THE following letters and
pamphlets r had rad published and circulated extensively throughout Canada,
with a view to aid the cause of the North, by arousing sympathy, awakening
humane and liberal sensibilities, and drawing more enlightened attention to
the objects of the great struggle between freedom and slavery in the United
I felt persuaded that once
the Canadian people were rightly informed as to the nature and objects of
the slaveholders, their sympathies would be given to the North in her
efforts to crush the rebellion, and prevent the establishment on this
continent of a government.
"With one great bloodstone for
its mighty base."
"THE PRESENT WAR IS SIMPLY A
CONFLICT BETWEEN SLAVERY AND FREEDOM. "—Hon. Charles Sumner.
THE SLAVEHOLDERS' REBELLION.
ITS INTERNAL CAUSES.
Every step in progress the
world has made since the advent of Christ, has been made from the cross to
the scaffold, and from stake to stake. All the great truths relating to
society and self- government, have been first heard in the solemn protests
of dying martyrs and patriots, who have yielded up their lives a sacrifice
to obtain freedom and liberty for mankind.
The great contest now being
waged in the United States, is a struggle between a higher and lower
civilization—a continuation of the struggle between light, liberty, and
freedom, and the ruling powers of wickedness and tyranny, which began at the
advent of our Saviour, and has been continued by his apostles, and by
martyrs and patriots from that time to the present day.
Never, since the revolt of
Satan against the government of Jehovah, has there been a rebellion so
utterly causeless and unjustifiable as the Slaveholders' Rebellion. Actuated
by the same wicked ambition that moved Satan to rebel against righteousness,
peace, and justice in heaven, the slaveholders are seeking to overthrow the
only really republican government on earth, and to erect upon its ruins a
despotism of the vilest description—the foundation of which is to be human
slavery ; and thus crush out forever the refuge and hope of liberty-loving
men of every nation and people.
The rebellious slaveholders never furnished any
list of grievances, never cited any acts of despotism on the part of the
government against which they rebelled. Their only excuse was, that a party
had come into power, the leaders of which had some moral feeling in
reference to slavery. It could not be truthfully alleged that Mr. Lincoln
proposed to infringe upon their state rights or peculiar privileges. No; the
actual and only object was (in case they proved successful in their appeal
to arms), to found a slave empire upon this continent, and extend the
baneful curse of slavery all over this land, from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, and repudiate the God- given right to all men of life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness. They wish to establish a government for the rich
and powerful, that they may the more firmly rivet the chains of bondage and
despotism upon the poor black people of this continent.
The slaveholders, and their supporters in the
North, had for fifty years controlled the government of the United States,
and used their patronage and power to advance the interests of slavery, and
force compromise after compromise from the northern people. During the past
eight years the Republican or anti-slavery party in the Free States had
gained strength rapidly. Their principles were inimical to slavery, and
especially to its extension to the great. territories of the west. No
attempt, however, was made or; could be made constitutionally to interfere
with slavery in those States where it was legalized by local enactments.
Under the Federal Constitution, every State has the right to make such laws
and enactments as will not conflict with the Constitution of the United
States. The President has no power, in time of peace, to interfere with the
institutions of any State, and there is clearly no such power in Congress.
But, for thirty years the slaveholders had been seeking a pretext to rebel,
and when the people of the Free States nominated as their candidate for the
office of President, Abraham Lincoln, they at once declared that in case lie
was elected, they would never submit to the will of the majority, but would
rebel and disrupt the nation, and establish a Confederacy, the corner stone
of which should be human slavery.
For thirty years the gulf between the Free and
Slave States had grown wider and wider. The conflict between freedom and
slavery had become fiercer and more bitter year after year. The anti-slavery
party, of which John Quincy Adams, Joshua R. Giddings, Gerrit Smith, and
other noble advocates of freedom, were the founders, had increased and
become a great, influential, and powerful party, spreading its influence and
principles throughout the country. For many years after the inception of
this party, its leaders and advocates were subjected to the most persistent
abuse and persecution at the hands of slaveholders and their sympathisers in
the North. But the little cloud that appeared no larger than a man's hand
thirty years ago, now overshadows the whole Union.
The triumphant election of Abraham Lincoln,
convinced the Southern despots that hereafter the power and influence of the
General Government would be exerted to extend the blessings of freedom and
liberty, and establish for ever the immortal principle that all men have
"the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
True to their wicked purpose, the slaveholders
precipitated the country into a bloody and cruel war, which has continued,
with varied success, for nearly four years. I believe that out of this
conflict will arise great good to mankind, and that, when this conflict is
ended, freedom will be universal throughout the great American Republic.
What a glorious future awaits the United States, when slavery is forever
crushed, and the energies of her enlightened millions shall be devoted to
extending the principles of freedom and self-government over the continent
of America, and in welcoming the poor down-trodden masses of Europe!
The United States deserve the sympathy of every
Christian man and nation, because they have espoused the cause of freedom,
and are contending for the rights of man. And although the loss of life and
suffering consequent upon the great struggle is to be deplored, I feel
convinced it is all for the best ; for had the North been successful in
crushing the rebellion at an earlier period we would not have attained that
result which every good man should desire— the abolition of human slavery.
