Friday, October 30, 2009

Emancipation In The District


The President’s message on the emancipation of slavery in the District of Columbia is as follows:

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

The act entitled an act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia, has this day been approved and signed. I have never doubted the constitutional authority of Congress to abolish slavery in the District, and I have ever desired to see the national capital freed from the institution in more satisfactory way. Hence there has never been in my mind any question on the subject, except one of expedience arising in the view of all the circumstances. If there be matters within and about this act which might have taken a course or shape more satisfactory to my judgment, I do not attempt to specify them. I am gratified that the true principles of compensation and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in this act. In the matter of compensation, it is provided that claims may be presented within ninety days of the passage of the act, but not thereafter; and there is [no] saving for minors, femmes covert, insane or absent persons. I presume there is an omission by mere oversight, and I recommend that it be supplied by an amendatory or supplemental act.

(Signed) Abraham Lincoln.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Friday Morning, April 18, 1862, p. 1

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