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Literature and National Policy.



New York:




ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.

Greene St., New York.

* * * * *


Abijah Witherpee's Retreat, 16

Across Maine in Mid-Winter, 138

A Detective's Story, 474

American Finances and Resources. By Hon.
Robert J. Walker, 463

Autumn Leaves. By Mrs. Martha Walker
Cook, 136

Buckle, Draper, and a Science of History.
By Edward B. Freeland, 610

Buckle, Draper, and the Law of Human Development.
By Edward B. Freeland, 529

Currency and the National Finances. By J.
Smith Homans, 419

Dead. By Anna Gray, 683

Diary of Frances Krasinska; or, Life in Poland
during the 18th Century, 42, 150, 274 394, 491, 624

Dying in the Hospital. By Mary E. Nealy,
Louisville, Ky., 229

Early History of Printing and the Newspaper
Press in Boston and New York. By W.
L. Stone, 256

Editor's Table, 118, 237, 355, 598, 711

Emancipation in Jamaica, By Rev. C. C.
Starbuck, 1

Evergreen Beauty. By Major S. H. Hurst, 227

Extraterritoriality in China. By Dr. Macgowan, 556

Japanese Foreign Relations. By Dr.
Macgowan, 333

Jefferson Davis and Repudiation. By Hon.
Robert J. Walker, 207, 352

Jefferson Davis - Repudiation, Recognition,
and Slavery. By Hon. R. J. Walker, 390

Ladies' Loyal League. By Mrs. O.S. Baker, 51

Letters to Professor S. F. B. Morse. By
Rev. Dr. Henry, 514

Letter Writing. By Park Benjamin, 648

Literary Notices, 114, 231, 478, 594, 706

Maiden's Dreaming. By E. W. C., 403

Matter and Spirit. By Lieut. E. Phelps,
with Reply of Hon. F. P. Stanton, 546

Mrs. Rabotham's Party. By L. V. F. Randolph, 33

My Lost Darling, 160

My Mission. By Ella Rodman, 633

November. By E. W. C., 500

October Afternoon In the Highlands, 433

Our Future. By Lt. Egbert Phelpe, U.S.A. 121

Patriotism and Provincialism. By H. Clay
Preuss, 59

Reason, Rhyme, and Rhythm. Compiled
and written by Mrs. Martha Walker
Cook, 20, 168, 293, 412

Reconnoissance near Fort Morgan, and Expedition
in Lake Pontchartrain and Pearl
River, by the Mortar Flotilla of Captain
D. D. Porter, U. S. N. By F. H. Gerdes,
Ass't U.S. Coast Survey, 269

