thank God! and the Copperhead would whisper in his heart, Amen !

The Tories in England and the Copperheads in this country talk of the war in exactly the same strain. It is " horrid," "fratricidal, "wicked," " infamous." Well, these gentlemen differ from the mass of their countrymen in each case. Mr. KINGLAKE and Lord PALMERSTON, in replying to Mr. ROEBUCK, said that he did not speak for the English people, more than half of whom, as Earl RUSSELL told us last autumn, most heartily sympathized with the cause of the American Government. So at home, as Senator SAULSBURY will remember, the sober people of Ohio (the Senator will perhaps pardon the expression) differed last autumn from his friend VALLANDIGHAM by a hundred thousand majority, and did not have the least fear that their lawful liberties were in danger merely because Mr. VALLANDIGHAM was prevented from helping the rebels destroy them.


IN OWEN LOVEJOY the cause of Democracy loses a noble champion. From the moment that he rose from the side of his brother, murdered by the hate of free Democratic principles, down to the last time that be opened his lips to speak, he was the cheerful, steady, fervent advocate of the great American principle. A characteristic and faithful American, whoever studies his character will see the kind of moral heroism and dignity produced by our distinctive principles.

In his earlier career he was a clergyman, and he did not leave his faith behind him, but took it with him into Congress as he carried thither his generous heart, gemal temper, and trenchant speech. His companions in Congress of every party-sympathy mingled their regrets over his grave. Mr. ODELL, of New York, in whose neighborhood, in Brooklyn, Mr. LOVEJOY died, said that his efforts to suppress the rebellion were paramount to every other consideration. Mr. PENDLETON, of Ohio, said that what Mr. LOVEJOY believed he expressed, and was at all times prepared to defend his positions. Mr. STEVENS, of Pennsylvania, said that he was not afraid to vindicate the right any where. Mr. FARNSWORTH, of Illinois, knew him as, a good neighbor. Mr. ALLEN, of Illinois, found him always pushing vigorously on to promote what he thought the interests of his country and race. Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, declared him wise, vigilant, incorruptible.

They are noble words to be truly spoken of any man; nor will any one doubt that they were true of him. His name as the brother of ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY—as much a martyr to liberty as NATHAN HALE--and for his own brave words and unspotted life, will be always noted in our history. The laborers are called away, but the work goes on. Devotion to the Democratic principle of equal liberty before the laws must be its own reward. With OWEN LOVEJOY it was so. His steady soul pursues its career ; but wherever it may be, its faith in the love of God and the brotherhood of men is no surer than when his visible life illustrated it.

[APRIL 9, 1864.


IN his recent striking speech upon Reconstruction, Mr. ARNOLD of Illinois—who in the last Congress introduced the bill establishing the freedom of the Territories, and, during this session, the resolution for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery—recounts in a graphic and picturesque manner many of the incidents in our recent history. The whole speech will be read with peculiar interest as a review and defense of the present Administration. We have room but for one or two passages which the friends of Mr. DOUGLAS will see with especial satisfaction :

