Chapter 2: the hour and the man.—1862.Garrison defines in a public lecture the relations of the abolitionists to the war; and takes at the Anti-slavery meetings a cheering view of the situation in spite of the halting policy of the Administration, for which he makes due allowances. He draws up an emancipatory appeal to President Lincoln on behalf of the Progressive friends of Pennsylvania. He discusses the duty of abolitionists and non-resistants in face of the draft for troops. He welcomes, but with misgivings, Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, recognizes the need of continuing the American Anti-slavery Society, and strives to keep the Liberator alive by raising its price.
Early in the new year Mr. Garrison yielded to the urgent solicitation of friends in New York, and delivered a lecture, at Cooper Institute in that city, on1 ‘The Abolitionists and their Relations to the War,’ which subsequently received a wide circulation in pamphlet form.2 In this he vindicated the motives and3 methods of the Garrisonian abolitionists; replied effectively to the assertions that they were wholly responsible for the war, or had been equally guilty with the secessionists in precipitating it; answered the cry that slavery had nothing to do with the war, and the Government no right or power to touch the institution; and declared emancipation essential for the suppression of the rebellion and for ultimate peace and union. The address, which occupied two hours in delivery, abounded in cogent and forcible passages, but we have room only for two brief quotations. To the charge that the disappearance of the ‘Covenant with Death’ motto from the head of the Liberator indicated a great and sudden change in his views, he replied:
Well, ladies and gentlemen, you remember what Benedick in4 the play says: “ When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.” And when I said I would not sustain the Constitution because it was “ a covenant  with death and an agreement with hell,” I had no idea that I should live to see death and hell secede.5 Hence it is that I am now with the Government, to enable it to constitutionally stop the further ravages of death, and to extinguish the flames of hell forever.The other passage, forecasting the blessing which emancipation would bring to the South, and rejoicing in the certain future prosperity of that section, anticipated the verdict which the ‘New South,’ amazed by her marvellous growth and development under freedom, has already pronounced.6
Slavery is a thunderbolt in the hands of the traitors to smite7 the Government to the dust. That thunderbolt might be seized and turned against the rebellion with fatal effect, and at the same time without injury to the South. My heart glows when I think of the good thus to be done to the oppressors as well as to the oppressed; for I could not stand here, I could not stand anywhere, and advocate vindictive and destructive measures to bring the rebels to terms. I do not believe in killing or doing injury even to enemies—God forbid! That is not my Christian philosophy. But I do say, that never before in the history of the world has God vouchsafed to a Government the power to do such a work of philanthropy and justice, in the  extremity of its danger and for self-preservation, as He now grants to this Government. Emancipation is to destroy nothing but evil; it is to establish good; it is to transform human beings from things into men; it is to make freedom, and education, and invention, and enterprise, and prosperity, and peace, and a true Union possible and sure. Redeemed from the curse of slavery, the South shall in due time be as the garden of God. Though driven to the wall and reduced to great extremity by this rebellion, still we hold off, hold off, hold off, and reluctantly say, at last, if it must be so, but only to save ourselves from destruction, we will do this rebellious South the most beneficent act that any people ever yet did—one that will secure historic renown for the Administration, make this struggle memorable in all ages, and bring down upon the land the benediction of God! But we will not do this if we can possibly avoid it! Now, for myself, both as an act of justice to the oppressed and to serve the cause of freedom universally, I want the Government to be in haste to blow the trump of jubilee. I desire to bless and not curse the South— to make her prosperous and happy by substituting free institutions for her leprous system of slavery. I am as much interested in the safety and welfare of the slaveholders, as brother men, as I am in the liberation of their poor slaves; for we are all the children of God, and should strive to promote the happiness of all. I desire that the mission of Jesus, “Peace on earth, good will to men,” may be fulfilled in this and in every land.This lecture attracted much attention, and brought Mr. Garrison urgent invitations to speak in other places. Especially was it the wish of some of the most trusted and sagacious of the anti-slavery leaders that he and Mr. Phillips should declare the sentiments and demands of the abolitionists in relation to the war, both in public addresses