Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
September 22nd, 1862
- Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
- The Press, September 25, 1862
- Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser; Summary of Opinions
- Chambersburg Valley Spirit, September 23, 1862
- Staunton Spectator, October 7, 1862
- Philadelphia Press, Sept. 30, 1862
In the summer of 1862, after careful consideration, with the conclusion that the war must be a transformative one, the President wrote the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. He read it to his cabinet July 22nd 1862. Secretary of State William Seward, suggested the president wait until the Union army had a battlefield victory before announcing the new policy. The Battle of Antietam provided that opportunity. On September 22nd, 1862, President Lincoln announced the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The full text of the document is transcribed here, with various newspaper editorial reactions to the proclamation.
NOTE: Newspapers courtesy http://digitalnewspapers.libraries.psu.edu (Penn State University). And, the University of Virginia's "Valley of the Shadow" digital archive.
Picture credits: All images are from the Library of Congress digital images collection. Engraving by Adelbert Volck is from Library of Congress, American Memory, Treasures of New York Collection. ALL IMAGES have been edited in photoshop.
By the President of the United States of America a Proclamation.
I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prossecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the states, and the people thereof, in which states that relation is, or may be suspended, or disturbed.
That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all slave-states, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States, and which states, may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate, or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; and that the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued.
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 then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority 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 efforts 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 thereof 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 state shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such state and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.
That attention is hereby called to an act of Congress entitled “An act to make an additional Article of War” approved March 13, 1862, and which act is in the words and figure following:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional article of war for the government of the army of the United States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such:
Article - , All officers or persons in the military or naval service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service of labor, who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court-martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.
Also to the ninth and tenth sections of an act entitled “An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes,” approved July 17, 1862, and which sections are in the words and figures following:
Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States; and all slaves of such persons found on (or) being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude and not again held as slaves.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the district of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United states in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person engaged in the military or naval service of the United states shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.
And I do hereby enjoin upon all person engaged in the military and naval service of the United States to observe, obey, and enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the act, and sections above recited.
And the executive will in due time recommend that all citizens of the United States who shall have remained loyal thereto throughout the rebellion, shall upon the restoration of the constitutional relation between the United States, and their respective states, and people, if that relation shall have been suspended or disturbed) be compensated for all losses by acts of the United States, including the loss of slaves.
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 twenty second day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty two, and of the Independence of the United states, the eighty seventh.
By the President:
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.
September 25, 1862 [Philadelphia Press, p.2]
Special Despatches to “The Press.”
Washington, September 24, 1862.
Serenade at the White House – Speech of the President.
A large crowd assembled at the Executive Mansion to-night, on the occasion of a serenade to the President.Mr. Lincoln having been cheered and called for, he appeared at an upper window, and spoke as follows:
Fellow-Citizens : I appear before you to do little more than to acknowledge the courtesy you pay me, and to thank you for it.
I have not been distinctly informed why it is, on this occasion, you appear to do this honor though, I suppose –
A voice – “It is because of the
[Cries of good and applause.]
I was about to say that, I suppose I understand it. [Laughter.]
Voices – “That you do – you thoroughly understand it.”
What I did after very full
deliberation and under a very
heavy and solemn sense of responsibility.
[Cries of good! God bless you ! and applause.]
I can only trust in God I have
Voices. No mistake !All right ! You’ve made mistakes, yet go ahead. You’re right!I shall make no attempt on this occasion to sustain what I have done or said by any comment. –
Voices – That’s unnecessary. We understand it.
It is now for the country and
world to pass judgment on
it, and may be, take action upon it.
will say no more upon this subject.
my position I am environed with difficulties.
A voice. That’s so.
They are scarcely so great as
difficulties of those who,
upon the battle-field, are endeavoring to purchase with their blood and
the further happiness of this country. [Applause, long
us never forget them on the 14th and 17th
days of this
present month. There
have been battles
bravely, skillfully, and successfully fought. [Applause] We
do not yet know the
particulars. Let us
be sure that in giving praise to
particular individuals we do no injustice to others. I only
ask you, at the conclusion of these
few remarks, to give three hearty cheers to all the good and brave
men who fought these successful battles.
Cheer after cheer greeted this initiation, when the President bad the crowd good night, and withdrew.
