THE BLAIR PROPOSAL TO PREVENT CIVIL WAR
It is the true mission of a superior and enlightened race to protect and establish with well-founded institutions the feebler races within the reach of its influence. The general welfare requires this, and renders it the exalted duty of powerful nations.
-- F. P. BLAIR, JR., 1859.
THE Blairs believed the nation would be drenched in blood if immediate abolition were attempted. They, with Lincoln, accepted in theory the doctrines of Seward and the abolitionists, only to the extent that the nation must become free through gradual and voluntary emancipation. True to his preaching, Frank began in 1858 to free his slaves. He first freed Henry Dupe and then in 1859 he went before the circuit court in St. Louis to set free Sarah Dupe, wife of Henry, and her three children--"in consideration of faithful services and for divers other good and sufficient reasons moving me thereto. . . . I do hereby grant Courtenay, Caroline, Sallie, and Sarah as perfect freedom as if they had been born free."1 Montgomery had refused to become a heavy slaveholder because slavery was opposed to his avowed principles of liberty. The elder Blair owned or controlled a number of slaves and laborers at Silver Spring, some of whom had drifted onto his estate where they were humanely treated.
To emancipate the negro did not solve the problem of what to do with him afterwards. Wise men were baffled with the question of what should be done with the free negro. A freedman was feared and despised by the masters, neglected by all classes, and subject to the vicissitudes of social inequalities. He was often a lazy, worthless subject given to vagabondage and inclined to tamper with slaves whom he sought to help escape to the North.____________________