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If not, if the spirit of revolt still live, shall we treat these States as conquered provinces, and establish a military despotism over them? Would not such a course be entirely incongruous with the nature of our Government, and revolting to the liberal sentiments of our people? And if not this, what then? Shall we at last, after having won the victory with such struggle and self-sacrifice, consent to the independence of these States, that is to say, to the dismemberment of our country? We shall be obliged finally to look these questions frankly in the face; why not do so now? Why not recognize and acknowledge at once the fact that until the cause of our dissensions is removed, our harmonious unity as a people is an impossibility?“Let the cause be removed !” the answer comes back. “Let us of the free States silence the Abolition pulpit and press. Cease to meddle with the institutions of the South and we shall have unity!" We say “yes,” most cordially. Let us be consistent. If we will not do one thing let us do the other. Silence the pulpit and the press; turn back the course of public opinion; throw open the territories to slavery; not only this, let the master take his slaves where he will, North, East or West, and let them be recognized everywhere as his property, and then we shall have unity; the unity of retrogression and despotism it is true, but better even that than the vain effort to bind together elements that have no affinity!
That the existence of slavery in our country has ever been considered by all minds as an element of danger to our peace and prosperity as a nation is demonstrated by the words of all who have ever written on the subject. De Tocqueville says:
“ The most formidable of all the ills which threaten the future existence of the United States arises from the presence of a black population upon its territory; and in contemplating the causes of the present embarrassments, or of the future dangers of the United States, the observer is invariably led to consider this as a primary fact."
And this comment was made long since, before the slave power had commenced its exactions, before it had ventured to assert in the face of Christianity and civilization that slavery is a God-appointed institution, alike beneficial to master and slave, and consequently to be propagated as much as possible : before the springing up of the irrepressible antagonism in the free States which such an attitude could not fail to engender: in a word, before it became a question of abject submission to tyrannical exaction, or the ntter demolition of the system which produced such results.
This is absolutely and unavoidably the issue. We know that every step of human progress has been accomplished by these terrible upheavings, this fierce battle between the Old and the New: the efforts of progressive humanity to cast off one by one, as they discover them, the clinging errors of a darker period, and emerge into the brightness of a newer day. It is requisite then that the People should have a distinct and comprehensive conception of the purpose, the idea for which they are struggling, suffering and sacrificing; and unless they make of this idea their standard, morally convinced of its holiness, its necessity, and are willing to cast aside the errors and prejudices that oppose it, and render vain all their efforts, a contest like this is but a wanton destruction of human life, and a wanton waste of the products of human toil.
And it seems as though Providence itself had presented the occasion for the solution of the problem which has so long baffled the wisest statesmen of our nation. We have long known that slavery is an evil; it is an incubus on the nation; but how should we get rid of it? This has been our dilemma hitherto. Let the revolted States be forced to return to their allegiance, and we shall be, with regard to this question, in exactly the same position as before. The Federal Government will no longer have the right to resort to measures legitimated by revolutionary exigencies, and the opportunity for action will have been lost until a new revolt shall again present it. This is the first time in our national history that the opportunity has offered itself for emancipating the slaves, not on the Abolition principle, for this, however just in the abstract, becomes unjust in practice, but simply in accordance with the law of confiscation according to the code of all civilized nations under similar circumstances. And it is this fact that makes this opportunity so particularly favorable, and marks this as the only
the preëminently happy epoch for the accomplishment of this purpose. Southern property is vested almost wholly in slaves, and if these are to be excepted from the law of confiscation, very little will be left to come under it. If the whole matter is made to turn on the point that only property used in the prosecution of the rebellion can be lawfully confiscated, no species of property is so completely and conclusively covered by this clause as the slaves. In tilling a rebel master's fields, in attending to his house, in obeying his orders, they are ministering to the maintenance of the originators of the rebellion, without which, of course, it never could have existed. If the master need money for the furtherance of his plans he sells his negroes. It is difficult to conceive in what better way property could be employed in the furtherance of rebellion ; for if we insist on reducing the formula to its literal sense, actual, material property used directly in the war, is the general equipage of officers and men. The slave owner claims his slaves as his property, in which he has invested so many thousands of dollars. We simply take him on his own ground in confiscating them to the Government, which, representing the Republican principle, can make no use of money vested in human beings, and consequently emancipates them. This is the simple and feasible solution of the great problem; the short path that will lead us outside the stupendous wall that has so long hemmed in slavery.
