Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Whereas the traffic now prosecuted in this metropolis of the Republic in haman beings, as chattels, is contrary to natural justice and the fundamental principles of our political system, and is notoriously a reproach to our country, throughout Christendom, and a serious hinderance to the progress of Republican liberty among the nations of the earth. Therefore,

Resolved, That the Committee for the District of Colombia be instructed to report a bill, as soon as practicable, prohibiting the slave-trade in said District."

On the question of adopting the resolution, the votes stood—98 for, and 88 against. He was followed by a member from Illinois, who offered a resolution for abolishing slavery in the territories, and all places where Congress has exclusive powers of legislation; that is, in all forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings, purchased by Congress with the consent of the legislature of the State.

This resolution was passed over under the rules of the House without being pat to vote.

The votes in favour of all these measures were confined to the members of the Northern States. True, there are some patriotic members from that section who voted against all of them, and whose high sense of justice is duly appreciated ; who in the progress of the aggressions of the South have, by their votes sustained the guarantees of the Constitution, and of whom we regret to say many have been sacrificed at home by their patriotic course.

We have now brought to a close a narrative of the series of acts of aggression and encroachments connected with the subject of this address, including those that are consummated and those still in progress. They are numerous, great, and dangerous, and threaten with destruction the greatest and most vital of all the interests and institutions of the South. Indeed, it may be doubted whether there is a single provision, stipulation, or guarantee of the Constitution, intended for the security of the South, that has not been rendered almost nugatory. It may even be made a serious question whether the encroachments already made, without the aid of any other, would not, if permitted to operate unchecked, end in emancipation, and that at no distant day. But be that as it may, it hardly admits of a doubt that, if the aggressions already commenced in the House, and now in progress should be consummated, such in the end would certainly be the consequence.

Little, in truth, would be left to be done after we have been excluded from all the territories, including those to be hereafter acquired; after slavery is abolished in this District and in the numerous places dispersed all over the South, where Congress has the exclusive right of legislation, and after the other measures proposed are consummated. Every outpost and barrier would be carried, and nothing would be left but to finish the work of abolition at pleasure in the States themselves. This District, and all places over which Congress has exclusive power of legislation, would be asylums for fugitive slaves, where, as soon as they placed their feet, they would become, according to the doctrines of Northern assailants, free; unless there should be some positive enactments to prevent it.

Under such a state of things the probability is, that emancipation would soon follow, without any final act to abolish slavery. The depressing effect of such ineasures on the white race at the South, and the hope they create in the black of a speedy emancipation, would produce a state of feeling inconsistent with the much longer continuance of the existing relations between the two. But be that as it may, it is certain, if emancipation did not follow as a matter of course, the final act in the States would not be long delayed. The want of constitutional power would oppose a feeble resistance. The great body of the North is united against our peculiar institution. Many believe it to be sinful, and the residue, with inconsiderable exceptions, believe it to be wrong. Such being the case, it would indicate a very superficial knowledge of human nature, to think that after aiming at abolition systematically for so many years, and pursuing it with such

unscrupulous disregard of law and constitution, the fanatics who have led the way, and forced the great body of the North to follow them, would, when the finishing-stroke only remained to be given, voluntarily suspend it, or permit any constitutional scruples or considerations of justice to arrest it. To these may be added an aggression, though not yet commenced, long meditated and threatened

- to prohibit what the abolitionists call the internal slave-trade, meaning thereby the transfer of slaves from one State to another, from whatever motive done, or however effected. Their object would seem to be to render them worthless by crowding them together where they are, and thus hasten the work of emancipation. There is reason for believing that it will soon follow those now in progress, unless, indeed, some decisive step should be taken in the mean time to arrest thé whole.

The question then is, Will the measures of aggression proposed in the House be adopted ?

They may not, and probably will not be this session. But when we take into consideration that there is a majority now in favour of one of them, and a strong minority in favour of the other, as far as the sense of the house has been taken; that there will be in all probability a considerable increase in the next Con. gress of the vote in favour of them, and that it will be largely increased in the next succeeding Congress, under the census to be taken next year, it amounts almost to a certainty that they will be adopted, unless some decisive measure is taken in advance to prevent it.

But, if even these conclusions should prove erroneous—if fanaticism and the love of power should, contrary to their nature, for once respect Constitutional barriers, or if the calculations of policy should retard the adoption of these measures, or even defeat them altogether, there would be still left one certain way to accomplish their object, if the determination avowed by the North to monopolize all the territories, to the exclusion of the South, should be carried into effect. That of itself would, at no distant day, add to the North a sufficient number of States to give her three-fourths of the whole; when, under the colour of an amendment of the Constitution, she would emancipate our slaves, however opposed it might be to its true intent.

Thus, under every aspect, the result is certain, if aggression be not promptly and decidedly met. How it is to be met, it is for you to decide.

