Civil War Overview
Civil War 1861
Civil War 1862
Civil War 1863
Civil War 1864
Civil War 1865
Civil War Battles
Robert E. Lee
Civil War Medicine
Civil War Links
Civil War Art
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6,
PRESIDENT AND SLAVERY.
THE President has taken advantage of a rather impertinent and very injudicious
letter addressed to him by Mr.
Horace Greeley, to state to the public his
position on the
slavery question. We publish his letter in another column.
While distinctly avowing his personal wish that "all men every where could be
free," the President declares that his sole exclusive aim is to restore the
Union, without reference to slavery; and that while he would not hesitate to
proclaim emancipation if he were satisfied
that that would restore the Union, neither would he scruple to save the
Union with slavery. He thus takes issue on the one hand with the pro-slavery
half-and-half Union men of the Border
States who object to the restoration of the Union at the cost of their
peculiar institution, and, on the other, with the fanatical ultraists of the
North who object to the restoration of the Union unless slavery be destroyed.
In this position
Mr. Lincoln will undoubtedly find himself supported by the bulk
of the people of the country. What we all want, first, is to put down the
rebellion. When that is done, we can deal with slavery and its antecedents as
our necessities may dictate.
Nothing can be falser than to assume, as some
of the followers of Mr. Wendell Phillips do, that if we restore the Union
without destroying slavery, our work will be only half accomplished, and it will
be left to another generation to complete it. Whatever be the issue of the war,
slavery has already received a death-blow from which it can never recover. There
is no State in the Union in which it can ever be again a thriving or even a safe
institution. That iron despotism of the master class, and that rigid system of
municipal law, which alone could render it safe for white men and women to
inhabit vast plantations surrounded by negro
slaves, have been utterly shattered
by the events of the war. Even where the black has not had courage, or sense, or
opportunity to escape to the Union lines, and claim the privilege of freedom
offered him by our laws, he has been utterly demoralized, and rendered forever
unfit to resume the patient toil of past years.
It is known, probably, to nine out of ten slaves in the South that every Slave
State now contains a safe refuge whither fugitives can fly for emancipation, and
where no overseer or blood-hound can follow them. That these fugitives thus far
have come into our lines by hundreds
instead of tens of thousands is mainly due to the fact that the entire
white population of the South is armed, and all general movements of the negroes
are at once repressed by wholesale massacres. But neither the rifle nor the
stake can expel from the mind of the slave the knowledge that freedom is near
him, and that he can obtain it when he chooses to make the effort; and with this
thought in his brain, he is worse than valueless as property.
This great fact is ever present to Mr. Lincoln's mind. In conversation with a
leading banker of this city, who is also a prominent member of the Republican
Party, he lately observed that, in his opinion, it was "much wiser
to do a thing than to talk
Fremont and Hunter talked—in proclamations. The President, or rather the
war—for he is merely the instrument of events—is "doing the thing:" sapping the
foundation of slavery; rendering it unprofitable and unsafe; exploding one by
one all the delusions which induced the people of the South to cling to it; and
slowly but surely, without noisy proclamations or windy words, clearing the way
for a general emancipation of all the slaves on this continent.
How and when these systematic and regular approaches may be succeeded by the
final assault it is yet impossible to say. But the President has by his acts won
an indisputable claim to confidence
in his honesty, and all those among us who have no other aim in view than
the good of the country will be content to leave
the subject in his hands.
GOING TO CHIRIQUI.
SENATOR POMEROY, on behalf of the
President, has issued an
appeal to the colored population, inviting 500 of them to accompany him to
Chiriqui, in New Granada, with a view to a permanent settlement there. The
Senator assures them of the
good-will and protection of the
Government of New Granada, in which country Chiriqui is situate. He, like Mr.
Lincoln, draws pleasing pictures of the prosperity which the exiles may enjoy in
their new home, and earnestly urges them to give one more proof of their regard
for the white man by getting out of his way.