With what gigantic strides the cause of freedom
has advanced since the war broke out, and what glorious results have been
worked out! At the outbreak of the rebellion, there were four millions of
human beings in bondage in the Southern States, and the day of deliverance
seemed very remote. They were held down by the most wicked, vile, and cruel
system of slavery ever devised; and possessed no right which a white man was
bound to respect.
different their condition at present! Hundreds of thousands are now enjoying
the blessings of freedom and liberty, and the whole power and influence of
the Northern States is being exerted in their behalf. The constitutional
amendment abolishing slavery throughout the Union has passed both the Senate
and House of Representatives, and will shortly be ratified by the required
number of States to make it an accomplished fact. When that glorious deed is
done, what an enviable and proud position will the United States occupy!
Cleansed from the foul blot of slavery, it will be a beacon- light to every
people and nation. Several of the former Slave holding States have already
emancipated their slaves, and commenced a new and glorious career in the new
nation of Free States. Thus the good work of emancipation goes on, and will
continue until freedom is universal.
THE RIGHTS OF MAN.
Our Almighty Father has given to all men the
right to live, the right to enjoy the light of the sun, the right to breathe
the vital air, to unfold his moral nature, to learn the laws that control
his moral and physical being, to bring himself into harmony with these laws,
and to enjoy that happiness which is consequent upon such obedience; and
wherever a human soul exists, that law applies. I mean by the term soul that
immortal principle in man which exists hereafter; and where such a soul
exists there is the right to live, to attain knowledge, the right to sustain
life, obey the laws of his Creator, and enjoy heaven and happiness, and the
poorest slave oil has this inalienable right ; and whoever deprives him of
that right outrages both the laws of God and nature. In defiance of these
sacred laws, four millions of innocent human beings have long been deprived
of all these rights and subjected to a cruel bondage by the slaveholders of
the South. Thank God, the hour of their deliverance is at hand ; and how
severe the punishment now being meted out, by a just God, to those wicked
and misguided men who sought to establish a government in violation of God's
most sacred laws!
IN Memory of
JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS, who died May 27th, 1864, at Montreal.
Mr. Giddings was one of the truest, most
consistent, and courageous advocates of freedom in the Northern States. For
thirty years he faith- fully laboured, both in and out of Congress, to bring
about the abolition of slavery, and before he was called away from earth he
was permitted to see the dawning of brighter and better days for his
country. Only one day prior to his death he remarked to the writer, while
conversing upon national topics, "I have but one desire to live longer, and
that is, to see the complete triumph of the cause to which I have given the
energies of my life." This noble and venerable patriot was one of the few
statesmen in the Northern States who felt the humiliation of sharing the
responsibility of slavery.
The writer was honoured with the confidence and
regard of Mr. Giddings, and was with him much during the last weeks of his
life. He possessed a kind and genial nature, and when conversing upon the
glory that he believed awaited his country, when every human being whether
black or white, should be in possession of the God-given right of freedom
and equality, his countenance would glow with animation and joy.
Mr. Giddings was a thorough abolitionist in principle. He did not, like many
of the statesmen of the present day, stop merely at emancipation, but
demanded that every innocent man was entitled not only to liberty and
equality before the law, but also to the right of suffrage. Thirty years ago
he bravely advocated the cause of the poor down-trodden slave, when to be
called an abolitionist was considered a disgrace and a dishonour; neither
threats of personal violence nor abuse could daunt the spirit of this heroic
and Christian man; and, from his first entrance into public life to the day
of his decease, he never allowed an opportunity to escape him of advocating
the cause of those in bondage. The poor slave always had in him a warm
defender and true friend. His position on this great question, classes him
with Wilberforce and Clarkson, names dear to humanity, who were the first in
England to speak for the enslaved race. He strove with all his power to
eradicate the foul blot of slavery from his native land; and, before he took
his departure for his heavenly home, he was permitted to catch a glimpse of
the bright future in store for his country.
Few names will rank above his when the long
conflict with slavery is ended, and justice done to those who fought for the
"Angelic peace! O
stay not long,
But sit beside the patriot's tomb,
And sing an everlasting song,
Of Freedom's triumph, Slavery's doom
Unite the several links again,
The golden links of every State,
That men may tell their fellow men.
Columbia stands, free, blest, and great."
SLAVERY IN THE SOUTHERN STATES.
Human slavery has been denounced by all the
great and good men of the Christian world, as a "relic of barbarism." The
fathers of the American Republic, pronounced it an outrage, and deplored its
existence; and the Bible also rises up in judgment against this iniquitous
Notwithstanding all this array of evidence against human slavery, the bold
attempt has recently been made in this city, Toronto, by a pro- slavery
clergyman, to inculcate the falsehood that human slavery was devised by our
Heavenly Father, and is, consequently, in perfect accordance with His
the humane and enlightened among us, it may appear a work of supererogation
to publicly protest against this absurd pretension ; but I deem it my duty,
as an anti-slavery man, and in presenting my protest, I shall avail myself
of the opportunity afforded me, of recording the testimony of Washington,
Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Patrick Henry, and John Randolph,— all residents
of Virginia, and the most illustrious men of their day; and thus show those
in Canada who sympathize with the slaveholders' rebellion, the hideous
serpent they are helping to warm into life ; for the Vice-President of the
rebellious States, has declared that "Slavery is the chief Cornerstone of
the Confederate Government."
