Our neighbor says that we affect to be surprised that he should endorse President Lincoln’s message. No we are not, but we should be greatly surprised if he maintained that position for any length of time. That message is a very carefully worded document and susceptible of being construed to suit the ideas of men who do not hold the same opinion upon the subject of slavery that the President entertains. We are glad that our contemporary and the pro-slavery press generally make no opposition to this message of the President. It is the strongest evidence we have had that this war is lessening the hold of slavery upon the nation.
Formerly every deference was shown to this subject, and the most obsequious humiliation was exhibited in Congress at the bare mention of slavery. The word was pronounced sotto voce, and when it became necessary to allude to it in public, it was sugared over with some such figurative appellation as “peculiar institution.” But now, for the first time in the history of the country, a President of the United States has formally communicated to Congress his opinion that legislation looking to the extinction of American Slavery is necessary, and the Democratic press, the pro-slavery organs of the North, commend it!
Heretofore Executives have approached the subject hat in hand, and with [missing text] ded to the forbidden theme; but here is a President who does not hesitate to call the thing by its right name and boldly to affirm that slavery and the Constitution are not identical, that they are not compatible, that so far from their existence being relative, or dependent the one upon the other, they are really antagonisms, and there is no permanent safety for the Union so long as slavery exists, and the pro-slavery press says, it is well! The world does move and if slavery, the relic of barbarism, is not left behind in its progress, it will be an anomaly in the history of our race.
– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, March 12, 1862, p. 2