Representative secular defense of the institution of slavery by Charles Jared Ingersoll, a well-known Philadelphia civic figure, Congressional representative, and author, published in 1856. Digitized by the Antislavery Literature Project.
African Slavery in America
This is a prooftext of Charles Jared Ingersolls African Slavery in America, published in 1856 by T.K. and P.G. Collins in Philadelphia. The text is currently being annotated and will be published in a revised electronic edition. Original spelling, punctuation and page citations have been retained; minor typographic errors have been corrected.
This electronic edition has been prepared for the Antislavery Literature Project, Arizona State University, a public education project working in cooperation with the English Server, Iowa State University. Digitalization has been supported by a grant from the Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University.
Proofing and editorial annotation by Joe Lockard. Digitalization and annotation research by April Brannon. All rights reserved by the Antislavery Literature Project. Permission for non-commercial educational use is granted.
PHILADELPHIA: T. K. AND P. G. COLLINS, PRINTERS.
AFRICAN SLAVERY IN AMERICA.
Now that the Presidential election is over, and pursuant to its equally dubious and perilous, but fortunate conclusion, this is the time, Pennsylvania is the meridian, and an aged descendant from New England, withdrawn from party politics, is not an improperperson to submit to the whole country of these United States their temperate but decided philosophy of vindication from foreign misrepresentation, and intestine disturbance concerningslavery; a task, insensibility to whose difficulties would be in-capacity for the patriotic undertaking. To explain satisfactorily the most crying and formidable of our national evils is beset and hindered by passionate contradictions. Within the last halfcentury, the vast influence of England has undergone completerevulsion, from approval of much cultivated to aversion of muchabused slavery, which aversion has been naturalized in parts ofthe United States with virulent intensity. The baneful fanaticism of political abolition, endemic in Great Britain, and widely spread throughout this country, has become an intractable distemper, discarding discussion, disregarding facts, ignoring history, however recent and instructive, and substituting shouts of clamorousvituperation, drowning argument and reason. While in fifteen sovereign States, nearly four millions of negroes, continually and rapidly increasing in number, are held in slavery by some eightmillions of free people, passionately, with all the instincts of right of property, insisting on that right as inherited, legal, moral, profitable, indispensable, and constitutional, which neither can, must,or shall be questioned; at the same time this their asserted rightof property is vehemently denied and disputed by other fourteenmillions of fellow-countrymen, in sixteen other sovereign andnearly contiguous States, the whole thirty-one altogether confederated in constitutional union. British influence, with im-
mense ponderosity, overpowering the established public policy and individual morality, not only of their former colonies, but of the whole world, denounces slavery as execrable iniquity, defilingthe very food, if not the clothing it produces. Fuel to feed thatexecration is continually furnished by millions of not only English, but other European abolitionists, denouncing American slavery as the worst tyranny; many of whom also decry American democracy, identified with slavery, as the most turbulent, rapacious, and dangerous anarchy; and the licentious popularinsubordination, imputed to the American combination of libertywith slavery, as the most lawless and formidable parody of governmentever attempted to be imposed on mankind. Wherefore,explaining the traditional and vital reality of negro slavery as an accomplishment of supreme state necessity renders its vindication as a fact apparently its moral justification.Without inquiring whether it be evil, as most insist, or good,as some.contend, unquestionably it is a vast, stupendous, andvital American reality. In the Middle States, the temperate zone of American republican continental union, holding together theslave-holding southwest and slave-hating northeast, there shouldand must be considerate and patriotic Americans enough, independent of all foreign influences, neither owning slaves, nor hatingthose who do, even if regretting slavery, willing to accept historical, political, and philosophical ascertainment that, whetherslavery be evil or not, modern external abolition is a muchgreater evil. Vouched by irrefutable English and Americanauthority, negro slavery in America may be so vindicated thatno American need shrink from its communion. Its abrupt, forcible, or extrinsic removal would be a tremendous catastrophe.Dismembering the United States and destroying the Americanrepublic would tend not to abolish, but perpetuate slavery. Fewin this meridian have any practical knowledge of much abused slavery.Its English denunciation, adopted by New England, ismerely remote and theoretical philanthropy, national or sectionalprejudice.Such of us as live in Pennsylvania, where for a long time there have been no slaves, can be moved by no natural impulse to defend their ownership. If descended from New England,the bias must be otherwise. But every lover of his countryshould desire to vindicate its institutions, of which this is one,from foreign detraction and its American adoption.
Notwithstanding much sciolous speculation concerning slavery, and even questioning its authentic existence, yet by overruling Providence men have been slaves of masters in all ages and in every country, as attested by all history, sacred and profane. Villanage, much more odious bondage than AfricanslaveryinAmerica,was an English tenure, before negro slavery inAmerica becameEnglish law, in great favor. Mr. Hallam explains how commonit was in the ninth and tenth centuries for the Englishto exportslaves to be sold in Ireland. But no ancient or European slavery, Greek or Roman bondage, villanage or serfdom, no slaveryin any other form, had the motive or justification ofAfrican slaves, both the trade and tenure, transported from merebarbarism, to cultivate in congenial climates, modern luxuriesbecome universal necessaries of life. Negro laborers cultivatingrice, sugar, coffee, and cotton, in tropical regions, where neither white labor nor free can be relied upon, is a form of servile labor with indigenousand political recommendations peculiar to thiscountry.In the beginning of this century, the slave trade in theopinionof a large majority of Englishmen, most competent to judge,wasprovidential transition from African barbarism to civilized emancipation;and should the anticipations of Liberiaberealized, or negro national independent community be otherwise effected,no greater result of overruling Providence will haveever taken place. Even as it is under what may be termed Britishpersecution by sword and fire of both the trade and the tenureof slavery, there is said to be manifest improvement among theslaves of this country, from one generation to another. Meantime, under all the disadvantages of enraged abolition, inestimable political advantages by means of slavery and its productsadvance continental prosperity, maintain the grandeur of confederated United States, cheaply vouchsafe almost permanent peace, and develop a benign experiment of tranquil republican government. Themother country of these United States unanimously andsedulously cultivated both the trade and the tenure of African slavesin America. By legislation, and treaties, jurisprudence, socialencouragement, every how, from the first colonial settlement ofthis now extensive empire, the transportation of Africans to bemale slaves in all its parts, was encouraged and legalized bymetropolitan superintendence. The year after British liberty,
which began but one century, 1688, before American, 1775, both by revolutions, the attorney and solicitor-general published professional opinions, equivalent to laws, that negroes were merchandise within the meaning of the navigation act. Acts of Parliamentin 1733 and 1758, countenanced both the trade and the tenure inthem as slaves. In 1729 the attorney and solicitor-general Yorkeand Talbot, both afterwards chancellors, and among England'sgreatest lawyers, gave opinions assuring the colonists who had numerous negro slaves in England, that property in them was asvalid and safe there as in America or the West Indies. TheAssiento contract is familiar history.This attorney-general Yorke, and solicitor-general Talbot,great men, as Lord Stowell said Lord Mansfield admitted, greatmen of that age or of any other age, said Lord Stowell on the bench, those great lawyers assured the London merchants that they were perfectly secure in their legal tenure of slaves."Theyboth pledged themselves to the merchants of London," said Lord Stowell, "to save them harmless from all inconvenience on suchasubject; which pledge was afterwards fully confirmed by a similar judgment pronounced in 1749, by Sir Philip Yorke, thenbecome Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, sitting in the Court of Chancery."
"This judgment," adds Lord Stowell, "so pronounced in full confidence, and without a doubt, upon a practice which had endureduniversally in the colonies, and (as appears by those opinions) inGreat Britain, was in not more than twenty-two years afterwards,reversed by Lord Mansfield. The personal traffic in slaves resident in England had been as public, and as authorized in Londonas in any of our West India Islands. They were sold on theExchange, and other places of public resort, by parties themselvesresident in London, and with as little reserve as they would havebeen in any of our West India possessions. Such a state ofthings continued without impeachment, from a very early periodup to nearly the end of the last century."But in 1772, three years before the American revolution, theEnglish Chief Justice Mansfield, unexpectedly gave the negroslave Somerset the benefit of habeas corpus act, to prevent hismaster sending him back in fetters to Jamaica, to be sold as aslave.It is difficult from another eminent English judge, LordStowell's, sarcastic dissection of what he termed Lord Mansfield's
speech on the bench, to ascertain its judicial result: nothing more suspension of slavery in England, Lord Stowell says. And as to the air of England being too pure for slaves to breathe,
how did the villains manage to respire, his lordship contemptuously asks, during the several centuries of their slavery?By what Lord Mansfield faintly articulated as legal policy, after
much hesitation and great doubt, disregarding, as he said, all the precedents, and looking only to what he called municipal policy of law, hedecreed, without, as far as appears, the concurrence of
the other judges, that the negro should not be sent manacled toJamaica.Still, he said a contract for the sale of a slave might beenforced in an English court of justice, and sales of slaves inopen market in London were as legal as sales of cattle in Smithfield Market. Blackstone, who is said to have declined while at the bar, to give an opinion against slavery, vaunting in a subsequent edition of his commentaries (citing a prior case which does not sustain the vaunt), that as soon as a slave lands in England he becomes free, dispels the bubble by adding that the masters right to the slaves service may possibly continue.
All nations, however enslaved, boast their freedom. In Louis the Fourteenth's age, when every Frenchman might be imprisoned for life, as his brother was understood to be, by the king's order, and kept in an iron mask till he died, an ordinance forbade negro slavery. Lord Mansfield ruled the press gang to be commonlaw in England, without which even Lord Chatham declared thatit is impossible to equip a fleet in time.Yet long after Mansfield's flourish in Somerset's case, it was announced as commonlaw byan American judge. Spurning the federal constitution, whichshould have been his supreme law, that disloyal magistrate,intoxicated with more than flagrant abolition, extrajudicially blurted thatoutside the compactthe principle sprung fresh and perfect and beautiful from the mind of Lord Mansfield; not onlyso, but, like Minerva from Jove, it worked the miracle of endowing slaves withsanctity of reason,an exploit of this judge's notionof commonlaw which seems to have bereft him of common sense.In 1772, by revolution of legal policy, an English judgebroached what, in 1827, another eminent English judge almostcontemptuously sentenced as contrary to common law, international law, and the rights of property.Still, such might be legalpolicywhere no African slaves were or could be.But where
they abounded, and were legalized by all the codes and the comity of many confederate sovereignties, an American judge, by muchmore egregious judicial legislation, interpolated extrajudiciallyhis crude notion of legal policy as American common law. Common law, never mentioned by Mansfield, must be venerable in order to be valid, recondite and imperceptible in permeation of obvious justice, growing like the oak, not forced in political hot-bed to rotten ripeness, or by sickly sentimentality watered to maturity.The judiciary is bound to maintain property in slaveslike all other, till legislative enactment abolishes or reforms it.To pronounce abolition common American law, because a judge pronounced it municipal law in England, was not mere judicial but licentious usurpation; such legislation as passionate judgessometimes enact.
Lord Mansfield, a leading politician, was remarkableformanystrokes of judicial policy, which it would have been more becoming to leave to act of Parliament, instead of judicial usurpation. American state judges cannot ape a worse political example. English law, legislation, and public opinion concerningslavery,are exhibited with much ability by Lord Stowell in his dissectionof Lord Mansfield's rhetorical declaration of independence of them all, by sudden revulsion which from Old England travelled to New, to mislead the latter after the former into the deplorablepalinodes of modern abolition. Slavery planted and cultivated byEngland throughout the United States, trade, tenure, and all, wasas general a favorite in both countries as abolition of it has become. Till the latter end of the last century it was more firmly seated in English regard than the reigning royal family. Soon after Mansfield's judicial stroke of state, when it was universal, and by anyabrupt action indestructible throughout the American colonies,their independence united democracy with slavery, both togetherand equally indispensable to American republican sovereignty.English enemies much more of democracy than slavery, apostatized from tolerance to abuse and increasing dislike of the latter;which ethical revolution revealed slavery to be not only impolitic, but iniquitous. Legal legerdemain converted one slave intoa sort of local temporary freeman. Raw and harsh climate rendered numerous slaves as impossible as lions, elephants or mosquitoes. Wherefore it was as good legal policy to free a negro asto impress a seaman. On more zealous examination of the Bible,
English humanitarians discovered that slavery is forbid where it abounds in every page. Soon they came to insist, contrary to all the law, policy, and property they had established in America, that not a solitary one or few, but near a million, fast increasing to three or four millions of slaves, must be turned loose there, to plunge into licentious and pernicious idleness, mischief, and crime. In England nothing could be easier than such philanthropy,
whether legal or not. In America it was as impossible as to rootout the virgin forests at one blow.But English climateabolishesall odoriferous as well as odious distinction between blackand white, and every Briton, especially if liberal or radical,cannot understand why masters declaring their independence donot embracetheir slaves.
Wherefore Paine, whose opportune pamphlet on politics was felicitous as his subsequent infidel tract was abominable, was the first mandatory of European abolitionists, to physic this country with foreign poison, curative perhaps in judicious doses, but fata1 otherwise.The first proceeding in the single branchedLegislature of Pennsylvania, after he was chosen clerk in November 1779, was a motion for the act of March, 1780, which was the first attempt by legislation to abolish slavery, then an institution familiar throughout the United States.
One of the many perversions boiling of late from the Boston caldronof scalding abolition, is that Massachusetts was never or not then a slave State. According to authenticated expositionof that subject in the Massachusetts judicial courts, negro slaverywas a cruel and costly luxury there, long after the United StatesDeclaration of Independence; and long after declarations of independence by the slave-holding States of North Carolina and Virginia,claimed by them to have preceded the United Statesdeclaration in Pennsylvania.The harsh climate of the old Bay reduced the frost-bitten and half-perished negroes there, to mere pauperism, only fit for the almshouse, and without masters burdens on the township poor taxes.A miserable cripple of anegro slave, named London, was so dear a help that by judicial state, hewas sold no less than eleven times in ten years, in Massachusetts,so that Lord Mansfield's convenient doctrine of legal policywas dictated by cold weather to Massachusetts justice, to get rid of negro incumbrances, much worse than useless as property. But Virginia and North Carolina, having, as the slave-holding
States always have done, in the leading annunciation of free principles, adopted and published written constitutions in 1776, withbills of rights, and the other cardinal safeguards of free government;six years afterwards Massachusetts followed their example, and copied their bill of rights, adopting from that of Virginia the innocent preface that all men are free and equal. Seizing on that phrase,the judiciary of Massachusetts construed it to embrace perishing negro slaves, when not only Virginia never dreamt of such an interpretation, but the highest judicial tribunal of Pennsylvania, after solemn argument by the ablest lawyers, and on great deliberation, likewise resolved that negro slaves are not within theclause.
