The English press on the emancipation proclamation.
We gave Saturday the spirit of the English
press on the emancipation proclamation of Lincoln
Below we copy several extracts of interest.
That from the London Post
(Government organ,) exhibits the fact that the last throe of the dying Abolition Government at Washington
is pretty well understood in England
In early times it was not unusual for the Popes to excommunicate whole national but as in many of these instances those who were excommunicated denied the papal authority, the effect produced was nugatory, and the practice fell into disuse.
It has now, however, been renewed in another form in America
, finding his authority waning, even where it is still nominally recognized, has determined to vindicate it where it is entirely ignored.
He has failed to subjugate the Southern States
by his legions, and in his extremity has decided on effecting his purpose by a scratch of his pen. On and after the 1st day of January, 1863, he decrees that the four millions of slaves at present kept in subjection in the Southern States
shall be free.
The President wills it, and of course all must obey.
On reading his proclamation one can only regret that so serious and powerful an Abolitionist should have seen fit to limit the sphere of operation of such unparalleled beneficence.
Why are the slaves of the Southern States
thus signally favored and those of Africa
still left in thraldom?
Why has not the President
of the United States of America
enfranchised the slaves of the entire universe?
It is scarcely possible to treat seriously of this singular manifesto.
If not genuine, the composition would be entitled to no little praise as a piece of matchless irony.
The accuracy with which the details are particularized is faultless.
Rebellion, like treason, is very difficult of definition, and the President
consequently assuages the fears in such States as might be apprehensive of being erroneously supposed to be rebellious, though in fact loyal, by laying down an easy and intelligible test.
‘"Any State, or the people thereof, which shall, on January 1, be in good faith represented in the United States Congress by members chosen at elections wherein the majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence, of strong, contravening testimony, be deemed"’ ‘"not to have been in rebellion against the United States
."’ Applying this test, the Federal Government
will, on the 1st of January, for the better information of the world, formally ‘"designate"’ such States as will then be in rebellion, and in those States, by virtue of the proclamation, slavery will forthwith cease to exist.
Every slave will thus become a free man. Deprived of slave labor, the Southern
planters will find their energies paralyzed, if they are not themselves annihilated by the emancipated serfs.
The war will cease, and the Union
be once more restored in its pristine integrity, but cleansed of that foul stain which here afore made it the reproach of Christendom.
At length the American
question has been finally and satisfactorily solved.
It is not easy to estimate how utterly powerless and contemptible a Government must have become which could sanction with its approval such insensate trash.
A few weeks since, trembling for the safety of its capital — at the present moment unable to force a passage into its enemy's territory — it still takes upon itself to dispose of property which it is powerless to seize.
Nor is the assumed authority of the Federal Executive
less unconstitutional than it is preposterous.
The President of the United States
has no more power to liberate a slave in Virginia
than Queen Victoria; and, for that matter, neither has the Federal Congress.
According to the American Constitution
, the local Legislature of each State possesses the sole power of emancipating the slaves within its continues.
But the President
of the United States
has long since discontinued the antiquated custom of acting according to law. There are few, however, even of those who have manifested the greatest disregard for the laws they have sworn to administer, who have not been more or less sensitive of ridicule.
A man may brave the passions of an angry mob, but he does not like exposing himself to be laughed at.--Mr. Lincoln
seemingly cares as little for the ridicule as he does for the anger of the American
people.--He must be well aware that his proclamation will prove a brutum fulmen. Gen. Hunter
, not many months since, in a moment of Abolitionist zeal, emancipated all the slaves in South Carolina
; but, to the surprise of everybody, the slaves paid no attention to his proclamation, and worked away harder than ever in throwing up those fortifications which insured the subsequent repulse of the Federal
Does Mr. Lincoln
suppose that they will pay readier obedience to his manifesto?
Liberty, we should have supposed, would recommend itself, if at all to a slave, by its intrinsic excellence, and that the mode of manumission would be regarded with indifference.