and in personal intercourse with the President and members of his Cabinet, and the Republican leaders in Congress. They felt that if this were done, and the Liberator and Standard kept afloat, other agencies and methods useful in the past might safely be discontinued, and a greater concentration of effort secured.8  The annual meeting of the Massachusetts Society first claimed attention, however, and to Mr. Garrison fell, as usual, the preparation of the resolutions, which were9 certainly full and exhaustive. His speech, at the close of the first day's meeting, was in his happiest vein, and purposely rose-colored, as he frankly confessed, in order to offset the rather depressing effect of some of the previous speeches, Mr. Phillips's among them, which had dwelt on the shortcomings of the President and Administration touching slavery. ‘What have we to rejoice over?’ he repeated to doubting inquirers—
Why, I say, the war! “What! this fratricidal war? What!10 this civil war? What! this treasonable dismemberment of the Union?” Yes, thank God for it all!—for it indicates the waning power of slavery and the irresistible growth of freedom, and that the day of Northern submission is past. It is better that we should be so virtuous that the vicious cannot live with11 us, than to be so vile that they can endure and relish our company. No matter what may be said of the Government—how it timidly holds back—how it lacks courage, energy, and faith—how it refuses to strike the blow which alone will settle the rebellion. No matter what may be said of President Lincoln or General McClellan, by way of criticism—and a great deal can be justly said to their condemnation—one cheering fact overrides all these considerations, making them as dust in the  balance, and that is, that our free North is utterly unendurable to the slaveholding South; that we have at last so far advanced in our love of liberty and sympathy for the oppressed, as a people, that it is not possible any longer for the “traffickers in slaves and souls of men ” to walk in union with us. I call that a very cheering fact. Yes, the Union is divided; but better division than that we should be under the lash of Southern overseers! Better civil war, if it must come, than for us to crouch in the dust, and allow ourselves to be driven to the wall by a miserable and merciless slave oligarchy! This war has come because of the increasing love of liberty here at the North; and although, as a people, we do not yet come up to the high standard of duty in striking directly at the slave system for its extirpation as the root and source of all our woe—nevertheless, the sentiment of the North is deepening daily in the right direction. I hold that it is not wise for us to be too microscopic in endeavoring to find disagreeable and annoying things, still less to assume that everything is waxing worse and worse, and that there is little or no hope. No! broaden your views; take a more philosophical grasp of the great question; and see that, criticise and condemn as you may and should in certain directions, the fountains of the great deep are broken up—see that this is fundamentally a struggle between all the elements of freedom on the one hand, and all the elements of despotism on the other, with whatever of alloy in the mixture. I repeat, the war furnishes ground for high encouragement. “Why,” some may exclaim, “we thought you were a peace man!” Yes, verily, I am, and none the less so because of these declarations. Would the cause of peace be the gainer by the substitution of the power of the rebel traitors over the nation for the supremacy of the democratic idea? Would the cause of peace be promoted by the North basely yielding up all her rights and allowing her free institutions to be overthrown? Certainly not. Then, as a peace man, I rejoice that the issue is at last made up, and that the struggle is going on, because I see in it the sign of ultimate redemption. . . . I do not know that some margin of allowance may not be made even for the Administration. I would rather be overmagnanimous than wanting in justice. Supposing Mr. Lincoln could answer to-night, and we should say to him: “Sir, with the power in your hands, slavery being the cause of the rebellion beyond all controversy, why don't you put the trump of jubilee to your lips, and proclaim universal freedom?” —possibly  he might answer: “Gentlemen, I understand this matter quite as well as you do. I do not know that I differ in opinion from you; but will you insure me the support of a united North if I do as you bid me? Are all parties and all sects at the North so convinced and so united on this point that they will stand by the Government? If so, give me the evidence of it, and I will strike the blow. But, gentlemen, looking over the entire North, and seeing in all your towns and cities papers representing a considerable, if not a formidable portion of the people, menacing and bullying the Government in case it dare to liberate the slaves, even as a matter of self-preservation, I do not feel that the hour has yet come that will render it safe for the Government to take that step.” 12 I am willing to believe