Is it possible, after reading the opinions of
the great and good men above quoted, and the testimony of the Bible, that
any man, professing to be a follower and believer in the meek and lowly
Jesus, can give his sympathies or countenance to such a heaven-defying
scheme? Is it possible that any liberty-loving Briton can countenance the
establishment of a government with such a foundation, after reading the
declaration of Brougham and Wesley upon the vile and wicked institution of
slavery? These great men knew whereof they affirmed they were familiar with
the laws of the Slave States, which are alone sufficient to inspire horror
in every human heart or reflecting mind.
GEORGE WASHINGTON says: "There is not a man
living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the
abolition of slavery." George Washington, April 12th, 1786. "The scheme, my
dear Marquis, which you propose as a precedent to encourage the emancipation
of the black people in this country, from the state of bondage in which they
are held, is a striking evidence of the benevolence of your heart."—
Washington to Layfette 1783.
"It is the most earnest wish of America to see
an entire stop put to the wicked and cruel trade in slaves"—Meeting at
Fairfax, Va., presided over by Washington, July 18, 1784.
THOMAS JEFFERSON says, in his "Notes on Slavery
in Virginia:" "I tremble for my country, when I reflect that God is just.
His justness cannot sleep for ever."
JAMES MADISON says: "We have seen the mere
distinction of colour, made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground
of the most ojpresssive dominion ever exercised by man over man."
JAMES MONROE says: "We have found that this evil
has preyed upon the very vitals of the Union, and has been prejudicial to
all the States in which it has existed."
JOHN RANDOLPH, of Roanoke, says, "I envy neither
the head nor the heart of that man who defends slavery upon principle."
THOMAS JEFFERSON says: "One day of American
slavery is worse than a thousand years of that which the American colonists
arose in arms to oppose." Alluding to slave insurrections, he said : "The
Almighty has no attribute that can take sides with us, in a contest with our
says: "Slavery is detestable. We feel its fatal effects. We deplore it wit/i
all the pity of humanity."
Surely here is evidence sufficient to convince
any but the most prejudiced, of the iniquity of slavery as it exists in the
South. The great men above quoted, were residents of Virginia, and the
founders of the Republic.
LORD BROUGHAM says: "Tell me not of rights. Talk
not of the property of the planter in his slaves. I deny the rights - I
acknowledge not the property. The principles—the feelings of our common
nature—rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding
or to the heart, the sentence is the same that rejects it. In vain you may
tell me of laws that sanction such a claim. There is a law above all the
enactments of human codes : it is the law written by the finger of God upon
the heart of man, and by that law, unchangeable and eternal, while men
despise fraud, and loathe rapine and abhor blood, they shall reject with
indignation the wild and guilty fantasy that man can hold property in man."
JOHN WESLEY declares, "slavery to be the sum of
SARAH M. GRIMKE, daughter of the late Judge Grimke, of the Supreme Court of
South Carolina, testifies as follows : "As I left my native land on account
of slavery, and deserted the borne of my father to escape the sound, of the
lash and the shrieks of tortured victims, I would gladly bury in oblivion
the recollection of those scenes with which I have been familiar. But that
cannot be, they come over my memory like goary spectres, and implore me with
resistless force, in the name of a God of mercy, in the name of a crucified
Saviour, for the sake of the poor slave, to bear witness to the horrors of
the Southern prison-house."
Among the horrible barbarities she enumerates,
is the case of a young girl, thirteen years old, who was flogged to death by
her master. She says : " I asked a prominent lawyer who belonged to one of
the first families in the State, whether the murderer of this helpless child
could not be indicted ? and he cooly replied, "the slave was Mr. —'s
property, and if he chose to suffer the loss, no one else had anything to do
with it." She proceeds to say: "I felt there could be no rest for me in the
midst of such outrages and pollutions."
THE BIBLE says:
"Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with
them." Heb. xiii. 3.
"Hide the outcasts. Betray not him that wandereth. Let my outcasts dwell
with thee. Be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler." - Isa.
xvi. 3, 4.
not deliver unto his master the servant which has escaped from his master
unto thee. He shall dwell with thee. Thou shalt not oppress him."-Deut.
xxiii. 15, 16.
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to
them."-Matt. vii. 12.
"Is not this the fast I have chosen to loose the bonds of wickedness, to
undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break
every yoke?"--Isa. lviii. 6.
"They have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a
girl for wine, that they may drink."-Joel iii. 3.
"He that oppresseth the poor, reproacheth his
Maker."—Prov. xiv. 31.
"Rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress the oppressed. For the
Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of them that spoil them."—Prov.
xxii. 22, 23.
give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also
have a Master in heaven."—Col. iv. i.
"Neither be ye called masters, for one is your
Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."— Matt. xxiii. 8, 9.
