Pictures and Illustrations.
The King of Rivers.
Democratic Republic Young Men's General Committee.
ALEXANDER M. ALLING,
THE Mississippi is mighty in his imperial dignity, but more mighty in his lessons of unity and confederation. That matchless tide is the magic cestus which ensures the harmony of the sovereign sisters of the Union, and no peevish eruption of unsisterly jealousy, can dispart the silver zone that so firmly and graciously binds their varied climes and products into one common interest. The Mississippi is the most persuasive mediator, the most energetic arbiter, and the most vigilant defender of the federal compact, linking into one chain of communication fourteen powerful states, and nearly half our entire population. Gathering to one outlet uncomputed thousands of miles of navigable waters; holding in a condition of facile interchange a vast series of diverse, yet mutually dependent, agricultural, manufacturing, mining and commercial interests, there is no fraction of the wide territory enfolded in the embrace of the hundred armed river, that could cut itself from the rest of the body, without destroying the growth and vigor of its own fair proportions. Free-soil Iowa and Illinois may chide the heresies of slave-holding Kentucky and Louisiana, but not the less must wheat-growing and lead-producing Iowa and Illinois vend their wares, and buy their sugar and cotton, in the markets of their southern sisters, while their highway river holds open invitation to come and go in unrestrained profit and good will, and rebukes the intemperate folly of sectional aggression.
In ascending the Mississippi, you pass through all the climates of the temperate zone, through a countless variety of production, through infinite changes of scenery, and through every phase of sectional prejudice. Leaving behind, on the fertile, but hot and unhealthy sugar plains, the darkest and most tenacious shades of African servitude, the tints lighten step by step, and state by state, up to the lofty, health-inspiring shores of genial Kentucky and
4adventurous Missouri, where slavery visibly relaxes its grasp; and onward, to the romantic and enchanting heights of Iowa and Wisconsin, where it never had a hold, until finally, at Minesota, the beautiful cradle of this marvellous stream, and two thousand miles above your starting point, where you saw its waves salute the sea in sullen grandeur, you hear the brief and proud declaration of territorial freedom: "Every state must, and every territory might, decide for itself, and by itself, whether it will admit or exclude slavery."
In the month of June, 1849, I stood on the island that cleaves asunder the wild chaos of amber-hued waters, forming the cataract of St. Anthony, that second Niagara, whose overwhelming sublimity silences the mortal beholder; and before that heaven-reared altar, with its veil of diamonds, and its rainbow crown, I almost vainly essayed to remember there was another world outside of this stupendous whirl of elemental warfare — a world of petty efforts and pigmy human strifes. Yet there, with nature ringing her high eternal anthem in cadence with the plaint, a daughter of the Dacotas detailed the wrongs of the red race, and completed a lesson which I had half-learned at the other extremity of that far-reaching river.
"Here the torrent is colored with the tears of the red man, for the red man's tear is blood," she said, as she extended her graceful arm towards a rift in the falls where a clear column gleamed coral bright through the parted drapery of pearl-white spray. "Far away, where our snow-hills are forgotten under a burning sky, these waters wear another stain — the stain of the black man's tears of dust and sweat."
A sad truth is shrouded in the Indian girl's wild poetry. Minesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, grieve over the woes of the African slave a thousand miles off, while, with every art of diplomacy and war, they chase the poor Indian beyond their border, and take counsel, openly, how to despoil him of his hunting grounds, and exile him forever from the graves of his ancestors, and the dear haunts of his boyish sport and manly daring.
Louisiana and Mississippi thrill with indignation at the sufferings of the Indian, as he recedes before the eager march of civilization, or dies in her embrace; but they look calmly on the bondage of the African. Each compassionates largely the sin that is not of its own neighborhood, and reconciles itself to the pressure of the evil at home, until conscience and convenience can meet to adjust a settlement, and agree upon the remedy.
The older states hunted down the red men, and enslaved the
5black ones, until the land was all in white hands, and free servants became more profitable than purchased ones, and then conscience immediately opened her slumbering eyes and raised her head from her gold embroidered pillow to pray for the repose of the slaughtered Indians, and emancipate her useless Africans.
Those states which have thoroughly exterminated and dispossessed the Indians, and who have no large Native American land reserves to bar the speed of the axe and the plough within their limits, are tranquil and tender-hearted on Indian matters, just as those who have escaped from the cares and incumbrances of a redundant negro population, are at leisure to censure those still yoked to the burthen.
In those border states, where they are even now receiving their baptism of blood and fire in Indian forays, and where every white person counts for the full worth and value of a human being in the muster-roll of civilization, they do not dwell so heavily on a red man shot, or a black one over-tasked, but they turn pale with horror when they read of the stern serfdom of chain and lash in which sailors are crushed in our commercial cities, or the hard servitude of poverty which binds thousands of young maidens to the harsh hours and tasks of our eastern factories. States like Kentucky, that have no troublesome Indians in their household — that have drained off their superfluous Africans, and are about exchanging slave labor for more economical hired service, and who are making encouraging advances in mines and manufactures, contemplate with serene indulgence all the prosperous and legalized forms of servitude that flourish in their bounds; but their indulgent moderation aims, nevertheless, at future amendments. They lead the van from their position in the career of amelioration; but it is only by this favored position they are enabled to be such clear exemplars, and so far ahead in the school of fraternity. In time, the dwellers in more ungenial latitudes will come up to the point these leaders now occupy, for freedom and light are urging all their children on the upward course. In the glance backward over the path they have travelled, the foremost pretenders to supreme humanity must confess the lesson taught by the desert-born, but educated daughter of the Dacota chief at St. Anthony's Falls.
Oppressors and oppressed dwell everywhere; but it is only the unfamiliar form that moves general and active abhorrence. This impulse against African servitude which agitates the northern states — to whom it is unknown — and exasperates in its defence the south, who declares it a stringent necessity of self-preservation
6to the whites, is — at least with the masses — but a geographical morality. A humanity of latitude and longitude, modified by climate, relaxing under the moist heats of the south, and intensifying in the cold winters of New-England.
In three short weeks I had touched the extremes of southern and northern oppression. On the same river, under the same religion, government and language, I had seen the African in hereditary bondage, hopeless of freedom for himself or children, and daily driven to his task by bodily fear, yet careless and content in his glossy well-fed health, and making the sunny plains resound with his songs, until the most resolute abolitionists doubted whether this child of an undeveloped race, still in the imbecility of its unprepared animal dependence, did not require the social polity that gives him a master to tend his wants and compel him to learn the use of his hands and mind.
On the upper waters of the river I saw the home of Black Hawk and his braves in the occupation of the whites, and heard the broken-hearted remnant of his tribe relate in a cold despair, too deep for tears and complaints, that the barren desert assigned them by a mocking treaty was whitening with the bones of half their women and children. They did not lament — but they did not smile — when they told that beside every lodge was a grave. I saw the Dacotas, who have of their kindred many educated persons of mixed blood intermarried with their plunderers, yielding up in stern and silent gloom their chosen hunting grounds, and their sacred altar stones, hallowed by immemorial tradition of martial rites and Dacota glory; and none could look upon this decaying race, and upon the stony, joyless composure with which they face the path of exile and death, and say as we do of the laughing, dancing slaves, "This is a happy race." The dweller on the Upper Mississippi puts his foot on the neck of the expiring Indian, as he exclaims, "Behold the cruelty of the slave-holder." The dweller on the Lower Mississippi raises the lash over the African, and retorts, "Behold the injustice of the Indian-oppressor." Missouri and Kentucky, who have tasted both evils and yielded to both temptations, turn to the north and to the south, and say, "Judge ye gently one of the other, for ye know not the weight of your brother's cross."
The Land of the Sugar-Cane.
