« AnteriorContinuar »
122 THE UNION CAUSE THAT OF FREEDOM.
these 3,000,000 was not merely involved in the maintenance of the American Union, but was essential to it. Henceforth, none but the helplessly or wilfully blind could fail to see that the cause of freedom, in the great conflict which was raging on the American Continent, was the cause of the North.
FROM THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION JANUARY 1, 1863, TO MR. LINCOLN'S DEATH, APRIL 15, 1865.
THE Emancipation Proclamation was warmly received by all in Europe whose sympathy with human freedom was genuine, and who had not suffered themselves to be misled by sophisms and mis-statements. The working men of Manchester, amongst others,-in the very midst of the cotton famine,-had met on the 31st December, and forwarded to the President a congratulatory address. His reply (January 19th, 1863), might well deserve to be quoted at full length. He indicated, as "the key" to all the past and future measures of his administration, the duty "to maintain and preserve at once the constitution and the integrity of the Federal republic." He had well understood, "that the
MR. LINCOLN'S REPLY TO
duty of self-preservation rests solely with the American people." But he knew that “favour or disfavour of foreign nations might have a material influence in enlarging or prolonging the struggle." He had especially expected that "if justice and good faith should be practised by the United States, they would encounter no hostile influence on the part of Great Britain.
"It is now a pleasant duty to acknowledge the demonstration you have given of your desire that a spirit of amity and peace toward this country may prevail in the councils of your Queen, who is respected and esteemed in your own country only more than she is by the kindred nation which has its home on this side of the Atlantic. know, and deeply deplore, the sufferings which the working men at Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this Government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery,
THE MANCHESTER WORKING MEN.
was likely to obtain the favour of Europe. Under the circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth, and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom. I do not doubt that the sentiments you have expressed will be sustained by your great nation; and on the other hand, I have no hesitation in assuring you that they will excite admiration, esteem, and the most reciprocal feelings of friendship, among the American people. I hail this interchange of sentiment, therefore, as an augury that whatever else may happen, whatever misfortune may befall your country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exist between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual."
Does the above need any comment?*
* To this period also belongs a letter to a member of
HOOKER AND CHANCELLORSVILLE.
The session of Congress closed on the 4th of March, after having passed various measures for strengthening the hands of the President, and for the vigorous prosecution of the war, including a bill authorising a draft of the militia of the whole country. It was well for Mr. Lincoln that he possessed this support in Congress; for, with the exception of Grant's movements in the valley of the Mississippi, the first six months of 1863 were among the gloomiest of the war. Burnside having been relieved (24th of January) in the command of the army of the Potomac by Hooker," Fighting Joe Hooker,”—a dashing general of division, who had been among the the "United States Christian Commission," over a meeting of which Mr. Lincoln had been invited to preside (Feb. 22), of which the following is an extract :-" Whatever shall tend to turn our thoughts from the unreasoning and uncharitable passions, prejudices, and jealousies incident to a great national trouble such as ours, and to fix them on the vast and long-enduring consequences, for weal or for woe, which are to result from the struggle, and especially to strengthen our reliance on the Supreme Being for the final triumph of the right, cannot but be well for us all."