The Life of Abraham Lincoln (Arnold)/Chapter XIV
|←Chapter XIII||The Life of Abraham Lincoln by
|Chapter XIV. Efforts for Peaceful Emancipation.
President's Message.-- Condition of the Country.-- Death of Baker.-- Eulogies Upon Him.-- Stanton, Secretary of War.-- Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia.-- Prohibition in the Territories.-- Employment of Negroes as Soldiers.-- Emancipation in the Border States.
When Congress met, December 2, 1861, no decisive military events had occurred, but the great drama of civil war was at hand. Thus far the work had been one of preparation. Nearly two hundred thousand Union troops, under General George B. McClellan, on the banks of the Potomac, confronted a rebel army, then supposed to number about the same, but now known to have been much smaller. The President in his message, congratulated Congress that the patriotism of the people had proved more than equal to the demands made upon it, and that the number of troops tendered to the government greatly exceeded the force called for. He had not only been successful in holding Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri in the Union, but those three states, neither of which had in the beginning given, or promised through state organization, a single soldier, had now forty thousand men in the field under the Union flag. In West Virginia, after a severe struggle, the Union had triumphed, and there was no armed rebel force north of the Potomac or east of the Chesapeake, while the cause of the Union was steadily advancing southward.
On the slavery question, he said: "I have adhered to the act of Congress freeing persons held to service, used for insurrectionary purposes." In relation to the emancipation, and arming the negroes, he said: "The maintenance of the integrity of the Union is the primary object of the contest..."
"The Union must be preserved, and all indispensable means must be employed. We should not be in haste to determine that radical and extreme measures, which may reach the loyal, as well as the disloyal, are indispensable."
Before proceeding to view in detail the action, during this session, of Congress and the President on the slavery question, let us pause a moment to notice the honors paid in the Senate to the memory of Senator Baker. It will be remembered that he was killed at Ball's Bluff, on the 21st of October, while leading his troops against the enemy.
When Congress assembled in regular session, the 11th of December was fixed as the day on which the funeral orations in his honor should be pronounced in the Senate. The chamber of the Senate was draped in black; the brilliant colors of the national flag, which the war made all worship, were now mingled with the dark, in honor of the dead soldier and senator. The floor was crowded with senators, members of the House, governors of states, and distinguished civil and military officers, among whom Seward and Chase, and the Blairs and Stanton were conspicuous. The galleries were filled by members of the diplomatic corps, ladies, and prominent citizens from all parts of the republic. As soon as Vice-President Hamlin had called the Senate to order, President Lincoln, in deep mourning, slowly entered from the marble room, supported by the senators from Illinois: Trumbull and Browning. Not very long before he had been present among the chief mourners at the funeral in the White House of his protégé, young Ellsworth, shot down in the bloom of youth, and now it was Baker, his old comrade at the bar of Sangamon County; his successor in Congress; he for whom the President's second son, Edward Baker Lincoln, had been named, and to whom he was very warmly attached.
Senator Nesmith, of Oregon, sorrowfully announced the death of Baker, and was followed by McDougall of California, in one of the most touching and beautiful speeches ever heard in the Senate. Turning towards Lincoln, and alluding to the dead senator's enthusiastic love of poetry, he said: "Many years since, on the wild plains of the West, in the midst of a starlight night, as we journeyed together, I heard from him the chant of that noble song, 'The Battle of Ivry.'
"He loved freedom, if you please, Anglo-Saxon freedom, for he was of that grand old race."
As descriptive of the warlike scenes of every-day occurrence when Baker left the senatorial forum for the field, McDougall repeated in a voice which created a sensation throughout the Senate:
"Hurrah! the foes are moving. Hark to the mingled din
Of fife, and steed, and trump, and drum, and roaring culverin!Charge for the golden lilies now upon them with the lance!"
The fiery duke is pricking fast across St. André's plain,
With all the hireling chivalry of Guelders and Almayne.
Now by the lips of those ye love, fair gentlemen of France,
And then comparing Baker at Ball's Bluffs with Henry of Navarre, McDougall quoted the words:
"And if my standard-bearer fall, as fall full well he may,
For never saw I promise yet, of such a bloody fray--And be your oriflamme to-day, the helmet of Navarre!"
