of which declares “that all men are born equal,” slavery is abolished; yet, under the proclamation of Mr. Lincoln
and the Thirteenth Amendment (adopted, after many earnest debates, Dec. 18, 1865), the South
still clung with strange tenacity to its long-cherished institution: so deeply had its roots intwined themselves around the heart of social life.
To render the redemption of the captive perfect, Mr. Sumner
threw himself, with the full intensity of his deep convictions, into every question which concerned the welfare of the freedman.
On the 20th of December, 1865, he made an earnest speech on the “Equality Bill” of Mr. Wilson
, which was to “maintain the freedom of the inhabitants in the States declared in insurrection and rebellion by the proclamation of the president of July 1, 1862.”
He said, “When I think of what occurred yesterday in this chamber; when I call to mind the attempt to whitewash the unhappy condition of the rebel States, and to throw the mantle of official oblivion over sickening and heart-rending outrages, where human rights are sacrificed, and rebel barbarism receives a new letter of license,--I feel that I ought to speak of nothing else.”
This hard shot upon the policy of the president drew forth sharp replies; and the word “whitewashing” long rung through the halls of Congress.
It was the truth which it contained that drew the blood; and this the president soon came to realize.