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On the first of October, 1861, he addressed the Republican State Convention, which again met at Worcester, on the topic of the hour, in a most effective speech, which, under various titles, was widely circulated. In one pamphlet it was called ‘Emancipation the Cure [351] of the Rebellion;’ another, ‘Union and Peace: how they shall be restored;’ and again, ‘Emancipation our best Weapon.’ In opening the business of the Convention, its chairman, Mr. Dawes, said: ‘Since last assembled here for a kindred purpose, the mighty march of events has borne the popular effort on to a higher plane, than ever before opened to the gaze of man. Massachusetts cannot if she would, and thank God, she would not if she could, perform an indifferent part in this life-struggle of the Republic.’

As Mr. Sumner rose to speak, the warmth of his reception indicated feelings of gratitude for his public services, that must have been grateful to him after all that had occurred. But he well knew that the Republican party even in Massachusetts, was by no means unanimous in regard to the policy which the administration should pursue on the subject of slavery. It is well remembered by those who were sufficiently informed at the time, that the Anti-Slavery tendencies of Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet were far from being of a radical type. The President had from the beginning, emphatically announced that he entertained no hostility against Slavery, nor did he propose to interfere with it where it existed by due process of law. It is safe to say that no member of his Cabinet differed with him materially in these respects: nor did any considerable portion of those who participated in the early events of the war, mix up the merits or demerits of Slavery with the subject. But believing, as Mr. Sumner did, that Slavery was short-lived, and that in the collision which the South itself had brought on, Emancipation must be the final result, he spoke and acted on this conviction. He was as well persuaded what the result of the appeal [352] to battle would be, when it was first made, as he ever became afterwards. Abhorring bloodshed, and willing to avoid it up to the last possible moment, he saw no alternative but victory, after the dernier ressort of Slavery had been invoked. As a war-measure, he was, from the start, in favor of a Proclamation of Emancipation; the earliest, probably, to entertain this opinion; certainly the first to openly express it. The result vindicated his prescience. He had foreseen, also, that the danger of a recognition of the Southern Confederacy by the great Powers of Europe, could be averted in no other way; for no European Cabinet would hazard intervention or recognition of the South, if they clearly saw that the struggle had become a simple issue between Freedom and Slavery. He was therefore urgent in pressing these views, at all times, and in all quarters.

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