Press where ye see my white plume shine, amidst the ranks of war,
It was a most eloquent speech, and as McDougall recalled the old comradeship of Lincoln and Baker, and Browning, and himself in early days as circuit riders in Central Illinois, every heart was touched, and few eyes were dry.
Sumner's speech was among the best he ever made. It was perhaps the only occasion upon which he ever cut loose from his manuscript, and gave free scope to the inspiration of tbe scene and the moment.
Senator Browning, the successor of Douglas, followed, and his speech was as good as the best. "Baker," said he, "to a greater extent than most men, combined the force and severity of logic, with grace, fancy, and eloquence, filling at the bar, at the same time the character of the astute and profound lawyer, and of the able, eloquent, and successful advocate; and in the Senate, the wise, prudent, and discreet statesman was combined with the chaste, classic, brilliant, and persuasive orator. He was not only a lawyer, an orator, a statesman, and a soldier, but he was also a poet, and at times spoke and acted under high poetic inspiration."
The remains of Baker were taken across the continent to California, and he was buried by the side of his friend Broderic, in "The Lone Mountain Cemetery." There on that rocky cliff, by the Bay of San Francisco, looking out upon the Golden Gate and the Pacific, lies the dust of the gallant soldier and eloquent senator. At this session of Congress, three of Lincoln's old associates at the bar in Illinois (if Baker had been alive, there would have been four), occupied seats in the Senate: Trumbull and Browning, from Illinois, and McDougall, from California, while in the House, there were Lovejoy, Washburne, and others.
There was something very beautiful and touching in the attachment and fidelity of these his old Illinois comrades to Lincoln. They had all been pioneers, frontiersmen, circuit-riders together. They were never so happy as when talking over old times, and recalling the rough experiences of their early lives. Had they met at Washington in calm and peaceful weather, on sunny days, they would have kept up their party differences as they did at home, but coming together in the midst of the fierce storms of civil war, and in the hour of supreme peril, they stood together like a band of brothers. Not one of them would see an old comrade in difficulty or danger, and not help him out. The memory of these old Illinois lawyers and statesmen: Baker, McDougall, Trumbull, Lovejoy, Washburne, Browning, and others, recalls a passage in Webster's reply to Hayne. Speaking of Massachusetts and South Carolina, the great New England orator said: "Shoulder to shoulder they went through the Revolution together; hand in hand they stood around the administration of Washington, and felt his own great arm lean on them for support."
So, in the far more difficult administration of Lincoln, these old comrades of his, Baker, McDougall, Trumbull, Browning, Lovejoy, and the others, whatever their former differences, stood shoulder to shoulder, and hand in hand, around the administration of Lincoln; his strong arm leaned on them for support, and that support was given vigorously and with unwavering loyalty.
On the 14th of January, 1862, Simon Cameron resigned the position of Secretary of War, accepting the place of Minister to Russia. Edwin M. Stanton was appointed his successor. The new secretary soon gave evidence of his great energy, industry, and efficiency as an organizer. In accomplishing great objects he was not very scrupulous about the means of removing obstacles, and was somewhat careless of the forms and restraints of law. Honest and true, and intensely in earnest if he believed a thing was right, he was not likely to be thwarted by any formal obstacles which might stand in the way. He was irritable, but placable in temper; sometimes doing acts of injustice, which the more patient and considerate President was obliged to correct, but he himself was ready to repair a wrong when satisfied that one had been committed.
At this session, Congress entered upon that series of antislavery measures which were to end in the emancipation proclamation, and the amendment of the Constitution prohibiting slavery throughout the republic. The forbearance towards slavery and slaveholders, so conspicuous at the beginning of the war, disappeared rapidly before the fierce necessities of the conflict.
The House had scarcely completed its organization, when Lovejoy, indignant that loyal negroes should still be sent back to slavery from the camps of the Union army, on the 4th of December introduced a bill making it a penal offence for any officer to return a fugitive slave. Senator Wilson gave early notice of a bill in the Senate for the same purpose. The various propositions on the subject finally resulted in the enactment of an additional article of war, forbidding, on pain of dismissal from the service, the arrest of any fugitive, by any officer or person in the military or naval service of the United States.
