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ces, have been constrained to take sides with slave-holders, and to say, Whatever may be true of slavery, slave-holding is not necessarily so bad as you represent it. Those who have demurred at the new doctrine of immediate emancipation, or its corollaries,such as the exclusion of every slave-owner from all christian communion, have been vilified in the publications of these reformers, as “ dough-faces,” "pro-slavery advocates,” “apologists for oppression and man-stealing;" and by suffering the same reproaches with the slave-holder from the same quarter, have been compelled thus far to sympathize with him. The name of abolitionist, which justly belongs, as a name of honor, to all those States which have provided for the extinction of slavery within their own territory, and to every citizen of those States who approves and bonors such a policy, has been perverted and degraded by being claimed as the distinctive name of a bitter, contentious, and therefore obnoxious party; till many who once would have gloried in such a name, and who, when it shall have regained its legitimate meaning, will glory in it again, having lost their sympathy with the name, have unconsciously become less interested in the thing. Under such influences, it is not strange that there has been a temporary reaction in the public sentiment of the free States ; nor is it strange, that political editors and others at the north, presuming on the force and permanency of this reaction, and having an object to gain, have even ventured to defend the whole theory and practice of slavery and the slave-trade, as they exist in the southern States.
At the south, this system of agitation“ has stirred up bitter passions and a fierce fanaticism, which have shut every ear and every heart against its arguments and persuasions.” So says Dr. Channing, and we cannot deny that it is so. Yet if any suppose, that the furious fanaticism of southern demagogues has all been created by the anti-slavery societies, they entirely misunderstand the matter. The direct influence of the immediate-abolitionists has been far less at the south; their publications have bad a far more limited circulation there, than is implied in such a supposition. Besides, others who discussed the subject of slavery before the modern doctrine of immediate emancipation was broached, before the present system of agitation was dreamed of, found, as Dr. Chapniny has found since the publication of this book, that it is not the doctrine of immediate abolition only, nor the scheme of northern agitation only, nor a fierce denunciatory temper only, nor the combination of all these things only, that is odious at the south; but that every discussion of slavery in whatever quarter, and in whatever form ; every proposal for the abolition of slavery, wbatever the spirit in which it may be conceived, and whatever the arguments by which it may be enforced, is sure, if only it attracts attention at the south, to be met with a growl of fanatical defiance.
As we understand the matter, the most important effect of the anti-slavery agitation thus far, has been its influence on the feelings, opinions, and party sympathies of that small portion of the southern community which was predisposed to favor the abolition of slavery. The great majority of active ministers of the gospel at the soutlı, seeing, as they were compelled to see, the disastrous obstacles which slavery rears in the way of the gospel, by its influence on the master, on the slave, on the form and spirit of society; very many of the more devoted and intelligent members of the various christian churches, becoming gradually more and more associated with the churches of the free States in philanthropic and christian enterprises, and continually receiving religious inielligence and religious papers and books from the vorth; many thinking and sober men, considering the subject in the light of politics and political economy, and imbued with the free spirit which breathes through all modern literature; were not only ashamed of slavery, but were ready to receive more light on the question of its moral character, and to ask, how can it be abolished ?-these classes generally have been somewhat acquainted with the movements of the immediate-abolitionists, and bave read enough of their publications to know something of their docuines, their proposals and their spirit. On these persons, the influence of the anti-slavery societies has indeed been "evil without mixture." The idea of immediate and unqualified emancipation they could not entertain for a moment. Moved by their abhorrence of a doctrine which seemed to them so extravagant ; by an excusable indignation at the denunciations burled against them and their fellow-citizens ; by the fear of being thought to entertain some sympathy with "the fanatics of the north ;” and by the natural yielding of each individual mind to the current of public senument; they have taken sides with the most thorough defenders of slavery, and to some extent, with the most fanatical denouncers of the liberty of speech and thought. Thus it is, that while a spirit as malignant as ever thirsted for blood, bas blazed over the southern States, there has hardly been in all the south, one whisper of protestation. Such is the triumph of the anti-slavery societies. They have silenced, they have annibilated for the time, that party in the southern States wbich was opposed to slavery, at least, in theory, and which was inclined to promote inquiry respecting a safe and righteous abolition.
But what is the cause of that excitement of “bitter passions and fierce fanaticism” which is now raging at the south? We bave already intimated, that the cause is not to be found in the operations of our anti-slavery friends; and we know it will be put to us to say, Whence all this excitement? Whence these outrageous proceedings? Whence the before unheard of claim, that Congress has no
power to make laws for the protection of the “ inalienable rights” of some five or six thousand persons under its "exclusive jurisdiction" in the District of Columbia ? Whence the demands, so fatal to liberty, that the right of petitioning Congress shall be trampled under foot, and peaceful and respectful petitioners treated with insult by the national legislature ; that the entire post-office establishment shall become a literary inquisition; that the free States sball make laws to abridge the freedom of the press, the freedom of the pulpit, the freedom of voluntary association? Whence the preposterous claim, that in a country where no other subject is too bigh or sacred for discussion; where the atheist may assail cbristianity with ribaldry in taverns and steam-boats; where agrarians may hold public meetings to discuss and plan the philanthropic scheme of abolishing property; where a brazen-fronted woman may lecture in the theaters against the slavish institution of marriage; free men in the free States shall not speak, nay, shall not think, on the subject of slavery? To us, the cause of all this mad excitement seems to lie quite on the surface of passing events. When were the votes of the south given to make a northern man president of the United States ? When was there any danger of their being thus given, till the canvassing for the now coming election was commenced ?