that something of this feeling weighs in the mind of the President and the Cabinet, and that there is some ground for hesitancy, as a mere matter of political expediency. My reply, however, to the President would be: “Sir, the power is in your hands as President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy. Do your duty; give to the slaves their liberty by proclamation, as far as that can give it; and if the North shall betray you, and prefer the success of the rebellion to the preservation of the Union, let the dread responsibility be hers, but stand with God and Freedom on your side, come what may! ” But men high in office are not apt to be led by such lofty moral considerations; and, therefore, we should not judge the present incumbents too harshly. Doubtless, they want to be assured of the Northern heart, feeling, cooperation, approval. Can these be safely relied upon when the decisive blow shall be struck? That is the question, and it is a very serious question. . . . Nevertheless, I think the Administration is unnecessarily timid and not undeserving of rebuke. I think that this bellowing, bullying, treasonable party at the North has, after all, but very little left, either in point of numbers or power; the fangs of the viper are drawn, though the venomous feeling remains. Still, it has its effect, and produces a damaging, if not paralyzing, impression at Washington.In February Mr. Garrison lectured in Greenfield, Mass.,13 after attending the New York State Anti-Slavery14 Convention at Albany, and brought home a desperate cold which  clung to him for several months. It was during this period that Mr. Phillips made his first visit to Washington, where he delivered two lectures before brilliant15 audiences. He received marked attentions in both houses of Congress, and had an interview with Mr. Lincoln which increased his belief that the President was on the road to emancipation. He at once wrote back to Boston, urging that Mr. Garrison should follow him:
‘Assure Garrison that Washington is as safe to him as New16 York; that I think he ought to go on and lecture. He knows not the enthusiasm with which he will be received, nor the good he will do. One regret I have in going West is, that I lose the chance to come home and urge him on to it, and perhaps go with him. . . . He will be surprised, as I was, to find so many Music Hall faces there. On several occasions I came17 unexpectedly on two or three at a time.’This urgency being enforced by Mr. McKim and Oliver18 Johnson, Mr. Garrison wrote to the latter:
I have not yet been invited to visit Washington, and,19 therefore, have had no opportunity to accept or decline. But I am in no condition for public speaking, in consequence of the state of my throat and voice, and thus would be compelled to decline any invitation that might be proffered. I have paid dearly for my visit to Albany, as I did three years ago, though not to so great an extent. My cold has been severe and long protracted, but I am gradually throwing it off. Phillips's reception at Washington has roused up pro-slavery spite and malice in every direction. No doubt Kentuckians had very much to do in inciting the mobocratic assault upon him at Cincinnati. It is fortunate that he escaped without injury.20 The result of it, of course, will work well for our cause.Imprisoned by his cold and unable to speak or lecture, Mr. Garrison plied his pen industriously, and wrote three open letters, which, though addressed to George Thomp-21  son, were intended for those English abolitionists whose minds were still so befogged on the issues of the American war that they withheld their sympathies from the Federal Government. ‘Though,’ he wrote, “in view of all that has been written and published on the subject, I almost despair of removing that misapprehension in the slightest degree, yet, by the love I bear them, I feel impelled to address this letter to you—hoping it may not be wholly in vain.” Lib. 32.30. ‘As for yourself,’ he continued,
you need nothing from22 me, either by way of information or guidance, at this particular juncture. . . . Your mastery of American affairs is absolute: the key to unlock them is slavery, and of that key you took possession when you first came to this country in 1834, and have ever since used it with all possible skill, diligence, and success . . . . There are few Americans who are so well posted in the history of this country as yourself, while there is scarcely any one in England who seems to have any intelligent knowledge of it. Almost all your writers and public speakers are ever blundering in regard to the constitutional powers of the American Government, as such, and those pertaining to the States, in their separate capacity. Mr. Bright, in his masterly23 speech at Rochdale, evinced a power of analysis and correct generalization worthy of the highest praise, and has secured for himself the thanks and admiration of every true friend of free institutions. His case is as exceptional, however, as it is creditable.These letters no doubt helped to illumine the clouded minds of some of the anti-slavery friends in England, but the same steamer which bore the