The location of the capital on slave territory had proved one of the most important triumphs ever achieved by the slaveholders. The powerful influence of society, local public sentiment, fashion, and the local press, in favor of the institution; was ever felt; and its power, from 1800 to 1860, could scarcely be overestimated. Our country had long been reproached and stigmatized by the world, and the character of a pro-slavery despotism over the colored race fixed upon it, by reason of the existence of slavery at the national capital. The friends of liberty had for years chafed and struggled in vain against this malign influence. Congress had supreme power to legislate for the District of Columbia, and was exclusively responsible for the continued existence of slavery there. Mr. Lincoln, it will be remembered, when serving his single term in Congress, had, in December, 1849, introduced a bill for its gradual abolition. The President and his friends thought it quite time this relic of barbarism at the national capital should be destroyed.
Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, the confidential friend of the President, on the 15th of December introduced a bill for the immediate emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia, and the payment to their loyal masters of an average sum of three hundred dollars for each slave thus set free; providing for the appointment of commissioners to assess the sums to be paid each claimant, and appropriating one million of dollars for the purpose. The debates upon this bill involved the whole subject of slavery, the rebellion, the past, present, and future of the country. The bill passed the Senate by yeas twenty nine, nays six.
When the bill came up for action in the House, containing as it did an appropriation of money, under the rules, it was necessarily referred to the committee of the whole House. As there was a large number of bills in advance of it on the calender, its enemies, although in a minority, had hopes of delaying action or defeating it. The struggle to take up the bill came on the 10th of April, under the lead of that accomplished, adroit, and bold parliamentarian, Thaddeus Stevens. He moved that the House go into committee, which motion was agreed to, Mr. Dawes of Massachusetts in the chair. The chairman called the calender in its order, and on motion of Mr. Stevens every bill was laid aside until the bill for the abolition of slavery in the District was reached. An unsuccessful effort to lay the bill on the table was made by a member from Maryland.
F. P. Blair, Jr., in an able speech, advocated colonization in connection with abolition. He said: "It is in the gorgeous region of the American tropics, that our freedmen will find their homes; among a people without prejudice against their color, and to whom they will carry and impart new energy and vigor, in return for the welcome which will greet them, as the pledge of the future protection and friendship of our great republic; I look with confidence to this movement, as the true and only solution of this question of slavery." Mr. Bingham closed an eloquent speech by saying: "One year ago (11th April, 1861) slavery opened its batteries of treason upon Fort Sumter at Charleston; let the anniversary of the crime be signalized by the banishment of slavery from the national capital."
The bill passed the House by ninety-two ayes to thirty-eight noes, and, on the 16th of April, was approved by the President. Lincoln said: "Little did I dream in 1849, when I proposed to abolish slavery at this capital, and could scarcely get a hearing for the proposition, that it would be so soon accomplished." Still less did he anticipate that he as President would be called upon to approve the measure.
The territories had long been the battle-fields on which free labor and slavery had struggled for supremacy. The early policy of the government, that of the fathers, was prohibition. The proposition of Jefferson, that slavery should never exist in any territory in the United States, failed only by one vote, caused by the absence of a delegate from New Jersey. The Ordinance of 1787 inaugurated the policy. Slavery was strong enough in 1820 to secure a division by the line of 36° 30' of latitude, in what was called the Missouri Compromise. In 1854, that compromise was repealed, with the avowed purpose on the part of the slaveholders of carrying slavery into all the territories. Then came the Dred Scott decision, that Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories, and then followed the hand-to-hand struggle in Kansas. The distinct issue of the exclusion of slavery by Congressional enactment was, in 1860, submitted to the people, and Mr. Lincoln was elected upon the distinct and unequivocal pledge of prohibition.
On the 24th of March, 1862, Mr. Arnold, of Illinois, introduced "a bill to render freedom national, and slavery sectional,' and which, after reciting: "To the end that freedom may be and remain forever the fundamental law of the land in all places whatsoever, so far as it lies in the power, or depends upon the action of the government of the United States to make it so," enacted that slavery, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party had been duly convicted, should henceforth cease and be prohibited forever, in all the following places, viz.: First, in all the territories of the United States then existing, or thereafter to be formed or acquired in any way. Second, In all places purchased or acquired with the consent of the United States for forts, magazines, dock-yards, and other needful buildings, and over which the United States have or shall have exclusive legislative jurisdiction. Third, In all vessels on the high seas. Fourth, In all places whatsoever where the national government has exclusive jurisdiction."
