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[237] with the census tables and the treasury reports before him, can readily see for himself how very soon the current expenditures of this war would purchase, at a fair valuation, all the slaves in any named State.

Such a proposition on the part of the general Government sets up no claim of a right by Federal authority to interfere with slavery within State limits, referring as it does the absolute control of the subject in each case to the State and its people immediately interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them.

In the annual message last December I thought fit to say: “The Union must be preserved, and hence all indispensable means must be employed.” I said this not hastily, but deliberately. War has been, and continues to be an indispensable means to this end. A practical reacknowledgment of the national authority would render the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance continues, the war must also continue, and it is impossible to foresee all the incidents which may attend, and all the ruin which may follow it. Such as may seem indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency toward ending the struggle, must and will come. The proposition now made is an offer only, and I hope it may be esteemed no offence to ask whether the pecuniary consideration tendered would not be of more value to the States and private persons concerned than are the institution and property in it, in the present aspect of affairs. While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.



Opinions of the press.

[From the Louisville Journal.]

The measure is obnoxious to no constitutional objection, so far, at least, as the rights of the States are concerned, whatever objections of this sort the Abolitionists may bring forward in relation to the powers of the Federal Government. The measure is in itself a lawful and innocent one. Herein we agree with the President.

The end is certainly legitimate. Is the measure adapted to accomplish the end? The President is persuaded that it is. Herein we differ with the President. The whole efficacy of the measure, as the President admits, depends on the “free choice” of the States concerned. But what one even of the Border slaveholding States has in any manner shown the slightest indication of a wish or willingness to adopt a system of emancipation, gradual or otherwise? Assuredly not one. On the contrary, the settled opinion of these States, without exception, appears to be that the present is, of all times, the most opportune for the voluntary agitation of the question of emancipation in any of its aspects. We believe this is in fact the settled opinion of them all. Consequently the measure, if adopted by Congress, would be inoperative. It would lie inert on the statute-book. As not one of the States would call for the cooperation the measure offers, the measure would be not merely ineffectual but in the line of its purpose absolutely without results. Nay, it might, by serving to inaugurate a domestic controversy which in the nature of things could not be determined one way or the other for many years, nourish instead of extinguishing the hope at which the President would strike. The casting of an apple of discord into the loyal ranks of the Border slaveholding States, at this time, could but prove unfavorable to the true interests of the country; and there is danger that the adoption of this measure would be such a movement. In short, the measure, if adopted, could not, as we conceive, produce the effect the President designs, and might produce the very opposite effect. We, therefore, whilst agreeing with the President that the measure is in itself lawful and innocent, differ with him in respect to its policy. We do not think it is adapted to accomplish the end proposed, but rather the contrary. Indeed, there is, according to our judgment, but one feasible mode of accomplishing the end proposed so far as it yet remains unaccomplished, and that mode is the wise and vigorous prosecution of the war for the reestablishment of the Government.

[From the Frankfort (Ky.) Commonwealth.]

For ourselves, we are free to confess that we would rather the President had left this matter alone, and let the appeal come from such States as desired the assistance of the Federal Government.

Our main objection to the Message is, that it will be wrested from its real meaning, and be so construed as to represent the President as giving way to Abolition pressure, which we are satisfied would be an unjust imputation. We believe that there is an irreconcilable disagreement between him and them.

[From the St. Louis Republican.]

There can be no objection to the mere principle of the Federal Government assisting a State in any lawful enterprise in which the latter may engage, and none will pretend that any State may not, under the Constitution, legislate with perfect right upon all matters of domestic concern. Expediency is another and quite different question, but this consideration is far from alarming, in view of the fact that it is left wholly to the determination of those who feel the greatest social and material interest in the decision.

We receive this document as a renewal of the President's assurance that the war is not to degenerate into a violent revolutionary struggle, but to be conducted in the spirit and according to the forms of the Constitution, for the restoration of the Union, with all the rights of the States unimpaired. It is sufficient that Mr. Lincoln recognises the complete and sole authority of the different States to form, change and regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way, and

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