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Lincoln and slavery—‘charity to all.’

There is a statue in Washington city of him who uttered the words, ‘Charity to all, malice to none,’ and he is represented in the act of breaking the manacles of a slave.

Suppose there were carved on its pedestal the words: ‘Do the Southern people really entertain fears that a Republican administration would directly or indirectly interfere with the slaves or with them about their slaves?’

The South would be in no more danger in this respect than it was in the days of Washington.

This was his utterance December 22, 1860, after South Carolina had seceded.

Carve again:

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it now exists. I believe I [138] have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

These are the words of his inaugural address March 4, 1861.

Carve yet again:

Resolved, That this war is not waged upon our part with any purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of these States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union.’ This resolution Congress passed and he signed it after the first battle of Manassas.

And yet once more:

I did not at any time say I was in favor of negro suffrage. I declared against it. I am not in favor of negro citizenship.

This opinion he never changed.

These things show in the light of events — the emancipation proclamation, the reconstruction acts, the black suffrage, the anarchy that reigned—that the South read truly the signs of the irrepressible conflict.

They show, further, that by the right of revolution alone can Abraham Lincoln be defended in overthrowing the institution which he pledged himself to guard like Washington, and with it the Constitution which he had sworn ‘to defend and maintain.’ And if Jefferson Davis appealed to the sword and needs the mantle of charity to cover him, where would Lincoln stand unless the right of revolution stretched that mantle wide, and a great people wrapped him in its mighty folds?

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