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[256]

On the abstract question of the right of the Government to proclaim and enforce Emancipation, Edward Everett, in a speech in Faneuil Hall, Boston, October, 1864, forcibly said:

It is very doubtful whether any act of the Government of the United States was necessary to liberate tie slaves in a State which is in rebellion. There is much reason for the opinion that, by tile simple act of levying war against the United States, tile relation of Slavery was terminated; certainly, so far as concerns the duty of the United States to recognize it, or to refrain from interfering with it. Not being founded on the law of nature, and resting solely on positive local law-and that not of the United States--as soon as it becomes either the motive or pretext of an unjust war against the Union--an efficient instrument in the lands of the Rebels for carrying on the war — a source of military strength to the Rebellion, and of danger to the Government at home and abroad, with the additional certainty that, in any event but its abandonment, it will continue in all future time to work these mischiefs, who can suppose it is the duty of the United States to continue to recognize it? To maintain this would be a contradiction in terms. It would be to recognize a right in a Rebel master to employ his slave in acts of rebellion and treason, and the duty of the slave to aid and abet his master in the commission of the greatest crime known to the law. No such absurdity can be admitted; and any citizen of the United States, from the President down, who should, by any overt act, recognize the duty of a slave to obey a Rebel master in a hostile operation, would himself be giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

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