have known that the more nearly the doughty General
's works approached the point of completion (and of danger) the more it would be sure to flag.
But the thought must have occurred to many at Richmond
that, if Butler
could employ these ten thousand negroes to cut a way into Richmond
for him, what sort of paralysis was it that prevented the Confederate Government from equally employing ten thousand or fifty thousand negroes to keep him out
of that city?
A sure sign that this question had then begun to ferment actively in the public mind, may be got from the fact that at this time “the opposition” opened fire against the enlistment of negroes.
party in North Carolina
, and their Raleigh
organ, the Standard
, the ultra States' Rights party, represented by the Richmond Examiner
and Charleston Mercury
, by Wigfall
and obstreperous Congressmen like him, and the pure obstructionists, like Henry S. Foote
and Governor Brown
, of Georgia
, and, in a lesser degree, Alexander H. Stephens
, began to murmur and denounce.
If the Confederacy
, they said, could not be saved except by such means as these, it was not worth saving.
To which the natural reply of the administration party was that, if the Confederate
people preferred to give up their liberties sooner than give up their slaves, the cause was practically hopeless.
The enlistment party, in fact, as the opposition knew, contemplated a step further.
They were willing, sooner than be subjugated, to abolish slavery entirely, and ask to be restored to the old colonial relationship to England
, provided that country could not otherwise be induced to recognize the Confederacy
This, probably, was a dernier resort, which President Davis
would have unflinchingly contemplated; but he had no sooner broached the subject in the Richmond Sentinel
than the storm of indignation with which it was received showed him his mistake, and no more was said about it, except by the anti-enlistment party in the Confederate Congress, who made use of it in their steady antagonism to the administration policy.
It must be said, however, in justice to the Confederate
people, that the social difficulties of the negro enlistment problem engaged their attention much more deeply than the probable monetary losses.
An article on this subject in the Sentinel
of November 2d, copied from the able Lynchburg Republican
, put this side of the case very strongly.
We cannot ask these negroes to fight for us, it in substance said, unless we give them their freedom; but that involves the freedom of their children and families also, and so we not only abolitionize the country, but convert it into a sort of free-negro paradise, with the bottom rail on top — for the negroes, if we