Reconstruction. By Henry Everett Russell, 630

Remembrance. By G.F.G., 296

She Defines her Position. By Eliza S. Randolph, 702

Southern Hate of New England. By Miss
Virginia Sherwood, 241

Spring Mountain, 314

The Assizes of Jerusalem. By Prof. Andrew
Ten Brook, 501

The Brothers. An Allegory, 367

The Buccaneers of America. By W. L.
Stone, 175

The Cavalier Theory Refuted. By W. H.
Whitmore, 60

The Chicago (Illinois) and other Canals. By
Hon. Robert J. Walker, 92

The Defence and Evacuation of Winchester.
By Hon. Frederick P. Stanton, 481

The Deserted House, 312

The Early Arbutus. By Grace De la Veríte, 72

The Freedom of the Press. By Edward B.
Freeland, 361

The Grave, 292

The Great American Crisis. By Stephen P. Andrews, 658

The Great Riot. By Edward B. Freeland, 302

The Isle of Springs. By Rev. C. C. Starbuck, 284, 433

The Lions of Scotland. By W. Francis Williams, 584

The Nation. By Hugh Miller Thompson, 601

The Restoration of the Union. By Hon. F.P. Stanton, 73

The Sleeping Peri, 159

The Sleeping Soldier. By Edward N. Pomeroy, 632

The Spirit's Reproach. By Mrs. Martha W. Cook, 204

The Third Year of the War. By Hon. F. P. Stanton, 73

The Two Southern Mothers. By Isabella MacFarlane, 490

The Year. By W. H. Henderson, 657

Thirty Days with the Seventy-First Regiment, 404

Treasure Trove, 545

Under the Palmetto. By H. G. Spaulding, 188

Unuttered. By Kate Putnam, 377

Virginia. By H. T. Tuckerman, 690

Voiceless Singers, 473

Waiting for News. By Mrs. Mary E. Nealy, 255

Was He Successful? By Richard B. Kimball, 82, 346, 452, 670

West of the Mississippi, 56

We Two. By Clarence Butler, 591

Whiffs from My Meerschaum. By Lieut. R. A. Wolcott, 704

William Lilly, Astrologer. By H. Wilson, 379

Woman, 105

* * * * *

Number 19 25 Cents



Literature and National Policy.

JULY, 1863.




Emancipation in Jamaica. By Rev. C. C. Starbuck, 1

Abijah Witherpee's Retreat, 16

Reason, Rhyme and Rhythm. Compiled and written by
Mrs. Martha Walker Cook, 20

Mrs. Rabotham's Party. By L. V. F. Randolph, 33

Diary of Frances Krasinska, 42

Ladies' Loyal League. By Mrs. O. S. Baker, 51

West of the Mississippi, 56

The Cavalier Theory Refuted. By W. H. Whitmore, 60

The Early Arbutus. By Grace De la Veríte 72

The Third Year of the War. By Hon. Frederick P.
Stanton, 73

Was He Successful? By Richard B. Kimball, 82

The Chicago (Illinois) and other Canals. By Hon. Robert J. Walker, 92

Woman, 105

Literary Notices, 114

Editor's Table, 118

This Number of the Continental contains an article by the Hon. ROBERT J.
WALKER, written from Ireland.

All communications, whether concerning MSS. or on business, should be
addressed to


ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by JOHN F.
TROW, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Southern District of New York.


* * * * *




VOL. IV. - JULY, 1863. - No. I.


The luminous summary of statistical facts published in the March number
of the _Atlantic Monthly_ for 1862, has, in a few pages, conclusively
settled the question whether emancipation in the smaller islands of the
British West Indies has been a success or a failure. It applies the
standard of financial results, which, though the lowest, is undoubtedly
the best; for the defenders of slavery would hardly choose its moral
advantages as their strong position, and if its alleged economical
advantages turn out also an illusion, there is not much to be said for
it. Indeed, of late they have been growing shy of the smaller islands,
which furnish too many weapons for the other side, and too few for their
own; and have chosen rather to divert attention from these by triumphant
clamors about the forlorn condition of Jamaica. This magnificent island,
once the fairest possession of the British crown, now almost a
wilderness, has been the burden of their lamentations over the fatal
workings of emancipation. And truly if emancipation has really done so
much mischief in Jamaica as they claim, it is a most damaging fact.
Testimony of opposite results in the smaller islands would hardly
countervail it. Such testimony would be good to prove that the freedom
of the negro works well in densely peopled insular communities, where
the pressure of population compels industry. The opponents of
emancipation are willing sometimes to acknowledge that where the
laboring population are, as they say, in virtual slavery to the
planters, by the impossibility of obtaining land of their own, their
release from the degradation of being personally owned may act favorably
upon them. But they maintain that where the negro can easily escape from
the control of the planter, as in Jamaica, where plenty of land is
obtainable at low rates, his innate laziness is there invincible. This
very representation I remember to have seen a few years ago in a Jamaica
journal in the planting interest, which maintained that unless the
negroes of that island were also reduced to 'virtual slavery' - using
those very words - by an immense importation of foreign laborers, it
would be impossible to bring them to reasonable terms.

