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Gen. Mcclellan's Platform

Gen. Mcclellan's Platform image
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The following letter cxtracted f rom Gen. McClellan's official report, embodies his views of the war, both in its military and politioal hearings, ïhey are the utterauces of a patriot, and show the polioy which eau save the country : White general-in chief, and directing the operations of all our armies in the field, I had beeome deeply impressed with the importance of adopting and cairying out certain views regarding the conduct of the war, whieh, in my judginent, were essential to its objects and its success. During an active eampaign oi three roonths in the euemy's country, these were so fully conKrmed that I conceived it a duty, in tho crilical positioQ we then oeeupied, not to vrithhold a candid expression of the more important of these views iroui the eoni mander-in-chief, whom the constitución placea at the head oí the armies and navies, as well of the governinent of the uation. ïho following is a copy of my letter to Mr. Linooln : Headqu.üitkks Army of the Potomao. "Camp near Harrison's Landing Va., , i July 7, 1862. " Mk. President : - You have been fully informed that the rebel army is in onr front, with the purpDse of overwhelming us by attacking our positionp, or rcducing us by blocking our river Communications. I oannot but regard our condition as critieul, and I carnestly desire, in view of pos-ible contingeneie?, to Iay before your excellency, for your private consideration, my general views concerning the existing state of the febellion, although they do not strictly relate to the sitüation of the army, or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. These views atnount to convictioDS, aud are deeply improfsed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of freu instilulions and self-govermnent, The Constitution and the Union must bo preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure and blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political facton, nor foreign war, shake your settled purpose to euforce the cqual operation of the laws of the United States upon the people of evcry State. " The time has come when the government muist determino upon a civil and military poliey covering the whole ground of our national trouble. The responsibility of determining, declarÏDg, aud supportiog such civil and military poliey, frtid of directing the whole course of national affairs, in regard to the rcbelliou, must now be assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost, The coustitution gives you power ufficient even for the preseut terrible exigeney. This rebellion has assumcd the eharacter of war ; as such it should be regarded, and it should be conduoted upon the bighest principies known to. christian civilization. It sliould not be a war looking to the subjugation of the any state in any event It should not be at all a war upon population, but against artned forces, and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organization of states, or forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment. In prosecuting the war, all private property and uuarmed persons should be strictly protected, subject only to the neeessity of military operations. All private property taken lor military use, should be paid or receipted for ; pillïige and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated, except in placea whero active hostilities exist, and oaths not required by enactnients constifutionally made, should be ueither demanded nor recoived. Military government should be confined to the preservation of public order aud the protection of politieal rights. Military power should not be allowed to interfero with the relations of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the masters, exeept for repressing disorder, as iu other cases. Slaves contraband under the aet of Congress, seeking military protection, should receive it. The right of the governmeut to appropriate permanently to its own service, claims to slave libor, should be asserted, and the right of the owner to compensation therefor be recoguized. This principie might be extended, upon grounds of mil tary necessity aud seeurity, to all the slaves within a particular state, thus working mauumission in such state ; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expediency of such a measure is only a question of time. A system of poliey thus constitutional and conservativo, and pervaded by the influences of christianity and freedom, would receive the support of almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses and all foreign nations, and it might be hutnbly hoped that it would commend itself to the favor of the Almighty. Unless the priuciples governing the future conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisito forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disiutegratc our present armies. The poiicy of the government must be supported by concentrations of military power. The national forees should not bu dispersed in expeditions, posts.of occupation, and numerous armies, but should be mainly collected into,masses, sEd brcuht to fcear upon the arm iés oi the confedérate states. Thoso armies thoroughly defeated, the political structure which they support would soon cease to exist. Iu carrying out any system of policy which you may fonn, you will require a comraander in-chief of the army ; one who possesses your eoufidenoe, understands your views, and who ia competent to cxecute your orders by direoting the millitary forcea of the nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not aak that place for myself. I am willing to servo you in such pomtion ns you may assign me, and I will do so as faitbfully as ever su bor dinate served superior. I tuay be on the brink of eternity. and as I hope for iorgivenesH from my Maker, I have writtCD this letter with sincerity towards you, and from love for my country. Yery respectfully, ynur obedient servant, G. B. McCLELLAN, Major-General Uommauding "His excellency, A. Lincoln, President." '


Old News
Michigan Argus