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY SERENADED – SPEECH OF MR. CHASE
The procession then proceeded to the residence of Secretary Chase. After being cheered, that gentleman appeared upon the steps. Several voices called for gas-light, to which request he said he was afraid that all the light the assemblage would have this evening would be the light reflecting from the great act of the President. [Cheers.] He understood that they had just paid their respects to the Chief Magistrate of the Republic to thank him for issuing a proclamation which will find a response in the hearts of the American people. No one, he said, can rejoice more sincerely in the belief that the judgment you have expressed will be the judgment of the entire people of the United States. [Cries of “yes,” and applause.] I am better accustomed to work than to speak. I love acts better than words. [Voices, “That’s it. That you do. You’ve shown it.” But nothing has given me more sincere pleasure than to say Amen to this last great act of the Chief Magistrate. [To this “Amen” there was a warm and spontaneous response from the crowd] It is the dawn of a new era, and although the act was performed from an imperative sense of duty, qualified by a military exigency which gave him power to perform it, it is, nevertheless, though baptized in blood, an act of humanity and justice. The latest generations will celebrate it. [A voice - “The whole world.”] Yes! The whole world will pay honor to the man who executed it. If it were necessary to say another word, it is that the time has come when all jealousies, all division, all political aims and aspirations should be banished, so that, united, we may all stand by the integrity of the Republic. Let him have the most of our approbation, and applause, and confidence, who does the most, whether in the field, or Cabinet, for his country. Dismissing all of the past, let us look to the future and henceforth let there be no dissension. Let us do nothing but work for the country, which God, in his providence, has called upon us to do.
The above is merely the substance of the secretary’s remarks, which were applauded throughout.
SPEECH OF CASSIUS M. CLAY
Hon. Cassius M. Clay was the next speaker. In the course of his remarks he expressed his thanks for the applause with which his name was greeted. The time hand now come, he said, when the line had been unmistakably drawn between freedom and slavery, and when the principles declared in ’76 were boldly enunciated. The right was always expedient, and hence he was gratified beyond utterance by the President’s proclamation. The man who did not stand by it was a traitor. It was a proclamation on behalf of down-trodden, humanity, and would find its way all over the South, and everywhere, liberating all the oppressed of both races in this country. He anticipated good effects from it also in Europe. No man dared to stand up in defence of slavery. But to make the proclamation effective, we must all work by the means of our armies now contending against an aristocracy which wins sympathy in Europe among those who hate Republican Government.
In the conclusion of his remarks. Which were some what prolonged, he united in the prayer of Horace Greeley, “God bless Abraham Lincoln !”
Attorney General Bates was also the recipient of a serenade, and made a few remarks, expressive of his thanks for the compliment.
PITTSBURGH DAILY GAZETTE AND ADVERTISER
Sept. 24, 1862, p.3
THE LATEST NEWS
OUR SPECIAL DISPATCHES.
OPINIONS OF THE LEADING JOURNALS ON THE PRESIDENT’S PROCLAMATION.
The President’s Emancipation Proclamation is a document of such importance that it reception, as indicated in the leading public-journals, becomes a matter of first interest. Of the leading Eastern papers, the following are a few extracts:
The New York Tribune simply
recapitulates, in a double-leaded leader,
the main features of the proclamation, and adds:
“Such in brief, are the provision of the proclamation. It is the beginning of the end of the rebellion – the beginning of the new life of the nation. God bless Abraham Lincoln.”
The New York Herald, says, it is one of the most important document since the adoption of the Federal Constitution. And add, the gravity of this proclamation, will strike every one. It has been forced upon the nation by the Abolitionists of the North, and the Secessionists of the South. It inaugurates the overwhelming revolution in the system of labor, in a vast and important agricultural section of country, which will if the rebels persist in their course, suddenly emancipate three or four millions of human beings, and thro them in the fullness of their helplessness and ignorance, upon their own resources and the wisdom, of the white race to properly regulate and care for them in their new condition of life; but the importance of this great social revolution, will not be confined to the section where the black race now forms the chief laboring elements, it will have influence on the labor of the North and West. It will to a certain extent bring the black labor of the South, in competition with the white labor on the extensive grain farms of the West, unless the existing stringent laws of some of the Western States, confining the negro to his present geographical position are adopted, in all other free States.