If the slaves of the Southern States
desire freedom it is evident that they are alone prevented from securing it by the superior strength of their masters.
must show how his proclamation will weaken that strength before he satisfies the world that it can prove other than inoperative.
While providing prospectively for the future the present is not neglected.
The Chief Magistrate
of the great model republic of modern times has proclaimed martial law throughout his dominions and suspended the habeas corpus act.
A population exceeding twenty millions, inhabiting a territory unoccupied by a single hostile soldier, have by Mr. Lincoln
been deprived of appeal to any other laws than those his Generals
may please to enunciate. --Nor even before a military tribunal can a hearing be of right demanded.
The President may confine in prison for an indefinite time any person he chooses.
It is sufficient to allege that the accused has been guilty of rebellion, or has opposed the enforced levy of soldiers, to deprive him of his right to demand a trial for the alleged offence.
Such is the existing state of things in New York, in Boston
, in Philadelphia
.--cities far removed from the seat of war. Such is the liberty enjoyed by the free citizens of America
The measure was, we suppose, deemed necessary by the President
in consequence of the invitation lately given by the Governors
to those of the other States to meet and deliberate on public affairs.
Such a meeting would undoubtedly be construed into an act of rebellion, and we suppose that the President
intends to arrest the refractory Governors.--The several States, however, value their individual independence even more than they do the integrity of the Union
, and it is far from likely that they would tamely permit their Governors to be sent to prison in compliance with the Federal
authority.--The proclamation of martial law throughout the Federal States
has been prompted, not by Confederate aggression, but by domestic insecurity.
War has been declared between the Federal
government and its acknowledged subjects.
The proclamation emancipating the slaves is evidently a bait thrown out to gain the support of the Abolitionist party.--It will prove useless.
The American people have of late submitted to much, but we do not believe that they will nationally accept of a degrading despotism dictated by the feeblest and most contemptible of governments.
Mr. Lincoln Plays his "last card"--he Accepts the policy of the "violent zealots" of the Republican party.
[From the London Times, Oct. 6.]
Even in this crisis of the war, the most important part of the last intelligence refers to a political, not a military, movement.
has separated himself from the moderate Republicans, and fully accepted the extreme policy of the violent zealots the party includes without combining with them.
He has played his last card.
He has declared by a proclamation that in all the States that shall not have returned to the Union
on the 1st of January the slaves shall, after that date, be free.
It is a political concession to the Abolitionist ‘"wing"’ of the Republican party.
When the Union
existed, its Constitution gave no right, either to the President
alone or to the President
and Congress combined, to abolish slavery.
The Abolitionists assume that the war has conferred the right; emancipation was a ‘"thunderbolt placed in the hands"’ of Mr. Lincoln
, with which to destroy the South
and all its social organization at a blow.
He has accepted the assumed right, and launched the thunderbolt.
But he is without the power to enforce the decree.
must conquer every square mile of the Southern States
before it can make the proclamation more than waste paper — The policy that has dictated the proclamation is very doubtful.
Nothing was needed to deepen the hatred of the South
; but, if anything could determine it to continue the war to the last extremity, it is this decree.
The Democrats already denounce it as unconstitutional; the moderate Republicans condemn it as a measure that can have no practical result.
It will have no effect on the South
, which has long acted as against an Abolitionist Government of the North
, and anticipated all it can do by any kind of legislation.
In the North
itself it is likely to be only another element of confusion.
By the Abolitionists however, it is held to be a short and easy mode of compelling a peace.
For the first time both sides give utterance to the word, though the tone in which they pronounce it differs considerably.
In the Southern Congress a resolution has been or is to be proposed, to the effect that the success of the Confederate
arms justifies the Government
in ‘ "sending commissioners to Washington
to propose the terms of a just and honorable peace. "’ This, at least, contemplates an end to the struggle by a settlement, the terms of which are to be discussed during a suspension of hostilities.