"Woe unto him that useth his neighbour's service
without wages, and giveth him not for his work."—Fer. xxii. 13.
"Behold, the hire of your labourers who have
reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the
cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of
Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton: ye have
nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter." Fas. V. 4, 5.
The above quotations, from both the Old and New
Testaments, prove conclusively that the presumptuous assertion, that
"slavery is sanctioned by the Bible," has no foundation in fact. The human
heart, reason, religion, and, above all, the Bible, rise up in judgment
universal law in the Slave States is, that "the child follows the condition
of the mother." This is an index to many things. Marriage between white and
coloured people, is forbidden by law; yet a very large number of the slaves
are brown or yellow. How could this be, unless their fathers or grandfathers
had been white men? But as their mothers were slaves, slave laws pronounce
them slaves also, subject to be sold on the auction block, whenever the
necessities or convenience of their masters and mistresses require it, The
sale of one's own children has an ugly aspect to those unaccustomed to it.
Throughout the Slave States, no coloured
person's testimony can be taken against a white man. Any drunken master or
overseer may go into the negro cabin, and commit any outrage he pleases with
perfect impunity, if no white person is present who will witness against
Slave laws declare that "a
slave is a chattel to all intents and purposes whatsoever." This involves
the right to sell his wife and children, as if they were cattle. There are
large numbers of fugitives from slavery in Canada, with many of whom I have
conversed. I have seen the scars of the whip and branding iron, and have
listened to their heart-broken sobs as they told of their wives and children
torn from their arms to be sold.
Viewing slavery in the light of the above
testimony, is there a Christian man in Canada who does not feel it an
outrage upon his feelings to have it boldly and plausibly asserted that the
Bible upholds such a heaven-defying pretension, that tramples upon the most
sacred relations, making wife and child the wretched prey of lust and
* * * "O
execrable son! so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurped, from God not given
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By His donation; but man over men
He made not Lord, such title to Himself
Reserving, human left from human free."
Milton's Paradise Lost, Bk. XII. 64, 73.
February 3, 1865.
REMARKS AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE "SOCIETY
FOR THE ABOLITION OF HUMAN SLAVERY," HELD IN MONTREAL, OCTOBER 21ST, 1863.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,—My views upon the subject
of slavery are by many considered ultra; but I have been an eye-witness to
the cruelty, injustice, and barbarity of that vile and atrocious
institution, and know whereof I speak. In October, 1859, while on a visit to
Richmond, Virginia, I was forcibly reminded of the truth of the saying, "The
wicked fleeth when no man pursueth." I found the population of that city in
a condition of great excitement; a feeling of dread and insecurity prevailed
which extended to every part of the State. You will naturally ask the cause
of this excitement, this feeling of insecurity and dread. The people of
Virginia were at that time living under the protection of a government
intensely pro-slavery; they were in the enjoyment of all their State rights
the cause of this dread and insecurity in the minds of slaveholders was
produced by the sudden darting of a ray of light from Harper's Ferry,— a ray
of light that penetrated the pending gloom and ignorance which hung like a
cloud over the darkened minds of 4,030,000 enslaved human beings. John Brown
had stricken a blow on the confines of slavery, the echoes of which
resounded on every plantation, and entered the humble cabin of the poor
slave as well as the mansion of the proud and haughty slaveholder, and
roused the long-deferred hope in the bosom of millions of poor, downtrodden,
and long- suffering slaves that the hour of their deliverance from a cruel
tyranny was at hand; and prayers ascended from a thousand rude cabins to the
Almighty Father for freedom, justice, and liberty. Is it a matter of
surprise that a feeling of dread and insecurity was felt in the mansion of
the proud and haughty master, when a million earnest prayers were going up
to the throne of God for justice and freedom?
It is not unusual to hear the tales of cruelty
and oppression toward this unfortunate people spoken of as a fiction; and
that interesting work of Mrs. Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin) has been declared by
slaveholders and Northern sympathisers with slavery, as entirely imaginary
and unworthy of belief.
Mr. President, I have read that and other
kindred works upon the institution of slavery, and assure you I have
witnessed scenes of oppression, cruelty, and brutality towards that
inoffensive people in the Slave States, far exceeding anything described in
works of the kind mentioned.
Slavery is demoralizing in its tendencies to the
white as well as to the black, to the master as well as to the slave. Where
it exists, it brutalizes and renders the white domineering, despotic and
brutal. The black race is kept in a condition of the grossest ignorance, and
the circulation of knowledge is guarded with a jealous eye, with a view to
prevent the slave from gaining information. The discussion of subjects which
would be likely to reach the darkened but alert mind of the coloured people,
is sternly prohibited. For fifty years past, the Government of the United
States has been under the control of Southern men, and they have
persistently endeavoured to extend their domineering tyranny over the entire
North; and until within the past twenty-five years, there were few prominent
men in the North with sufficient moral courage to face the proud and
overbearing dictation of the slave lords in the Senate and Congress. The
venerable John Quincy Adams, and that noble veteran and apostle of freedom,
the late Joshua R. Giddings took a firm and decided stand twenty-five years
ago for freedom, and bravely asserted that all men, black and white, had the
"inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and for
many years these two noble men withstood a united Senate. and House of
Congress, and the cowardly and assassin like threats and abuse of the
slave-drivers of the South. The lamp lighted by Garrison, Adams, and
Giddings, continued to burn with increased brilliancy year after year, and
in many of the free States societies were formed to promote the abolition of
Slavery by the dissemination of information throughout the North, describing
the actual condition of the poor downtrodden slaves and to awaken an
interest in behalf of that oppressed people. The leaders in this movement
had to withstand the most vindictive persecution at the hands of Southern
men and their sympathisers in the North. Prominent upon the roll of men who
have rendered their names immortal by the advocacy of the rights of man may.