The Herald, then explains this proclamation, however, and gives the South an opportunity to escape the fate so clearly, and emphatically marked out by Mr. Lincoln. It should be her golden opportunity, and must be manifest to them that the rebellion cannot succeed. The reception of the rebel army by the people of Maryland, after all the promises and preparations leading to the invasion of that State, must have its peculiar and impressive significance with them, and concludes : It is at this time, with victory in our hands, and enormous preparations for crushing out all opposition, that the President issues this important manifesto, and gives the people of the South this chance. It is now the question with them whether, or not, they are prepared fro the sake of a few miserable leaders of this wicked rebellion, to submit to this overwhelming revolution in their social system. There is the document – there is the time fixed for the return of the rebellious States to the allegiance of the Federal Government. No event in the history of the world surpasses the one now presented by the President, and which is to be decided in a little over ninety days.
The New York Times says : the wisdom of the step taken is unquestionable; its necessity is indisputable; it has been declared time and again by President Lincoln, that as soon as this step became a necessity he should adopt it. Its adoption now is not confession that the military means of suppressing the great rebellion have proved a failure – but simply that there is a point at which any other legitimate appliances that can be called in shall also be availed of. Slavery is an element of strength to the rebels; if left un touched it will assuredly prove an element of weakness to us. It may prove the total destruction to them and their cause when we make such use of it and its victims as lies in our power. From now till the first day of January, when this proclamation will take effect, is little over three months, what may happen between now and then, in the progress of the War, is hard to say. We earnestly hope, however, that by that time the rebellion will be put down by a military hand, and that the terrible element of a slave insurrection may not be involved. If by that day the rebel army be overthrown and their Capital captured, and if the slaveholding rebels still prove malignant and irrepressible, and, as in the South-West, disorganizers and marauders, then let that which Vice-President Stephens called the “corner-stone of the Southern Confederacy” be knocked from under it, and see whether the whole fabric of the rebellion will not necessarily tumble to the ground.
The New York World says: The President is a very Blondin in the art of political balancing, and that when he has to restore General McClellan to command, he throws this rope to the radical cerebus in shape of a new proclamation. The World concludes thus: “This new proclamation really amounts to little. The President proclaims, in substance, that on the firs of next January he will issue still another proclamation, putting in force the main provisions of the Confiscation Act. It is unbecoming of the dignity of a great Government to make such menaces, as to what it will hereafter do in a territory of which a powerful armed foe disputes its jurisdiction. If on the first day of next January the war is substantially ended, there would be some reason in giving insurgents their election between submission and civil penalties; but they will laugh such offers to scorn so long as they can confront us with great armies. That part of the proclamation which relates to slaves coming within our lines is particularly weak. The law is the same that it was several months ago. If the proclamation on this point is necessary, why was it so long delayed? Its issue at this late day looks like concession to radical clamor.
The National Intelligencer, which has for some time enjoyed the reputation of being the semi-official organ of Secretary Seward, says: With our well-known and oft-repeated views respecting the inutility of such a proclamation, it can hardly be necessary to ay that where we expect no good we shall be only too happy to find that no harm has been done by the present declaration of the Executive. This new proclamation not being self-enforcing any more than the proclamation of Gen. Hunter in regard to the emancipation of slaves in the States of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The only difference between the two papers resides in the signatures respectfully attached to them, and as in them selves considered they war likely to prove equally void of practical effect.
We are not without the suspicion that the President has taken this method to convince the only class of persons likely to be pleased with this proclamation, of the utter fallacy of the hopes they have founded upon it. This opinion, we may add, derives confirmation from the fact that he suspends for some months the enforcement of so much of his declaration as announces the emancipation of the slaves in punishment for contumacy on the part of the insurgent States, while he gives immediate force and effect, so far as force and effect result from the proclamation, to the regulations prescribed by the new article of war, and the provisions of the confiscation act in the matter of slaves. In any other theory than this, the proclamation may be said to open issues too tremendous, and to be fraught with consequences too undeveloped to admit of calculation or fore-cast by any intelligences we can command.
The National Republican, of this city, says the President has even gone beyond the legislation of Congress though not beyond their known wishes. He has proclaimed the freedom of all slaves, as well of loyal owners as of rebels, whether they escape to the United States or not. We should have been satisfied in the proclamation had merely carried out the laws of Congress, but like it all the better for going farther.
