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Rev. Dr. Bacon:

Dear Sir, —

The undersigned, having listened to your Discourse delivered last
evening, and believing that the sentiments therein embodied are such as are enter-
tained by every friend of our Government, and that the dissemination of them would
be productive of much good, would respectfully request a copy for publication.









New Haven, Jult/ 21, 18fi2.

Messrs. Hervcy San ford, Esq., Timothy Bishop, Esq., Joseph P. Thompson, D.D.,S. W.
S. Button, B. B., Arthur Tappan, Esq., Hon. Henry Peck, and others :

Gentlemen,— The discourse which you ask for is at your disposal. If, wheu
printed, it shall have the effect of making the readers feel more deeply that we have
no occasion to discuss the questions that have been raised about the theory of the war
or the method of conducting it ; that the war itself, vigorously prosecuted, will iuevitablj
carry with it the solution of those questions ; that as a nation we are under the neces-
sity either to conquer this rebellion, or to be conquered and subjugated by it; and
that the first duty of government and people at this crisis is to defend the Constitution
and the Union at whatever cost, freely sacrificing wealth and life to save the country ;
I shall uot regret that I have permitted it to go before «-he public in this form.

Very respectfully,


New Haven, Juli/ 28, 18G2.


Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

There had long been a schism, or separation, among the tribes
of Israel ; Judah and Benjamin on one side, Ephraim and the
nine remaining tribes on the other. Piety and patriotism alike
inspired the hope of a time when the disastrous secession, which
had for its corner-stone the worship of the golden calf at
Bethel, should be no more. Such a hope was warranted, im-
plicitly by God's ancient covenant with Israel, and explicitly
by the prophetic word which I have read. The time would
come when Israel should be again one people — when the envy
or hatred of Ephraim should depart, and the adversaries of
Judah, long emboldened by the secession of the ten tribes,
should be cut off — when Ephraim should no more envy Judah,
and Judah should not vex Ephraim.

Our country is now in the agony of a war which, in the
wickedness of the conspiracy that brought it on, in the false-
hood of the pretenses under which it was begun, in the breadth
of the area over which it extends, in the resources by which it
is sustained, and the energy with which those resources have
been developed and employed on both sides, and in the gran-
deur of the interests which it involves, has rarely been equaled
in this world's history. Being a civil war — a war with enemies
at home who are our own countrymen — a war with treason
and insurrection — it is more dreadful in its nature than any


foreign war can be ; inasmuch as a brother offended is harder
to be won than a strong city, and inasmuch as it tends con-
tiinially to a desperate exasperation.

Yet we may say that hitherto this war has not been con-
ducted, on the part of our government, in any spirit of malig-
nant vindicliveness ; nor has such a spirit been aroused, to any
consideralile extent, among the loyal people of the United
States. Among all loyal citizens, as well as on the part of our
civil and military leaders, the feeling prevails that the war is to
be prosecuted not for vengeance, nor for any needless destruc-
tion, but only for the purpose of upholding against rebellion,
and confirming forever, the best government that God ever
gave to any people. Even strangers who have been among us,
and who Avere not unwilling to report any truth that might be
unfavorable to us, have taken notice of the fact that the war is
not prosecuted on our part in a malignant spirit. We are de-
fending the great principle of popular self-government under a
written constitution ; and that principle we are determined to
establish. We are defending the life of the nation — the union
of these States in a common government with a common
citizenship. We are defending the old flag, not in the rage of
unreasoning passion, nor merely for the memories that gather
around it and the historic glory that flashes from its stars, but
because it is the symbol of that Union which was confirmed
and perfected by the Constitution, and which guarantees to
every State the principle of republican self-government.
Wicked conspirators have undertaken to destroy the righteous
and beneficent government which God has ordained in these
United States ; and it is ours, as the servants of God, in behalf
of our common country, and in behalf of all coming ages,
to defend that government, at whatever cost, against the con-
spirators and the misguided hordes whom they, by the com-
bined power of delusion and of terror, have subjected to their
sway. The restoration of our national government, wherever
it has been temporarily subverted, is not the subjugation of the
people there to a sovereign power in which they axe not to


participate — it is in fact their restoration to a joint self-govern-
ment with us — the restoration of each revolted State to all its
rights and powers as a member of the Union.

It was to just this view of the war that our government com-
mitted itself at the beginning by an almost unanimous vote in
both Houses of Congress. Our national manifesto was made
more than one year ago in these words :

" Resolved, — That the present deplorable civil war has been
forced upon the country by the disunionists of the Southern
States, now in arms against the Constitutional Government,
and in arms around the Capital : that in this national emergency
Congress, banishing all feelings of mere passion or resentment,
will recollect only its duty to the whole country ; that this war
is not waged on their part in any spirit of oppression, or for any
purpose of conquest or subjugation, or purpose of overthrowing
or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those
States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Con-
stitution, and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equal-
ity and rights of the several States unimpaired ; and that as
soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease."