Massachusetts adroitly made a virtue of necessity, withno regard whatever to either liberty or humanity, and constructively consigned to the almshouses, the few cripples adjudged equal in freedom to healthy freemen; as Franklin in Pennsylvania partedwith his negro slaves, because he found them unprofitable property to hold.
While legal policy constructively freed slaves in England and Massachusetts, a solemn and excellent act of legislation for thatpurpose, duly introduced abolition in Pennsylvania, disturbingno vested right of property in slaves, but on the contrary, protecting it from injury by the most conservative provisions.Theact of 1780 for the gradual abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania,is a monument of what all abolition ought to be, and was tillmarplots put an end to it.No living slave was liberated by thatact, nor the children of slaves, till twenty eight-years after theirbirth; by which time, 1808, climate and economy would byspontaneous liberation have rendered legislation superfluous. Abolition by that act of Assembly was to begin when slave trade was stopped by the subsequent federal constitution, in 1808.
A most signal merit of the Pennsylvania act was its patrioticnationality, its sacred regard for the United States, then only confederated. Twenty-three members of the assembly journalized by strong protest their insuperable aversion to any abolition that might, by any resilient possibility, prove detrimental to their slave-holding countrymen of the Southern States, or excite thenegroes themselves anywhere to undue hopes of equality withwhite freemen.The last and most formidable blow of British invasion was then uplifted and about to fall on the Carolinas and
Georgia. Bound to them by no more than a loose confederation, with not one word of slavery in it, the faithful representatives of Pennsylvania, nevertheless, without objection to prospective and conservative abolition, yet strenuously protested against the slightest risk of that continental specialty, which, uniting slaverywith liberty, was the bulwark by union of American independence.Although the abolition act of 1780 expressly avouchedthe State comity by which fugitive slaves were subjected to extradition, and expressly negatived the legal policy of Englandand of Massachusetts, construing their judicial emancipation; nevertheless a large minority deprecated what might possiblyinjure the Union. A Pennsylvania legislative resolution of 1819 is erroneously suppose to harmonize with the abolition act of 1780; than which mistake nothing can be further from true history. When thereception of Missouri by theUnited States was made the first occasion for preventing the diffusion of slavery, Jefferson, Madison and Clay, earnest and among the only practical abolitionists, deprecated that disturbance of the Union. But naturalized Americans, not distinguishing between white and black, and insisting on freedom for both alike, like Paine, O'Connell and others, insensible to the American specialty of composite republicanism, postpone the Union and its vast development to a European theoreticsentimentality, there at least practicable, but here incompatible with our institutions. A resolution, therefore, presented to thelegislature by a naturalized Irishman, Mr. William J. Duane, and seconded by a naturalized Englishman, Mr. Thackara, assumed, first the English dogma, that slavery being odious pollution, and stain, and cruelty, &c., of all of which those respectable gentlemen had no practical knowledge, nor any other than English equallyignorant assumption of it all, thereupon assumed further the constitutional right and policy of prohibiting its diffusion from one partof the United States to another. On that doublet of assumed postulates, an eloquent preamble and resolutions being constructed, callingon Pennsylvania members of Congress to vote against the admission of any territory in which slavery is not prohibited, one of those currents of legislative unanimity on certain subjects familiar to all members of such assemblies, unanimously votedfor universal freedom.The abolition act of 1780 had done no
such thing. Its emotions were those of American not European liberty. As Hamlet shouts on Ophelia's grave
Forty thousand Britons [or other foreigners]
Cannot, with all their quantity of love,
Make up our sum ;
the sum of those born on American soil, who, if slavery be one of its infirmities, sympathize with it like a fond child in aparent's weakness.When Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton united to break Franklin's first treaty, which greatly succoured,if it did not secure independence, resolving on its sacrifice by aproclamation of neutrality, they struck for their country, right orwrong.Their wise and lofty patriotism, afterwards put into a war toast, attributed to Decatur was supreme loyalty, which evenif slavery be a necessary evil, upholds the country with it as in war, against foreign aggressive interference with a nationalinstitution.It is utter mistake to consider the Pennsylvania resolutions of 1819, consonant with the abolition act of 1780. Then the direst jeopardy of all the United States called nationality to predominate and save struggling independence fromimminent subjugation. Certainly not one of the patriotic minority,probably few if any of the majority of 1780 would have voted forthe resolutions of 1819, the capitulation of somnolent love ofrepose in a period of profound public quiet, when foreign dictation of intemperate abolition prevailed over patriotism, and aneloquent shout for freedom, black or white, overruling union wasreally irresistible.
Abolition was inaugurated by law enacted by slave-holders generously careful of the vested rights of other and more interested slave-holders. Subsequent abolition by propagand from remote old English and distant New England sentimentalists having no slaves, no climate or products for their employment,no privity with or knowledge of their operations or situation, ismere spurious philanthropy, as futile and preposterous as anyother ignorant, national, sectional or local theoretical prejudice, or fanatical antipathy; the same as European or Americanrepugnance to polygamy or the Koran in Turkey, to infanticide,fetichism, or casteism in China or India. British invasion of the Southern States closing with independence achieved by the catastrophe at Yorktown, Cornwallis's sur-
render left nothing to do but its acknowledgment, which soon followedat Paris. The treaty of that Congress is well known. Butthe grandeur of the mere event has overshadowed the magnificent frontispiece by which it illustrates and sanctifies American composite sovereignty, constituted of liberty and slavery.The three greatest powers of the world, France, Great Britain and Spain, met the United States in Congress at Paris, the metropolis of Europe. The three American ministers, all northern men, from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York, no southern slave-holderamongthem; two of them, President Adams and Chief JusticeJay, great lawyers, the third the reigning monarch of practicaland common sense and popular mother wit, decided with concurrence of England, France and Spain, as the law of Christendom, that slavery is an American national institution. While publicistsand legists give outthat it is too odious and unnatural to originate but by the positive enactment of local law, those great expounders of jurisprudence and teachers of philosophy, by theirwork of supreme, historical and conclusive authority, transcending technical treatises, Mansfield's speech, Blackstone's boast,and Massachusetts constructive judgments, lay down the highest law by a cardinal treaty that American negro slaves were surrenderedas property(suchare the words) not to individual owners or separate States, but to the thirteen United States as a nation. Old Franklin, in his pride of triumph, wearing the same suit in which he underwent Wedderburne's brutal onslaught in theBritish privy council; John Adams in his sturdy uncompromising patriotism, and John Jay in his conscientious self-possession; these dictators of American independence would not take it without as full and explicit recognition of American slavery asAmerican liberty.The slave property was surrendered not toany man or any State, but to thesaidUnited States,naming theold thirteen, with whom peace was declared in the name of the holy andand undivided Trinity. Virginia and Massachusetts gotnothing as such.The surrender was to the nation of which theywere parts.The negroes came with the lands and houses, asnational property to a nation of forefathers, some of whose descendants now in pulpits, on forums, in senates, and courts of justice, reversing the sacrament of American sovereign independence, contend that whereas American liberty is national, yet American slaveryis sectional, with none but local odious origin,
if any legal origin at all. Such is the revolution of sentimental abolition, which, since the beginning of this century, denies allthe laws and all the recognitions of preceding ages.In this cursory historical and chronological refutation of English and new English abolition, a few years later comes thefederal constitution, with negro slavery in its marrow, bones, andall: representation the spine, and direct taxation the blood of abody politic, which we are told these vital organs do not generalize; after a mere formal article of basis, put forward in the very second. The extraditionary clause concerning fugitive slaves, now so furiously denounced and bloodily rebelled against,was added unanimously, as mere complement, without a singleword on the subject in convention, as not only the indispensablehandmaid of the rest, but considerably softened from the same provision enacted by the Pennsylvania abolition act, and enforcedwithout any written law by common State comity. An Irish gentleman, delegate from South Carolina, but denizen of Pennsylvania,where he long lived and is buried, Major Butler, moved it: and the Pennsylvania delegation were much gratified to seetheirown State provision thus nationalized. Of many nativities, they represented all Great Britain and North America:an Englishman,an Irishman, a Scotchman, a New Yorker, two New Englandmen, with only two Pennsylvania born, one of Quaker family, but altogether gratified in the central position of this State to find northern commerce and southern negro property so easily and harmoniously joined in that union of slavery with democracy, inconceivable and formidable, wherefore hateful in Europe, but the slavery not more than the democracy, or more vituperated. Though the generous donation by Virginia of the NorthwesternTerritory, simultaneous with the Constitution, interdicted slaverywhere excluded by climate, yet the extraditionary precaution against fugitive slaves was inserted by Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, after being omitted in Jefferson's draft of the act of Congress; the whole ordinance declared by Madison, though proceeding from the best intention, with no shadow of authority. Soon after followed those valuable corporations, the earlyabolition societies, with Franklin, moribund and incapable ofaction, head of the one, and Jay of the other.Just men, as theyboth were, lovers of law and order and the Union, they would havecondemned as strongly the robbery or enticement of a slave from
his master, as they would any other malefaction. A member of the abolition society, especially of the Society of Friends, heading a gang of infuriated negroes, like Italian highwaymen, inbroad daylight, on the highway to rob a gentleman of his slaves as he passed peaceably along, would have shocked such abolitionists as Franklin and Jay. To have pleaded the principles ofabolition societies for such Lynch law, they would have pronounced monstrous perversion. Consisting of the most respectable individuals, foreign as well as American, of the Southern as of theNorthern States, those societies were chartered expressly for theimprovement of the negro race not to steal, secrete, or maddennegroes by homicidal hatred put in their hearts, deadly weaponsin their hands, or even crotchets in their heads against whitefellow countrymen, nearly all always disposed to treat the negroeswith all the kindness compatible with incongruity of race andpeculiarity of position; to treat them much more kindly than Jews are treated in many of the most refined countries of Europe,than Irish by English, Italians by Austrians, Poles by Russians, or Scotch peasants by duchesses, whose hovels and food till their cruel expulsion from the hard homes they delighted in to makesheep pastures whose hovels and food were less comfortable orwholesome than those of negroes' dogs.In some called free States, the difficulty is not slavery, butskin. While free negroes are excluded as nuisances from severalof these States, they are not only allowed in others, but allowednearly all but civic and social rights, to which they cannot bereceived, while nearly all whites recoil with horror from theircohabitation. For a white woman to marry a black man excludesher from society.For a white man to marry a black woman is acrime against nature, like sodomy or incest. Nor can any humaneor sensible person of either sex visit one of the suburbs of Philadelphia, without regretting that many free negroes there are notslaves.Disgusting filth, sloth, habitual vices, frequent crimes,if generated by English theorists suborning theoretical Americans,all far from and ignorant of the domestic slavery they strive tobreak up, are deplorable effects of pernicious infatuation, moreso to black slaves than white free men. For such outcasts masterswould be invaluable guardians, and freedom is great misfortune.Perfectly protected by equal laws in person and property, thereis nothing in the non-slaveholding States to prevent negroes be-
coming as rich and influential as the Rothschilds in Germany and England.But while mere abolition is most commonly the roadto ruin, encouraging fugitive slaves or other negroes to ferocious and sanguinary resistance of their fate is provoking their destruction.Before these saturnalia their condition was much morerespectable than now. Wealthy and well considered people ofcolor were common.Deeply rooted in the American soil by a mother country, transferred by her to the United States on their coming to independentsovereignty, incorporated by them with their federal constitutionsbut with philanthropic plans for its reform or abolition if an evil negro slavery, just like the various soils and climates of the country, part of the American inheritance from England, was recognizedwith unanimous patriotism and exulting nationality as one of the institutions of a now republic destined to develop an experiment ofrepresentative democracy by greater liberty than was ever venturedor even conceived before. Kentucky and Tennessee, slave territories, ceded to the Union, were received into it by acts of Congress approved by President Washington, with express provisionthat Congress should make no regulation even tending to emancipate slaves. The act of 1793 for enforcing the constitutionalclause concerning fugitives, passed by Congress without hesitation, the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, andFlorida; in short, without overloading this statement of Americansuccession to English slavery beyond all necessity of argument,with historical attestations of the highest authority for the tranquil contentment of all the people of all the States, with theindispensable and inevitable combination of black slavery withwhite liberty, it may be said that the American republic went onits way rejoicing in both. Whether it was right or wrong wasno more questionable than whether the climate was pleasant or the soil fruitful. There slavery was; and though enthusiasticabolitionists like Jefferson flattered themselves that slavery mightbe abolished or reformed, yet no distant, ignorant, or mere sentimentalists undertook precipitately to spoil benevolence.
As the eighteenth century closed with Jefferson's succession to the presidency, human foresight could not anticipate, nor the most romantic imagination conceive, the revulsion by which, in the first quarter of the nineteenth, England was to disturb the four corners of the globe with sudden revolution in ethics. Slave
trade and tenure were in full acceptance. Climate and economy were inculcating the superior cheapness of white labor in temperate regions.
