succeed, will be the saviors of the country.
“Instead of being a war for-the freedom of the white man, it will degenerate into a war for the freedom and equality of the slaves.”
It would be better, the Republican
argued, to accept Lincoln
's than this sort of abolition.
Nevertheless, the die was cast.
The army could not be recruited any more, owing to the apathy and discontent of the people, and General Lee
, it is now known, said the cause was lost unless he was efficiently reinforced before the winter ended.
The Confederate Congress met on Monday, November 7th, at noon, and as soon as it was organized the message of President Davis
In this paper, admirably written, with characteristic courage and directness he met and stated the question of the hour.
Referring to the act of February 17th, of the previous Congress, which, he said, was less effective than it was expected to be, he remarked: “But my present purpose is to invite your consideration to the propriety of a radical modification in the theory of this law.”
The slave, he said, was to be viewed not only as property, but as a person under the law. His services to the State
increased in value in proportion as he became a veteran.
For this he should be rewarded, as well as his master.
He would not advise anything further just now than the equitable determination of these relations.
He was opposed, at present, to the general levy and arming of slaves as soldiers.
“But should the alternative ever be presented of subjugation, or of the employment of the slave as a soldier, there seems no reason to doubt what then should be our decision.”
In the meantime, he would recommend the training of forty thousand negroes for duties under the act of February 17th.
This message, in which the duty of the State
to the slaves as persons was fairly, and fully, and ably stated, opened the whole question at once, and henceforth the history of negro enlistments is recorded in the proceedings of the Confederate Congress and the State Legislatures
The soldiers in the different camps, as soon as the question was agitated among them, gave it their hearty approval, and adopted resolutions to that effect.
The poor fellows were so hard bested that they welcomed any measure which promised them a modicum of relief.
lion. James A. Seddon
, Secretary of War
, in his report, supplemented Mr. Davis
' message with some still stronger recommendations of his own. The slaves, he said, had even a stronger interest in the victory of the Confederates
than the white people.
The latter risked their political independence, but the former their very existence as a race.
If the cruel enemies of the South
should triumph, they would extinguish the negroes in a few years, as they