صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

to the wants and enjoyments of physical life, they have tions, which demand all and more than all the labor done so by the help of means with which they were which our country can supply. Are these regions of furnished by the Grecian mind-the mother of civiliza- fertility to be abandoned at once and forever to the tion—and only pursued a little further the track which alligator and tortoise—with here and there perhaps a that had already pointed out. In the development of miserable, shivering, crouching free black savage ? intellectual power, they will hardly bear comparison. Does not the finger of heaven itself seem to point to a Those noble republics in the pride of their strength and race of men—not to be enslaved by us but already engreatness, may have anticipated for themselves—as slaved, and who will be in every way benefitted by the some of their poets did for them—an everlasting duration change of masters--to whom such climate is not unconand predominance. But they could not have antici- genial, who though disposed to indolence are yet patient pated, that when they had fallen under barbarous arms, and capable of labor; on whose whole features, mind that when arts and civilization were lost, and the whole and character, nature has indelibly written-slavc;earth involved in darkness—the first light should break and indicate that we should avail ourselves of these in from their tombs—that in a renewed world, unconnect- fulfilling the first great command to subdue and replened with them by ties of locality, language or descent, ish the earth ? they should still be held the models of all that is profound

It is true that this labor will be dearer than that of in science, or elegant in literature, -all that is great in northern countries, where under the name of freedom, character, or elevated in imagination. And perhaps they obtain cheaper and perhaps better slaves. Yet when England herself, who now leads the war with it is the best we can have, and this too has its compenwhich we are on all sides threatened, shall have fulfil-sation. We see it compensated at present by the supeled her mission, and like the other glorious things of the rior value of our agricultural products. And this suearth, shall have passed away; when she shall have perior value they must probably always have. The diffused her noble race and noble language, her laws, southern climate admits of a greater variety of producher literature and her civilization, over all quarters of the tions. Whatever is produced in northern climates, the earth, and shall perhaps be overrun by some northern same thing, or something equivalent, may be produced horde-sunk into an ignoble and anarchical democra- in the southern. But the northern have no equivalent cy,* or subdued to the dominion of some Cæsar,- for the products of southern climates. The consedemagogue and despot,—then, in southern regions, quence will be, that the products of southern regions there may be found many republics, triumphing in will be demanded all over the civilized world. The Grecian arts and civilization, and worthy of British agricultural products of northern regions are chiefly for descent and Roman institutions.

their own consumption. They must therefore apply If after a time, when the mind and almost the memo- themselves to the manufacturing of articles of luxury, ry of the republic were lost, Romans degenerated, they elegance, convenience or necessity,--which requires furnish conclusive evidence that this was owing not to cheap labor--for the purpose of exchanging them with their domestic, but to their political slavery. The their southern neighbors. Thus nature herself indicates same thing is observed over all the eastern monarchies; that agriculture should be the predominating employand so it must be, wherever property is insecure; and ment in southern countries, and manufactures in northit is dangerous for a man to raise himself to such emi- ern. Commerce is necessary to both—but less indispennence, by intellectual or moral excellence, as would sable to the southern, which produce within themselves give him influence over his society. So it is in Egypt, a greater variety of things desirable to life. They will and the other regions bordering the Mediterranean, therefore have somewhat less of the commercial spirit. which once comprehended the civilization of the world; We must avail ourselves of such labor as we can comwhere Carthage, Tyre and Phænecia flourished. In mand. The slave must labor and is inured to it; while short, the uncontradicted experience of the world is

, the necessity of energy in his government, of watchfulthat in southern States where good government and ness, and of preparation and power to suppress insurpredial and domestic slavery are found, there are pros-rection, added to the moral force derived from the habit perity and greatness ; where either of these conditions of command, may help to prevent the degeneracy of is wanting, degeneracy and barbarism. The former the master. however is equally essential in all climates and under The task of keeping down insurrection is commonly all institutions. And can we suppose it to be the supposed, by those who are strangers to our institutions, design of the Creator, that these regions, constituting to be a very formidable one. Even among ourselves

