they would have no connection with a government where free¬
dom was the rule and slavery the exception. They had fully
determined they would have a government where slavery was
not regarded as a merely incidental matter, but as its chief
corner-stone ; and based, in their own phrase, " on the proper
relations of labor and capital, where they might vindicate,
on their own chosen arena, their selected type of social charac¬
teristics."* Our people talked of peace commissioners, peace
propositions, and a return to the Union. They scoffed at the
suggestion ; trampled upon it ; spit upon it. No ! Slavery
they would have under their own independent " homogeneous
nationality ;" a Union with free states they would not have.
Such is the exact position assumed toward us by the South.
But the President, notwithstanding all this, concludes to
try them once more. " You may have slavery," he says, " if
you return to loyalty and the Constitution within a given
time, but if you do not return we will dispose of that cause of
controversy, and, as a penalty for your farther persistence in
the war, we will confiscate your interest in slave property."
Three objections have been taken to this proclamation. The
first is, that the President should have offered no such terms
to traitors with arms in their hands. This objection is now
of no avail. It is sufficient, perhaps, to say that it clearly
manifested a desire on the part of the President for peace.
The second objection is, that the proclamation is unconsti¬
tutional. This I will endeavor to consider by-and-by.
A third objection seems to come from the South. " Why,"
say they, " in much the larger portion of our territory, where
you propose to abolish slavery, you have no possession ; how,
then, can you, by mere proclamation, emancipate slaves over
whom you have no control ? Suppose you fail of getting pos¬
session of the country ?" Ay, there is the rub ! But when
a great country, embracing the entire Northern, Western, and
Middle States, is engaged in maintaining its government and
preserving the Union, so vital to the cause of freedom here,
and of suffering humanity throughout the world, the effort is
See address cf tbe Confederate Congress to the Southern people.