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They demand practically, in their case, the benefit of the principle you propagate at a distance ; and for so doing, are cut down without mercy. My object is not to censure the course adopted towards them. It is not for me to judge what your safety may require. I am simply showing that the maxim on which you profess to act in relation to the West India colonies, and which you must apply to our case, in order to sustain your decision, begins to be applied to your own at home. It is only the beginning. Already it is passing into a higher and more intellectual class, who are applying it to the present social and political condition of Europe. A body of men, not inconsiderable either for numbers or talents, on the continent of Europe, and particularly in France, are busy in making such application. They are men not of a character to stop short, or be intimidated by final results. Already they proclaim that social or political slavery—that which results from the subjection of the great mass of society to the small governing class, is worse than domestic slavery—that which exists within the southern portion of our Union, in its mildest and most mitigated form. In illustration, I will read an extract from the Paris correspondent of the National Intelligencer, said to be Mr. Walsh, taken from the work of the Abbé Lamennais :
“ The Abbé exclaims, 'In good sooth, I am not in the least astonished that so many, viewing only the material side of things, and the present separated from the future, should, in the midst of our boasted civilization, regret the ancient domestic slavery. Thirty-three millions of Frenchmen, true serfs of this era, crouch ignominiously under the domination of two hundred thousand privileged masters, and supreme dispensers of their lot. Such is the fruit of our struggles for half a century. Slaves, arise and break your chains ! let them no longer degrade in you the name of man! Eighteen centuries of Christianity have elapsed, and we still live under the pagan system.””
To this I add another extract, taken from another of the public journals, which will give some idea what are the
fruits of slavery in the form so vehemently denounced by the Abbé :
England and Ireland.-It's enough to make one's heart bleed, if all were true, in the winter pictures drawn of the starved, suffering condition of the peasantry in the bogs—their cabins inundated with rains and mud—the bodies of the laborers saturated with wet, sleeping on fireless hearths, and peat at the exorbitant price of a penny a sod—too exorbitant to cook the very few potatoes they may have. Parallel to these scenes the English operatives are stated to be reduced to dire extremity and around these dark and gloomy spots, we have narratives of the luxurious and voluptuous life led by the favored few of the gentry and nobility."
If such is the condition of what the Abbe calls the serfs of this era,” in the most civilized country in Europe, well may our domestic slave, in the midst of plenty, and under the guardian care of a master identified with him in interest, rejoice at his comparatively happy condition. The exaggerated picture, drawn by the most infuriated abolitionist, can find nothing in the whole region of the South to equal this picture of misery and want; and yet it is Great Britain, wherein such a contrast of wretchedness and voluptuousness exists, that wages such unrelenting hostility against domestic slavery! She wars against herself. The maxim she now pushes against others, will, in turn, be pushed against her. She is preparing the way for universal discord, within and without. The movement began with Wilberforce, and other misguided men like him, who, although humane and benevolent, looked at the surface of things, with little knowledge of the springs of human action, or the principles on which the existing social and political fabric of Europe rests; and, I may add, like all other enthusiasts, without much regard, as to the means employed in accomplishing a favorite object.
There never before existed on this globe a nation that presented such a spectacle as Great Britain does at this moment. She seems to be actuated by the most opposite and
conflicting motives. While apparently actuatea oy so much zeal, on this side of the Cape of Good Hope, in the cause of humanity and liberty, she appears to be actuated, on the other side, by a spirit of conquest and domination not surpassed by Rome, in the haughtiest days of the Republic. She has just subjected and added to her vast empire in the East, the country between India and Persia ; and is, at this moment, if we are to believe recent accounts, preparing an extensive expedition against the oldest of nations, containing a population not less than a fourth of the human racema nation that has lived through generations of nations, and which was old and civilized before the governments of Western Europe came into existence; I need scarcely say I refer to China. Let me add to her other claims to respect and veneration, that, of all despotic governments, it seems to me (judging from the scanty evidence we have of a people so secluded), it is the wisest and most parental. And for what, if we may believe report, is Great Britain about to wage war against this venerable and peaceful people ? To force on them the use of opium—the product of her slaves on her Hindoo plantation—against the resistance of the Chinese Government. And what is the extent and character of this trade ? It is calculated it would have reached, the last year, had it not been interrupted, forty thousand chests, or more than five millions of pounds-worth about twenty millions of dollars—sufficient, by estimate, to supply thirteen or fourteen millions of opium smokers, and to cause a greater destruction of life annually, than the aggregate number of negroes in the British West India colonies, whose condition has been the cause of so much morbid sympathy. It is against the trade in this pernicious and poisonous drug, carried on by fraud and smuggling, that the Chinese Government has taken the most energetic and decisive measures, as it was called to do by the highest consideration of policy and humanity. Of all deaths, none is more wretched than that occasioned by this seductive but fatal drug. The subject slowly expires, with all the powers and functions of mind and body completely exhausted, a spectacle odious to behold.