We will speak more distinctly. Was it not quite certain, some two or three years ago, in consequence of the overwhelming influence and popularity of the present administration, that unless some desperate experiment should be made upon the public mind, many southern votes, not to say a great majority of the southern votes for the presidency, would be given to a citizen of the north? Is it not notorious, that at that time a newspaper in the city of Washington, representing and leading a certain party in the southern States, began, in concert with associated presses still farther south, to address the fears, prejudices and pride of the slave-holding states, on this very subject of northern interference with slavery? Was it not a manisest and leading object of the appeal then commenced, to make the question of slavery entirely a political question with every southern man? And can there be any doubt that this was done,—this excitement kindled, this agitation kept up, month after month, --simply with a view to revive and aggravate that intense sectional feeling which heretofore has always been strong enough to direct the votes of southern men ? What is it that is going on in Congress at this very time, in relation to the anti-slavery meinorials? Are not the southern leaders continually urging their extravagant demands with a view to compel the friends of that northern candidate either to take some position that shall ruin their candidate at the south, or to make some cowardly and servile concessions that shall disgrace him at the north? How are the people continually abused by the demagogues of all parties wlio play upon their ignorance, their prejudices, their basest pas sions, to gain the power or the emoluments of office !
Of all parties, we say,—What more affecting illustrations the degradation of the political press can be demanded, than the fact, that at the north, while partizans of the administration have attempted to throw upon their opponents the odium of an allianc: with the anti-slavery societies, the equally unprincipled attempi has been made on the other side, and bas been persevered in with infinite effrontery by journals of great authority and wide circula tion, lo fix the same odium on the friends of the adıninistration?
In our judgment, then, the iminediate-abolitionists are only to a limited extent responsible for the excitement in the slave-holding States. They have been the occasion rather than the cause a source of the mischief. Political men, having political ends i view, have taken advantage of their ill-advised operations, to blow the unquenchable fanaticism of the south into a devouring flame.
Another unfortunate result ascribed to the system of agitation pursued by the anti-slavery societies, is, that "deliberate de renses of slavery have been sent forth in the spirit of the dark ages, and in defiance of the moral convictions and feelings of the civilized world.” These defenses of slavery, the atrocity of which surpasses even Dr. Channing's power of expression, are to be traced, we apprehend, to several causes, among which the anti-slavery agitation is by no means the most considerable.
No man has forgotten, that in the suminer of 1831, there was an insurrection of slaves in Southampton county, Virginia, in the sudden fury of which some sixty or seventy white people were murdered. The eyes of the southern people were opened for a moment to the horrors of that condition of society in which they live. In Virginia, particularly, it was felt that something must be done ; and when the legislature of that great State met, in the winter following, memorials were presented, praying that measures might be taken for the abolition of slavery. At once it appeared, that in the legislature of old Virginia, there was a powerful abolition party. The whole subject of slavery,—its injustice, its impolicy, its perils, the practicability of its removal, -all was discussed with open doors, in the presence of crowded and excited auditories; and speeches, worthy of the best days of Virginian eloquence, were reported for the newspapers, and were scattered over all the south, to be read in every family. The session closed without any decisive action on the subject ; yet not without the expectation, that in the progress of another year some plan would be inatured which should secure the removal of slavery from that commonwealth which gave birth to Washington, and the soil of which is hallowed by the ashes of the father of his country.
In this emergency, it became necessary that something should i, be done to convince the people of Virginia of the safety, the
profitableness, the republicanisin, and the respectability of slavery. Not a little was done by speeches in the capitol, and by essays in the newspapers; but the champion of slavery, who appeared just in time to turn the tide of public opinion, was one " Thomas R. Dew, professor of history, metaphysics, and political law, in William and Mary College." This genileman, whose name we trust will be duly honored by posterity, was the author of an article on the debate in the Virginia legislature, which having been first published, with much curtailment, in the American Quarterly Review, was soon afterwards published entire, at Richmond, forming a pamphlet of one hundred and thirty-three large pages. We have read the pamphlet diligently, and with no litile admiration. The learned professor of bistory, metaphysics, and political law, “ boldly grapples with the abolitionists on the great question." He argues, that the practice of enslaving captives taken in war, is the first step which marks the departure of mankind from primeval barbarism; and that inasmuch as it is perfectly just for iwo dations or tribes, in a state of mutual hostility, to kill each other to the greatest possible extent, the men, women and children, who, instead of being murdered outright, are reduced to perpetual and absolute slavery, have nothing to complain of, but every thing 10 be thankful for. He argues further, that where all the property is in the hands of a particular class, or where the government through weakness or inefficiency fails to afford protection, there the bolders of property will be the masters, and the others will necessarily, and therefore of course righteously, be held as slaves. Not stopping even here, he urges the argument, that in many barbarous or over-crowded countries, people are reduced to such extremity of suffering, that they will consent to be slaves for the sake of having a slave's food and raiment, and, in some savage tribes, " a father will sell his son for a knife or a baichet.” And lest any doubt should remain in respect to the perfect equity of absolute and hereditary slavery, such as exists in Virginia, the striking and conclusive position is taken, that "all governments, even those of the States of our confederacy, have ever been considered as perfectly justifable in enslaving for crime." All ibis he considers as proving, that “slavery is the necessary result of the laws of mind and matter;" and hence he infers, “ihat it was intended by our Creator for some useful purpose." Proceeding to set forth the advantages which have resulted to the world from slavery, he insists, that this benignant institution, which by some unaccountable fatality is every where spoken against, " has been perhaps the principal means for impelling forward the civilization of mankind.” In particular, he shows by the conjoined light of history, meta