Such, then, being the case, it would be to insuli you to suppose you could hesitate. To destroy the existing relation between the free and servile races at the South would lead to consequences unparalleled in history. They can. not be separated, and cannot live together in peace and harmony, or to their mutual advantage, except in their present relation. Under any other, wretchedness, and misery, and desolation would overspread the whole South. The example of the British West Indies, as blighting as emancipation has proved to them, furnishes a very faint picture of the calamities it would bring on the South. The circumstances under which it would take place with us would be entirely different from those which took place with them, and calculated to lead to far more disastrous results. There, the government of the parent country emancipated slaves in her colonial possessions—a government rich and powerful, and actuated by views of policy, (mistaken as they turned out to be,) rather than fanaticism.

It was, beside, disposed to act justly toward the owners, even in the act of emancipating their slaves, and to proiect and foster them afterward. It accordingly appropriated nearly $100,000,000 as a compensation to them for their losses under the act, which sum, although it turned out to be far short of the amount, was thought at that time to be liberal. Since the emancipation, it has kept up a sufficient military and naval force to keep the blacks in awe, and a number of magistrates, and constables, and other civil officers, to keep order in the towns and plantations, and enforce respect to their former owners. To a considerable extent, these have served as a substitute for the police for. merly kept on the plantations by the owners and their overseers, and to preserve the social and political superiority of the white race. But, not withstanding all this, the British West India possessions are ruined, impoverished, miserable, wretched, and destined probably to be abandoned to the black race. Very different would be the circumstances under which emancipation would take place with us. If it ever should be effected, it will be through the agency of the Federal Government, controlled by the dominant power of the Northern States of the confederacy, against the resistance and struggle of the Southern.

It can then only be effected by the prostration of the white race; and that would necessarily engender the bitterest feelings of hostility between them and the North. But the reverse would be the case between the blacks of the South and the people of the North. Owing their emancipation to them, they would regard them as friends, guardians and patrons, and centre, accordingly, all their sympathy in them. The people of the North would not fail to reciprocate and to favour them, instead of the whites. Under the influence of such feelings, and impelled by fanaticism and love of power, they would not stop at emancipation. Another step would be taken-io raise them to a political and social equality with their former owners, by giving them the right of voting and holding public offices under the Federal Government. We see the first step toward it in the bill already alluded to—to vest the free blacks and slaves with the right to vote on the question of emancipation in this district. But when once raised on an equality, they would become the fast poli. tical associates of the North, acting and voting with them on all questions, and by this political union between them, holding the white race at the South in complete subjection.

The blacks, and the profligate whites that might unite with them, would become the principal recipients of federal offices and patronage, and would, in consequence, be raised above the whites of the South in the political and social scale. We would, in a word, change conditions with them-a degra. dation greater than has ever yet fallen to the lot of a free and enlightened people, and one from which we could not escape, should emancipation take place, (which it certainly will

, if not prevented,) but by fleeing the homes of ourselves and ancestors, and by abandoning our country to our former slaves, to become the permanent abode of disorder, anarchy, poverty, misery and wretchedness.

With such a prospect before us, the gravest and most solemn question that ever claimed the attention of a people is presented for your consideration: What is to be done to prevent it?" It is a question belonging to you to decide. All we propose is to ve you our opinion.

We, ihen, are of the opinion that the first and indispensable step, without which nothing can be done, and with which every thing may be, is to be united among yourselves, on this great and most vital question. The want of union and concert in reference to it has brought the South, the Union, and our system of Government to their present perilous condition. Instead of placing it above all others, it has been made subordinate, not only to mere questions of policy, but to the preservation of party ties and ensuring of party success, as high as we hold a due respect for these, we hold them subordinate to that and other questions involving our safety and happiness. Until they are so held by the South, the North will not believe that you are in eafnest in oppo. sition to their encroachments, and they will continue to follow, one after another, until the work of abolition is finished. To convince them that you are, you must prove by your acts that you hold all other questions subordinate to it. If you become united, and prove yourselves in earnest, the North will be brought to a pause, and to a calculation of consequences; and that may lead to a change of measures and the adoption of a course of policy that may quietly and peaceably terminate this long conflict between the two sections. If it should not, nothing would remain for you but to stand up immovably in defence of rights, involving your all-your property, prosperity, equality, liberty, and safety.

As the assailed, you would stand justified by all laws, human and divine, in repelling a blow so dangerous, without looking to consequences, and to resort to all means necessary for that purpose. Your assailants, and not you, would be responsible for consequences.

Entertaining these opinions, we earnestly entreat you to be united, and for that purpose adopt all necessary measures.' Beyond this, we think it would not be proper to go at present.

We hope, if you should unite with any thing like unanimity, it may of itself apply a remedy to this deep-seated and dangerous disease; but, if such be not the case, the time will then have come for you to decide what course to adopt.

HUNGARIAN MANIFESTO. Ladislas Teleki, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the French Republic.

MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE.—Events press onward. The intervention of Russia is a reality. After having gloriously resisted the armies of Austria, Hungary finds herself now upon the point of being crushed under the weight of a new Holy Alliance, reorganized on Cossack principles. The manifesto of the Czar Nicholas leaves no further doubt on this subject. The Emperor Francis Joseph publicly avows himself the ally of the foreigner who invades his states. The fact of this Russian intervention, solicited in the name of the Emperor King of Hungary, is what has, above all other things, led the National Assem. bly of Hungary to declare the déchéance of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine, which had already violated every engagement, and broken all the compacts, by virtue of which they have, for more than three centuries, possessed the crown of Hungary.

I have given the details relative to the Hungarian question in two of my notes, presented to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the French republic, in October, 1848, and in March of the present year, as well as in a manifesto ad. dressed in the name of Hungary to ihe civilized nations of Europe, and which I had likewise the honour to present to the Minister of the republic in December, 1848.

Since then, this question has assumed greater dimensions; henceforward it has a European importance.

It now becomes my duty to sum up, in a few words, that which has relation to the just rights of Hungary in the deadly struggle which she has to bear against absolutism, and which identifies her cause with that of civilization and freedom in general.

1. The Legal Right of Hungary.-Hungary has ever been independent of Austria. Ferdinand I., the first Prince of the house of Austria that ever reigned in Hungary, received the crown in 1526, in accordance with an election by the Diet. He swore to maintain the constitution and the indepen. dence of Hungary. All his successors took the same oath. The crown of Hungary first became hereditary in the house of Hapsbarg, in virtue of the Pragmatic Sanction, passed by the estates of Hungary, in 1687. In 1723, this settlement was extended by the Hungarian Diet to the female line of the house of Hapsburg, (second Pragmatic Sanction.). But the independence of Hungary was maintained and guarantied not less by these very acts than by

[ocr errors]

the oaths of all the kings of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine, even down to our own days. By article ten of the year 1790, the Emperor King Leopold II., recognised Hungary as a free and independent State in its whole legislative and administrative system. Hence the article three of the year 1848, by which a parliamentary government was settled in Hungary, introduced no change in its relations to Austria. This law was no more than a development of all the foregoing laws. It was passed by a unanimous vote of the two houses in the Hungarian Diet, and was formally sanctioned by the king, Ferdinand V. All that we demanded of the house of Austria was that our charter should henceforward be a truth; our demands did not go one step beyond what had been guarantied to us in succession by all our kings.

2. Conduct of the House of Austria.—The house of Austria has broken all her engagements with Hungary, from the moment when, in consequence of her victory over the army of Charles Albert, in July, she felt herself strong enough to venture it. She put in force every means which could lead to her end of overthrowing the Hungarian constitution, and incorporating Hungary in her Austrian monarchy. She publicly preached revolt abroad; she raised up national hatreds among us; she excited men to pillage, to burn, to murder; she awakened the enmity of the poor against the rich; she offered the hand of friendship to all our enemies; she decreed the partition of Hungary into nume. rous provinces; she launched armies against us, and declared all those to be rebels who remained faithful to their country and its laws. Last of all, she has called in Russia to her aid, and has thus caused her own states to be invaded by the most dangerous of her own rivals. It is, therefore, in the exercise of a legal right, that the Hungarian Diet has decreed the déchéance of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine, which has shown itself the most bitter enemy of our country. I feel an intimate conviction that Europe, that France, ought to take an interest in us; for we are at once the champions of freedom and legal order; we are the defenders of good order and of society; and it is the house of Austria which, in reference to us and to our constitution, legally guarantied, is in the state of rebellion.

3. Hungary is the Champion of Civilization.-This Russian intervention is totally adverse to the interests of the whole of Europe. Austria has always been looked upon as the proper bulwark of Europe against Russia. But this intervention is the death of Austria. It would be absurd to imagine that Russia marches her armies and perils her finances with the sole object of setting up a barrier against herself. Her intervention, therefore, will be nothing but a means of subjugating Austria. Besides, we know very well what are the real intentions of Russia with regard to the Sclavic populations of the Austrian empire. The Russian autocrat already looks upon himself in the light of their legitimate sovereign. Hence, when she has succeeded in reconsti. tuting Austria after her own fashion, Russia will have pushed herself, in fact, as far as Germany: this is what must be expected, if we are crushed. Under such circumstances, will Turkey, already wounded by the occupation of Mol. davia and Wallachia, have power to bear the shock of the Northern Colossus ?

No! all is destined to be subdued in its turn. After having invaded Austria, Russia will have the Bosphorus. Europe will no longer possess any bul. wark against her. Thus in combating the Russians, we are serving the interests of the whole of Europe.

Our army amounts to very nearly 200,000 men, perfectly drilled and disciplined, together with an imposing force of artillery. The force of Turkey is hardly inferior; and she has, besides, her fleet, and the Egyptian contingent. This strength is more than is required to resist the Russians. The intervention of Russia could not take place—at all events, could not succeedif advantage were taken of these forces, if pains were taken to invite them. France has only to will it. Let me hope that she will not look on with an

« ПретходнаНастави »