THE LAW OF LIBERTY AND THE LIBERTY OF LAW, INSEPARABLY NECESSARY TO HUMAN HAPPINESS; for where there is not any existence or perception of Law, and reverence therefor, there cannot be real, rational Liberty. — EGO.
Negro Slavery Examined.
THE time has come when it behoves all men who can exercise any thing like conservative influence to do so. Every intelligent, observing, thoughtful man, possessing candor, loving the institutions peculiar to this country, and recognising truth and reason as the standards of human conduct under the regulating authority of the Christian Bible, must feel that the time to speak and act out the genuine philanthropist, patriot, and Christian, is at hand. In these United States, with all the liberal, free, almost unrestricted habits of action and license of opinion now prevailing and growing with the growth of every thing around us, it is high time for all who sincerely desire the prosperity and perpetuity of our institutions to take a stand in favor of law and order. No where on the globe is the spirit of progress so rife — the go-a-head, railroad, and lightning principle in such full operation — and popular opinion so omnipotent as in this country: no where else on earth are to be found, in the same community, so many elements of discord — so many isms, and Ultraism is the culmination of all other isms, and the besetting evil of the day. In politics, morals, social intercourse, religion, every thing, the tendency is to extremes. We are, in fact, at a period in the history of our world and the human race, when common sense is the rarest commodity, either material or spiritual, physical or intellectual, natural or artificial, to be found in the world. So universal appears to be the prevalence of monomania, that few men in the present generation are exempt from its influences, in relation to one subject or another — few are capable of looking at or investigating any and every subject dispassionately, and free from prejudices, pro or con; and fewer still, if possible, are intelligent, calm, considerate, and enlightened enough to subject their passions to their judgments — their sober, second thoughts — and to act from the dictates of reason instead of the impulses of temper. If there is any thing more needed just now in this country than every thing else, it is the mad-house, the lunatic asylum. Throughout the length and breadth of our land, mad-houses are more needed than any other establishments of a public character.
On the subject of negro slavery there is, perhaps, more ignorance, error, folly, fanaticism, pseudo-philanthropy, political demagogueism, religious hypocrisy, and general monomania, than on any and all other topics which are agitating this country at this time. I purpose to discuss this subject, in all of its aspects, phases, and connections, upon matter-of-fact, common sense, practical views thereof; addressing my facts and reasons to all classes and castes of people; hoping that I may be able to accomplish some good, and praying that I may be so governed by proper influences as not to do harm.
And, first, I address Christians — as well those who are merely such in theory, or simply assent to the doctrines and divine authenticity of the Bible, as those who profess to be such in faith and practice — all who believe the Christian Bible to be a revelation from God to mankind, expressing the Divine will, declaring His character, and teaching all the obligations and duties of human beings to their God and to each other. To such I say, You of course believe that God is omniscient and infallible; that to him a thousand years are as one day, and the end is known from the beginning; that with Him there is not any variableness or shadow of turning, and right and wrong are immutably the same, at all tunes, in all places, and under all circumstances — viz., that way principle, whether virtuous or vicious, right or wrong, is always the same; as, for illustration — honesty, humanity, and truthfulness are intrinsically right, and must be so eternally; and theft, cruelty, and falsehood are intrinsically wrong, and never can be otherwise. Then, of consequence, you believe any principle that has once been recognised and established by the Supreme Being must be as intrinsically and unalterably beneficent, just, true, and wise as He is so in His nature and attributes. To believe otherwise, is to impugn, to repudiate the Christian idea of God. Well, if I am correct in the above positions, the abstract propriety of slavery is settled. As a mere abstract principle, slavery, according to 44th, 45th, and 46th verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus, was clearly established by Divine authority, as follows: "Both thy bondmen and bondmaids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids." "Moreover, of the children of strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession." "And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen forever: but over your brethren, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor." In view of this portion of the Scriptures, and the following passages, to wit: Ephesians, chap. vi,
5verses 5, 6, 7, 8, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your hearts, as unto Christ;" "not with eye service, as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;" "with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free:" Colossians, chap. iii, verses 22 and 23, "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God;" "and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men:" 1 Timothy, chap. vi, verses 1 and 2, "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed;" "and they that have believing masters, let them not despise those, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are partakers of the benefit: these things teach and exhort:" Titus, chap. ii, verses 9 and 10, "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again;" "not purloining, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Many other passages of the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, of similar import and authority, might be quoted in proof of the Divine sanction of slavery. And when we remember that Christ and his apostles lived in an age when slavery existed in the most absolute, despotic forms, with power of life or death to the slave at the mere caprice of the master, and that they were often in its midst, does it not strike us as remarkable, wonderful indeed, that they did not denounce it, if it were wrong, but, on the contrary, recognized the obligations and duties of the