, half of the earth's surface, and the more fertile half, and accustomed as we have been to take our opinions on more capable of sustaining life, should be abandoned this as on every other subject, ready formed from those forever to depopulation and barbarism ? Certain it is whom we regarded as instructors, in the teeth of our that they will never be reclaimed by the labor of free- own observation and experience ; fears have been enmen. In our own country, look at the lower valley of tertained which are absolutely ludicrous. We have the Mississippi, which is capable of being made a far been supposed to be nightly reposing over a mine, greater Egypt. In our own State, there are extensive which may at any instant explode to our destruction. tracts of the most fertile soil, which are capable of be- The first thought of a foreigner sojourning in one of ing made to swarm with life. These are at present our cities, who is awakened by any nightly alarm, is of pestilential swamps, and valueless, because there is servile insurrection and massacre. Yet if any thing is abundance of other fertile soil in more favorable situa- certain in human affairs, it is certain and from the most *I do not use the word democracy in the Athenian sense,

obvious considerations, that we are more secure in this to describe the government in which the slave and his master respect than any civilized and fully peopled society have an equal voice in publie affairs.

upon the face of the earth. In every such society,


there is a much larger proportion than with us, of per-| especially when unfavorably distinguished by outward sons who have more to gain than to lose by the over- circumstances, is not ready to give credit when he is throw of government, and the embroiling of social told that he is the victim of injustice and oppression ? order. It is in such a state of things that those who In effect, if not in terms, they have been continually were before at the bottom of society, rise to the surface. exhorted to insurrection. The master has been painted From causes already considered, they are peculiarly a criminal, tyrant and robber, justly obnoxious to the apt to consider their sufferings the result of injustice vengeance of God and man, and they have been as. and misgovernment, and to be rancorous and embittered sured of the countenance and sympathy, if not of the accordingly. They have every excitement therefore of active assistance of all the rest of the world. We ourresentful passion, and every templation which the hope selves have in some measure pleaded guilty to the imof increased opulence, or power or consideration can peachment. It is not long since a great majority of hold out, to urge them to innovation and revolt. Sup- our free population, servile to the opinions of those posing the same disposition to exist in equal degree whose opinions they had been accustomed to follow, among our slaves, what are their comparative means or would have admitted slavery to be a great evil, unjust prospect of gratifying it? The poor of other countries and indefensible in principle, and only to be vindicated are called free. They have, at least, no one interested by the stern necessity which was imposed upon us. to exercise a daily and nightly superintendence and Thus stimulated by every motive and passion which control over their conduct and actions. Emissaries of ordinarily actuate human beings-not as to a criminal their clo may traverse, unchecked, every portion of enterprise, but as to something generous and heroicthe country, for the purpose of organizing insurrection. what has been the result? A few imbecile and uncomFrom their greater intelligence, they have greater means bined plots-in every instance detected before they of communicating with each other. They may procure broke out into action, and which perhaps if undetected and secrete arms. It is not alone the ignorant, or those would never have broken into action. One or two who are commonly called the poor, that will be tempted sudden, unpremeditated attempts, frantic in their chato revolution. There will be many disappointed men, racter, if not prompted by actual insanity, and these and men of desperate fortune-men perhaps of talent and instantly crushed. As it is, we are not less assured of daring—to combine with them and direct their energies. safety, order and internal peace, than any other people; Even those in the higher ranks of society, who contem- and but for the pertinacious and fanatical agitation of plate no such result, will contribute to it, by declaiming the subject, would be much more so. on their hardships and rights.

This experience of security, however, should admoWith us, it is almost physically impossible, that there nish us of the folly and wickedness of those who have should be any very extensive combination among the sometimes taken upon themselves to supersede the reslaves. It is absolutely impossible that they should gular course of law, and by rash and violent acts to procure and conceal efficient arms. Their emissaries punish supposed disturbers of the peace of society. traversing the country, would carry their commission This can admit of no justification or palliation whaton their foreheads. If we suppose among them an in- ever. Burke I think somewhere remarks something to dividual of sufficient talent and energy to qualify him this effect,--that when society is in the last stage of for a revolutionary leader, he could not be so exten- depravity-when all parties are alike corrupt, and alike sively known as to command the confidence, which wicked and unjustifiable in their measures and objects, would be necessary to enable him to combine and di- a good man may content himself with standing neuter, rect them. Of the class of freemen, there would be a sad and disheartened spectator of the conflict between no individual so poor or degraded (with the exception the rival vices. But are we in this wretched condition? perhaps of here and there a reckless and desperate It is fearful to see with what avidity the worst and most outlaw and felon) who would not have much to lose by dangerous characters of society seize on the occasion of the success of such an attempt; every one therefore obtaining the countenance of better men, for the puro would be vigilant and active to detect and suppress it. pose of throwing off the restraints of the law. It is Of all impossible things, one of the most impossible always these who are most zealous and forward in would be a successful insurrection of our slaves, ori- constituting themselves the protectors of the public ginating with themselves.

peace. To such men-men without reputation or prinAttempts at insurrection have indeed been made-ciple, or stake in society-disorder is the natural ele, excited, as we believe, by the agitation of the aboli- ment

. In that, desperate fortunes and the want of all tionists and declaimers on slavery ; but these have been moral principle and moral feeling constitute power. in every instance promptly suppressed. We fear not They are eager to avenge themselves upon society. to compare the riots, disorder, revolt and bloodshed Anarchy is not so much the absence of government as which have been committed in our own, with those of the government of the worst--not aristocracy but any other civilized communities, during the same lapse kakistocracy—a state of things, which to the honor of of time. And let it be observed under what extraordi- our nature, has seldom obtained amongst men, and nary circumstances our peace has been preserved. For which perhaps was only fully exemplified during the the last half century, one half of our population has worst times of the French revolution, when that horrid been admonished in terms the most calculated to mad- hell burnt with its most lurid Aame. In such a state of den and excite, that they are the victims of the most things, to be accused is to be condemned to protect grinding and cruel injustice and oppression. We know the innocent is to be guilty; and what perhaps is the that these exhortations continually reach them, through worst effect, even men of better nature, to whom their a thousand channels which we cannot detect, as if own deeds are abhorrent, are goaded by terror to be carried by the birds of the air-and what human being, I forward and emulous in deeds of guilt and violenca.

The scenes of lawless violence which have been acted intelligence, and trained by an effective, though honor. in some portions of our country, rare and restricted as able discipline, such an army will be more than a match they have been, have done more to tarnish its reputation for mercenaries? The efficiency of an army is deterthan a thousand libels. They have done more to dis- mined by the qualities of its officers, and may we not credit, and if any thing could, to endanger, not only expect to have a greater proportion of men better qualiour domestic, but our republican institutions, than the fied for officers, and possessing the true spirit of military abolitionists themselves. Men can never be perma-command? And let it be recollected that if there were nently and effectually disgraced but by themselves, otherwise reason to apprehend danger from insurrection, and rarely endangered but by their own injudicious there will be the greatest security when there is the conduct, giving advantage to the enemy. Better, far largest force on foot within the country. Then it is better, would it be to encounter the dangers with which that any such attempt would be most instantly and we are supposed to be threatened, than to employ such effectually crushed. means for averting them. But the truth is, that in re- And perhaps a wise foresight should induce our lation to this matter, so far as respects actual insurrec State to provide, that it should have within itself such tion, when alarm is once excited, danger is absolutely military knowledge and skill as may be sufficient to at an end. Society can then employ legitimate and organize, discipline and command armies, by establishmore effectual measures for its own protection. The ing a military academy or school of discipline. The very commission of such deeds, is proof that they are school of the militia will not do for this. From the geunnecessary. Let those who attempt them then, or neral opinion of our weakness, if our country should at make any demonstration towards them, understand any time come into hostile collision, we shall be selected that they will meet only the discountenance and abhor. for the point of attack; making us, according to Mr. rence of all good men, and the just punishment of the Adams' anticipation, the Flanders of the United States. laws they have dared to outrage.

