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COSMOPOLITAN IDEAS ON THE UNION.



When that strange mixture, a northern man with southern princi-
ples, and a southern ina« with northern principles, attempts to thrust
himself before the public, he incurs the hazard of running ao-ainst every-
body, and pleasing nobody. The only way in such case is to move
forward in the straight line of truth. In this even there is danger that
one's complacency may be disturbed; simple-minded straitforvvardness
being unfashionable. In the present sectional and party ferment, truth
itself is liable to be taken as contraband into the court of one or the
other of the parties ; and it is questionable whether a neutral flag can
protect the properly so as to save it fiom condemnation.

If misapprehension founded on jealousy could be abated, and could
hollow complaint be separated from actual grievance so that the degree
of each might stand disclosed, little difficulty would be in the way of cor-
rect conclusion. In addition, could men in all sections be influenced to
look with reconciliation upon what must happen under the laws of popu-
lation and subsistence, and thus ma'le to forego their eff"orts to prevent
what cannot be prevented ; peace might soon be restored on the basis
of rationality. This is a time for reason. It is no time for resentment,
for mi-sapprehension ; and least of all is it a time for timidity to under-
tjike its accustomed patchwork. If the people of the Union cannot
look things in the face truthfully, and learn to discriminate between
injustice and hollow pretense of aggression, then will there be much
trouble in the future, and any delay in settlement will only add to its
complications.

Are we in tlie midst of an "irrepressible conflict," incapable of being
assuaged ; or, if assuaged temporarily, liable to break out again upon
every ferment of a national election ? In the settlement of this ques-
tion, any one who allows liimself to be influenced by timid apprehen-
sion will bring but a poor ingredient to the rescue. Whoever continues
his contribution to the sectional or party contumely heretofore and now
afloat, will do no better. If men in all sections will place themselves in
the altitude of saying, " I will seek to stand on the true ground — I will
endeavor to do right," there will be no lasting diflSculty.

It was appreliended and prophesied by some of those who framed
the government of the Union that slavery or involuntary servitude would
be tlie cause of working its dissolution. The prophesy wasmad<', not so
much from the supposed incompatibility of interests between the slave



2 .<^'«'^

and free States as from sectional jealousies and strife, liable to be fanned
by party contumely into maddened misapprehension.

A fruitful source of contention has grown out of the efforts of the
South to preserve the balance of power. Desiiable as this might have
been, a glance at the incidents in the flow of population at once shows
its impossibility. Not territory, but population has been wanting to make
slave States. In 1850, including Califoniia, four-ninths only of the
territory organized into States were free. Population stood in an
inverse ratio; 13,432,245 inhabiting the free Stites, and 9,654,631 occu-
pying the slave States. Another incident worthy to be taken into ac-
count is the passage of population from the slave to the free States.
Estimating the excess of population emigrating North, and its offspring,
not less than ten or twelve representatives in Congress had been taken
from the South, and placed to the side of the North or account of it.

It is mentioned in the compendium of the census of 1850, that " there
are 726,450 persons living in slave States who are natives of free
States, and 232,1 12 persons living in free States who are natives of slave
States." The truth, as shown by the tables in detail, is exactly the re-
verse. The 726,450 were born in the South and had emigrated to the
free States. Of this number, Virginia had contributed about 184,000 —
Kentucky 150,000— North Carolina about 64,000 — Missouri near 20,000
— Maryland 72,000 — Delaware near 7,000, and Tennessee over 50,000.
If the whole emigration from the slave to the free States since the adoption
of the Federal Constitution, together with its offspring, be taken into
the account, there will be found near two millions of people of southern
extraction now inhabiting the free States. This equals half the slave
population of the South. It exceeds by several hundred thousands the
slaveholders and their families, including all persons having proprietor-
ship in slavery.

