It is within your power at this very moment not only to consumate an act of enlightened statesmanship, but, as the instrument of the Almighty, to restore to freedom a race of men.
In days when the public safety is imminently threatened, and the fate of a nation may hang upon a single act, we owe frank speech, above all other men, to him who is highest in authority. I shall speak to you as man to man.
It has always been a great wrong that these men and their families should be held in bondage.
Men acquiesce in a thousand things, once righteously and boldly done, to which, if proposed to them in advance, they might find endless objections.
Men ever follow willingly a daring leader: most willingly of all, in great emergencies.
The dangers which threaten us are twofold: First, from the Confederate forces, composed of men whose earnest convictions and reckless bravery it is idle to deny.