Still, when I was at Princeton College in 1796, 7, and 8, Jersey farms were tilled by negro slaves; and when I was at Liverpool,in 1802, I saw the slave-ships in that port, large, roomy, well-ventilated, fine vessels, fitted for the suitable accommodation of negro passengers, as packets and ocean steamers now are forothers, and in comparatively as much preference.But referring to English abolition, just as modern abolitionistsdo to American slavery, that is, without practical or any otherknowledge of it than reading affords, and aware that slavery,though always in legal existence and allowance, was neverthelessan equivocal state of property, which many publicists questioned,it was natural that, in the course of human events, abolition ofslavery should occur to freemen in England with colonial slaves, as ithad before been recognized by kings in France, republicans in Holland, and judges in Scotland, while torture was applied there to extort confessions from prisoners. All these authoritieswere cited in Somerset's case, and England abounded in well disposed visionaries, together with radical reformers. Many benevolent men are abolitionists.Most of our southern slave-holders,were so, with Jefferson at their head, and Washington and Madisonwell inclined.Abolition of war has long been attempted. Franklin, Jefferson, Lords Aberdeen and Ashburton were of that class of abolitionists.Abolition of taxation, or certain kinds ofit: abolition of inebriety and other vices; abolition of certain kindsof government; numbers of mankind are abolitionists. And those who undertook to abolish slavery, were induced to it in Englandby there being no slaves there, but only in distant colonies, which Parliament might rule as it would, by the alleged barbarities of English colonial slave-holders, and by that pragmaticalness whichis part of the insular nature of a great nation, more so inclined,as their own historian Clarendon long ago deplored, than any other people. Wilberforce, the Methodists, and other sincere philanthropists, who began the attempt by holding a balance of party power,subdued the rival leaders, Fox and Pitt, into support of abolition.Still they were, like Franklin and Jefferson, rational, temperate,and prospective in their scheme for gradual abolition.Seizing,
nevertheless, on the helpless colony of distant Jamaica, omnipotent Parliament could experiment there as physicians do, kill or cure,with poisons tried on dogs and cats. That fine colony mightexpostulate, but must submit. Nearly all the sober good senseof Great Britain was against abolition, though no one supposed itwould prove so ruinous as it did; and the English treatment of negro slaves was so much severer than the American, as to furnish the abolitionists with a powerful argument by the crueltiesof the tenure requiring the trade, to replenish victims. Yet thereal, the conservative abolitionists, before theywere supplanted, and their cause ruined by wild zealots, had the stone of Sisyphus to roll up, year after year, from 1785, when the first petition wasfaintly presented from an obscure place to Parliament, for morethan fifty years, till 1834, their stone was tumbled down uponthem, and the prospect of rational, forbearing, conservative abolition was extremely unpromising. Buxton's resolutions in theCommons, for prompt though not precipitate abolition, in 1833,were superseded by Canning's ministerial amendment for further postponement, inquiry, and ascertainment, until at last, yieldingto what Lord Derby said must be submitted to as public sentiment, in one of those surging currents of legislation which occasionally overflow any assembly, but gilding surrender with enormous atonement by a hundred millions of dollars, Parliamentenacted the absurd futilities of turning the Jamaica negroes intoapprentices and soldiers for several years, to educate and preparethem, as Franklin advised, for emancipation. On the first dayof August, 1834, what was acclaimed as the African MagnaCharta, became a British law; condemned by much of the goodsense of England; and King William the Fourth, who put hisroyal signature to that infatuation, told the American minister, with a sneer at such cruel stupidity of reform, that as a peer hehad always voted against abolition.Just then, with Wilberforce's death, a new race of rabid abolitionists arose to run their career of riot, revelling in the ruin of the most productive British American colony, propagating and crusading against slavery all over the world, with the immensemaritime potentiality of Great Britain. The Irish agitator O'Connel, like the infidel Tom Paine, a violent abolitionist, soon after the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign, at a public meeting inManchester, stigmatized the United States for sending a Virginia
slave-breeder as their minister to England, declaring that any Briton would pollute his palm by shaking hands with anAmerican.About that epoch Great Britain revolutionized herwhole ethical system.British abolition, once if not rational, at all events a temperate and cautious essay, with the parliamentaryruin of Jamaica, broke out in reckless rage. Roman extermination of the first Christians, the Christian crusades, the blood-thirsty Inquisition, and other outbursts of national madness,which history depicts but cannot account for, were not more fierce, violent, or foolish than British abolition became, first of the trade , then the tenure of slaves. The American transition from colonial to independent condition was by no means so total a revolution of sentiment.Lord Stowell, in his dissection of LordMansfield's speech, cauterizes this British apostasy with classical severitylike the Romans after Pompey's overthrow, the English people, he says, citing a fine Latin illustration, became quite anotherpeople. All mankind were to be compelled to change as Englanddid. By treaties, laws, fleets, force, largesses, and dictatorial importunity, the cotton, coffee, sugar, and rice-growing American countries were to renounce their livelihood.At the Congress of Vienna, in 1814, Castlereagh got the slavetrade denounced: Judge Story, in one of his extravagant adjudications, decreeing that to be the law of nations, which enormous contradiction of all history Chief Justice Marshall and the Supreme Court of course overruled. That incredible exaggeration or distortion by an American judge of English abolition occurred while he was in constant correspondence with Lord Stowell, who sent him his decree against it in the case of the slave Grace, which Judge Story wrote to Lord Stowell he entirely concurred in. A very learned and patriotic magistrate while atWashington, Judge Story could hardly help some sympathetic emotions with the abolitionists when at Cambridge, so near their Boston head-quarters. At the Congress of Ghent, sitting simultaneously with that of Vienna, towards the close of the negotiation the American ministers proposed an article stipulating that Indians with their horrible hostilities should not be engaged by either party.That excellent enforcement of the wisest crying humanity was rejected by the British ministers, without a, word, who in its stead substituted theconcluding clause in the treaty of Ghent, that the United States.
should not only suppress, but join Great Britain in suppressing theslave-trade. As Great Britain had for more than a century rejected the many entreaties of the United States for that purpose, putting their propagand apostasy on them by treaty was almost insulting, and certainly strange imposition. Some years later, after they badbeen compelled by umpirage of the Emperor of Russia, to pay fornegro slaves stolen from the United States by their officers duringthe war of 1812, the Ashburton Washington treaty superaddedthat the United States should keep a squadron at an expense of near a million a year on the unhealthy coast of Africa,with theBritish squadron there; waiving moreover long cherished, bravely and hardly maintained American resistance to what Britain enforced as the right, but Americans repel as wrong, of seasearch, since abandoned by England.Mr. Calhoun moved, and the Senate voted unanimously, resolutions against the British violation of all sea law and nationalcomity in the case of some American slaves on board a vesselcalled the Creole.After easily cajoling Secretary Webster tooverlook that insulting wrong (as since acknowledged in Londonby umpirage under the last treaty, which makes compensationforthat latrocinious outrage), that amiable old gentleman LordAshburton, almost an American denizen, who might have respected American institutions, even though deemed regrettable, could not take leave without letting fly a Parthian arrow-it,slavery at his farewell dinner in New York. Fox, the Britishminister here when Lord Ashburton came on his special embassy, interposed with extremely impertinent admonition in the affairof the Spanish slaves on board the Spanish vessel the Amistad,in our waters the sound washing the shores of Connecticut. And this year (1856) it appears by publication in the Brazil newspapers, the British minister at Rio Janeiro has, with most offensiveinsolence, lectured that government against slavery. Brazil, Spain,Portugal, nations whom Great Britain could overawe, have beenbullied or bribed into capitulations of the slavesfound indispensable for their sugar and coffee plantations. With overwhelmingmaritime power, the thirty millions of mighty islanders who sentround the world a squadron of steam vessels, and subdued threehundred millions of Chinese into English license to intoxicatethem with opium, duty free, having cowed Spain, Portugal, andBrazil, persuaded France to co-operate in the English universal
propaganda against negro slavery everywhere, and that slavery aloneanywhere.At length by clandestine machinations in Texas and Mexico, English abolition ran foul of a nation which had twice worsted them, once for free taxation, a second time for free trade, and might be provoked to try it a third time, even for negro slavery.
On another occasion I may endeavor to make known the curious history of the Texas controversy and Mexican war caused by European, English, and French combined, intermeddling with American negro slavery, and the cotton supremacy.Suborned by old England to disloyal extremities, then (1844) as in 1812,allowing their passions and prejudices to get the better of theirinterest and reason, the same portion of New England, now rabid with abortiveabolition, was in 1844 as in 1812, by the slave holding and central States constrained to submit to results prosperous for their interest in commerce and manufactures, mortifying their disappointed passions.This cursory tract would nothold a complete narrative of abolition, annexation, foreign intrigue,intestine commotion, and after all, as in the war of 1812, glorious consummation.It was necessary to be inWashingtonin position near enough to scan close at hand the contrivances which from London, Paris, Boston, Galveston, and the city ofMexico, were employed to frustrate spontaneous annexation of kindred peoples, and compel both of them to abdicate the ownership of negro slaves inherited by French co-operation from English ancestors, together with their brave spirit of lucrative independence love of property, our Anglo-Saxon twin sister of thelove of liberty.In 1814-15, a rough slave-holder triumphed at the head of a small force of volunteer slave-holders, not an abolitionist among them, but their entrenchments constructed andwants supplied by negro slaves, and some of their best troops freenegroes. As Chateaubriand styled all France a soldier, so Kentucky and Tennessee, then border slave States, were one and all soldiers, volunteering to rush in mass a thousand miles to fight the vanquishers of dethroned Napoleon, whose contumelious and officialnickname for border ruffian was Kentuckian, by which they stigmatized the slouching, shabby, gasconading, gigantic, high-spirited gunmen, as Jackson termed the gallant slave-holders of that region and conjuncture, who, snatching the Union from dismemberment, saved Massachusetts from the hostile occupation itwas passively undergoing.Like that heroic fugleman of the west,
many of his rough and hardy followers lived in log huts, fed out of iron spoons, had no fine furniture or clothes, no drawing rooms, water-closets, privies on their half-cleared premises, ifeven pocket handkerchiefs for some of their secretions. Theirwives and daughters often garrisoned block-houses. Theirmothers had handled rifles more expertly than modern abolitionclergymen.
In tending school or shop, those grotesque and uncouthpioneers, corn-fed and tobacco-scented, indefatigably rolling the vast tide of prodigious settlements from the Atlantic to thePacific, were excelled and flouted by more refined foreign enemiesand squeamish fellow countrymen as Kentuckians, bywhich termof contemptuous aversion all western frontiermen were thensynonymized as border ruffians. But for manhood, probity,honor, enterprise, hardihood, those ultramontane patriots, thegenus of which Clay and Jackson wore thebeau ideal,wouldcompare not disadvantageously with their revilers.Of thatgenus General Taylor was another specimen. Seen once, beforehe had any idea that he ever would be resident there, knockingat the door of the presidential mansion, and no one coming toopen it, a passer-by told the simple slave-holding soldier to pullthe bell, of which urbane contrivance he had formed no conception in his campaign life of woods and prairies. Negro slavery and land robbery, for which the English subjugators of India, and French of Algeria, combined to indict theUnited States, elicited a conflict in 1843-4, in which rampantabolition performed an imposing part. Vehemently secondingthe foreign powers in their machinations to prevent the annexation of Texas and abolish slavery by one and the same blow,northeastern aversion to southwestern slave-holding aggrandizement confirmed slavery by spontaneous reaction, and securedTexas for the Union. One State already five hundred thousandpeople strong, together with three pastoral free Statesin partibus,California, with Italian climate and inexhaustible gold mines; New Mexico, by no means so valueless as was reported by Mr. Websterand other opponents of the war, to which England and France encouraged Mexico: Result like that of the war of 1812 for the United States, was the reaction by which that ill-advised effort of Old and New England was totally discomfited.
The puritan Scots Secretary of Foreign Affairs in England, Lord
Aberdeen was in full communion with the puritan prime minister,of France, M. Guizot; in perfect concert as his lordship toldAshbel Smith, the judicious and wary minister of Texas in London.As Kossuth taught the word, they were in solidarity toabolishslavery, frustrate annexation, deprive the United Statesof the monopoly of cotton, and, as Guizot furthermore suggested, for the creation of an American balance of power, by which Mexico was to counterpoise the United States, like Portugal or Hanovercounterpoising Great Britain or France.For those purposes, thediplomatic arrangements were Mr. Richard Pakenham, a grave,not verycapable Irishman, nephew of the Duke of Wellington, whose nepotism had planted him to vegetate for fourteen years asBritish Charg dAffaires in Mexico, whence with all his
knowledge of the Spanish Indian politics of that country he was transplanted to Washington.Mr. Bankhead, who had been residentEnglish minister at Washingtonand married there, was fetched all the way from Constantinople to Mexico.Charles Elliott, a dashing captain of the British navy, who had accompanied the invasion of China, with his notorious white hat and free and easy manners, was stationed at Galveston as an excellent manager of president Sam. Houston, in whose convivial hilarious intimacy the gallant captain might entrench himself.The French ministers at Mexico, Alleye de Cypres, and in Texas, Saligny, were in perfect communion with the British there and at Washington.
At Washington there was a club, brotherhood, or conspiracy ofinterloping diplomats. Bodisco, the queer old good hearted representative of the tremendous Emperor Nicholas's awful aversion to territorial aggrandizement and slavery; Webster's victim Hulesman of the Austrian Emperor's just as earnest desire that all men should always be free and equal; the stirring little native American French minister Pageot, ashamed of his republican Americanbirth, and longing from loyal Orleanist to fuse as royal Bourbonist; the good natured Spaniard Calderon de la Barca, more anxious for Cuba than Texas, but conspiring with all the rest of the corpsto second Pakenham's plans.All these faithful representatives of emperors, kings, queens, and royalties, where liberty and equality were unknown except to bedreaded andabominated, formed a solid phalanx of champions offreedom,to whom abolition of slavery was the first wish of theirroyal masters' generous unsophisticated hearts, and preventing the
United States getting conterminous territory in Texas, with complete monopoly of cotton, a consummation devoutly to be frustrated. Mr. Adams, with Joshua Giddings and a score more abolitionists in Congress, by inflammatory invocations to unfrocked clergyand unsexed women, called loudly for what were accordinglypoured in as petitions, a pile of which so high that he couldhardly be seen behind it, Mr. Adams paraded on his desk, withthe name of a fugitive slave first petitioner at the top of the pyramid. More English Whig than American republican, Mr, Adams luffed his way for the championship of what he most mistakingly bolstered as the right of petition right vital inEngland, but insignificant in this country, where a sovereignpeople are empowered to instruct their trustees in Congress assembled. Omnipotent Parliament, De Lolme says, can do anything but make a man a woman or a woman a man; whereforepetition is a precious right for a free people having so partedwith their sovereignty. But where the people are sovereign, and Congress only their specific trustees, the popular right is to instruct, and petition by any majority is a degradation. Texas andslavery, furiously denounced in these miscalled petitions andotherwise throughout New England, New York, and some otherStates, were overpowered there. Discriminating as this accountof negro slavery is designed to do between that and Texas, andreserving the latter for another occasion, it is only necessary toadd here that the British and French coalition to abolish slaveryand prevent annexation, both defeated by unaided Texas herself,nevertheless excited in acting President Tyler's administrationstrenuous determination to protect both Texas and slavery from European interference.Finding that administration resolved, and the whole people excited, Lord Aberdeen, alarmed, on the 26th June, 1844, sent for Mr. Ashbel Smith, to whom his lordship expressed his greatregret that so much excitement had been caused on the other sideof the Atlantic, and gave every assurance that nothing moreshould be done on the subject, which was to be managed by whatwas called a new feature, viz: The English ministry were thenconfident that annexation was defeated, President Houston having,as was believed, abandoned it for Texan solitary independence.But, to the astonishment of the European clandestine hindranceof those results, Texas came into the United States with slavery.