Now the condition of the South is like that of Jamaica, not like that of
the smaller islands. Were the Southern negroes emancipated, and should
they desert the plantations in a body, it is not likely that they would
starve. They could at least support themselves as well as the white
sandhillers, and probably better, considering their previous habits of
work. Besides, as in Jamaica, there would of course be many small
proprietors, who would be ruined by emancipation or before it, and from
whom the negroes could easily procure the few acres apiece that would be
required by the wants of their rude existence. Jamaica, then, is far
nearer a parallel to the South than most of the smaller islands, and for
this reason an inquiry into the true workings of emancipation there is
of prime interest and importance.

The writer is very far indeed from pretending to have carried through
such an inquiry. His personal acquaintance extends to but seven of the
twenty-two parishes of the island, and he is intimately acquainted with
not more than three of those seven. He has but a meagre knowledge of
statistical facts, bearing on the workings of emancipation in the
island, and indeed the statistics themselves, as Mr. Sewell complains,
are very meagre and very hard to get. Still the writer has been able to
gather some facts which will speak for themselves, and he claims for his
personal impressions on points concerning which he cannot give
particular facts the degree of confidence deserved by one who has
resided five years and a half in a rural district, who has lived
familiarly conversant with negroes and with whites of all classes, who
has heard all sides of the question from valued personal friends, and
who neither carried to Jamaica nor brought away from it any peculiar
disposition to an apotheosis of the negro character.

There is, however, an excess of candor affected by some writers on this
question, which is neither honorable to them nor wholesome to their
readers. They would have us believe that they began their inquiries
entirely undecided whether slavery or freedom is the normal condition of
the African race, and that their conclusions, whatever they are, have
been purely deduced from the facts that they have gathered. The writer
lays claim to no such comprehensive indifference. He would as soon think
of suspending his faith in Christ until he could resolve all the
difficulties of the first of Genesis, as of suspending his moral
judgment respecting the system which makes one man the brute instrument
of another's gain, till he knew just how the statistics of sugar and
coffee stand. Woe unto us if the fundamental principles which govern
human relations have themselves no better foundation than the
fluctuating figures of blue-books!

But if freedom is better than slavery, she will be sure to vindicate her
superiority in due time, and is little beholden to overzealous friends
who cannot be content meanwhile that present facts shall tell their own
story, whatever it be. There is much, very much, in the present
condition of Jamaica, to cause an honest man to think twice before
setting it down as testifying favorably for emancipation, or before
dismissing it as not testifying unfavorably against it.

And first, all rose-colored accounts of the Jamaica negro may be
summarily dismissed. He is not a proficient in industry, economy,
intelligence, morality, or religion, but, though rising, is yet far down
on the scale in all these respects. Nor is it true that all his peculiar
vices are to be referred to slavery. The sensuality, avarice, cunning,
and litigiousness of the Creole[1] negro correspond exactly with Du
Chaillu's and Livingstone's descriptions of the native African.[2] But
on the other hand, the accounts of these travellers bear witness to a
freshness and independence of spirit in the native African, which has
been crushed out of the enslaved negro. Several missionaries have gone
from Jamaica to Africa, and they speak with delight of the manliness
and vigor of character which they find among the blacks there, as
contrasted with the abjectness of those who have been oppressed by
slavery and infected with its sly and cringing vices. Although the
faults of the negro, except this servile abjectness, may not have been
created by slavery, yet slavery and heathenism are so identical in
character and tendency that there is scarcely a heathen vice, and, as we
have found of late to our sorrow, scarcely a heathen cruelty, which
slavery would not create if it did not exist, and of course scarcely one
already existing which it does not foster and intensify. The unsocial
selfishness of the emancipated black man, his untrustworthiness and want
of confidence in others, are traits that his race may have brought with
it from Africa, but they have been nourished by slavery, until it seems
almost impossible to eradicate them. I am happy to say, however, that
the young people who have been subjected to the best influences, exhibit
already the virtues of public spirit and faithfulness to a very
gratifying degree. The trouble is that they are a minority of the whole.
And until the character of the negroes can be so elevated as to bring
them to put some confidence in one another, they may improve in
individual industry, as they manifestly are improving, but the benefits
resulting from combined action can be enjoyed only in a very limited
measure. Even now two black men can hardly own so much as a small sugar
mill in common. They are almost sure to quarrel over the division of the
profits. The consequence is, that, whereas they might have neighborhood
mills and sugar works of the best quality at much less expense, now,
where the small settlers raise the cane, each man must have his little
mill and boilers to himself, at all the extra cost of money and labor
that it occasions. And so of savings banks and associations for
procuring medical aid, and a thousand other objects of public utility,
without which a people must remain in the rudest state. Fortunately,
however, the negro is strongly disposed to worship, and the church, that
society out of which a thousand other societies have sprung, has a
strong hold upon him. Under the shelter of that, many other beneficent
associations will doubtless grow up.