be mentioned the names of John Quincy Adams, Joshua R. Giddings, William
Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Gerriitt Smith, Horace Greeley, Charles
Sumner, and other noble men and women who have laboured with great zeal and
sacrifice to bring about the abolition of human slavery in the United
States. The slaveholders used every influence in their power to prevent
discussions upon the subject of slavery, and when they failed to meet the
arguments of the anti-slavery men, they assumed the domineering and despotic
attitude of the slave- driver, and attempted, by acts of cowardly brutality,
to stifle discussion with the bowie- knife, pistol, and bludgeon. The late
Mr. Giddings, when a member of Congress, and while addressing the House upon
the rights of man, was threatened with instant death if he uttered another
word upon the subject; but the brave old statesman well knew the cowardly
character of slaveholders, and continued his address in defiance of the
cowardly threat. And more recently the Hon. Charles Sumner was attacked
while seated at his desk in the Senate Chamber, and nearly assassinated by a
Southern member of Congress, while another Southerner stood over the victim
of this brutal outrage with a cocked pistol, to prevent the bystanders from
rendering aid to Mr. Sumner while his Southern confrere, with murderous
intent, brutally assaulted an unarmed man. This outrage upon Mr. Sumner was
committed because his arguments, proving the," Barbarism of Slavery," were
unanswerable. In this manner the South has endeavoured to control the nation
and extend and perpetuate the blighting curse of slavery. And when the
slaveholders found they could no longer browbeat and force the
liberty-loving people of the North into acquiescence with their barbarous
designs, they rebelled, and are now endeavoring to establish a government
with slavery for its chief corner-stone. An eminent English statesman has
asserted, in reference to the war in the United States, that "the North is
fighting for empire, and the South for independence." This is a fallacy—the
great struggle now being waged in the United States, is a continuance of the
contest between freedom and slavery, that began thirty-five years ago in
Congress; and, thank God, the indications are, that slavery will go down
beneath the blows of the freemen of the North.
It is unnecessary for me to occupy your
attention any longer to convince you of the barbarity and demoralizing
influence of slavery. Most of you have doubtless seen the photographs of the
slave children from New Orleans ; the mother of these two innocent children
was a slave, and the children of a slave mother follow her condition,—and
these innocent children, as white as any child in Montreal, were destined
for the slave market. This is not by any means an isolated case, but of
frequent and daily occurrence in the Slave States. What do you think of a
father selling his own child, and that child a pure innocent girl, as white,
if not whiter than himself, and for the basest, vilest, and most loathsome
purpose imaginable? Thank God for the war; may it continue until we no
longer hear the sighs and groans of an oppressed and cruelly outraged
people! I believe the great principle of human freedom involved in this
contest will ultimately triumph; it may be the purpose of a just God to
punish still more the people of the North, because of their complicity with
the South in binding the chains of slavery upon the coloured people. But out
of this great contest will arise the august form of Liberty demanding that
all men—black and white—shall have an equal right to "Life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness."
It is the custom in this country, and in England, to find fault with the
President of the United States, because he has not done more towards
liberating the slaves, and especially, because he failed to declare every
slave in the Union free, when he issued the emancipation proclamation. I
believe Mr. Lincoln has done all he could do constitutionally toward
emancipation, and has kept pace with the public opinion of the country; he
may appear slow and overcautious at times, but he has done what he has,
after grave deliberation and much thought and anxiety. In issuing his
emancipation proclamation, he acted in his capacity of Commander-inChief of
the Army of the United States; he had no power to interfere with the local
institutions of a State like Kentucky, not in actual rebellion. I find from
public documents that over one million of slaves have been liberated, during
the past two years, and the good work goes bravely on. President Lincoln, in
my estimation, merits the approbation and prayers of every Christian man,
for his efforts to crush slavery; and that God will help him and sustain
him, should be the earnest prayer of every true lover of freedom.
The question of Reconstruction, which at present
is deeply agitating the public mind in the United States, is one which
almost equally concerns all mankind as much as the American people. That the
fruits of the great conquest won by the North may not be entirely lost, is a
wish that is shared alike by the people of every enlightened nation.
