Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
Happy Results from a Policy of Justice
By John Jay (18171894)
[Born in New York, N. Y., 1817. Died, 1894. Address to the Union League Club of New York, 23 June, 1866.]
WHEN after many weary months, and a sad waste of life and treasure in a vain attempt to escape the issue, our cautious but honest President yielded at last to the absolute necessity of the case and the peremptory demand of the people, and boldly struck at slavery, the European world recognized the truth which should have been told to them from the start, that as the Rebellion was the work of slavery, the war waged for the Constitution and the Union, to be waged successfully, must become a war for freedom.
The Proclamation of Emancipation, as our ministers abroad promptly assured us, instantly opened the eyes and touched the liberal heart of Europe. Its people saw that we were fighting their battlesthe battle of human rights against the usurpations of a class aristocracy, and from that hour no Government of Europe, however hostile to us, nor any number of such Governments combined, would have dared to brave the moral sentiment of their own people and of the Christian world by intervening in furtherance of a war for slavery. We learned too late that in denying the simple fact that slavery was the cause and object of the Rebellion, and in presumptuously announcing that slavery should continue just the same whether we succeeded or failed, we had played into the hands of our enemies at home, and had enabled our foreign foes to heap upon us insult and wrong and to prolong and intensify the struggle.
With the adoption of the policy of justice forced upon the Government by the people, the God of Justice smiled upon our cause, the slaves rallied in defence of their countrys flag, and that flag advanced by land and sea, until was accomplished a triumph such as the world had never seen before, and at which it has not yet ceased to wonder.
To that triumph, signally postponed until we had inaugurated emancipation as a matter of military necessity, and at the same time of humanity and of right, may be applied with equal truth the solemn reminder of Madison at the close of the war of our Revolution, embodied in the address of the Continental Congress: Let it ever be remembered that the rights for which we have contended were the rights of human nature.