Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Abolition Of Slavery In The District Of Columbia

Neither Englishmen or Frenchmen have been forward to recognize the fact that the 16th of April, 1862, was a day which will stand in American history as the greatest day since that of the signing of the Declaration of Independence – the day of this century which will be honored through all time whatever may be the destiny in store for the Republic.  When the traditions of sea and land victories are becoming dim, when the grass has grown high on the graves of fallen heroes, that day will stand highest in the scale of national festivities and the reformers of the second revolution will seem to form, in the vista of the past, one group with the patriots of the past.  On that day the people of the States ceased to be a slaveholding nation.  Till then there had been a gulf fixed between them and all those Christian nations which had outgrown the barbarism of holding men as slaves and now the nation has come over to the side on which we stand.  It is now entitled to act and speak as a free nation should.  It is now qualified to act with us, without misgiving and without hypocrisy, against the slave trade.  It is no longer a subject for skepticism and scorn of the world, because of the contrast between its profession and its practice.  After a struggle between the best and the worst elements of its society – a struggle prolonged through two generations – it has abolished slavery on the national territory and the National Government has ceased to be a slaveholding power.  Slavery has sunk to a mere state institution, and deprived of national sanction and support, exposed, as it now is to the condemnation of the American Government, together with all other governments, it cannot long sustain itself under the scorn and loathing of human society.  A national institution it could assume to defy foreign opinions.  As a “domestic institution,” reprobated at Washington as in London and Paris its doom is plain, and its strength is broken. –{London Times.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 31, 1862, p. 1

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