After relinquishing ardently urged abolition in order to frustrate strenuously resisted annexation; both, by superior Texan diplomacv, were settled as Texas desired; wherefore this account ofAfrican slavery in America, with European, particularly Englishmeddling for abolition in Texas, will be closed with the British secretarys warning to the American Secretary against slavery all over the world, as that warning amplified abolition.
The new British minister, Mr. Pakenham, went to Washington instructed to withdraw slavery from contestation, but with explicitthreat ofBritish determination to abolish it everywhere, and to leave no effortuntried to prevent the United States annexing Texas.Accordingly, in his first official interview with Mr. Upshur, the Secretary of State who succeeded Mr. Webster, Lord Aberdeens remarkable letter of the 26th December, 1844, was read by the Briton to the American as follows:
It is not necessary to incorporate with this narrative the prior part of Lord Aberdeens letter, which is confined to Texas alone. After disposing of that subject, the letter proceeds concerning slavery as follows:
But in thus acting we have no occult design, either with reference to any peculiar influence which we might seek to establish in Mexico or in Texas, or even with reference to slavery which now exists, and which we desire to see abolished in Texas.
With regard to the latter point, it must be, and is well know, both to the United States and to the whole world, that Great Britain desires, and is constantly exerting herself to procure the general abolition of slavery throughout the world; but the means which she has adopted, and will continue to adopt, for this humane and virtuous purpose, are open and undisguised. She will do nothing secretly or underhand. She desires that her motives may be generally understood, and her acts seen by all.
With regard to Texas, we avow that we wish to see slavery abolished there, and elsewhere; and we should rejoice if the recognition of that country by the Mexican Government, should be accompanied by an engagement on the part of Texas, to abolish slavery eventually, and under proper conditions, throughout the republic. But although we earnestly desire, and feel it to be our duty to promote such a consummation, we shall not interfere unduly, or with an improper assumption of authority, with either party, in order to insure the adoption of such a course.
We shall counsel, but we shall not seek to compel, or unduly control either party. So far as Great Britain is concerned, pro vided other States act with equal forbearance, those Governments will be fully at liberty to make their own unfettered arrange ments with each other, both in regard to the abolition of slavery, and to all other points.
"Great Britain, moreover, does not desire to establish in Texas, whether partially dependent on Mexico, or entirely independent (which latter alternative we consider in every respect preferable), any dominant influence. She only desires to share her influen ce equally with all other nations. Her objects are purely commercial, and she has no thought or intention of seeking to act, directly or indirectly, in a political sense, on the United States through Texas. "The British Government, as the United States well know, have never sought in any way, to stir up disaffection or excite ment of any kind in the slave-holding States of the American Union. Much as we should wish to see those States placed on the firm and solid footing, which we conscientiously believe is to be attained by general freedom alone, we have never in our treat ment of them, made any difference between the slave-holding and the free States of the Union. All are in our eyes, entitled, as component members of the Union, to equal political respect, favor, and forbearance on our part. To that wise and just policy we shall continue to adhere; and the governments of the slave-holding States may be assured that, although we shall not desist from those open and honest efforts, which we have constantly made for procuring the abolition of slavery throughout the world, we shall neither openly nor secretly resort to any measures which can tend to disturb their internal tranquility, or thereby to effect the prosperity of the American Union. "You will communicate this dispatch to the United States Secretary of State, and, if he should desire it, you will leave a copy of it with him. "T hree days after that letter was road to Mr. Upshur, on the 29th of February, 1845, he was killed in the explosion of the steamer Princeton, during an entertainment given on board that vessel by her commander Captain Stockton, when several other persons accidentally perished. Mr. Calhoun, appointed Secre tary of State to succeed Abel P. Upshur, addressed on the 28th
April, 1845, a formal but not very fortunate official answer toMr. Pakenham, intended to refute Lord Aberdeen's condemnationof slavery; to which no American was more attached than Mr. Calhoun, and which by statistical developments he strove to vindicate.The British minister, without taste, talents, or instructions for such polemics, replied with curt and characteristic sneer, that he was not disposed totrespass on Mr. Calhoun's attention, by
offering any remarks on the subject of slavery, as expounded in Mr. Calhoun's note, which would be transmitted to her majesty's government.
And by them ridiculed in privy council, no doubt. Secretary Upshur's animated correspondence on this subject with theAmerican ministers in England, Mexico and Texas, imputed theBritish movement to sinister and invidious design.Perhaps that complaintcould hardly be assignedin official letters to the Britishministers.But Mr. Calhoun's very superior abilities might have been betterexercised than in statistical apologies for slavery. Its British ministerial impeachment was none the less improper, unusual, dangerous, or obnoxious to rebuke for being avowed sinceretoil earnest. Lord Aberdeen forgot Admiral Cochrane's proclamation in 1814, inviting the southern slaves to revolt, the Duke ofWellington's favorite General, Sir Charles Napier's published boastthat by slave insurrection the United States might be subdued,and many other equally offensive and futile English menaces andattempts.All these Lord Aberdeen forgot when declaring that the British government, as the United States well know, have never sought in any way to stir up disaffection or excitement of any kind in the slave-holding States of the American Union, and never in our (British) treatment of them, have made any difference between the slave-holding and the free States of the Union.Lord Palmerston was in the ministry of war when Admiral Cochrane's proclamation was scattered broadcast throughout the slave-holding coasts, calling on the slaves to revolt.
But perhaps the argument is stronger by taking Lord Aberdeenat his word, and not ascribing bad motive to his swooping andaudacious denunciation of slavery. What if Secretary Calhoun had retorted that the United States, as the British governmentwell knows, have never sought in any way to stir up disaffectionor excitement of any kind in Ireland against England.Much asthe United States would wish to see Great Britain placed on the firm
and solid footing, which the United States conscientiously believeis to be attained by freedom of Ireland alone, from the cruelthraldom in which it has been so long held by England, we have never in our treatment of Great Britain made any difference between Ireland and England; and although we shall not desist from those open and honest efforts which we have constantly made for securing the establishment of freedom throughout the world, &c., parodying nearly the whole of Lord Aberdeen's warning againstslavery by substituting Ireland for that American vitality, as organic to the United States as Ireland to Great Britain; not like Ireland requiring a large regular army to hold it down, but protected by that democratic nationality which Secretary Canning once threatened to let loose against the tyrannies of continental Europe, should they by force uphold Spanish South Americanwhite servitude.If no American Secretary of State would havea right thus to warn an English ministry, what right has thatministry thus to warn an American Secretary? In the lifetime of the North American British colonies and states, have their negroslaves been more oppressed by masters than Irish by English?While contented American slaves have vastly increased, wretchedIrish peasantry have vastly decreased in numbers.While notmuch more than one in three thousand of the slaves has fled from ownership, and that under foreign subornation, several hundredthousands of Irish every year have escaped from native huts andintolerable hardships to seek among American slaves happierhomes.
Or might not the American Secretary, reproached by a BritishSecretary with slavery, reply that British hereditary legislatorsmuch more contravene the spirit of the age than American hereditary bondsmen? Slavery is vouchsafed, and nobility forbid bythe constitution of the United States.Conformably to moderntendency, one of the most enlightened nations of Europe haveabolished nobility with its feudal privileges, whose detrimental continuance in Britain can be justified or accounted for only by the deep-seated tradition of an evil difficult of eradication. Yet nobility can be abolished in Britain much more easily than slavery in the United States. Nobility is less ancient than slavery, more irrational, and more obnoxious to reasonable condemnation.In therecent war with Russia, a brave English army was sacrificed to the ignorance and incapacity of noble officers appointed through aris-
tocratic influence instead of personal merit. Such was the loud complaint, not of radicals or chartists, but of the educated, opulent, and respectable middle class of that intelligent kingdom, to whose energetic remonstrances and the alarming castigation of bitter experience some reforms of ennobled and wealthy aristocracy were yielded. Government more democratized from prince to pauper, was elicited by a crisis which tried the strongest springs of Great Britain. Loss of much of that foreign respect which constitutes part of her mighty power, that charm and confidence felt by England herself, and by other nations in her capacity and wisdom, that illusion was much diminished. Lord Lucan, Cardigan, and other brave but incompetent soldiers, betrayed in the Crimera the fatal insufficiency of mere bravery and nobility when matched against meritorious equality. Nobility, much more detrimental to Great Britain than slavery to America, in all probability will be abolished there before slavery here.
Interference of the British government with others, an insensate and insufferable mischief and grievance, never was more offensive or abortive than by excessive, intemperate ardor to abolish slavery, as Lord Aberdeen admonished Mr. Upshur, throughout the world. The immense potentiality of that vast maritime empire beleaguering the globe with her fortresses, owning large part of it by her colonies, American, Asiatic, African, and European, with fleets which from Australia to Malta are ubiquitous and irresistible, all fired by promise of plunder to seize slave-dealers, and commanded by codes of terrific bloodshed to hunt and them through every sea, seize and put them to death as pirates, foes of mankind, together with vilification of all slave-holders than such fresh crusade, propaganda, and outlawry, what legendary crusade or ancient servile war was ever more sanguinary or exterminating: All this sudden and recent revulsion from former British government, outstripping all others in encouraging kings, princes, and nations to enrich themselves by slave trade, as the best of all traffic, and slavery as indispensable to the prosperity of transatlantic possessions. The Assiento contract coveted, intrigued for, and effected as a great national succedaneum in one century, is repudiated, and all those who deal in such commerce hunted to be hanged, early in the next century, as not merely pirates, but monstrous, atrocious, and unpardonable sinners: In one age all
nations, induced to compete for what early in the next age all are compelled to destroy as enormous iniquity.The same England whose monarch boasted to the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled of theAssiento contract, is that which keeps a permanent commission orboard in Cuba to suppress Spanish slave trade, which foreignand hostile superintendence induces British interference with theSpanish domestic tenure as well as foreign trade of slavery. A fewyears after frustration of the combined British and French attempton Texas and slavery, that meddlesome and troublesome ministerLord Palmerston, officially instructed Lord Howden, the Britishminister in Spain, to manage British interference with Spanishslavery in Cuba, so as furthermore to defeat the well-known desire of the United States to acquire that island, whose indispensable advantage, commanding the great western outlet of the United States, has been latterly triumphantly demonstrated by Mr. Everett,Secretary of State, in admirable letters to the French and British ministers in the United States. Lord Palmerston nevertheless, or perhaps therefore, complicates British meddling with Spain andthe United States, slave trade and slavery, and Cuba altogetherby one blow of his foreign policy."I have to instruct your Lordship to say to the Spanish ministers that the slaves form a largeportion, and by no means an unimportant one, of thepeopleofCuba, and that any steps taken for their emancipation wouldtherefore, as far as the black population is concerned, be quite in unison with the recommendation of her majesty's government, that measures should be adopted for contenting the people of Cuba,with a view to secure the connection between the Spanish owners and the island; and it must be evident that if the negro population were rendered free, that fact would create a most powerfulelement of resistance to any scheme of annexing Cuba to the United States, where slavery exists." There seems to be no limit to British machination and encroachment, whenever abolition, however revolutionary and convulsive, can be made to arrest American territorial development, howevernatural, vicinal, peaceable, and inoffensive.Cuba, the gem of the Antilles, thrown back to barbarism, like St. Domingo and Jamaica, is preferred to that fine island, flourishing with magnificent prosperity as one of the United States, in peace and liberty. Not long ago a British minister, afterwards in the United States,
was peremptorily expelled from Spain for impertinent advice concerning Spanish internal concerns, in which high-toned movement of a once great and always sensitive nation, a noble Spaniard with American blood in his veins, grandson of an eminent Governor of Pennsylvania, was conspicuous. May such blood pulsate in the executive of the United States to repel the insult, should ever the admonition of Lord Aberdeen concerning slavery be repeated.
For the results of these excesses have been, by British confession, increase and aggravation of the alleged cruelties of the slave trade, which clamorous and rancorous but utter abortion of violent abolition in the United States. All trial of the temperate essay of abolition by slave-holders themselves, supplanted by frantic fratricidal, external compulsion, incessantly tormenting, provoking, and alarming a community by their vilifying assailants, accused of aggression and violence, because robbers, burglars, and incendiaries threaten and beset their homesteads, whom they endeavor to repel, and punish as merciless invaders.
After twenty years of anarchy, idleness, and ruin in Jamaica, and Lord Palmerstons instruction to Lord Howden to advise the Spanish government to effect a still more deplorable chaos in Cuba, wretched savages transported from India, called coolies, are British practical, superadded to other confession that Jamaica is ruined, and that Cuba will be, by British abolition, if enforced by England in the latter as in the former island. A Caribbean confederacy of black banditti buccaneers, St. Domingo, Jamaica, and Cuba, with perhaps other West India islands under the protectorate of Great Britain, may be erected, with their Musquito surrogate prince, to execute European justice in America by such inhuman abolition of slavery throughout the world.
