Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Emancipation as the Last Resort

The New York Tribune has an article laudatory of President Lincoln, especially as respects the present conduct of the war.  The closing paragraph is worthy of particular note, coming as it does, from an editor of decidedly conservative tendencies.  We quote it:

“And now for the future!  For three months the Southern climate is favorable to our active exertions, and stirring months these will be.  All that Government actively can devise and military energy execute, will be crowded into this period of time.  The most tremendous efforts will be made to crush out rebellion, and to hold the Southern States in stern subjection to the laws above us.  But if our exertions fail, and the sultry summer finds the tax undone, then shall we expect to see the long-planned schemes of the President put into active operation.  He will take up emancipation as a weapon of last resort, and with it carry on the war by negro aid, in climates and positions more favorable to them than to us.  Heretofore, they have been idlers in our camps; then, they will be called upon for work, and in both summer and winter the good cause will advance, growing more and more desperate as it touches its final end.  And we may feel assured that the President is calmly planning its approach, undisturbed by the colossal magnitude of national interests which will be involved in its death struggle prove desperate.  Not from choice, but from necessity, President Lincoln may be the man who is to end the whole system of American Slavery.”

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Friday Morning, April 4, 1862, p. 2

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