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THE SLAVES EXPECTING FREEDOM. [SECT. XIII.
der the noontide sun-it came through the moaning midnight forests, solemn and clear above their multitudinous inarticulate sounds-it came from children torn from their parents, from wives and husbands parted at the auction block, from mothers in despair, from strong men fainting under the lash, from the aged whose heads were frosted by time. In their quaint prayers the Africans talk to God as a man talks face to face with his friend. Slavery had made HIM their friend. By the flickering fires of their cabins they stealthily spelt out the Bible to see what He had promised to them. It was their dreadful lot that had caused Jefferson, himself a slave-owner, to expostulate solemnly with his countrymen, and to deprecate the wrath of God. For who shall escape when from the hand of Eternal Justice her scales have dropped as useless-when from her brow the bandage has been raised that her uncovered and angry eyes may gaze upon unutterable wrong- when her uplifted arm, quivering with indignation, is ready to strike a blow that shall make a whole continent tremble?
On the evening of the last day of the year 1862, many of those Africans, who were living in towns, and who were connected with various Christian denominations, repaired to their places of worship, and waited for the midnight clock to strike. Many of those who were living on plantations knelt down in their humble cabins, with their wives and children. Many of those who were alone, and had no friend in the world, went into the woods, in presence of that eye which pierces the darkness as well as the light. They prayed that ALMIGHTY GOD would take pity upon them, and strengthen the hand of Abraham Lincoln on the coming day.
And on that day, being the first day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, there was issued
CHAP. LXIV.] THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION.
66 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
"Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year Emancipation of the of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixtytwo, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state, or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, who are henceforth thenceforward and forever, free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the states, and parts of states, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any state, or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such states shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such state, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.'
"Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the states, and parts of states, wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit: in places now in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemine, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Or
END OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA.
leans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkely, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states and parts of states are, and henceforth shall be, free; and that the executive government of the United the nation will main- States, including the military and naval authorities
The armed force of
tain their freedom.
thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of
"And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to Recommendations abstain from all violence unless in necessary selfto the slaves. defense; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
They may serve in
"And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed the army and navy. service of the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
"And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, Invocation of the warranted by the Constitution upon military necesfavor of God. sity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
'By the President:
"WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
END OF VOL. II.