What to do with our slaves.
--Jim Lane made a speech last month at St. Louis
, in which he said:
"There are in the South
680,000 strong and loyal male slaves, who have fed and clothed the rebel army, and have as good as fought on their side.
Government now proposes that those loyal slaves shall feed and clothe our army and fight upon our side.
The other day, while I was talking with the President
, Old Abe said to me, ‘"Lane
, how many black men do you want to have to take care of your army?"’ I told him as my army would number 34,000, I proposed to have 34,000 contrabands, in addition to my teamsters and wagon masters.
I consider every one of my soldiers engaged in this glorious crusade of freedom a knight errant, and entitled to his squire to prepare his food, black his boots, load his gun, and take off his drudgery.
Vanity and pride are necessary adjunct of the soldier, and I do not propose to lower him by mental offices, nor compel him to perform the duties of the slave.
So, while I shall elevate the slave by giving him his freedom and making a man of him, I shall also elevate the soldier and leave him no work to do but fighting.
[A voice in the crowd, ‘"What are you going to do with the niggers?"’]
The General, singling out the owner of the voice, and pointing his long finger at him, replied: ‘"Ah, my friend, you are just the man I have been looking for. I will tell you what I am going to do with them.
I am going to plant them on the soil of the gulf coast, after we have got through this war, let them stay and cultivate the land; have Government extend a protection to them, as it does to the Indians, and send superintendents and Governors among them and pay them wage for their labor.
There could be no competition between black