Perturbation permanent, rabid disloyalty, abominable infidelity, inhuman hatred of their fellow-countrymen, whom their Christian duty is to love as themselves, are the forlorn condition in the United States of those root and branch abolitionists, who reject their country, which flourishes with prodigies of production, in profoun d tranquility throughout the slave-holding States. No military force compels order and law on plantations where cheerful slaves obey masters by every motive bound to protect and cherish them. Large drafts from the standing army of the United States are frequently required to protect the mere administration
of justice from rebellious resistance of bloodthirsty fanatics in the principal cities of the United States,
While the uproar of northeastern tribunes, pulpits, books,and journals were mere brute thunder, only alarming and mischievous by distant echoes in slave-holding regions, frequentmobs of conventiclers, male and female, clerical and partisan, British and American, inebriate with passion for agitation andnotoriety, struck with incendiary lightning in the localitieswhere they fell, provoking slave-holders to more stern, exclusive, and dominant enforcement of the strictest slavery.Butthe paroxysms of these abolition orgies effectuated more elevated,systematized, enduring, and dangerous, but regulated disorganization, where there were no slaves.Governors of States wereexcited officially to recommend legislators to enact, andjudgesto enforce acts of assembly, with all the forms, perhaps theforce, of laws militant against federal authority;bytheir annualand special messages to legislatures, denouncing federal lawsand the federal constitution itself as odiously obnoxious to rejection.Legislatures, by refinements of State rights, forbadeState functionaries, judicial or administrative, to co-operate in theenforcement of federal supremacy, emasculated its force, and defied its control. Judges interpolated crude mistakesofEnglishcommon law and English legal policy, in States where there is no such law or policy concerning negro slavery, but the reversewas always the established jurisprudence. Among these sacrificesby worship of British apostasy from slavery, was the degeneraterepeal in 1826 of the eleventh, the vital section, of the benevolent Pennsylvania abolition act of 1780.The heart of that wise,comprehensive, and exemplary essay of rational abolition wastorn out by the reigning fanaticism of England, spreading throughout the northern United States.Despite a federal constitution for more perfect union, States were antagonized andsundered, which clung to each other with continental comity and national adherence, when only allied by loose confederation, withno provision concerning slavery. All this percutient perfidy to the constitution, to confraternity and nationality, backsliding from aboriginal, indispensable union and communion, could not ensue without deplorable consequences throughout the whole United States. Four grain growing States were arrested in their palpabletendency to emancipate themselves from the expense and annoy-
ance of unprofitable slave labor, indispensable only for the cultivation of rice, cotton, sugar, and tobacco, of the three form of which they grew non, and did not require slaves for the latter. The slaves themselves, advancing to national independence as each successive generation indicated, by improvement, religious, moral, mental, mechanical, industrial, with the cordial consent and assistance of their masters, were deprived of these inestimable advantages, and thrown back from their transition from African barbaric savagism to civilized freedom. The slaves of Virginia and Carolina, by British overpowering and perverting American abolition, were driven back to the dark dens of Jamaican slaver: where an act of Parliament, instead of its gradual amelioration, imperiously cut the knot which might have been gradually and kindly untied by such an experiment as the Pennsylvania act of 1780, and Jefferson and Franklin, if not Wilberforce, contemplated.
State government, executive, legislative, and judicial declared war on the government of the United States, waged at length by mobs with clerical leaders, sometimes deluded Quakes, forcibly and furiously attacking officers administering law, with much more bloodthirsty ferocity than it ever was encountered by those stigmatized as border ruffians by those highwaymen in drab or canonicals.
This historical apology for African slavery in America neither condemns or justifies the stupendous reality which metropolitan force and favor planted throughout the English North American united colonies, and nurture to grow with their forest, indigenous to soil and climate, and as ineradicable. Some thirty years after American independence, England, by sudden revolution or remorse, sharply reversed her ethical system, running headlong into a theoretical abstraction. Slave trade and tenure were discovered to be unjust, and before long iniquitous. The whole world was required to undergo the same reversal of opinion, required by force, fleets, and largesses. The powers to whom, like England, it was all mere theory, were easily prevailed upon. Weaker but interested powers were coerced by the extreme zeal of England, some of them even purchased to submit. To the United States submission is impossible, involves constitutional and continental disorganization. The British government having
officially sanctioned American abolition by warning to that ofthe United States, the propagand is prosecuted by the people afterthe government disowns it.In the presidential election just closed, the British people intervened with avowed and greatanxiety.The British press, an immense engine of public sentiment, unanimously advocated the election of a candidate becausethe American abolitionists were his advocates.His asserted abolition was the avowed British motive for their intervention; and no doubt, had he been elected, the game British interventionwould have urged British measures of root and branch abolition.
Such transatlantic and extravagant, and revolutionary intrusion, encourages hope that Britain herself may become sensible, of it,,useless but pernicious impropriety.If the British motive be good-will either to the slaves or the United States, the error of their meddling must become obvious to themselves. New England will forbear when England sets the example.Abolition may then begin, but never till then. English aversion to Americanliberty was not long ago as intense and intolerant as now toAmerican slavery.English hostility to France, to free trade, tocolonial self-government, to freedom of the seas, to freedom ofsuffrage, and other liberalisrns, in which Great Britain has approximated American principles since American independence, may induce her to perceive that her mission on earth is not, asLord Aberdeen warned Mr. Upshur, to secure the abolition ofslavery throughout the world; and even if so, that her method hitherto has tended only to increase and aggravate both the trade and the tenure.
Just as English conversion from slavery to abolition, transcending all the rational reform inculcated by English, as well as American originators of a benignant essay, was rising to fever and blood heat, special providence interposed to overpower fanaticism by a still stronger, and more natural influence.GreatBritain, with all her might by law, municipal, colonial, and international, by treaties, navies, foreign agents, and public sentiment,subdued to unanimity, propagating her new dogma of abrupt andforcible emancipation of negroes, was encountered and vanquished by practical satisfaction of the instinctive love of accumulation,fortifying slave masters individually, and their country altogether, with impregnable security. Pragmatic rabid abolition was calmly discomfited by plantation productiveness. Regions of amazing
fruitfulness, cultivated by negro slavesif not the only laborers adapted, the only ever tried for that climate and soilbrought froth prodigious opulence. Cotton rose from their labor on that soil to clothe and pacify the world; talisman of peaceable power, of union, tranquility, and nationality, not more valuable to the southwestern slave-holder than to the northeastern abolitionist. Commerce, navigation, manufactures, all the creations of the north, received fresh and prodigious impulse from a southern plant. Carolina and Georgia had granted Mississippi to the United States before they were joined by federal compact, when confederated by that innate necessity for union which preceded and transcends their constitutional junction. Louisiana superadded immense territories for progressive development. Thereupon a staple arose to dethrone iron, long the reigning staple of Englands industrial superiority, and her standard of comparative national civilization. I may be allowed to incorporate here, with a material view of the influence of slave-cultured cotton on American prosperity and peace, sentiments I delivered more than twenty years ago, since when, the growth of cotton has increased from four hundred thousand, to nearly four millions of bales, with commensurate increase of wealth, grandeur, and peace. Nearly simultaneously with the Navigation Act, cotton sprang unexpectedly from the mother earth of this country, to become a miracle of agriculture, of commerce, of navigation, and of manufactures. Its increase is more incredible than the fabulous story of the armed men, who are said to have started from the soil of Greece, or the armed hero leaping into the Gulf of Rome. Four hundred millions of pounds is the annual crop of a small part of the American soil, rather more than one-half of which is wrought by the artisans of England, with a profit that is the root of British power, and must, in time, become the greatest power of America. Nearly the other half is about equally divided between the manufactures of France and our own. Cotton fabrications now more than treble those of iron, and in combination with steam, have changed the whole face of civilization. A seed fertilized by the waters of freedom, though cultivated by the hand of slavery, has rendered the English race, on both sides of the Atlantic, the workmen of the world. Almost superseding linen, eclipsing silk, and vying with woolen, cotton is the cheapest, finest, warmest
cleanest, strongest, most beautiful, lasting, and wholesome, the safest and best material for clothing, bedding many parts offurniture, and, it is believed, the canvas of shipping. If all Christendom were clothed in cotton, or even cotton mixed with woollen, as it is admirably manufactured in this country, the economy of cost would equal the whole expenditure of many nations, maintaining large standing armies; and the economy of life wouldperhaps equal its waste by means of those armies.""If iron is the basis of boasted British superiority, it may be affirmed of cotton, that it not only by freights and manufactures,cements the American Union, but that, it is an elementofAmerican sovereignty, and universal equality.While ever silk, velvet, and fine linen, were the dress of upper classes, they were distinguished from common people as much by garb, as by rank.Itwas impossible for the poor to look like the rich, who, in costume, were their betters. But cotton has levelled this distinction,and destroyed inequality in the appearances of the different classesmore effectually than American legislation, or even the Frenchrevolution.All classes now look alike in all article of universalhabiliment, which. the poor can always get, and the rich cannotdispense with.If equality be essential to the perfection ofliberty, cotton, sprung from that part of this country where theutmost inequality prevails, superadds equality to the libertywhich, it has been attempted to be shown, came into being withthe discovery of America."Recollecting how miraculously Louisiana came to the UnitedStates for their expansion, and seeing how- cotton enriches their inhabitants, altogether North as well as South, and fortifies their whole union against foreign or intestine disturbances, it is the most natural emotion of American patriotism gratefully to acknowledge the special providence of such blessings. All the wide-spread United States, infrangibly welded together by the product of slave labor, impart to their vast commerce an extent and freedom not anticipated when commerce and slavery compromised for more perfect union by a constitution, whose wisest framers could not anticipate such prodigious and early prosperity. Northeastern and southwestern commonwealths, without armed compulsion, held together in natural conjunction by reciprocal dependence; sovereign States rapidly filling with sovereign people, as peaceably as irresistibly realize the whole American experi-
ment of self-government, by agriculture, and commerce, navigation and manufactures, all useful arts in unequalled progress, with the fine and elegant also in rapid introduction. States and cities multiplying, beyond example, the annual harvests of combined liberty and slavery, with scarce an effort, repel and annul speculative, far-distant, theoretical philanthropy in vain decrying such national greatness. Five millions added to millions of slave owners, four millions the increase of seven hundred thousand slaves, eight more prosperous States, all the offspring of American union since independence, by practical refutation disprove the prejudice of Old, teaching New England that slavery contaminates and dwarfs whatever it touches. Four millions of slaves living contented with eight millions of masters, enjoy habitations, food, and raiment, such as no peasantry is allowed, and tranquility unknown wherever rampant abolition rails at their condition. Such is the history, such the growth of the United States, since Great Britain surrendered to them all their negro slaves as national property. Such peace, order, and quiet, prejudice, either national or provincial, European or remote American, in vain reproaches as misery and sin. Sudden and forcible deracination of a root of such enjoyments, is as irrational and impracticable as the enforcement of a law to prohibit the growth of cotton. Negro slavery and representative democracy, by universal suffrage, are American specialties, of which other countries having no experience, their governing classes instinctively condemn. This view of the American experiment does not insist that it will succeed, but presents the national situation by historical ascertainment, and for nearly a century the trial has certainly been perfectly and wonderfully successful. European disparagement of American democracy was long as explicit as it has become slavery. Detraction of democracy has subsided into mere apprehension and vituperation. Abuse of slavery has grown with the formidableness of less abused democracy, and the hopelessness of abolishing more abused slavery. No European analogy warrants condemnation of the thus far successful American combination of slavery with liberty, the solution of a problem peculiar to these United States. American negro slavery is not bondage so severe as villanage or serfdom, and less oppressive than that of peasants, paupers, Jews, and other outcasts from European equality, the toiling millions of that continent, and of Asia. British free-
dom, the basis and model of American, is nevertheless much surpassed by it. Other European freedom, less than either American or British, little better than revolutionary parody by volcanicoutbreaks, precursors of despotism, is totally unlike the calm,calculating, and lucrative American love of liberty, which seldom mistakes revolt for reform, or confounds spoliation of private property with change of public politics.Abolition of Americannegro slavery is the cry of nearly all Europe, where abolition from their servitude is insurgent, sanguinary, and spasmodic; ruminated in German universities, exciting discontented populace to extort homicidal relief from monarchs, privileged classes, priests,and others, who have no sympathies with those they rule.Hundreds of thousands of fugitives from European bondage attest. its hardships, escaping to American homes, where negro slavery is blended with liberty, while of four millions of negro slaves,littlemore than one in every thousand fly from bondage, and that only when stimulated by abolition. Irish Britons, composing a large portion of these fugitives from English masters, were, for several ages, ruled much more severely than American negro slaves, governed with much greaterdifficulty, and were a much greater reproach and peril to England than negro slavery to the United States, where no large standingarmy is necessary to preserve peace in the slave-holding States, as is indispensable in Ireland. Servitude, worse than African, was not abolished in England,till the revolution of 1638, preceding ours by only about one century. English abolition of Irish servitude is not yet accomplished.While England is free, compared with other European nations,yet French, German, or other continental nations, have but faintnotions of American freedom, of which the national idiocracy isnot duly comprehended even by the English, whose hereditary aristocracy is an institution much less rational, and much morevulnerable than American negro slavery.But the vast power ofan insular nation induces their perpetually meddling with others,to regulate their misunderstood internal government.Nationaland partial English sovereignty is resigned in one day of election by the people, to an omnipotent Parliament.Nationalsovereignty in the United States never leaves the people, whoseirresistible voice is obeyed like the voice of God.Of federalunion by sovereign States, English politics have no idea.Their
union is absorption of Scots, Welsh, Irish, and all colonial individualities in omnipotent British nationality, without any resemblance of that State sovereignty by which negro slavery is created, as part of that sovereignty, as much as the soil or climate of the particular States, altogether superintended and protected, but not internally regulated by federal supremacy. When meddling England reproaches the United States with slavery, or with repudiation of debts, there are few of the best informed English who comprehend that both are affairs of the States, not the nation. England should understand American institutions before railing at or attempting to reform them.
Latterly, converted by American example, Great Britain has substituted something like the American federation of States for her colonial system, which was once, like the Spanish, altogether exclusive and metropolitan. If Jamaica had been governed in 1814 as Canada is now, that fine island would not have been ruined by act of Parliament, expending a hundred millions of dollars for abolition, ordered absolutely without consent, and not to the wise policy of self-government, England may yet discover the justice of leaving the sovereign, though United States, their traditional and undeniable right of each State to govern slaves inherited from a mother country, as she rules minors, apprentices, paupers, Jews, soldiers, sailors, and other subjects under pupil-age; their protection indicated as inherent to the national sovereignty over all.
