May 28, 1868
The ex-Confederates will be granted amnesty if they vote for the Radical ticket.
Amnesty indeed! The late vulgar and deceitful Chicago Convention adopted a resolution recommending "the removal of the disqualifications and restrictions imposed upon the late rebels in the same measure as their spirit of loyalty will direct, and as may be consistent with the safety of the loyal people." What does this mean? Simply that the disabilities shall be removed from all those "rebels" who shall turn Radical and vote the Radical ticket! This is the sort of " loyalty " these Chicago partisans mean - this the test of "safety" of the loyal people which they propose to exact! It is a proffered bargain and sale, by which a man shall sell his soul as well as his body - by which he shall sell himself to the devil for the merest temporary gratification. And yet the New York Times (Radical) considers this the best feature in the platform of the Radicals! What a detestable thing it is when an unblushing proposal to men to dishonor themselves for a consideration is its most commendable provision How base-born and base-bred must be the southern man who could buy relief from Radical tyranny by self-degradation; and how infamous in history will be the reputation of a party which essays to continue its domination by trading upon the sufferings and disabilities of a helpless people - endeavoring to take advantage of the situation of those oppressed people by proffering votes and office as compensation for selfdegradation ! This proposition of a bestial party should receive for answer from tle whole South the words of the venerable Witcher : " The Radicals may take my pro- " perty, they may kill me and cut me in " pieces, but they never can degrade me. The man who buye a vote and an office by turning Radical is a double-dyed traitor. He ie a traitor to his country and his Creator. He goes over to a party which is disloyal to the Constitution, to the best interests of the nation, and to humanity. To oppose that party is to be loyal to the country and to the solemn obligations to the Supreme Being. Some persons of facile dispositions and accommodating logic may argue with themselves that to accept the proffered bribe will be the best way of conquering the Radicals; but the man who acts upon such an idea takes a leap into that deep-down gulf of prostitution and dishonor from which resurrection is the forlornest of hopes. The insertion of this plank in the Radical platform is an evidence of weakness and desperation. It is found necessary to buy up southern whites. It is discovered that the Radical party in the South is too exclusively black - that such black exclusiveness is damaging to the Radical cause at the North - in the view of a prominent Radical Congressman, that if more whites are no induced to join the Radicals, and herd with the negroes, a war of races is unavoidable. Potent reasons for the attempt to corrupt and debase the whites ! But they are at the same time equally potent as reasons why the whites should not yield their high and honorable position of loyalty to the Constitution, to civilization, and to the welfare and peace of the whole nation. With Radical reconstruction there can be no peace - no prosperity - no restoration of harmony - no restoration of industry - no restoration of good government and public order and dignity. To acquiesce in it is to be faithless to all we hold dear on earthto be treacherous to every duty to God and our country.
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“Amnesty Indeed!,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1048.