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practical friends of the cause we pretend to have so much at heart. It costs is nothing to vituperate slavery and the slave-holders; and, therefore, we play with the subject as we please; indifferent, very often, to the interests or feelings of those persons who alone have power to do any good. It would be far better policy to obtain their co-operation by trying to show them in what their true interest consists; but it is quite vaid to expect them to listen with coolness, while we are putting in jeopardy every thing they hold dear in the world.” Vol. ii. p. 234 236.
“ The political problem relating to the blacks, which the practical men who shall be alive a huvdred years hence, may be called upon to solve, will, in all probablity, be very different from that which it becomes the present generation to attempt. Whatever posterity may do, however, we of the nineteenth century, if we really expect to advance the cause of humanity, in a proper and effective way, must not sit still, and scold or weep over the system of slavery, either in the abstract, as it is called, or in the practice.
“ The idle things I have heard on the subject of slavery, by people who had not seen a dozen black men in their lives, have sometimes reminded me of a pompous fellow who pretended to be a great sailor, till being once cross-questioned as to what he would do in a gale of wind, if it were necessary to take in the main-topsail-'0, sir,' said he, 'I would man the tacks and sheets-- Jet all fly—and so disarm the gale of its fury!' Now, it is just in this fashion that many well-meaning people hope to disarm this hard slavery tempest of its errors, by the mere use of terms, which, in truth, have not the smallest application to the subject.
" The planters, who are men of business, and know better how to treat the question, set about things in a more workman-like style. Their first step is to improve the condition of the negro; to feed and clothe him better- take better care of him in sickness—and encourage him, by various ways, to work cheerfully. The lash, it is true, must still, I fear, be used; but it may be handled with more method, and less passion. These things, properly brought about, beget generous sympathies in both parties; for here, too, the reaction I spoke of formerly, soon shows itself – the slave works not only more, but to better purpose, and as the master feels it his interest, it soon becomes his pleasure, to extend the system further—which again leads to fresh advantages and fresh reactions, all of the same salutary description.
“ The effect of better treatinent raises the character of the slave, by giving him better habits, and thence invests him not exactly with a positive or acknowledged right to such indulgences, but certainly with a tacit or virtual claim to them. This is a great step in the progress
of improvement; because the slave will now try, by good conduct, to confirm the favours he has gained, and to draw them into established usages. The master's profit, in a mere pecuniary point of view, arising out of this introduction of something like a generous motive among his dependents, I have the very best authority for saying, is in most cases indubitable. If experience proves that such cousequences follow kind treatment, and that human nature is not dissimilar in the case of the blacks from what it is in every other, these advantages, which at first
may be only casual, or contingent upon the personal character of a few masters, must in time become the usage over the plantations generally. Thus one more step being gained, fresh improvements in slave discipline-taking that word in its widest sense--would then gradually creep in under the management of wise and benevolent persons, whose example would, of course, be initated, if the results were productive. This progress, I have strong reason to believe, is now in actual operation in many parts of America.
Better domestic habits are daily gaining ground amongst the negroes, slowly but surely. More intelligence, better morals, and more correct religious feelings and knowledge, are also steadily making their way amongst that unfortunate race of hunan beings; and in no instance, I am told, have these improvements taken place without additional profit, and additional security to the master.' Vol. ii. pp. 237-239.
In the following passage, he takes notice of an absurd notion which seems to be gaining ground in more Northern latitudes, very much, we fear, to our disadvantage in every point of view. We have no uneasiness at all about the event of any servile war, unless it be complicated with some other kind of war.
If our Northern friends will have the goodness to abstain, as with few exceptions they have hitherto abstained, from propagating impracticable and dangerous doctrines about universal emancipation and equality of rights, we shall have not the least occasion for their services in the field. Let the loyalty of the slave not be disurbed by jacobinical lectures on the wrongs of which he has never been conscious—and he will not conspire at all. Let his conspiracy be unaided by foreign power, and it will be easily suppressed. Let it break out into open rebellion, and he and his whole race will be exterminated. We deprecate this sort of interference, for the sake of the slave rather than of his master. It will lead to nothing but discontent on the one side, and systematic cruelty on the other-to what Burke admirably characterizes as the “merciless policy of fear.'
“ The number of negroes is already very considerable, and they are increasing so rapidly, that some people imagine there will ere long, arrive a moment of political danger, from their mere physical force. Vuquestionably there must always be danger from great numbers of persons combined for such a purpose as we may imagine the blacks to have in view. But I do not believe there is one man alive, who has attended to the subject, and certainly not one who has examined it on the spot, who conceives it possible that any thing but slaughter and misery would be the result of such an attempt on the part of the slaves to redress their grievances, real or imaginary, by means of force alone. Insurrections would, no doubt, cause unspeakable distress and ruin to their present inlasters; but there cannot be the shadow of a doubt, on
- Cf. What Aristotle says about the Helots of Sparta, lib. i. c. X.
any reasonable mind, that the slaves would be speedily overwhelmed, and be either cut to pieces, or reduced to servitude still more galling than they at pretent endure. Now, although all parties in America admit that this would be the result, there are many persons under the impression that in the event of a servile war in the Southern States, the free inhabitants of that section of the Union, could not subdue the insurgents without the co-operation of their non-slave-holding brethren in the North. This, however, I take to be a mere chimera, without any foundation whatever in fact. The armed militia of the slave-holding States is abundantly strong for all the purposes of self-defence, even considered in a mere physical point of view. True security, it must be remembered, as far as force is considered, does not consist in numbers, but in that compact unity of purpose which cannot exist among slaves; but is maintained at all times amongst the free inhabitants of the South.