Whether African slavery in America be evil or not, is a very small part of the problem to be solved. Beyond all question, and overpowering denunciation, four millions of slaves cannot be liberated at once, without universal and ruinous disorganization and distress inflicted upon the whole twenty-five or thirty millions of the American people, free and bond, and final fatal catastrophe of the grand experiment of cheap self-government. In England, or in Europe, abolition is like stars and garters, the plaything or bauble, for the most part, of well-meaning theorists; but in this country, a cataclysm, which no rational being can contemplate without dread. None but fanatics like those who, in the English and French revolutions, ruled for a time with terror and bloodshed, recommend such abolition. But better and wiser men are responsible for the introduction of such dreadful
end to their beginning.Mr. Adams, I believe, always deniedthat he was an abolitionist.Mr. Webster, in one of his easternapothegms, is reported to have pronounced slavery "a blight, a blast, a mildew, curse, and scourge," to the delight, probably, of many hearers, as ignorant as he who uttered that ebullition, allwithout practical knowledge of what he reprobated.
When that vital cement of American union became the test of a national crisis, Mr. Webster, feeling its vitality, renounced the groundless prejudice of Old and New England, and exerted not only his superior eloquence, but his powerful logic, in vindicationof much abused slavery.Nor has or can any American patriot hesitate in preference for his country with that evil, if it be evil, rather than endanger it for a sentimental abstraction dictated fromabroad.For abolition, though a general inclination, is not, in itsexcesses, an American emotion. Henry Clay, another of the eminent slave-holding abolitionists, throughout his long course of patriotic service, constantly presented the view of that difficult subject of which my statement is but an expatiation.It is easy and too common to rail at negro slavery in the United States. Not England alone, or New England, but much of Europe, have united in one loud, long howl against it; yet it would perplex the wisest of all these choristers of its abominations, to explain what harm England, or New England, France, or Holland,suffer from negro slavery in Virginia or Carolina? Their inherited attachment to it, its advantages to the distant States and countries vituperating it, its indispensability to the grand American experiment of liberty and peace, have been indicated by thistract.Can any distant abolitionist tell how it injures him or his home? Zealots affect to scoff at cotton lords and the selfish advantages of slave products. But is the lucrative ever disregarded in man's pursuit of happiness? Has the Creator constituted man ofpure sentiment, without selfishness? Those American abolitionists who disparage as mercenary the cotton plea, descend fromancestors who took up arms against a trifling impost on tea; towhose succor their slave-holding fellow-countrymen instantly rallied, without counting the cost. If they contended for a cardinal principle, love of independence was not a nobler principle.Just before British intervention in the late presidential election,war between the United States and Great Britain was preventedby nothing but slave-grown cotton.Without entering upon any
discussion of a terminated controversy, closed by cotton alone, the facts are, that the government of the United States, for what it deemed British interference with our neutrality, by discharging the British minister and three consuls, inflicted a mortifying ??? on that mighty and proud nation. Their finest fleets ever equipped were ready and eager for exploit, which the ministry must have desired to see achieved by terrific hostilities in America. The American seaports, from Portsmouth to Francisco, were all easily accessible, and nearly defenceless. It is said that when Lord Palmerston considered this subject, Loudon urged the ??? then, because England was never better, this country never was??? prepared for tremendous memento of the might of Britain.
But??? Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow, in a word???, British manufacturers and commerce in American cotton, ???? and their appeal was too strong for national pride and enormous power.
Alleged immoralities, cruelties, and barbarities, imputed to slavery, all granted for arguments sake, what are they to the ???, devastations, bloodshed, and other sufferings inseparable from war? All that morbid fancy or sober reason can allege against slavery, all its imputed wrongs and woes, are insignificant compared with those of war, which it prevented. Instead of republican government, with permanent, well-nigh perpetual peace, secured by plantation produce, war, in the present strength and temper of the American people, might, and probably would settle??? Its cheap, pacific institutions, and implant as passion for arms, of which it is impossible to foresee or imagine the consequences. One years war would cause more misery than a century of negro slavery.
Nations, undoubtedly, if not individuals, are governed, not by their sentiments, but their interests. And the mistake of perhaps the shrewdest and most sagacious of mankind, which has kept them in perpetual commotion and never-ending disappointment, is that they have suffered their passions to rule their interests, while the distant fellow-countrymen they revile have constantly ministered to their prosperity.
A rhapsody of revolutionary freedom, in 1848, broke out with volcanic rupture in France, Germany, not content with reforming politics, but striving to unhinge property. One of its State strokes of inconsiderate enthusiasm by metropolitan edict, exceed-
ing in poetry of politics, the more deliberate act of Parliament in 1834, set free the slaves in the French colonies of Martinique andGuadaloupe. The French results were the same as the English in Jamaica, only that the French negro slaves were more French thanEnglish slaves.Their only understanding of liberty was, thatslaves freed were to do nothing; they did not choose to work,but preferred play; singing, dancing, sports, and other idle recreations, were substituted for labor.With no conception of industrious independence or thrifty occupation, they misspent theirwhole time in frivolities.Sugar planting, already injured by beetsugar made by free labor in France, was ruined by slave liberty in the islands where it had flourished.Slavery is indispensableto its cultivation there, as the abolitionists continue to show by various contrivances to substitute hired labor for enslaved; for itis not a question between black and white laborers.The climate,if not fatal, at any rate overpowering to whites, is agreeable, if notsalutary, to blacks.The laborers must be controlled by absolutemasters, whether black or white.Abolition of slavery had therefore rendered the French West India Islands nearly valueless, tillthe imperial rule of Napoleon III, by gendarmery and othermeans of compulsion, restored something like slavery. Whetherhired Asiatics or Africans are preferable to slaves for work inAmerica, which white men have never yet done, is a problemwhich Europe has undertaken to solve for West Indian America,but which the United States will hardly suffer Europe to solve for them.Historical truth of African slavery in America presents aninveterate and stupendous organization by State necessity, continental vitality, and constitutional arrangement, altogether impervious to external force, no matter whether good or evil, indestructible by extraneous means, insusceptible of removal or reform but by intestine action within the sovereignties where it flourishes. Those indissolubly bound to such an institution have a perfectright to be heard in its justification, moral as well as political, which of late years they never are, but all their pleas of defence and plans of abolition are overwhelmed by torrents of passionate abuse and distant sentimental execration.Their justification Ileave to themselves; having no practical familiarity with operations I never witnessed, and like its distant revilers can compre-
hend only by the lights of history and political philosophy. Still there are important political considerations not to be pretermitted in the controversy excited by English and northwestern aspersion of slave-holding communities; not considerations of transient vulgar politics, but of the logic by which statesmen found empires and administer government, to be briefly noticed in this explanation.
Primary among the consoling verities elicited by the volcanic presidential election just done, trying this republican union, is demonstration and assurance of its infrangibility. The brotherhood of English, indeed nearly all European with American abolition,hasproved utterly unable to sunder states whose confederation, registered indeed by a federal muniment, rests on the indigenous bases of territorial configuration, vicinal and concrescent rivers and lakes, reciprocal physical dependencies, indispensable southwestern contributions to national wealth, and their national development by eastern commerce, navigation, and manufactories. Such natural ligaments, like the waters, intercourse by traffic, travel, and intermarriages, language and other unities of these United States, tried by the orderly, however exciting contest between four or more millions of suffragans as to whom they will employ to execute the federal laws, prove every lustrum to be infinitely stronger ties than noisy declamation is apt to allow.
But ever since the whole earth was of one speech till scattered abroad from the building of Babel, northmen and south havebeen invidious of each other, and according to Pagan animosities even brothers often hate one another: solita fratribus odia,saysTacitus. So that the injunction of the author of Christianity is at once, the most indispensable and most difficult of all sublime lessons that men should love their neighbors as themselves. Bytransition too easy of depraved nature, northeastern aversion to slaveryfastens on those upholding it, though neighbors and fellow countrymen, with contumelious obloquy of their morals, politics, manners,homes, soil, conduct, and condition altogether. Such invidious vanity of birthplace is the vulgarity of patriotism, but envyis itsown executioner. Eastern emissaries traversing the MiddleStates, by odious comparisons to inculcate hatred of slave-holding compatriots, peddle the partisan ignorance of disloyal abolition tothose who know better, as all should know who are acquaintedwith American annals and permanent politics. The elder andgreater luminaries of northeastern intelligence and patriotism were
far from shedding the false light of recent asteroids straying from their spheres under such total eclipse of the most familiar knowledge as to set up the monstrous predication that a mere majority of numbers in a nation of confederated states may dominate the minority in numbers. Such seems to be the heresy of an itinerant presiding officer of a house of representatives which, like the nation for whom it legislates, is absolutely fettered by multiplied rules and regulations to preserve the minority from the despotism of any mere majority. Does not Massachusetts know that Delaware is her constitutional equal? And New York that New Jersey islikewise hers? The intolerable tyranny of unbridled majority is interdicted by the whole system of State sovereignty, with other constitutional checks and balances, all carefully arranged for harmonious freedom and coequal confederate nationality, A minority surrendered at discretion to the capricious rule of transient numbers, might be outlawed for abolition or by any other disorganization of the whole Union. Sixteen States might disfranchise orexpel the other fifteen.Nothing betrays more palpably the incapacity of any portion of the United States to govern the whole than ignorant and ignominious assumption that the most numerous have thereby a right to rule the rest arbitrarily.
That northeastern assumption of the fact of northern majority to rule a southern minority for the abolition of slavery is nofact or majority at all, but that the assumed northern majority is a northeastern minority, is fully established by the recent Presidential election. The northern majority against abolition is a large overwhelming preponderance.For that or any similar assault upon the Union, Pennsylvania, with the other States of the great central zone, will always be found a bulwark insurmountable bynortheastern disloyalty. Before the Western States were established, prior to acknowledgment of independence, and when no federal constitution had been formed for more perfect union, in a spirit of continental nationality equally natural and conservative, Pennsylvania, by the abolition act of 1780, and a memorable protest, signalized her indissoluble copartnership with the slave-holding States, and since then has never wavered from that intimacy. Northeastern politicians deprecated extension of the United Statesbeyond the Ohio into the large territories there granted by Southern States to the Union, which by territorial vicinal and riverainjuxtaposition naturally ally the central with the slave-holding
Southern States. The plethoric northeast, with harsh climate and hard soil, sends forth continual emigration to milder seasons and more fruitful lands in the west: by schools, shops, handicraft, and other useful complements to follow southwestern pioneers who, with rifle and spade, prepare the wilderness for civilization. Northeastern ingenuity always endeavors, and with occasional success, to propagate its prepossessions, of which abolition is one, and love of rule another. But while ever the vast western water highways bear prodigious productions to their natural outlet, the Gulf of Mexico, superiority of southwesternattraction for midland State enterprise must predominate through all that region from the Atlantic to the farthest west.Northeastern detachment of Pennsylvania or any other of these States from their natural affinity with the South, in desperate endeavor to fabricate a northern majority of such materials, is like the poets simile of turning the tide with a pitchfork.Geographical and historical ignorance combined begets the gross mistake thatf the United States could be separated, the centre would forsakethe South.Before the acquisition of Louisiana, with its slave populationguarantied by the treaty of purchase, that noble specimen oforiginal Pennsylvania federalism, James Ross, moved in theSenate of the United States to seize forcibly on New Orleans, rather than risk losing the navigation of the Mississippi, or even confide its security to President Jefferson's pacific management.From that time to this, and at all times, Pennsylvania, with all the midland Western States, have been naturally southern in their interests and sympathies, as they must ever be. Having bythe abolition act of 1780, signalized her national and continental adhesion to the slave-holding States, merely as such, and with viewexclusively to the question of slavery, Pennsylvania again in 1802took the lead with a view to that of western navigation.Withnone, therefore, but fraternal feelings for the Northeast, but with insuperable resistance to their abolition and other disloyal notions, evolved from time to time, Pennsylvania, with the rest of thecentral zone, will never fail to prevent any northern majorityenabling the Northeast to rule the Southwest; majority equally impracticable, unconstitutional, and unterritorial. Mere refutation of that egregious misconception is not enough.Not confining itself at home, selfish northeastern propagation of
its own moral and political, physical and numerical superiority,harassing the centre by odious comparisons to unite in disparagement and abuse of the South, and separation from them, challenges rebuke, as well as refutation, which the middle is theappropriate place to give. Reasonable emulation between North and South is natural and salutary. Whether exterior contrast between them is so glaring as the Northeast has latterly provoked the Southwest to deny by offensive retaliation, I am not qualifiedby practical acquaintance to determine.Where long winter anal unfruitful soil compel more labor for livelihood than where longsummer relaxes and exuberant soil supplies, busy industry is aptto look more smiling and be better regulated than by solitaryroutine of plantation life.And although what candid ascertainment might impute to climate and plenty, sectional antipathy sets down to slavery and its drudgery, yet probably social refinementsare more general northeast than southwest. An American need not be of or descended from New England to be sensible of thegreat merits of that peculiar people, among whom principles andpersonages abound to be proud of.In schools, colleges, authors, by the great republic of letters, the powers of literature, and first American advances in the fine arts and sciences, they excel.Butinferior as the Northeast always has been to the slave-holderin the introduction and establishment of free institutions, the partition and distribution of local advantages seem to be providential to equalize union in harmony.Literary and scientificsuperiority counterbalance political supremacy.The Grecianexcellence of oratory, history, invention, science, painting, poetry,sculpture, and navigation, may, without invidious malevolence,resign, as it must, supremacy in politics to the slave-holders, who, like Romans, have been the only founders, and original institutors of that system of government, which, beginning in the latter end of the last, has, during the present century, by its free, cheap, andpacific polity, placed the United States in the foremost rank of prosperous and powerful empires.Like Rome, for many ages moreknown by actions than their description, slave-holders proclaimed those rights and founded those liberties which, like Greeks, thepeople of New England have best commemorated.Mere localcontroversy between North and South is insoluble. Whether New Hampshire and Massachusetts surpass Tennessee and Alabama in progressive improvements, whether Boston is more thrive-
refined, or luxurious than Baltimore, who shall decide? But tradition, and registered historical documents establish beyond all dispute that American independence, liberty, and written constitutions, bills of rights, with the other charters and consecrations of free government, all originated with slave-holders on their plantations: rebuke invited by northeastern misrepresentationin late explosions of southern disparagement.Theliterature of American liberties was first edited by writtenconstitutions of Virginia and North Carolina, in 1770, severalyearsbefore Massachusetts or other States of New Englandfollowed their example. Both these slave-holding States likewiseclaim, with strong show of proof, to have published declarations of independence before that of the United States, at Philadelphia,onthe 4th July, 1776. As originators and founders of the daringAmerican experiment, not only of independence but larger libertythan was ever before ventured, slave-holders took the lead. Nota founder has arisen from among the learned cast; north of theNorthRiver, not one man capable of combining other men as anation, ruling them in peace and leading them by polity topower. Heroic personages like Washington and Jefferson, towhom may be added Madison and Hamilton, to stamp theimpress of genius for government on the American trial of it,were none of them from that portion of the United States whencelave latterly sprung up those certainly not superior to theformer great of that region, but who nevertheless claim the rightto rule, as their superior predecessors never did or could.Rare in all ages and countries, and often in all ages and countries not of indisputable superiority while living, posthumous renown consecrates the monumental individuality of the Heroic great.Washington'spriority is universally acknowledged. Jefferson'spolity more contested, whether right or wrong (into which question this view does not enter), was undeniably that original and fundamental system, which has chiefly prevailed ever since founded by him. Slave-holders in the undisturbed meditation of plantation life, with frequent transactions in State representations, werethe two principal founders of American free government, bywhom its first practical development was organized with Washington as primary Chief Magistrate, and Jefferson as his chiefofficial counsellor, far advanced by them, with Madison in Congress and Hamilton in cabinet co-operating, before anyof the
other eminent but secondary statesmen undertook it; and when undertaken by northeastern statesmen of great knowledge, experience, and patriotism, as far as they were personally concerned, it was an entire failure in their hands.North of the slave-holding States, among much eminence in many other ways, not a founder has appeared, not one mancapable of ruling all other men. Every bill of rights and written constitution came first from the slave-holders, as if the intellectual like the material distribution of advantages was providentallyequalized. As southern cotton, balancing northern commerce and navigation, the rights of man originated in the south, while the literary, scientific, and mechanical preponderance has been east.Those northeastern missionaries, who latterly traversed to illuminatedate the calmer latitudes of the middle ground, and indoctrinateabolition by excessive and grossly ignorant depreciation of slave holders and their communities, not one of them could mention an American from the inauguration of the first President of the United States till now, unless a slave-holder, who has proved his capacity for ruling a nation, founding or governing people in commonwealth; not one endowed by nature or enabled by art to control a mass of mankind. Every American founder of American liberty has been a slave-holder. Nor can there be greater mistake of American history or polity, than northeastern assumption of a faculty for government, which, without offence, it must be said was never the attribute of northeastern statesmen, greater than those at present insisting on their right to rule, who ignoring the history of these united colonies and States, mistake, their own mission and genius. The presidential election just closed in their discomfiture, is only one more added to many prior proofs that while in public speaking and writing, the press, the partisan pulpit, the forum, Jurisprudential and legislative, while by all tribunitian means of clamor and commotion, they may excel in perturbation, yet for the last fifty years and more, evil since their first faint assault of the south and slavery began, with the acquisition of Louisiana till now, the northeast has always failed to overcome the masterly inactivity, and impregnable compagination of the more tranquil slave-holding south.Against the British war, against the Mexican war, and without descending into party conflicts, it may be added, against most of the controlling measures, in nearly all the trying crises of the federal
government, northeastern clamor and commotion have proved abortive; and in none more than in the late paroxysm of electioneering abolition.