relation, and repeatedly enjoined upon all men, every where, the faithful performance of those duties? Will any one venture to say that the Saviour failed to perform His mission on earth — forgot some of His duties — did not condemn and reprove all manner of wrong? If no one will venture to say so, I will venture to affirm that slave owners in the United States of America have nothing to reproach themselves with on the question of slavery, as an abstraction, but must look to it only as a practical matter, in connection with its necessary incidents. It is simply a question of expediency; and if, under all the circumstances in which a master may be placed voluntarily or involuntarily, subject to or beyond his control, he discharges his duties to the best of his abilities — with conscientious reference to his obligations as a Christian — he need not feel any anxiety or apprehension on the score of wrong or sinfulness in the relation between him and his slave. I am aware that there are self-righteous
6pharisees in our times, like those who received from the Saviour the most scathing reproofs administered by Him during His sojourn On earth, who thank God that they are better than their fellow-men, and especially than slave-owners; and who esteem themselves too good to hold fellowship or communion with pro-slavery men, whether owners of slaves or not. Such people deem themselves wiser and better than Christ and his apostles considered they were; for they did not refuse to eat and drink and have intercourse with publicans and pharisees, Jews and Gentiles, bond and free. My opinion of such people is, that they are not worth spending much time or thought about — are neither proper objects of sympathy, nor fit subjects for reformation; and, consequently, I do not address them. It is true, that in their outward appearance they have the "human form divine," but they cannot reasonably be supposed to have souls worth either saving or damning, if it be possible for human beings to be entirely destitute of souls.
As a mere temporal, worldly institution or social arrangement for the comfort and happiness of the parties, every slave owner knows, and every other intelligent, observing, candid person, who has had full, fair opportunities of witnessing the workings of negro slavery, must admit, that it is calculated to secure, and does secure, the greatest amount of personal comfort and happiness to, the slave, to be witnessed amongst the poor, laboring classes on the globe. In this respect, it is infinitely better, for the slave than for the master. No one at all familiar with slavery as it exists in these United States, who is discerning, unprejudiced, candid, and capable of comparing facts, will deny that the negro slaves in this country, so far as bodily comforts, and even mental instruction concerning those things most essential to human happiness go, are greatly ahead of the peasantry and serfs and laboring classes of most countries in the world. As regards religion, the simplicity of the gospel, spiritual enjoyments, — they are better informed, and they enjoy the unadulterated religion of Christ more than any other people on earth: indeed, religion with them is a matter of faith and feeling, something more than a cold formalism, a theory or a mental abstraction. And with respect to enjoying this world and present life, — in health of body, quiet of mind, buoyancy of spirits, and relish for the creature comforts which render life pleasant and desirable to most of us, — it is a well known fact, one of general observation and remark, that the negro slaves in America appear to be the happiest beings in this world. They do, in truth, enjoy a freedom to which their owners are strangers, viz., freedom from the cares, and plans, and arrangements, and provisions, and anxieties of life; for it is of little consequence to them whether seasons be favorable or unfavorable, whether crops, be good or bad, provisions plentiful
7or scarce, cheap or dear; — all these things are, masters or mistress look-out
But the most astonishing of all facts connected with negro slavery in this country, are the denunciations of it by Christians or those who profess to be friends of the religion of Christ, and desirous to see its blessings extended to the nations inhabiting this entire globe. They really exemplify the old adage, "None are so blind as those who do not wish to see, or so deaf as those who do not wish to hear." Shutting both their eyes and ears to the manifest destiny of this institution, and to the fact, apparent to every dispassionate, careful observer, that there is now being wrought out of African slavery in the United States of America one of the grandest providences that has ever astonished and gladdened our world, viz., the redemption of Africa and the Eastern continents from barbarism and heathenism, and elevating them to the level of civilization and Christian refinement, through the instrumentality of Africans, first prepared for the task in this country; — shutting both ears and eyes against these facts, abolitionists, professing to be Christians, are not satisfied with opposing the extension of slavery, but impiously denounce the existence of an institution from which so much good is to result; and they are the less excusable, because the facts are as palpable as though they were inscribed in glowing characters on the arch of the skies. In vain may you remind such fanatics that experiments have proven the impracticability of accomplishing the work of civilizing and christianizing Africa through the instrumentality of the white man. Missionary after missionary, sent thither for the purpose, has fallen; and if the white man could live and enjoy health there, his caste would present perpetual obstacles in the way of his efficiency and success. The Almighty and Omniscient Creator has made the white man and the negro essentially different — has stamped distinguishing peculiarities in the inner and outer man, spiritually and bodily, which render it utterly impracticable for the two castes to dwell together upon perfect equality, and to co-operate with efficient harmony. Until the leopard can change his spots and the Etheopian his skin, white men and negroes must act in different spheres, unless one be subordinate to the other. In this view of the case, I repeat, if Christian slave owners discharge their duties humanely and faithfully, with kindness and judiciousness, they have nothing to fear on the score of abstract rights, either from a wise, beneficent God, or from good, sensible, well-informed, candid men.