Mr. Cox opposed the bill vehemently, declaring that, in his judgment, it was a bill for the benefit of secession. Mr. Fisher, in an able speech, also opposed the passage of the bill. In conclusion, he appealed to the majority to "let this cup pass from our lips." He said: "We have done nobly; we have done much in behalf of liberty and humanity at this session of Congress. Let us then here call a halt and take our bearings." Finally, as a concession to the more conservative members, Mr. Lovejoy offered an amendment striking out all except the prohibition of slavery in the territories, which amendment Mr. Arnold accepted, and on which he demanded the previous question.
The bill passed the House, ayes, eighty-five, noes, fifty, was slightly modified in the Senate, and finally passed the House on the 19th of June, prohibiting slavery forever in all the territories of the United States then existing, or that might thereafter be acquired. Thus, the second great step towards the destruction of slavery was taken; and thus was terminated the great struggle over its existence in the territories, which had agitated the country, with short intervals, from the organization of the republic. Had this act been passed in 1784, when Jefferson substantially proposed it, the terrible war of the slaveholders might not have come. The institution would never have grown to such vast power. Missouri would have had the wealth of Ohio, and slavery, driven by moral and economical influences towards the Gulf, would have gradually and peacefully disappeared.
Slavery having been abolished at the capital, and prohibited in all the territories, the question of arming the freedmen, and of freeing the slaves and organizing and arming them as soldiers that they might fight for their liberty and that of their race, pressed more and more upon the government.
The first regiment of negro troops raised during the war was organized by General David Hunter, in the spring of 1862, while in command of the Department of the South. Finding himself charged with the duty of holding the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia, with inadequate force, and these three states swarming with able bodied negroes, ready to fight for their liberty, he saw no reason why they should not be organized and used as soldiers.
On the 9th of July, 1862, Senator Grimes, of Iowa, proposed that "there should be no exemption from military service on account of color," and authorized the President to organize negro soldiers. The proposition was vehemently opposed by the border states, and by some of the democratic members of Congress. Senator Garrett Davis, of Kentucky, said: "You propose to place arms in the hands of the slaves, or such of them as are able to handle arms, and manumit the whole mass, men, women, and children, and leave them among us. Do you expect us to give our sanction and approval to these things? No! No! We would regard their authors as our worst enemies, and there is no foreign despotism, that could come to our rescue, that we would not joyfully embrace before we would submit."
The proposition authorizing the employment of negroes as soldiers, and conferring freedom on all who should render military service. and on the families of all such as belonged to rebel owners, became a law on the 17th of July, 1862. On this subject Lincoln said: "Negroes, like other people, act from motives. Why should they do anything for us, if we do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest of motives, even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made must be kept."
The opposition to the employment of the negroes as soldiers, seems now almost inexplicable. That the master's claim to the negro should be set up in the way of the government's superior claim to the service of the negro as a soldier, seems to us very strange. The government could, forsooth, take the son from his father for a soldier, but not the slave from the master! If the slave be considered as property, the plea of the master is equally absurd. It is conceded by all that the government, in case of necessity, could take the horses and animals of loyal or disloyal, and press them into service. And if animals, why not persons held as property? If the negroes were property, they could be taken as such for public use, and if considered as persons, they were like others subject to call for military service.
In discussing the many and grave questions growing out of the war, confiscation, and emancipation, wide differences appeared among the friends of the administration. The discussions of these questions in Congress, were earnest, and often intemperate and violent, and the opinions and conduct of the President were often criticised by his own political friends, with a degree of passion rarely paralleled by the attacks of even political opponents upon the Executive. The President bore these unjust and often unfair attacks with patience, and without resentment. Senator Trumbull, from Illinois, on the 27th of June, 1862, made some remarks in relation to him, so just and so appropriate that they will help us to understand his character. He said:
"I know enough of honest Abraham Lincoln to know that he will not regard as his truest friends men who play the courtier, and swear that everything he does is right. He, sir, is honest enough, and great enough, and talented enough, to know that he is not perfect, and to thank his friends who rally around him in this hour of trial, and honestly suggest to him, when they believe such to be the fact, that some measures that he has adopted may not be the wisest. He will think better of a man who has the candor and the honesty to do it, than he will of the sycophant who tells him 'all is right that you do, and you cannot do wrong.' Sir, he is no believer in 'the divine right of kings,' or that a chief magistrate can never do wrong. He is a believer in the intelligence of the people, and knowing his own fallibility, is not above listening to their voice."