last of them across the Atlantic, carried also a message of President Lincoln's to24 Congress, which proved of potent service to Thompson and the few brave men who were sustaining the cause of the North against the overwhelming tide of adverse sentiment in Great Britain. In this message-one of the clumsiest documents the author of the Gettysburg Address ever penned—Mr. Lincoln recommended the adoption of25 a resolution by Congress to this effect: ‘That the United States, in order to cooperate with any State which may  adopt gradual abolition of slavery, give to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate it for the inconvenience, public and private, produced by such change of system’; and this was promptly passed by both houses, though opposed by the members from the Border States for which it was intended. The message arrested general attention as the first attempt of the President to formulate a plan looking to the abolition of slavery; and the evidence of a desire on his part to initiate measures to this end, gradual and indefinite as they were, sufficed to turn the current of popular feeling abroad, and to win sympathy hitherto withheld from the Government by those who were indifferent to the constitutional questions involved in the struggle.26 Mr. Phillips, in a lecture before the Emancipation League of Boston,27 four days later, welcomed the28 message, with his ‘whole heart,’ as “one more sign of promise.” Lib. 32.42. ‘If the President has not entered Canaan,’ he declared, ‘he has turned his face Zionward’; and he justly interpreted the message as saying, in effect: ‘Gentlemen of the Border States, now is your time. If you want your money, take it, and if hereafter I should take your slaves without paying, don't say I did not offer to do it.’ To Mr. Garrison the message caused less elation, for it proposed no limitation as to the period in which the offer might be accepted, held out no inducement for any State to emancipate its slaves immediately, and made no distinction  between the rebel and ‘so-called loyal slave States.’ ‘Why wait,’ he asked in the Liberator, “for the dealers in human flesh to determine when they will deem it advisable to cease from their villany as a matter of pecuniary advantage and cunning speculation with the Government, when the Government is clothed with constitutional power to dispose of the whole matter at once, without any huckstering or delay? ‘ Let Justice be done, though the heavens fall.’ President Lincoln, delay not at your peril! ‘Execute judgment in the morning—break every yoke—let the oppressed go free.’ ” Lib. 32.42. To Oliver Johnson he wrote: “I am afraid the President's message will prove ‘a decoy duck’ or ‘ a red herring,’ so as to postpone that decisive action by Congress which we are so desirous of seeing. Let us advocate no postponement of duty.” Ms. Mar. 18, 1862. Though not yet prepared for ‘decisive action,’ Congress was by no means inactive during the long spring session of 1862, and the record of its anti-slavery legislation was enough to show the irresistible sweep of the current towards freedom. In February it passed an act29 forbidding army officers to return fugitive slaves to their masters; in April it decreed immediate emancipation in the District of Columbia, and thus finally purged the nation's capital of the stain of slavery;30 in June it forever prohibited slavery in all the Territories, and authorized the President to appoint diplomatic representatives to Hayti and Liberia; in July it declared free all slaves of rebel masters coming within the lines of the Union army or found in any place vacated by the rebels, and authorized the President to ‘employ persons of African descent for the suppression of the rebellion, and organize and use them in such manner as he may judge best for the public welfare.’ It also provided for the education of colored children, and the equal administration of the laws to the colored people, in the District of Columbia; passed a  bill for the more effectual suppression of the African slave trade; and provided for the enrolment of colored soldiers. All these measures received the prompt approval of the President, but in May he again disappointed the high31 hopes he had thus raised, by revoking the proclamation issued ten days earlier by Major-General David Hunter, commanding the Department of the South, at Hilton Head, S. C. With delightful pithiness, this old West-Pointer announced that, as the States of Georgia, Florida,32 and South Carolina had taken up arms against the United States, it had become necessary to declare them under martial law. ‘Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible,’ he continued. ‘The persons in these three States . . . heretofore held as slaves are therefore declared forever free.’ Mr. Lincoln did not wait to receive official notification of this from General Hunter, but based his revoking33 proclamation on the information contained in the public prints; and, after declaring the act unauthorized and void, and announcing that he must reserve to himself to decide ‘whether at any time, or in any case, it shall have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government to exercise such supposed power,’ he besought the slave States to consider, ere it was too late, the offer of Congress to cooperate with them in any34 scheme of gradual, compensated emancipation. ‘You cannot,’ he added significantly, ‘be blind to the signs of the times.’ ‘President Lincoln!’ exclaimed Mr. Garrison, at the close of his sharp criticisms on the proclamation, “ ‘canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? Will he make many supplications unto thee?’ ” Lib. 32.82. Nevertheless, while renewing his criticisms at the May meetings in Boston, and pressing home to the President the responsibility which the latter had now assumed of speaking or withholding the word which would give freedom to millions of his fellow-creatures, he was again careful to balance the scales justly and make all possible allowances for him  in his trying and difficult position, when other speakers seemed too sweeping in their denunciations.35 ‘Those who hold office by the will of the people,’ he reminded them,36 ‘cannot be judged wholly like private men.’ And he further declared: “The gains of freedom have been so rapid and magnificent that we fail to appreciate them.” Lib. 32.90. The nineteen resolutions which he drafted for the Convention, and which were adopted by a rising vote, fully recognized these, however, while emphasizing what remained to be done. At the New York meetings, earlier37 in the month, he presented a carefully prepared “Statement of the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society,” Lib. 32.74. referring to the omission of the annual meeting the previous year, and defining the position of the Society in view of the altered state of things.38 Boston Mr. Garrison went to the Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends at Longwood, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he spoke repeatedly during the four days sessions, and prepared the Testimony of the meeting on Slavery and the Rebellion, as well as on Peace. At his suggestion, a Memorial to the President was also prepared, and naturally the task of drafting it fell to him. Two weeks later a delegation appointed by the meeting waited upon President Lincoln at the White House, and Oliver Johnson as their spokesman read the Appeal:
The President received the delegation with courtesy and respect, and listened attentively to the reading of the  Memorial. He questioned whether a decree of44 emancipation would be more binding on the South than the Constitution itself, which could not now be enforced there, but was reminded by Mr. Johnson that he did not on that account relax his efforts to enforce it, and that the memorialists believed emancipation to be indispensable to his success. He then said that he felt the magnitude of the task before him, and hoped to be rightly directed in the very trying circumstances by which he was surrounded. Finally, in response to a few words of sympathy and earnest appeal from William Barnard, who quoted the words of Mordecai to Queen Esther (‘For if thou altogether boldest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed; and who knowest whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’), Mr. Lincoln spoke feelingly and impressively, observing that he was deeply sensible of his need of Divine assistance. He had sometimes thought that he might be an instrument in God's hands of accomplishing a great work, and he certainly was not unwilling to be. Perhaps, however, God's way of accomplishing the end which the memorialists had in view might be different from theirs. It would be his earnest endeavor, with a firm reliance on the Divine arm, and seeking light from above, to do his duty in the place to which he had been called.45 All through the summer the pressure upon the President increased. Individuals and delegations waited upon him and urged him to proclaim emancipation, but two ideas still possessed his mind—to induce the Border States to agree to his scheme of gradual or immediate46 emancipation, as they might elect; and to institute a movement for the removal and colonization of the freed people. The first scheme he again presented to Congress  in a message accompanying the draft of a bill curious47 alike for its fatuity and its financiering, for no temporal limit was suggested within which emancipation must be48 accomplished, and provision was actually made for the reestablishment of slavery, if any State should so elect, by gravely stipulating that in such case the State in question should refund to the United States the interest paid by the latter on the indemnity bonds they were to furnish to the States adopting gradual emancipation, and the bonds themselves should become void.49 Nothing in the bill implied that it was to apply only to the loyal (Border) States, and under its terms the rebellious States could have claimed, had they yielded and consented to it, payment for their tens of thousands of slaves already liberated by the Union armies; the indemnity provided by the General Government being based on the census of 1860, at the outbreak of the rebellion. To assume that States which had already repudiated their debts