By a careful analys's of the census statistics it will be perceived that
the flow of the southern non-slaveholding population has been to the
west and north-west — that slaves, in a nearly equal ratio, have gone to the
west and south-west. Under this drain. South Carolina has increased
her white population but fifty per cent, in sixty years, whilst her black
population has nearly trebled. It now remains for the statesmen of that
State to consider whether they have not too much indulged in the Aris-
totelian doctrine of " caste and class," and whether by so doing, the
political, or governing element has not been too far theorized out of the
State. Had that State adopted the policy of retaining its white popu-
lation, the same as Maryland, and put it to the like useful pursuits of
commerce and mechanism, perhaps she would now have felt her strength,
and been as little inclined to contumacy. She is now overshadowed
with a black cloud in the character of her servile population. Her
pride and chivalry remain, but her strength has measurably departed.
Perhaps it may be well for South Carolina to consider whether it will
be best to repudiate that union and that strength, which may still be her
strength ; and whether she will act wisely and well to sever that bond
which is still competent for the protection of all."




Th<
interests,

tion be <^iuouv>^ WWII. xyjL Luv; urtiit ui piuiiiauie rooiii to fcxps.__
s^and on. Without discussion as to whetlier this apprehension is decep-
tive, it would be quite as well to look to the possibility of making any
political arrangement whereby the laws or incidents of population and
subsistence, can be shaped out of their natural course in the future.
Any one who attempts to cypher on this subject, must look to the whole
surroundings, and make a calculation for all sides, lest he find himself
at random, and the sum require to be done over ao-ain.

Estimate the increase of population for the last decade at thirty-five
per cent. This gives thirty-one and a half millions. At the same
ratio of increase, tliere would be three millions eight hundred and
Iwenty-five thousand slaves. Three hundred and fifty thousand slave-
holders, with the addition of their families, may be approximately esti-
mated at seventeen hundred thousand. This would leave in the south-
ern states not far from seven and one half millions of white population,
disconnected in proprietorship with the institution of slavery. Add to
this latter item the eighteen and one half millions in the free states.
This would swell the free labor population to twenty-six millions.
Here then, we find the great bulk of tlie voting, governing element of
the Union. This twenty-six millions with its increase, must have an
abiding place — so must the seventeen hundred thousand, with its in-
crease — and so of the black population connected with it.

It would not be possible for even tlie slaveholding population of the
South to support itself without much po-rsonal labor. The negroes are
not competent, and never have been, to support themselves, and the
half of a white person, on the average. Much less are they competent
to support the other seven and one-half millions. This population
must support itself, educate its children, and make its own wav in the
scale of existence. It cannot be pensioned upon the produce of slave-
labor. Some portion of it may become slave owners, but the ratio of
increase in the non sbtveholding population will not be lessened by any
turn in the wheel of fortune. It will ever meet the stern necessity of
subsistence through its own industry. So of the whole northern popu-
lation — and so, of humanity at large.

" Equality in the Union, or independence out of it" ! What is the
meaning of this teim ; and, what equality is referred to? Is it intend-
ed to declare ihat slavery shall have representation beyond ratio?
That would be a simple fallacy. Is it intended to declare that slavery
shall go upon the territories where slaveholders please to take it, irre-
spective of the recommendations which slavery could carry with it ?
Suppose Mr. Seward should forego his "irrepressible conflict," and he,
■with the leaders of the Republican Pai It should sit down in conclave
with the slavery propagandists — suppose further, that they should for
once forego pirty contumely, and use their best endeavors to devise a
plan for extending slavery, and to bind the country to an observance
of a compact ? Ucre would be, staring them in the face, a twenty-six-



million power of free labor. The vision would swell its prospect into a
fifty-rail lion power in twenty-three years. The contemplation oT this
vast political stienjrth, and governing power, would break up the Con-
vention. Its pu.^rility would find vent in the declaration, " We could
not if we would " ! Twice ten-million voices would respond, " You
should not, if you could " ! !