But if rose-colored accounts of the freed negro are to be dismissed
unceremoniously, on the other hand, the malignant representations which
Mr. Carlyle seems to find such a relish in believing deserve to be
branded as both false and wicked. His mythical negro, up to the ears in
'pumpkin,' working half an hour a day, and not to be tempted by love or
money to work more, would have been, during my whole residence in the
island, as great a curiosity to me as an ornithorhynchus. Doubtless
something approaching to the phenomenon can be found; for a young
Scotchman, a friend of mine, who was appointed to take the census of a
secluded district, came to me after visiting it, and gave me an account
of the people he had found in the bush, answering pretty nearly to Mr.
Carlyle's description. But though he had been in the island from a boy,
he spoke of it with something of the surprise attending a new discovery.
I should state, however, that my residence was in a district mostly
occupied by small freeholders, and containing but few estates. In
planting districts the number of worthless, idle negroes is much larger.
I have been assured that the negroes of the parish of Vere are
peculiarly so. The men, I have been told, do scarcely any work, except
in crop time; the women do none at all, not even to keep their houses
neat. There is scarcely a cottage in the parish that has a bread-fruit
or a cocoanut tree on its ground.[3] Everything is dirty and forlorn. On
the other hand, in Metcalfe and the adjoining parts of St. Andrew, and
St. Thomas in the Vale, although the mass of the working people have
certainly not learned much about comfort yet, still the number of neat,
floored, and glazed houses, the fruit trees on almost every negro plot,
the neat hibiscus hedges, with their gay red flowers, surrounding even
the poorer huts, the small cane fields and coffee pieces noticeable at
every turn, and the absence of loungers about the cottages, go to make
up a very different picture from what has been drawn of Vere. It is
plain, then, that the impressions which travellers bring away with them
from Jamaica will vary almost to entire opposition, according to the
quarters they have visited. Now what is the cause of these glaring
contrasts? The negro character is remarkably uniform. If there are great
differences among them, every one that knows them will ascribe it to a
difference in circumstances. What is the difference then between
Metcalfe and Vere? Simply this: Metcalfe is the home of small
freeholders; Vere is a sugar parish, where the estates are in prosperous
activity. It has been less affected by emancipation than any other
parish. In Metcalfe the negroes are independent; in Vere they are
completely subject to the planters. It is said that not even an ounce of
sugar is permitted to be sold in the parish. All is for exportation. If
the writer then attempts to vindicate the character of the blacks from
the reproaches of incurable laziness and unthriftiness that have been
cast upon it, he wishes it to be understood that he speaks only for the
freeholders, who have homes of their own, which they have an inducement
to improve and beautify, and who have land of their own which no
dishonest motive prompts them to neglect, and for the estate laborers
whose condition most nearly resembles theirs. If the blacks on many
plantations are little disposed to adorn homes from which they may be
ejected at any time; if they are discouraged from the minor industries
essential to comfort, lest these should interfere with the grosser labor
required of them; if they are kept idle out of crop time for fear they
should not be available in crop time; if their mental improvement is
discouraged by the planter instinct, unchanged in nature though
circumscribed in scope; if on many estates they are herded in barracks
whose promiscuous life debases still lower their already low morality;
if their labors are directed for absentee masters by hired overseers,
whose interest is not to create a wholesome confidence between laborers
and proprietors, but to get the most they can out of them during their
own term of employment; if they are treated with the old slaveholding
arrogance, embittered by the consciousness of a check; and if thereby
the more self-respecting are driven off, and the more abject-spirited
who remain are rendered still more abject: I submit it is not fair to
argue from this class of semi-slaves to the character of those who are
really free, who call no man master, who have a chance to be men if they
will, unhampered except by the general depressing influences that will
always work in a country where slavery has lately existed, and where the
slaveholding class have still a predominant social and political
influence. And it is to be noted that Carlyle's picture is drawn from
the neighborhood of a plantation, and so are Trollope's. Mr. Trollope,
it is true, takes all imaginable pains to write himself down an ass. By
his own ostentatious confessions, the only intellectual
comprehensiveness to which he can lay claim is an astonishingly
comprehensive ignorance. In view of this, his sage discoursings upon
grave questions of political and social economy have about as comical an
effect as the moralizings of a harlequin. But he is a lively describer
of what passes under his eyes, and his sketches of what he heard and saw
among the planters and on the plantations are doubtless authentic.
However, he did not visit the small settlers; and to take pains to
inform himself of the condition of a class of the population which he
was not among, except by catching up the dinner-table maledictions of
his planting friends against the class which they hate most, as being
least dependent on them, would be of course entirely contrary to his
professed superficiality.

