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Rebel States will be free. Even if the Court should hesitate, there can be no hesitation with the President, or with the people, bound in sacred honor to the freedom of every slave in the Rebel States. Therefore against every effort of surrender the Proclamation presents an insuperable barrier.
4. If you are willing to descend deep down to the fathomless infamy of renouncing the Proclamation, then in the name of peace do I protest against any such surrender. So long as Slavery exists in the Union, there can be no peace. The fires which seem to be extinguished will only be covered by treacherous ashes, out of which another conflagration will spring to wrap the country in war. This must never be.
It is because Slavery is not yet understood, that any are willing to tolerate it. See it as it is, and there can be no question. Slavery is guilty of every crime. The slave-master is burglar, for by night he enters forcibly into the house of another; he is highway robber, for he stops another on the road, and compels him to deliver or die ; he is pickpocket, for he picks the pocket of his slave; he is sneak, for there is no pettiness of petty larceny he does not employ; he is horsestealer, for he takes from his slave the horse that is his; he is adulterer, for he takes from the slave the wife that is his; he is receiver of stolen goods on the grandest scale, for the human being stolen from Africa he foolishly calls his own. When I describe the slave-master, it is simply as he describes himself in the code he sanctions. All crime is in Slavery, and so every criminal is reproduced in the slave-master. And yet it is proposed to bestow upon this whole class not
only new license for their crimes, but a new lease of their power. Such surrender would be only the beginning of long-continued, unutterable troubles, breaking forth in bloodshed and sorrow without end.
5. Lastly, this surrender cannot be made without surrender to the Rebellion. Already I have exhibited the identity between Slavery and the Rebellion ; and yet it is proposed to recognize Slavery in the Union, when such recognition will be plain recognition of the Rebellion.
The whole thing is impossible, and not to be tolerated. Alas! too much blood has been shed, and too much treasure lavished, for this war to close with any such national stultification. The Rebellion must be crushed, whether in the guise of war or under the alias of Slavery. It must be trampled out, so that it can never show itself again, or prolong itself into another generation. Not to do this completely is not to do it at all. Others may act as they please, but I wash my hands of this great responsibility. History will not hold such surrender blameless.
“An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high"; but the orphans of this war must heap curses heavenhigh upon the man who consents to see its blood and treasure end in nought.
Such are the grounds for the repudiation of all surrender to Slavery in the Union. I have also shown that there can be no surrender to Slavery out of the Union. In either alternative surrender is impossible; but even if possible, it would be most perilous and degrading
Thus far I have said nothing of platforms or candidates. I desired to present the issue of principle, so that the patriot could choose without embarrassment from party association. Pardon me now, if for one moment I bring platforms and candidates to the touchstone.
There is the Baltimore platform, with Abraham Lincoln as candidate. No surrender here. In one resolution it is declared that the war must be prosecuted “ with the utmost possible vigor to the complete suppression of the Rebellion.” In another it is declared, “that, as Slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength of this Rebellion, and as it must be always and everywhere hostile to the principles of republican government, justice and the national safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic.” 1 There is salvation in these words, pronouncing the doom of Slavery in the name of justice and the national safety. The candidate has solemnly accepted them, not only when he accepted his nomination, but yet again, when, in the discharge of official duties, he said briefly, “ to whom it may concern,” that there could be no terms of peace, except on the condition of "the integrity of the whole Union and the abandonment of Slavery."? In this letter of the President, unquestionably the best he ever wrote, it is practically declared, in conformity with the Baltimore platform, that there can be no surrender to Slavery in the Union or out of the Union.
Turn to the Chicago platform and its candidate, and what a contrast! There is surrender in both forms.
" McPherson's Political History of the United States during the Great Robellion, p. 406.
2 Ibid., p. 301.
The platform surrenders to Slavery out of the Union, and, in proposing a "cessation of hostilities,” prepares the way for recognition of the Rebel States. didate, in a letter accepting the nomination, surrenders to Slavery in the Union. The platform plainly looks to disunion. The letter seemingly looks to union; but whether looking to union or not, it plainly surrenders to Slavery.
There is still another surrender in the Chicago platform. While professing formal devotion to the Union, it declines to insist upon “ National unity,” or “a union on the basis of the Constitution of the United States." No such terms are employed ; but we are invited to seek peace "on the basis of the Federal Union of the States": so that, according to this platform, it is not the National Union, that union of the people accepted by Washington and defended by Webster, which we are to have, but a “Federal Union of the States," where State Sovereignty, as accepted by John C. Calhoun and defended by Jefferson Davis, will be supreme; and all this simply for the sake of Slavery.
Look at the Chicago platform or candidate as you will, and you are constantly brought back to Slavery as the animating impulse. Look at the Baltimore platform or candidate, and you are constantly brought back to Liberty as the animating impulse. And thus again Slavery and Liberty stand face to face, - the slave-ship against the Mayflower.
There is another contrast between the two platforms, which ought not to be forgotten. That of Chicago, while saying nothing against the Rebellion, uses ambiguous language, interpreted differently by different persons; while that of Baltimore is so plain and une
quivocal that it leaves no room for question. This contrast is greater still, when we turn to the two candidates. Perhaps never between two candidates was it presented to the same extent. The Chicago candidate has written a subtle letter, which is interpreted according to the desires of its readers, — some finding peace, and others finding war. And this double-faced proceeding is his bid for the Presidency. I need not remind you that our candidate has never uttered a word of duplicity, and that his speeches and letters can be interpreted only in one way. And these are the two representatives of Slavery and Liberty.
Fellow-citizens, such is the issue of principle, such are the platforms and candidates. And
I ask frankly, Are you for Slavery, or are you for Liberty ? Or, changing the form of the question, Are you for the Rebellion, or are you for your country? For this is the question you must answer by your votes. In your answer, do not forget, I entreat you, its infinite, far-reaching, many-sided importance. This is no ordinary election. It is a battle-field of the war; and victory at the polls will assure victory everywhere. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Farragut, all are watching for it. Their trumpets are ready to echo back our election bells.
In every aspect the contest is vast. It is vast in its relations to our own country, — vaster still in its relations to other countries. Overthrow Slavery here, and you overthrow it everywhere, — in Cuba, Brazil, and wherever a slave clanks his chain. The whole execrable pretension of “property in men,” wherever it now shows its audacious front, will be driven back into kin