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were kept alive both antislavery feeling and action. Though some particular forms and phases of effort were given up or fell into disuse, though many once earnest and active became weary or recreant, there were always those who remained faithful to the cause of human rights and who in various ways and by diversified agencies doubtless did much-how much Omniscience alone can estimate-in preparing the public mind for those political movements which resulted in the formation of the Republican party, which gave so large a vote to Mr. Fremont in 1856, and which secured the election of Mr. Lincoln in 1860. The Protestant clergy and the membership of the Protestant churches in the free States aided, with few exceptions, in the election of Mr. Lincoln, gave large and generous support to his administration, earnestly demanded and vigorously sustained his policy of emancipation.
While, however, much is hidden from human view, and men can only speculate, there are some things, as has been shown, fixed as matters of historic record. Among them, as has been seen, is the humiliating fact that, while the churches of America furnished many able and earnest advocates and valiant defenders of the great doctrines of liberty, equality, fraternity, their leading men and influences (at the South entirely, at the North largely), the great organizations, ecclesiastical and missionary, the colleges and seminaries of learning, though almost exclusively under religious and even clerical control, were not thus true. In that great trial of their faith and test of their principles they faltered and failed.
This mournful history, then, has its lessons of warning and duty, which should not pass unheeded. The history of slavery and the Slave Power has been but the history of human nature. They were but the occasion of its strange developments, and not the cause, only the symptoms, not the disease; and though the one has been destroyed and the other dethroned, the cause, the disease, still remains. Though it is to be hoped that nothing quite so hideous and revolting as slavery shall ever appear again on American soil, there is every reason to fear that so long as like causes remain there will be like results. In the future, as in the past, there will rankle and burn
in the human heart the same passions, the same love of "power and pelf"; there will remain the same "saint-seducing gold" and the same "vaulting ambition"; there will be those who "fear not God nor regard man," and who mock at the "higher law"; there will live those who will join hand in hand to oppress the poor and circumvent the good; and it will still be as necessary that "the Church of the Living God" should be "the pillar and ground of the truth." The Christian ministry now, as ever, "set for the defence of the gospel," should always prove true and faithful to its high commission; and yet there is great reason to fear that there will be the same stress and strain upon the conscience, the same temptation on the part of the ministry rather to confer with flesh and blood than to "preach the preaching" that is "bid," and on the part of members the same slowness to heed the inspired direction, "Be not conformed to this world," the same forgetfulness of the divine injunction that "we should obey God rather than men." For such the history of slavery and the Slave Power is full of both instruction and warning, that can be neither wisely nor safely forgotten or ignored.
General survey. - Purpose of the History. - Subsidiary topics. - Exponents of
THE proposed limits of this volume have been reached without taking up all the topics embraced within its original plan. It is to be hoped, however, that sufficient has been said to afford a measurably adequate idea of the progress of events developed by the "irrepressible conflict," and which have led to the present posture of affairs,― results already attained, and those the future will disclose as a natural consequence of the great struggle. Slavery has been traced from its small beginnings to its overshadowing greatness, from the few seeds planted at Jamestown in 1620 to its woful harvest covering the land,—from being a system of labor, in bad repute and dying out, or existing by sufferance when the Constitution was framed, to its becoming an "institution," dominating the government, and exerting a commanding if not a controlling influence in society, in the church, and in the commercial world. It has been shown, too, that in the plenitude of its power, impatient of the least restraint or check, anxious to guard against apprehended dangers arising from its local, restricted, and questionable character, it demanded
new guaranties, and claimed that it should be no longer sectional but national, not only wandering everywhere at will, but everywhere protected by the ægis of the Constitution, and maintained by the arm of Federal authority. Such guaranties being too humiliating and wicked for any but the most craven to submit to, this Power appealed to arms, determined to rend what it could not rule, and break what it could not control with an unquestioned supremacy. In the war thus inaugurated slavery went down, not, however, for moral but military reasons, not because it was wrong but because it was unsafe, and because it could not continue and the Union endure. The war closed, the work of reconstruction began, the recusant States were brought back, and the flag again waves, if not over loyal hearts, at least as the symbol of restored nationality and authority, where it had been trailed in the dust, and treated with the greatest indignity and hate.
Claiming, as its title imports, only or mainly to give some account of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, this work has proposed nothing like a full and connected military or political history of the war, and of the process of reconstruction. Its purpose has been rather to seize upon those portions of such history, perhaps not always with the nicest discrimination, which would shed the clearest light upon the subject it was written to examine, elucidate, and improve, and yield the most profitable instruction.
The topics omitted for lack of space are subsidiary, however, and of less real importance than those for which room has been found. Necessary, perhaps, to the completeness of historic detail, they would be only the exponents of principles already enunciated and illustrated in other connections, examples of general facts already recognized and recorded, the carrying out of the new policy entered upon and made possible only by the giving up by Southern members of their seats in Congress, and their mad relinquishment of the power their occupation had given them. Henceforward, with human rights instead of human chattelhood the goal and guide, freedom instead of slavery the polestar of government, members, in their debates and in the details of legislation, whether
effected or only attempted, could but exhibit a similarity of argument and appeal. On measures of the same general character and purpose friends and foes could hardly do otherwise than repeat themselves. Without, therefore, the excitement of pending issues, with the uncertainty and anxiety as to what the result would be, there is less of loss, now that excitement has passed and the results are known, in not having the precise details before the mind. Besides, it is almost among the marvels of history how easily some of the most radical legislation of those days was effected,how noiselessly and almost without division slave-laws were revoked, the very mention of whose repeal before the war would have roused the nation, both North and South, to fierce excitement, been the signal of the wildest clamor, the most frantic expostulations, and the most terrible and defiant threats. One indeed could but stand amazed at the change, be silent with wonder, and almost question his own identity, or that of others, as he saw law after law repealed almost without remonstrance, and that mountain of unrighteous legislation, the crystallized product of the cruelty and fiendish ingenuity of generations, melting away, like icebergs in a summer sea and under the fervors of a tropical sun, in the presence of an aroused indignation, that had hitherto been trammelled by compromise and the sense of constitutional obligations, and suppressed by fear of offending Southern brethren and sacrificing Southern support, but now prepared to vindicate its right to be heard, and to enforce the claims of justice and a common humanity.
Perhaps, however, the marvel will not appear so great, at least to those who comprehend the philosophy or rationale of the change. Through the secession of the States from the Union, and of their members from Congress, resulted two or three facts whose importance and potency can hardly be overestimated. By it they not only removed shackles from Northern limbs, but they put shackles on their own, or they did that which was tantamount thereto. By leaving their places in Congress they disarmed themselves of the only weapons they had ever used with much effect, they abandoned the only