This from Congressman Hunter during the 1865 congressional debate over the drafting and arming of slaves:
" When we left the old Government he had thought we had gotten rid forever of the slavery agitation; that we were entering into a new Confederacy of homogeneous States upon the agitation of the slavery question, which had become intolerable under the old Union, was to have no place.
But to his surprise he finds that this Government assumes the power to arm the slaves, which involves also the power of emancipation.-To the agitation of this question, the assumption of this power, he dated the origin of the gloom which now overspreads our people. They knew that if our liberties were to be achieved it was to be done by the hearts and to hands of free men. It also injured us abroad. It was regarded as a confession of despair and an abandonment of the ground upon which we had seceded from the old Union.
We had insisted that Congress had no right to interfere with slavery, and upon the coming into power of the party who it was known would assume and exercise that power, we seceded. "