According to this view, which is unquestionably the right
view, our ultimate aim, while we stand in arms, and offer our
sons and ourselves in sacrifice, must be the conciliation of
the now revolted States. I do not say that we must conciliate
the perjured leaders of the rebellion. I do not say that we are
to conciliate and win over the Jefferson Davis, the Alexander
H. Stephens, the Judah P. Benjamin, the Peter Soule, the
Henry A. Wise, the John B. Floyd, or any of the felons, more
or less conspicuous, who have been active and forward either
in planning or in executing the great treason. I do not say
that any of the men who, having been educated at the nation's
expense, and having worn the nation's livery in the army or
the navy, have deserted the nation in its hour of peril, and
with a guilt like parricide have joined in the attempt against
the nation's life, must be conciliated and coaxed to repeat the
paths they have already broken, lyet each individual traitor


receive that justice which the public safety may require, or
that mercy which the public safety may permit. What I say
is only that this conflict cannot terminate safely otherwise than
as the now revolted States shall be thoroughly conciliated to
the Union. Each of those States must come to its place in the
Union — must accept the Federal Constitution as paramount to
any constitution, law, or ordinance of its own — not sullenly,
but willingly, as California or Kansas came into the Union —
willingly, as Connecticut or Ohio remains in the Union. What
we want as the termination of this conflict is peace — not a
hollow truce, exploding into war again, but permanent peace,
hearty peace, a true conciliation.

This then is our duty in the prosecution of the present war, —
the duty of the citizen, the duty of the government. Our con-
flict is with the enemies of our country, who have risen in
causeless rebellion against our common government. If we
suppress that rebellion, if we punish the traitors, if our vic-
tories restore the Union and the Constitution wherever the re-
bellion is now dominant, we must remember — the government
must remember — every loyal citizen must remember — that all
this will be of little worth, until the revolted States shall be
thoroughly and heartily conciliated to the Union. We must
remember also that whenever, and by whatever righteous
method, such a conciliation can be effected, the conflict should
immediately cease.

The great question then — the question to be pondered by the
highest statesmanship — the question to be earnestly considered
by every citizen on whose heart the country's peril is a con-
stant burden — the question that should be proposed every-
where, and viewed in every light — is the question whether
such a conciliation is possible, and under what conditions.
How is the ultimate end of this war on our part to be attained ?
Various methods of conciliation are indistinctly proposed in
various quarters. Let us distinguish them from each other,
and examine them in succession, that we may see whether
there is in any of them a reasonable ground of hope, and that


we may avoid the errors and the mutual misunderstanding
which are inevitable among those who will not take pains to
know distinctly what their own thoughts are.

T. One method of conciliation is indistinctly suggested by
some who would probably speak out more clearly if they dared.
Let us not be afraid to state it fairly and to look at it delibe-
rately. I mean the method of conciliation by submission to
the demands on which the rebellion is founded. Doubtless
the Union might be ''reconstructed," (not restored,) if the
loyal States would give up the old Federal Constitution, and
adopt the Constitution which has been framed for the govern-
ment of the Confederate States, (so called) ; if they would pull
down everywhere the old flag and run up the stars and bars
in place of the stars and stripes ; and if they would apply for
admission into the confederacy that has its capitol just now at
Richmond. Or, without going quite so far, we might win
back the rebels by conceding to them all that they demanded
before their secession as the indispensable condition of their
remaining in the Union. If this method of conciliation is in-
trinsically right, and if it will gain for us a firm and lasting
peace, the humiliation which it involves on our part is not a
valid reason for refusing to consider it. If submission is right
and will secure the peace of our country forever, let us submit.
But before we resort to this method of conciliation let us un-
derstand distinctly what it involves. What is it that we are to
do in the act of making our submission ?

