||A Sampler of Civil
|A Letter from the Country
November 8, 1862
the first article in this
A fictional New England woman, Charity Grimes, writes a letter to
the editor of Harpers Weekly in which she describes an argument with a
neighbor woman. First, Mrs. Grimes gives the neighbor womans political background.
Her father was a Methodist who "turned dimmycrat" (Democrat). After joining the
Odd Fellows, the father dyed his whiskers, for which he was expelled from the Methodist
church. Since the war began, he has become a Quaker, as he quakes every time he hears
mention of the draft. Besides her political interest, the neighbor woman also plays at
cards, and once foretold the death of a man who choked on flap-jacks. While Mrs. Grimes is
ironing, the neighbor woman bursts into the house, incensed over the news of Lincolns
Emancipation Proclamation. Though the neighbor woman wants the North to win the war, she
begins to pray that Lincoln leaves the Southerners slaves alone. Mrs. Grimes
immediately begins to pray in support of Lincoln. This causes the neighbor woman to attack
Mrs. Grimes with a flat iron, while Mrs. Grimes retaliates with some tongs. Both women end
up bruised, while Mrs. Grimes retaliates her final revenge by writing a "sarkastical
poim" about her position on Lincolns new proclamation.
Letter From the Country"
November 8, 1862, page 715 (3-4)
October 4, 1862, page 626 (1-2)
Abolition of Slavery. A Proclamation"
October 4, 1862, page 627 (2-3)
"Lincolns Last Warning,"
October 11, 1862, page 656 (1-2)
"Sensation Among Our Colored Brethren,"
December 20, 1862, page 816 (1-4)
"The Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863,"
January 24, 1863, pages 56 (1) 57 (4)
"The President and
September 6, 1862, page 562 (1)
The President has taken advantage of a rather impertinent
and very injudicious letter addressed to him by Mr. Horace Greeley, to state to the public
his position on the slavery question. We publish his letter in another column. While
distinctly avowing his personal wish that "all men every where could be free,"
the President declares that his sole exclusive aim is to restore the Union, without
reference to slavery; and that while he would not hesitate to proclaim emancipation if he
were satisfied that that would restore the Union, neither would he scruple to save the
Union with slavery. He thus takes issue on the one hand with the pro-slavery half-and-half
Union men of the Border States who object to the restoration of the Union at the cost of
their peculiar institution, and, on the other, with the fanatical ultraists of the North
who object to the restoration of the Union unless slavery be destroyed.
In this position Mr. Lincoln will undoubtedly find himself
supported by the bulk of the people of the country. What we all want, first, it to put
down the rebellion. When that is done, we can deal with slavery and its antecedents as our
necessities may dictate.
Nothing can be falser than to assume, as some of the
followers of Mr. Wendell Phillips do, that if we restore the Union without destroying
slavery, our work will be only half accomplished, and it will be left to another
generation to complete it. Whatever be the issue of the war, slavery has already received
a death-blow from which it can never recover. There is no State in the Union in which it
can ever be again a thriving or even a safe institution. That iron despotism of the master
class, and that rigid system of municipal law, which alone could render it safe for white
men and women to inhabit vast plantations surrounded by negro slaves, have been utterly
shattered by the events of the war. Even where the black has not had courage, or sense, or
opportunity to escape to the Union lines, and claim the privilege of freedom offered him
by our laws, he has been utterly demoralized, and rendered forever unfit to resume the
patient toil of past years.
It is known, probably, to nine out of ten slaves in the
South that every Slave State now contains a safe refuge whither fugitives can fly for
emancipation, and where no overseer or blood-hound can follow them. That these fugitives
thus far have come into our lines by hundreds instead of tens of thousands is mainly due
to the fact that the entire white population of the South is armed, and all general
movements of the negroes are at once repressed by wholesale massacres. But neither the
rifle nor the stake can expel from the mind of the slave the knowledge that freedom is
near him, and that he can obtain it when he chooses to make the effort; and with this
thought in his brain, he is worse than valueless as property.
This great fact is ever present to Mr. Lincolns
mind. In conversation with a leading banker of this city, who is also a prominent member
of the Republican Party, he lately observed, that in his opinion, it was "much wiser to
do a thing than to talk about it." Frémont and Hunter talkedin
proclamations. The President, or rather the warfor he is merely the instrument of
eventsis "doing the thing:" sapping the foundation of slavery; rendering
it unprofitable and unsafe; exploding one by one all the delusions which induce the people
of the South to cling to it; and slowly but surely, without noisy proclamations or windy
words, clearing the way for a general emancipation of all the slaves on this continent.
How and when these systematic and regular approaches may
be succeeded by the final assault it is yet impossible to say. But the President has by
his acts won a indisputable claim to confidence in his honesty, and all those among us who
have no other aim in view than the good of the country will be content to leave the
subject in his hands.
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