There are but two recent works of much value on emancipation in
Jamaica - Underhill's and Sewell's. The work of Mr. Underhill, although,
as a delegate of a missionary society which had much to do in bringing
about emancipation, he might be supposed to have a strong party
interest, is marked by an impartial caution which entitles it to great
respect and confidence.[4]

As to Mr. Sewell's book, it is marvellous how he could obtain so clear
an insight in so short a time into the true condition of things. The
paucity of statistical facts, however, plagued him, as it does every
writer on Jamaica; and while the delinquencies of the planters are
patent and palpable, he could not appreciate so well as a resident the
difficulties arising from the provoking treacherousness of the negro

It is known by most, who do not choose to remain conveniently ignorant,
that though the ruin of Jamaican planting prosperity has been
accelerated by emancipation, it had been steadily going on for more than
a generation previous. In 1792 the Jamaica Assembly represented to
Parliament that in the twenty years previous one hundred and
seventy-seven estates had been sold for debt. In 1800, it is stated in
the Hon. Richard Hill's interesting little book, 'Lights and Shadows of
Jamaica History,' judgments had been recorded against estates in the
island to the enormous amount of £33,000,000. In the five years before
the slave trade was abolished in 1807, sixty-five estates had been given
up. Against the abolition of the slave trade the Assembly made the most
urgent remonstrances, representing that it would be impossible to keep
up the supply of labor without it. In other words, the slaves were
worked to death so rapidly that natural increase alone would not
maintain their number. The result justified their prediction.[5] In
1804, it appears that there were eight hundred and fifty-nine sugar
estates in operation in the island. In 1834 there were six hundred and
forty-six. In 1854 there were three hundred and thirty. Thus it appears
that in the thirty years previous to the abolition of slavery, one
quarter of the estates in operation at the beginning of that term had
been abandoned, and in the twenty years succeeding abolition one half of
those remaining had been given up. It is certainly no wonder that so
great a social shock as emancipation, coming upon a tottering fabric,
hastened its fall. But the foregoing facts show that, in the language
of Mr. Underhill, 'ruin has been the chronic condition of Jamaica ever
since the beginning of the century.'

The distinguished historian of the island, Bryan Edwards, himself a
planter, and opposed to the abolition of the slave trade, describes the
sugar cultivation, even before the supply of labor from Africa was cut
off, as precarious in the highest degree, a mere lottery, and often, he
says, 'a millstone around the neck of the unfortunate proprietor.' That
this was from no invincible necessity, the uniform prosperity of
numerous estates shows. But these estates are all conducted
economically, while, on the other hand, reckless extravagance was the
rule in the palmy days of the olden time, and has remained, even in

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Online LibraryVariousThe Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 1, July, 1863 → online text (page 1 of 19)