CONSTITUTIONALITY OF MEASURES PUT FORTH AGAINST SLA¬
VERY IN DEFENCE OF THE UNION.
It is contended to be unconstitutional to exert the power of
the government to put down slavery. I concede it to be so,
so far as slavery is recognized and upheld in the Constitution.
But when slavery changes the form under which only it is rec¬
ognized in the Constitution, and becomes reason, and slave¬
holders become traitors, then I say *ve may constitutionally
put down alike both the treason and the traitor.
Slavery has been perverted from its original position in this
government. It is now arrayed against it as ar^ antagonistic
force. It is the lifeblood and motive power of the rebellion.
It rears its snaky folds, and strikes its poison a Vis directly at
the Constitution. On account of this foul attem} 'a it has be¬
come accursed of God and man, and the person who fails to
strike at the monster, who weeps at his death or sympathizes
at his fall, greatly misunderstands his position if he thinks,
by so doing, he maintains the Constitution and the Union, or
supports the principles or patriotism of its founders.
One word on reconstruction. The shock of rebellion has
left the body politic of our state governments, which have
been partially recovered to us, wounded, shattered, and bleed¬
ing, at the best. Time must be granted for their recovery.
The decayed, gangrene flesh must have ojrportunity to slough
off, until, through the agency of new men, or at least of men
who have been healed from the leprosy of treason, new life
shall be imparted, and such states, through the people rep¬
resenting them, may once more resume their position as
bright stars in the Union, redeemed, emancipated, and disen¬
A change from rebellion to loyalty, from the horrors of war
to the blessings of peace, from a position, in the Confederacy
to ©"ne in this blessed Union, prepared for the full and proper
discharge of its duties, is not a slight matter or without its
difficulties. Wise measures must be adapted to this end,