Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

and invention, supplied arms, subsistence, and the material of war. By an intelligent knowledge of their resources, and of their country; by confidence in themselves, by severe taxation self-imposed, by an unseläsh liberality, which literally placed the men, and the wealth, and the credit of the nation at the disposal of the government, they crushed this stupendous rebellion. This record of the deeds of this people I shall attempt to write, and to show that a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” is the strongest and most efficient, as well as the most benign and magnanimous of all governments. It will be seen by the student, that under the guidance of LINCOLN, the nation passed through the convulsions of this war, and retained intact the old, timehonored safeguards of individual liberty and security. They have come out of the contest in the full enjoyment of an independent judiciary, the habeas corpus, trial by jury, liberty of speech, and freedom of the press. In tracing these eventful pages, we shall see the American navy, from a small and comparatively feeble beginning, rise to become, unquestionably, the most formidable naval power on earth. Our fleets of iron-clads, gun-boats and vessels of war, surpassing those of Great Britain, our great rival in maritime power, and so long the mistress of the seas.

From a little nucleus of an army of fifteen thousand soldiers, we have become a military power, counting our trained fighting men by the million. The battle-fields of these four

years
of

space will permit only brief and passing description, in the numbers engaged, in the sad list of killed and wounded, and in the terrible engines of destruction used, far surpass Blenheim, Leipsic, and Waterloo, and all the famous battle-fields of the Old World; and the soldiers and officers engaged, (truth compels us to say, on both sides,) exhibited a valor, courage, endurance, skill and heroism, unsurpassed by any naval or military conflicts in ancient or modern times.

It will be my duty, faithfully, to write the blackest, as well as the brightest page in history. The treason, perjury, and conspiracy of the rebel leaders, who, without one single, real substantial grievance, sought to overthrow a government which had been known only by its benefits, fix upon their hearts the guilt of all the sufferings of this war. The great slaveholders, having long ruled under the forms of the constitution,

а

war, to which

[blocks in formation]

when they saw that their power was likely to depart, refused submission to the legally expressed will of the people, and plunged the country into civil war. The blackest page of these annals, is that which records the barbarism and brutality produced by slavery; the moral degeneracy of a once noble race of men, becoming so depraved that their hellish passions developed a cruelty and malignity towards prisoners, black and white, unknown in the history of civilized nations. It is slavery alone which can produce men who will murder defenceless prisoners on the field of battle, after resistance has ceased, and starve them to death, as a means of carrying on war. Of such a race, it is not surprising that in their extremity, they should resort to incendiarism, and murder, and assassination.

The record I write will show the development and gradual growth of a sense of justice towards the black race, until it terminated in their emancipation and their recognition as men. The rise and rapid advance of this long servile race, from the slave to the contraband," from the “contraband” to the freedman, and from the freedman to the soldier, from the soldier to the citizen, vindicating his manhood on the field of battle, and his claim to citizenship by obedience to law and loyalty to the flag.

This terrible civil war, this baptism of blood, through which the nation has passed, has purified and ennobled it. The soldiers of Grant and Sherman, Thomas and Sheridan, who marched from Cairo to Savannah, from the Potomac to New Orleans, will feel that the country is now doubly dear to them. They have bled for that country; and not a family in the land but has given its sacrifice to death, that the Republic might live. In so glorious and imperial a manner have the American people fought this great struggle for liberty, so grand is the theatre of their future, that the imagination does not set bounds to their coming greatness.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,

AND THE

OVERTHROW OF SLAVERY. .

CHAPTER I.

SLAVERY FROM 1788, TO THE COMPROMISE MEASURES OF 1850.

THE

OPINION OF THE FATHERS UPON SLAVERY — ORDINANCE OF 1787 —

EARLY ABOLITION SOCIETIES —SLAVERY ABOLISHED IN
New ENGLAND STATES, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, AND NEW
JERSEY — COTTON AND SLAVERY — LOCATION OF CAPITAL AT
WASHINGTON - FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW OF 1793— ADMISSION OF
TENNESSEE, ALABAMA AND MISSISSIPPI, As Slave STATES
PURCHASE OF LOUISIANA AND FLORIDA — MISSOURI COMPROMISE
- SEMINOLE WAR — ANNEXATION OF TEXAS— MEXICAN WAR —
WILMOT PROVISO — CALIFORNIA — ANTI-SLAVERY CONVENTION
-SUPPRESSION OF Right OF PETITION — JOHN QUINCY ADAMS --
JUDGE HOAR'S MISSION — ABOLITION, LIBERTY AND FREESOIL
PARTIES — COMPROMISE MEASURES OF 1850.

IT
T is historically demonstrable that the framers of the

Constitution in shaping that instrument,tolerated the existence of slavery as a temporary evil, which they regarded as incompatible with the principles of liberty embodied in the Declaration of Independence, upon which they intended to base our institutions. They believed that it was in the course of gradual extinction. It is clear that they never intended it should be a permanent institution, much less that it should extend beyond the limits of the States in which it then existed. The hostility to slavery was so general, that it is believed the Fathers would have embodied abolition as a part of the Constitution, had they not supposed it would soon disappear before the peaceful moral agencies then operating against it. They confidently hoped that public opinion, expressing itself through the press, the religious organizations, public discussion, and rendering its final verdict through the ballot, and securing favorable legislation through State and Congressional action, would secure universal liberty “throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof.” General Washington in a letter to Robert Morris written in 1786, speaking of slavery, said: “ There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.” The great leading lawyer and patriot of Maryland, Luther Martin, advocated the abolition of slavery in the Federal Convention of 1787; so also did William Pinckney, in 1789, in the Maryland IIouse of Delegates. The Ordinance of 1787, by which freedom was forever secured to the Northwest, and to the great States of Ohio and Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, was by far the most important anti-slavery measure in American history, between the Declaration of Independence and the great Proclamation of Emancipation by Abraham Lincoln. Its influence has been decisive, on both the moral and martial conflict. Without the votes and influence of the great free Northwest, the ofispring of this ordinance, slavery would have triumphed and carried its sway all over the land. It is very true that the love of liberty fostered by the free schools of New England, beginning like a rivulet among her granite hills, gradually widened and expanded until it became a mighty stream; but it was the broad and majestic torrent from the Northwest, like its own majestic Mississippi, which gave to the river of freedom, volume, and power, and irresistible strength, until it broke down all opposition, and swept away and overwhelmed all resistance.

The period immediately following the revolution, is full of evidence that many of the leading men of nearly every State looked upon slavery with abhorrence, and were impatient for

« AnteriorContinuar »