With regard to the prospects of a settlement of negroes at Chiriqui, persons who
know the place are not so sanguine as Mr. Pomeroy or the President. The climate
is decidedly unhealthy, and the products of the country, with the exception of
caoutchouc, not particularly
varied or valuable. There is coal there, certainly; but it is tertiary coal, not
of the least use for marine
purposes, and only serviceable for the manufacture of gas. There are
harbors, good ones, at Bocas del Toro on the Atlantic side, and David on the
Pacific; but there is no road between them: it will cost a large sum to build or
cut one; and when it is made, there will be no use for it. There are a few
people in the Province of Chiriqui;
a few dozen whites, and the rest mongrel negroes and Indians, vulgarly
called "greasers." They do nothing but lie in the sun and sleep. Wild fruits,
fish, and turtles supply them with food: a popular style of clothing is an old
Panama hat with a cock's feather stuck in it. Whether Mr. Pomeroy's five hundred
intelligent and virtuous colored exiles are more likely to civilize these
greasers than the greasers are to degrade their new neighbors to their own
level, is an open question. Persons who have lived in the tropics are prepared
to take odds on the greasers.
These are exciting times, and we are all learning something every day. On the
face of it, getting rid of valuable labor, and making it a present to tropical
regions, because there are serious difficulties in the reorganization of the
labor-system of the South, reminds one of the man who burned down his barn to
get rid of the rats. But we are all, like the President, ready to accept new
ideas as soon as we are satisfied they are true ones. And the only way to
ascertain which new ideas are true and which are false, is to test them
practically. So let Senator Pomeroy try his plan.
WITHIN a couple of days after this paper shall be published drafting will begin
throughout the Northern States, unless they have previously raised 600,000 men
by volunteering. Each day now effects a change in the prospect, and it is
impossible at present to say how many men may be drafted. It appears that
Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Maine, and Rhode Island will
raise their entire quotas of the two calls without drafting a man: and it
appears on the other hand that .a
draft will be necessary in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana,
Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Within the remaining week, however, the
vigorous efforts which are being made by recruiting officers in these States
may swell their volunteer ranks to the prescribed quota.
It would be desirable, in several points of view,
that the entire army of the Union should consist of volunteers. At first, at all
events, volunteers enter into the business with more spirit than drafted men.
And it would be satisfactory hereafter to recall the fact that we had put down
the rebellion without the aid of a single impressed man.
But, on the other hand, drafting has its advantages. It will have a fine moral
effect both abroad and at home. If we can draft 600,000 men, or even 100,000, we
can draft 2,000,000. Europe will take the hint. A resort to drafting will
furthermore indicate to the rebels that the North is thoroughly in earnest, and
that all its resources are to be employed to suppress the rebellion. It will at
once and forever dispel the delusion from which they have derived so much
comfort, to the effect that the North would tire of the war, and yield the
victory to the superior earnestness of the South. They will learn that we are
not behind them in determination, and
far ahead of them in men, money, and resources.
These are decided advantages to be gained by drafting.
If we succeed in raising the 600,000 men required
without drafting, we shall have done what no other nation ever did
before. The great armies of the world—those of France, Russia, and Austria—are
filled wholly by conscription. Volunteering is unknown in those countries. A
man who has a fancy for being a soldier sells himself
as a substitute when conscription day comes
round. England is the only country besides our own in which the ranks of the
National army have always been filled by volunteers; and when England, in the
Crimean war, called for volunteers
to fill the shattered ranks of her army, her utmost efforts, backed by
substantial bounties, only
succeeded in raising some 60,000 men, very few of whom were considered
effectives. She would doubtless have done better had the war menaced her
national existence, as the rebellion menaces ours. But there is a long stride
from 60,000 men to a million.
In the matter of volunteering the West is doing better than the East, the
country than the towns. This can be explained without imputing lack of
patriotism to the citizens of the East or the people of the large cities. In the
first place, it is notorious that of the first levies the large cities — New
York, Philadelphia, and Boston—furnished more than their share. In the general
account there is a substantial balance in their favor and against the country.
Next, it must be borne in mind that an offer of nine months' steady work, at
good wages, from September to May, is more tempting to farm-laborers than to
city artisans or mechanics. It bridges over the long winter during which work is
scarce and wages low in the agricultural
districts. It enables the farm-laborer to finish the business of getting in this
year's crop, and sets him free for the summer work on the next. With the city
mechanic, who knows nothing of seasons,
and whose employment is sometimes brisker in winter than in summer, these
considerations have no weight. Again, it must be borne in mind that in the West
the proportion of males to females is larger than in the East, and the fighting
population much greater. A Western State, with a population of two millions,
contains more material for soldiers than an older State in the East with
one-third more people. Hence we see the Adjutant-General of Illinois positively
overwhelmed by the rush of volunteers, while the Adjutants-General of New York
and Ohio are calmly preparing for the draft.