I now address Infidels (complacently self-styled Rationalists), who, rejecting the Christian and all other systems of religion which purport to be of Divine origin and revelations from God to man, declare that they are votaries of reason, and acknowledge no higher authority. And I
8must here be allowed to say, though it be somewhat digressive, that I am persuaded most of the violent, rabid opposers of African slavery are included in the above category of Infidelity, or otherwise are actuated by selfish or sinister motives. Men should remember the Latin maxim, Ignorentia non excusat legem, which, being interpreted, means that "ignorance is no excuse in law," either of God or man, where there is opportunity for obtaining information, and people choose to shut their ears and eyes. And it should also be remembered, that asserting, as a fact, what one does not know to be true or have unquestionable proof is so, cannot be any better than asserting a falsehood — is, indeed, falsehood itself. Some persons, clearly perceiving that slavery has existed coeval with Bible history, and has been expressly instituted by God, and recognized by the Saviour and his apostles, according to the foregoing quotations from the Scriptures, reject all that testimony, and appeal to reason — poor, uninspired, human reason — for arguments against slavery, and find themselves in the midst of a sea of infidelity, without chart, and having but a wavering, doubtful, cracked compass to rely upon. Reason of whom? Why, of a being who does not understand the first principles of his own existence; who cannot tell how soul and body necessarily exist together, and mind and matter act and react on each other; who cannot even understand the nature and developments of a flower or a blade of grass; who has no inward consciousness of the beginning of his own existence! Such a short-sighted, imbecile creature — worm, I should say — assumes and presumes to deny the Scriptures of Divine wisdom and truth, and to reject and blaspheme the Creator of the universe, because His thoughts are not as man's thoughts, and His ways are not as man's ways. Such wiseacres should recollect — if, really, they have sense and information and reflection enough to do so — that the relation of master and slave has virtually existed, in some form and under some name, from the date of the first society or household or family on earth to the present time, in every land and under all the various governments, public and private, known to man; that this relation is inseparable from all civilized conditions — is not merely arbitrary, but is a necessary, unavoidable sequence of all social and associated organizations; that whether the terms master and mistress (or marm), or something else, be used on the one hand, and servant, domestic, handmaid, apprentice (or help), bondman, or slave, be used on the other hand, the relation is essentially the same, for there must be hewers of wood and drawers of water all the world over, and there ever have been and will be those who will make their fellow-men hew and draw for them. The trite saying, that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and look as pretty as it does by that name, is familiar to all of us, and
9aptly illustrates the tweedledum and tweedledee distinctions attempted to be made with regard to the epithets applied to express this relation. Let the Infidel, the vain Rationalist, learn to submit to the laws of nature and necessity, even if he will not acknowledge the author of all law. But I will even say to such, Come, let us reason together from facts, and, for the sake of untrammelled argument, I will admit that slavery is in principle wrong, that it is unjust, impolitic, sinful, any thing you please, abstractly or practically. I ask, who is to blame for it? aye, whose fault is it that negro slavery exists in these United States? Remember that it is not an institution of yesterday, or of the present generation. Scarcely one of those amongst whom it exists had any thing to do with its origin or creation; and thousands of them, regarding it as undesirable, on divers accounts — as, in fact, attended with evils — would gladly be rid of it. It is the growth of generations, and most of those amongst whom it exists were born in the midst of it, heirs to it. Are they blameable for that more than for their own births? But, say some, get rid of it — abolish it — turn loose the negroes, even in your midst, and at once. I need hardly reply, however, that those who talk thus are rabid, wild, fanatical, reckless, ultra abolitionists, who neither understand nor care what they say. Perhaps not one in ten thousand of them ever was in a slave community, or has witnessed the practical workings and results of the institution, or understands any thing about the negro — his peculiar temperament, habits, &c., &c. — or knows that the negro is essentially different from the white man, physically and intellectually; or reflects on the impossibility of whites and negroes living in perfect equality. Perhaps all their ideas concerning the negro, in his state of slavery, have been formed from reading fictions and misrepresentations, and seeing caricatures and burlesques. When they are asked to take the negroes amongst themselves, and place them on a perfect, social, political, and religious equality with themselves, they reply, "No, no, no! it is none of our business." Their noisy sympathy and impertinent interference with a thing about which they have no kind of responsibility, and from the disadvantages of which they are exempted, extends only to such acts and clamors as will annoy slave owners and dissatisfy slaves, without costing them any thing more valuable than a little hypocritical breath — words full of sound and fury, but practically useless, or only mischievous. Ask the most ranting abolitionist you can find to suggest some plan for ridding the country of the evils of which he so bitterly complains — which seem to engross most of his thoughts and sympathies, and haunt him like a spectre — and he will reply, it is no concern of his; especially, if it is to cost him any thing that he values. Say to him, Sir, many years ago, some of the greatest
