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596      DOUGLASS' MONTHLY.      FEBRUARY, 186 

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tantamount to the nation's defeat, and would substitute in the future the bayonet for the ballot, and cannon balls for Congress, revolution and anarchy for government, and the pronunciamentoes of rebel chiefs for regulating enacted laws.

There is therefore no escape.  The only road to national honor, and permanent peace to us, is to meet, fight, dislodge, drive back, conquer and subdue the rebels.  When a man and woman are lawfully joined together for life, the only conditions upon which there can be anything like peace in the family, are that they shall either love or fear each other.  Now, during the last fifty years, the North has been endeavoring, by all sorts of services and kindnesses, to win and secure the affection of the South.  It has stepped sometimes a little beyond the requirements of true manly dignity to accomplish this, but all in vain.

We have bought Florida, waged war with friendly Seminoles, purchased Louisiana, annexed Texas, fought Mexico, trampled on the right of petition, abridged the freedom of debate, paid ten million to Texas upon a fraudulent claim, mobbed the Abolitionists, repealed the Missouri Compromise, winked at the accursed slave trade, helped to extend slavery, given slaveholders a larger share of all the offices and honors than we claimed for ourselves, paid their postage, supported the Government, persecuted free negros, refused to recognize Hayti and Liberia, stained our souls by repeated compromises, borne with Southern bluster, allowed our ships to be robbed of their hardy sailors, defeated a central road to the Pacific, and have descended to the meanness and degradation of negro dogs, and hunted down the panting slave escaping from his tyrant master——all to make the South love us; and yet how stands our relations?

At this hour there is everywhere at the South, nursed and cherished, the most deadly hate towards every man and woman of Northern birth.  We, here at the North, do not begin to understand the strength and bitter intensity of this slaveholding malice.  Mingled with it is a supercilious sense of superiority——a scornful contempt——the strutting pride of the turkey, with the cunning and poison of the rattlesnake.  I say again, we must meet them, defeat them, and conquer them.  Do I hear you say that this is more easily said than done?  I admit it.  Nevertheless, there is a way to do it, and to do it effectually.
I have not a very exalted idea of Southern courage, notwithstanding the successes attending their arms, thus far, during the rebellion.  Their domestic habits make them passionate and cruel, but not calm and brave.——They will readily fight when they have every advantage.  They can whip a negro with his hands tied, catch a Connecticut peddler a thousand miles from home, beat and ride him out of town on a rail——capture a hospital full of sick folks, or bombard, with ten thousand men, a starving garrison of seventy men.  I never got into a dispute with one of these Southern braves yet, but that he expressed the wish that he had me in the South, where, of course, he would have every advantage.

But how shall the rebellion be put down?  I will tell you; but before I do so, you must allow me to say that the plan thus far pursued does not correspond with my humble notion
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of fitness.  Thus far, it must be confessed, we have struck wide of the mark, and very feebly withal.  The temper of our steel has proved much better than the temper of our minds.  While I do not charge, as some have done, that the Government at Washington is conducting the war upon peace principles, it is very plain that the war is not being conducted on war principles.
We are fighting the rebels with only one hand, when we ought to be fighting them with both.  We are recruiting our troops in the towns and villages of the North, when we ought to be recruiting them on the plantations of the South.  We are striking the guilty rebels with our soft, white hand, when we should be striking with the iron hand of the black man, which we keep chained behind us.  We have been catching slaves, instead of arming them.  We have thus far repelled our natural friends to win the worthless and faithless friendship of our unnatural enemies.  We have been endeavoring to heal over the rotten cancer of slavery, instead of cutting out it's death-dealing roots and fibres.  We pay more attention to the advice of the half-rebel State of Kentucky, than to any suggestion coming from the loyal North.  We have shouldered all the burdens of slavery, and given the slaveholders and traitors all its benefits; and robbed our cause of half its dignity in the eyes of an on-looking world.

