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[721] by his predecessor—evil the effects of which Louisiana still feels to this day, after the lapse of twelve years.

We have concluded that portion of our inquiry, so far as it concerns the epoch under consideration, which has reference to the relations of the belligerents between themselves, except as to a single point, which is, indeed, the most important of all, the enfranchisement of the slaves. The law of July 17th marks a new advance in the legislation of the United States which was to lead to the total abolition of slavery. Before entering upon the subject we must point out the aggregate legislative measures adopted since the beginning of the war in regard to the same matter. It will thus be seen how the Federal government, after having earnestly endeavored to keep clear of this question, was gradually led to a radical solution of it, and turned emancipation into a powerful weapon against its enemies.

In the early chapters of this history we have shown the true cause of the war, which was slavery, the concessions through which the North vainly tried to prevent a rupture of the Union, and the limits which it could not overstep without entirely surrendering the public to the servile institution. We left off at the night of the 2d-3d of March, 1861, when Congress, on the eve of adjournment, rejected the Crittenden compromise, which would have introduced slavery into a large portion of the territories where free labor had hitherto prevailed.

The war put an end to all these vain efforts. But in taking up arms to bring back the Southern States into the bosom of the Union, the Federal government openly proclaimed its intention to respect their constitutional rights. If its triumph had been immediate and thorough, slavery would no doubt have lasted a little while longer. Consequently, the really sagacious politicians among the representatives of the border States saw that the maintenance of the Union could alone prevent the sudden and summary abolition of the servile institution. It was evident to all those who were not blinded by passion or interest that the struggle, if prolonged, would compel the North to display the abolition flag. The very declarations of the Confederate leaders were calculated to bring about such a result, and their withdrawal from the Federal legislative halls, by ensuring a strong majority

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