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To the Thirty-Ninth Congress.

The thirty-ninth congress was that which met in 1865 after the close of the war, when it was charged with the great question of reconstruction; the uppermost subject in men's minds was the standing of those who had recently been in arms against the Union and their relations to the freedmen.

O people-chosen! are ye not
     Likewise the chosen of the Lord,
To do His will and speak His word?

From the loud thunder-storm of war
     Not man alone hath called ye forth,
But He, the God of all the earth!

The torch of vengeance in your hands
     He quenches; unto Him belongs
The solemn recompense of wrongs.

Enough of blood the land has seen,
     And not by cell or gallows-stair
Shall ye the way of God prepare.

Say to the pardon-seekers: Keep
     Your manhood, bend no suppliant knees,
Nor palter with unworthy pleas.

Above your voices sounds the wail
     Of starving men; we shut in vain
Our eyes to Pillow's ghastly stain.

What words can drown that bitter cry?
     What tears wash out the stain of death?
What oaths confirm your broken faith?

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Fort Pillow (Tennessee, United States) (1)

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1865 AD (1)
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