of Freedom, in reply to slave-holding threats of a dissolution of the Union
When that contest shall come; when the thunder shall roll and the lightnings flash; when the slaves of the South shall rise in the spirit of Freedom, actuated by the soul-stirring emotion that they are men. destined to immortality, entitled to the rights which God bestowed upon them; when the masters shall turn pale and tremble ; when their dwellings shall smoke, and dismay sit on each countenance; then, Sir, I do not say we will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh, but I do say, the lover of our race will then stand forth and exert the legitimate powers of this Government of freedom. We shall then have constitutional power to act for the good of our country, and to do justice to the slave. We will then strike off the Shackles from his limbs.
The Government will then have power to act between Slavery and Freedom; and it can best make peace by giving liberty to the slaves. And let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that time hastens; the President is exerting a power that will hurry it on; and I shall hail it as the approaching dawn of that Millennium which I know must come upon the earth.
Our great Civil War was opened on the part of the Union
, riot only with an anxious desire, but with a general expectation, that it would be prosecuted to a successful issue without seriously disturbing the foundations and buttresses of Slavery.
's solicitude on this head, as evinced in his Inaugural Address,1
was deepened by the dubious, vacillating attitude of the Border Slave States
, especially of his native Kentucky
, which lie was particularly anxious to attach firmly to the cause of the Union
, while she seemed frantically wedded to Slavery.
, in his elaborate initial dispatch2
to Mr. Dayton
, our new Minister to the Court of France, approaching the topic of Slavery with unfeigned reluctance, in a paper designed to modify the ideas and influence the action of a foreign Government — indeed, of, all foreign governments — argued that the Rebellion
had no pretext that did not grow out of Slavery, and that it was causeless, objectless, irrational, even in view of Slavery, because of the “incontestable” fact set forth by him, as follows:
Moral and physical causes have determined inflexibly the character of each one of the Territories over which the dispute has arisen; and both parties, after the election [of Lincoln to the Presidency], harmoniously agreed on all the Federal laws required for their organization.
The Territories will remain in all respects the same, whether the revolution shall succeed or fail.
The condition of Slavery in the several States will remain just the same, whether it succeed or fail.
There is not even a pretext for the complaint that the disaffected States are to be conquered by the United States, if the revolution fail; but the rights of the States, and the condition of every human being in them, will remain subject to the same laws and forms of administration, whether the revolution shall succeed or whether it shall fail.
In the one case, the States would be federally connected with the new confederaey; in the other, they would, as now, be members of the United States; but their constitutions and laws, customs, habits, and institutions, will in either ease remain the same.
Our regular Army officers, educated at West Point
in a faith that identified devotion to Slavery with loyalty to the Federal Constitution
and Government, were of course imbued with a like spirit.
, in his General Order3
governing the first advance from the Potomac
, was as profoundly silent respecting Slavery and slaves as if the latter had no modem existence; while Gen. McClellan
, on making a like advance into Western Virginia
an address to the people thereof, wherein he said: