Why the People Oppose the Administration.
To adduce further testimony in support of the proposition that the present war is being waged for the abolition of slavery, and not for the restoration of the Union, is like using argument to prove that two and two make four. None of the journals or representative men which support the administration, so far as we have observed, have denied the charge; on the contrary, whenever they can be brought to express an opinion on the subject, they say that the restoration of the Union as it was, is an "absurdity," of which they are "sick;" or thank God that our "army was defeated at Bull Run," so that the Union was not at once restored, "with the curse of slavery yet in it." That is the way the men talk who lead the republican party, shape its policy and control its nominations. But we occasionally meet a private in the ranks, wearing the shackles of that party without feeling their weight, who supposes that the men he is serving are in earnest in prosecuting the war for the reconstruction of the Union. We ask such men, occasionally, what would happen if every revolted state should this day lay down their arms, and offer voluntarily to return to their allegiance, in the same condition, as nearly as possible, as before the war; and if, in addition to this, they should propose to surrender Jeff. Davis and all the ringleaders in the rebellion, to await the punishment justly due their crimes?
Some innocent republicans profess to believe that these states would be joyfully welcomed back, with all their institutions, slavery included, guaranteed them under the constitution. But how about the proclamation, we ask; Lincoln says their slaves are now free; can he, or any other power in the country, make a slave out of a free man? If so, can he not declare all the negroes in Massachusetts or Illinois to be slaves, just as well?
The proclamation has placed the president in a position where he is compelled either to recognize the independence of the southern confederacy, or to "keep pegging away," — to use his own classic language, until he so far exterminates the population of the revolted states as to render his abolition policy complete. It is plain that he cannot accept peace on any terms which do not involve the entire and absolute abolition of slavery in the rebellious states; and it is equally plain, that however disposed they might be to return to their allegiance under the constitution as it is, and to reconstruct the Union as it was, they will never consent to do so on the terms made by Mr. Lincoln an ultimatum. So that we may expect the war to continue, until the democratic party place a president at the head of affairs who will withdraw that mischievous and wicked emancipation proclamation, and prosecute the war for the solitary and sole purpose of bringing the states back to their old allegiance, with every right they have heretofore enjoyed guaranteed intact, or a dishonorable peace concluded, with disunion as its basis.
If anything were needed to strengthen the position we have assumed, that the war is never to end until slavery is abolished or the southern confederacy recognized, the following extracts from Secretary Chase's letter to the Union meeting in New York, ought to settle the point:
What matter now how it (slavery)dies? Whether as a consequence or object of the war what matter? Is this a time to split hairs of logic? To me it seems that Providence indicated clearly enough now the end of slavery must come. It comes in rebel slave states by military order, decree or proclamation; not to be disregarded or set aside in any event as a nullity, but maintained and executed with perfect good faith to all the enfranchised. * * * * The American blacks must be called into this conflict, not as cattle, not now, even as contrabands, but as men. In the free states, and by the proclamation, in the rebel states, they are free men. The attorney general, in an opinion which defies refutation, has pronounced these freemen citizens of the United States.
Mr. Chase declares that in any event the negroes are all to be enfranchised, not in name, merely, but in fact; it is to effect this object, and not to restore the Union, that our armies are kept in the field, and the treasure and blood of the country lavished like water; it is for this purpose that men are to be drafted who refuse to volunteer. And it is because this is the avowed object of the war that the democracy do not, as heretofore, rush forward, with hearty alacrity, to fill the ranks of the army. It is because of this policy that the cry of peace is heard all over the land, and for this and no other reason, the administration has sustained defeat in so many of the northern states. This policy has united and inspired the south with a determination they never felt before; and this policy will prolong the war without a hope of ultimate success until the nation becomes impoverished in purse and so reduced in strength that the weakest may insult her with impunity. Is there an intelligent man in the country who supposes the war can be prosecuted to a successful termination on such a basis?
Had the president left a loophole of escape to provide for the contingency of a proposition of peace coming from the rebels, we should be more hopeful of final success. But he has committed himself so fully to the abolition doctrine that he cannot retract. The rebels cannot have peace unless their slaves are allowed to go free. To this they will never consent, and we fear our armies will never be able to enforce the conditions required by the administration. It is because the people are willing to receive the seceded states back into the Union upon their original status, and the administration is not, that the administration has been defeated in the elections. Had it not exercised the immense military and pecuniary power at its disposition to affect these elections, its defeat would have been much more signal.