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London Times
Editorial re: Emancipation Proclamation

 London Times Newspaper Top

Even in the crisis of the war, the most important part of the last intelligence refers to a political, not military movement. President Lincoln has separated himself from the moderate Republicans, and fully accepted the extreme policy of the violent zealots the party includes without combining with them. He has played his last card. He has declared by a proclamation that in all the States London Times Headlinethat shall not have returned to the Union on the 1st of January the slaves shall after that date be free. It is a political concession to the Abolitionists "wing" of the Republican Party. When the Union existed, its Constitution gave no right; emancipation was a "thunderbolt placed in the hands" of Mr. Lincoln with which to destroy the South and all its social organization at a blow. He has accepted the assumed right, and launched the thunderbolt. But he is without the power to enforce the decree. The North must conquer every square mile of the proclamation more than waste paper. The policy that has dictated the proclamation is very doubtful. Nothing was needed to reopen the hatred of the South, but if anything could determine it to continue the war to the last extremity it is this decree. The Democrats already denounce it as unconstitutional; the moderate Republicans condemn it as a measure that can have no practical result. It will have no effect on the South, which has long acted as against an Abolitionist Government of the North, and anticipated all it can do by any kind of legislation. In the North itself it is likely to be only another element of confusion.

By the Abolitionists, however, it is held to be a short and easy mode of compelling a peace(?). For the first time, both London Times Articlesides give utterance to the word, though the tone in which they pronounce it differs considerably. In the Southern Congress a resolution has been or is to be proposed, to the effect that the success of the Confederate arms justifies the Government in "sending commissioners to Washington to propose the terms of a just and honourable peace." This, at least, contemplates an end to the struggle, by a settlement the terms of which are to be discussed during a suspension of hostilities. As the South shows no inability to continue the war, the offer is reasonable and temperate. The statesman should stand behind the soldier, or the war itself is a miserable and purposeless blunder. The Northern Government also contemplates peace, but in a singular most manner. Exactly when its military and political powers are most broken it threatens. It continues to refuse all recognition of existing facts, and clings to constitutional and legal notions. It insists that the storm of the war has swept away nothing, and offers, on certain conditions, to ignore the war itself. In about "ninty days" hence, or on the 1st of January, any State returning representative, as heretofore, to the Federal Congress shall, "in the absence of strong countervailing testimony," be considered as not having revolted at all. The election return shall be "deemed conclusive evidence" that the State never (undecipherable word), or fought to the death in that condition! There is strong countervailing testimony in the bloody-fields of Virginia, in the many thousands of Northern men who lie buried there, and the enormous debt the war has created. No legal (?)etion can make such testimony as this of no effect. There is something ludicrous in such a proclamation, solemnly made by the Federal Government when its own capital is almost beleaguered. Immense armies did not fight in their sleep, nor sis the tens of thousands perish in a dream, that the terrible conflict can be so easily forgotten.

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