" It is of the highest importance to the peace of those countries, that the truth of the above positions should be felt and acknowledged by the slaves themselves; because there seems every reason to believe, that precisely in proportion to their advancement in knowledge, so is this conviction strengthened. But as long as they are kept in a state of ignorance, they are perpetually liable to be worked upon by designing men, whu instruct them in nothing, but in the extent of their numbers; and whose logic commences with the fallacy that sixty persons are necessarily stronger than six. If, however, these six have confidence in one another, and have arms in their hands, it is perfectly clear that they are superior iv power, not to sixty, but to six hundred persons who can place no reliance on one another. As the slaves advance in knowledge, therefore, and learn to understand the true nature of their situation, they will only become more and inore aware of the utter hopelessuess of any remedy arising out of violence on their part. When this conviction is once thoroughly impressed upon their minds, they will not only be far less disposed to revolt, at the instigation of agitators, but will be in a better frame of miud to profit by those ameliorations in their condition, to which I have before alluded, as tending to the mutual advantage both of master and slave Vol, ii. pp. 241-243. - To conclude—the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Johnson vs. McIntosh,* in relation to Indian titles, settles the law of the subject under consideration. In his able and luminous exposition of that doctrine, the Chief Justice shews that whatever we might think, were it res integra, of the equity and reasonableness of such maxims, it is too late to discuss that question now. The jus gentium has anticipated and precluded it. The uniform practice of the country-the universal concurrence of all nations in the same policy-the rights acquired by individuals and by States in reference to the law, and under expectations excited by it-in short, whatever can ratify and consecrate a conventional principle, bas given this power to the
* 10 Wheaton
civilized man over the original possessors of the soil. The outcry raised against the people of Georgia and Alabama on this subject, is of a piece with the cant about slavery. At the end of two centuries, after these wanderers have been remorselessly driven back from every point on the Atlantic shore, until their very names are almost forgotten in the thickly settled countries of the North, those States which have still some of them to get rid of, are taunted and denounced by their more fortunate predecessors in this very course, for acting on their own maxims. Civil society could not get on a year, if the ravings of such besotted inbecility, were listened to in the conduct of the commonwealth. Every institution, every ordinance of the State might be drawn into question and shaken to its foundations in the same way. Why, for instance, should not the galley-slave come in for his share of this quixotic sensibility? Who gave the majority of a people the right to legislate at their discretion for the minority-and especially to subject their fellow-citizens to ignominious punishments, for indulging themselves in little liberties, which they are pleased to stigmatize and denounce as crimes ? What but necessity, "the tyrant's plea,” can be alleged in favour of capital punishments in any case, and how loudly ought the blood of whole hetacombs of victims to our tyrannical legislation, to cry to heaven against the civilized world for so many solemn judicial massacres, perpetrated under the forms of law, in all ages and countries! We really wonder that no vows have been offered up in the temples of this new “Goddess of Reason”-that no crusade has been preached up by these revolutionary zealots, for the delivery of thieves and footpads—that judges have not been denounced as suborners of assassination that juries, in all parts of Christendoin, have been found so lost to all sense of humanity and religion, as to find verdicts of "guilty” upon such barbarous indictinents, and that no writ of attaint has ever been sued out against them! Above all, what shall we say of war and the whole body of the jus belli, so fully recognized by all mankind, except one sect remarkable for avoiding, most scrupulously, the shedding of their own blood, and for having very little repugnance to do what they know must lead to the shedding of other people's ?
Upon the right of our Southern States, in all good conscience, before God and man, to uphold their hereditary institutions, we have not the shadow of a doubt, in any view of the question. Of their duty to do so, against any foreign interference, we have still less. They are called upon to maintain them by everything which can bind a man to his ancestors and to his posterityVOL. IV.NO. 8.
by everything wbich makes him feel that he has a country, and that he is bound to stand by her to the death, in all times of peril and difficulty. We take it for granted, that he considers hin self as identified with the commonwealth-that he looks upon its safety and glory as the only foundation of his own hopes. Such a man will feel any attempt of foreigners—by which we mean all who are not bound up with us in the destinies of the same body politic—to interfere with this fundamental institution of our land, as the most unjustifiable of outrages, as the most unequivocal declaration of hostility. If those foreigners happen to sustain a very intimate relation to us, and so to lie under peculiar obligations, not only not to disturb our peace, but to defend us in case of need—if they be those who have always gone out to battle with us against our enemies, and partaken in our trials and our trophies if they be bound to us by the ties of consanguinity, and have established with us a perpetual covenant of union, "to insure domestic tranquillity and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"-far from acknowledging the right, insanely claimed for them on this very ground, by some inconsiderate persons, to interfere in this peculiar local interest, we should regard any such interference on their part with the most sensitive jealousy, and meet it with the most uncompromising opposition. Instead of shrinking from such a contest, if such a contest should ever be forced upon us, we should go into it with every advantage on our side. We should feel confidence in the righteousness of our own cause. We should be armed with invincible strength by our just indignation against the mad and atrocious wickedness of our enemies. Appealing to the constitution of our country--to the spirit in which that covenant was formed, and the objects which it was intended to accomplish-to all the recollections which hallowed, and all the hopes that endeared the conception and consummation of that sublime work of peace and brotherly love, we should call heaven and earth to witness that, not upon our heads-not upon the heads of those whose course had ever been one of self-sacrifice, until necessity made it one of self-defencembut upon those whom no compact could bind, and no argument or intreaty dissuade from a gratuitous and unprincipled interference with what concerned them nothing, but was our whole estate, and life, and being-should rest the guilt and the curse of turning that peace into a sword. But we repeat it, there is as yet no reason to impute such mischievous folly and malignity to the people of the non-slave-holding States in general, whatever a few pestilent jacobins among them may be inclined to say or do; nor is it just to presume against them such dark and diabolical fraud.