A just Preposition.
We trust that the Peace Congress, now in session at Washington
, will not fail in demanding security for the future, also to obtain indemnity for the past.
If there is a proper disposition on the part of the Republican States
to pursue a righteous course for the future, they cannot better manifest the sincerity of their change of heart than by undoing, as far as in them lies, the evil which they have done.
It will be remembered that Zaccheus
in the Gospel, declared that, if he had wronged any man, he restored four-fold, but we do not ask the Republicans to come up to the standard of morality even of this Publican.
If they will restore the fair valuation of every negro who has been stolen from the slave States, we will be satisfied.
Or suppose we compromise
Even a quarter would be better than none.
The Scripture system, inspired by Divine Wisdom, accepts no penitence as sincere which does not make restitution.
When the thief confesses his theft, he cannot be forgiven till he has restored the stolen goods, if it be in his power.
The Republicans may not be able to restore the negroes, but they can ascertain, with the assistance of the Southern Peace Commissioners
, the exact number abducted since the commencement of the anti-slavery agitation, and levy a tax forthwith to raise the necessary amount.
This may be expensive, but it will be just — it will prove their sincerity, and demonstrate their desire to avoid war, which will cost much more than this simple and obvious act of justice.