and their Constitutional obligations, and robbed the Government of millions of dollars' worth of property, could be trusted to refund anything they had once obtained, was certainly an extraordinary manifestation of confidence; but any uneasiness lest the amazing proposition should be seriously considered by those to whom it was made, was speedily set at rest by the promptness with which most of the members of Congress from the Border States pronounced against it, and declared it useless to expect their States to respond to it. This opinion they expressed in writing, after a50 personal interview with the President in which he warned51 them that slavery in their States would perish “by mere friction and abrasion,” Lib. 32.119. if the war continued, and they had better sell their slaves now while the Government was willing to pay for them. ‘In repudiating [General Hunter's proclamation],’ he added, ‘I gave dissatisfaction, if not offence, to many whose support the country cannot afford to lose. And this is not the end of it.  The pressure in this direction is still upon me, and is increasing.’ In the same interview he held out the bait of colonization of the freed people as an additional palliative, saying: ‘I do not speak of emancipation at once, but of a decision at once to emancipate gradually. Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply and in abundance; and when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be so reluctant to go.’52 Five weeks later, having procured an appropriation from Congress with which to make a colonizing experiment, Mr. Lincoln invited a number of representative colored men to hold audience with him at the White House, and appealed to them to second53 his efforts to establish a colony in Central America, where some American speculators had recently acquired coal mines for which they wished to procure laborers. It seems scarcely credible that a man of such rare shrewdness and common-sense as Mr. Lincoln usually manifested, could have talked such amazing nonsense as he discoursed in this hour's interview. Mr. Garrison, to whom the suggestions of gradualism and colonization brought up old memories, promptly pilloried these remarks of the President in the ‘Refuge of Oppression,’ pronouncing them ‘puerile, absurd, illogical, impertinent, untimely.’ At54 this distance of time it is impossible to read the President's remarks with either gravity or indignation, but it is quite otherwise with the pathetic story of the dismal collapse of the experiment in colonization actually made in Hayti.55 Early in August Mr. Garrison visited Williamstown,  Mass., and delivered an address before the Adelphic Union56 Society of Williams College, which had extended the first invitation of the kind ever received by him. “My ‘college oration’ is almost completed,” Ms. he wrote to Oliver Johnson, on July 31, “and will be entirely so to-day. I have written it out in full, as you and McKim advised, and so I feel great relief in knowing certainly what I am going to say. But, oh! the bondage and drawback of reading it, as though I had never seen it before!—for I cannot remember two sentences consecutively. Such confinement in delivery will be extremely irksome to me, and, I fear, tedious to the audience; but I am ‘in for it,’ and must do the best I can.” J. M. McKim. To his son Wendell he wrote, on Aug. 1:
My address is not quite completed, but nearly so. It is simply a serious, straightforward anti-slavery arraignment of the guilt of the nation, and showing why the present national visitation has come upon us. I have written it without a metaphor, or a single flight of the imagination, or anything to relieve its sombre aspect. To old abolitionists it would be trite, but to the mass of my audience it will, perhaps, be ‘as good as new.’ . . . One gets weary, however, in the constant affirmation of these moral truisms, which would seem to be as plain to every mind as the midday sun is to the vision. Ms.The draft became necessary, however, and as the time for it approached, Mr. Garrison discussed in two full and elaborate editorials the problems presented by its62 application to the non-resistants and abolitionists, and their duty in the premises. In these he maintained that the former (only a handful, really), who had consistently refrained from voting or taking any part in politics and government on conscientious grounds, ought to be exempt from its operation, but that all professed peace men (including the Quakers) who voted, and by their votes elected as their agents a President and members of Congress, bound by their oaths to defend the Government by military and naval force if necessary, had no just claim  to exemption. In some States the Quakers were by law free from all military liabilities, on account of their peace principles, but this, he protested, was “conceding to a sect what belongs to conscience, irrespective of sect,” Lib. 32.150. and so was manifestly unjust. ‘For he who believes in total abstinence from war as a Christian duty, though a member of no religious body, ought to have the same toleration as though he wore a Quaker dress and belonged to a Quaker society.’
