Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

In the first place, it requires no argument to prove, that the government of the United States has no power to control in any way, the subject of slavery in the several States. Nor can it rightfully object to the admission of the people of a territory into the Union, upon the ground that their constitution recognizes the institution of slavery. Nor do we admit that within the spirit of the constitution, Congress possesses the right to prohibit slavery in the territory of the United States; for the reason that all territory belonging to the general government ought of right to be free to the citizens of every State, and that they ought to be protected in the possession and enjoyment of any property, the right of which was guaranteed to them by the State from which they emigrated; otherwise the owner of slaves could not settle in a territory without making a sacrifice, not required of him from a non-slaveholding State.

It is not, however, our purpose to argue a question of constitutional law. Congress has long since agreed upon a line of compromise, and we hope that all parties will religiously observe it. But all this discussion in regard to the territorial boundary of slavery, is a war with shadows. There is no danger that slavery will proceed norih, and if it were legalized to the latitude of forty-nine degrees it would make little or no difference in the final result. Natural laws will in time overrule all legislative enactments. White, or free labor from the north, will press upon slave labor and take ils place, until the white laborer has reached a climate uncongenial to his nature. By the operation of these laws, the more northern slaveholling States will abolish slavery, and as the Africans move south, there will continue to be fewer white men mixed with them, until the two races shall be separated; this result must sever the relation of master and slave, and change the domestic into a political institution. This will place within the tropical regions of the American Continent, a race of men who in their physiological conformation, were created for the climate. Enured 10 labor, practically acquainted with the useful arts, and purged from the barbarous customs and superstitions of their race in other countries, they will make the tropical portion of America the most productive part of the globe. The continent being narrow in this region, this population will occupy it from sea to sea, and hold a position which will enable it to supply both sides of the continent with tropical products, from Kamschatka to Terre del Fuego, on the west, and from Cape Horn to Labrador, on the east. By no other race of men can this region be made so productive, and their location here will give immense force 10 American commerce, and to American institutions. For the purpose of consummating this result, the United States must continue in some way, to influence and control the African populaiion. The particular character and form of the relation which will exist between the two races must be determined by the circumstances as they arise.

But the time must arrive, when by the increase of the population of both North and South America, the white race will press upon the tropics from both sides, so as to crowd the increased population of the black race. This will induce the

latter to emigrate, and turning their faces east, they will cross over to Africa and repossess themselves of the land from which their ancestors were thrust by reason of their barbarism. In their return they will carry with them our political, social and religious institutions; and thus Africa colonized from America will become civilized and christianized through the medium and agency of slavery. Before returning to Africa, they must pass from a state of bondage into a state of .comparative freedom, that they may learn the duties of citizenship, and the science of government-for he who has been a slave, is unfit to be a citizen. In support, of this proposition we have the example of the Children of Israel, who under the direction of the wisest law-giver the world has ever known, or as perhaps we ought to say, under the immediate direction of the Almighty, were not allowed to enter the promised land until all those who were born in slavery had been wasted in the wilderness.

Thus we have sketched what we suppose, and believe to be the future destiny of the negro race upon this continent. These views are not offered in the spirit of prophecy, but we esteem them as fair and legitimate deductions and conclusions from the laws of natural and social economy, which in the end we believe will prevail over all human power.

When we contemplate a map of the globe we perceive the continent of America stretching from north to south, through every habitable climate, between the two poles; and if the faci be true, and we believe it is, that the white race is not adapted to the labor of the tropics, and that owing to his color and physical conformation, the black is especially fitted for it, no proposition can be more clear than that for the purpose of developing the resources of the continent, to their greatest extent, besides conforming its population to the laws of climate and of natural economy, it was necessary that the black race should, in some way, be brought to this continent. · They possessed no means of coming here as free men, and could only come as slaves, and the vices by which they had been degraded, prepared them for that condition. They could not be sent direct to the tropical regions of America, for the inhabitants there were in but little better condition than themselves, and were incapable of improving their condition. They were, therefore, made the agents of developing the resources of a more temperate clime, and of hastening the progress of modern civilization. And while aiding in this great work, it was designed that they should become thoroughly purged of the superstitions and barbarous customs of their own land, and learn the arts of civilization among the most enlightened people of the earth.

Under this view of the subject we are fully persuaded that any plan contemplating the emancipation of the slave without connecting with that plan his transportation from the country, is calculated to injure or retard the cause of final emancipation. And that even those charitable and philanthropic individuals who liberate their slaves from the best of motives, act unwisely, unless at the same time they make adequate provision to send them to Africa under circumstances

which will enable them to sustain themselves as intelligent members of an enlightened community. It is the policy of all the slave States to inhibit free black persons from coming within their limits to settle, and therefore, as slavery progresses south, the free blacks must be left among the whites; this is an unnatural condition, and one, in our estimation, much more to be deplored than bondage. Thus circumstanced, they necessarily constitute a caste destitute of political privileges, and by reason of their complexion they can have no social intercourse with the whites upon equal terms, and hence are deprived of the strongest inducements to moral improvement. With such limited objects of aspiration, it is not in the nature of things that they can ever become respectable; and while they become degraded in their own character, they are contributing nothing by their labors to benefit the balance of mankind. That this part of our colored population is degraded and useless, both to themselves and to the country, without the slightest hope of amendment, will be attested by every intelligent in. dividual who has had sufficient opportunity of observing them; and it may be reasonably doubted whether, if the entire mass was transported to Africa in their present condition, they possess sufficient intelligence and energy to sustain them in a state of civilization.