I say hear and now, that if this nation is destroyed——if the Government shall, after all, be broken to pieces, and degraded in the eyes of the world——if the Union shall be shattered into fragments, it will neither be for the want of men, nor of money, nor even physical courage, for we have all these in abundance; but it will be solely owing to the want of moral courage and wise statesmanship in dealing with slavery, the cause and motive of the rebellion.

Witness the treatment of Fremont's proclamation.  When that memorable document was given to the public, all truly loyal men felt that the Pathfinder of the Rocky Mountains had found the true path out of our national troubles.  His words were few and simple, but strong enough to vibrate the heart of a continent.  The weakness and imbecility of the letter of the President condemning that proclamation, have thus far characterized the whole war.  Slavery has been, and is yet the shield and helmet of this accursed rebellion; but for this, its brains would have been out long ago.  President, Government, and army, stand paralyzed in the presence of slavery.  They are determined only to save the Union so far as they can save slavery.——The President attests that he approved of the proclamation of Fremont generally, but disapproved of one feature of it.  What was the proclamntion generally?  Why this: the establishment of martial law in Missouri.——The President approved of that.  What was it specially?  Why, the confiscation and emancipation of all the slaves belonging to rebels.  The President was in favor of martial law, in favor of shooting rebels, but was not in favor of freeing their slaves.  In this brief letter to Fremont, we have the secret of all our misfortune in connection with rebellion.

I have been often asked since this war began, why I am not at the South battling for freedom.  My answer is with the Government.
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The Washington Government wants men for its army, but thus far, it has not had the boldness to recognize the manhood of the race to which I belong.  It only sees in the slave an article of commerce——a contraband.  I do not wish to say aught against our Government, for good or bad; it is all we have to save us from anarchy and ruin; but I owe it to my race, in view of the cruel aspersions cast upon it, to affirm that, in denying them the privileges to fight for their country, they have been most deeply and grievously wronged.  Neither in the Revolution, nor in the last war did any such narrow and contemptible policy obtain.  It shows the deep degeneracy of our times——the height from which we have fallen——that, while Washington, in 1776, and Jackson, in 1814, could fight side by side with negroes, now, not even the best of our generals are willing so to fight.  Is McClellan better than Washington?  Is Halleck better than Jackson?

One situation only has been offered me, and that is the office of a body servant to a Colonel.  I would not despise even that, if I could by accepting it be of service to my enslaved fellow-countrymen.  In the temple of impartial liberty there is no seat too low for me.  But one thing I have a right to ask when I am required to endure the hardships and brave the dangers of the battle field.  I ask that I shall have either a country, or the hope of a country under me——a Government, or the hope of a Government around me, and a flag of impartial liberty floating over me.

We have recently had a solemn fast, and have offered up innumerable prayers for the deliverance of the nation from its manifold perils and calamities.  I say nothing against these prayers.  Their subjective power is indispensable; but I know also, that the work of making, and the work of answering them, must be performed by the same hands.  If the loyal North shall succeed in suppressing this foul and scandalous rebellion, that achievement will be due to the amount of wisdom and force they bring against the rebels in arms.

Thus far we have shown no lack of force.  A call for men is answered by half a million.  A call for money brings down a hundred million.  A call for prayers brings a nation to its altars.  But still the rebellion rages.——Washington is menaced.  The Potomac is blockaded.  Jeff. Davis is still proud and defiant, and the rebels are looking forward hopefully to a recognition of their independence, the breaking of the blockade, and their final severance from the North.

Now, what is the remedy for all this?  The answer is ready.  Have done at once and forever with the wild and guilty phantasy that any one man can have a right of property in the body and soul of another man.  Have done with the now exploded idea that the old Union, which has hobbled along through seventy years upon the crutches of compromise, is either desirable or possible, now, or in the future.  Accept the incontestible truth of the "irrepressible conflict."  It was spoken when temptations to compromise were less strong than now.  Banish from your political dreams the last lingering adumbration that this great American nation can ever rest firmly and securely upon a mixed basis, part of iron, part of clay, part free, and part slave.
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