Such is the trade which, it is said, the expedition is intended to enforce, against the decrees of the Chinese Government. The rumor, I hope, is groundless. I hope, for the honor of England—for the honor of modern civilization, and the Christian name—that its object is far different ; and that, instead of enforcing a traffic so abominable, it is intended to co-operate with the wise and humane policy of the Chinese Government in suppressing it; and that, so far from aiding smugglers and ruffians, it is intended to seize and punish them as they deserve. If, however, rumor should prove true, what a contrast it would exhibit between the conduct of Great Britain in that and this quarter of the globe ? There, we find her extending her power and dominion, regardless of justice or humanity; while here, we find her in the depth of sympathy for a band of negroes, brought into our ports under a suspicion of murder and piracy, intermeddling in their behalf with our own and the Spanish Governments--and that, too, at the solicitation of an abolition society of her own subjects! Strange as this may seem, it is true. I hold in my hand evidence of the fact, which I request the Secretary to read.
[The Secretary then read the following :)
“ FOREIGN OFFICE, London, Dec. 23, 1839. “Sir: With reference to the memorial of the Glasgow Emancipation Society, dated the 25th of October last, on behalf of the negroes who took possession of the Amistad, and were subsequently carried to New London, in the United States of America, I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to state to you, for the information of the above-mentioned society, that his lordship has directed her Majesty's Minister at Washington to interpose his good offices in their behalf, in order that they may be restored to liberty; and his lordship has further instructed her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at Madrid to call upon the Spanish Government to issue imme diately strict orders to the authorities of Cuba, that, if the request of the Spanish Minister at Washington is complied with, the negroes in question may be put in possession of their liberties.
“Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at Madrid has likewise been instructed to urge the Spanish Government to cause the laws against the slave trade to be enforced against Messrs. Ruiz and Montez, and against all other Spanish subjects concerned in the transaction in question. “I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
“ W. Fox STRANGWAYS. Wm. P. PATTON, Esq., &c., Glasgow.
Yes, strange ways, indeed, if it might be permitted, on so grave an occasion, to allude to a name. Strange waysmaking millions of slaves in one hemisphere—forcing, by fire and sword, the poisonous product of their labor on an old and civilized people, while, in another, interposing, in a flood of sympathy, in behalf of a band of barbarian slaves, with hands imbrued with blood ! I trust such officious intermeddling will be met as it deserves. Has it come to this, that we cannot touch a subject connected with an African, without the interference of another government, at the solicitation of a foreign society, instigated, no doubt, by a foreign faction among ourselves ? I mean not a faction of foreigners, but of our own people, who, in their fanatical zeal, have lost every feeling belonging to an American, and transferred their allegiance to a foreign power.
In making these remarks, I have not been actuated by feelings of hostility towards Great Britain. My motive is far different. With all her faults I admire and esteem her for many and great qualities. My desire is peace. It is the wish of the civilized world ; and I would regard war between the two kindred people as among the greatest of calamities. But justice is indispensable to peace among nations. Our maxim ought to be, neither to do, nor submit to, wrong—to ask for nothing but justice, and to accept nothing less ; but never disturb peaceful relations till every means of obtaining justice has been tried in vain. I have, in this case, acted in that spirit. I believe, solemnly, that justice has been with