" The South 1 The South" ! ! What is meant by this term ? One
would imagine from the manner in which the word has been treated,
that it was a country governed by an exclusive negro policy ; where
nothing was cared for, nothing regarded, nothing made the subject of
political solicitude but the master and his servants. It is spoken of as
if there was no element in the South that kad, or could have natural,
social, or political affinities with the free labor, and the destinies of free
lahor in the country at large. It is even thought to be good policy,
and expedient in some quarters, to set this element at variance with its
natural political fellowship in the free States ; and, to make it an instru-
ment in assisting to dissolve the Union. Suppose this to be accom-
plished; what security will slaveholders have gained by the arrange-
ment? Will distrust, and envy, and jealousy of their wealth, their
monopoly of good land, and monopoly of force to work it, be lessened ?
Will this seven and one-half millions, or, tliis thirty millions, forty-
six years hence, be contented with an exclusive pro-slaverv policy ; and,
more especially, if that policy be a narrow one, that shall overlook its
great interests ? At present, there is room enough for all. Under
sound policy, there will be for the next hundred years. Can any one,
therefore, prove it to be w^ise to excite hatred, anarchy, and revolution,
in ordei» to break up a government, most noted of all for common pro-
tection ?

If people are persuaded that revolution is the remedy for ills, fancied
or real, and that a good excuse now exists, they will perhaps be as in-
ventive -of rea-ons for breaking up the new confederacy. It will be
composed of the same elements of free, and slave labor; and its gov-
erning public opinion be manufactured through its stomach. Preju-
dicial disparities, if they exist, will be as much digested through this
organ as bread and meat. The only advantage the new government
would have in its principles of duration, would arise from the fact, that
cooler, wiser, more sagacious, and more patriotic men than those who
formed the o!d government, had the framing of the new— men, who
weremore competent to take in all the surroundings, and to make
certain all arrangements for future population. Befo're actual dissolu-
tion is tried, would it not be well to bring out the plan and organization
of the new government through the instrumpntality of a " moot court" ?
In this WMy, opportunity would be aflForded for examination and analy-
sis. All the Hamiltons, Madisons, and Jays, in the land could put their
heads together and write a new Federalist. In the meantime, let the
old government stand, and the busine s of the country go on under it,
until clearly demonstrated that an improvement could'be made.

Involuntaiy servitude has been the theme of discussion both in this



country and Europe for the last hundred years. Had we nothing but
the white race, the discussion would soon end : — but, we have an ele-
ment in population, the ancestry of which was brought here as prop-
erty. This element, however much men may deplore, or affect to de-
plore its introduction, must of necessity continue to be the subject of
consideration with the whole American people. It cannot be other-
wise, whether it remains in or goes out of the Union. This institution,
originating in the law of force, now rests upon the foundation of mas-
ter and servant, as established by law. In the maintenance of this
relationship, the obligations of humanity and duty have been establish-
ed and enforced by those having tlie control of legislation in the several
Slate-. To such extent have the evils of slavery been assuaged, that it
now has the t derating assent of the American people. It commands
this guaranty for its continuance; the duration depcndiug upon the
wL-e discretion that shall be thrown aiound it.

It would be foul-hardy to dispute, that every human being has the
right to " life," — " the pursuit of happiness" ; and, to every Avliole-
eome privilege, consistent with circumstances, necessary to give effect
to the last proposition. Anything not founded in principles of fair
reciprocity cannot hope to recene, at this day, the assent of cultivated
intellect or sensibility. The duration of any institution, government,
or exercise of authority, will be measured by the degree of justice that
is interwoven into its relationships. This principle, implanted in the
nature of things attaches jis much to the relation of master and ser-
vant as to anyibing else. If any one doubt it, let him look at the
million.^, and yearly increasing millions of human beings now in servi-
tude :— let him contemplate this increase through a few decades until
it swells in prospect to tliirty or forty millions; surrounded by, mixed
up witli,and rauiitied with republican institutions, and republican sen-
timent. ^Vho, that has any ^;agacity, but must know, that it is to be
guverned more and more in thelutuio, by the consent of the governed ;
and, that amelioration will become more and more necessary to pro-
mote content, and to command the assent, toleration, and assistance of
the governing political force of the whole country. Short-sightedness
oil this subject, if it prevail, will assuredly rue the day that it neg-
lected to think, and to think liberally ; or, to act wisely and well.

