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[536] Lee. Injustice was done to this illustrious general, and the inhabitants of Maryland were denounced in unmeasured terms for having looked upon his invasion with indifference, or having confined themselves to the expression of barren wishes for his success.

These different sentiments, however, only served to rekindle the ardor of the combatants on both sides and to spur them on to new efforts. The soldiers raised in the North were being rapidly organized, and public opinion impelled the government to spare no means for striking a decisive blow. The very magnitude of the sacrifice required by such a project imparted a new aspect to the war, and the earnestness with which the South proclaimed her attachment to the institution of slavery demonstrated to all clear-sighted people that the hardest blow that could be dealt her would be by striking her directly through this interest. This stern necessity overcame the constitutional scruples of many persons who had hitherto been anxious to smooth the way for reconciliation between the severed States. These were so many recruits for the Republican party, which from the first had probed the very depth of the disease, and was the only political organization that had not cherished patriotic but false illusions. President Lincoln simply endorsed this sentiment when on the 22d of September he issued a proclamation, as a war measure, declaring that from the 1st of January, 1863, all slaves residing in the States which should still be in rebellion at that period would be free. This great measure, of which we shall speak hereafter, was differently commented upon in the Federal armies, where all opinions were represented and freely expressed, without, however, at all interfering with discipline; but nearly all the commanders received it either with mistrust or regret. Before 1861 most of them had entertained sentiments opposed to the abolition of slavery; and, as they might be led into the midst of Southern communities by the war, they preferred not to present themselves before the latter as irreconcilable enemies of their institutions. The most prudent among them confined themselves to the task of executing, without comment, the instructions they received regarding this new policy, of which they were to be to a certain extent the instruments. General McClellan issued a general order to his

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