There was a very large and earnest party among the President's friends, who urged immediate and universal emancipation. Regarding slavery as the cause of the war, and believing that freedom would bring the negroes to the Union cause, they were impatient of any delay, or consideration of the rights of the owners, even when the owners were loyal. Up to this period, as has been observed, Lincoln had carefully considered the rights, under the Constitution, of the loyal slaveholders of the border states. Naturally conservative, he hesitated before adopting the extreme measure of emancipation. But the question was every day becoming more and more pressing.
On the 6th of March, 1862, in a special message to Congress, he said: "In my judgment, gradual, and not sudden, emancipation, is better for all." In this message he suggested the adoption of a joint resolution, declaring "that the United States ought to cooperate with any state which may adopt a gradual abolition of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid to compensate for the inconvenience, public and private, produced by such change of system." He strongly urged this policy as a means of shortening the war, with all its expenses and evils. He concluded his message by saying: "In full view of my great responsibility to my God, and to my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject."
On the 10th of March, Roscoe Conkling, of New York, moved the adoption by the House, of the resolution which the President had sent to the House with his message. Thaddeus Stevens said: "I think it (the President's proposition) about the most diluted milk and water gruel proposition that was ever given to the American people." Mr. Olin, of New York, on the contrary, said: "It is the magnanimous, the great, the god-like policy of the administration." It was vehemently opposed by the members from the border states, the very states it was intended especially to aid. Hickman, of Pennsylvania, said: "I regard this message as an awful note of warning to those residing in the border states, and as an act of justice and magnanimity to them, which I am sorry to see some of their representatives on this floor fail to appreciate." The resolution was adopted.
On the 10th of March, 1862, there was a conference between the President and the representatives of the border states, at which the subject was discussed, and the President earnestly urged his plan upon their consideration, but no action followed. On the 12th of July, the President invited the members of Congress from the border states to meet him at the Executive Mansion, and submitted to them an appeal in writing, in which he said:
"Believing that you, in the border states, hold more power for good than any other equal number of members, I feel it a duty which I cannot justifiably waive, to make this appeal to you..."
"I intend no reproach or complaint when I assure you that in my opinion, if you all had voted for the resolution in the gradual emancipation message of last March, the war would now be substantially ended. And the plan therein proposed is yet one of the most potent and swift means of ending it. Let the states which are in rebellion see definitely and certainly that in no event will the states you represent ever join their proposed confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest..."
"If the war continues long, as it must, if the object be not sooner attained, the institution in your states will be extinguished by mere friction and abrasion, by the mere incidents of the war. It will be gone, and you will have nothing valuable in lieu of it. Much of its value is gone already. How much better for you and for your people to take the step which at once shortens the war and secures substantial compensation for that which is sure to be wholly lost in any other event! How much better to thus save the money which else we sink forever in the war! How much better to do it while we can, lest the war ere long render us pecuniarily unable to do it! How much better for you as seller, and the nation as buyer, to sell out and buyout that without which the war could never have been, than to sink both the thing to be sold and the price of it in cutting one another's throats!"
"I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision to emancipate gradually...""Upon these considerations I have again begged your attention to the message of March last. Before leaving the Capitol, consider, and discuss it among yourselves. You are patriots and statesmen, and as such I pray you consider this proposition and at the least commend it to the consideration of your states and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in nowise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government is saved to the world, its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assure that happiness and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names therewith forever."
In his proclamation of the 19th of May, 1862, relating to the proclamation of General Hunter, declaring the slaves in the states of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina free, the President alludes to his proposition to aid the states which should inaugurate emancipation, and says:
"To the people of those states I now earnestly appeal. I do not argue--I beseech you to make the argument for yourselves--you cannot if you would, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproach upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it contemplates would come gently as the dews of heaven, not rending or wrecking anything. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done by one effort, in all past time, as, in the providence of God, it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it."
