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The Continental Monthly, Vol 2, No 6, December 1862 Devoted to Literature and National Policy   By:

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First Page:

THE

CONTINENTAL MONTHLY:

DEVOTED TO

LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY.

VOL. II. DECEMBER, 1862. NO. VI.

THE UNION.

III.

On the 10th of April last, upon the recommendation of the President of the United States, Congress offered pecuniary aid to such States as would gradually abolish slavery within their limits. The colonization, from time to time, of the manumitted slaves, with their consent, by the Government, beyond our boundaries, was also contemplated as a part of the system. By the President's proclamation of September last, this offer is still made to loyal States, and practical measures suggested for carrying it into execution. As to the States persisting in rebellion after the close of this year, the President, as a military necessity, has announced a different measure, that is, general emancipation in all such States, with compensation only to loyal masters. Immediate emancipation of all slaves, with compensation for all, costing, as it would, twelve hundred millions of dollars, is now beyond the power of the Government, burdened as it is by an enormous and increasing debt. Nor was such a measure ever wise or expedient. That subject I will discuss hereafter, but will speak now of the plan proposed by the President, and sanctioned by Congress on the 10th of April last.

If this measure seems slow in securing total manumission and colonization, it would be progressive and certain. God works out the destiny of nations by no sudden or spasmodic action. His great and beneficent changes are generally slow and gradual, but when he wills destruction, it is sudden as the lightning's flash, the crash of the earthquake, or the sweep of the hurricane, marked by ruin and desolation. Would we avoid like disasters in solving this stupendous problem, we must follow, in humble faith, the ways of God, and thus by gentle, but constant and successive movements, reach the grand result.

History, however, exhibits a few extraordinary cases, in which man, as an instrument in the hands of Providence, sometimes punishes great crimes, eradicates great evils, and accomplishes great national reforms by acts as sudden as the devastating career of the tempest in sweeping away pestilential vapors. Such may be the case with the revolted States, if they should persist in this wicked rebellion beyond the close of the period of solemn warning.

The coming year may be the great crisis of human destiny. It may see our rivers, like those of Egypt, turned into blood. It may witness similar loathsome plagues, and pestilence, and fiery hail, and darkness palpable. But may it never behold the dread work of the destroying angel as of old, at the midnight hour, in every dwelling whose lintels were unmarked by the typical blood of the Paschal sacrifice! Avoiding the last dread scene of the great Egyptian drama, may we have, not the Jewish Passover, but the grand American jubilee, when we may hail the South redeemed from the curse of slavery, and forever united with the North, as the one blessed home of universal freedom.

As the South was as earnest as the North in protesting against the landing upon our shores of the first cargo of African slaves, and the continuance of the traffic so long forced upon us under the British flag, and as they all united in excluding the word 'slave' from the Federal Constitution, so will they ultimately coƶperate in expunging from our system the institution of slavery.

I shall discuss this question as to the border States under no sectional or party aspect, no influence of passion or prejudice, or any motive but the desire to promote the good of my country. Our national and material interests must be fully considered, as also those great moral principles and intellectual developments which exalt and dignify the character of man. I shall examine the subject inductively and deductively, the facts and the causes.

That a return to the Union with gradual emancipation and colonization by the rebel States would be best for them and for us is certain... Continue reading book >>


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