But these laws are resisted, and this insurrection prevails, and the national unity is violated in those States, and in those States only, in which the life-long claims to the service or labor of persons of African descent are held under State laws. In States where these claims are comparatively few, as in Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, disaffection only prevails, while in States where the number of slaves approaches or exceeds that of whites, as in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, insurrection against lawful authority is flagrant and outspoken, the insurrectionary acts of these States being avowedly based on the allegation that slavery is not safe under the present constitutionally elected President, and that its permanent preservation can be insured by the disruption of the national unity alone. a
All this is matter of history. And there would be as much propriety in denying the connection between the sun and the light of day as that between slavery and the rebellion.
This point settled, nothing remains to be determined except the question whether, under existing circumstances, emancipation be or be not the policy most fitting and wise-the policy best calculated to assure in the future the peaceful execution of the law. And this, "according to the dictates of reason" (to repeat Chief Justice Marshall's words), must be left to Congress to decide. If Congress believes that emancipation is no longer a question of sectional interference, but of national preservation, it has the right to judge and the constitutional right to act upon that judgment. If Congress believes, that, in order to enforce law and suppress insurrection, it is necessary and proper to take and cancel all claims to lifelong service or labor held in the slave States, and if claims to service or labor, whether for years or for life, held by one inhabitant of the United States against another, be a species of property not specially exempted by the Constitution from seizure for public use, then an act of compensated emancipation is strictly constitutional.
In proceeding to consummate this measure it is evidently fitting and proper that, in the preamble to such an act, there should be plainly set forth the causes and considerations which impelled to so solemn and momentous a decision.
The substance of the argument here made amounts to this-that, as to the claims to service or labor by persons of African descent, held by inhabitants of insurrectionary States or by disloyal inhabitants of other States, it is lawful to confiscate and cancel them without compensation; while, as to such claims held by loyal men in non-insurrectionary States it is legal to take them, making just compensation.
In other words, in the former case uncompensated emancipation; in the latter, compensated emancipation, is in accordance with law and permitted by the Constitution.
That is the legal aspect. In a humanitarian view, emancipation is one of the highest duties of Christian civilization.
The Future in the United States of the African Race.
Among the problems connected with the future destiny of our country, this is one of the most important. And on no other great national question have more erroneous ideas prevailed, both among
a The official proof of this assertion has already been furnished.