« PreviousContinue »
or ever possessed before !" It remains for us, therefore, to examine this wonderful thing called the Union, which has so delightfully sprung into being, and is said to rise before the nations the marvel of beauty, wreathed with unfading honour and glory. And if we take into account its unnatural combinations, we shall perceive that its bright colours fade with the touch, and that an enormous fraud has been practised on mankind--a fraud as cruel and heartless as the hoax palmed off on the credulity of 700 ministers in France, and 4000 ministers of religion in this country -namely, that our Northern clergy and churches have diffused a gospel based on the sacred and inalienable rights of human freedom, concerning which we have had something to say in our book, "American States and Churches." It has been said that the Union is the emblem of nationality; if so, our flag gives a correct but humiliating representation of its character and condition. The late Daniel O'Connell was quick to perceive this, and prompt to expose it, whilst with terrible sarcasm he rung the sentiment in the ear of the world
“United States, your banner wears
Two emblems—one of fame;
Reminds us of your shame.
Stands blazoned on your stars,
They mean the negro's scars !"
coalesce with unnatural stripes ? If they had not been mock stars, would they or could they have formed a combination with real stripes, or have remained in such a preposterous coalition for so long a time? It is incompatible with the principles of freedom to be in alliance with the stripes or scars of slavery. A peaceful, permanent, and happy Union on such a basis, was in the nature of things impossible. “ When the republic was first born," says John Bright, “it contained the seeds of great peril.” At first slavery was connived at, then tolerated as a necessary evil, and then enthroned in church and state as a cardinal virtue, where it acquired a colossal power to control parties and sects, the judgments of courts both civil and sacred, and the freedom of speech and the press! With such a combustible element at the basis of our republic, how could an explosion be well avoided by the mixing up of such incongruous elements ? In such a case it needed but the spark of true freedom to explode the mine.
Whilst Jefferson, one of the founders of the Union, deprecated the existence of slavery, he also predicted that “it would be the rock upon which the Union would split.” And so it has been, for it was impossible to impair the law of contract that existed between the slave and the free States without endangering the existence of the entire country. This was so patent to William Lloyd Garrison and party, that they uniformly and persistently demanded that the Union should be allowed to slide up to the time of the disruption, and proclaimed the stars and stripes to be a “flaunting lie."
On January 31, 1861, the leading representatives of the above party met in Association-hall, Albany, New York, and resolved as follows:-_-" That the Ainerican slave system is the sum of all villanies, a compound of all cruelties and crimes—robbery, adultery, piracy, and murder, and whatever is impure, unholy, and accursed. Resolved, that slaveholders, as such, have no rights which any human being is bound to respect ; that their slaveholding States are organised bands of thieves and robbers, living by plunder and piracy on the avails of unpaid and unpitied toil; that our governmental union with such States and men was an atheistic rebellion against every principle of reason and revelation, every law of nature and of God, which no possible circumstances could have warranted in its formation, or justify in its longer continuance; and that to call such a state of things a union is to outrage, beyond possible endurance, the common sense of creation; and the only relief in enduring such an unholy alliance, at once so devilish and disgraceful, is the hope that God, or some other power, will ere long dash it in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
The Union was first formed to protect themselves from common danger. In order to meet England they had to be united. “Union was strength," said they ; “ United we stand, divided we fall.” But whilst we have been secure from outward dangers, we have fallen a prey to ruin from the greater dangers which have threatened us from within. Slavery has always been an element of disunion—a jarring note of discord-a bone of contention; but the South had nothing to fear from any abolition power in the North, for the good men and true who clung to the sacred principles of freedom on the basis of no compromise and no surrender, like the Spartans in olden times, were few and far between, scattered and peeled, driven hither and thither, and were subject to almost universal indignity and scorn when the war broke out. At that period there were only some three or four in Congress, such as Sumner, Lovejoy, and Giddings, who had stemmed the tide of opposition to their principles; and my friend, Wendel Phillips was uttering a loud lament that the cause of abolitionism had made no progress for twenty-five years previously.
And in that lament he was joined by that eloquent but misguided man, Frederick Douglas, as shown in his “Monthly" for June, 1860. Should the proFederals point us to an advance of public opinion in favour of abolitionism in the election of Lincoln, we have overwhelming proof to the contrary in Lincoln's own statements, given in his campaign book, and letter to the Hon. Horace Greeley. At page 202 of the above book he says—“I should like to know if taking this old declaration of independence, which declares that all men are equal on principle, and making exceptions to it; where will it stop? If one man says
it does not mean a negro, why may not another man say it does not mean another man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get this statute book in which we find it, and tear it out.” At page 193 of the same book he says—“I am not, nor ever have been, in favour of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black
I am not, nor ever have been, in favour of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior. I am as much as any other man in favour of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
But the above is not all. In page 18 of the book we have referred to, he says—“I have always hated slavery, I think, as much as any abolitionist.” And in his letter to the Hon. Horace Greeley, dated Washington, August 22, 1862, he says—“I would save the Union ; I would save it the shortest way under the constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be the Union as it was. If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My