The proclamation will be received by the loyal States with perfect furore* of acclamation. While it will lose to the President a few latter-day friends, it will restore his old friends and unite the sound portion of the people in one solid and impregnable mass. *[a poetic or religious frenzy, or a great, widespread outburst of admiration or enthusiasm; craze rage.]
In support of the Union and Constitution Forney’s (Philadelphia) Press begins a long double-leaded leader thus: “The rebellion is at an end. The President has done a good deed at a good time. He has pronounced the doom of slavery on the American Continent. After dallying with this great sin because he dreaded to do violence to the interests and wishes of any portion of the people, he has accepted a lesson of experience, and ends the war by putting an end to the cause of the war. If this rebellion has taught us anything, it is that by slavery we have been defeated in our progress.
By slavery the riches and fairest portions of our Republic have been kept as a desert and wilderness. By slavery the great part of the people have been estranged from one another. By slavery, our institutions have been prevented from developing blessings our fathers intended they should bestow. Slavery has been a perpetual disgrace to the American name. Slavery has bloomed into rebellion, and ripened into war. Why should it live ? It has menaced our dearest rights, and has robbed us of our dearest kindred. This fearful monster is intertwining itself around the vitals of the republic, retarding its growth, destroying its usefulness and making its very existence wretched, at least, sought to take the life which had nourished it, and to end the bosom on which it had grown. In self-defence we have wrestled in its embraces, wrestled in blood, war, carnage, desication and slaughter, and all in vain. The struggle is now for life or death. If slavery lives the republic dies. The republic must live and so slavery must die.
This is the meaning of the President’s proclamation, and his words record slavery’s inevitable doom. After enforcing the idea that the slaveholders have brought this doom upon themselves, the Press thus concludes : “It does not come as a wild exhibition of despotic power, nor as a mere effort to rouse drooping public sentiment or rally beaten and disheartened columns. It is a manifestation of northern power. It is the result of over whelming victories.
Emancipation continues to be the engrossing topic of conversation in all circles. Residents here mostly, of course, look grum.* over it, and Marylanders generally take it badly. Among Northern men, there seems to be little division of sentiment ; nearly all agree in the belief, that if backed up by a strong war policy, it will unite and consolidate all parties in the North. It is understood; that of the strongest influences that have been operating on the President is a private letter to him from Robert Dale Owen, which takes much stronger grounds than one on the subject from the same author, recently published. *[grum = early modern english probably blend of grim, glum, etc.]
The letter, which was exceedingly earnest and impressive in tone, is understood to have placed emancipation on the ground of absolute necessity, and to have urged that unless President Lincoln did it very soon, he would be forestalled by Jeff. Davis himself. That the Southern leaders were almost on the point of readiness to abolish slavery themselves for the sake of securing the sympathy of Europe; and that the party which was first in this measure was sure to succeed. These views have been recently urged by numerous persons on the President but with especial force by this letter.
We have shown them that without going beyond mere voluntary offerings of life and treasure, we have laid their conscript Confederacy at our feet, and now we propose to crush where we have conquered, and to take away the life of the great criminal who has been indicted and convicted at the bar of Christian civilization.
The Philadelphia Inquirer merely calls the proclamation a state paper, on a grave subject, that will command the attention to be a subject of careful study.
The Baltimore American simply calls attention to the proclamation, and wholly refrains from editorial comment.
The other Baltimore papers are equally silent.
[Special Dispatch to the Pittsburgh Gazette.]
Philadelphia, Sept. 23, 1852.
The rebels have made a successful retreat into Virginia. There seems to have been no effort made from the south side to intercept them.
The following partial extract of notes, is from the website "Valley of the Shadow" maintained by the University of VA, and which in part has many old newspaper transcriptions from the war years.
VALLEY SPIRIT, SEPT 23 1862, (p 4.)
The great agony of the radicals is over. They clamored for a proclamation until they succeeded. They besieged the President on all sides, and waged an incessant war upon him for months, until at last he succumbed to the "pressure" and issued a proclamation proclaiming unconditional freedom to all the slaves in the seceded States after the first day of January next. Where the President pretends to find his authority for issuing such a proclamation, he does not deign to inform us. This new policy is to be the great panacea for all our ills, and is to kill the rebellion at one blow. We shall soon see the fruits of the policy and know from practical experience, what abolition philosophy is worth. In the meantime we must be permitted to hold the same views we have ever held on this subject, until we are convinced to the contrary by practical results.
