« ZurückWeiter »
any pretence of the imaginary necessities of martial law. The adoption of any such scheme would do nothing but aggravate and protract the war in which we are engaged. The mere agitation of it has already increased the embarrassments of the Government and the perils of our patriot volunteers. But none of us can be blind to the fact, that whatever policy may prevail on points like these, a vast number of the African race will be, and indeed have already been, thrown upon the Country by the unavoidable contingencies of the existing rebellion, for whom a policy of some sort must be adopted. And the simple question submitted to us now, is whether the means shall be supplied for transporting to the land from which they sprung, such of these persons as may be found willing and ready to go there, and who would otherwise be destined to a reluctant and wretched existence upon our own shores.
Let it never be forgotten, my friends, that, under the auspices of some of the wisest and best men of all sections of the Union,
men for the like of whom our country is looking, and looking in vain, in this hour of its agony,---men like Henry Clay, whose bugle-note at this moment would be better than a hundred thousand men for the defence of the Union, — the American Colonization Society was originally formed, and has been steadily maintained, altogether upon the principle of voluntary emigration. It is nothing more or less than a great Emigrant Aid Society ; not designed to drive out from our land any who may deliberately desire to remain here, but only to afford the means of transportation to those who may wish to return to the old, original, and only true home of the African race.
Of that home it has been well said, by the worthy President of the parent society (Mr. Latrobe), that “ Liberia is the portal.” There, a noble colony has already been planted; there, churches and schools have been instituted; a college, even, inaugurated ; and a constitution of government, framed after the model of our own republic, and provided with all the securities of a just and equal administration, is there already in successful operation. There, at that open gateway, - better than any Port Royal which we are likely to establish on our own Continent, — Africa stands, ready to welcome back to a condition of peace and prosperity those of her children, or their descendants, who may have been torn from her in the prosecution of a barbarous traffic.
It may be that other and larger colonies may be found necessary hereafter. It may be that other and nearer places may hereafter be found, for carrying out more conveniently and more effectively the great scheme of colonization, as it may be developed by future events. For the present, however, Liberia is sufficient; and with its established institutions, its increasing trade, and its now recognized independence, it presents the most favorable opportunity for accomplishing the great ends for which this Society was formed.
My friends, if the only effect of promoting the welfare of that colony were to establish a permanent foothold for civilization and Christianity in Africa, the cause would be worthy of our most favorable attention, and might well be ranked among the most interesting and important Missionary enterprises of the age.
But when it is regarded in connection with the present emergencies of our own land; when it is contemplated as furnishing the first successful example of a movement which may, at some future day, relieve our country from the difficulties and dissensions which are inevitably incident to the continuance of such vast and rapidly increasing numbers of the African race, whether bond or free, within our limits, — it calls for a still more earnest and zealous support.
The President of the United States, whose wisdom, moderation, and patriotism we all concur in acknowledging and admiring, — whether as exhibited in the measures he has taken to overcome the assaults of his enemies, or to overrule the mad and monstrous projects of some of his friends, - has urgently and repeatedly insisted, as we all remember, that a well-devised scheme of colonization is one of the great necessities of the, present hour. I believe that, in doing so, he has expressed the opinion of nine-tenths of the people of the United States out of New England; and I trust it may prove, in New England also.
For myself, certainly, I say amen to this declaration of President Lincoln with all my heart. Every consideration of justice both to the black man and to the white; every regard for the welfare both of Africa and America ; every dictate of humanity both to bond and free— concur, in my opinion, in commending the cause of Colonization this day to a general sympathy and a generous support which it has never before received; and I am glad of an opportunity to give this brief but heartfelt “God speed” to all who are engaged in it.
A STAR FOR EVERY STATE, AND A
STATE FOR EVERY STAR.
A SPEECH MADE ON BOSTON COMMON AT THE MASS MEETING IN AID OF RECRUITING,
AUGUST 27, 1862.
I am here, fellow-citizens, at short notice, and I hope to make a short speech. Would to Heaven that I could make it as short, as sharp, and as burning, as the battle must now be which is at length to bring back peace to our afflicted land! Would to Heaven that I could say any thing, or do any thing, which might contribute to the success of this occasion, and of the cause which it is designed to promote! It is a time when every one of us should ask himself, day by day, and night by night, at morning, and at evening, and at noonday, “ What can I say, or what can I do, for my country, and for those who are engaged in its defence ?"
Yet I cannot help feeling how powerless are any mere empty words in presence of such a multitude as this, and still more in presence of such events as those which have called us together. The scene around us, and the sounds which have attended it, are more eloquent and more impressive than any human oratory. The rolling drum, the pealing bells, the tramp of marching battalions, the shouts of surging multitudes, - these are the only sounds to-day which seem to fill or satisfy the ear; and the only adequate words which the vocabulary of American Patriotism can supply for such an hour as this, are, “Recruit, enlist, gird on your armor, and go forth to the rescue of our brethren in the field, and to the deliverance of our beloved country.” What else can any one say ? Every form of argument and of
appeal has been exhausted. It is vain to review the past; we cannot recall it. It is vain to speculate on the future; we cannot penetrate its hidden depths. It is vain, and worse than vain, to criticise and cavil about the present. We must have confidence in somebody. We must not only trust in God, but we must trust in the Government which is over us, and in the generals whom that Government has commissioned. For one, I mean to hold fast my faith in them all, - Halleck, McClellan, Pope, McDowell, Burnside, Banks, and all the rest, - until something besides bad fortune, or malignant rumor, or base suspicions, shall have occurred to shake it. Meantime we must not shut our eyes to the real state of the
The stern and solemn fact is before us, that our country has now been engaged for more than a year past in one of the fiercest and bloodiest wars which the world has ever witnessed. The stern and solemn fact is before us, that three-quarters of a million of the loyal men of the land have been found inadequate to overcome the wanton and wicked rebellion which has lifted its parricidal hands against the nation. The stern and solemn fact is before us, that though so many glorious successes have been accomplished, and so many deeds of heroic daring performed, our gallant army has recently encountered a series of checks and reverses which have once more put almost every thing in peril. The stern and startling fact is before us and upon us, that the President has been constrained to call for twice 300,000 more men to rescue us from defeat, and to give us a hope of finishing successfully the Herculean labor of restoring the national authority.
Who can hesitate for a moment what answer shall be given to this call? Who can hesitate for a moment to say, that every thing which is needed, every thing which is asked for, in such an emergency, shall be supplied, to the last man and the last dollar, - even though another 300,000, and still another, should be demanded hereafter ?
I rejoice, my friends, to be able to bear witness to the feeling which exists in some other parts of our Commonwealth and of our country. Absent from home for six weeks past, I have visited more than one of our sister States of the North. At