previous next

[239] promises to the eye of faith so much. It may be that some of the Border slave States will gladly avail themselves of the offer of Mr. Lincoln, and if they do, the North will as gladly accept its share of so great an act.

Of similar purport is the following language of the New-York Daily Times, an influential Republican journal:

In dealing with this vexed subject, we think the President has hit the happy mean, upon which all parties in the North and all loyalists in the South can unite. The radical will wish he had gone further, but will be content with the national expression in favor of freedom. The conservative will see that no rash or ill-advised steps will be taken; while all will admit that Government should be conservative, and not accept every ebullition of passion or expression of immature sentiment as the sober sense of the nation.

To these expressions of opinion, selected from the Anti-slavery and Republican press, we may add the following endorsement of the President's policy by the New-York Journal of Commerce, a paper representing a different class of political ideas:

The President adopts the views of Washington and his contemporaries, for which we have so often and so laboriously contended against much obloquy and reproach, and the principles on which the Constitution was founded, and expresses his conviction that, whatever plan be adopted, gradual emancipation would be better than immediate abolition. Good men, from the earliest days, have desired to see some plan for the removal of the slave-system, and the substitution of another labor-system in its place; and their desires would long ago have been accomplished in several States, now known as slave States, but for the interference of the radical abolition schemes, which effectually blocked all the advance of free-labor plans in Maryland, Virginia, and other States.

It only remains for us, in common with all these journals, and in the words of the latter, to express the hope that “the resolution proposed by the President will be adopted by Congress. Whenever a State shall propose to emancipate its slaves, we regard it as eminently proper that the nation should lend its aid, judiciously, to effect the object. The Crown of Great Britain, once the governing power of all the country, forced the institution on unwilling colonists, and it became a part of their social system. Let the whole people, who have in one sense succeeded to the government of the nation, aid any State that may need it, and that shall desire and ask for aid in changing from slave-labor to free-labor. This is right. Hereafter, when the principle is established, we can discuss and arrange the amount of aid, and the terms on which it is to be granted to each State as it shall need. And each State will decide for itself whether it will ask or accept such aid.”

We cannot dismiss the subject from this present consideration without recalling to the memory of our readers that the rightfulness of President Lincoln's policy was prefigured by Mr. Webster in his great speech delivered on the seventh of March, 1850, when the relations of slavery, as they then existed, were passed in comprehensive review. On that occasion the eminent Massachusetts statesman found an equitable basis for the policy in the fact of the great and valuable territorial cession made to the Union by the most distinguished of the slaveholding States. His language in that speech was as follows:

In my observations upon slavery as it has existed in the country, and as it now exists, I have expressed no opinion of the mode of its extinguishment or melioration. I will say, however, though I have nothing to propose on that subject, because I do not deem myself so competent as other gentlemen to consider it, that if any gentleman from the South shall propose a scheme of colonization, to be carried on by this Government upon a large scale, for the transportation of free colored people to any colony or any place in the world, I should be quite disposed to incur almost any degree of expense to accomplish that object. Nay, sir, following an example set here more than twenty years ago, by a great man, then a Senator from New-York, I would return to Virginia, and through her for the benefit of the whole South, the money received from the lands and territories ceded by her to this Government for any such purpose as to relieve, in whole or in part, or in any way to diminish or deal beneficially with the free colored population of the Southern States. I have said that I honor Virginia for her cession of this territory. There have been received into the Treasury of the United States eighty millions of dollars, the proceeds of the sales of the public lands ceded by Virginia. If the residue should be sold at the same rate, the whole aggregate will exceed two hundred millions of dollars. If Virginia and the South see fit to adopt any proposition to relieve themselves from the free people of color among them, they have my free consent that the Government shall pay them any sum of money out of its proceeds which may be adequate to the purpose.

Opinions of the foreign press.

[From the London Times, March 31.]

For some time it has been expected among the people of the Northern American States, that their Government was about to make some important decision in respect to slavery. A manifesto which should electrify the Old World, cause a general revulsion of feeling to the side of the North, and seal the doom of the rebellion even in the more remote slave States, has been looked for by persons supposed to share in some measure the confidence of the Government. We do not know how far the Americans will consider that their expectations have been fulfilled. President Lincoln has made a move towards emancipation. He has ventured to look “the everlasting negro” in the face. The highest person in the State does not continue to ignore what has been in the minds and on the tongues of millions since the outbreak of the war. So far, then, the Abolitionists and the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Abraham Lincoln (3)
J. D. Webster (1)
L. H. Washington (1)
Daily Times (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 7th, 1850 AD (1)
March 31st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: