« FöregåendeFortsätt »
sent, I confess that Congress would have the constitutional power, but the moral right would not exist even in that event.
When the constitution of the United States was framed, the subject of Slavery presented many difficulties, but finally the whole matter was adjusted, very much to the satisfaction of all parties. The constitution contains an express pra vision for the recovery of Slaves that may escape from their Masters, and flee to other States, whether Slaveholding, or non-slaveholding. Three-fifths of our Slaves are represented in the Congress of the United States ; and the whole frame-work of the constitution embraces protection to the South in this important particular.' Upon no other terms would the South have consented to the constitution at all. There is not a single Slave State that would have consented to enter the Union upon any other terms, than those of ample protection to Southern interests. Nor would Virginia and Maryland ever have consented to the cession of the District of Columbia, if they had for a moment supposed that their rights and interests would have been thereby affected.
Under all these circumstances, the obligations of Congress, not to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia, even supposing the power to exist, are as imperative as if it did not exist. It could not be disturbed in the District, without endanger ing its existence in the States ; it would be the first practical action of a principle, which would not rest satisfied, until Slavery had been abolished throughout the Union.
But I will now direct the attention of the reader to the means by which public sentiment is to be changed on the subject of Slavery; the probability of such a change and the result, should this change be made effective. The means employed by the opponents of Slavery to operate on public sentiment are various. In the non-slaveholding States, numerous societies exist, embracing among their members, a large number of persons of all classes and conditions, whose avowed object is to bring about an abolition of Slavery. These societies have in their interest a talented and powersul press, wholly devoted to this subject; and besides numerous individual lecturers, preachers, &c., tracts, documents and books without number, are published, and scattered through the length and breadth of the non-slaveholding States. Slavery, through all these various agencies, is held up to the public as a crime of unparalleled blackness and atrocity, and Slaveholders are regarded as but little superior to murderers and rogues. Striking
pictures are drawn of the Master inflicting every variety of corporeal punishment upon the Negro; and these are sent throughout the Union to all classes of people. Through all these influences, public sentiment, throughout the non-slave holding States of the Union, has been brought to bear against the institution of Slavery, though I do not believe that our non-slave holding brethren, with the exception of a small fraction of fanatics, could be induced to do any thing that would tend to endanger our rights.
Notwithstanding all the agencies brought to pear on this subject, I, as an individual, do not fear the result. There might, it is true, occasionally occur a temporary disturbance of the public peace, but the danger even from this source, has been greatly exaggerated; as the precautionary measures adopted by us afford, in most cases ample protection frona such dangers. With but few exceptions, our Negroes know but little of the aboli. tion excitement, and even where this knowledge is possessed by them, they have not, in general, any idea of incendiary movements, for they are satisfied and well-contented in their present situation. Those who fear the result of abolition ex. ecitement among the Negmes, know but little of their character; they draw their conclusions from
the effects of a similar excitement upon the white
As has been before remarked, the Negro and the white man differ widely in this particular; the Negro, in his whole constitution of body and mind is adapted to Slavery ; he is satisfied with that condition and desires.no other. The white man, on the contrary, neither in body or mind, is adapted to this condition; when enslaved, he is ever restless and unhappy, and never fails to avail himself of the first chance to effect his escape.
What has been the result of the abolition excitement upon the white population at the South? I shall here be compelled to differ with my I am fully satisfied that discussion has tended to strengthen the institution rather than otherwise. When this discussion first commenced years ago, scarcely a man could be found in the Union who had the boldness to advocate Slavery as an abstract right. Slavery was defended simply upon the ground of expediency, and hence all parties agreed, that it should be abolished just as soon as it could be effected. So strong in fact, was the anti-slavery feeling at the South, that the State of Virginia, the largest Slave State in the Union, came within a few votes of abolishing it. I well recollect the sensation created by the publication of Professor Dew's work on Slavery, some fifteer years since. The abolition 'excitement was just then beginning at the the North, and the South had no arguments to meet them; they had never pretended to defend Slavery in the abstract, hence they were taken all aback by the arguments of their opponents.
But Professor Dew's work opened the eyes of the South upon the subject; he advocated Slavery upon the ground of abstract right, and thus we were prepared with arguments to meet our opponents.
Since that time we have had various able pub lications on the subject; many sermons and lectures, which have greatly enlightened the public mind on this institution. But they have not, as I humbly conceive, presented the full strength of the argument in favor of Slavery, and the present work is a feeble attempt to supply the deficiency.
As the public mind has been enlightened, men have become more and more convinced of the in. dispensable necessity of Slavery in the present state of the world. As has been before remarked practical Slavery does, and must necessarily exis; in all countries. The laws may abolish the institu. tion, but the necessities of existence will force Slarery upon all the poorest classes of society. This is the fact in England, and in nearly all other countries where theoretical Slavery does not exist.