A Unionist Marylander voices his thoughts on slavery as the “ultimate cause” of the “strife”

Posted on April 19, 2010 by


… and this same Marylander believed that removing any discussion of emancipation was probably a good idea. Read the following from the January 8, 1862 edition of the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torchlight:

Our Union, vs. The Slavery Question

MESSRS, EDITORS: – In this degenerate age, when rebellion stalks forth as a thief in the night, and threatens to pilfer from us the many blessings enjoyed by us under a republican form of Government, the noblest which the sun ever shone upon, are we not impelled by a sense of justice as well as indignation to look after those representing us in the National Legislature, many of whom are boldly and defiantly endeavoring to throw an additional fire-brand among us, thereby aiming to sow, still deeper the disruption now existing. We refer, Messrs Editors, to the entirely useless agitation of the slavery question, which it is presumed, (being made the pretext) has been the ultimate cause of the internecine strife now raging between the North and South at the present time.

Why the tone of the press upon this important topic has not been different, (in its condemnation) we cannot conjecture, and more especially in the Border Slave States, when we must at once perceive that the passage of any obnoxious measure deleterious to the institution, which has heretofore existed without molestation, would be deleterious to the cause of the Union, and cause many who have hitherto been loyal, to turn against that to which they have been voluntarily faithful? The abolitionists who are now so strenuously advocating these hellish measures urge that by seizing and emancipating the slaves of the rebel owners, we would most effectively crush the rebellion, thereby impoverishing the unconditionally loyal Union man, who is afraid openly to avow his sentiments, (abolitionists indiscriminating) as well as the rebellious subject, and thereby, rendering as their extreme measures indicate, a free state of a slave state – they knowing full well of the many, and thus fully accomplishing the purpose with which they started into this crusade, – the abolition of slavery.

When the position now occupied was taken, and still adhered to by the present Administration, it was with the idea to preserve the integrity of our Government, and preserve it unimpaired, by bringing into submission the States which so basely revolted against it, and that without any interference with the peculiar institutions heretofore existing. This is as it should be, and more especially at the present time, it seems utterly preposterous as well as impolite for these vile demagogues to be agititating a subject, which, like an overcharged gun, recoils and kicks its owner over – by weakening our forces and strengthening the Rebels. This latter fact was very recently made the subject of remark by a member of Congress, in refernce to that obnoxious proposition, the emancipation question, in the folloiwing significant language: “Our army would melt away as the snow before the rays of the sun,” thereby very plainly foreshadowing the evil effects which the passage of such obnoxious measures must entrail upoin us.

If these fanatical negro-worshippers would plan available schemes ardently for the perpetuation of the Union, as they do for the liberation of the slave, our present alienation might be brought to a speedy termination.