Come from what quarter it may, the storm will fall upon It has commonly been supposed, that this institution us. It is known that lately when there was apprehenwill prove a source of weakness in relation to military sion of hostility with France, the scheme was instantly defence against a foreign enemy. I will venture to devised of invading the southern States and organizing say that in a slave holding community, a larger military insurrection. In a popular English periodical work, I force may be maintained permanently in the field, than have seen the plan suggested by an officer of high rank in any State where there are not slaves. It is plain and reputation in the British army, of invading the that almost the whole of the able bodied free male southern States at various points and operating by the population, making half of the entire able bodied same means. He is said to be a gallant officer, and male population, may be maintained in the field, and certainly had no conception that he was devising atrothis without taking in any material degree from the cious crime, as alien to the true spirit of civilized warlabor and resources of the country. In general the fare, as the poisoning of streams and fountains. But the labor of our country is performed by slaves. In other folly of such schemes is no less evident than their wickcountries, it is their laborers that form the material of edness. Apart from the consideration of that which their armies. What proportion of these can be taken experience has most fully proved to be true—that in away without fatally crippling their industry and re- general their attachment and fidelity to their masters sources ? In the war of the revolution, though the is not to be shaken, and that from sympathy with the strength of our State was wasted and paralyzed by the feelings of those by whom they are surrounded, and unfortunate divisions which existed among ourselves, from whom they derive their impressions, they contract yet it may be said with general truth, that every citizen no less terror and aversion towards an invading enemy; was in the field and acquired much of the qualities of it is manifest that this resource would be an hundred fold the soldier.

more available to us than to such an enemy. They are It is true that this advantage will be attended with already in our possession, and we might at will arm and its compensating evils and disadvantages; to which we organize them in any number that we might think proper. must learn to submit, if we are determined on the main- The Helots were a regular constituent part of the Spartan tenance of our institutions. We are, as yet, hardly at armies. Thoroughly acquainted with their characters all aware how little the maxims and practices of modern and accustomed to command them, we might use any civilized governments will apply to us. Standing ar- strictness of discipline which would be necessary to renmies, as they are elsewhere constituted, we cannot der them effective, and from their habits of subordination have; for we have not, and for generations cannot have, already formed, this would be a task of less difficulty. the materials out of which they are to be formed. if Though morally most timid, they are by no means we should be involved in serious wars, I have no doubt wanting in physical strength of nerve. They are exbut that some sort of conscription, requiring the services citable by praise; and, directed by those in whom they of all citizens for a considerable term, will be necessary. have confidence, would rush fearlessly and unquestionLike the people of Athens, it will be necessary that ing upon any sort of danger. With white officers and every citizen should be a soldier, and qualified to dis- accompanied by a strong white cavalry, there are no charge efficiently the duties of a soldier. It may seem troops in the world from whom there would be so little a melancholy consideration, that an army so made up reason to apprehend insubordination or mutiny. should be opposed to the disciplined mercenaries of This I admit might be a dangerous resource, and one foreign nations. But we learn know our true not to be resorted to but in great extremity. But I am situation. But may we not hope, that made up of su- supposing the case of our being driven to extremity. It perior materials, of men having home and country to might be dangerous to disband such an army, and redefend ; inspired by higher pride of character, of greater duce them with the habits of soldiers, to their former condition of laborers. It might be found necessary, ously true, that he has the means of obtaining those when once embodied to keep them so, and subject to advantages; but I say nothing to palliate or excuse the military discipline-a permanent standing army. This conduct of him, who having such means neglects to in time of peace would be expensive, if not dangerous. avail himself of them. Or if at any time we should be engaged in hostilities I believe it to be true, that in consequence of our diswith our neighbors, and it were thought advisable to persion, though individual wealth is acquired, the face send such an army abroad to conquer settlements for of the country is less adorned and improved by useful themselves, the invaded regions might have occasion to and ornamental public works, than in other societies of think that the scourge of God was again let loose to more condensed population, where there is less wealth. afflict the earth.

But this is an effect of that, which constitutes perhaps President Dew has very fully shown how utterly our most conspicuous advantage. Where population vain are the fears of those, who though there may be no is condensed, they must have the evils of condensed danger for the present, yet apprehend great danger for population, and among these is the difficulty of finding the future, when the number of slaves shall be greatly profitable employment for capital. He who has accuincreased. He has shown that the larger and more mulated even an inconsiderable sum, is often puzzled to condensed the society becomes, the easier it will be to know what use to make of it. Ingenuity is therefore maintain subordination, supposing the relative numbers tasked to cast about for every enterprise which may alof the different classes to remain the same—or even if ford a chance of profitable investment. Works useful there should be a very disproportionate increase of the and ornamental to the country, are thus undertaken enslaved class. Of all vain things, the vainest and that and accomplished, and though the proprietors may fail in which man most shows his impotence and folly, is of profit, the community no less receives the benefit. the taking upon himself to provide for a very distant Among us, there is no such difficulty. A safe and future--at all events by any material sacrifice of the profitable method of investment is offered to every one present. Though experience has shown that revolu- who has capital to dispose of, which is further recomtions and political movements—unless when they have mended to his feelings by the sense of independence been conducted with the most guarded caution and mo- and the comparative leisure, which the employment af. deration-have generally terminated in results just the fords to the proprietor engaged in it. It is for this reaopposite of what was expected from them: the angry son that few of our citizens engage in the pursuits of ape will still play his fantastic tricks, and put in motion commerce. Though these may be more profitable

