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to force slavery upon her soil, now makes haste to free
herself of its curse. And that majestic Providence be
fore which we stand in awe at each unfolding of its wondrous plan, is causing the wrath of man to praise Him,
who hath arisen for the crying of the needy. How long
the President and his advisers held back from any official
recognition of justice and freedom for the slave as the
controlling elements in our national struggle ! But at
length came that great golden day of the Proclamation.
WASHINGTON, January 1, 1863.
WHEREAs, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing among other things the following, to wit:
“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be thenceforth and forever FREE, and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any effort they may make for their actual freedom. That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the states and parts of states, if any, in which the people therein respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact that any state, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections, wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such states shall have participated, shall, in the absence
of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such states and the people thereof are not in rebellion against the United States;” Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, designate, as the states and parts of states wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, except the parishes of St. Bernard, Placquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Excelsior, Assumption, Terre Bonen, Latourch, St. Mary, St. Martin and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans; Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued. And, by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states and parts of states are and henceforward shall be FREE. And that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence unless in necessary self-defence, and I recommend to them, that in all cases, when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service. And, upon this, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, war. ranted by the constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and [SEAL] sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
- ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President :
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
It seems as if this nation, which had so long lain under the disgrace of injustice and oppression, and which, startled by the shock of war, had been blindly staggering in its old mire and chains, was then of a sudden uplifted to some granite mountain whence, above all fogs and clouds and storms, it looks out upon its long future of peace, prosperity, honor, and grandeur. The slave heard that Proclamation, and blessed God for the day. The master heard it, and replied with threats of savage cruelty and cowardice. Europe heard it, and her governments said, “no recognition of the South ;” and her people shouted Amen, Hallelujah.
But this grand and blessed act summons us to momentous duties.
1. We owe it to the honor of the gospel, to bear our unreserved and unanimous testimony against slavery, and to use all feasible means for its utter abolition. I have windicated Christianity, in its principles and its history, from the aspersion of sanctioning slavery ; we, too, in this our time, must honor the gospel by applying it in all the strength of its precepts, in all the power of its spirit, for the extermination of slavery from the land. The war does not accomplish this work; it prepares the way. The proclamation opens the door, and we must enter in and make the work sure. Emancipation is not abolition. Until there shall be a complete abolition of slavery, only military occupation can secure the freedom of the emancipated slaves.” Should the war stop short of uprooting slavery and reconstructing society, some new converts to anti-slavery doctrine will apostatize from their faith to their old prejudices. But the true Christian will feel then more than ever the need of earnest hostility to this iniquity. There are those whose opposition to slavery did not originate in a military necessity. For one, I am opposed to slavery because I am a Christian—a member of that anti-slavery society of which He who came to preach liberty to the captive is the founder and the head. With Cochin, I would say, “I owe to Christianity the horror with which slavery inspires me.” 2. We owe it to the safety and welfare of our country to sustain, and if need be to invigorate, the government in it measures for the extermination of slavery. The question is no longer one of theory but of fact; no longer of the future, but of to-day; no longer a question of expediency, but of necessity; no longer a question of man's judgment, but a demand of God's providence. Most truly does the President declare that “without slavery rebellion would never have existed, without slavery it could not continue.” And we may add that the spirit of rebellion can never be quelled, nor the tendency to violent outbreak allayed, till slavery is done away. As Gen. Butler said to the people of New Orleans, “There is but one thing that at this hour stands between you and the government, and that is slavery. The institution, cursed of God, which has taken its last refuge here, in His providence will be rooted out as the tares from the wheat, although the wheat be torn up with it. I have given much thought to this subject. I came among you, by teachings, by habit of mind, by political position, by social affinity, inclined to sustain your domestic laws, if by possibility they might be with safety to the Union. Months of experience and of observation have forced the conviction that the existence of slavery is incompatible with the safety either of yourselves or of the Union. As the system has gradually grown to its present huge dimensions, it were best if it could be gradually removed ; but it is better, far better, that it should be taken out at once than that it should longer vitiate the social, political, and family relations of your country. I am speaking with no philanthropic views as regards the slave, but simply of the effect of slavery on the master. See for yourselves. Look around you and say whether this saddening, dead