As the South
shows no inability to continue the war, the offer is reasonable and temperate.--The statesman should stand behind the soldier, or war itself is a miserable and purposeless blunder.
The Northern Government also contemplates peace, but in a most singular manner.
Exactly when its military and political powers are most broken, it threatens.
It continues to refuse all recognition of existing facts, and clings to constitutional and legal fictions.
It insists that the storm of war has swept away nothing, and offers, on certain conditions, to ignore the war itself.
In about ‘"ninety days"’ hence, or on the 1st of January, any State returning representatives, as heretofore, to the Federal Congress, shall, ‘ "in the absence of strong countervailing testimony,"’ he considered as not having revolted at all. The election return shall be ‘"deemed conclusive evidence"’ that the State
never seceded — or fought to the death in that condition.
There is strong countervailing testimony in the bloody battle-fields of Virginia
, in the many thousands of Northern men who he
burted there, and the enormous debt the war has created.
No legal fiction can make such testimony as this of no effect.
There is something ludicrous in such a proclamation, solemnly made by the Federal Government
when its own capital is almost beleaguered.
Immense armies old not fight in their sleep, nor did the tens of thousands perish in a dream, that the terrible conflict can be so easily forgotten.
The Manchester cotton men on "Sunkum" and
[From the Manchester Guardian, Oct. 7.]
The proclamation is evidently nothing more that a compound of ‘"bunkum"’ on a grand scale, with the swaggering bravado so conspicuous throughout the present war. We have no doubt the President
sincerely desires the extinction, of slavery, but he has himself told us that there is a thing he desires more; and in his address to the border States he made.
It a topic of piteous complaint that, unless they came to his help, he should be obliged to yield to the pressure of the Abolitionists.
The proclamation is in one sense a cop thrown to those unreasoning fanatics.
But it is also a blustering menace to the South
--a threat that if the seceding States do not return within the time of grace, and so disappoint the hopes of their bitter foes, the latter shall enjoy the gratification of seeing them involved in all the horrors of a servile war. Doubtless the South
will laugh at the idle menace.
In its territories President Lincoln
has no authority except in the few spots occupied by his troops, and experience has already shown that the slaves have no notion of accepting his invitation to rise against their masters.
But the harmlessness of the proclamation does not axenic its utter want of principle, and if its concocters expected it to produce a favorable impression in Europe
, there is one simple answer to them.--it is too late.
It, when war first become inevitable, the Cabinet
had announced that, having been forced to that fatal issue, it would not lay down its arms until the Union
was restored on terms providing for the gradual extinction of slavery, it might have made it difficult for free nations to sympathize with the South
But then the Border States
would have been lost, and the civil war might have extended to the North
The President experienced the proverbial fate attending an attempt to sit upon two stools.
It is now too late for him to make a choice, and on the strength of it to claim the respect of the world.
And his new proclamation does not even announce a choice.
It still leaves the door open for a reconstruction of the Union
, without the slightest practical effort to reduce the power of slavery.
It is impossible not to feel that if the South
offered to return at once on being assured of the permanence of its favorite institution.
would joyfully welcome it to his embrace, and we may almost fear that to allure it back he would forget his own pledge to preserve the territories uncontaminated.
The fact that his proclamation once more brings forward that scheme of negro colonization, which was denounced with such indignant eloquence in a letter we lately transferred to these columns, will not make it more potable in Europe
We can appreciate the difficulties of the situation, but they are difficulties due to persistence in a false policy, and must not be over come by injustice.
The real value of the proclamation is perhaps best shown by the very small sensation which it appears to have caused at New York.
Plainly no effects are expected from it in that quarter.
Some of the journals speculate on what would follow if it were really operative in proportion to its professions; but their conclusions refer more to New York than to the South
[from the Manchester Examiner, Oct. 6.]
It is yet too soon to determine whether President Lincoln
's proclamation has, on political grounds, been dictated by sound policy.
That will depend principally upon its effect on the border States and the Democratic party throughout the North
In other respects its tendency will be beneficial.