Louisiana is the sugar plantation of the Union, and no soil in its limits yields a more generous return to the cultivator, but in
7entering the state from the gulf it gives no such promise of wealth and fertility. We left the bright and lovely banks of Corpus Christi, where the flowers never cease to bloom, and the fresh breeze never forgets to play in the fairy groves that dot, like emeralds of deeper tint, the green savannas, and it was a chilling contrast to meet at the mouth of the river the dreary waste of turbid waters cutting their sullen way through the still more dreary expanse of black mud. All the southern border of Louisiana is a labyrinth of wide shallow lakes, interlaced by sluggish bayous, and surrounded by interminable marshes, seamed at intervals with veins of higher land along the water-courses. Forts Jackson and St. Philip stand on the dividing line, between the domain of man and reptiles, for it is just at the head of the vast peninsula of mud, created by the river sediment, and not yet solid enough to bear trees in which the wide current divides itself and seeks the sea by several channels. Above, cultivation begins to be possible; below, only the alligators can find a home. An isolated pilot village — an anchorage of handsome white houses — has started up at the Balize, and greets the eye like a cluster of lilies in a dark marsh; but that is a commercial, not an agricultural growth.
After passing the forts, the "coast" soon becomes radiant with verdure and beauty. The voices of busy men come from the field, the plantation houses glance brightly out of their bowers of foliage, and every sight and sound is redolent of luxuriant fertility. This "coast" is nevertheless a proverb of fear to the slave. Its sugar plantations accept for their severe toil the stupid, vicious and refractory slave drainage of all the states, and here exists the harshest discipline and the least kindly bonds between slave and master. Yet the negro population thrives more gaily under even these disadvantages than in the mildest of the free states. They have no heed for the future, and are not loaded with the cares of self-government. Let it be understood that I touch not the justice or injustice of slavery. I deal simply with the facts within my sphere of observation, and leave what is above my handling to divines and philosophers. The slave population of Louisiana seems to be in that primary stage of developement in which the animal nature predominates; and if the animal wants are satisfied, and the feebler mental capacities not overtaxed, they are happy. This whole region is so noxious to white constitutions that it would lie undrained and useless; and we should have to resign altogether the production of sugar and rice, until we had reared in starving poverty a Paria caste of whites miserable enough to undertake it, if we had not a race of African laborers to whom it is more
8genial. The redemption of five millions of acres, now subject to overflow, but capable of rich returns in rice and sugar, will add immensely to the health and beauty of Louisiana, as well as to the productive wealth of the Union; but under existing circumstances it could only be done by whites at an outlay of life and suffering far beyond all the blacks endure. The acquisition, in 1803, of the Mississippi Valley and its noble highway, doubled the territory of the states, and greatly increased the power and standing of the nation, by giving it the control of the cotton supply in the markets of Europe. This sudden and gigantic step in annexation struck terror into the hearts of all the timid patriots in the Union. They predicted the disruption of such an unwieldly, overgrown republic, and declared it to be impossible to govern and defend such an extent of thinly populated territory. Above all, the anti-slavery men, who were not then a sectional party, but scattered lightly all over the country, north and south, inquired anxiously how the accession of a new twentieth to the number of slaves was to affect the course of emancipation. Time has answered all these questions.
In 1800 the immense valley, watered by the King of Rivers and his tributaries, had less than four hundred thousand civilized inhabitants — about one-fourteenth part of the population — now it has seven millions, and counts one-third of the votes of the Union. Then the colored population made one-fifth of the whole, now it is reduced to a seventh, and the white preponderance is increased every year by emigration from Europe.
Of the states formed out of this territory, five are free-soil and six are slave-holding; but of the latter, two are preparing to emancipate before 1860, and another — Minesota — will come in a free-soil state, so that this region, at the present rate of progress, will number, in a very short time, eight free states to four that are slave-holding, and this early result I impute chiefly to the extension of slave limits. The introduction of a new and enormously profitable cultivation, which, from the peculiar nature of the soil and climate, was unwholesome for the whites, created a rapid demand for negroes on the sugar-cane fields of Louisiana, and raised the price of slaves throughout the Union. Tobacco was still a highly encouraging crop, and cotton was about to become one of our most precious staples, so that the older southern states had a home demand that aided to enhance the rising value of slaves, and, in a parallel degree, the wages of free labor. The northern states felt the advance in the wages of their hired servants, and the corresponding high standard of dress, food and comforts for
10their slaves, which public opinion and the example of white laborers enforced on the masters. The rearing and maintenance of slaves became, on the average, more than their services were worth, and the most robust workers were gradually sent towards the south, which also became the punishment of the heavy-headed and unmanageable. Their place was supplied by emigrants from Europe, who were attracted by the large wages and cheap lands of the young republic even before they learned to appreciate its institutions. The character of the colored population in the northern states, thus purified of its roughest dross, soon attained the level of self-government. Emigration more than filled the blank left by the retiring blacks, and labor kept its balance with capital. If there had been no addition to our cotton lands, and if sugar had not come to demand new laborers at any price, wages would have crept up more slowly, and there would have been less inducement for foreigners to come to this country. The impetus from the cane-brakes of Louisiana vibrated to the shores of Ireland. The long file of toilers that marched into the fertile but fever-reeking plains of the Mississippi was not broken, until, at New York, the last departing rank saw itself crowded away, and its place taken by a sturdier and more intelligent European band. The servitude of wages had supplanted the servitude of purchase. It is not a palatable truth, but it is a truth, nevertheless. No state has emancipated until the colored population was inferior in numbers to the laboring class of whites, and at that point slavery becomes a burthen, and it is gently put to death. Thus the apparent gain to slavery of a vast territory really set free as many states at the north, and even the addition of resident slaves it made at one extremity of the Union was more than balanced by the number emancipated at the other. In the great valley itself, the call of slaves towards the south opened a speedier day of entire freedom, by diluting and thinning that class of servants, and inviting in, with the temptation of ready work and wages, a higher order of white service. Slaves never were profitable in New-England, because the quality and quantity of clothing, bedding and housing, required in their long, cold winters, was an over-balancing item. There is so much care, thrift, and intelligence demanded in the usual routine of labor in that hard-featured land, that a heedless and improvident race was rather a burden than a profit — taken, as slaves must be, from the cradle to the grave — and New-England generally sold to milder latitudes the Africans her ships brought to America. She was an importer, not an employer of negroes; and when the slave trade was abolished she forthwith
11washed her hands of the whole business, and set down conscience clean to lecture her neighbors on their slow-paced morality.
The Crescent City.
In ascending the Mississippi, it is well to pause and observe, in its very citadel, the workings of slavery. It is the fashion to say, that the mere presence of slavery stagnates the flow of industry, and impedes ruinously the prosperous advance of any country; and there is a certain amount of truth in this — as there is in all popular errors; for they must have a little breath of vitality to live — but it is a partial and distorted truth.
It is true, that educated and self-governing industrial classes are the ablest supporters of the state, but all producers have their value.
Of all the cities in the Union, New-Orleans is the only one that doubled its population in two successive census decades, ending in 1840, though Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Louisville, did nearly the same thing. In each case this miraculous prosperity has the same magnificent source — a free water transit by river, lake and canal, of well nigh twenty thousand miles. The character and resources of the country in tribute to the respective cities will, if studied with other local causes, explain perfectly the variations in their present and future career, independent of the question, whether the bone and sinew expended there were strained under the urgings of hunger or of the lash. With a free commerce, at home and abroad, and the natural mart of the fifteen degrees of climate and latitude, for which the Mississippi is the conductor of trade, New-Orleans must be rich and powerful. Her straight, well-paved, nobly built streets, with their colonnades of beautiful trees, her stately edifices, her splendid charities, her river embankments of almost fabulous cost, her railroads, her canals, her suburb towns, that are themselves fair and prosperous cities, were all redeemed from a pestilential morass; and — like the capitol of Rome and the temples of Greece — it is the labor of slave hands. The slave markets of those illustrious republics stood in the midst of their forums and palaces, while one taught and the other conquered the world; but it is not a necessary sequence that the lords of ancient civilization were sinless in forgetting the rights of toil, any more than the modern planter or manufacturer who imitates their oversight. The noblest men and the proudest nations of all ages have been more or less thralled in defective systems, and
12only the Supremely Wise, who sees all the antecedents and all the environments of the case, can decide how far they are the masters, and how far the victims of their lot. The majestic steamers that border the Crescent City like a forest, seem full of life and power, but they can only move on the element on which they find themselves, and blindly obey the small and simple wheel that appears so insignificant in the general mass. Man's interest is the governing wheel, and circumstances, born before he saw the light, compose the elements of his action. Almost divine must be the nature that can altogether shape these influences to his aspirations.
The progress of the amelioration of the African family is witnessed at New-Orleans with more distinctness than anywhere else. Leaving aside those of mixed blood, the blacks who have been four or five descents in contact with civilization, and who have been taught, though by the rude apprenticeship of slavery, to exert their energies, have unfolded into a much higher people than the original Africans. The developement of moral and intellectual powers has strikingly improved the form and expression of their features; and from a hideous tribe, capable only of animal incentives, gratifications and attachments, they have been brought up to the standard of moral capability. From this vantage ground, the race among us will go rapidly forward, under the impetus of white example, whether in freedom or servitude. With the intrinsic elevation of the colored population, and with the introduction of white servants, who mark out the pattern, custom is commanding for them a system of kinder treatment and more generous indulgences from their masters. It is a generally conceded fact, that the laboring classes of Europe are not so well fed and clothed, nor so lightly tasked, as the southern slaves; nor is there in most countries of the old world more attention paid to peasent instruction than in Louisiana and Mississippi, who have the worst and most uncouth colored population in the Union; and, what is an interesting collateral fact, it is also the most indifferent to freedom. I have known many instances of slave mothers — of the better order too — such as hair-dressers, lady's maids, marchandes (those who go about to sell goods,) and seamstresses, refuse to make very moderate sacrifices to purchase their own and their children's freedom. Whoever has lived much in southern cities is aware that large numbers of the brightest slaves hire their time of their masters, at a fixed price, and work out at their trades to great advantage for themselves. Almost any of these could buy their freedom by practising, for a few years, the industry and economy which a free-born man of the
13north must practise all his life, to win a decent independence; yet it seldom happens that one of them will make the necessary self-denial. There are noble exceptions, but they are rare. The race is not yet cultivated up to the point at which intellectual aspirations overcome animal propensities; and it is a question with some, whether that point can possibly be attained in slavery. The whites have attained it in other countries, under equal or greater disadvantages, and the yoke of serfdom fell from their necks. Let us hope everything therefore for the blacks.
The northern states, when lightened of the guardianship of a numerous class, aliens to them by prejudice and striking physical differences, provided liberally for the education of the colored children still remaining among them, and in those branches of study which require memory and imitation, rather than research and laborious comparison, they have succeeded precisely as well as the whites. In the full and continued developement of the race still higher results will follow. The same results, though more imperfect and partial in their scope, are visible at New-Orleans, and more particularly in the mixed bloods. That class are polite and graceful imitators of the most polished examples they see; they all sing and dance with a certain proficiency, and observe and learn whatever falls within the limits of the senses, but they eschew vigorous mental effort. They are developing under rough tuition, but it so far suits their necessities that the improvement is perceptible. The white foreigners, employed in offices one shade above them, are their aptest and most efficient teachers; and this description of persons are flowing rapidly into all the cities of the south. When I last landed at New-Orleans, a white hackman conveyed us to the St. Charles, the white porter of that princely establishment received the baggage, and white chambermaids attended me in my apartment. These are the avant couriers of emancipation. Slavery has spread over so large a surface that its weakened ranks cannot shut out competition, and white competition is the grave of slave labor. Whenever and wherever the white man begins to contend for employment with the African, he does not fail to draw reinforcements from the crowded armies of his kindred, who await his call; but the negro cannot recruit on this continent. He can only thin the states that are drawing close their lines for emancipation, and hasten for them the day that must eventually dawn for every state that opens its gates to emigration.
The Transition States.
After passing the land of sugar and rice, and almost the land of cotton, we come upon the debateable ground which separates the sunny slave-cultivated plains of the South from the wheat fields and free labor of the Upper Mississippi. Kentucky and Missouri have not yet escaped from the pressure of a surplus colored population, and therefore have not attained the pure and unrelenting anti-slavery feeling of the exempted States; but the tide of emigration from Europe and the North is rolling on, and negro servitude must retire before it. A varied and complicated system of production in mines, factories, and a subdivided agriculture, presents itself in these States, and demands a higher and more intelligent class of laborers. The Old World is pouring in its thousands and tens of thousands of artisans and farmers to fill this demand, on such economical terms as will displace slavery. From Missouri eastward, a zone of five States is trembling in the balance of transition. A reluctance — natural to their position and honorable to their good faith — to abandon their old allies, the slave-holders, not to mention the embarrassment of disposing of a large colored population, retards decisive action, but the struggle is closing upon them, and can only end in one way. Slavery has been driven from the whole area of the fifteen free States as an unprofitable burden: for it is a solemn truth, that no State cast it off while it was thought profitable — and its death-knell would now be ringing in all this broad sweep of transition States, from Delaware and Maryland, through Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, on and on, to the Pacific, if, besides the check of sectional agitation, there did not rise on either side a wall of obstruction against the drainage of their superfluous blacks. On the South, the slave States resolutely shut their doors, in self-defence, against the admission of free colored persons. They have already more than they know what to do with, and but for higher considerations of humanity, their interests would counsel a general expulsion of the whole class from the slave borders. On the North, there is almost as much discouragement. Some States absolutely refuse them an asylum, and in the remainder there is but cold welcome and scant employment for uninstructed blacks among the swarming thousands of white emigrants. It is not the least curious feature of our geographical morality, that it has never occurred to but one or two States in the Union to apply the abstract benevolence which they are so enthusiastic in teaching
15to others, to the short-comings of their own position. Some States will not grant a shelter at all to the colored race, and few, indeed, have allowed them even a limited franchise; but most of them are willing to make up for this cold protection at home, by excessively warm lectures to the South in their behalf. This is well; for, in time, their impressive rhetoric on equity and equality may produce its fruits, and they may enter in very truth into all the blessings, social and political, of amalgamation. Heaven may deign, at last, to smile upon their sublime and unwearied efforts to this deserved fruition, but thus far such are not the signs of promise. A deep antipathy is rising and strengthening against these unfortunate aliens throughout the land. Any careful observer may read, in the firmament, clouds of retaliation and expulsion that will fall upon the race whose presence caused our domestic broils, whenever the storm breaks and the sky clears. The emancipation of this belt of transition States, which must ensue from the natural and uncontrollable laws of population, immediately that sectional opposition relaxes, will be the signal for vast and energetic measures for the transportation of the Africans to the original seat of their race.
The presence of a people with whom they do not think it well or wise to intermarry, is a light thing in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont, where the colored persons — besides being of a caste infinitely superior to those of the South, by education and admixture of blood — are only as one in three hundred to the whites, or even in Massachusetts, where they count about one in a hundred; but it is more serious when, as in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, they make one third of the whole population. The third, it must not be forgotten, which, from its moral and intellectual unpreparedness, is certain to be burthensome to the State. In Missouri and Kentucky, immigration has probably by this time — the eve of 1850 — reduced the black population nearer a fourth of their entire population; but still the grave question is before them, "What is to be done with this mass of 150,000 souls of African descent?"