10and best men in our nation, statesmen and genuine philanthropists, met together and devised the plan of colonizing the negroes of this country on the shores of Africa, in their own natal land and congenial clime, as the best, in every point of view, to rid the United States of negro slavery; and as a means, at the same time, of blessing that country. After much consultation, they formed the American Colonization Society, locating the board at Washington City, and calling on all friends of the movement, and approvers of their objects, throughout the States, to co-operate with them. Tell him that the colonies of Liberia, Monrovia, &c., &c., sprang from that movement, and are now in a condition of prosperity and success, unequalled by any thing ever known in the history of colonization, being now independent, republican, Christian communities, recognized by the strongest and most enlightened governments in the world; tell him that auxiliary colonisation societies were immediately formed in many parts of our country, and agents sent out to explain the plan and promote its objects; tell him that he and his comrades and co-workers; or such as they; arrayed themselves against this plan; and commenced the abolition agitation and movements, by which colonization for a time was almost paralyzed, and has been greatly crippled and retarded to this day; and ask him, in the name of common sense, of humanity, and of patriotism, why it Ins been so, and you will receive for answer some whining, canting, senseless slang about human rights; or it may be that he will very coolly tell you, it is no business of his to explain those things. The meddler can always find pleasure in attending to the affairs of other people, and in understanding them, in his own opinion, better than the parties directly interested; and he will gloat and riot on the mischief he may cause, the losses and vexations which may be inflicted on others, provided himself is not a loser; but ask him to show his sincerity by some sacrifice, to prove the strength of his philanthropy by contributing that which he really loves, to effect that which he professes to have so much at heart, and he will mock or disgust you by declaring that he and his are free from the sin of slavery, and intend to keep clear of its contaminations.
I here give my pledge, as one who aspires to be considered a gentleman and a Christian, to any person or number of persons professing to think it the duty of slave holders to abolish slavery at once, and let loose the negroes in the midst of the communities where they have hitherto been held in bondage — I solemnly pledge myself to furnish such persons any number of liberated slaves that they shall agree to take into their own families, and place on a complete equality with the other members, and to take care of and provide for such liberated negroes during life, in the same way the white members of their families may be taken
11care of and provided for; and that this shall be something more than, a proposition of words, I suggest that the arrangement shall be consummated by legal documents. If abolitionists are sincere in their professions of belief that it is practicable and right, just to slave owners, and expedient for slaves, to follow their suggestions, surely they will feel glad to embrace this excellent opportunity of aiding in carrying out those suggestions. If they would waste half of the sympathy and efforts and means; in aiding colonization, which are now wasted in the various devices for annoying slave owners, disaffecting slaves, and violating the laws of both God and man, incalculable good would be accomplished. And, after all, I ask abolitionists of every order and degree, name and denomination, caste and color, black spirits and white, blue spirits and grey, what they expect to effect, towards abolishing slavery, by decoying a few hundreds or thousands of negroes from their owners? It is as but a drop in the ocean. Considerable inconvenience and damage to individuals and families may be caused thereby. For example: a farmer, with a wife and large family of children, owns a negro man and his wife. The man aids in cultivating the little farm and producing bread and meat for the whole; the negro woman is accustomed to do the cooking and washing for the family. The farmer dies, leaving his family little to depend on except the regular products of the farm; and the negroes; who have been equal sharers in the benefits, become more necessary to , the widow and her children than they were during the life of her husband. Abolitionists come about, and persuade the negroes to run away — to flee to some unknown Sand, amongst strangers, forsaking their comfortable, tried home. And the widow and children are left to unaccustomed labors, to employments beyond their strength and skill; and the farm, once the reliable source of their support, becomes a care, a burden, almost useless to them. Let even the abolitionist say so, if this is a pleasing picture to him; and let him tell what the practical benefits of such a case would be to the cause of abolitionism. And yet it is not a mere sketch of fancy — is not overdrawn; nay, falls short of the many desolating incidents which occur in connection with abolition and anti-slavery movements. Does any sensible person believe that the cause of anti-slavery is benefitted by such occurrences?
We will take another and by no means an imaginary instance. Suppose (as often happens), a father or mother dies, or both die, leaving children without any inheritance worth naming, except slaves. The slaves are sufficiently numerous and of a description to provide ample maintenance for both whites and blacks; but they are told of the blessings of personal liberty, and some Utopia is described to them where they may go and enjoy liberty, or laziness, or licentiousness, at their
12pleasure. They are informed of the facilities for escape, by underground railroads, &c., &c.; every suggestion that can sour their feelings towards their owners, and dissatisfy them with their present condition, is urged; and they fly from those who have been kind to them, and whom both interest and duty prompt to feel and care for them; they fly, they know not whither or to what consequences — often, according to an old saying, "jumping out of the frying pan into the fire." In addition to the above facts, the estate of the deceased may be in debt, partly for necessaries bought for those slaves, and creditors have to suffer. Now, I ask, what are the blessed results of such a case? Especially, would I inquire how much the cause of emancipation and the interests of slaves are promoted thereby?
Is it not evident that abolitionism is doing more harm to slaves, prejudicing their chances and prospects of emancipation, than every other obstacle put together, and rendering their general condition worse than it would be if the thing were left to work out its own cure and regulate itself? I verily believe, that if pseudo-philanthropists had done in behalf of the colonization scheme a tithe of what they have done in behalf of abolitionism and fugitive slaveryism, the period of negro slavery in these United States would now be at least one century nearer its end than it is.
That there are evils incident to negro slavery, every candid, well-informed man will acknowledge; but I ask, what there is connected with mankind, in this world, that is perfect? Not as a justification, or even palliation, do I ask the question, but to fix attention on certain facts which should tinge the cheeks of abolitionists with shame, if such as emotion can be felt by those who are engaged in that senseless, devilish work. The facts are, that however anxious to do so slave owners may, be, they cannot, in justice to themselves, with a view to peace and safety, teach their slaves or have them taught the simple elementary branches of education — cannot do so, lest fanaticism should use this very kindness as the easiest, surest medium by which to disaffect slaves and annoy owners. Another fact is, that, by incendiary publications, insidious suggestions and teachings, and all other means in their power, anti-slavery people are rendering extraordinary vigilance and rigor, on the part of owners, necessary to keep slaves in proper subordination; and are really preventing the kindness and indulgence which would otherwise be extended, and would build up mutual confidence and attachments between owners and slaves. And yet, another fact, if possible worse than those just stated, is the uniform, unavoidable violation — aye, nullification, of laws, both human and divine, involved in abolition movements. The laws of this land, which, from the foundation of our
13confederacy, have recognized slavery and regulated it as one of the original institutions and the laws of God, which forbid men to covet their neighbor's man servant or maid servant, or to interfere as meddlers or busy-bodies with the domestic affairs of their fellow-men, but, on the contrary, teach all men to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are His, — are alike disregarded, set at nought, trodden under foot by abolitionists. Cruelties and other wrongs are charged against slavery, and assigned by anti's in justification of themselves; as though these things are peculiar to slave communities, and unknown elsewhere. I have taken some pains to investigate this branch of the subject, and I can say confidently that I believe cruelty is more frequently practiced amongst and towards apprentices and the various classes of servants in the free States, than can be found to happen in slave States. Even his own property interest, if no other consideration, would prompt a master to treat his slave humanely — at least, to abstain from injuring his property. The ungovernable passions of some men, at times, overleap all restraints, and impel those governed thereby to commit great outrages, even the driving of their families from their homes, and sometimes murdering the innocent and helpless; but no reasonable person considers such instances fair criterions by which to judge neighborhoods or families, much less States. Cruelty is no more an essential, inseparable consequence of negro slavery, than of any other form or condition of servitude, and the laws of slave States, for the protection of negroes from cruelty, I believe are as strict and as judicious as the laws of free States, enacted for similar purposes.
