the slaves, which, he insisted, “would shorten the war, and thus lessen the expenditure of money and blood.”
The public did not take to the President
's plan at all, especially the Abolitionists did not. They no more favored the buying of men by the Government
than by anybody else.
They held that if the master had no right to the person of his bondman, he had no right to payment for him. And as for an arrangement that might prolong slaveholding for thirty-seven years, they saw in it not only a measure of injustice to the men, women, and children then in servitude, the most of whom would be doomed to bondage for the rest of their natural lives, but a possible plan for side-tracking a genuine freedom movement.
In the proposition just considered we have not only the core of the President
's policy during much of his official tenure, but an explanation of his mental operations.
He was sentimentally opposed to slavery, bat he was afraid of freedom.
He dreaded its effect on both races.
He was opposed to slavery more because it was a public nuisance than because of its injustice to the oppressed black man, whose condition, he did not believe, would be greatly, if at all, benefited by freedom.
Hence he wanted manumission put off as long as possible.
It was “ultimate extinction” he wanted, to be attended with payment to the master for his lost property.
Another thing he favored-and which he seems to have thought entirely practicable — as a condition to liberation, was the black man's removal to a place or places out of contact with our white population.