Sunday, June 6, 2010

Slavery and Its Upholders

The Chicago Times seems to be the guide of a number of small-fry Democratic papers in this latitude, who humbly, but with exceeding zeal endeavor to closely follow the heels of its course, as possibly leading to some way of political salvation. The Times has lately been terribly disturbed about abolitionists. According to it, the real and absolutely only enemies of the Union worthy of fear or everlasting condemnation, are “abolitionists.” They brought about this war; they are in the way of peace; they are fighting not for the Union, but to crush slavery; they, in fact are at the top and bottom, the middle and outside, of this civil war. The only true patriots are those poor, miserable, doughface offscourings of Northern politics, who for years and years having “eat dirt” at the feet of the South, cringing white slaves of masters who kicked them from post to pillar, cannot even now so far overcome old servile instincts and habits as to cease to be the apologists and defenders of slavery. Preferring slavery to the Union, they are not “abolitionists,” therefore are the only immaculate patriots! This is just about what the Times has proclaimed the last two weeks in sum and substance.

The Times has a faithful reflector here. The Democrat has done nothing but mouth abolitionism since its leader gave the keynote. Before the last Presidential election everything with it was “abolition” which did not prostrate itself in the dust before the slave power. The whole republican party was abolition, and old Abe Lincoln was the most abolitionized abolitionist of all. It is at this time almost consistent with its past folly. All who will not now, like it, truckle to slavery, and beg that it may not in this war be hurt, or who will not directly or indirectly lend all their moral influences to saving slavery while saving the Union, if not putting slavery above the Union, are abolitionists. To desire and demand that all rebel property shall be confiscated, even though part of that “property” be slaves, is abolitionism. To feel and to say that the Government shall use all its power to crush this rebellion at once and forever, without considering whether in doing this slavery shall be hurt, or caring for the possibility that it may really be destroyed in the conflict, is very rank abolitionism. According to the “reasoning” and epithets of the Democrat, all Northern men are abolitionists, except a faction of slavery sympathizers, who if they do not love slavery more than the Union, at least love the Union so little that for its very salvation slavery must not be disturbed. These men, or doughfaces, are the ones who blame abolitionists for this rebellion and civil war. They have not a word of rebuke for traitors in arms against the government, but volumes of anathemas for abolitionists. In fact, with them, a traitor, is a gentleman and a Christian by the side of an abolitionist.

Now this twaddle of the Times and Democrat, about abolitionism is slightly disgusting, and very nonsensical. The most absurd thing in the whole connection, however, is the fact of these Democratic editors backing up Mr. Lincoln, as a President who is endeavoring to protect slavery in this struggle! Fortunately for Mr. Lincoln’s reputation as a man and as a statesman, fortunately for the country, and most fortunately for the lovers of slavery, the President is most basely maligned by the support of such fellows as these. He has done nothing and said nothing to merit their support, so far as the world knows. He is evidently trying to save the Union, without caring what becomes of slavery. He is known to be in favor of confiscating all rebel property. He is in fact what these editors call us and other true Northern patriots. If we are abolitionists, so is he. No baser, meaner, or more malicious outrage has been attempted against the reputation and usefulness of President Lincoln, than the professes support of such traitor-at-heart editors, who profess to be upholding him against the machinations of abolitionists. The same party that placed Mr. Lincoln in power still stands by him. All the patriotism left in the party that approved his election is now sustaining him, not as a Republican or partisan, but as our patriotic President. Those who sustain him now from some fancied newly awakened friendliness of his to slavery, are not representatives of any portion of the patriotism of the people, or of any party. They are either grossly deceived as to the President’s feelings, or they are attempting to shamelessly deceive the people.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, February 11, 1862, p. 2

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