"No so impressive an inauguration as that of Mr. LINCOLN has occurred since the inauguration of WASHINGTON. He had been threatened with assassination, and the rebels had intended his murder as he passed through Baltimore. On his arrival here he found the public office filled with traitors. Strange as it may seem, the rebel generals LEE, and Joe and ALBERT JOHNSON, and EWELL and HILL, STEWART and MAGRUDER, PEMBERTON and WINDER, held in March and April, 1861, leading positions in our Army. Traitors were every where. The citizens of Washington were, a large portion of them, in sympathy with the rebels. Secession had been preceded by secret conspiracy, concocted by those holding the highest official trusts. It had been veiled by perjured professions of loyalty. On Mr. LINCOLN'S arrival here these were the men he found in all the public offices, and he was encircled on every side by spies and traitors. None who witnessed it will ever forget the scene of that inauguration. Standing on the eastern front of the Capitol, the judges of the Supreme Court, the Senate and House of Representatives, the high officers of the army and navy around him, a mingled crowd of traitors and patriot, with many an eye looking searchingly into his neighbor's to learn whether he gazed upon a traitor or a friend; standing there amidst scowling enemies with murder and treason in their hearts, LINCOLN was cool and determined. He read his inaugural with a voice clear and distinct enough to be heard by twice ten thousand people. When with reverent look he swore by the Eternal God that he would faithfully "preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution, his great rival DOUGLAS stood, not by accident, at his side. DOUGLAS knew, perhaps, better than the President himself, the dangers and difficulties which surrounded him. He was observed to whisper in the ear of Mr. LINCOLN, and I believe gave to the President the assurance that in the dark and difficult future he would stand by him and give him his utmost aid in upholding the Constitution and crushing treason and rebellion. Nobly did DOUGLAS redeem that pledge. After the rebel attack on Sumter, he boldly made the well known declaration that there could now be but two parties, patriots and traitors. Had he lived he would have sustained the President with all the vigor and energy peculiar to his character."

It will not be forgotten that at the Inauguration ball Mr. DOUGLAS entered with Mrs. LINCOLN upon his arm, and remained near her and the President during the evening. Indeed the conduct of Mr. DOUGLAS at that time, and until his death, showed, his sincerity in the following remark, which Mr. ARNOLD reports:

"Here I will pause a moment to state a most remarkable prediction made by DOUGLAS in January, 1861. THE statement is furnished to me by General C. B. STEWART, of New York, a gentleman of the highest respectability.

"DOUGLAS was asked by Colonel STEWART (who was making a New Year's call on Mr. DOUGLAS), `What will be the result of the efforts of JEFFERSON DAVIS and his associates to divide the Union?' DOUGLAS replied, 'The cotton States are making an effort to draw in the border States to their schemes of secession, and I am too fearful they will succeed. If they do succeed, there will be the most terrible civil war the world has ever seen, lasting for years. Virginia will become a charnel-house; but the end will be the triumph of the Union cause. One of their first efforts will be to take possession of this capital to give them prestige abroad, but they will never succeed in taking it; the North will rise en masse to defend it ; but it will become a city of hospitals; the churches will be used for the sick and wounded; and even this house and the Minnesota block (now the Douglas hospital) may be devoted to that purpose before the end of the war.' General STEWART inquired 'What justification is there for all this?' DOUGLAS replied, `There is no justification nor any pretense of any. If they will remain in the Union, I will go as far as the Constitution will permit to maintain their just rights, and I do not doubt but a majority of Congress will do the same. But,' said he, rising on his feet and extending his arm, `if the Southern States attempt to secede from this Union without further cause, I am in favor of their having just so many slaves, and just so much slave territory, as they can hold at the point of the bayonet, and no more.' "


ON the 28th day of March in this year, Mr. BRYANT, a Democratic member of the New York Legislature, supported in an able speech the proposition that a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery would be the truest conciliation, securing a peaceful and perpetual Union. Mr. ALVORD, one of the most faithful Democrats in the country, followed him, declaring that this atrocious rebellion of Aristocracy against the Democracy can be radically suppressed only by destroying slavery, and that Free Labor is the only corner-stone of an enduring Democratic government.

On the same day Messrs. CHANLER, HERRICK, GANSON, PRUYN, STEELE, and other Democratic representatives in Congress voted against a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery; and, of course, in favor of retaining the system which has brought the war upon the country, and which must always hereafter, as always heretofore, prevent a true and hearty and untroubled Union.

Between these gentlemen let the country and mankind judge. " We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal," said the father of Democracy in this country. Who are his true descendants? who are Democrats? the men who ask to abolish slavery constitutionally, or those who refuse to abolish it at all?

What a dreary and terrible record is the simple list of the ayes and nays upon this resolution in Congress, for the children of those who (Next Page)




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