Stone Collection: Volume 6 - Item 18
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18. Henry Martyn Dexter, What Ought to Be Done with the Freedmen and the Rebels? A Sermon Preached in the Berkeley-Street Church, Boston, on Sunday, April 23, 1865 (Boston: Nichols & Noyes, 1865). (36 p.)
Answers to the two questions posed in the title. In regard to the first, “the freedmen should be recognized as men, should be treated as men, and should be aided to take care of themselves as men.” This assertion is accompanied by five specific recommendations, such as “We ought to aid in their education to become intelligent citizens,” and “The freedmen ought to be allowed and encouraged, so soon as his education shall be sufficient, to become a full, voting citizen, without any statutory disability, with the rest of us.” In regard to the second question, the pastor states that “I would try, and condemn to be hung for treason, every rebel who was registered as colonel, or as of higher rank, in the Confederate army, or was of corresponding prominence in the civil service. I would hang a selection of a very few of the guiltiest, as an offering to the violated law and our murdered brothers, and a warning to the world and all of the future, and then I would let the rest go,--under the sentence, with the rope around their necks. I would let them go as Cain went; I would let them go, with the clearest understanding that if they ever touch with their accursed feet this soil of ours again,--without some act of individual amnesty, earned for some far future day by years of penitence and reformation,--that postponed halter shall swing them still!” (italics in original).