The levy of an army of a million men, and their steady employment in military
service, will make a serious inroad upon the ranks of peaceful labor, and will
cause a large advance in all classes of wages. This will naturally lead to a
copious immigration from Europe. We are glad to learn that the Government has
discovered the prospect, and that
steps have already been taken to encourage immigrants. This country, it
has been estimated, gains $1000 by every able-bodied immigrant who comes here
from Europe. We presume that the high prices which all kinds of labor will
shortly command will suffice to start an unprecedented hegira from Germany and
the British Isles, especially as the new tariff offers remarkable inducements to
foreign manufacturers to come here and set up their factories on American soil.
But if any thing further were needed, the United States could well afford
to pay the passage of every able-bodied man who chose to come here with
the intention of settling among us.
IT gives us pleasure to learn that we were entirely
mistaken in supposing that CAPTAIN RODMAN,
United States Ordnance Corps, the inventor
of the Rodman Gun, had proved a traitor and gone over to the rebels.
Captain Rodman has, ever since the outbreak of the war, devoted his entire
energies to the service of the United States Government,
and is now, as he has been for three years,
in command of the
United States Arsenal at Watertown, Massachusetts. He
has never harbored a disloyal
thought. Captain Rodman is second to no
officer in the army in scientific attainments, zeal, and industry; and we
extremely regret to have been betrayed into doing him a temporary injustice.
THE REAL CONTEST.
THE rebellion is the effort of the only aristocratic class in the country to
destroy popular institutions,
because they had learned by experience
that under those institutions the people became too
wise to submit to an aristocracy. The aristocratic
class, whose principle is that capital ought to own
labor, and that a laboring man has no more rights
than a horse or an ox, had governed the country for their own interest
for many a long year. Seeing at length that the natural increase of population
was filling up the Territories of the United States with men who lived by their
own labor, and fearful lest they
should be deprived of extending the system of slavery, upon which their
political power depended, they
tried to occupy the Territories with slaves under the protection of the
What was the consequence of this movement of
theirs? It was to make every great capitalist slaveholder the immediate rival of
every free laborer in the land. You, for instance, were a blacksmith,
a carpenter, a farmer. You or your children went to the West. What did you find?
You found a great proprietor, who owned a dozen carpenters and
blacksmiths and farmers, occupying
an immense domain, and trying to forestall you in
your trade, whatever it may be. You had your wife and family to maintain
by your labor, but the rival
workman had none, and was run by his owner
at starvation wages—at rates with which you could not compete and live. You had
your children to educate, the dignity and decency of a man
and a citizen to maintain. But your rival was
treated as a brute, was kept ignorant and degraded,
and was sold like a hog. Every wretched slave there occupied the ground which a
free laborer might occupy; and the men who brought him brought not only a rival
to your trade, but disgrace to it, poverty and a hard fight to you, and
ignorance and destitution to your children.
The people of the land saw the trick and scorned
it. They utterly routed the party that supported this policy. They did
not all vote for Mr. Lincoln, but the friends of Mr. Douglas refused the
Governmental protection of slavery in the Territories. So the aristocracy,
beaten at the polls, began war upon the United States at
Sumter. What for? To
maintain their power over the free
laboring interest of the country. They despise the laboring class. They
hold that it is not fit to enjoy political power. They declare that they are
the rightful masters, and that the mud-sills shall be whipped in. It is a
contest of human rights against
class privilege—of all the people against a
few men—of the democracy against an aristocracy.
THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN.
THE President's remarks to the committee of
colored men have now been carefully considered
by all who understand the importance of the subject.
That his scheme of colonization is impracticable
and undesirable does not detract in the least from the honest good-will
with which he urges it; and that a President of
the United States should say
to colored men that the treatment of their race
in the country had been most unjust and iniquitous is something that
three or four years ago was the most hopeless of all possibilities.
With the President the question, as with all
sensible men, is a practical one. What is the best
thing to do under the circumstances? is what he asks. His reply is that,
in view of the strong distaste of the dominant race in this country to the
other, it is better that the latter should withdraw and settle elsewhere.