The blinding, perverting influences of anti-slaveryism on the minds of some people are wonderful, and are strikingly illustrated in many cases. We will take two examples; first calling to mind, however, the fugitive slave law, let us state the prominent facts connected with the Kansas and Nebraska question. The Congress and President of the United States saw fit to extinguish Indian titles to those territories, and to give them initiatory existence as part and parcel of our common domain. This is not an occasion for discussing their action and deciding its wisdom or folly, though I am free to say that the policy of setting apart that entire territory, permanently, for the remnants of Indian tribes yet lingering east of the Rocky Mountains, instead of opening it, as a Pandora's box, is now pretty clearly demonstrated. Be that as it may, the thing was done regularly and legitimately. In the mean time, the repeal of the famous Missouri Compromise was started, and advocated by northern men, and passed by votes of representatives from non-slave-holding States, against the remonstrances of southern men, and in opposition to the votes of slave holders; and immediately the ultraists, of high and
14low degree, of every name and ism, mounted their abolition hobby, and, seizing this pretext, proclaimed nullification, openly avowed and commenced resistance to a regularly-enacted law of our country — I mean the fugitive slave law. Whether that bill was good or bad, wise or unwise, is of little importance in this discussion. It became a regularly enacted law of this government, and all good citizens are bound to obey it while it remains on our statute book, or until it shall be constitutionally abrogated. But they are not content with so much, but declare that the extension of slavery on United States soil shall stop; that they will prevent it by force, if necessary; and that there shall be no peace until it is extinguished. Accordingly, societies have been formed, in the anti-slavery portions of our country, to send out people to Kansas and Nebraska, with the avowed, boasted purpose of accomplishing their objects by numbers and force; thus recklessly disturbing the peace and jeopardising the safety of a slave State bordered by those territories. And in view of these facts, anti-slavery people — practical nullifiers as they are — expect the people of Missouri in particular, and slave States in general, to sit quietly and permit such things to be done — aye, affect to think Missourians unnecessarily sensitive, and opprobriously denounce them as mobocrats and lawless savages, because they oppose force to force in a case involving not simply their peace, but their safety, their social existence, indeed. It is true that one wrong does not justify another; that two wrongs do not make one right; but the beginners of any wrong are the justly-responsible parties for all incidents and consequences resulting therefrom. And the worst has not yet been told. In Boston, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Milwaukee, it has been virtually proclaimed, by abolitionists and their abettors, that the soil of our country is not common property — that some of it is free, and, by some mystical quality or process, transforms slaves into freemen and that citizens of one State have no right to go into any of the States in our union and claim their property wherever found. And American citizens — native-born Americans — going from a slave State into a free State, to claim their property, under the sanctions of constitutional and statutory laws, have been mobbed and driven as aliens from the soil. If that is not the essence of nullification, and revolution, exceeding any thing justly chargeable against the south generally and slavery paaticularly, I must read again the history of this country and the present crisis. Yet, the parties of whom I have spoken above affect great abhorrence of violence, ardent devotion to human rights, and to be the special advocates and friends of law and order. They are horrified at the lawlessness of Missourians, and all pro-slavery people, who follow (their examples, and oppose mobocracy with its own weapons. For
15some time past, my mind has been brought to the conclusion — the, lamentable, reluctant apprehension — that this question is fast tending to the issue of general civil strife; and if that; is to be the result, let it come quickly, say I; the sooner the better. It is better to lop off a limb at the first symptom of gangrene, than to wait until the whole body becomes affected.
To my mind it appears clear, that nullifying abolitionists, who resist the Fugitive Slave Law, decoy slaves from their owners, and even take them by force sometimes and against the wishes of the slaves (as has been done in Boston, New York, Pittsburg, and Cincinnati); and all those who are engaged in getting up Kansas and Nebraska emigrant aid societies, are the beginners of lawlessness and violence, and have no right to expect the slave States to remain quiet beholders of their movements. No sensible, observing, reflecting mind can feel surprised if pro-slavery people, in those territories, and that portion of Missouri bordered by them, shall rise en masse, and say to all known, avowed abolitionists, You shall not come upon this soil until you acknowledge the equal rights of all American citizens in and to every portion of the common soil of this country; and to go wherever they please, in a lawful way, and for lawful purposes; and until you submit to the Fugitive Slave Law.
Let us take another instance illustrative of the infatuating, stultifying influences of anti-slavery ism on some minds. Recently, a New-School Presbyterian Assembly convened in the city of St. Louis, and some of the restless, excitement-loving spirits in that body could not attend to and transact the other various interesting and important matters which came legitimately before the Assembly, without lugging in the slavery question. Forgetting the common decencies and courtesies of civilized society, they introduced into a meeting being held in a slave community a heated discussion of this subject, utterly Unprofitable and useless for all practical purposes, and only productive of unkind feelings and unchristian denunciations. If any individual were guilty of similar conduct in a private way — viz., were to become a visitor or temporary inmate in a family, and introduce some topic that he knew to be especially offensive or disagreeable to the family, or any of its members, he would be considered, by every one pretending to have any idea of good breeding, decorum, or the amenities of respectable society, as deserving to be kicked out of doors, or at least shown the outside of the house. And yet, men professing to be Christians, and appearing to be gentlemen, could be so far blinded by prejudice and passion as to do what is above stated. If they had chosen to agitate this question in a meeting sitting in a non-slave-holding community, it would have been bad, enough,
16would have manifested little enough of the spirit of Christ. In sober seriousness, I would ask, what more consummate specimen of impudence can be furnished than that of nullifiers and abolitionists crying out against the people of Missouri, and denouncing them as lawless for following their own examples? As well might Satan declaim against sin.
