As the bloody drama of war moves along we come now to the crowning act in Mr. Lincoln
's career — that sublime stroke with which his name will be forever and indissolubly united — the emancipation of the slaves.
In the minds of many people there had been a crying need for the liberation of the slaves.
Laborious efforts had been made to hasten the issuance by the President
of the Emancipation Proclamation
, but he was determined not to be forced into premature and inoperative measures.
abused and held him up to public ridicule from the stump in New England
turned the batteries of, the New York Tribune
against him; and, in a word, he encountered all the rancor and hostility of his old friends the Abolitionists.
having in the fall of 1861 undertaken by virtue of his authority as a military commander to emancipate the slaves in his department, the President
annulled the order, which he characterized as unauthorized and premature.
This precipitated an avalanche of fanatical opposition.
Individuals and delegations, many claiming to have been sent by the Lord
, visited him day after day, and urged immediate emancipation.
In August, 1862, Horace Greeley
repeated the “prayer of twenty millions of people” protesting against any further delay.
Such was the pressure from the outside.
All his life Mr. Lincoln
had been a believer in the doctrine of gradual emancipation.
He advocated it while in Congress in 1848; yet even now, as a military necessity, he could not believe the time was ripe for the