Who was Turner anyway?

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Shall Missouri Be Included in the Proclamation!


October 1862

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, October 18, 1862.


The able argument of B. Gratz Brown in favor of the affirmative of this proposition, which we published on yesterday, and which ought to be read by every man in Missouri, presents the subject in such lucid terms as to obviate the necessity of any lengthy discussion. To sever that Gordian knot, in the separation of which the hands of so many politicians are now feebly engaged, he proposes to invoke the same agency which was so successfully employed by the hero of olden time—the sword.

There are certain facts bearing immediately upon this subject which cannot be disputed. We have war—-we have rebellion in Missouri. The proclamation is put forth as a war measure. It is designed to crush out rebellion. The principle of its application in Missouri would be the same as anywhere else. Whether it would be expedient to make the application here is the only question. That is a question upon which, we take it, the President would gladly hear an expression from the loyal people of Missouri. If petitions in favor of the extension of the proclamation to Missouri were circulated, and to any considerable extent signed by our citizens, we have no doubt whatever that the President would gladly give a favorable answer to their prayer.

And why should our people not be in favor of such a measure? Do we not all want this desolating war at an end? Would we not all rejoice at having this harrowing agitation of the slavery question concluded? How better can we accomplish these ends than by the removal of the cause of the war and the agitation? Shall we, in God’s name, prefer to have war and desolation and both social and political strife—all for the sake of the miserable fag-end of a crippled and decaying institution, inevitably doomed to speedy destruction? Are the few thousand negroes held in service in the State of Missouri worth more than the lives of our brave soldiers, now wasting upon the field for the sake of preserving the slave property of a few hundred owners, many of whom are traitors to the Government?

There is nothing extraordinary about this proposition. In issuing the proclamation, although seeing fit to exempt the border States from its immediate operation, the President evidently contemplated the possibility, if not the probability, of its subsequent application to them in whole or in part. Hence we find him using the expression “parts of States.” Hence we likewise find that while he states that the election of representatives to Congress shall be regarded as presumptive evidence of loyalty, it shall not be held to be conclusive, as it shall only be regarded as entitled to that effect in the absence of “strong countervailing testimony.” Now we submit, that while the election of a Congressman at all by the people of a district is prima facie a sign of loyalty, being a recognition of the authority of the Federal Government, if at the same time the election of a disloyal man to Congress should not be taken as stronger evidence of their disloyalty. For instance, should Judge Birch be elected, what more satisfactory evidence of their traitorous proclivities could the people of his district give? Could stronger “countervailing testimony” be asked? If it might not be held expedient to extend the proclamation to the whole State, (not that we wish to signify that such is our opinion) would it not at least by just to extend it to all “parts” of the State which may choose disloyal representatives?

By applying the proclamation to Missouri, no injustice need be done to any loyal slave owner. Congress, being in session on the first of January, could, and undoubtedly would, make ample provision for all such cases.