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Mr. Lincoln's plan of "Reconstruction."

Four of the states now "in rebellion" — Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas — assisted to form the constitution which is the fundamental law of the land. They had fought to secure and establish the independence of the colonies from the British crown, and were active in forming the compact which was designed to create a "more perfect union." To this compact other states became parties, and the association was incorporated under the name and style of the "United States of America," which was to be perpetual, and of which the constitution is the bond.

In these four states, as well as others, combinations of individuals, too numerous and powerful to be dealt with by the courts, have attempted to violate this compact, and to withdraw the states from the Union, by virtue of ordinances of secession. States, being corporations, can commit no crime; a government still exists in these organized bodies, although it is obstructed by these individual combinations, against whom the military power of the United States is enlisted to put down their lawless and rebellious schemes by the strong arm. This is done, because the constitution of the United States guarantees to each state protection from foreign invasion or domestic violence, as well as a republican form of government. We are fighting these organized armies in the south because they have assumed to violate the national compact, which we will not permit. We are fighting Jeff. Davis, because he has set up what he calls a government, which he demands shall be recognized as the rightful government over these states; we deny that his is the government, and maintain that the old constitution, which he has set aside, is still the true and only legal government of the country over which he assumes dominion. In brief, then, we commenced this war because Davis and his associates said these states were out of the Union, and not subject to its constitution and its laws, while we claim that they are still in the Union, and must render due obedience to the constitution which we obey.

Upon this issue the Federal government took up arms against the rebels, avowing its intention to reclaim its property, which had been seized, and to enforce its authority, which had been defied. When these were accomplished, the war was to cease, and we were to refer the traitors to the courts, which would award the punishment due for their crimes. We went forth to battle to reclaim our own; anxious to do so with the least possible damage to the country or to the people, for the one was a part of our territory, and the others were our fellow-citizens. As a nation, we were inspired with the religion of love, which sought to reclaim them; not with the frenzy of bate, which aimed to impoverish or exterminate them. It was a spectacle of a father, endeavoring to reclaim his erring children, who had usurped his heritage.

As time passed on, however, the Federal administration began to introduce new and utterly unwarrantable policies, and to take advantage of the absence from congress of a political element which had hitherto successfully thwarted the designs of the abolitionists, to enforce upon the country its odious doctrines. Its plans were laid skillfully, and prosecuted cautiously. The constitution of the country was gradually sapped and undermined, and before this last message of the president, falls, a ghastly pile of ruins. We find the man who solemnly swore to uphold and defend the constitution, active in destroying and perverting it; we see the president, who called out armies to protect state governments from domestic usurpation, and to demonstrate that they were still members of the Union, unblushingly taking the ground that all these rebel states are, and have all this time, actually been out, and that he has been prosecuting against them a war of conquest — a war of subjugation.

The country has now the official, deliberate announcement of the president that the war is not carried on to save the Union, but to remodel the institutions of the southern states — in other words, to abolitionize them. In another year we may expect to see the strange spectacle of Jefferson Davis fighting to get into the Union, and Abraham Lincoln fighting to keep him out. Lincoln has already made the change — he stands now committed to the theory on which the southern states based their right to secede.

The persistence with which he asserts the supremacy of his abolition proclamation is not surprising to those who know the native obstinacy of his character. Utterly incapable of entertaining a lofty or patriotic sentiment, he labors in behalf of his abolition theories, as Bunyan's man with the muck-rake plodded only in the filth. No matter what becomes of the constitution, the proclamation must stand. He can forgive treason to the one, but not repudiation of the other. He will pardon the brute Captain Winder, who has pitilessly tortured our gallant soldiers in the Richmond prisons, but is mercilessly unforgiving towards the man who has insulted his especial pets — the negroes. He is avowedly enlisted in their cause, and woe to the men who "offend any of these little ones" whom Lincoln has adopted as his own. How lovingly he mouths over the words "colored persons" and "slaves" in his last proclamation! A man must swear to support all laws of congress and all proclamations of his excellency "in relation to slaves," and that is sufficient proof of his loyalty. Other matters are of small consequence.

In the message Mr. Lincoln gives undeniable evidence that he is determined to fulfil, his prophecy that the Union shall not exist, part free and part slave. State lines are blotted out, state constitutions abolished, the heads of Tartarus revel in their carnival of gore, that Lincoln's protégés may be enfranchised, although they are thereby left to perish and rot unburied along the Mississippi.

This message destroys every hope of loyal men. The president is not transcended in his radicalism by Sumner, or in his thirst for blood by an abolition preacher. The Ethiopian is the idol to which he is joined — good men everywhere can only "let him alone."