, they machinery, the action of which he no more compre- are also more hazardous and more laborious. hends or foresees than he comprehends the mysteries of When the demand for agricultural labor shall be fully infinity. The insect that is borne upon the current, supplied, then of course the labor of slaves will be diwill fancy that he directs its course. Besides the fear rected to other employments and enterprises. Already of insurrection and servile war, there is also alarm lest it begins to be found that in some instances it may be when their numbers shall be greatly increased, their used as profitably in works of public improvement

. labor will become utterly unprofitable, so that it will be As it becomes cheaper and cheaper, it will be applied equally difficult for the master to retain and support to more various purposes and combined in larger masses. them, or to get rid of them. But at what age of the It may be commanded and combined with more facility world is this likely to happen? At present, it may be than any other sort of labor ; and the laborer, kept in said that almost the whole of the southern portion of stricter subordination, will be less dangerous to the sethis continent is to be subdued to cultivation; and in curity of society than in any other country, which is the order of Providence, this is the task allotted to them. crowded and overstocked with a class of what are called For this purpose, more labor will be required for gene- free laborers. Let it be remembered that all the great rations to come than they will be able to supply. When and enduring monuments of human art and industhat task is accomplished, there will be many objects to try the wonders of Egypt-the everlasting works of which their labor may be directed.

Rome-were created by the labor of slaves. There At present they are employed in accumulating indi- will come a stage in our progress when we shall have vidual wealth, and this in one way, to wit, as agricul- facilities for executing works as great as any of these tural laborers—and this is perhaps the most useful pur- more useful than the pyramids—not less magnificent pose to which their labor can be applied. The effect than the sea of Meveris. What the end of all is to be ; of slavery has not been to counteract the tendency to what mutations lie hid in the womb of the distant fudispersion, which seems epidemical among our country- ture ; to what convulsions our societies may be ese men, invited by the unbounded extent of fertile and posed-whether the master, finding it impossible to unexhausted soil

, though it counteracts many of the live with his slaves, may not be compelled to abandon evils of dispersion. All the customary trades, profes- the country to them—of all this it were presumptuous sions and employments, except the agricultural, require and vain to speculate. a condensed population for their profitable exercise. I have hitherto, as I proposed, considered it as & The agriculturist who can command no labor bat that naked, abstract question of the comparative good and of his own hands or that of his family, must remain evil of the institution of slavery. Very far different incomparatively poor and rude. He who acquires wealth deed is the practical question presented to us, when it by the labor of slaves, has the means of improvement is proposed to get rid of an institution

which has inter for himself and his children. He may have a more ex. woven itself with every fibre of the body politic ; whicka tended intercourse, and consequently means of informa- has formed the habits of our society, and is consecrated tion and refinement, and may seek education for his by the usage of generations. If this be not a vicious children where it may be found. I say, what is obvi-) prescription, which the laws of God forbid to ripen into

