|Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:|
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
|The Prayer of Twenty Millions|
|By Horace Greeley (18111872)|
[From the Letter to President Lincoln, urging Emancipation. New-York Tribune, 19 August, 1862.]
ON the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union cause who does not feel that all attempts to put down the Rebellion, and at the same time uphold its inciting cause, are preposterous and futilethat the Rebellion, if crushed out to-morrow, would be renewed within a year if Slavery were left in full vigorthat army officers, who remain ta this day devoted to Slavery, can at best be but half-way loyal to the Unionand that every hour of deference to Slavery is an hour of added and deepened peril to the Union. I appeal to the testimony of your Ambassadors in Europe. It is freely at your service, not mine. Ask them to tell you candidly whether the seeming subserviency of your policy to the slaveholding, Slavery-upholding interest, is not the perplexity, the despair, of statesmen of all parties; and be admonished by the general answer!
| I close as I began, with the statements that what an immense majority of the loyal millions of your countrymen require of you is a frank, declared, unqualified, ungrudging execution of the laws of the land, more especially of the Confiscation Act. That act gives freedom to the slaves of Rebels coming within our lines, or whom those lines may at any time inclosewe ask you to render it due obedience by publicly requiring all your subordinates to recognize and obey it. The Rebels are everywhere using the late anti-negro riots in the Northas they have long used your officers treatment of negroes in the Southto convince the slaves that they have nothing to hope from a Union successthat we mean in that case to sell them into a bitter bondage to defray the cost of the war. Let them impress this as a truth on the great mass of their ignorant and credulous bondmen, and the Union will never be restorednever. We cannot conquer ten million of people united in solid phalanx against us, powerfully aided by Northern sympathizers and European allies. We must have scouts, guides, spies, cooks, teamsters, diggers, and choppers, from the Blacks of the Southwhether we allow them to fight for us or notor we shall be baffled and repelled. As one of the millions who would gladly have avoided this struggle at any sacrifice but that of principle and honor, but who now feel that the triumph of the Union is indispensable not only to the existence of our country, but to the well-being of mankind, I entreat you to render a hearty and unequivocal obedience to the law of the land.|