The wild spirit that is prevailing at the present time is to be traced, no doubt, to that sophism, or rather absurdity, contained in the Declaration of American Independence, which affirms, "All men are created equal." This is one of the most mischievous sentiments ever uttered or penned; and is not false and ridiculous only, but disorganizing; and is contradicted by facts and the observation of mankind from the creation. of the human race to the present day. All men created equal, indeed! when everybody knows that there is not a sentient, animal, breathing creature born into this world under more varied circumstances, and with faculties of mind and body more diverse than mankind are. One is born a puling, sickly, feeble, imbecile lump of mortality, that with difficulty exhibits signs of animal existence, and does not learn to stand alone for months, and sometimes years, after it has come squalling into life; whose rationality is often undeveloped throughout life; and of whose immortality none would ever dream, if that fact were not revealed by its Creator. Some are born halt, and maimed, and blind, and deaf, and dumb, deformed or diseased in body, and idiotic and imbecile in mind. Some others, even in the worldly circumstances amidst which they are born, seem to share a hard lot of lowliness, humility, suffering, and undeserved degredation, having their births in poverty and exposure to the elements and storms, or to the worse lot of the world's cold, reluctant charity, surrounded by every thing that is calculated to disgust the senses, and harden the heart and sear the conscience. That is one side of the picture; now for the other: Some are born healthy, strong, and beautiful in person, and bright and vigorous in intellect, in the full possession of all human faculties, which develope with rapidity, astonishing to all around, and exhibit precocity that of itself argues immortality. And some others are born in the midst of friends and fortune — to wealth, and honors, and unlimited enjoyments of all the pleasures of this world — surrounded by all kinds of elevating and refining influences. According to a common saying, "Some are born beggars, and others with silver spoons in their mouths;" yet the Declaration of Independence informs us that "all men are created equal." Well, surely, their birthrights are of an exceedingly refined, gaseous, ethereal, moonshine character, not to be understood by common people, much less to be seen, heard, felt, smelt, tasked, or handled. I would like to know the authority,
17outside of the Declaration of Independence, for the precious rights resulting from equality; and the single case in man's history wherein they have been perfectly exemplified and enjoyed. Mr. Jefferson wrote that sentiment and its corollaries to tickle the fancies of his countrymen, and flatter the vanity of a people fond of grandiloquence and humbuggery. It is known to everybody at all familiar with his biography, that he was in religion an infidel, in politics a red-republican, and in morals a latitudinarian; and it is not surprising that, under the circumstances which gave rise to the Declaration of Independence, he should have inserted a clause congenial to his own mind, and that was as extraordinary, indefinite, and inappreciable as were the surroundings by which it was suggested. Nor is it surprising that his own mortal remains, in the short lapse of time since that sentiment was penned, and the shorter time since his death, should be permitted to lie neglected and almost contemned on the brow of Monticello, mingling with mother earth, without monument or mausoleum, or any thing, except dilapidation, to designate the spot where they were interred, — if travellers and letter-writers are to be credited. For, the sake of its novelty and sophistry, its euphoneous sound and its adaptation to flatter human vanity and minister to popular passions, Mr. Jefferson inserted in the Declaration of American Independence a sentiment unworthy of his great intellect, because he knew it was humbuggery. But great men are said to have proportionally great failings; and his was a grand position, such as might well try any man: it has occurred only once in the history of our world; and it was expected of him, and those engaged with him in preparing that instrument, that they would utter new and startling thoughts. Nevertheless, they had more than school-boy reputation to write for — the posthumous fame of patriots and sages was to be perpetuated; but we are told that Jupiter, even the great Jupiter, sometimes nods. If it had been declared that the entire human race, according to the laws of nature, the dictates of reason and divine revelation, are entitled to all the individual rights, privileges, and immunities enjoyed by their fellow men and the communities of which they are members — that are calculated to insure their best interests — the declaration would have been understood by every mind of ordinary capabilities, as, conveying not only a distinct idea, but teaching a lesson of practical, useful truth , but when it is said that "all men are created equal" — the maimed and helpless, idiotic and demoniac, fierce and cruel, alike with the healthy and active, intelligent and rational, gentle and affectionate — the child of virtue and offspring of vice, all equal; — the assertion strikes, every one who is not carried away by sounds which please our ears, and phrases which flatter our vanity and self-esteem, as being absurd in
18itself. Euphohisms are not always truths; but truth is immutable, eternal, and always valuable to some extent. If the proposition that we find in the Declaration of Independence, and have just been discussing, be carefully analyzed, it must strike every intelligent mind as being contrary to nature, and contradicted by all human history and observation. But, if that were all to be said about it, we might let it pass as we would let the brilliant, beautiful reptile pass, if it were not poisonous had not a dangerous fang or sting. l am persuaded that the identical doctrine set forth therein has been working; and is still working, whereever it is uttered or read, to produce discontent and commotions, to disturb existing conditions of things every where, and to set aside those heavenly precepts which inculcate peace, harmony, subordination, and order amongst mankind, and universal love towards God and man. Indeed, I do not entertain a doubt, that the identical doctrine in question is, of all others, most prolific of many of the evils, the worst isms, of the present times, and their sequences, viz., contempt for restraints and disregard for laws and regularly-constituted authorities; the substitution of licentiousness for liberty, and an imaginary higher law for all established, stated laws; human and divine; the frequent practice of and general tendency to violence and mobocracy; and, in short, the fearful subversion of all order and settled forms.
