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The administration can of itself make no move in this matter, since it is but the exponent of the people. It is at present limited to following as far as possible the law already laid down in the Constitution. Nevertheless, at a time like this, all preexisting laws must, to a certain extent, be set aside; for the laws sufficient for the protection of the country, in times of peace, are not equal to the exigencies of self-protection against revolt in a great struggle for national existence like this. It is for the people themselves to ponder calmly, but gravely and profoundly, over the great question at issue. It is for them to become convinced that if we do not avail ourselves of the opportunity which now presents itself, for annihilating the sole barrier to our unity as a people, it would be wiser, more consistent, and more humane, to cast down our arms, yield up all foregone conclusions, give up all faith in what we have hitherto held dear and sacred, and let the waves of retrogression sweep over us and bear us back to the ideas of a past age.
We know that these things can only be realized by degrees. People are naturally, and to some extent wisely, conservative. They doubt as yet the justice of such a course; they are incredulous as to its necessity, or even its expediency; but each day as it rolls away, and each event as it transpires, will bring them nearer and nearer to a juster appreciation of the subject. Félice, in the pamphlet from which we have before quoted, makes the following remarks with regard to the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. They are equally applicable to ourselves.
“There are three questions to be considered. First, the question of duty. Are we, or are we not, morally obliged to declare the immediate and complete emancipation of the slaves ? Secondly, the question of success. Are we likely to carry out the project of immediate emancipation? Finally, the question of interest. What will be the result for France and the colonies from the application of this system?
"I will venture to assert beforehand, that these three questions are closely bound together. The principle of justice is also the principle of strength and utility. In other words, only the desire to perform without delay our duty towards the slaves, can furnish us the necessary means of success, and protect all our true interests.
“ No reflective person will be astonished at the intimate connection which we find between the useful and the just. By a great law of Providence, that which VOL. XXI.
is good in itself always promotes the common welfare of all. The transition from disorder to order may present some difficulties; but this is of short duration, and the beneficial results lasting. Not one single instance can be cited, since the beginning of the world, in which a people have experienced a permanent injury from being governed in their political system by the eternal laws of morality.”
In conclusion, let us be permitted to distinctly state our position, so that we may leave no cause for misconstruction. We do not urge the abolition of the slaves as a means of carrying on the war successfully. Though we deem slavery an outrage of the rights of humanity, and as a great wrong, productive only of evil, yet we would not, in order to abolish it, arm the hand of the semi-barbarous black against our own race. We mean only that as fast as the government which represents our nationality shall triumph ; as fast as the national flag shall wave over the revolted States, the property vested in slaves, of all those found in arms against the Federal authority, shall be confiscated, and the slaves consequently freed from bondage. The property of loyal citizens cannot, of course, be interfered with, but as there are probably few such, save in the States of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland, slavery will have received a shock from this general emancipation from which it can never recover; and the border States will find themselves under the necessity of voluntarily enfranchising their slaves, since they will have lost all value in the market. Provided, as we all hope and believe, the national arms shall triumph, this programme will be simple and practicable; but if the people shall not resolve to execute it; if they shall shrink before the responsibility of a step requisite for the general safety, ours will be but a victory in name which will leave us in no better condition than before the commencement of the war.
Americans of the United States who love your country, and would fain see its nationality restored, take to your souls the conviction and ponder well upon it, that so long as slavery is not swept from among us, vain will be your heroic sacrifice of life; vain all your generous efforts at reconciliation and reconstruction of the Union. Only when our proud flag shall float over freedom in each and every State, shall we be able to realize the aspiration of every patriotic heart—OUR UNITY AS A NATION.
ARTICLE IX.-" THE WARS OF THE LORD."
