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[146]

But in entire fairness to Mr. Lincoln, it should be said that, although his proclamation was inoperative for the immediate release of any slaves, it was by no means wholly ineffectual. Its moral influence was considerable. It helped to hasten a movement that had, however, by that time become practically irresistible. Its political results were far more marked and important. If it did not fully restore cordiality between the President and the Abolition leaders, it prevented an open rupture. It served as a bridge between them. Although they never took Mr. Lincoln fully into their confidence again, the Abolitionists interpreted his proclamation as a concession and an abandonment of his previous policy, which it was much more in appearance than actually. At all events, it was splendid politics. The somewhat theatrical manner in which it was worked up and promulgated in installments, thus arousing in advance a widespread interest and curiosity, showed no little strategic ability. No more skillful move is recorded in the history of our parties and partisans than this act of Mr. Lincoln, by which he disarmed his Anti-Slavery critics without giving them any material advantage or changing the actual situation. I am not now speaking of the motive underlying the proclamation of the President, but of its effect. Without it he could not have been renominated and re-elected.

Another observation, in order to be entirely just to Mr. Lincoln, after what has been stated, would at this point seem to be called for. There is no doubt that from the first he was at heart an Anti-Slavery man, which is saying a good deal for one

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