Some people appear to value personal freedom above all things else in this world; seem to consider the mere right of unrestrained locomotion the grand desideratum of life — forgetting it is oftener a curse than a blessing, and always so if not properly exercised: is a curse or a blessing according to its use or abuse. They seem to lose sight of and forget the fact that is illustrated throughout all nature, viz., that no finite thing can exist, and sustain its proper relations, and perform appropriate functions, independent of laws; that the Creator has evidently made some to rule and others to be ruled, and all to be subject to some law. I would ask such people to explain to me why we have penal laws, penetintiaries, alms-houses, and places of correction and discipline, with the innumerable other appointments and appliances required to protect men against the wrongs to which they are liable from their fellow-men, and as far as possible to restrain them from injuring themselves, and constrain them to do right? I ask why all those things, if personal freedom is the greatest blessing of life, and the highest object of human aspiration?
I am a pro-slavery man, in favor or colonization, and opposed to abolition, for the following reasons:
1st. I believe African slavery in the United States of America to be a divine institution or appointment, designed, in the providences of God, to work out the redemption of Africa, Asia, and other portions of the world from barbarism and idolatry, and to elevate heathen nations to the enjoyment of civil, social, political, and religious privileges, like those now enjoyed in this highly-favored land alone; and that such a work can be accomplished only through the instrumentality of the negro caste, first prepared for it by birth, education, and training in this country.
2d. I believe the general condition of slaves in these States to be better, in every point of view, than that of the poor, laboring classes of people any where else on the globe; and that, en masse, they are the happiest people in America.
3d. I believe colonization on the shores of Africa to be the best plan ever thought of, or that can be devised, for ridding this country of negro slavery (a consummation most sincerely and earnestly to be desired), and clearing out the whole race, bond and free, from our midst, and at the same time conferring incalculable blessings on others.
4th. I believe that abolition is the concentrated spirit of impertinence, selfishness, envy, ambition, hypocrisy, and knavery; that its advocates are mostly infidels, fanatics, scoffers at religion, and advocates of women's rights and all other new-fangled notions, broken-down politicians and designing demagogues, and hypocrites who out-pharisee the pharisees of old. Some of them, no doubt, are honest and sincere; but honesty and sincerity cannot sanctify error, or remedy mischief that has, been inflicted.
Thus do I sum up the substance of my reasons, for advocating the present existence of slavery in the United States of America, and colonization as the best remedy for it; and my utter abhorrence of and opposition to abolition in all of its phases and influences.
PETER G. CAMDEN. St. Louis, June, 1855.
A Nut for Abolitionists to Crack.
WE published on Tuesday a brief notice of the murder of a little girl, 14 years of age, daughter of James D. Thornton, in Sumpter, Ala., by a slave belonging to her father. It seems that about three o'clock on the 29th of April she left her father's house, to walk out, and being missed, was found several hours afterwards in a ditch, covered with dirt and bushes, and quite dead. On examination, she was found to have been dreadfully tortured. Her head, neck, and face were beaten to a jelly, and her body was bruised all over. Suspicion resting on Davy, a negro of her father's, he was arrested, and confessed having done the deed at the instance of another negro, named Hardy, who paid him for it.
He then went with some gentlemen and showed them where he took her from; said she was sitting down playing in the water. He then showed them where, is taking her off, he had thrown her on the ground, evidently very hard. A little further on, and he had thrown her on the ground again, and then again. It is supposed that when he did this she was trying to escape. He said she was crying all the time, and pleading with him not to kill her. The fourth time he threw her down, he beat her head with a piece of an old stump. She did not speak again after that, but cried very much. When he got to the place where he buried her, she was not quite dead, so he cut a club and struck her on the forehead. He then got a large stick, and put it across her throat, and put his knees, one on each end, and bore down upon it until she was entirely dead. He then took a hoe and covered her up, throwing some leaves and brush on her.
He acknowledged finally that he did it of his own accord — that no one else knew any thing of it — that he had never thought of doing it until he saw her walk down to the branch. He had not the slightest shadow of a reason for doing it; said he was not even mad with her; that she had not provoked him in the least. He had belonged to her father ever since she was quite a small child, and had always seemed to think a great deal of her — ever ready to accommodate her in any way.