A Glance at Our Future
February 14, 1865 — Cooper Institute, New York City
February 17, 1865 — Academy of Music, Philadelphia PA
April 14, 1865 — West’s Hall, Pittsfield MA
Oftentimes a battle lost is progress won. No clearer proof of this was needed than the present war. . .
Bull’s Run gave us a thrill — Ball’s Bluff a partial awakening.
At last this nation stands covered with wounds, but filled with the glory of a divine agony, for 4,000,000 of slaves are free.
The Emancipation Proclamation was well, but not enough — it did not reach far enough into the future. It was done more for the purpose of injuring the master than benefiting the slave. We have now gone a step beyond. At last this nation stands with white and anguished face and torn and wounded body, with the divine light of mercy transfiguring it. Millions of slaves made free — what a sight for the world! Do we think in this, our crowning hour of justice, of those who suffered and fell, who struggle din the past, of [Elijah] LOVEJOY and JOHN BROWN? Slavery decreed the death of innovators of freedom and right. Behold those dead men — above them the idea for which they died in process of fulfilment.
And although we struck a blow at slavery, yet there is no certainty that slavery is dead. As a fact slavery is dead, but as an idea it exists and will live and grow stronger until the rebellion, the animating spirit of it, and those who control it, are utterly destroyed. To do this we must have war, bitter and unrelenting, terrible war. We want confiscation, no amnesty for arch-traitors — no pardon for cut-throats and murderers.
The lives of many had been offered up with an understanding that they were fighting in behalf of liberty’s cause. Something more is needed than decreeing liberty to those in bondage. We must see that liberty is firmly established.
We want no peace conference — we want war; we want no amnesty for robbers, cut-throats, and thieves who deserved to be hung as soon as they crossed our lines.— we want absolute, unrelenting war, until the foe lies under our feet, when we will give him wise, generous terms of peace; terms good for the enemy, good for the world. We will give them just such terms of peace that GRANT gave PEMBERTON at Vicksburg — unconditional surrender.
The South has no more idea of giving up slavery than you have of becoming slaves. The South will never give up the institution so long as it can command a man to hold up a musket. In six months time we shall see two hundred thousand men armed by [Jefferson] DAVIS. Those who have nothing to lose run great risks; DAVIS has nothing to lose, and, therefore, he will take the risk.
[She thought that the only lasting peace could be secured by instituting a wholesale confiscation of the rebel lands, for bestowal upon the poor whites, the loyal, long-suffering blacks, and to be used as bounty lands for our soldiers.]
The South should, in this way, be compelled to pay her portion of the enormous debt we have accumulated in subjugation. The air is full of rumors of peace; but, except through military success, it is an illusion.
[She spoke of the injustice of proclaiming freedom of slaves and, at the same time, withholding from them the franchise; and heartily indorsed the doctrine of Gen. Sherman, that the black hand that drops the bayonet, at the conclusion of the war, shall be permitted to pick up the ballot. She considered that the blackness of the negro was in fact the only reason for denying him the right of suffrage. The ignorant and degraded Irish, who compose the rank and file of he disloyal party, were no more capable of exercising the right than the negroes, who must be permitted to vote in order to counteract the pernicious influence of the former class.
If we do not grant the right to the negro, we should destroy our own safety. If the Republican party did not do it, the Democratic party will in twenty years. [Negroes] are better qualified to vote than the Irish.
Patriotism and loyalty lift all men, whatever may be heir color, the the same heights, side by side. The white and the black have marched into the Southern land keeping step to the music of the Union, and side by side the should vote as they have fought.
After four years of war, agony, and suffering, this people would never consent that one portion, one State, or one square mile, should for one day, one hour, or one minute, be given over to those traitors to God and man.
If the South sues for peace, it will simply be that she may remarshal her forces, that she may strike a blow in times to come that the North cannot withstand. The attempt at peace, to-day, is but lifting up the dying body of slavery that it may strike us dead in the future. The South has resorted to the sword, and by the sword must it perish.
Today was not the time for peace nor amnesty. [She advocated the subjugation of the Southern leaders and the distribution of their lands among the whites, the soldiers and the blacks, who, she said, had the best right to them. She was also in favor of placing the ballot in the hands of the blacks to counterbalance the vote of the disloyal foreigners who yearly reach our shores from Ireland.
See to it that nothing is lost or dishonored at your hands. The past, present and future question us. The past, with warning and entreaty, beseeches us not to die of wrong-doing; the present is praying for the success of the good; and the future, with uplifted pen and untouched page asks whether our watchword is liberty for all and justice for evey man.
Source: Intelligencer Journal, February 16, 1865, p. 2.
Also: The Portland Daily Press, February 11, 1856, p. 3.
Also: The New York Times, February 15, 1865, p. 8.