It will give more weight to the party which is most zealous for the prosecution of the war; it can hardly increase the enmity of the South
, and it will undoubtedly tend to conciliate a larger amount of sympathy for the North
among foreign nations.
It may be that emancipation by the sword will lead to the most serious difficulties, not the least of which will be the impossibility of providing all at once for multitudes of slaves suddenly released from bondage, and thrown upon their military deliverers for support.
It may possibly lead to much bloodshed, to lamentable excesses, and social anarchy.--In the advances and retreats of the Federal
armies the poor blacks will often be reduced to the desperate alternative of quietly clinging to servitude, or seizing the welcome boon at the rick of being left to the vengeance of their masters on the morrow, of a Federal defeat.
A large portion of the Northern
population are not overcharged with kindness to the negro, whose cause they unwillingly champion and whom they too often heartily hate.
Still, with all this, there is a magic in the name of freedom which will draw blessings down upon the banners on which it is inscribed.
All this is on the supposition that the armies of the North
will penetrate and occupy large portions of the seceded States.
It not, of course the proclamation will be so much waste paper.
What Liverpool Thinks of the measure.
[From the Liverpool Post. Oct. 7.]
We regard the news brought by the Australasian as the most serious and the most important which has for several months been received from America.
Physical force admits of tolerable easy calculation Battles may be won or lost, but the result of all battles after all, mainly depends upon the operation of a concealed force — a moral force.
has taken home victories to Washington
, and his troops have been praised for the valor they displayed in the field of battle.
The Government at Washington
, however, have evoked another power — a moral power; and although they probably suppose there never will arise an occasion for putting it into operation, the more announcement of it is full of danger to America
, to Europe
, and to humanity.
Has the proclamation been issued in reference to a knowledge of the state of things in Richmond
and in the Confederate
Has Mr. Lincoln
persuaded himself that the recent victories, the augmented forces in the field, and the moral force which he has called to the and of his army, will induce the Secessionist leaders to ask for a compromise!
The probability is, however, that if this be his calculation, he is mistaken; yet it is impossible to consider carefully the nature of his proclamation without wishing that means could be found to prevent the terrible results which are certain to follow the publication of that proclamation in the slave States.
It is perfect foolishness to suppose for a moment that four millions of rude men can be transported a thousand miles away from the homes which they now occupy, by any means available to any power on earth.
All the ships in the world could not carry them.
It would impoverish a State to feed them on a land journey; and it would be a monstrous cruelty, which no people would sanction, to place four millions of people on land unprepared to receive them, in the absence of money, of food, and of means to raise it.
The negroes are in the South
, and, do what Mr. Lincoln
may, in the South
they will remain; but owning moral influences, they may, in the absence of necessary intelligence, proceed to realize their own freedom and its consequences in a manner destructive to themselves and ruinous to the State
.--Emancipation in a proper form may come with time, but time is absolutely necessary.
It must be observed, however, that this civil war has shown that the Union
is in danger while slavery exists; that many think it is desirable to get rid of it, and that now is the time.
Experiment in several of the slave States has shown that white labor is quiets adequate to the production of those agricultural articles in the production of which negroes are employed.
The removal of the slaves would, therefore, accomplish two desirable objects — the safety of the Union
, and the increase and employment of a white population; but, alas I in our generation this is impossible without a terrible outrage on humanity.
The Constitution in a question goes for nothing, if the plan be successful.
In large polities, success practically justifies every wrong.
[from the Liverpool Mercury, Oct, 7.]
Viewing President Lincoln
's proclamation in its immediate effect on the position of the war, there is every reason to believe that it will induce the great border of Kentucky
, which has hitherto wavered between the North
and the South
, to join the South
with its whole strength immediately, and that it will induce the other two border States of Missouri
to do so at the earliest opportunity.
Viewed with reference to the interests of the war or the prospects of restoring the Union
, it is an enormous blunder.