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THE FREEDMAN A CITIZEN SOLDIER.

75

the cause of freedom in the North. It is not probable that the farmers, mechanics, and tradesmen in the United States will prefer to continue a soldier's life, even when war has ceased. The drill and subserviency of military life would be irksome to the citizen free man. It is, however, a step higher to the coloured man, who has been a slave, and is not uncongenial to his past habits of servitude. He is imitative, and amenable to authority, and the idea of his liberty will be identified with the success of the

army ;

but as a trained soldier he cannot be returned to slavery with impunity. It has been urged by men having influence, that at least 200,000 coloured troops be enrolled, not merely to fight present battles, but also to garrison Southern forts and fulfil such duties as are likely to arise from the lingering animosity of subdued rebels. But such a number of men can only be expected from a population four or five times as many more. Their wives and families rising into manhood will claim the considerate provision of governing authorities in their future policy for the whole country. Already is the honour of the State pledged to coloured freed-men, as well as to all slaves affected by the President's proclamation, as far as it can or may reach them. No course could bring more enduring infamy upon statesmen than any desertion of the cause of oppressed and confiding millions, in departing from the pledge solemnly given, after protracted consultation and warning; and the only measure of deeper disgrace would be the portion of a nation of free-men who would either tempt or countenance their rulers in belying their solemn promise of emancipation. Mr. Abraham Lincoln will not be a party to such abandonment of the negro's cause.

The North may not have been so prompt or unequivocal in accepting his measures or means of emancipation; but the Republican party and the honourable Democrats have endorsed it as a fait accompli. There may seem points which rival jealousy may detect, of short-coming in the anti-slavery action of the North ; but it is a poor demonstration of anti-slavery zeal in men professing friendship for the slave, to expend their wit and influence in captious suspicions and ungenerons insinuations, that North Americans have not always or spontaneously sought the abolition of slavery. Rather would the honest philanthropist and Christian emancipationist be forward to help on the faltering or repentant coadjutor in the cause of freedom, and to remove difficulties out of his way. The English anti-slavery champions in 1832, and the anti-corn law league in 1816, accepted the co-operation of former antagonists, and strengthened the hands of Sir Robert Peel and his small band of converts to the principles of Free Trade. So kill the honest friend of the American negro hail the co-operation, and gratefully acknowledge the late but avowed convictions of hundreds of thousands of citizens in America, who now rally round the banner of immediate and unconditional emancipation.

The religious element pervading the American mind cannot be overlooked in the present crisis of the country. Some of the largest denominations were agitated by the question of slavery years before the issues now contemplated came up before the most thoughtful. The Methodist Episcopal Church was divided south and north, and that division was attended with accusations of spoliation and the threatening of protracted litigation. The Presbyterian Church was rent in twain, and the old and new school appreciated with much discordant controversy and diversity the claims of the slave. The commotion gave to Congregationalists in the newer states an extended influence, and modified the interchange of ministerial services. Among Baptist churches the subject was keenly agitated, and part held with the slave, and part held with his oppressor. The reformed and united Presbyterians generally preserved their communion unpolluted by the contagion.

KEVIVED CHRISTIANITY AND SLAVERY.

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Episcopalian clergy and bishops were variously influenced and divided. This subject will come up again more at length. An opinion has been expressed that the revival which visited Protestant religionists of all denominations during 1858 prepared many devout minds for a more tender consideration of the claims of the slave, and a more steadfast determination to make sacrifices in the path of recognized duty. Even in the Fulton-street prayer meeting, in New York, a prayerful and earnest feeling was cherished and expressed on the subject. It is affirmed by well-informed episcopal Methodists, that a greater number of members of their body than of any

other are enrolled in the United States army. It is well known that ministers of the old school Presbyterians have recently identified themselves with anti-slavery agitation, and opened their churches for public assemblies when the subject would be discussed. Religious communities, though no longer ranking as state churches, exercise great influence among the people from their wealth as corporate bodies. So is it with the Dutch Protestant Reformed Church, with some episcopalian incorporations, and such bodies as the Roman Catholic Jesuits and the Trappists. In their measure they can all affect local, and even more general movements, to which representative candidates cannot be indifferent.

It is an article in the creed of some Northern politicians that the Southern confederacy owes much of its powers and consolidation to the clergy and ladies of the South, because they so strongly sympathize in favour of slavery. The impression has led to searchings of heart among friends of the Northern Union and the abolition of slavery, that if the church were sound in principle on this subject the government would be strong. Albert Barnes, in the time when he more prominently agitated this subject than he has done lately, affirmed “that there was no power out of the church which could sustain slavery an hour, if it was not sustained in it.” There were frequent and animated discussions in the A. B. C. F. for missions in the Bible Society and Tract Society, owing to proslavery action or non-resistance. Other societies were organized to counteract their procedure. But the change which has pervaded all religious associations is so marked and favourable to emancipation, that it is fondly predicted the clergy and the ladies in the North will unite not only in supporting the Federal government, but also in washing out the disgrace of slavery from the national reputation, and in establishing the claims of the coloured classes to equal benefits from law and government, and the full enjoyment of all the advantages of the American constitution for men and citizens.

CHAPTER III.

ASPECTS OF THE QUESTION AND ELEMENTS OF POPULAR

INFLUENCE,

The extended influence of anti-slavery sentiment in the United States, in the year 1863, is a phenomenon which suggests further inquiry. Nations do not leap into revolutions, or become the theatre of great events, without preliminary and adequate influences. Causes, however latent, and processes of preparation, however unobserved, operate in the minds of the people. Thus has Italy become the arena for the march of freedom, and thus are the present struggles in Prussia and the hopeful though bloody strife in Poland schooling these nations for a higher position in Europe. The time of Austria or Russia is not yet. France had a tedious course, beginning with the Edict of Nantes, the events of its revocation, the butcheries of St. Bartholomew, the luxury, licentiousness, and despotism of the Grand Monarque, the hollow hypocrisies and fawning flatteries of the fifteenth Louis; the feeble, vacillating and gaudy extravagances of Louis the Sixteenth and his queen; while a corrupt priesthood and pretentious hierarchy left the people a prey to infidel philosophy and aspiring demagogues; until the revolutions, conventions, and exasperated victims of oppression overturned the altars and the throne, and opened the path for Napoleon, his code of laws, and imperial ascendancy. The seat of liberty has not yet been there established in righteousness; but there is progress. England passed through the times and tyranny of the

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