That they are as much native here as most of us
whites, whose fathers, grandfathers, and ancestors
came from Europe—that they are an essential and
immense part of the laboring force of the country
—that they are a singularly inoffensive, mild, and
amiable people—that they are fondly attached to
the region in which they are born and leave it only
because of the brutal slavery in which they are held—that they form a very
minority of all the criminal offenders in the
land—that they are a cheerful, affectionate, flexible
race—that their only offense is that we have
injured them—that the prejudice against them is an
idle, wanton, and wicked hatred, cherished among
the most brutal and ignorant of our foreign population—by
the most dangerous and unprincipled of
political demagogues and newspapers—that the
emigration of four millions of people in their condition
is a practical impossibility, and if it were
feasible, that it would be the most disastrous blow
at the prosperity of the country at a time when it
is least able to hear it—are all considerations of no
weight in the President's mind, in view of the fact
that a great many white people in the country don't
like the colored people.
But such dislikes are a very common spectacle
in history. The Jews were universally hated in the Christendom of the Middle
Ages, and they were abominably treated. They are tolerated now, but they
are still viewed with a peculiar prejudice, and in the European cities they
occupy certain quarters which are
half regarded as lazarettos.
Until very recently Jews could not sit in the British Parliament. But is a grave
recognition and fortification of this prejudice a sound state policy?
In old Britain the Normans, Danes, and Saxons
did not love each other. But they did not go asunder and colonize. They
remained and formed the English
nation. The English to-day do not like the Scotch, and they hate the Irish. Is
there any valid reason why
black men should be enslaved
or exiled by white men that would not equally justify enslaving and exiling the
Celts by the Saxons? If we are to talk of troublesome and
dangerous and impracticable races, what will our
Celtic brethren say for themselves?
There is a bitter prejudice against the colored race in this country. That they
should emigrate is out of the question. That they should be enslaved is
henceforth impossible. They must remain. They must be elevated as fast as
possible into good citizens. And how fast ignorance, degradation,
and stupidity can be raised to what we call the level of citizenship the
history of every year shows. The
most brutal, besotted, wretched,
superstitious European, who can neither read nor
write, whose body and mind have hitherto starved
in abject want, lands upon our shores, and in a very,
very, very short time, he is found voting for Mayor of New York, and is
held to be quite good citizen
enough to help oppress the unfortunate colored natives of the country.
The prejudice against the colored race is one that
we must overcome. To indulge it is to stab our fundamental doctrine to the
heart. But if ignorance, brutality, and degradation in high places or
low are to be held to condemn men to servility, let
it be understood, and let it work equally. Let every man who falls within the
category—American, Englishman, Irishman, Scotchman, Frenchman,
German, Spaniard, Italian, Swede, Norwegian, Greek, Syrian, Asian,
African, or Polynesian —take his
The President's convictions and hopes are humane,
and just, and noble. But his method is impracticable. It is simply a
shirk, not a solution. The "Conservatives" who praise it do not share
his feeling of the deep injustice of slavery, nor do they wish to remedy
the wrong. They praise him because
they think his policy separates him from his friends. They do not love
him more: they only hate him less.
CORCORAN AND HIS COUNTRYMEN.
GENERAL CORCORAN has returned and has been
most festally received. But it will always be a matter
of surprise that
Jeff Davis retained him so long. He knew him, indeed, to
be brave; and he knew how warmly his fellow-Irishmen regarded him.
But for those very reasons it is the more surprising that he did not try
a great stroke of blarney for the precious Confederacy.
When, after the day at
Bull Run, he discovered
who his prisoner was, he might have said to him,
hat in hand, "My dear Colonel, here is some mistake. We can not be
enemies. You and your brave and
gallant countrymen have long contended,
as we are contending, against a haughty, domineering,
foreign power. Our sympathies are necessarily together. Our hearts are
one. You have been, most of you,
our political allies in the past.
This unjust war to crush us, to free our slaves and
create rivals for your labor, is one that you can not support. Go home,
then, dear Colonel. Present my
compliments to your noble fellow-countrymen, and tell them that a brave
people struggling for their rights desires and demands their heartiest sympathy
This would have been an extremely pretty piece
of gag. It would have been a desperate bid for
the alienation of the Irish population from the Government. That it would
have succeeded, of course we do not
believe; but it was worth trying.
As it is, the simple fidelity through a year of