Are the Rebels Abolitionists?
While the Southern portion of the Democratic party is harmoniously engaged in trying to destroy the Union, the other branch at the North is as busily engaged in proclaiming that loyal men must not and shall not touch the slaves of their brethren, even though every man of sense knows that their emancipation would be the quickest way to crush the rebellion and secure a permanent peace. But because the true men of the North think it may be wisdom ere long to take this extreme step, they are denounced as "abolitionists." Though they never asked for abolition in times of peace, and were content that the nigger-drivers should hold their chattels under the Constitution until they saw fit to free them, yet now when slavery is trying to overthrow the government, because abolition is even hinted at as a military necessity and the best of "peace measures," therefore our nigger prints place them in the same category as the men who hate the Constitution so much as not to vote under it, or even hold office, and denounce it as a "league with death and a covenant with hell."
We have a nut for these Northern pro-slavery sympathizers to crack. It was only last winter that that madcap, Toombs — whose last speech in Congress some traitor prints at the North saw fit to publish entire — declared in Congress that if too hard pushed in this war, which he then threatened, the South would emancipate all her slaves, and thus make them her friends, and thus beat back our coercion armies. The threat has been repeated since in various ways by rebel leaders, and there is little doubt but that it may be done when the dreaded contingency shall arise. Of course these sharp gentlemen who expect to steal a march on us, expect after their independence is secured, to re-enslave their chattels and import plenty more of them, but that story the negroes are not, to be informed of until at the proper moment. Now we should like to ask the Northern pro-slavery men and sympathizers with traitors, if the South is not also "abolition" for threatening such a calamity as the emancipation of the slaves? She proposed to do it, if at all, for precisely the same reason that Mr. Brownson does in his Review, as a "military necessity," and not that it would be wise as an "original proposition." Just go with the mass of Republicans. They think, in preference to having this miserable war drag on year after year, piling up mountains of debt, destroying the business of the country and filling the land with widows and orphans, that it will be good policy to strike the enemy in his vulnerable part and secure the sympathy and aid of the slaves by decreeing their freedom in advance of a similar move by the rebel government. We submit then that they are no more "abolitionists" per se than the rebels. They don't wish the negroes free because they care so much more for them, but because they love the Union and peace more, and wish every element of discord banished from our councils. When peace is secured once more we shall have little trouble in making such disposition of the negroes as may be wise and just.
The consideration of this subject in fact evolves new reasons for the speedy and ultimate adoption of the emancipation policy by the Union government. When we press the rebels too hard, they will emancipate, and thus increase our difficulties to re-establish the authority of the Union. If the rebels succeed, their whole past history shows that if successful in their rebellion slavery will be re-established. This will not be easy — it will cause terrible insurrections and commotions, and send tens of thousands of negroes into the North. Then we should realize what is now so much dreaded — a stampede of negro fugitives. The South will be convulsed, and whether we will or no we cannot escape being dragged into the vortex of war. Now by a wise policy, we may perhaps escape these future perils. It will be well for the people to ponder which are the least of the evils before them.