right, it has a just claim to be respected by all tribunals is required at one season of the year than at another, of man. If the negroes were now free and it were pro- and the farmer may enlarge or diminish the quantity of posed to enslave them, then it would be incumbent on labor he employs, as circumstances may require. Here, those who proposed the measure, lo show clearly that about the same quantity of labor is required at every their liberty was incompatible with the public security. season, and the planter suffers no inconvenience from When it is proposed to innovate on the established stale retaining his laborers throughout the year. Imagine an of things, the burden is on those who propose the inno- extensive rice or collon plantation cultivated by free valion, to show that advantage will be gained from it. laborers, who might perhaps strike for an increase of There is no reform, however necessary, wholesome or wages, at a season when the neglect of a few days moderate, which will not be accompanied with some would insure the destruction of the whole crop. Even degree of inconvenience, risque or suffering. Those if it were possible to procure laborers at all, what planwho acquiesce in the state of things which they found ter would venture to carry on his operations under existing, can hardly be thought criminal. But most such circumstances ? I need hardly say that these sta. deeply criminal are they, who give rise to the enormous ples cannot be produced to any extent, where the proevil with which great revolutions in society are always prielor of the soil cultivates it with his own hands. He attended, without the fullest assurance of the greater can do little more than produce the necessary food for good to be ultimately obtained. But if it can be made himself and his family. to appear, even probably, that no good will be obtained, And what would be the effect of putting an end to but that the results will be evil and calamitous as the the cultivation of these staples, and thus annihilating at process, what can justify such innovations? No human a blow, two-thirds or three-fourths of our foreign combeing can be so mischievous—if acting consciously, merce ? Can any sane mind contemplato such a result none can be so wicked—as those who finding evil in ex. without terror ? I speak not of the utter poverty and isting institutions, rush blindly upon change, unforesee- misery to which we ourselves would be reduced, and ing and reckless of consequences, and leaving it to the desolation which would overspread our own portion chance or fale to determine whether the end shall be of the country. Our slavery has not only given existence improvement, or greater and more intolerable evil. to millions of slaves within our own territories; it has Certainly the instincts of nature prompt us to resist given the means of subsistence and therefore existence intolerable oppression. For this resistance no rule can lo millions of freemen in our confederate States, enabling be prescribed, but it must be left to the instincts of them to send forth their swarms, to overspread the plains nature. To justify it, however, the insurrectionists and forests of the west, and appear as the harbingers should at least have a reasonable probability of success, of civilization. The products of the industry of those and be assured that their condition will be improved by States, are, in general, similiar to those of the rest success. But most extraordinary is it, when those who of the civilized world, and are litele demanded in their complain and clamor, are not those who are supposed to markets. By exchanging them for ours, which are feel the oppression, but persons at a distance from them, every where sought for, the people of these States and wbo can hardly at all appreciate the good or evil of are enabled to acquire all the products of art and industheir situation. It is the unalterable condition of hu- try, all that contributes to convenience or luxury, or manity, that men must achieve civil liberty for them- gratifies the taste or the intellect, which the rest of the selves. The assistance of allies has sometimes ena-world can supply. Not only on our own continent, but bled nations to repel the attacks of foreign power; on the other, they have given existence to hundreds of never to conquer liberty as against their own internal thousands, and the means of comfortable subsistence to government.

millions. A distinguished citizen of our own State, lo one thing I concur with the abolitionists; that if than whom none can be better qualified to form an emancipation is to be brought about, it is better that it opinion, has lately stated that our great staple, cotton, should be immediate and total. But let us suppose it has contributed more than any thing else of later times to be brought about in any manner, and then inquire to the progress of civilization. By enabling the poor to what would be the effects.

obtain cheap and becoming clothing, it has inspired a The first and most obvious effect, would be to put an taste for comfort, the first stimulus to civilization. Does end to the cultivation of our great southern staples. And not self defence then demand of us, steadily to resist the this would be equally the result, if we suppose the abrogation of that which is productive of so much good ? emancipated negroes to be in no way distinguished from It is more than self defence. It is to defend millions of the free laborers of other countries, and that their human beings, who are far removed from us, from the labor would be equally effective. In that case, they intensest suffering, if not from being struck out of exiswould soon cease to be laborers for hire, but would tence. It is the defence of human civilization. scatter themselves over our unbounded territory, to But this is but a small part of the evil which would become independent land owners themselves. The be occasioned. After President Dew, it is unnecessary cultivation of the soil on an extensive scale, can only to say a single word on the practicability of colonizing be carried on where there are slaves, or in countries our slaves. The two races, so widely separated from superabounding with free labor. No such operations each other by the impress of nature, must remain are carried on in any portions of our own country together in the same country. Whether it be accounted where there are not slaves. Such are carried on in the result of prejudice or reason, it is certain that the England, where there is an overflowing population and two races will not be blended together, so as to form a intense competition for employment. And our insti. homogeneous population. To one who knows any Eutions seem suited to the exigencies of our respective thing of the nature of man and human society, it would situations. There, a much greater number of laborers I be unnecessary to argue that this state of things cannot

VOL. IV-80

« السابقةمتابعة »