The policy of Reconstruction, now being pursued
by President Johnson, is fraught with much danger to the permanent peace and
welfare of the United States, and to the progress of Liberal principles
throughout the world. The President's system of appointing, as Provisional
Governors of the rebel States, men who have just returned from the ranks of
the rebel army, and the indiscriminate pardoning and restoring to political
rights of men who were prominent in their efforts to destroy the
Government—the placing into political power of men who, by their infamous
treachery, forfeited everything, even their lives, will, it is believed,
work great and lasting injury to the cause of freedom in the Southern
maintains that the rebel acts of secession were null and void—that the rebel
States have never been out of the Union—that the Federal authority was only
temporarily obstructed by insurrection—that all acts done and laws enacted
by rebel authority were illegal assumptions of power, and that all the
people of the lately rebel States are required to do, to enable them to
assume the rights and privileges they forfeited by their participation in
rebellion, is to obtain pardon and take the oath of fidelity to the Federal
Government, which they have, for four years been endeavouring to destroy;
and having conformed to the above requirements, they (the rebels) are to be
reinstated to all the rights, civil and political, of loyal citizens. This
is the policy adopted by the President, and which, if persisted in, will
deprive the loyal people of the Union of the fruits of the great victories
they have nobly won by the sacrifice of so much life and treasure.
The most recent information from the South
conveys the surprising intelligence that President Johnson has authorized
the Provisional Governors of Mississippi and South Carolina to arm and
organize a company of militia in each county of these States; and as the
whole white population of both these States were rebels, without exception,
the militia, of course, will be rebels, and zealous in their efforts to keep
the nominally free coloured people in abject submission to the wishes of
their pro-slavery rulers. After this concession to unrepentant rebels, it
would not be at all surprising to hear that the National troops were to be
removed from those States, where their presence is the only security the
freedmen have from outrage and tyranny. The troops once withdrawn from the
rebel States, a system of persecution and tyranny will be organized against
the coloured people. Once the war power is laid down and State Governments
inaugurated, what is to prevent the Southern whites from enacting laws by
which the freedmen will have as little protection for life, liberty, and
property—as little control of their own actions—in fact, from making them
slaves in all but the name? To bring about this condition it will not even
be necessary to enact new laws; the brutal slave-codes of the rebel States
will answer every purpose. Under these codes no coloured person's testimony
can be taken against a white person. Even were these codes abrogated,
nothing more would be needed than the prejudice that exists in the courts of
justice in the South. If the Southern States are allowed to reorganize and
assume their former position in the Union, without granting the negro
suffrage and perfect equality before the law, the poor black man will be
left to the tender mercies of the slaveholders, who will take a fiendish
pleasure in wreaking vengeance upon him for his fidelity and loyalty to the
Government. And to this condition is the policy of Mr. Johnson tending.
The white population of the Slave States have
been corrupted by vicious institutions, which have rendered them totally
unfit to participate in the reconstruction of the Southern States on a basis
of freedom and equality; and if the power of legislation is given to this
class alone, the natural consequence will be, that the coloured people, who
are the only loyal people in the South, will be deprived of the little
freedom which they now enjoy, and remanded back into slavery. The votes of
the loyal black- men are absolutely required to neutralize the votes of
black-hearted white men. The Government should demand that the intelligent
coloured man should have an equal voice in the reconstruction of the
Southern States. Before these States should be permitted to have a share in
the Government, they should be required to give a guarantee to freedom, and
that guarantee should be the immediate levelling of every obstruction they
have placed in the path of the negro by unjust and cruel enactments, and the
extension of the right of suffrage and complete equality before the law.
This should be made the unalterable condition upon which alone they can be
permitted to regain their forfeited position. Unless that condition is
established and acted upon, the Northern people stand a fair chance of
losing the fruits of their great conquest, and the coloured people will be
left to the cruel and vindictive passions of their former masters; and the
extent to which their cruelty and cowardly brutality can extend, may be seen
in the records of the horrid prison pen at Andersonville, Georgia, where
30,000 Union prisoners were systematically starved to death.
How long the patient and docile negro will bear
the wrongs and injustice heaped upon him, we cannot tell; but there is a
limit to human patience, and the cruelties practised upon this innocent and
long-suffering people, may yet result in a disastrous war of races.
October 1st, 1865.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOUTHERN STATES.
(JULY 25, 1865.)
nation there can be no greater danger than the existence of a flagrant
injustice in its midst, protected and sanctioned by those in authority.
When the American people began their national
career, they made this declaration:-"We hold these truths to be
self-evident—that all men are created equal; and that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed." These great principles were solemnly enunciated by
the founders of the Republic, and they appealed to the Supreme Judge of the
world for the rectitude of their intentions; and, notwithstanding this
solemn affirmation, the nation has proved recreant to these principles. No
wonder that Thomas Jefferson declared, in view of the national apostacy,
"that he trembled for his country when he remembered that God was just, and
that His justice could not sleep forever." Without repenting for the long
oppression of the coloured race, and without evincing the least gratitude
toward the negro for his aid and assistance in overthrowing the enemies of
freedom, they basely determine to leave the coloured people in the power of
their cruel oppressors. Could there be greater baseness? Could there be
The President of the United States, in his proclamation appointing a
Provisional Governor for Mississippi, announces that none are to be allowed
to vote for members of the Convention (called to restore the State to the
Union) but those who were qualified as voters in 1861; thus summarily
depriving the loyal blacks of all voice in the reconstruction of the South,
and placing the power directly into the hands of rebels yet red with the
blood of Union men.