Now, as an apostle pertinently inquired in his own day,63 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” —so, we say that he who votes to empower Congress to declare war, and to provide the necessary instruments of war, and to constitute the President commander-in-chief of the army and navy, has no right, when war actually comes, to plead conscientious scruples as a peace man; but is bound to stand by his vote, or else to make confession of wrong-doing and take his position outside of the Government. He cannot be allowed to strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel; to play fast and loose with his conscience; to make the amplest provisions for war, and then beg to be excused from its dangers and hardships in deference to his peace sentiments. The Government has a right to apply this test, and the voter has no right to complain when it is rigidly enforced in his own case. But we submit to all the people, that such as wholly abstain from voting to uphold the Constitution because of its war provisions, and thus religiously exclude themselves from all share in what are deemed official honors and emoluments, ought not to be drafted in time of war, or compelled to pay an equivalent, or go to prison for disobedience. If conscience is to be respected and provided for in any case, it is in theirs. We know of no law, however, for their exemption; and, therefore, some of them may be drafted, and put to a trial of their faith. In that case, let them possess their souls in patience and serenity, and meet without any outcry, “ as though some strange thing had happened unto them,” whatever penalty may follow their non-compliance with the draft. There is no loss, but great gain, in suffering for righteousness' sake. They surely knew the liabilities to which they subjected themselves,  when they gave in their adhesion to the principles of Non-Resistance; and they will not try to shirk the cross when it is presented, but rejoice that they are counted worthy to bear it. One thing they can and should do, in order to prevent any misconceptions as to their feelings and views in relation to the conduct of those who have risen up in rebellion; and that is, denounce it as horribly perfidious, and as having for its object the overthrow of every safeguard of popular liberty, and register their testimony that the Government has exercised no injustice towards the South, nor given any occasion for such a treasonable outbreak. Thus defining their position, it will be seen by the nation that they are acting in a manner as just and discriminating toward the Government as it is upright and conscientious on their part. It can hardly be asked by any Non-Resistant, “How, if drafted, about hiring a substitute?” because what we do by another as our agent or representative, we do ourselves. To hire a substitute is, as a matter of principle, precisely the same as to go to the battle-field in person. “But if the alternative be, to pay a stipulated sum to the Government, or else be imprisoned or shot, may we pay the Fine?” That is a matter for the individual conscience to decide. Speaking personally, we see no violation of Non-Resistance principles in paying the money; because it is a choice presented between different forms of suffering, and, “ other things being equal,” it will be natural to wish to avoid as much of it as the case will admit. Thus, a highwayman, placing his pistol to our head, demands in our helplessness, “ Your money, or your life!” To part with the money is certainly more reasonable than to part with life; nor, in yielding it, do we give any sanction to the demand. But if the highwayman should say, “Your money, and an acknowledgment of my right to extort it, or your life,” then there would be no alternative but to die, or else prove recreant to truth and honesty. “But,” it may be said, “though I should refuse to hire a substitute, yet, if I pay the price demanded, will not the Government take the money and apply it for that purpose? And is there any essential moral difference here?” We think there is. In hiring a substitute yourself, you actively sustain the war, and become an armed participant in it, and so violate the principles which you profess to revere. In paying a tax, you passively submit to the exaction, which, in itself, commits no violence upon others, but is only a transfer of so much property to other  hands. If, then, the Government shall proceed to apply it to war purposes, the responsibility will rest with the Government, not with you. This is the light in which we regard it: still, we offer no other suggestion than this— “Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind.” We shall honor none the less him who may feel it his duty to take the most afflicting alternative, as the most effectual method to meet the issue before the community. Of that he must be the judge; and especially must he be sure to count the cost and act intelligently.64With regard to abolitionists who were not non-resistants, and who had hitherto abstained from voting on account of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution, the argument showed that as the Union was dissolved and the Government had the war-power to abolish slavery (even in the Border States, Mr. Garrison maintained), ‘every obstacle to Constitutional Emancipation is taken65 out of the way, and the Government is, and must be, if true to itself, wholly on the side of liberty. Such a government can receive the sanction and support of every abolitionist, whether in a moral or military point of view.’ It was a happy coincidence that the same number of the Liberator in which this article appeared should also contain President Lincoln's first Emancipation Proclamation,66 promising a final edict of freedom to the slaves in all States or parts of States which should be in rebellion against the Government on the first of January following,67  and that the editor could thus cite it as evidence of the anti-slavery purpose of the Administration. His first feeling, however, on carefully reading the document, was not one of exultation, and a friend who called to68 congratulate him, the morning it appeared, was surprised to find how quietly he took it, and wondered at his lack of enthusiasm; but having indulged the hope that the proclamation, if issued, would be unreserved and sweeping, he was disappointed and disturbed that the President should confine it to the rebellious States, giving them one hundred days of grace, and should couple with it his scheme for gradual and compensated emancipation in the Border States, and for colonization.69 Still, he welcomed it as ‘an important step in the right direction,70 and an71 act of immense historic consequence,’ and commended especially the clauses in which the President enjoined the army and navy to obey and enforce the anti-slavery acts already passed by Congress. He congratulated Mr.72 Lincoln, too, on the abuse now heaped upon him by the semidisloyal Democratic press which had so lately praised him without stint. Only a fortnight before, he was fearing73 that its influence and that of the Border States had become all-powerful with the President.
