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Walt Whitman at the Lilly

Emancipation Proclamation

This miniature edition belonged to, and was inscribed by, “James Buck, Esq., from Falmouth Va, Janry 4/1863.”  No one with that or a similar name served in the “11 Corps Army of the Potomac 33rd Mass Vols.,” so it is likely that Mr. Buck received the booklet from a member of the Army of the Potomac.   On the back cover, a quotation from Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the “so-called Confederate States,” encapsulates one of the reasons for the war:  “This stone (slavery), which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief stone of the corner in our new edifice.”

Emancipation title

The Proclamation of Emancipation, by the President of the United States, To take Effect January 1st, 1863. Miniature edition, paper wrapper. 

We do not know what Mr. Buck thought of the President’s proclamation.  Whitman’s brother George, for one, was unimpressed:  before he can free the blacks, he cautioned, Lincoln first needs “to lick the South” (Kaplan 271).