The Fate of the Contraband.
The question, "what is to become of Sambo, after the abolitionists have succeeded in making him free," is rapidly receiving a practical solution, to the horrors of which those specially engaged in the "interests of God, and humanity," are sublimely indifferent. They consider that their sole duty to Sambo consists in setting him free; and when that is once accomplished, they turn away to their psalm-singing and army contracts, stoically regardless whether their emancipated "man and a brother" perish of starvation in southern swamps — die of disease in the contraband camps along the Mississippi, or succumb to cold and neglect in the northern states. "Have we not given you the priceless boon of liberty?" say these pharisaic philanthropists: "now go and shift for yourselves, like other sons of Adam." Alas for Sambo! it is easy to perceive that he is to fade from the earth more rapidly than the redmen who gave place to the Saxon and Castilian conquerors of the western hemisphere. But the fate of the negro will be far more pitiable than that of the Indian, inasmuch as his extinction is to be more swift, and will take place under the immediate observation of christian communities, which, obedient to God's great laws of race, must perforce assist in his extermination, while they grieve over his misery. It is almost certain that a single generation will witness the decadence and final extinction of the black race in the United States.
To show that these terrible predictions are not the fruits of a fervid and excited fancy, we ask attention to the following quotations from a writer who is universally recognized as the profoundest and most clear sighted political philosopher of the present century. We of course mean De Tocqueville, from whose, "Democracy in America" these extracts are taken:
If I were called upon to predict what will probably occur at some future time, I should say that the abolition of slavery in the south will, in the common course of things, increase the repugnance of the white population for the men of color. I found this opinion upon the analogous observation which I already had occasion to make in the north. I therefore remarked that the white inhabitants of the north avoid the negroes with increasing care, in proportion as the legal barriers of separation are removed by the legislature; and why should not the same result take place in the south? In the north the whites are deterred from intermingling with the blacks by the fear of an imaginary danger; in the south, where the danger would be real, I cannot imagine that the fear would be less general.
I am obliged to confess that I do not regard the abolition of slavery as a means of warding off the struggle of the two races in the United States. The negroes may long remain slaves without complaining; but if they are once raised to the level of freemen, they will soon revolt at being deprived of all their civil rights; and as they cannot become the equals of the whites, they will speedily declare themselves as enemies. In the north, everything contributed to facilitate the emancipation of the slaves; and slavery was abolished without placing the free negroes in a position which could become formidable, since their number was too small for them ever to claim the exercise of their rights. But such is not the case in the south. The question of slavery was a question of commerce and manufacture for the slave-owners in the north; for those of the south, it is a question of life and death. God forbid that I should seek to justify the principle of negro slavery as has been done by some American writers! But I only observe that all the countries which formerly adopted that execrable principle are not equally able to abandon it as the present time.
When I contemplate the condition of the south, I can only discover two alternatives which may be adopted by the white inhabitants of those states, viz: either to emancipate the negroes, and to intermingle with them; or, remaining isolated form them, to keep them in a state of slavery as long as possible. All intermediate measures seem to me likely to terminate, and that shortly, in the most horrible of civil wars, and perhaps in the extirpation of one or other of the two races. Such is the view which the Americans of the south take of the question, and they act consistently with it. As they are determined not to mingle with the negroes, they refuse to emancipate them.
Not that the inhabitants of the south regard slavery as necessary to the wealth of the planter, for on this point many of them agree with their northern countrymen in freely admitting that slavery is prejudicial to their interests; but they are convinced that, however prejudicial it may be, they hold their lives upon no other tenure.