Negro philanthropy ! There is not half enough of the genuine,
wholesome commodity ; but a thousand times tuo much of ill-judging,
intermeddling sentimentality. Harvard University has brewed rhetoric
enough to have ameliorated all the harsh incidents of slavery in Ame-
rica, had it been of the right kind, and in the right direction. " We
must strike high for principle," says diseased philanthropy. \ ery
well— but in striking high, why mistake the negro kitchen as the ap-
propriate place in which to elucidate the principles of good govern-
ment * If any one has suggestions to make, let him address himseh in
a proper manner to the go^verning power, whose vocation it is to make
laws and ref-ulalions ; and whose interest it is to have none but whole-
bome ones. °The slaveholders in the main, are the governing power,



6

politically, as well as individually, over this industrial institution.
They are geneially men of education ; possess and exhibit a due pro-
portion, and fair ratio of cultivation, thinking, and philosophic reason-
ing. Their opportunities for observing, experimenting, concluding, and
acting, cannot be less than those at a distance.

If any one wishes for accurate information on the subject of negio
slavery, he will not obtain it through the distorted statements of those
having the motive to distort ; nor, through the rank and nauseous
practices of ruffianism that have been engendered by vituperation, re-
taliation, and another still more baneful cause. Let him go among the
planters in the right spirit — let him say to them, — " I have heard
much said and contradicted respecting this institution — I have come
to satisfy myself by a personal examination." He will be shown over
the plantation, and permitted to see it as it is. He will be taken to
neighboiing plantations, and conducted from one to another as far as
he pleases to go. He may travel over the whole country, and receive
hospitable treatment. He will find slaveholders peculiarly anxious to
point out to him all the impiovements in feeding, clothing, housing,
and making the servants comfortable, as well as in making their labor
productive. If he happen to run on any thing wrong, or much out of
the way, the planter will be mortified at it ; whilst he will delight in
showing the better side of things. The man of sense and liberality
may readily discover, by implication, the right reasoning in the mind
of the slaveholder. He may learn, that, as amongst slaveholders, re-
missness in the care of servants, inhumanity, and brutality, are oppro-
brious. He will learn that bright examples in slaveholding are re-
garded as the strength and argument for upholding the institution : —
that these, like all other good things, are the basis of toleration and
respect ; and, that bad examples are but a weakening force. The
Southern mind, as elsewhere, will be found sensitive and alive to the
idea, that justice and humanity only can impart strength and duration
to the dominion, where the government of man by man is to be main-
tained.

How can the comfort and happiness of the black population of the
South be best promoted ? This is a fair question ; but, a question
nevertheless, which narrow-mindedness is incompetent to answer.
Take away the platform of diligent industry, and it would lack the
means of subsistence. Take from it the feature of compulsory labor,
and the war of races would immediately commence. Servitude, indeed,
might be exchanged for anarchy, but it would be an anarchy maddened
and heightened by the partialities of race, and prejudice of color.
"Wrench the relationship of master and servant, and how long would it
require, and what would be the process in re-constructing society out of
the same materirils ?

These are questions which must be taken in connection with known
facts in the history of southern production, and in the establishment
of this branch of southern political economy. Whilst the surpluses at
the North have gradually been absorbed in the engagements of com-



naerce and the mechanic arts, the South has been compelled by still
more controlling circumstances to absorb the great bulk of its surpluses
in the increase of this agricultural force. Whoever contemplates the
growth and increase of this negro population, will see clearly, that the
same necessity at the South is as strong now, as heretofore ; and, that
the same will continue with redoubled force under the law of increase.
This increase will continue to make the first call for the investment of
Southern surpluses, and it will have but little beyond, wherewith to en-
gage in commerce, manufactures, or foreign adventure.

