Wednesday, December 21, 2011

President Lincoln's "Conservatism"

The Covington Journal of December 28, 1861 published this commentary on President Lincoln  what they considered his view of the government and slavery to be.

Within a month or two past we have heard a good deal said about Mr. Lincoln's conservatism on the slavery question. That Mr. Lincoln doesn't favor all of the extreme measures proposed by such impractical radical as Lovejoy and Sumner may be true; but we have no shadow of evidence that he is in any other sense than this a conservative man. We may be pointed to his modification of Cameron's report. The Cincinnati Gazette is about right when it says "there is as much emancipation in the modified report, and in the message, as in the report originally." At any rate Mr. Cameron is retained in the cabinet. The recent appointment by Mr. Lincoln of the notorious Helper to a responsible post, is a stunner to those good people who are willing to vouch for the "conservatism" of the President. 

On this subject we invite attention to the following extract from the Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tribune:

"I am able to correct the painful impression here noticed with regard to the President of the United States, and I do so with the more satisfaction and gratitude that I was deeply grieved, in common with nine tenths of the loyal citizens of the country, by the countermanding of Freemont's proclamation, and by the application of the check-rein to Secretary Cameron's just and wise inclinations. Mr. Lincoln assures his friend, without reserve, in conversation, that he is in favor of measures which shall enable to deprive every rebel, from Virginia to Texas of his slaves, and every other species of property, and that the only disagreement which can arise between himself and Congress will relate to the details of the bill which may be adopted. If any such disagreement shall arise, it will, I presume, relate to the possible involving of loyal masters in the consequences of emancipation to the slaves of their disloyal neighbors."

 Hinton Rowan Helpler caused much controversy with the 1857 publishing of his book The Impending Crisis of the South,with its anti-slavery arguments.

Here is a very good summary of Cameron's report and Lincoln's reaction to it on the excellent Civil War Emancipation blog

Hinton R. Helper, courtesy

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