Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/21

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Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, and Mr. Bates, the Attorney-General, also gave Mr. Stuart the same assurances of peace. That night the commissioners returned to Richmond, and the same train on which they traveled brought Mr. Lincoln's proclamation calling for seventy-five thousand men to wage a war of coercion against the Southern States.

"This proclamation," says Mr. Stuart, "was carefully withheld from us, although it was in print, and we knew nothing of it until Monday morning when it appeared in the Richmond papers. When I saw it at breakfast, I thought it must be a mischievous hoax, for I could not believe Lincoln guilty of such duplicity."

This proclamation is now conceded by nearly all Northern writers to be a virtual declaration of war, which Congress alone has the power to declare. Congress alone having the power to "raise and support armies"; to "provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection and repel invasions"; to "provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States."

And yet Mr. Lincoln, in violation of the Constitution and of his oath, did all of these things before Congress was allowed to assemble on the 4th of July, 1861, and it is said he had an organized army before the assembling of Congress of over three hundred thousand men. We know too that, without any authority to do so, he did not hesitate to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, which Congress alone had the power to authorize the suspension of, according to the decision of Chief Justice Taney in Merriman's case, and there are numerous other decisions to the same effect.


But again, we know too (at least, Mr. Seward says so), that Mr. Lincoln was a party to the duplicity and deception practiced through Mr. Seward on the commissioners sent by the Confederate Government to treat with him "with a view to speedy adjustment of all questions growing out of the political separation upon such terms of amity and good will as the respective interests, geographical contiguity and future welfare of the two nations may render necessary."