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It often happens to navigators that, returning from a long voyage with a rich cargo, they are threatened with ship-wreck on their own shores, and are compelled, in order to save the ship and their lives, to lighten the vessel by throwing overboard a part, if not all, of the cargo that had been obtained at great cost and labor. We have never heard of a mariner who hesitated to make that sacrifice when it became necessary, however disagreeable it might be to his feelings. The instincts of self-preservation would induce him to cast over every box and hogshead on board, if each were full of diamonds, and to strip every rage of clothes from his back, rather than go down in the storm.

In like manner, it becomes the people of this Confederacy, if they would save the ship in which they are embarked, if they would not lose both their property and their lives, to make any and every sacrifice that is required by the supreme law of self-preservation. If necessary for that purpose, they ought to give everything they have on earth; for nothing on this earth will belong to them — not the houses over their heads, not the ground beneath their feet, and, most especially and emphatically, not the negroes who cultivate that ground--one moment after the conquest of the Confederacy by the Yankees. Universal confiscation will be the order of the day. Universal abolition has been formally decreed by both Houses of the Federal Congress. There is no longer any doubt, no longer a loophole to hang a doubt upon, on that subject. If the Confederacy is conquered, that kind of property ceases forever. The only question then is, has the necessity arisen which requires the sacrifice of any portion of that property to save the remainder?

Who is the most competent judge to decide that question? We answer, the high military authorities. General Lee says we must have negro soldiers. There is no appealing from that authority. He knows, better than any other man, in Congress or out of it, whether they are needed, and he is not only decided, but earnest, in urging their employment. And Public Opinion unanimously sustains General Lee.

But in order to make this accession to our military force efficient, we must give to the negro troops the strongest incentives to energy and a firm and uniform discipline. Give them their freedom the day they enter the ranks. We must have the courage to look our condition fully in the face. Four our own part, we would emancipate every negro in the Confederacy if necessary to the preservation of our own independence.--Much more would we liberate a part to save the remainder, and our own freedom besides. General Lee says he must have the negroes; and we would be willing to leave it to him to decide whether every man of them employed for that service should not also be free the very day he enters the ranks. With this stimulus, and the well- known local attachments of the negro, we are satisfied that the Confederacy can raise an army of two hundred thousand troops, capable of coping with any equal, or even superior, force that can be brought against them from any part of the world. For this purpose there must, of course, be unvarying discipline. Experience has shown that, with proper incentives and discipline, negro troops have courage enough to accomplish anything that may be required of them. But if anything is to be done, it must be done at once. If it had been done at the beginning of the session of Congress, the future would have been without a cloud.

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N. M. Lee (3)
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