When those noble forecasting republicans, John and Samuel Adams under the shade of the old English elms, in what came to be called Independence Square at Philadelphia, laid their wise headsand resolute hearts together, in confidential communion as to who would be the fittest person for the continental Congress to put at the head of the American army before Boston, settingaside their own major-general Ward, with several othermilitary men of reputation, in a spirit of the most judicious nationality of patriotism they pitched on a Virginia slave-holder, destined, if all the world were to cast a vote as to who was the greatestman of his era, to be unanimously so nominated.Washingtonaccordingly repaired to the station assigned to him by Congress; and not long after in a letter from New York, dated May1776, to the sarcastic general Charles Lee, was betrayed by what he experienced of sectional dissatisfaction at his selection into perhaps the only sarcastic confidence that ever exuded fromthe penof one so pre-eminently continental, national, considerate,and just. This letter is so remarkable for the national ardor of him, afterwards commonly designated by reason of his gravity, dignity,and almost extreme reserve, thefatherof hiscountry, that the present generation may be enlightened as well as entertained bythe whole of the sarcastic paragraph.Beginning with the unusual familiarity of "My dear Lee," and closing with "your most affectionate," he pours out his burning reprobation of the discomfited English, and the fugitive Tories, for trying to deprivemankind of their inherent rights and privileges, whether, as hewrites, made in the east, west, north, or south, and rejoices inthe punishment by sufferings and distress of Tories as parricides. Flushed with triumph, fierce with patriotic hatred of foes, as much the Boston traitors as the defeated Britons, the new commander-in-chief thus vents his hearty contempt on two of theMassachusetts military, who, by Washington's selection for command, were deprived of place and pay: General Ward, whose sonrepresented Boston in Congress when I was there, during the warof 1812, and General Fry."General Ward, upon the evacuation of Boston, and finding
there was a probability of his removing from the smoke of his own chimney, applied to me, and wrote to Congress for leave to resign.A few days afterwards, some of the officers, as he says,gettinguneasy at the prospect of his leaving them, he applied for his letter of resignation, which had been committed to my care;but, behold! it had been carefully forwarded to Congress, and, asI have since learned, judged so reasonable(want of healthbeing the plea), that it was instantly complied with. Brigadier Fry, previous to this, also conceiving that there was nothing entertaining or profitable to an old man, to be marching andcountermarching, desired, immediately on the evacuation ofBoston,(which happened on the 17th of March) that he might resign his-commission on the 11thof April:the choice of the day became a matter of great speculation, and remained profoundly mysterioustill he exhibited his account, when there appeared neithermoreor less in it, than the completion of three calendar months; the pay of which he received without any kind of compunction, although he had never done one tour of duty, or, I believe, had ever been out of his house from the time he entered till he quitted Cambridge.The Declaration of Independencebeing movedfor by Richard Henry Lee, another Virginian slave-bolder, a third was appointed to draft it; Virginia having, as well as North Carolina, declared it before Congress was called upon to do so likewise.Of the select committee appointed for that solemn rejection of metropolitan sway, and appeal to the sympathetic good-will of mankind,the four older and all northern members, Franklin, Sherman. Livingston, and Adams, thought proper to devolve the duty on their junior, the slave-holder abolitionist, Jefferson.
Mention has been already made of the Federal convention.which, after liberty and independence were achieved in Americaand acknowledged by Europe, assembled underslave-holding actuation to form more perfect union. In the edification of thatconsidered the most perfect structure ever raised of durable representative government, it is known to all that Madison and Charles Pinckney, were principal architects, with Washington and his fellow-soldier Cotesworth Pinckney, eminent contributors, beside many others all slave-holders and Madison the scribe, as well as perhaps master workman. That constitution, erroneously said by abolitionists to have compromised with slavery, was all
compromise; but much less with slavery than with militia, currency, judiciary, demarcation between federal supremacy and State sovereignty, organizing the Senate as a secret conclave, without auditory, insensible to popular animadversion, representing no people, but merely sovereign States (on which forgotten subject I hope to incorporate with history some historical revelations), many other difficulties were adjusted. The north claimed navigation, commerce, and manufactures, with all their futurity of inscrutable extensions, tariffs to grind plantations with prohibitory imposts,drawbacks, fisheries, embargoes, navies, wars, illimitable pension lists, great sores as the great seaports have undeniably proved, with profuse protective expenditures and other public plunder, of whichthe farming and planting interest, which is the basis of all,havehad little share. Thesouth were allowed their heritage of slavery without hesitation,in equivalent for the northeastern requirement of prolongedlease in slave trade. Checks and balances were elementary throughoutthe whole constitution, securing minorities from the despotism of overreaching majorities or sectional demagogues. State sovereignty, in addition to strong express reservation, was moreover impregnably entrenched behind slave-holding Delawareandslave-trading Rhode Island, with their respective handfuls offreemen to counterpoise, in case of need, Virginia or Pennsylvania. Liberty, with slavery, was the common heritage of all inco-partnery, and the only question was, how much it should be extended beyond English or antique freedom. The slave-holders were for intrusting the largest scope of it with a sovereign people,andkeeping for government as little as possible. Wise andpatrioticstatesmen of the north and east objected that such racy untried democracy might prove anarchical, and preferred a modification of British institutions. Which was right is a question I donot enter upon in this mere statement of politics, presented justas slavery is by the same statement, not to ascertain whether either slavery or politics are right or wrong, but as American realitiesrecorded by history. Certain it is that in the organization ofgovernment and in its first administration, the slave-holders triedand trusted political liberty most, and were opposed in that trial and trust by the northern predecessors of the present extremest abolitionists. It is needless and would be irksome to enumeratenomination the prevalent and prominent slave-holders employed in
organizing and administering the government with, if not by which , these United States have outstripped all contemporaneous national competition in the career of progressive prosperity and peaceful power. President Washington took for his administration two slave-holders of its four members, and both the foreign ministers he commissioned to England, France and Spain were slave-holders. President John Adams composed the two special missions he sent to make peace with France of each two slave-holders to one east ern gentleman.
But these, it may be repeated, are superfluous enumerations.The truly glorious historical and philosophical fact is that in advancing to grandeur and national happiness such as no other nation has done in the last fifty years, much abused slave-holders have been largely instrumental by conducting this country safelyand triumphantly through every trial of war and many crisesofpeace, to a pitch of renowned eminence formidable and enviable throughout the world.Of these fifty years four only have beenwaged in war two wars at long intervals apart, both undeniably just, both waged for peace, and conquering it. During the wholefifty years one and the same uniform system of polity, abroad andat home, has been maintained with entire consistency of administration and object, and with as entire success. Its only alarminginterruption is by that baneful and malignant spirit whose venomousinfatuation urges internecine civic hostilities by one portionof the same people against another, originated and inflamed byforeign fanatical suggestion, warfare much more dangerous than irruption by fleets and armies, domineering and the only hinderance of prodigious progress.
During these fifty years of American stability and uniformity of governmental system, all Europe has been frequently convulsed by destructive hostilities, and nearly every nation inconstant inits polity. Emperors, kings,queens and reigning princes have been forcibly dethroned.No nation has, if it can, paid its debts.Several are bankrupt. Nearly all southwestern Europe has adopted in some measure the American representative system ofgovernment.The least frequent and violent in change of systemis that kindred people saved from revolution by Americanpolitical improvements.Such are the works of this slave-holdingrepublic.
Still discontent and malevolence, envy, hatred and malice have
enduring, nearly all these fifty years of almost fabulous prosperitycontinually festered in and about the educated, highly intelligent and refined metropolis of the sagacious and peculiar population of New England. Receiving from the federal government more than full share of its honors and emoluments, enjoying by means of southern slavery at least as large if not larger portion of nationalbenefits than any other part of the United States, still hatred to their southern benefactors, disaffection to their federalgovernment, incalculable disadvantage and suicidal injustice and injury to themselves, have become morose and morbific distempers. Whether organic or not, it is certain that by proof of a Massachusetts President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, a gentleman of as much conscientious truth as is compatible with strong passions and prejudices, but by him indelibly, stamped on the records and history of his country, by the testimonyas unimpeachable and irrefutable of a Massachusetts judge ofthe Supreme Court of the United States, Joseph Story, registered by hisson's credible biography of a distinguished parent, together with the confession as vouched by Mr. Adams of a Senator of the United States and Governor of New Hampshire, William Plainer, a scheme to dismember the Union, and erect a northeastern confederacy excluding the southwestern States, was plotted in Massachusetts, chiefly in Boston, permanent head-quarters of burning disaffection and commotion, has fermented ever since, more than once been attempted, first in 1809 with British co-operation, again by the Hartford Convention in 1814. Southern slave-holders by discomfiting British endeavors to conquer Louisiana from the United States, with the patriotic nationality of thecommon people of New England, veiled the treacherous designwithdespicable amnesty and nebulous oblivion.
