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[156]

This measure of emancipation with compensation soon proved a failure. A proposition to appropriate five hundred thousand dollars to the object was voted down in the United States Senate with great unanimity. The government was, step by step, ‘educating the people’ up to a proclamation of emancipation, so as to make entire abolition one of the positive and declared issues of the contest.

The so-called pressure upon the President was now organized for a final onset. The governors of fifteen states united in a request that three hundred thousand more men should be called out to fill up the reduced ranks, and it was done. The antislavery press then entered the arena. Charges were made against the President, in the name of

Twenty millions of people, that a great proportion of those who triumphed in his election were sorely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy he seemed to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of the rebels.

This is a simple statement of the progress of events, and it shows to the world how well founded were our apprehensions, at the hour of its election, that the administration intended the destruction of our property and community independence. They further said:

You are strangely and disastrously remiss in the discharge of your official and imperative duty with regard to the emancipation provisions of the new confiscation act.

They further boldly added:

We complain that the Union cause has suffered, and is now suffering, immensely from mistaken deference to rebel slavery. Had you, sir, in your inaugural address, unmistakably given notice that, in case the rebellion already commenced was persisted in, and your efforts to preserve the Union and enforce the laws should be resisted by armed force, you would recognize no loyal person as rightfully held in slavery by a traitor, we believe the rebellion would therein have received a staggering if not fatal blow.

The President replied at length, saying:

I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

The education of the conservative portion of the Northern people up to emancipation was becoming more complete every day, notwithstanding the professed reluctance of the President. Another call for three hundred thousand men was made, but enlistments were slow, so that threats of a draft and most liberal bounties were required. The champions of emancipation sought to derive an advantage from this circumstance.

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