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whether in the exercise of Rights of Sovereignty or Rights of War, and that in its performance that system of “Reconstruction" will be best, howsoever named, which promises most surely to accomplish the desired end, so that Slavery, which is the synonym of the Rebellion, shall absolutely cease throughout the whole Rebel and belligerent region, and the land it has maddened, impoverished, and degraded shall become safe, fertile, and glorious from assured Emancipation.
6. That, in the process of “ Reconstruction," it is not enough to secure the death of Slavery throughout the Rebel and belligerent region only; that experience testifies against Slavery wherever it exists, not only as crime against humanity, but as disturber of the public peace and spoiler of the public liberties, including liberty of the press, liberty of speech, and liberty of travel and transit; that, in the progress of civilization, it has become incompatible with good government, and especially with that“ republican form of government” which the United States are bound to guaranty to every State; that from the outbreak of this Rebel war, even in States professing loyalty, it has been an open check upon patriotic duty and an open accessory to the Rebellion, so as to be a source of unquestionable weakness to the national cause; that the defiant pretensions of the master claiming control of his slave are in direct conflict with paramount rights of the nation; and that, therefore, it is the further duty of Congress, in the exercise of its double powers under the Constitution, as guardian of the national safety, to take all needful steps for the extinction of Slavery, even in States professing loyalty, so that this crime against humanity, this disturber of the public peace, and this spoiler of the public liberties
shall no longer exist anywhere to menace the general harmony, that civilization may be no longer shocked, • that the constitutional guaranty of a republican form of government to every State may be fulfilled, that the Rebellion may be deprived of the traitorous aid and comfort Slavery has instinctively volunteered, and that the master claiming an unnatural property in human flesh may no longer defy the nation.
7. That, in addition to the guaranties stipulated by Congress, and as the cap-stone to its work of restoration and reconciliation, the Constitution itself must be so amended as to prohibit Slavery everywhere within the limits of the Republic ; that such prohibition, leaving all personal claims, whether of slave or master, to the legislation of Congress and of the States, will be a sacred and inviolable guaranty, representing the collective will of the people of the United States, and placing Universal Emancipation under sanction of the Constitution, so that Freedom shall be engraved on every foot of the national soil and be woven into every star of the national flag, while it elevates and inspires our whole national existence, and the Constitution, so often invoked for Slavery, but at last in harmony with the Declaration of Independence, will become, according to the aspirations of its founders, sublime guardian of the inalienable right of every human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: all of which must be done in the name of the Union, in duty to humanity, and for the sake of permanent peace.
PRAYER OF ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND.
SPEECIL IN THE Sexate, ON PRESENTING A PETITION OF Tue Wom
EN'S NATIONAL LEAGUE, PRAYING UNIVERSAL EMANCIPATION BY Act of Congress, FEBRUARY 9, 1864.
Me'desk before me.
R. PRESIDENT, -I offer the petition now on
the desk before me. It is too bulky for me to take up. I need not add that it is too bulky for any of our pages to carry.
This petition marks a stage of public opinion in the history of Slavery, and also in the suppression of the Rebellion. As it is short, I will read it. “To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
“The undersigned, women of the United States above the age of eighteen years, earnestly pray that your honorable body will pass, at the earliest practicable day, an act emancipating all persons of African descent held to involuntary service or labor in the United States."
There is also a duplicate of the petition, signed by "men above the age of eighteen years."
It will be perceived that the petition is in rolls. Each roll represents a State. For instance, here is New York with a list of seventeen thousand seven hundred and six names, Illinois with fifteen thousand three hundred and eighty, and Massachusetts with eleven thousand six
hundred and forty-one. But I will read the abstract with which I have been furnished.
Total. 17,706 15,380 11,641 8,625 8,330 6,182 6,039 5,587 4,030 3,666 2,654 2,533 2,278 1,558 1,555 1,490
182 165 158 137 33
34,399 65,601 100,000 These several petitions are consolidated into one, being another illustration of the motto on our coin, - E pluribus unum.
This unprecedented petition is signed by one hundred thousand men and women, who unite in this unparalleled number to support its prayer. They are from all parts of the country, and from every condition of life:
from the seaboard, fanned by the free airs of the ocean, and from the Mississippi and the prairies of the West, fanned by the free airs which vitalize that extensive region; from the families of the educated and uneducated, rich and poor, of every profession, business, and calling in life, representing every sentiment, thought, hope, passion, activity, intelligence, that inspires, strengthens, and adorns our social system. Here they are, a mighty army, one hundred thousand strong, without arms or banners, the advance-guard of a yet larger army.
Though memorable for numbers, these petitioners are more memorable for the prayer in which they unite. They ask nothing less than Universal Emancipation; and this they ask directly at the hands of Congress. No reason is assigned. The prayer speaks. It is simple, positive. So far as it proceeds from the women of the country, it is naturally a petition and not an argument. But I need not remind the Senate that there is no reason so strong as the reason of the heart. Do not all great thoughts come from the heart ?
It is not for me at this moment to offer reasons which the one hundred thousand petitioners have forborne. But I may properly add, that, naturally and obviously, they all feel in their hearts, what reason and knowledge confirm, not only that Slavery as a Unit, one and indivisible, is the guilty origin of the Rebellion, but that its influence everywhere, even outside the Rebel States, is hostile to the Union, always impairing loyalty, and sometimes openly menacing the national cause. quires no difficult logic to conclude that such a monster, wherever it shows its head, is a National Enemy, to be pursued and destroyed as such, or at least a nuisance to the national cause, to be abated as such.