This is a question which European philosophy finds so simple at three thousand miles distance. It replies, "Open to them your ballot-boxes and your family relations." But this side the Atlantic we have an invincible prejudice against this benevolent proposal of mixing to the Quadroon tint half of the States of the Confederation, or giving to the African suffrages the balance of power. Ungenerous, and unreasonable too, as it seems to people three thousand miles off, not one of the "Transition States" would
16consent to this arrangement, and however liberal the theories and wishes of the Northern negrophilos may be, none have spoken of enforcing their practical adoption at the point of the bayonet.
Missouri and Kentucky will not pause, however, in their career of emancipation. In the last ten years they have more than trebled their white laborers of the class in immediate competition with the colored producers. This has crowded the latter out of many branches of industry, and diminished the profits of slave-owning in a corresponding degree. To speak with more precision, white labor has underbid black, though both are well repaid in those favored States, and hire is becoming more safe and satisfactory to the employer than the risk and outlay of purchase. The same causes have swept steadily southward from the beginning of our nationality, and the march has never been swerved by any moral consideration from its chart of latitude. Slavery has receded before the climate and white laborers of the fifteen most ungenial States, and is only allowed a temporary halt in five more, who are flanked in prospective by two new ones in the Far West. California and Deseret continue the line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, across the fairest portion of the continent. On and above this transition line are mines adequate to the supply of the world in valuable metals, water power to manufacture for the world, land to subsist in luxury a hundred millions, and means of intercommunication which the world may well envy, With this guarantee of twenty-four free soil States by 1860 — for Minesota and Oregon will come into the ranks with the transition States — leaving of the present muster-roll but ten slave-holding States, who could be so weak as to fear the addition of one, two, or three slave States? Who does not see that the harmony and balance of the Union could not be endangered if all the continent south of the transition line down to the Isthmus were added to the slave-holding power? It would still be in the minority in territory, in population, and in States. If the slave force were diluted by spreading it over a larger surface, it would only invite more early and more urgently the presence and competition of free labor, and quicken the day of its final extinction. The map of the United States and the tables of emigration refute, in brief and irresistible logic, the fear, if there is really any one who entertains it, of the extension or preponderance of the slave influence.
The Necessary Ultimate of Slavery.
It is conceded that slavery cannot retrograde to the realms it has left behind, nor can it ever obtain any effective foothold westward or northward of its present limits, however it might be tolerated by law. The whole nature of the country and its productions, and the increasing momentum of the emigrant power, join to forbid the possibility. We have in this vast domain space for forty of the largest states, and we have emigrants landing on our shores at a rate to settle half a dozen of them in a year. If those laboring foreigners do not instantly urge before them into the unsettled territories the population requisite to entitle those territories to a name and place among the sovereignties of the Confederation, they remain in the older states to crowd forward our native-born masses to higher aims in newer fields, and to hurry away the lingering obstacle of slave preponderance in the transition states.
Already in the three-quarters just closed, of this year of 1849, it is computed that 300,000 strangers have come to our soil for fortune or refuge; and if this number were evenly divided among five territories demanding admittance to the national councils, they could not be refused — if the constitution is valid. It is not an act of condescension and free-grace in Congress to accept a state when it presents itself under the conditions prescribed by the constitution — it is an imperative duty. It is for the state, in the attributes of her sovereign power, of which she cannot divest herself, and which cannot be bartered away in her territorial minority, to arrange her own provisoes, and govern, like all her peers, her own domestic institutions, in her own independent manner. Yet there is, every year, less and less possibility of creating slave states, for the simple and definite lack of slave material.