1. First of all, we surrender the fundamental principle of our
national government and of our national unity and internal
peace — the principle which makes the secession of a State, at
its own discretion, impossible without treason. The words in
which the Constitution of the United States defines and affirms
this principle, and binds the States into a nation, are plain.
" This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which
shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the authority of the United States,
shall be the supreme law of the land ; and the judges in every

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State shall be bound thereby, any tiling in the constitution or
laws of any State to the contrary notioithstanding.'^ And then
to make it sure that there shall be no secession without perjury
as well as treason, the provision is added that not only Senators
and Representatives in Congress, but " the members of the several
State legislatures, and all executive and judicial officersi, both
of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound
by oath or affirmation to support this constitution." Thus the
founders of our government, in the marvellous wisdom which
God gave them for their work, established " a more perfect
Union," forever indissoluble, in the place of a feeble confede-
racy which could make no law, and whose treaties with foreign
powers were impotent. We surrender this cardinal principle
of our Union — we lose, irrecoverably, this bond of our national
life — whenever we yield to an act or a threat of secession, or
admit that there can be secession without perjury and treason.
2. Another element in this method of conciliation is, that
we give up the right of the people to elect a President, by a
constitutional majority, in accordance with constitutional ar-
rangements. You remember what it was that was seized upon
as the pretext and occasion of rebellion, namely, the election
of a President not acceptable to a minority of the States. There
was no pretense that the election had deviated in any particular
from the letter or the meaning of the Constitution. Nothing
was pretended, save that the majority had not submitted to the
dictation of the minority. On that occasion, the attempt was
made to subvert the American principle of goverment by the
free choice of a constitutional majority, and to introduce the
Mexican principle of government by pronunciamiento and revo-
lution. If we are to conciliate the revolted States by submit-
ing to the demands on which the rebellion rests, we must con-
cede to those States henceforth a right of veto on every elec-
tion that happens to displease them ; and instead of the old
principle of constitutional government by the votes of the ma-
jority, we must establish the principle of unconstitutional gov-
ernment by the will of the minority.


3. [f we are to obtain peace by submission, we must consent
to nationalize slavery, I am aware that many have no objec-
tion to this. Before the commencement of the rebellion, a
very large portion of the people, even in those States whose
laws abhor slavery, were quite willing that slavery, instead
of being what it once was, the peculiar institution of certain
States, the creature entirely of local and municipal law,
should be recognized as a national institution ; that the law
of slavery, and the consequent traffic in human flesh, should
be carried by national authority into all the territories ; and
that our national government, instead of being adminis-
tered in the interest of universal liberty, should be admin-
istered with a jealous care for the perpetuity and propagation
of negro slavery. I do not now argue with such citizens,
if any such are here. I do not reproach them. They see no

wrong in the slavery which exists in those revolted States

no injustice to men — nothing that contravenes the love or kin-
dles the displeasure of God, and therefore they are quite willing
to have that slavery become and remain forever a national in-
stead of a local insiitution. But I beg them to remember, that

with a great and growing multitude of their fellow-citizens

probably with a majority of the men and women of these loyal
States, antipathy to slavery (including the hideous trade in
human beings) is not a prejudice merely that can be conquered
at command, but is an earnest religious conviction, grounded
immovably in their deepest moral instincts, and sanctioned by
their allegiance to God, If you can persuade the people of
these loyal States to nationalize the peculiar institutions of
Utah, and to acknowledge Brigham Young as a prophet di-
vinely commissioned, — if, by some political jugglery, yoiLcan
transfer their worship from the God of the Bible to Juo-o-erhaut
or to Moloch ; then may you in like manner bring them to
consent that slavery, or the ownership of one human being
by another, with all the power over body and soul which that
ownership includes, shall be nationalized under a Constitution
which refuses even to acknowledge the possibility of i^uch a
thing, and which stigmatises all forms of Ufe-service as detri-

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mental to the public welfare, by incorporatiug among its funda-
mental arrangements the principle tliat, for all the uses of the
commonwealth, a person of whatever complexion who is held
to service otherwise than for a term of years, is worth only
three-fifths as much as a free negro,

4. But this is not all. If we are to conciliate by concession
and submission, we must go further and suppress the right of
opinion and of utterance in regard to slavery. It will be of no
avail to nationalize slavery by Congressional legislation or by ju-
dicial edicts — to repeal the law which has emancipated the slaves
at the seat of our national government — to open every territory
for the import and sale of human cattle — to make New York the
emporium and chief depot of the internal slave trade, so long as
men in any portion of our common country are permitted to
say from the pulpit, or through the press, or on the platform of
popular harangue, or before any ecclesiastical synod or legisla-
tive assembly, that the enslaving of human beings convicted of
no crime, is a stupendous wrong. There, as we all know — in
that liberty of thought and utterance — is the foremost of all
the grievances on which this rebellion is founded. In these
States, the people have abolished slavery, or have never per-
mitted it to obtain a footing. In these States, freedom of
thought and utterance on all public uistitutions and interests,
and on all questions of morality or of human right and
human duty, is deemed essential to the safety of the com-
monwealth. Accordingly, in all these States, not a few voices
have been uttered in condemnation of slavery. The pecu-
liar institution of the slave-holding States has been discussed
in its moral aspect, as plainly contrary to luiiversal prin-
ciples of justice, — in its social bearings, as adverse to all the
progress of true civilization, — in its political influence, as es-
sentially hostile to popular self-government, — and in its eco-
nomical relations as inevitably wasteful and unthrifty. Doubt-
less these discussions have not been in all respects what they
should have been. Doubtless their value has been greatly
impaired by the admixture of bad logic, bad rhetoric, and bad
temper. Doubtless the enthusiasm of zeal for justice and of

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pity for the oppressed has too often degenerated into fanaticism.
But all these things are only the unavoidable incidents of that
freedom to think and to speak, to Avrite and to print, which is
the safeguard of all other liberty. We know the inconven-
iences of free speech and a free press — there are many to whom
a free pulpit is almost intolerable ; but we tolerate these in-
conveniences because the liberty of which they are the disa-
greeable incidents is invaluable. Yet if we are to take up this
method of conciliation — conciliation by submission, we must
suppress all freedom of thought and speech. Law, and lynch-
law — the magistrate, and the vigilance committee outrunning
the slowness of the magistrate — the jail, and, more effective
than any legal penalty, the ignominy of tar and feathers, the
cruel scourge inflicted by sentence of the mob, the ready rope
and nearest tree — nuist guard the institution of slavery, here
as well as in the slaveholding States, against every word of
reprobation, or even of inquiry. Nothing less will serve the
purpose, if this is to be the method of conciliation.

It is plain then that conciliation on the plan of conceding the
demands of the rebellion, is an impossibility. Even if it were
possible to cajole or coerce the majority of the loyal people into
such concessions, what would come of it ? Peace, think you ?
No ! nothing less than a perpetual storm of agitation. Think
you that what you call " Abolitionism," would be suppressed
by such a compact ? Are you so ignorant as not to know that
though the martyrdoms for protestation against slavery should
be more numerous than the martyrdoms for Protestantism in
the reign of Mary, or the martyrdoms for Christianity in the
reign of Domitian, a host of living witnesses would spring from
the ashes of every martyr ; and " fanaticism," as you call it,
would become tenfold more fanatical, and tenfold more con-
tagious, under the heat of persecution ?

II. Turning now from this impracticable method of con-
ciliation, we encounter the proposal to conciliate those revolted
States by consenting to their attempted separation from the
Union. It cannot be doubted that there are many who would

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be willing to conciliate in this way. This is what our philan-
thropic advisers on the other side of the ocean, who dread the
growing power of our republic and its influence for the re-
jiublican cause in Europe, are urging upon us. At first sight
it seems a hopeful method. We are told that thus we may rid
our nation of the incumbrance and disgrace of slavery. We are
told that even after such a separation, the imperial extent and
resources of our country would be the envy of the world.
We are told that after a few years of peace, the dissevered
union may begin to be restored. We are told that, at least, we
shall stay the effusion of blood — shall disband our armies — shall
save this lavish expenditure which is loading us and our pos-
terity with an incalculable public debt. There is much per-
suasion in these thoughts ; but let us think deliberately what
is implied in such a division of the Union.

1. This method proposes that there shall be, henceforth, two
nations in what is now one country. Think how those two
nations will be related to each other. No natural barrier will
hold them apart. Here an invisible parallel of latitude, there a
river, there the height of land between two streams, will con-
stitute the boundary. On the two sides of such a boundary,
there will be two nations of kindred blood, with one language,
with similar forms of government, at least for the present, but
with systems of policy, at home and abroad, irreconcilably
opposite. On one side of the line every thing is subordinated
to the institution of slavery ; and the chief end of the national
policy, at home and abroad, is to guard, to strengthen, and to
propagate that barbarous institution. On the other side, all are
free ; and society is jealous and sensitive for the liberty of the
humblest individual. On one side is the slave-market, where
men, women and children are purchased of all comers, and no
impertinent questions asked about where the merchandise came
from. On the other side are free negroes — in all a quarter of a
million, and perhaps three times as many — men, women, and
little children, whose price, in a not distant market, will pay
for the risk of stealing them. What will be the result ? Is

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there any body here too ignorant to answer ? Can we live
with a nation of kidnappers, separated from us only by that
boundary line ?

2. And where shall that boundary line be drawn ? — and how ?
Look on the map and see. Shall it cross the Mississippi, and
sever the upper waters of that " father of waters " from the
lower? Think you that the people of the great north-western
States, whose streams, descending from the Rocky Moun-
tains on the west, and from the AUeghanies on the east, dis-
charge themselves through that great continental artery into
the gulf of Mexico, will ever permit a flag not theirs to wave


Online LibraryLeonard BaconConciliation → online text (page 1 of 2)