The conservative men of the country have been greatly disappointed in this action of the President. They had been persuaded that he was a man of honest intentions and desired to do what was best for his country. They hoped, even sometimes against hope, that he would eventually see the true ground of his position, discard the mad counsels and revolutionary teachings of the radical men of his party, plant himself firmly upon the pillars of the Constitution, and make an earnest effort to save the country. They caught at every exhibition of conservatism in the President to strengthen this opinion, and were prompt in commending and endorsing every act of his tending to strengthen and promote the great cause in which the country is engaged, where the abolitionists who are now in ecstacies [sic] over his recent proclamation, either treated him with silent contempt or broke out in open murmurs of discontent and opposition. Yet in the face of these facts the President has given way to their clamor, and thrown himself, body and soul, into the hands of the radical abolition faction, who have been seeking the ruin of the country for many years, and who have pronounced the Constitution a "league with death and a covenant with hell," and the honest and conservative masses of the free States and the loyal Union men of the Slave States, have been shamefully deceived, and the nation been made to bleed afresh at every pore through the weakness and imbecility of its chief executive officer.
A word as to the effect of this Proclamation. Practically it is not worth the paper it is written on. If the administration is unable to enforce the legitimate and Constitutional laws of the country, in the seceded States, how is this unconstitutional and foolish paper proclamation to be enforced? The President himself told the Chicago Delegation that it would be inoperative, and could not free a single slave. The proposition is too absurd for a moment's serious consideration.
But there is another aspect in which this subject is all important, that of its bearing upon the loyal Union men of the slave States. They have suffered long and much for the sacred cause of the Union in their respective States. They persistently denied the allegations of the Secessionists that this was war on the part of the Government for the abolition of Slavery. This was the great argument of the Secessionists by which they were enabled to carry the people with them. The Union men planted themselves upon the broad principles of the Constitution, and bravely contended for the old Union and the old flag, with danger and death oftentimes staring them in the face, trusting in the good faith of the administration to sustain them. How have they been sustained. Alas! how! President Lincoln, with one stroke of the pen, violates the plighted faith of the Government, and says to the whole southern people, that the Union men were wrong and the Secessionists were right. In no other way could Abraham Lincoln have done so much to strengthen and consolidate the rebellion. We have no doubt that Jefferson Davis would have given the last dollar in the Confederate Treasury to have just such a proclamation emanate from the President of the United States.
Adelbert John Volck of Baltimore caricatured Lincoln and the Union War effort with a vitriolic pro Confederate viewpoint. The engravings were distributed privately. By 1862 the government suppressed the publication of his work. Volck fled to Europe and kept up his engravings. He returned to the states in 1864 and issued a small edition of his portfolio of 29 engravings titled "Confederate War Etchings," under the pseudonym 'V. Blada,' and a fake London imprint to avoid detection. The portfolio was soon withdrawn from circulation due to strong anti-southern sentiments in the north.
This plate titled "Writing the Emancipation Proclamation," distributed in October, 1862, shows the President with one foot on a bound copy of the Constitution, dipping his pen into a devil's ink-pot, to write the proclamation. John Brown's angelic portrait hangs on the wall behind him with the title, 'Saint Ossawatamie.' The canvas to the right depicts the riots and bloodshed that followed the abolition of slavery in San Domingo.
Notes on the piece from the book "Lincoln in Caricature," with descriptive commentary by Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Horizon Press, 1953.
From the tone of this editorial in the Staunton Spectator, it would seem they agree with Mr. Volck's depiction of the event.
(Newspaper transcription for the "Valley of the Shadow" digital archive, University of Virginia.)