the terrible scenes through which the American nation has passed during the
last four years has not been sufficient to teach it its solemn duty to the
oppressed people of the South, it may, yet have to pass through a more fiery
ordeal—a war of races. Well might Jefferson exclaim, in view of such an
event, The Almighty has no attribute that will not take sides with the
oppressed against the oppressor." In the midst of their rejoicings over the
collapse of the rebellion, the American people should not forget to deal
justly with the coloured race. They need not expect the favour of Heaven, or
a true and permanent peace until they level every obstruction, and give the
freedman the right of suffrage, and place him in a position to freely enjoy
those inalienable rights which the founders of the nation declared to be
"self-evident truths." The logic of American institutions and the principles
of the men who achieved their independence and framed those institutions
should impel the American Government to this course, which is demanded alike
by justice, humanity, and expediency. But if the inalienable rights of four
millions of men are wickedly and unjustly ignored, their appeals for justice
will not go forth in vain.
AMERICAN POLITICS, (MARCH 2,
While on a
recent visit to the United States, I had many opportunities of conversing
with intelligent Americans upon the all-absorbing question of
Reconstruction, now the chief topic of conversation in the United States.
The conflict existing between the President and
Congress, and the results that may arise from a continuance of that
conflict, give much anxiety to loyal Americans. From the tone of the
President's remarks and public speeches, soon after his accession to the
Presidency, the loyal and liberty-loving people of the Union were led to
believe that the President was in favour of re-establishing the foundation
of the country upon the just and enduring basis of equal rig/its to all; but
it soon became apparent that the President had a policy which was none other
than the restoration of Southern rebels to all the rights they had forfeited
by their wicked attempt to destroy the country.
The object the President has in view is quite
evident: he desires to be re-elected, and, to carry his point, he has
resorted to the tricks and wiles of a political demagogue. To aid him in his
efforts, he has formed an alliance with men whose hands are red with the
blood of the murdered Lincoln; and to propitiate men who, for four years,
have been engaged in murdering and starving Union men, he has hastened to
pardon and restore to impenitent rebels all the rights of citizenship,
without asking security for the future, or without demanding equal rights
for loyal men in the South.
During the last Session of Congress it became
manifest that the President was determined to force his policy upon the
country; but Congress took a noble stand in opposition to the recreant
President, and have maintained their position throughout.
The American people will certainly support
Congress in opposition to the President and his demagogic henchmen—Seward
and Weed. The great majority of intelligent Americans are decidedly more
radical in their views than Congress; consequently there need be no fear or
anxiety as to the issue of the present conflict between the political
parties in the United States. The great Republican party will be fully
supported by the people in the elections now being held for Congressmen. It
is true that some weak-kneed Republicans have gone over to the President;
but it is equally true that they are men of little influence, and that
little they have lost by their treason.
The President has already commenced the
wholesale removal from office of men appointed by Mr. Lincoln, and is
filling their places with his time-serving friends and favorites of the
Copperhead species. As Mr. Johnson is a man of violent passions, strong
will, and very unscrupulous, the question naturally arises, what will he do,
in case he is defeated at the present elections? One of his favorites,
Montgomery Blair, declares the President's determination to be the
inauguration of another civil war, if the loyal people return a Congress
opposed to his policy. If that is the President's determination, and he
attempts to carry it out, he will speedily meet the punishment he merits.
THE BLACKS IN CANADA—THE LAWS—THE NEGRO FITTED
TO ENJOY LIBERTY.
Letter to "New York Tribune," July 10, 1865.
There is a resident population of between 40,000
and 50,000 colored people in Canada, of which a large proportion were once
held in cruet vassalage in the Southern States, and, after enduring
innumerable perils, found a refuge in this Province from the wrongs and
outrages heaped upon them by their wicked task-masters.
The laws of Canada make no distinction as to
colour. The negro is placed upon equality with the emigrants from other
countries, entitled to all the privileges, and eligible to office; and,
notwithstanding they have had to encounter many obstacles in a climate very
different from that to which they have been accustomed, their prosperity
equals that of any other j)e0p1C in our midst. They fully appreciate the
benefits of education;. they are quiet, docile, industrious citizens—many of
them have become wealthy, and some have attained to high positions in the
There is very much foolish talk in the United States about "protecting the
negro," and "fitting him to enjoy the blessings of liberty." From my
experience of the colored people of Canada (and I have enjoyed unusual
advantages that have enabled me to become familiar with their condition and
properties), I believe them quite as capable of appreciating their freedom,
and much more deserving of it, than thousands of white voters in the City of
New York. The negro needs no protection—no preparatory course of training.
What he does need is to be placed in a position to freely enjoy those
"inalienable rights," which the founders of your institutions declared to be
"self-evident truths." It is your duty to level every obstruction that you
have placed in their path, in the way of unjust and cruel enactments, and,
having done that, let them alone to manage their own affairs in their own
The logic of your
institutions, and the principles of the great men who framed those
institutions, should impel you to this course, which is demanded alike by
justice, humanity, and expediency. But, if you continue to wickedly ignore
the rights of the coloured people, you may yet have to pass through the
fiery ordeal of a war of races.
