This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 of Washington published the proclamation signed by the one and countersigned by the other, the newspaper controversy which had just been revived after the great excitement caused by the invasion of Maryland was for a moment suspended, just as the murmurs of a crowd are hushed when a clap of thunder suddenly bursts over their heads. Declaring that the object of the war, as in the past, was the reestablishment of the Constitution, that the offers of compensation he had submitted to Congress in favor of the States who should abolish slavery would be maintained and renewed, recapitulating the provisions of the law of March 13th, which prohibited the military from interfering in the search for fugitive negroes, and that of July 17th, proclaiming the enfranchisement of all slaves whose masters were in rebellion against the Constitution,—Mr. Lincoln announced that the Federal government should regard the servile institution as abolished in all the States, Territories or counties which should not have come back into the Union by the 1st of January, 1863. A shout of joy from the abolition party hailed this plain and categorical declaration; nothing more was wanted to exasperate the Democratic party, especially in the border States. Many persons both wise and enlightened felt aggrieved at this proclamation, calculated to produce discord; they could not understand that its object was to maintain, as the President was bound to do, the constitutional rights of the States loyal to the Union, and that it merely endorsed the fact, which was daily becoming more palpable, that the Federal government could no longer protect slavery in those States which for the last eighteen months had been in open rebellion against its authority. The masses throughout the country, although more and more hostile to slavery in principle, received the proclamation with a certain degree of astonishment, and Mr. Lincoln, without having anything to regret, was obliged to acknowledge that in this instance he had forestalled public opinion. The Democratic party felt this, and determined to take advantage of it. This party numbered many sincere patriots, who had sacrificed all their political alliances to sustain the legal authority of the President elected by their opponents, but who,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.