One of the books which make up the huge bulk of Cotton Mather's “Magnalia Christi Americana, or Ecclesiastical History of New England,” is named “ a book of the Wars of the Lord;" and of that book one chapter bears the title, “ Arma Virosque Cano,-or the Troubles which the Churches of New England have undergone, in the Wars which the people of that country have had with the Indian Salvages.” War has a place among the agencies through which God's providence is working from age to age in the interest of that Divine Kingdom which is righteousness and peace. Of this we have abundant illustration not only “in the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms," of the ancient theocracy, but also in the New Testament Scriptures, and especially in their prophetic revelations. From the age of Chedorlaomer king of Elam to the age of the Roman Augustus, war at frequent intervals-war against invaders or oppressors—war against marauding savages or imperial conquerors—war for the national religion or the national existence—war for the ark and the temple, or for the holy land and its laws and homes—was among the providential influences by which God was working out his purposes concerning that selected and separated people from whom the world's salvation was to proceed. In the sacred books of the Old Testament, we have not only the record of the wars in which the chosen people fulfilled their destiny, but the prayers in which holy men commended their country to the God of Hosts in times of peril, and the songs in which they acknowledged that his right hand had given them the victory. In the combined light of prophecy and of history, the progress of God's work of renewing the world-in other words, the progress of God's kingdom on the earth-is seen to involve as an inevitable incident, from time to time, the armed and violent conflict of opposing principles. So Christ himself said, “I came not to bring peace on the earth but a sword.”
Under the providence of God, then, and in the methods by which he governs the world, war, with its dreadful train of evils, is sometimes an inevitable incident in the world's progress. Conflicts attendant on the birth, or the attempted subjugation and extinction of nationalities—conflicts arising out of the growth and collision of irreconcilable systems of civilization, or the collision of civilization with barbarism-conflicts between great principles struggling for dominion in the form of laws and institutions--conflicts between right and wrong, between liberty and despotic power, or between progressive and repressive forces—sometimes involve the necessity of war. The necessity in such cases makes the war none the less terrible and none the less wicked. It should never be forgotten that war is always wickedness on one side or the other, and often, not to say ordinarily, on both sides. The necessity has its root in the fact that the whole world lieth in wickedness. When the Mohammedan religion, in the freshness of its fanaticism, was ravaging the civilized world with fire and sword, when the Saracens, and after them the Turks, had conquered the Christendom of Africa and Asia, and were invading Europe, the wars which at last turned back that invasion and saved the hope of the world, were an inevitable incident of the conflict between Mohammedanism and Christian civilization. The wars which grew out of the attempt to suppress the Protestant reformation, were an inevitable incident of the conflict between the old ideas and the new. The successive civil wars which have resulted at last in the establishment of full religious and civil liberty in Great Britain, were an inevitable incident of the long conflict between the principle of the Divine and absolute right of kings, and the principle that the king is for the people and can have no rightful power but what the laws have entrusted to him for the welfare of the people. So at a far earlier date, the conflict between the old and stagnant civilization of eastern despotism, and the tendency in European races to a freer and more progressive civilization, came to its final issue in the wars between the Greeks and Persians.
The quaint historian, then, was right when he included "the wars of the Lord” among the topics of his ecclesiastical history. As the moral and religious history of the Jewish people from the time of Moses to the coming of Christ could not be written without some reference to the wars of Joshua, of David, and of the Maccabees; so the Ecclesiastical History of New England cannot be fairly written without some reference to the wars of New England, and especially to those wars in which the moral and religious sympathies of the people have been most deeply engaged.
The earliest of the wars of New England was sixteen years after the beginning of the settlement at Plymouth. When the first planters on the Connecticut came to the banks of that beautiful river in 1635-6, they came at the express and spontaneous invitation of the native inhabitants there, who well knew that such neighbors would be of great advantage to them, both in the way of trade, and in the way of protection against enemies.* That as civilized men they had a right to settle in this wilderness on such conditions, and gradually and peacefully to change the wilderness into a fruitful field, there was no room to doubt. In the full consciousness that they were right, they established their little colony; and between them and the natives who had invited them to dwell there, and who alone had even the savage hunter's right of occupancy, there was never any conflict. But in the earliest infancy of their settlements, they were assailed by marauding and murdering expeditions from a ferocious tribe of savages in what is now the southeastern part of the State of Connecticut. In the course of a few months, thirty had been murdered by the Pequots, while the entire population of the three river towns—the only towns then settled in Connecticut-did not exceed eight hundred. War had become to them an unavoidable necessity-war for the defense of their homes, their hopes, their liberty, and their lives. The right of civilization to plant itself in New England peaceably, and with the free consent of the savage inhabitants at each locality--the right of
* Winthrop's History of New England, I, 52.