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Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon Slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies. The policy of the Government must be supported by concentration of military power. The national forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupation, and numerous armies, but should be mainly collected into masses, and brought to bear upon the armies of the Confederate States. Those armies thoroughly defeated, the political structure which they support would soon cease to exist.

In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you will require a commander-in-chief of the army, one who possesses your confidence, understands your views, and who is competent to execute your orders, by directing the military forces of the nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in such position as you may assign me, and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate served superior.

I may be on the brink of eternity ; and, as I hole forgiveness from my Maker, I have written this letter with sincerity toward you and from love for my country.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

George B. McClellan, Maj.-Gen. Commanding. His Excellency A. Lincoln, President.

If Gen. M. had been asked to reconcile the precepts of this letter regarding Slavery — how “the relations of servitude,” for example, could be preserved in a district subject to “military power,” without a distinct recognition and support of those “relations” by the military authority there dominant; or in what manner he would have “disorder” repressed, when it was caused by the slave's asserting his right to control his own actions and the master's resisting it — he might have answered ingeniously, but to what purpose? Manifestly, the ruling authority, whether civil or military, must either support the slaveholder's claim of property in and power over his slaves, or it will be seriously impaired — nay, utterly defied and overthrown. In “repressing” the “disorder” certain to arise in the premises, the commander must inevitably decide which to support — the master's assertion of authority, or the slave's claim to liberty. “Political rights” can receive “protection” only when it has been determined where the right lies. The manumission, which Gen. M. fore-shadowed in Missouri, West Virginia, and Maryland, was not merely “a question of time.” It was a question of power as well; since he plainly contemplated its achievement, not by popular action, but by military force. Paying the “owner” might, indeed, modify his wrath; but could not affect the fundamental question of authority and right.

A letter addressed1 to the President some weeks after this, entitled “The prayer of twenty Millions,” and exhorting Mr. Lincoln--not to proclaim all the slaves in our country free, but to execute the laws of the land which operated to free large classes of the slaves of Rebels--concludes as follows:

On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union cause who does not feel that all attempts to put down the Rebellion, and at the same time uphold its inciting cause. are preposterous and futile — that the Rebellion, if crushed out to-morrow, would be renewed within a year if Slavery were left in full vigor — that army officers, who remain to this day devoted to Slavery, can at best be but half-way loyal to the Union--and that every hour of deference to Slavery is an hour of added and deepened peril to the Union. I appeal to the testimony of your Embassadors in Europe. It is freely at your service, not mine. Ask them to tell you candidly whether the seeming subserviency

1 Aug. 19 1862.

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