The map of this union of states offers a cooling balm to whoever has a feverish dread of "extending slavery." It proves this "extension" a distinct impossibility, unless we borrow a new population from Africa to people the new states. When our Revolutionary sires swore to the Federal compact on the altar they had reared to Liberty, they and the states they represented were all slave-holding. There was not a spot of free-soil in Christian possession on this continent when they proclaimed the Charter of Independence and Confederation. Then all the great powers of Christendom were slave-traders, and endless were the disputes and diplomacy between Most Catholic Spain, and Christian France, and England, "the example of nations," for a monopoly of its honors and profits. They claimed it between them and wrangled for the largest share, as
18they had divided and monopolized this continent. American colonies received the slave-trafficking vices with the language and laws of their mother-country; yet the Old Thirteen, of their own free-will and judgment, estopped the importation of slaves, though their wide extent of sparsely-settled territory cried aloud for more laborers. Of the brave Old Thirteen, seven of the states (for Delaware is on the fence) have withdrawn from slavery, and far more than half of the population and of the acquired territory is with them; and half the area and people of the remaining states are preparing to follow this illustrious example.
How can a statesman so trifle with his reputation for sagacity as to speak of apprehensions of the "extension of slavery," when he knows the very children of this land of light can prove their fallacy by a reference to a chart of the republic — that true and noble guide in which they are rarely uninstructed. The first sprightly boy of twelve he meets from our public schools, will run his finger up Delaware Bay, along the south line of Pennsylvania, then down the Ohio and up the Mississippi, until he touches the north line of Missouri, and again along that line and down the western limits of that state and Arkansas, to the Red River, and this child will tell him that all these fifteen largest states of the Union north and west of this line, and all the immense domain beyond them, and all their eleven or twelve millions of inhabitants, are non-slaveholding; and every one of them, from old Massachusetts to young Iowa, by their unbiassed act, for no pre-engagements — if they existed — could bind the will of an independent state. If the grave statesman doubts, this child will also assure him that every one of the forty states yet to arise in this outside domain must inherit the same rights of sovereignty, yet from the circumstances of latitude and production, every one of them will step into Congress a non-slaveholder, as one after the other they receive baptism and confirmation in the congregation of republics.
Again, this youthful finger, anxious to re-assure the old man who is afraid to trust the Republic and her children, will trace the south line of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri — those states now visibly moving from slave to free cultivation, and who have been, and are, the bulwarks and nursing mothers of the younger states — and then this stripling of twelve, full of the confidence and enthusiasm of a nursling of the Union, will say, "When, in 1860, I cast my first vote, all these states will have passed through their transition trials, and this whole area, three times as large as all New-England, and even now having a greater population, will be free-soil and belted with other
19free-soil states not yet marked out or named in the maps of civilization, besides Nebrasca and Minesota." The eloquent politician takes counsel with his fears, and perchance with his ambition, how to retain an excuse for his resounding lamentations on the "immoral and destructive extension of slave limits;" but he cannot impress them on the boy of the common schools, for there he has been taught to understand the map, the history, and the constitution of his mother-land, and nothing can shake his loving faith in her wisdom and equity. For all reply to the vehement declarations of the graybeard, that she is slow, false, corrupt, imperfect, and unsatisfactory — the hopeful and trusting boy will turn to the second class of transition states, and dashing along the south margin of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and on until he is lost in the unexplored Centralia of the west, he will add, "In 1860 there will be in those states more free white emigrants than slaves; and in ten years, or less, throughout the whole Union, if foreign emigration remains but at its present rate, the entire black population, free and slave, will be outnumbered by the Europeans who come here for work, and then all this region will be engaged in dismissing their slaves. These facts are taught in our schools; are they deceitful, sir?" The statesman still hesitates to believe in the advancement and integrity of the Confederation, and he asks: "Where, then, do you children of to-day, who are to be men and voters in 1860, expect to find the limits and proportions of the positively slave-holding states, when a little later you shall come to the active guardianship of the Republic?"
"It will be confined to South Carolina and Georgia of the original thirteen, and the five states on the Gulf of Mexico — to less than an eighth of the territory, and less than a sixth of the population of the United States."
Well might the rebuked declaimer against the repose and existing policy of the Union pause to inquire why he would arrest the mighty wheel of progress, and endanger the noble machinery of the Confederation, to brush away a speck of dust that clings to its band of wisdom-tempered steel.