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Speech of the Hon. William Allen, of Ohio, on the Enlistment of Negro Soldiers; Delivered in the House of Representatives, February 2, 1863


 The House having under consideration the bill to raise    The President was fully aware, at the time of
additional soldiers for the service of the Government-  his inauguration, of the state of public feeling in
  Mr. ALLEN, of Ohio, said:                             the seceded States. He knew that those who had
  Mr. SPEAKER: The proposition embraced in the          precipitated those States into a revolution justified
bill under consideration, which is so earnestly ad-     their conduct on the ground that he had been elect-
vocated on the Republican side of the House, is         ed to the position he was about to occupy by a sec-
the "crowning act" of that folly and madness            tional party, based upon antagonism to the institu-
which seem to have taken possession of the Gov-         tion of slavery; that they declared the object of
ernment.  When this bill becomes a law, as I            him and his party was to abolish the institution of
presume it will, it will complete a system hereto-      slavery in the States, either by direct or indirect
fore inaugurated, the effect of which will be to seal   legislation, and to bring the power of the Govern-
the perpetual separation of the States of this Union.   ment to bear, in every possible manner, for its ex-
The policy pursued by the majority in Congress          tinction; that he and they were accused of a design
for the year past has pointed as directly to that       to annul that provision of the Constitution requir-
end as the "needle to the pole."  The legislation       ing the surrender of fugitive slaves, and of a de-
of Congress during that time, particularly on all       termination to wage a war for the destruction of the
matters connected with the institution of slavery,      property and extermination of the people of those
to which most of its attention has been given, as       States. And he was impressed with the necessity
well as the acts of the Executive touching the          of removing these apprehensions which thus ex-
same, while they have been for the alleged pur-         isted in States, as is evident from his inaugural
pose of maintaining the Union, have all tended          address, in which he uses the following language:
to impair and destroy it, by uniting the people of       "Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the
the disloyal States in a more determined resistance     southern States that by the accession of a Republican Ad-
to the laws, and impairing the confidence of those      ministration their property and their peace and personal
of the loyal States in the integrity and patriotism     security are to be endangered. There has never been any 
of their rulers.  The people of the seceded States      reasonable cause for such apprehension.  Indeed, the most
are nearly a unit in sentiment, so far as we can        ample evidence to the contrary has all while existed and
learn, on all that pertains to their governmental       been open to their inspection.  It is found in nearly all the 
policy, while those of the loyal States are largely     published speeches of him who addresses you.  I do but
divided on their policy.                 	        quote from one of those speeches, when I declare that 'I
                                                        have no purpose directly or indirectly to intefere with the 
It was said by the President, as I believe cor-         institution of slavery in the States where it exists.  I be-
rectly, in his first message to Congress, that there    lieve I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no in-
was a large Union sentiment in every State of the       clination to do so.' Those who nominated and elected me
Union; in fact, that there was, according to his be-    did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many
lief, a majority of the people in favor of the Union    similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And,
in all the States, except it might be South Caro-       more than this, they placed in the platform for my accept-
lina.  Such being the case, it should have been         ance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and
his policy, and that of Congress, to adopt such         emphatic resolution which I now read:
measures as would have further developed and            "'Resolved, That the maintenance involved of the rights
                                                        of the States, and especially the right of each State order
sustained that sentiment, giving it life anid vigor,    and control its own domestic institutions according to its
                                                        own  judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of
that it might, by the force of public opinion in        power on which the perfection and endurance of our po-_
                                                        litical fabric depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion
the rebellious States, have counteracted the efforts    by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no mat-
                                                        ter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes. "'
of those who were attempting the overthrow of the
                                                        The Republican party in Congress had but a
Government.  The President and his party knew           few weeks before the inauguration declared by
at the time this message was delivered, as they         solemn resolution that they had neither the con-
now very well know, that Unionism and abolition-        stitutional right nor the purpose of interfering with
ism in the slave States were very distinct in their     slavery in any of the slaveholding States; and their
meaning, however synonymous they might be               successors in the present Congress, at the extra
with them, and that any party in those States who       session in July, 1861, reaffirmed the same purpose
espoused the abolition cause must sink beneath          in tine adoption, by an almost unanimous vote, of
the weight of public opinion.                           the Crittenden resolution.


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Speech of the Hon. William Allen, of Ohio, on the Enlistment of Negro Soldiers; Delivered in the House of Representatives, February 2, 1863


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