It will be remembered that the interview between the President and the members of Congress from the border states, took place on Saturday, the 12th of July. On Sunday, July 13th, two members of Congress from Illinois called upon him at his summer residence at the "Soldier's Home." He conversed freely of his late interview with the border state members, and expressed the deep anxiety he felt that his proposition should be acted upon and accepted by these states. Rarely, if ever, was he known to manifest such great solicitude. In conclusion, addressing Lovejoy, one of his visitors, he said: "Oh, how I wish the border states would accept my proposition. Then," said he, "you, Lovejoy, and you, Arnold, and all of us, would not have lived in vain! The labor of your life, Lovejoy, would be crowned with success. You would live to see the end of slavery."
In his second annual message, the President again urged the proposition of gradual and compensated emancipation, with an earnestness which can scarcely be over-stated. He presented a most able and impressive argument to show that the plan proposed would shorten the war and lessen the expenditure of money and of blood. He concluded a most eloquent appeal to Congress in these words:
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We--even we here,--hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free--honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just--a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."
The plan so earnestly and repeatedly pressed by the President resulted in no action. He realized that the time was rapidly approaching, when it would become his duty as Commander in Chief to issue a military proclamation of immediate and unconditional emancipation. Speaking of these efforts afterward, he said: "When in March, May, and July, 1862, I made earnest and successive appeals to the border states in favor of compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation and arming of the blacks would come, unless arrested by that measure. They declined the proposition, and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union, or issuing the emancipation proclamation."
That great state paper, the issuing of which was the most important event in the life of the President, will be the subject of the next chapter.
- Late a senator from California, and killed in a duel. Baker had pronounced in San Francisco, a funeral oration over his remains.
- One evening in the summer of 1863, while the President was living in a cottage at the "Soldier's Home," on the heights north of the capital, some one spoke to him of Baker's burial place on the "Lone Mountain Cemetery." The name seemed to kindle his imagination and touch his heart. He spoke of this "Lone Mountain" on the shore of the Pacific, as a place of repose, and seemed almost to envy Baker his place of rest. Lincoln then gave a warm and glowing sketch of Baker's eloquence, full of generous admiration, and showing how he had loved this old friend.
- McDougall, before going to California, had been a prominent lawyer at Jacksonville and Chicago, and Attorney-General of Illinois. He was the bitter enemy of the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward having caused some of his California friends to be arrested, and confined in Fort LaFayette. I shall state what was universally known and deeply mourned by all of McDougall's friends, when I mention that habits of intemperance overclouded the last years of his life. But it could not be said of him that "when the wine was in, the wit was out." Poor McDougall's wit was always ready, drunk or sober.
Coming down from the Senate chamber, after a late executive session in which he had been opposing one of Seward's nominations, he found the rain falling in torrents, the night dark and dismal, and his own steps unsteady. As he passed from the Capitol gate towards Pennsylvania Avenue, the senator had to cross a ditch full of filth and water. McDougall, in the darkness, made a misstep, and tumbled in. A policeman ran to his aid, and helping him out, enquired gruffly: "Who are you, anyhow?" "I, I was," said poor Mac, "I, I was Senator McDougall, when I fell in, now I think," looking at his filthy garments with disgust, "now, I think I, I am Seward."
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, pp. 1634-1635.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session, 37th Congress, p. 2042.
- The New York Tribune of June 20, 1862, speaking of the law, said: "It is not often that so much of that 'righteousness that exalteth a nation,' is embodied in a legislative act. Had this act been passed in 1784, when Jefferson proposed something similar, the war in which we are now engaged would never have existed."
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, 4th Part, p. 3205, July 9, 1862.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 4th., p. 2973.
- President's Message. McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 209.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 2d, p. 1102.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 2d, p. 1108.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 2d, p. 1154.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 2d, p. 1154.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 2d, p. 1170.
- Congressional Globe, 2d Session 37th Congress, part 2d, p. 1176.
- McPherson's History of the Rebellion, pp. 213, 214.
- McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 251.
- Lovejoy and Arnold.
- McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 224.
- Letter to A.G. Hodges, April 4, 1864. McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 336.