A large amount of northern capital has already been disintegrated
from the pursuits of agriculture. It has raised up a large array of
skilled labor. It is obliged from necessity to convert its rocks, its ice,
and its running streams into sources of income. It is, in a measure,
comp'dled to travel over the globe, seeking out new channels for enter-
prise, in order to add to its means of subsistence. Southern commerce,
southern mechanism, and southern improvements have, to much extent,
disclosed the presence of northern capital, skill, and experience in their
operations ; thus more strongly eluciclating the past, present, and future
direction of southern surpluses. It equally discloses the motive of
tenacity in the South for maintaining, unimpaired, its basis of produc-
tion ; in other words, its great auxiliary in the means of subsistence.

With respect to this industrial force of the South, there are senti-
mentalities of two kinds that have been brought to bear in affecting it
and its relationships. If the institution is to be attacked under the
declaration of war, founded on the assumption that it is, iu and of itself,
"the sum of ail iniquities," then will these philanthropists continue to
make their calculations on such war footing. The following extract
from a late Thanksgiving sermon aflords an epitome of the views of this
class of sentimentalists :

"I do not pronounce the southern people to be a barbarous people;
1 say nothing about them ; I make no charge. If the things that are
done there were done here, I should say they were barbarous. _ I may
not know. I do, however, unhesitatingly say that the distinctive idea
of the Free States is an element of Christian civilization, and that of the
South is barbaric ; and that the real conflict ia this nation today is
between Barbarism and Civilization. The one is like a pure white
alabaster box, full of all purities and refinements ; the other is like Pan-
dora's box, full of all evils and black, black wickedness. The conflict,
then, has come ; and it is my business to keep you in the ranks, and to
see that you are inspired to fight with heroism."

Suppose the eminent divine who got oft' the above should take that
northern side of societv, which is to become, in his mind, "like a piire
white alabaster box, 'full of all purities and refinements." Let him
exhibit it, through his family taste for literature, by a presentation of its
sore spots'. Coukl not our legislators be made to appear like political
thieves? our courts of justice more than questionable in their integrity?



our merchants and tradesmen to be actuated by no higher motive than
the sin of covetousness ? our women prostitutes, and the li\nd filled with
vice, ignorance, and crime ? Possibly money could be made out of it.
In the present stale of illiberal ferment it might have a sale at the
South. If a foreigner, however, who had been instructed through this
presentation, should come to see this mass of human degradation and
moral depravity, he would bo astonished, — not with the apparent de-
pravity, *but with the excellence of our condition. Looking about, he
would exclaim — "I see nothing but evidence of splendid progress! I
see homes — homes that look happy everywhere ! I observe a grand
educational system — children nearly all at school — the people well
dressed — men substantial — women refined — boys sprightly — children
promising ; and, on the whole, admirable ! Evils, of course, there must
be, but not remarkable in the comparison."

Another foreigner comes. With a copy of the Beecher literature in
his hand he visits the South, in order to chase down and make a note of
the physical dilapidation and moral delinquencies of that section. In his
whole course he would be coming in contact with cultivated society. Plea-
sant farms and plantations everywhere spread out — railroads ramifying
the States — telegraphs, to accelerate intelligence — colleges and schools
established, and a general educational system prevailing — commerce,
neither languishing nor wanting in the elements to sustain it — a people
disposed to order and morality everywhere found. He would also find
a vast industrial force of Afi icau ancestry — taken from the most bar-
barous races of that country, and disciplined by industry and practical
knowledge into such degree of civilization that individuals, in some
quarters, desire to have it emancipated and set to voting. Such
foreigner would be astonished at the difterence between the picture and
the reality.

The present state of the public mind, growing out of unmerited
aspersion and retaliation,' should admoni-h all of the gross impropriety


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Online LibraryOrville DeweyCosmopolitan ideas on the Union .. → online text (page 1 of 4)