Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"The Coming Tempest": More Thoughts on Abolition

Let me start with a little bit of self-congratulation that I hope readers will excuse and forgive, but this post will be number 400 since I started on blogger on June 19, 2009. I realize many of these entries have involved transcribing articles and stories, and perhaps not as much original writing as I had hoped,  and I certainly make no claim that all 400 are of the highest quality, but I do feel a bit of pride about having stuck with this for so long. Looking for items to write about has opened my eyes to quite a few new perspectives not only about the war, but how people thought about it at the time, how it is studied and remembered today and how many different perspectives -some ground in emotion, some in serious study, others in wishful thinking or daydreaming - there really are. I do not live in a hotbed of the war so my perspective is probably much more limited than others, but I do think my understanding of the war and the people who study it has grown, though with much more room to improve. Anyway, I just wanted to make a brief note of this little milestone and also note that I have come up with a new research project and idea that will combine a couple of my passions and hopefully uncover some interesting stories about the Civil War and its participants.
 
With no further ado, here is post # 400.
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 On April 26, 1862, theCovington Journal printed another story about abolitionism and what the future might hold. This editor seems to have picked up on the advancing momentum this idea had gathered in the north and was not afraid to comment about this movement.

THE ABOLITION ISSUE
"Either Slavery or the Republic Must Perish!"
On Thursday last, in the House, while the confiscation bill was under discussion, Mr. Lovejoy 
declared that: "Either slavery or the Republic must perish." 

He also said: 
 
"Those who defend slavery defend the rebellion, for slavery and rebellion are synonymous."

A few days ago, in the Senate, Mr. Wade said that

"Men who would talk of constitutional guarantees, of habeas corpus, the phrases 'that no man shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,' &c., in this great crisis, is a traitor at heart." 

The Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune, in view of the Abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, thanked god "even for this war with its present and prospective horrors." 

These declarations are more than straws, in dictating the direction of the wind. Coupled with the formal action of the party controlling the Government, in nullifying the constitution in regard to the rendition of fugitive slaves, the abolition of slavery in the District, the freeing of slaves by military order, &c., they are signs of the coming tempest.

No man can shut his eyes to the tendency of events. As our arms advance the fanatics of the North become more insolent, more exacting,  more determined in their purpose to abolish slavery or break up the Union - "Either slavery or the republic must perish."
Listen to the words of Henry Clay in describing the Abolitionists: 

"They are resolved to persevere in the pursuit of their object at all hazards, however calamitous it may be. With them the rights of property are nothing; the acknowledged and incontestable powers of the States are nothing; civil war, a dissolution of the Union, and the overthrow of the government in which are concentrated the fondest hopes of the civilized world, are nothing, A single idea  has taken possession of their minds, and onward they pursue it, overlooking all barriers, reckless and regardless of all consequences."
 

Will these men succeed in their hellish scheme? The struggle will be a terrible one. We believe a very large majority of the people are opposed not only to breaking up the Union but to the alternative presented by the Abolitionists - the destruction of slavery; but the Abolitionists have possession of the government with ist countless offices, its vast moneyed power, and its immense army. The border slave States seem to be bound hand and foot. Our only hope is in the conservative men of the North - the hardy yeomanry, the honest mechanics and laborers who know perfectly well that every great interest of the country is opposed to the reckless schemes of the theoretical fanatics who control affairs at Washington. All things considered, the world has never witnessed a more gallant contest than those true-hearted men of the North are making for the constitution as it is and the Union as it was.  

Benjamin Wade, courtesy senate.gov

Owen Lovejoy, courtesy wikipedia

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