POSITION OF THE FREEDMEN IN THE SOUTH.
(JULY 5, 1865).
basis upon which the seceding States are allowed to return to the Union is
being very warmly discussed in the United States; and the process of
reconstruction is watched with the deepest interest by Christian men
throughout the world.
Anti-slavery and radical men demand that the freedmen of the South shall
have the right of suffrage and complete equality before the laws, and
maintain that the President has the constitutional power to guarantee these
rights to the loyal coloured people of the States lately in insurrection.
On the other hand, there is a large and
influential party in the Union who maintain opposite views, and insist that
the question of suffrage and equality shall be left to the control of the
white people of the States interested.
The Proclamation of Emancipation gave the negro
parchment liberty, and the Constitutional amendment only secures that a man
shall not be bought and sold, and shall have the right to walk in
peace—nothing else. They have no other right that a white man is bound to
respect; they cannot own land; they cannot testify in a court of justice. If
a white man enters the house of a coloured man, and outrages his wife or
daughter, he cannot go before the tribunals and claim justice. They cannot
vote where the great questions that effect their destiny, their labour and
property, are concerned.
And, if the question of suffrage and equality 1s
to be left to the white men of Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi, beyond the
reach of Northern influence, and outside the shelter of Northern law, the
poor negro will, in all probability, remain the tool and victim of their
former masters for many years.
I contend that the American people and
Government are bound, by a solemn obligation of honour, to give the freedmen
complete equality before the law, and the right of suffrage. In the hour of
their direst necessity they called upon the negro for help, and tens of
thousands of brave coloured men sprang to the rescue; and, by the aid they
gave, the North succeeded in crushing the Slaveholders' Rebellion. Thousands
of these negroes have shed their blood upon the battle field to maintain the
integrity of the Union, and now, to remand them to the tender mercies of
their former cruel masters, is worse than injustice—it is base ingratitude.
WHY I DESIRE THE SUCCESS OF
(APRIL 5, 1865.)
frequently asked why I, a Canadian, so warmly sympathize with the Northern
States in their efforts to crush the Slaveholders' Rebellion.
I reply: I desire the success of the North,
because the Northern people are struggling to maintain the integrity of the
Union, and prevent the building up of a slave empire on this continent.
I desire the success of the North, because it
has espoused the cause of the poor down-trodden slaves of the South.
I desire the success of the North, because I
believe the preservation of the Union to be essential to the progress of
liberty throughout the world.
I desire the success of the North, because the
ultimate release from bondage of four millions of slaves depends upon the
overthrow of the Slave- holders' Rebellion.
If any further justification of my career were
necessary, I might cite the attitude of Liberals all over the world. The
Liberals among the public men of of Englani, France, Italy, and Germany are
in favor of the North. Cobden, Bright, and Mill, in England ; and, in Italy,
Mazzini and Garibaldi, who will be known throughout all coming ages as the
liberators of Italy, and the champions of universal freedom, are in favor of
am persuaded that however much my objects and motives may be slandered and
impugned, that history will vindicate the course I have pursued and the
position I have maintained since the outbreak of the Slaveholders'
OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM.
On the 18th of December, 186, Secretary Seward
officially announced to the world the glad tidings that the Constitutional
Amendment abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude throughout the United
States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction, as follows:-
To all to whom these presents may corns,
That, whereas the Congress of the United States, on the 1st of February
last, passed a resolution, which is in the words following, namely:
"A resolution submitting to the Legislatures of
the several States a proposition to amend the Constitution of the United
the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America ill
assembled, two- thirds of both Houses concurring that the following article
be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of
said Legislatures, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as a part of
said Constitution, namely:
'SECTION 1. Neither Slavery nor involuntary
servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have
been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place
subject to their jurisdiction.
'SECTION 2. Congress shall have power to enforce
this article by appropriate legislation.'"
And whereas, It appears from official documents
on file in this Department, that the Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States proposed as aforesaid, has been ratified by the Legislatures
of the States of Illinois, Rhode Island, Michigan, Maryland, New York, West
Virginia, Maine, Kansas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio,
Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont,
Tennessee, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire. South Carolina, Alabama,
North Carolina, and Georgia, in all 27 States.
And whereas, The whole number of States in the
United States is 36.
And whereas, The before specially named States, whose Legislatures have
ratified the said proposed Amendment, constitute three-fourths of the whole
number of States in the United States;
Now, therefore, be it known
that I, William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, by
virtue and in pursuance of the second section of the act of Congress,
approved the 20th of April 1818, entitled "An Act to provide for the
publication of the laws of the United States, and for other purposes," do
hereby certify that the Amendment aforesaid has become valid to all intents
and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my
hand, and caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this 18th day of
December, in the year of our Lord 1863, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the 90th.
W!. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Thus terminated the great struggle between
Freedom and Slavery in the United States.