Lincoln's annual message to Congress in December made a last plea for the scheme of compensated emancipation broached in his July message, and proposed a constitutional amendment by which any State abolishing slavery by or before the year 1900 should be entitled to compensation from the Federal Government. A single point illustrates how far Mr. Lincoln yet was from putting  himself in the slave's place, and ‘remembering those in bonds as bound with them,’ for he frankly stated his wish to postpone the day of emancipation so far that the75 present oppressors would not live to see it, and so need not be concerned about it; whilst the slaves, consigned to life-long bondage, were to console themselves with the ‘inspiriting assurance’ that their posterity would be free forever! But the proposed amendment made no provision whatever for the abolition of slavery in 1900 in such slave States as might not then have enacted it; and, as in the July message, the right to reestablish it was admitted by the stipulation that in that case the Federal Government should be reimbursed.76 In view of this menace to the promised emancipation edict of January 1, the abolitionists had no option but to go on, and Mr. Garrison, in writing the call for the annual Subscription Festival on which the maintenance of the American Society depended, rehearsed the reasons for continued effort. The disagreeable alternative was also forced upon him, in common with all other newspaper publishers, of raising the subscription price of the Liberator, or suspending its publication, the price of paper having doubled in consequence of the scarcity of cotton; and, choosing the former, he advanced the price from $2.50 to $3.00 with the new year. In a frank statement of the exigencies of the Liberator, and a retrospective glance at its history and career, he announced that the recent marvellous change in public sentiment had wrought no advantage to its subscription-list. ‘Other journals,’ he continued, ‘have77 carefully consulted this change, and given the milk needed for new-born babes, so that more is published every day on the subject of slavery, pro and con, by the newspaper press than used to be in the course of years. That others have entered into our labors, and reaped the advantage thereof, we do not regret; it has followed in the nature  of things, and is what we gladly looked for from the beginning. But it explains why our circulation remains unaided by the cheering revolution which has taken place.’78 A quick and generous response from long-tried79 friends and subscribers insured the Liberator another year's continuance. The last number of the year contained a letter from George Thompson, who, after laboring indefatigably to inform the English public on the issues involved in the American conflict, and delivering many addresses in various parts of Great Britain,80 was now able to announce the formation of a large and influential Emancipation Society in London, for the vigorous and systematic prosecution of the same work. The nucleus of this organization was the London Emancipation Committee, a little band of Mr. Garrison's friends who had for several years  labored to excite public interest in the American antislavery movement, and to maintain the active alliance and cooperation established and fostered by him in his three visits to England. Thompson himself was the chairman, and his son-in-law, Frederick W. Chesson, the secretary, of this Committee. The enlarged Society included such men as John Stuart Mill, John Bright, Richard Cobden, Lord Houghton, Samuel Lucas, William E. Forster, Peter A. Taylor, Goldwin Smith, Justin McCarthy, Thomas Hughes, James Stansfeld, Jr., Prof. J. E. Cairnes, Herbert Spencer, Prof. Francis W. Newman, Rev. Baptist Noel, and Rev. Newman Hall, most of whom rendered direct and important service; but the organizer and tireless spirit of the movement was Mr. Chesson, to whose wide acquaintance with public men, unfailing tact and address, thorough information, and extraordinary industry and executive ability, a very large measure of credit for its success was due. The most cordial and sympathetic relations existed between the Society and Minister Adams and Secretary Moran of the American Legation. Its first task was to evoke such expressions of popular sympathy with the American Government in all parts of the kingdom as would effectually deter the English Government from listening to Napoleon's schemes of intervention in favor of the South, and permitting the escape from English ports of other piratical cruisers like the Alabama, and to counteract the plottings of Mason and other rebel81 emissaries in London. To the organizations which were the legitimate and direct outgrowth of Mr. Garrison's antislavery missions to England82 were largely due the successful  accomplishment of that work, and the enormous advantage which thereby accrued to the American cause.83 But without the Proclamation of Emancipation to conjure with, the task would have been infinitely greater, if not impossible. On the eve of its issue, George Thompson wrote to Mr. Garrison as follows: