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[TO THE AMERICA^ « 4>\GRESS AND AMERICAN PEOPLE.]



'7



EXTINCTION OF SLAVERY

A NATIONAL NECESSITY,

/ BEFOT^E THE PRESENT CONFLICT CAN BE ENDED.



No excuses are needed, I presume, if, in this day of darkness and
uncertainty, a patriot and lover, of his country feels and exhibits great
anxiety corcerning the principles and expectations prevalent in the
present war ; the management and methodgsidopted, and the results
which are to follow upon it. I confess tha^ny anxiety in regard to
the end of thesa things is great — it embraces all the great interests
and hopes of the future of the nation, — and that, the more I examine
the matter, compare facts and probabilities, and strive to comjU'ehend
the whole subject under the teachings of history, and according to
those changol'?ss principles which are the light of history, the greater
my anxiety and fears become. For, in the past history of the world,
liow often, for the want of adequate wisdom, decision and principle,
have the convulsions, the sufferings and conflicts of nations, which
should have been but the birththroes of a day, the momentary evils
of salutary change and j^rogress, been protracted through centuries
of abortive efforts — a hundred years of carnage and disaster and hu-
miliation and suflFering and despair, not accomplishing the actual pro-
gress which might and should have been made in one day of wise
and resolute action. For a nation to fail in consummating a change
or crisis in its life which all the necessities and hopes of its existence
demand, is not to be freed from the inexorable necessity that is upon
it, but only to protract all the evils and sufferings of such a crisis
through tedious years of national misfortune and death. And is it
certain beyond all rationar fear that our present trials are but for a
moment, and not the beginning of long years of chronic disorder, of
temporizing folly, and of consequent troubles and conflicts ? Let me
ask, then, for once, a brief hearing concerning the prospect before us
as a nation — the end, purpose, method, and final result of this ter-
rible war in which the wickedness of traitors has involved us. Surely,
if ever a clear foresight of the future were desirable, it is now — and
equally so a clear perception of the principles and expectations by
which our present efforts and duties should be determined and di-
rected.

And here let me say that I have no doubts about the result which
might be attained if the united powers and energies of the nation
were wisely directed— my fears are only concerning what we shall



l-c^ G



actually accomplish under the control of the priiiciples, opinions and
hopes which prevail. What is the future which they promise r Ther-i
is no lack of men or of money, none of physical power or of intellec-
tual energy ; but it is not numbers or money, it is not rifles or bayo-
nets, that conquer and achieve true victory — never ! certainly not,
that, by victory, can secure a true and enduring peace and maintain
unity in the greatness and glory of the nation. It is the ruling,
uniting, guiding thought in a nation that is its strength, the ruling
thought and purpose is it that prevails and conquers and determines
the'result. The man who gives the nation a guiding and controlling
idea, accepted and exhibited in believing action, is the true Leader
and Captain, the Head of the national sti englh. The future is de-
termined to-day more by the Thought of the Nation than by its Ar-
mies.

Nor does what I have to say imply any censure or distrust of the
Government at Washington upon whqm the conducting of the war
devolves. In general its course has met my hearty approval. Its
avowed position, its aims*nd principles declared upon calling the na-
tion to arms, appeared to me wise and just, and surely the governing
power of a nation should not be in haste ta change. I have full
confidence in the purposes and sound discretion of the Administration,
and believe that, in due season, it will be found ready to adopt any
more comprehensive policy which the opinions and expectations of
the people generally will sustain-. The point of reasonable fear and
doubt is, whether there is likely to be clear insight enough in the na-
tion—a clear recognition of true principles and their present demand
upon us, and a clear foresight of the evil consequences inevitable upon
their neglect or violation, to preserve us from a foolish temporizing
with evil, and to lead the United Nation, Government and People, to
demand with fearless faith the purging out of the deadly leaven which
is tilling the land with corruption, crime and shame ; to demand the
entire expulsion from the national body and domain of that remnant
of old heathenism and lefjalized unrighteousness which is the cause
of all our present calamnities. It is, therefore, more especially to the
Nation, to the People that I appeal, that they may meet the great
demand of this day of trials wisely — that they may be sure to fully
comprehend the present position and necessities of the nation, and
wisely discern what we must think and- what we must do, and what
foundation we must lay in truth and right ar^d national justice, if our
high national expectations of a glorious future are to be fulfilled. I
am not so anxious for immediate action as for immediate and ade-
quate thought. I am not anxious at all for an immediate Proclama-
tion of Emancipation from the President — not even by the enactment
of Congress. It may not be best. Tlie time may not have come for
such direct action— indeed, the progress towards the desired and final
result may be quite as rapid and sure bj' proclaiming emancipation
only as rebel crimes or necessity compels, and when it can be prac-
tically realized and maintained. My fear is not from the present po-
sition of the Government and its method of the war, but for the fu-
ture attempts at the adjustment of difficulties which may be made.



:> ■ 3 ^

how, and according to what light and what principles, and by what
:• popular impulses and beliefs, we shall at last attempt to establish a
.permanent peace and secure for ages to come our national existence
' in prosperit}^ and glorJ^

There is indeed a wonderful unanimity among all parties and classes
'' of northern men in support of the present war; and the firm resolve
to maintain the Union is as great and as general as in any case could
reasonably be expected. Nor will the people change this purpose,
the only question is concerning the wisdom with which this purpose
Avill be carried out. There is very little difference concerning the
true object and spirit of the war. The number is very small who
would make it primarily a war of emancipation: the provocation points
in another direction. It is not the object of it even in the minds of
those who think emancipation most necessary as well as just ; tbey
only demand that the union be preserved and the constitutional
authority of Government be respected, that the present and future
safety of the nation be secured. It is only concerning the means
necessary to secure this end which all abl^Bjesire to see accomplisbrd,
that there is likely to be any essential diWrence of opinion.

But foresight and true wisdom for the future can com,- only f; ~- a
clear and adequate comprehension of the present. To understard tn**
present troubles and conflicts in their origin, to know the essential
and productive cause, tke evil seed of the harvest of evil, is to know
how the same evils are to be avoided in time to come — and upon what
false principles oi* erroneous ac'ion they are no less sure to follow a
gain hereafter than is any harvest in kind upon the seed sown. If
the people generally fail to comprehend aright the import, the origin,
the productive principles of this present conflict, they cannot compre-
hend v/hat is necessary to the future safety of the nation ; they will
miserably fail when it comes to the final question of a settlement of
these troubles, and will only establish a delusive and transitory peace
instead of laying a sure and wise foundation for the enduring peace
and prosperity ©f the nation. A superficial view of the evil will lead
to the trial of supeificial remedies.

What then is the true import of this slaveholder's rebellion ? How
shall we understand it ?

To regard it as in any sense accidental, and not as a legitimate and
"necessary consequence of antecedent errors— of the evil elements in
our national existence, is a very superficial view of the matter, fur-
nishing no guidance for the future. To regard it simply as the work
of a conspiracy of evil and ambitious men is also a superficial view of
it that reveals nothing of the principle and true origin of the conflict.
It is the conflict of antagonistic principles, in the thought and feeling
and life of the nation, that has rendired the conspiracy possible. It
is this antagonism of principles that has formed, and given power and
occasion to, the active movers, individually and in combination, of
this wide-spread rebellion. The present conspirators and personal
actors of treason are not the creators of the conflict ; they are only
the mediums through whom the discordant and evil element in the
national existence works out into historic action and is ma*nifested in



its natural results. If we would understand such natioiial commo-
tions, we must look beyond the phenomenal to the causative and
essential ; we must follow them -hack beyond the immediate actors to
the principles in the national existence from which they originate.

This rebellion, then, we assert, w"as made, not in any late conspi-
racy, nor by D. S. or Y., but it was made when the heathen princi-
ple of slavery was admitted as an evil and antagonistic element, into
our Government, which is essentially christian; (Christianity in its po-
litical embodiment and outward form of established law,) and so a
living arid progressive one. The Formers of the Government did the
fatal deed. They admitted th,e false and heathen principle, drawn
from old heathen nations now dead, and which must forever conflict
with the true life of the nation, forever bar its progress, and under
which, unless conquered, expelled and purged away, the national life
must inevitably perish. In old heathenism slavery had its appropri-
ate place, its origin, its home, it was part and parcel of itself, it
was in harmony with those heathen and despotic governments In the
early ages of the worlc^in accord with rhe spirit and opinions of
those nations to whom r^Pit was right, and liberty only an advan-
tage in possession, a favor of fortune, and not a natural right of hu-
manity. But with the principles and more generous faith of a chris-
tian civilization it could never harmonize. Its introduction into our
political fabric was the beginning of the present discord. From that
moment the deadly conflict sooner or later between christian and
heathen elements, the gold and the clay in the same image, was ne-
cessitated. The body of death must be destroyed, its poison stayed
and purged away, or the life and existence of the nation must inevi-
tably perish under its power. From that moment when slavery was
admitted to a legal standing under the shelter of the constitution, all
true hopes oi the perpetuity and increasing glory of the nation
demanded that the issue be made and the element of old heathen-
ism be subdued and cast out. From that moment it was fixed, that,
if the nation- could not cast it out, could not survive it, then must
the nation be short-lived indeed and soon take its place by the side
of heathen empires which perished long ago under the weight of their
own essential wrongs and corruptions.

'i'he history of a nation, even to its internal discords and con-
ilicts, is determined by the elements or principles out of which and •
upon which it attempts to build up the fabric of its political existence.
Ccnstitutional maladies necessarily show themselves in serious disor-
ders in due time. So, in the birth of our nation, the admission of
slavery, (because already existing, or by implication and after assent
as interpretation, even a negative or silent one, belieing positive pro-
fessions), we say the admission of that remnant of old heathenism, into
its constitutional life, the bare permission of such a great legalized
wrong in a christian government, whose very life and perfect ideal is
righteousness, made the present result inevitable from the first. The
n:333S3ity was upon us to meet the evil power in conflict, and fight
it out, even to the blood of kindred, if need be, if as a nation we
would not supinely perish. The alternative from the first has been



5

to destroy or be destroyed. It has only been a question of time, a
little earlier or later, wlien the conflict should fully open upon us ; and
of the degree and extent of tke rebel hostility and power. Nor has the
open conflict and test come any too soon. Nothing was to be gained
by puttin^i;- it off. Conservative delay, in attempts to avoid the dan-
ger, had only enlarged the evil and given strength and boldness to
the spirit of rebellion. With this delay and hestitation to meet it,
the spirit of heathen tyranny and domination, for where there are
slaves there must be tyrants, claiming the place of command, and
despising the attitude of obedience, rapidly increased in the bold-
ness of its pretensions to rule or ruin the whole country. It took
much to induce conservative and thoughtful men to meet the evil
■ spirit abroad in the land as its character demanded. When aboli-
tionism first began its attack upon slavery, and upon all who would
not join the attack v/ith it, prudent men generally opposed its ultra
measures, and foresaw only evil consequences from the agitation of
the subject; it was opening this very coniiict ; and it seemed scarcely
safe to utter even the truth. And yet it k now plain tliat the agita-
tion was begun none too soon, though ofiy imprudent fanatics then
dared to do it. Had it long been delayed the country would have
been ruined beyond all retrieve. Providence, in determining to save,
set aside human wisdom and found the instruments of opening the
conflict in those narrow-sighted and visionary zealots who could do
unhesitatingly what prudent and thoughtful men could not do or ap-
prove. So, too at the last election of President many of the most
prudent and safe men in the country feaiied and deprecated the elec-
tion oi Mr. Lincoln as an anti-slavery candidate, they feared thus to
oppose the arrogant demand of the Slavocracy, and shrunk from
the conflict and perils which threatened to follow ; they wished to (^o
around the evil ; they advised that the country turn aside from its
direct course, lower its aims and declarations and compromise ; and so
by this sacrifice of its convictions and principles, preserve peace at least
for the present. But now who can fail to see that matters were
brought to a crisis none too soon, that a little longer delay and ir-
resolution would have prostrated and enslaved the nation beyond
all recovery. It was the election of Lincoln that saved us ; and that
too at the latest hour of hope when the evil power had almost over-
grown the national strength. And how have the timid been since
surprised and emboldened by the great and united uprising of the
nation to fight the battle of constitutional liberty, a prophetic and
sublime movement, more hopeful for the future than anythino- in our
national history ; a glorioijs assurance of the perpetuity of our na-
tional existence. And so, too, at this time, prudent and conserva-
tive minds shrink from the proclamation of g^^neral 'emancipat'on as
the policy of the Government in the present war ; they foresee many
grave evils as the result. Yet the nation with an impulse which is
more an instinct of safety and of right than a re.silt of prudent reason-
ing, is advancing steadily and surely to the d ';nand of this strong
measure, as the legitimate remedy of present troubles and the only se-
curity of permanent peace. And when this, to the wise, apparently



rash act shall have been accottiplished. we shall probably find by clear
evidences following that it was our only safety, and that a longer
delay of it, at the instigations of prudence foreseeing many evils, would
have been at the greatest poril.

It is a superficial view, therefore, of the present national crisis which
supposes that this conflict can end and leave things as it found them.
This new page of history cannot be blotted out, nor severed from its
own future consequences. It is also a short-sighted view which as-
sumes, that, if we can go back to the old position, and restore our
affairs and relations to their old standing, the safety and prosperity of
the nation will be secured : it would be only to necessita^e a repe-
tition of present trials and dangers. The perilous stream would not
then be crossed, it would be still before us, direct in the line of oar
national march, and not behind us as an obstacle surmounted. We
must cross this flood that swells and fonrns or abandon the national
"hopes of a glorious future. The issue already made between oppres-
sion and liberty must be fought out to the end now, or re-fought here-
after, and perhaps under J^'!;ravated circumstances. Slavery re-es-
tablished and the same ooMequences essentially would follow again.
We might repeat the experiment a thcusand times in succession with
almost entirely tne same results ; the same or greater dissensions and
animosities, the same production of lawless self-will, and of proud
tyrannous and ungovernable pretension, and a like profusion and
conspiracy of rebels and traitors, the same ambitious projects and a
like wicked resort to arms. We should but repeat our history, and,
from a wrong beginning, not corrected, come to the same disastrous
conclusions ; for they are not accidents, but have come by a necessi-
tating law of nature which the Creator has established in his right-
eous government of the world.

If then our nation, as christian, is to have any such perpetuity
and eternal prime as Christianity promises the State which recognizes
the imperishable principles of a true christian civilization, this false
and heathen element must first be expelled. Till this purification be
completed, we have, and can have, no assurance of permanence or of
safety from present perils. They are involved in the very organism
and vitiated vitality of the State. Our only hope is in this very rem-
edial crisis now passing — that the nation now at last, before it is too
late, may be "■Born Again f the same and not another, yet the
Union "new-created in righteousness."

Nor will our safety then, by this one ordeal, be made absolute—
for slavery is not the only or last vestige of heathen evils to be re-
moved. The present is not our last national conflict — it is rather
only preparatory to a greater. There are other heathen elements, false
or wrong principles, in our political faith and organization, which are
now comparatively quiesent because not seriously called in question
or opposed, but which, when the time and occasion come, will assert
their long established power, claim the right of perpetual dominion,
gather their partisans, raarshall their hosts like an army from old
Egypt or Assyria, and compel the nation in self-defense to a conflict
of extermination, perhaps even more terrific and bloody and of great-



er magnitude than the present. The necessity is upon us if, as a na-
tion, we would live — we must pass these things and "endure to the
end," or passively submit to be destroyed — we must fight and con-
quer or sink into national decay. It is in war and bloody conflicts
that the earth is to put off its old corruptions and wrongs, and be
new-created in righteousness and truth. So we find the teachings of
Christ and indeed of the. christian writers and of the prophets gener-
ally, are full of intimations that "wars and rumors of wars" will im-
mediately precede the advent of man's highest social and civil condi-
tion — that, through great and fearful wars, the God-created, God-re-
deemed race of man must fight its way to its final estate of glory and
peace. What a word was that from the Savior of the world, as yet
to be proved fearfully true, "I am not come to send peace upon the
earth but a sword." To foresee these things in our own national
history requires no spirit of prophecy, b\it only a clear insight into
the great and changeless and ever active principles by which human
affairs are governed.

Is it not a well authorized conclusion, therefore, that it is folly for
us to hope to end this war in the restoratio'n of all things to the same
condition in which they were before it began r — the hope will only
deceive us, and end in some act of folly to be long deplored ; some at-
tempt at establishing peace from which no permanent peace can come.
There is really no possible hopeful end to this conflict but the end
of slavery. There is no such easy escape from our national perils as
some seem to imagine — no prospect of the war being short but by
being useless, or else by being radical and determined and, I may
add, in regard to false principles, most unsparing. To purpose there-
fore that the Union shall survive and its glory and power be trium-
phantly restored and perpetuated, is virtually to doom slavery to
speedy extinction. The preservatien of the Union and the destruction
of slavery are inseparable ; aye, identical now ; and he who votes for
the one necessarily votes for the other. Still as I have intimated, it
may do no good now to proclaim general emancipation as the ultimate
condition of peace ; it might in many minds present a new and a false
^sue, and the reason for it might not be rightly understood; it might
not aid in subduing the rebellion, v,'hich is the present work to be
done. This accomplished, then will follow the careful determination
of all the conditions of peace which the security, prosperity and future
harmony of the nation demand. It is fitting perhaps that the policy
(^f the national government should steadily represent the great pur-
pose and object of the war, the great and sacred cause for which we
have been obliged to appeail to arms, the preservation of the Union
in its integrity under a governnient of constitutional law. But, for
all this, and thougri the way for the return of the rebels to loyalty
and duty is left wide open, still let not the People, no, nor the Gov-
ernment either, deceive themselves with the false expectation that the
present breach of the Union can be healed so loiig as slavery remains.
Just liberty and human rights under equal and righteons law cannot
be thus united in harmony with legalized oppression and fundamental
injustice and wrong.



8

Why then should not ali hearty defenders of the Union be one?
Indeed are we not one ? — aye, surely, we are one in purpose and in
every essential desire and hoi>e. Let us not then pause in our great
work, in which we are engaged, to contend about points of difference
not involved in present duty. Let us resolve, one and all together, to
uphold the constitutional authority and power of the national Gov-
ernment at all hazards. And well for us, if in this patriotic purpose,
sinking all minor obstacles, prejudices, hopes or fears, we attain to a
just and unbiased judgment and a true comprehension of this con-
flict—discerning the import of it under the light of a knowledge of
the principles of God's just retributive Government over the nations
of the earth. Well, if, in this clear and changeless light we give up
entirely every false hope of attaining safety, prosperity, or even peace
by another compromise with heathen slavery. Then indeed in the
might of true principles, the nation wdll be so far safe and invincible ;
and the constitution and laws of the land will attain, in their received
import and practical force, their true harmony with the everlasting
liberty and righteousness o^ a christian civilization. ' "Thy Kingdom
come, Thy Will be done on earth" — in the civil Government of the
nation. If we see the truth clearly, may God give us the earnest
honesty to do it — if not, may He make our blindness the instrument
of accomplishing the purposes of his unerring wisdom.

I have not thought it necessary to show, that, under existing circum-
stances, we are released from all legal or moral obligation to longer
tolerate slavery in the land, if the safety of the nation demands its ex-


1

Online LibraryAfrican American Pamphlet Collection (Library of C... The extinction of slavery a national necessity, before the present conflict can be ended → online text (page 1 of 2)