But here a very natural inquiry presents itself, what is to become of these four millions of blacks suddenly loosened from bondage? Are we to intermingle with them, and acknowledge them as equals? People are alarmed at such a prospect; and they would be justly so were there any grounds for such fears. Nothing is more improbable, more impossible, we might say, than the general amalgamation of the white and black races; and nothing more opposed to the natural order of things than the recognition on terms of equality of a race universally conceded to be inferior, and in addition to this just emerged from the degrading position of slavery. There exists in the white race an instinctive and insurmountable aversion to the black. Apart from the contempt with which we naturally view a race condemned to servitude by their lack of capacity, there is something repulsive to us in the physique of the black; and those who have not been familiarized by the habit of contact shrink involuntarily from their touch as though they belonged to a different species. Indeed, if we are to base an opinion on the most marked indications of nature, we should say that the two races were not intended to live together. The white cannot exist for any length of time on the native soil of the African; and his health is enfeebled and his life shortened in the tropical regions which most nearly approximate to the former's natal latitude. All the tastes, habits and inclinations of the negro are purely material suited to the indolence of the physical life of the tropics, where the energy and enterprise of the white find no adequate field. In fine, the direct antagonism of the two races on every conceivable point of comparison proves conclusively that the Creator, in placing the black on a point so remote from the rest of the world, and so unsuited for the habitation of any other people; and in denying them all migratory instincts, intended them to be a race apart, for what purpose the developments of the inscrutable future can alone reveal. This then, the great natural difference, and the repugnance growing out of it, is the impassible barrier to amalgamation. Moreover, as an additional guarantee, we have the fact that the prejudices of caste, even among our own race, and with the liberal ideas engendered by a Republican Government, are only eradicated with the greatest difficulty, and by imperceptible degrees. The man or woman who has been our servant can never be acknowledged by us in the interior of our hearts as an entire equal; and even their posterity suffer, in some degree, in our estimation. The distinctions of education and custom endure long after the laws which represented them have been abolished. The position of social inferior, provided it be not accompanied by the denial of equal rights before the law, is always quietly and contentedly accepted; for people generally have an instinctive, unreasoned, perhaps unconfessed, consciousness that social distinctions arise from the working out of a law inherent in humanity. There never was but one attempt to bring all classes to the same level, and that was a phrenzy and a failure. Arguing from this fact, it does not seem at all probable that the suddenly freed slaves would make the absurd demand to be considered the equals of their former masters, or peril their newly acquired liberty in the vain effort to attain any such impossible equality. In this very connection De Tocqueville says:
• Thus it is in the United States, that the prejudice which repels the negroes seems to increase in proportion as they are emancipated, and inequality is sanctioned by the manners, while it is effaced from the laws of the country. But if the relative position of the two races which inhabit the United States is such as I have described, may be asked why the Americans have abolished slavery in the north of the Union, why they maintain it in the south, and why they aggravate its hardships there? The answer is easily given. It is not for the good of the negroes but for that of the whites that measures are taken to abolish slavery in the United States."
There remains to be combatted yet another forcible objection urged by the opponents of emancipation. The slaves, say they, yielding to their natural indolence, will refuse to labor in a state of freedom. When to this is replied, that the blacks must either work or starve, the answer is that they would rob and murder rather than toil. This being the general view of the case, and it having been established as a fixed fact that the whites cannot cultivate the Southern soil without danger to life, it is asserted that to emancipate the slaves would be to sweep away at a blow all elements of prosperity at the South. It does not require much reflection to detect the fallacy of these arguments. In the first place, even while conceding the natural indolence of the blacks, do they not at the North gain a livelihood as honestly and decently on an average as the lower class of Irish? And is it not the most arrant folly to suppose that they would prefer to incur the penalties of crime, death, or imprisonment, rather than continue the labor to which they have been accustomed for years? If this reasoning be sound, why should we not suppose that the blacks would gladly accept the improved condition of free laborers, and enable the planters of the South to cultivate their products as hitherto? And, in fact, at a cheaper rate, for all economists agree that free labor is cheaper than slave labor.
In a political pamphlet written by G. de Félice, published