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They feel assured, as to yourself, that if the option remain with you, it is but a question of time and of form when and how a proclamation of emancipation will be issued.
Wisdom, prudence, forethought, these are essential. But not second to these that noble courage which adventures the right, and leaves the consequences to God.
In days when the public safety is imminently threatened, and the fate of a nation may hang upon a single act, we owe frank speech, above all other men, to him who is highest in authority. I shall speak to you as man to man.
We of the North have hitherto acquiesced in it, lest, in the endeavor to redress it in violation of the Constitution, greater evils might ensue.
The people are forbidden to give aid and comfort to rebels. What of a government that has the power to cut off from aid and comfort all the rebels of the South and fails to exercise it?
Can you look forward to the future of our country and imagine any state of things in which, with slavery still existing, we should be assured of permanent peace? I cannot.
Property in man, always morally unjust, has become nationally dangerous.
It is within your power at this very moment not only to consumate an act of enlightened statesmanship, but, as the instrument of the Almighty, to restore to freedom a race of men.
Forgive what may seem cut speech if I say that, in my judgment, a President with a just sense of duty has no option in such a case.
How few, since the foundation of the world, have found themselves in a position environed with public perils so numerous, oppressed with responsibilities so high and solemn, as yourself!
We may look through ancient and modern history, yet scarce find a sovereign to whom God offered the privilege of bestowing on humanity a boon so vast.
Property that endangers the safety of a nation should not be suffered to remain in the hands of its citizens.
Gradually, you can deprive him of these; and for every hundred thousand productive laborers he loses, you may have a hundred thousand soldiers.
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