October 7, 1862 (p.2 col.1)
Since the time our first parents were expelled from Paradise, and
"They hand in hand, with
wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way,"
there has not been as much joy in Pandemonium as at this time. The Arch-Fiend in the regions of woe, "grins horribly a ghastly smile," for he and his emissaries upon earth-- the extreme abolitionists-- have succeeded in prevailing upon "Old Abe" to issue a proclamation of emancipation which will send a thrill of horror through all civilized nations. He invites the servile population of the South to enact the bloody scene of St. Domingo throughout the limits of the Southern Confederacy.-- Before he committed this act of atrocity, in reply to the Committee sent by a meeting of the "Christians (!) of all denominations" of Chicago, who were, at the instigation of Satan, urging upon him to perpetrate it, he said that, "he had been considering it night and day for some time-- that he raised no objection to it on legal or constitutional grounds, for as Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy, in time of war, he supposed he had a right to adopt any measure which might best subdue the enemy, and that he urged no objections of a moral nature in view of possible consequences of insurrection and massacre at the South, but viewed the matter as a practical war measure to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion."
Having no legal, constitutional, nor moral objections, he had but little difficulty in coming to the conclusion that it would be a "good practical war measure." In a word, the devil triumphed, and Lincoln issued his proclamation, which has "crowned the pyramid of his infamies with an atrocity abhorred of men, and at which even demons might shudder."
After the Committee of abolitionists from Chicago had retired, and when he was in some perplexity as to the course he should adopt, Satan, his potential ally, "squat like a toad at his ear," addressed him, as Milton represents Death as addressing Sin within the gates of Hell, as follows:
"Go whither Fate and
Leads thee; I shall not lag behind nor err
The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste
The savor of death from all things there that live;
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprises!
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid."
"Facilis desgensus Averni." There is now no obstruction in the downward road he is travelling, for from the position he now occupies there is
"A passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell."
His astute ally knew when to approach him. He seized that time when he was writhing under the mortification of a succession of defeats, and when he was blinded by an intensified envenoned [sic] animosity. The fiendish criminality of his act is only equaled by its folly and fertility, for it will have no practical effect, as it will not emancipate a slave who would not have been freed without it. His proclamation, practically, is merely
"Sound and fury, signifying nothing,"
for notwithstanding it, he must rely solely upon the strength and bravery of his armies. Wherever he has had the power to do so, he has emancipated the slaves heretofore, and he cannot emancipate beyond the limits of his military lines. Not as many will be emancipated in future as heretofore, because the owners will now remove them before the enemy can get possession. He aims a deadly blow, but, like the blinded moccasin in August, he strikes his envenomed fangs into himself instead of his intended victim. This proclamation which exposes the criminal animus of its author, will strengthen the South and weaken the North, and bring down upon the Lincoln Administration the condemnation of the whole civilized world. Fearing to trust even the people of the North, he at the same time, issued another proclamation, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and applying the rigor of martial law to all persons who may utter a word of complaint against the issue of his fiendish proclamation.-- They will be thrown into prison without any means of redress. The Lincoln Government is now the most tyranical [sic] military despotism which has ever existed upon the earth. As compared with the "blackness of darkness" of Lincoln's character, those of all criminals who have "existed in the tide of Time" assumed a radiance of virtue. In comparing him with Butler, the tyrant of New Orleans, the Richmond Enquirer says:
"Butler has been called infamous--by common consent he is know as the Beast. But Butler is a saint compared to his master. In addition to all that Butler authorized, Lincoln adds butchery-- even the butchery of babes! Language is too poor to furnish a name suitable for such a character. Nay, the whole catalogue of dishonoring epithets is not sufficient to do justice to it. "Murderer" is a term of honor compared to Lincoln's crime. "Child and woman-murderer" tells but part of the story.-- To this is added the cowardice of employing an agent. To this belongs the additional fact that the agent, when unloosed, is a savage. To this is added the further fact that Lincoln dooms his agent to destruction. What shall we call him? coward? assassin? savage? the murderer of women and babes, and the false destroyer of his own deluded allies?-- Shall we consider these as all embodied in the word "fiend!" and shall we call him that? Lincoln, the Fiend! Let history take hold of him, and let the civilized world fling its scorpion lash upon him!"
September 30, 1862. (p.2)
Changes in the Cabinet.
Stories about changes in the Cabinet consequent upon the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation, have nearly all died away, as also have reports of difficulty among officers concerning army resignations of valuable military leaders, and insubordination among privates and the like, because of dissatisfaction with the proclamation.
© Bradley M. Forbush, 2012
Page Updated January 15, 2012.