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1865 May 20: The “Sound” Peace Platform of Richard H. Dana

May 23, 2015

This article comes from The Prescott Journal of May 20, 1865.  This also appeared in The Polk County Press of May 27, 1865.  In the Press, “subjoined” was spelled correctly.

A Sound Peace Platform.

A great deal is now said about the conditions of peace.  The whole country is studying the problem.  Of all that we have seen on that subject, however, nothing suits us as well as the sabjoined [sic] extract from a recent address of R. H. DANA, Jr.,¹ of Boston.  We commend it to an attentive perusal.  It is a sound peace platform.

The Republic must go on as of right.  It must not go on by the consent of any body politic.  It must not go on upon any terms.  No matter what the terms may be, they may be a peppercorn, or the top of a drum, if it can be plausibly contended hereafter that the Republic took the right to go on upon any terms, the Republic is dead.  No rebel legislature can be permitted to repeal its ordinance of secession.  It was a nullity, and must be treated as a nullity.  No legislature or convention can be permitted to deliberate upon bringing their state back into the Union.  It was never taken out of the Union.  No legislation is required—nor s the repeal of any legislation required to bring the state back.  It is in the Union, as of right.  Every part of its soil is in and of the Republic, and each of its citizens owes to the Republic an allegiance—a direct and permanent allegiance, from which no state can absolve him, and to which no state can restore him.

“The shedding of blood, we hope, we pray, is over ;  but we can hold the rebels and their territory in the grasp of war until the objects of the war are secured.  The safety of the Republic is the highest law.  We must hold them in the grasp of war until peace exists—a peace that can be trusted to.  When the civil law can run its course, when juries can be empannelled [sic] in every state, when courts can sit in every county without military  guards, when the laws of the Republic are paramount, in fact as well as in theory, over every foot of soil, and over men, then, and not until then, does peace exist.”

1.  Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882) was a lawyer and politician in Massachusetts. He is best known for writing the memoir Two Years Before the Mast. President Lincoln appointed him the United States District Attorney for Massachusetts. When the Civil War ended, he returned to private practice because he did not approve of President Johnson’s reconstruction policy.

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