That leaven infused by malcontent and recalcitrant politiciansand partisan priests, never corrupted all the whole lump; for those John Adams in his well-known work on the English constitution termed common people have always been the better people of Massachusetts; much more national and patriotic than their self-styled betters, the outside or upper populace, who, like French red proletariat and Neapolitan lazzaroni, subsist by commotion, excitement, and disorder. Western extension before the acquisition of Louisiana, southwestern federative ascendencysince then, with originally some faint objection to slavery, were
all for the most part mere pretexts for insistence on the larger portion of public place and official patronage, held northeast till the beginning of this century, soon after which self destruction orparalysis of the northeastern side of the old federal party, brought on agonies of complaint and imaginary distress. There is extantan unpublished letter written by that still vigorous patriarch ofMassachusetts, John Adams, describing his Boston neighbors as so ravenous for prey, that if all the public places were bestowedon them, cormorants there would still crave more. ThelateJudge Woodbury held a similar opinion of them. Southernslavery, when England gave the cry, was the best imaginable object on which to fasten concentrated intolerant persecution, reverberating English howl with intensified gall and rampancy.Slavery long regretted by numbers of those bred toit, andalwaysan equivocal tenure, was stunned by blows at what was more easily assaulted and condemned than defended or justified. Outlawed by England as heinous crime, its abolition was proclaimed abroad as consummation, hailed cast and apprehended south in the United States, as condign destruction of American false andbase independence. Sharing and aggravating the guilt of equallyodious and incomprehensible democracy, the twin monsters weresentenced as malefactors to be gibbeted together; and the peculiar people of Anglo-Saxon race, who enjoy dismal more than lively spectacles, delighted to attend and applaud the execution of theone, some of them preferring abolition even to the other. For of the Massachusetts population those John Adams might have designated as common people, seem to be quite uncommon. With never-failing plebeian patriotism pervading an excellent mass, there is an educated populace outside of the multitude whose enjoyments are continual disturbance, clamorous agitation,pestilential disloyalty, and abominable infidelity. The multitudejustly, perhaps excessively proud of Plymouth Rock, feelhowever that another rock, that of federal union, is the rock of theirsecular salvation, to which they must cling in spite of incessant endeavors of the more flagitious educated to detach them from that saving rock and cast them away on the barren rock of Plymouth. Leaders too much educated for manual labor and undistinguished thrift, by stress of brains without exercise of sinews, alarmingly indicate that the boasted system of common schoolsmay fill communities with men and women more worldly than
virtuous. Incompatibility of creeds, excluding from public schools religious culture of the heart, renders the will uncharitable, headstrong and rapacious. Such tuition from the first step astray leadsthe pupil at last to intractable defiance of whatever contravenestolerance of toleration and permanent revolt against authority.Those invested by Christianity and society with the holy privileges of church and sex, proclaim disdain of their mellowing influences, preferring demoniac revels of brawling faction and disgusting licentiousness. Such is not the genius of the plebeian northeast;but the domestic despotism which the restive upperpopulacy impute to fellow countrymen as the genius of southwestern slavery, engenders between the two extremes acrimonious hostility, to which even foreign nations at war with eachother are strangers. The good common people of New England love their whole country more than those more educated who claim in and ought to be their betters. The honest mass deeplyfeel the vital necessity of union, of all the American people and States, while the higher populace, whose progenitors hangedQuakers and whipped women, would put Webster, Choate, andWinthrop to death as unpardonable recusants.It is necessary to have been as member of Congress from a central State, one of a supposed democratic committee in order to appreciate the reign of terror with which a small minorityof indefatigably fanatical abolitionists overrode much of thenorth, like Marat and St. Just in the French Jacobin clubs, reducing a great affrighted majority to the utmost mortification of abject submission. Deprecated associations of habitual party, with its salutary fraternal nationality north and south, quailedunder the lash of unmerciful castigation: driving the widest antagonisms into monstrous fusion, as that unrelenting domination has done in its grand climacter during the late presidential election.Territories such as Texas, now with slavery, the richest, mosttranquil, if not improving of any State in the Union, were repelledwith preposterous malediction.The whole coequal south wasdebarred from California, appropriation bills fettered with absurdshort-lived provisos, the entire legislation of Congress under the despotism of cabalistic countersign which it was northeasternpolitical death to disregard such was the reign of terror which prefaced disunion. Legions of abolitionists, free-soilers, free-toilers, and other adventurers, like the Vandals who overran South-
ernEurope,ralliedtosubjugate the SouthernStates. New crusaders, English and North American, French and German, Suabian, Swedish, descendants of Goths, and some Asiatic, were to rush on African slavery in America, and drive fifteen States under the Caudine forks.Failing to enlist the centre, the north palters in their crusade, of which the blasting after-thought must have been to subjugate masters and liberate slaves. Otherwise there is no logic in their abolition. To concede legality and intangibility to slavery in fifteen States, merely resisting its diffusion, abandons all morality of objection, together with all thin political virtue of abolition, leaving in the right only those few conscientious but passive protestants against slavery, who never resist by force, and those few madmen who forcibly resist theircountry, the constitution, and the Bible. Root-and-branch abolitionists, who insist on the extermination of slavery as not merelymalum prohibitumbutmalum in se,offense againstGodand grievous sin by man, according to the testimonials of the late presidential election, are all that are left, the insignificant remnant of sincere and honest passive or demoniac abolition.
To which class does that senator belong whose personal distress has attracted national sympathy? Not only an educated buta travelled gentleman, has his invective been barbed with morethan Boston poignancy? Apparently merged in horrors of slavery,his senatorial station, like that of British commissioner in Cuba, is exclusively devoted to superintend, expose, and resist its abominations.Not contentwith that senatorial service, irresponsible aspersions of other senators and habitual traducement of States inflame his discourse. History abounds with narratives of the great effect which often comes of little causes. The subjugating condescension of splendid English hospitalities seduces manyyoung Americans from their country.A senator's portrait hangsin the hall of an English castle, the seat of noble landlords, where the American Cassandra was welcomed for fabulous denigrationof her country.Such castles receive their delighted guests, likeHannibal at Capua.American love of English lords is easilyconverted by them into their love of American negroes, and transplanted from English noble mansions to American seaports flourishes with unpatriotic, but irresistible gratitude for social honors received abroad.Disorderly and unprovoked personalities in debate, challenging still more disorderly retaliation,
might be witty requital for such favors. If that defied retaliation convulsed the whole United States from Atlantic to Pacific,threatened their dismemberment, and helped the candidate of abolition to the Presidency, a debt of gratitude was paid with compound interest.Cassandra begirdled with serpents maychange the scene of her next legend from cotton fields and dismal swamps to the capitol at Washington.England neither old or new, nor together, have yet unveiled all the mysteries and miracles of negro slavery in America; much more to be feared than its bitterest modern detractors have toldor imagined. The most philosophical and suggestive of Britishstatesmen, remonstrating with Great Britain when as implacablyhostile to American liberty as now to American slavery, extolled it as noble haughtiness of domination, which all history teaches combines with and fortifies love of freedom in masters of slaves, and renders it in them indomitable. If Burke had lived till nowhe would have recognized more striking American, than all theancient exemplification of that historical truth by which he vindicated this country. Northern suburban tumultuary crowds,custom-house combinations, partisan meetings, riflemen pastors, female sharp shooters, the local seldom pervading press, with all the other means of abolition a thousand miles off if American, and three thousand if foreign, have little effect on distant sequestered slavery. Property is an overmatch for sentimentality.Slave-masters in the instructive solitude of rurality, whose haughty independence, according to Macon's quaint illustration,is hardly disturbed by barks of a neighbor's dog, meditates selfpreservation from distant but constant foes of their possessions, and instigators of their household to revolt. Life and fortunealways at stake, beset by such assailants, tax man's spirit forits utmost resources. Pastors preach, and females wail destruction, in reckless abortion of remote abolition, only warningsequestered slavery to sharpen the wits and stiffen the sinews of incensed masters. Constrained by the intemperance of abolition to exclude or extinguish its firebrands, they are notoften available among the slaves; and their distributors seldomseek the glory or influence of martyrdom. Exhorting only where there are no slaves, they rarely venture like most greatreformers to brave insult, imprisonment or death itself for their
cause. Thusnorthern, distant and foreign abolition begets its own discomfiture, and that slave-holding imperturbable ascendancy, of which its abortive assailants never cease complaints,reproaches and vain endeavors to overcome. Slavery's only diminution, abolition's only success will begin when abolition ceasesto be extraneous pressure. Till then, northeastern complaint is neither as wise or as pungent as it might be.For it is not a minority of fifteen States with eight millions of people which have controlled a majority of sixteen States with fourteen millions of people. But less than three hundred thousand mastersof slavesactuate eight millions of people, as if one man on all subjects ofwhich slavery is the chief object, by that absorbing and resistlesslever regulating the politics of other fourteen millions of people in sixteenStates; to none of whom slavery is acceptable, tomany offensive, and to some intolerably detestable. There must be magic in the web of such a faculty, for government, federal as well as State, for founding republics and shaping their polity, for resisting foreign assaults, and preserving domestic tranquillity.Confederated disaffection may alienate, embroil, perhapsembattle United States.But southern love of liberty with slavery, even if driven to the verge of disunion, or over it, will only more effectually disappoint northern interference with the possessions and predilections of proud and dominant masters. Abolition south can never begin by extrinsic and insulting pressurenorth, nor can it be ever extended further from north to south, unless enacted as by the Pennsylvania law of 1780, not only confining its operations to the State enacting it, but scrupulouslysecuring the slave property of all other States where it exists.Nothing in American politics, compared with those of the old world, has been more surprising abroad, or impressive at home, than that principle of resignation engrafted by Washington's example on the federal constitution, by which a chief magistrate resigns his great powers, and retires unpensioned to private life, after laudable love of public esteem has been gratified by re-election. Of' that esteem it is significant of public sentiment, that the only re-elected presidents were slave-holders; all living to advanced ageall but Washington far beyond the usual term of longevityeach with a long interval between active life and meditative seclusion from it. Studious of this world's good-will, but much more
of everlasting immortality, those illustrious objects of American veneration lived and died all slave-holders. Washington, who, during his presidency, wrote to Sinclair that slavery was receding from Pennsylvania, and probably would in Virginia, by will, several years afterwards, freed his slaves, after his own death andthat of his widow, but without assigning any reason for it. Though Cartwright, an early English Radical, had then published a letter to Washington, predicating the common English confusion of black and white in the right of men to liberty, and accusing Washington of imputed inconsistency in maintaining freedom and holding slaves; yet abolition was then so faint a cry that Washington hardly heard of it. Jefferson's enthusiastic zeal for it gave way at its American alarming increase, manifested by the Missouri controversy.Madison, finding his slaves unprofitable, directedby his last will that they should be sold.I am not aware thatMonroe made any remarkable disposition as to his.Jacksonexpired consoling slaves weeping at his bedside.Four, if not all five of those slave-holding chief magistrates,were founders or the boldest reformers of republican institutions; all of them inaugurators of their most democratic experiments.From consideration of their influence on the American mission of political regeneration, if such it be, to the northeastern, particularly the Massachusetts presidents, the conclusion must be thatNew England, with many indisputable merits, is not the regionof political founders or reformers.By selection and rejection,the Adamses, father and son, seem to indicate American preference for slave-holding founders and rulers. John Adams, admirable in Congress, foreign missions, everywhere in public service kept as president, failed totally as such; could not control his own party or keep it together; plunged the country into inextricable difficulties, and was completely depopularized when strivingfm re-election.Reproaching Jefferson with supplanting him, "Ihadlittle or nothing to do with it," said Jefferson; "I was butthe rallying point of those who preferred another system to yours."His son, John Quincy Adams, with such training abroad and athome as no other American statesman ever enjoyed, more public places and opportunities, with superior attainments and experience, ardent patriotism withal, admirable as Secretary to a plain,practical, slave-holding statesman,
tithe of the Secretary's learning and accomplishments, was as president, notwithstanding so superior a colaborer as Mr. Clay, extremely unacceptable, scholastic, fantastic, vapid, jejune, andunapt for rule.The fate of both those New England presidents was to show that, with many talents, they had none of the special capacity by wisdom required, more than learning, for governing a republic. Descending from those northeastern demigods, to the last in some respects, perhaps, most celebrated of their heroic civilians, upon whose panegyric statues and pictures are multiplied,over whose recent grave clouds of local, mixed withsome small infusion of transatlantic incense fumes, Mr. Webster,as oratorscarcely equalled, as logician admirable, as lawyer leading, assenator controlling, even as wit, attractive,andaltogether eminent, constrained to sacrifice State popularity for national influence, the giant in speech dwindled in action.His wholeapprenticeship as Secretary of State for thepresidency was asequence of total failures. Surrendering his country north inMcLeod's case, and south in that of the Creole, both capitulations were reversed by umpirage among the very fogs of Threadneedle Street.
Surrendering the American sea palladium, it was restored to the United States by all the great powers of Europe in Congress, by Treaty of Paris; surrendering one-third of old Massachusettsfor a British military road; crouching before the Hungarian adventurer, with seaports, abolitionists and Senates, till the idol was overthrown by slave-holding iconoclasts, Secretary Webster'sfinal failure was by perilous misprision of the guano job, nearplunging the United States into war.Constant experience that the slave-holding south supplies rulers most acceptable to the north has induced its successive preferenceof Cotesworth Pinckney, Henry Clay, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott, and John Charles Fremont, all from the south, and several of them slave-holders, as the northern choice for presidents. As northeastern sectional antipathyto slavery increases, so does its preference for slave-bred rulers, until at last those whose flaming rubric is anathema of slavery and its supporters, rejecting a proffered northern candidate of unquestionable eminence, rallied to a neophyte whose birth, education, and innate sympathies rose from his mother earth, irre-
sistible refutal of northern champions shouting to the centre to join in odious denigration of their leader's birth-place, and unnatural hostilities against his kindred and associations. In such warfare no place was left for neutrality, dubiety, or hypocrisy.Free-soil, free-toil, and all other counterfeits, auxiliaries of abolition, were compelled to take side. Henceforth British and American coalition against American slavery, deserted by all who coincide in its constitutional legality, is reduced to ignoble and hopeless controversy with squatter sovereignty. Revelation of an eleventh commandment so recently discovered against African slavery in America was not made public tilllong after my impressions concerning it were settled.The firsttime I heard of it, then but faintly and most disastrously objectedto this country, was by the Hartford Convention. With prepossessions of two centuries of New England lineage, and much ofthem from clergymen forefathers there, birth and residence inPennsylvania, I trust, centralized my love of country.At college and in Congress early associations had no tendency to prejudice me against slave-holders. While still young, impressionable, and imitative, it was my fortune to be associated, at one or theother of these normal schools, and in many instances at both, with William II. Crawford, George Troup, and John Forsyth, of Georgia; Joseph Alston and his brothers, Daniel Auger, Thomas Pinckney, John Middleton, William Lowndes, John C. Calhoun,and Langdon Cheves, of South Carolina; William Gaston, Nathaniel Macon, Frederick Nash, William It. King, and JosephPearson, of North Carolina; James Madison, James Monroe,Charles Fenton Mercer, James Pleasants, John W. Eppes, andGeorge Washington Parke Custis, of Virginia; Henry Clay, inall the brilliant ascendant of his commanding nature, besidesmany other slave-holders, not only by talents, but patriotism, rectitude, purity of morals, and amenity of intercourse, without instituting such odious comparisons as are lately too common, certainlythe equal of others, fellow-countrymen, wherever born or bred. Slavery had not deteriorated, nor its institution degraded them. They had incurred no sentence of exclusion from the Union, its politics, society, churches or honors.Early impression of theirworth has been forced by abolition to conviction that the communities represented by such citizens in the American United States
are much more sinned against than sinning by slavery. Thatsuch abolition is much greater evil than such slavery, is the solemotive of this imperfect endeavor to vindicate, not them, but our common country from detraction by foreign prejudice, and worse than foreign enmity.
C. J. INGERSOLL.
Forest Hill , Philadelphia,