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The Continental Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 2, February, 1862 Devoted To Literature And National Policy   By:

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Can this great republic of our forefathers exist with slavery in it?

Whether we like or dislike the question, it must be answered. As the war stands, we have gone too far to retreat. It clamors for a brave and manly solution. Let us see if we can, laying aside all prejudices, all dislikes whatever, discover an honest course, simply with a view to preserve the Union and insure its future prosperity. Let us avoid all foregone conclusions, all extraneous issues, adhering strictly to the one great need of the hour how to conquer the foe, re√ęstablish the Union, and do this in a manner most consonant with our future national prosperity.

It is manifest enough that in a continent destined at no distant day to contain its hundred millions, the question whether these shall form one great nation or a collection of smaller states is one of fearful importance. He who belongs to a great nation is thereby great of himself. He has the right to be proud, and will work out his life more proudly and vigorously and freely than the dweller in a corner country. Do those men ever reflect , who talk so glibly of this government as too large, and as one which must inevitably be sundered, to what a degradation they calmly look forward! No; Union, come what may, now and ever. Greatness is to every brave man a necessity . Out on the craven and base hearted who aspire to being less than the co rulers of a continent. See how vile and mean are those men who in the South have lost all national pride in a small minded provincial attachment to a State, who love their local county better still, and concentrate their real political interests in the feudal government of a plantation. Shall we be as such, we , the men who hold the destinies of a hemisphere within our grasp? Never, God help us, never!

On the basis of free labor we are pressing onward over the mighty West. Two great questions now require grappling with. The one is, whether slavery shall henceforth be tolerated; the other, whether we shall strengthen this great government of the Union so as to preserve it in future from the criminal intrigues of would be seceding, ambitious men of no principle. Now is the time to decide.

We must not be blind to a great opportunity which may be lost, of forever quelling a foul nuisance which would, if neglected now , live forever. Do we not see, feel, and understand what sort of white men are developed by slavery, and do we intend to keep up such a race among us? Do we want all this work to do over again every ten or five years or all the time? For a quarter of a century, slavery and nothing else has kept us in a growing fever, and now that it has reached a crisis the question is whether we shall calm down the patient with cool rose water. In the crisis comes a physician who knows the constitution of his patient, and proposes searching remedies and a thorough cure, and, lo! the old nurse cries out that he is interfering and acting unwisely, though he is quite as willing to adopt her cooling present solace as she.

If we had walked over the war course last spring without opposition, if we had conquered the South, would we have put an end to this trouble? Does any one believe that we would? This is not now a question of the right to hold slaves, or the wrong of so doing. All of that old abolition jargon went out and died with the present aspect of the war. So far as nine tenths of the North ever cared, or do now care, slaves might have hoed away down in Dixie, until supplanted, as they have been in the North, by the irrepressible advance of manufactures and small farms, or by free labor. 'Keep your slaves and hold your tongues,' was, and would be now, our utterance... Continue reading book >>

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