Title: Abraham Lincoln quarterly. [Vol. 6, no. 3]
Collection: Abraham Lincoln Association Serials
172 ABRAHAM LINCOLN QUARTERLY wrote the president urging colonization at Chiriqui, and pointing out that a contract with a private company would provide the easiest and quickest means of beginning such a project because no treaty or additional legislation of any kind would be necessary.33 On May 15, 1862, the Reverend James Mitchell of Indiana., later appointed Commissioner of Emigration, presented Lincoln with additional reasons why the Negroes should be colonized. Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people, he declared; as long as the Negroes continued to live with the whites they would constitute a threat to the national life. Family life might also collapse and the increase of "the mixed breed bastards," might some day challenge the supremacy of the white man. Mitchell recommended the gradual colonization of the Negroes in Central America and Mexico. That region had once known a great empire and could become one again. This continent could then be divided between a race of mixed bloods and the Anglo-American.34 The colonization issue was permitted to lapse until July when Lincoln, seeking to ease the pressure for outright emancipation, appealed to the border state congressmen to agree to a scheme of compensated emancipation. He pointed out that it offered a chance to sell slaves to the government and not run the risk of losing their full value later. In order to quiet the fear of too many freedmen in their midst, Lincoln again urged colonization as the solution. "Room in South America for colonization can be obtained cheaply, and in abundance; and when numbers shall be large enough to be company and encouragement for one another, the freed people will not be so reluctant to go." 35 13 Caleb B. Smith to Abraham Lincoln, May 16, 1862. Ibid., pp. 10- 11. "~James Mitchell to Abraham Lincoln, May 18, 1862. Lincoln Papers. Vol. 76, f. 16044. 35 Abraham Lincoln to Congress, July 12, 1862. Ibid.., Vol. 8o, f. 17004-17009.