The President's Proclamation.
We publish in another place to-day the proclamation of the president in relation to the unconditional liberation of the slaves in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, by order of Gen. Hunter.
The president's paper, whilst strikingly characteristic of the author, is the most remarkable of any of the reticent emanations of his peculiar genius. Every word breathes of the grand project with which he commenced this campaign. Cautiously, as he thinks, he creeps along towards the ending of the war, in accordance with views of the high purpose for which it should be prosecuted. The great and glorious end is the liberation of the negro.
This proclamation is full of dark hints. Like his compound veto sanction of the District emancipation act, it contains references to mysterious reservations in regard to things he would or would not have done, or what he may or may not do, or both. He never talked straight up to a thing in his life. His speeches on his way to Washington described himself as part president so far as "responsibility" was concerned — but only plain Abraham Lincoln, the citizen, of no official accountability whatever. His inaugural and early messages were pointed, in detached portions, but well provided, in other portions, with exit holes to suit future occasions. The modification curative of friend Fremont's premature abolition proclamation was a mystery to his party. They interpreted it and reinterpreted it, and are still in doubt, except as to one thing, which is, that slavery is to be abolished by this war. The precise hour is what they are impatient to know.
The abolishment message was, till now, his chef d'ouvre in mystification. All the ingenuity of interested partisanship has been exhausted in an effort to make it conform to the supposed variation of the popular pulse as events progress. The African organ in New York says that in "subtlety" the president exceeds any of his cabinet, and that yet that particular message most distinctly enunciates a determination on his part to free the slaves on the Wendell Phillips basis, and that he of all other men is the best representative of the abolition party that has ever been known. His conduct in the Trent affair is just like it. He permitted the whole country to believe that he would not let the rebels go. He permitted all his partisan friends to commit themselves in the most grandiliquently bellicose manner against release, going so far as to countenance a vote of thanks by congress, and even a report of approbation and a virtual threat of war by his navy secretary. In regard to this he exhibited his "subtlety" — not in words susceptible of every shade of interpretation, but, as usual, in no words at all — in profound silence, notwithstanding that the question was the most momentous, under the circumstances, that ever interested the republic, for in its consequences our very existence as a free people was most alarmingly involved. And what did he do at last? He backed square out — leaving his friends throughout the whole country to swallow their mortification as they best could. Was there anything manly in this? Was there anything about the question that required this owlish delay, resulting only in the national degradation.
The presidential disavowal of the Hunter proclamation, after setting forth various reservations in regard to what is or is not competent for him to do, or not to do, within or about declaring any state or states free, upon the happening of any indispensible necessity, at any time or in any case, he, with instinctive [unknown], seizes upon the occasion to enlarge once more upon the abolishment resolution submitted by him to congress last March, and makes a piteous appeal to the slave owners to not force upon him the necessity of liberating their slaves, but to do it themselves voluntarily. He says to them, "I do not argue. I beseech you to make the argument for yourselves. You cannot be blind to the signs of the times." That, all must admit to be a fact. No man can be blind to the signs of the times. Hunter, like Fremont and Cameron, is a guide-board stuck by the president, and it will not mislead.
Among our dispatches to-day it will be found that the president was moved by an unavoidable pressure to arrest, as speedily as possible, the mischief that was in progress from the effect of Hunter's liberation order. Of a numerous deputation he asked for a day's deliberation. He says that he knew nothing about the thing. If this is so, there must have been some error within or about the telegraph messages of yesterday, saying that four out of five of the cabinet assembled were in favor of the Hunter proclamation, which the president asked time to consider longer about, before issuing his disclaimer. To-morrow we will give some interpretations of his party press. For the present we will add, that the great question is, will Gen. Hunter be displaced? What will be the end of this presidential feeler?