We admit the abstract proposition that slavery is an evil; but we deny that as citizens or christians, men have a right to remove this evil by transgressing both the moral and civil law. More especially when, as in the present case, in all human probability, the removal of the evil complained of would be the means of inducing others more to be deplored.

In regard to the civil right of the slaveholder to his slave, it rests upon the same foundation as does our title to the soil in this country-both have been acquired upon the same principle; and as well might it be expected that the present owner of a farm in New England would yield it up to the descendant of some Indian tribe from which it was obtained some two hundred years ago, because no valuable consideration was paid for it, as to expect that the present owner of a slave would set him free, because it was proven that his ancester was sold into bondage without his consent. The aborigines of America, resisting every

influence designed by the Creator as inducements to civilization, and disdaining to till the soil for the support and increase of the race, were doomed 10 surrender the country to a people who were willing to cultivate and extract from the earth the means of supporting a larger number of human beings, and a higher state of intelligence.

Had such abstract right to the soil as the Indians claimed, been recognized by the Europeans, and had their objections to the settlement of the white race been regarded, one-third of the habitable and productive portion of the globe would hare remained unappropriated to the use of man; and the provision made by the Creator for the support of a very large number of human beings would have remained unavailable. Such a state of things would evidently have contravened

[ocr errors]

the laws of natural economy; for God hath given to those who obey these laws "the heathen for an inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for their possession."

The African race were in the same category with the American Indians: they had resisted all the influences ordained by the Creator, as inducements to intel.. lectual and moral improvement. Instead of availing themselves of the advantages which the climate and the natural productions of the earth afforded them, they refused to labor; and when these natural resources were exhausted, like the Indian, they disdained to cultivate the soil for the purpose of producing the means of sustaining an increased population; and hence they sunk into the lowest state of barbarism, and became the subjects of the most odious vices and superstitions. From these causes they were divided into small tribes, and by desolating wars, and the sale of captives into bondage, they kept the increase of population within the natural resources of the country, thereby violating the laws of both natural and social economy. Under such circumstances, had the climate of Africa been congenial to the white race, the civilized white man, acting under the same laws which brought him to America, would no doubt have taken possession af Africa. But this part of the earth was created for the black race, (or perhaps we should say, the black man was created for the country,) and hence, it was protected against the incursions and settlement of the whites, by the peculiarity of the climate. This being the case, the barbarism and cupidity of the people became the agents of thrusting themselves out, and sending them in bonds to foreign lands. Not so much, perhaps, 10 expiate in a state of slavery the enormity of their crimes, as to enforce upon them the arts of civilization, and a knowledge of the christian religion. In this we can perceive a mercy and kindness extended to the African which appears to be denied to the Indian ; for, while we see a prospect of improvement and restoration to the African race, nothing less than total extinction seems to threaten the American Indian. And thus the Africans in bondage are made the agents of producing the means of facilitating the progress of civilization in other lands and nations, while at the same time and by the same means, they are preparing the way for the civihzation of themselves, and of their own country. Those who do not, or will not recognize the hand of Providence in this two-lold purpose of African slavery, appear to us as blind as were the Africans themselves, before their expulsion from their own land.

But these pseudo philanthropists insist that it is time to set the bondsman free. How do they know this ? What warrant have they for this opinion, and how dare they sit in judgment between offended Deity and an offending people ? Have they penetrated ihe designs of Providence and discovered the fact that all the benefits intended to be derived to other nations from African slavery, have been accomplished? Or, are they prepared to say that if the Africans were now liberated from bondage, that they are sufficiently enlightened to enable them to Eustain a state of civilization ? We are fully persuaded that these things have

[ocr errors]

not yet been accomplished, and that the time has not arrived for the emancipation of the African of the United States; he has not yet worked out his destiny, or fulfilled the years of his captivity. When the fulness of time shall arrive, the relation of master and slave will be dissolved by the operation of natural laws, acting upon the condition of both, as well as upon the country to which they reside. When these things conspire to bring about the emancipation of slavery, then, and not until then, will the fruit be ripe—and it will require no foreign band to pluck it. The time and mode of finally dissolving this relation is beyond the scrutiny of man, but if left to the direction and control of natural laws, it will be effected without violence.

We are fully warranted in saying, that as christians, these agitators are greatly violating the precepts of the religion which they profess. In agitating a discussion tending necessarily to disturb the relation of master and servant, creating bitterness and jealousy in the heart of the master on one hand, and dissatissaction and disobedience on the other, they are doing that which they would not that others should do unto them in like circumstances.

In aiding slaves to escape from the service of their masters, they violate the laws of the land, and disregard that precept which requires submission to the laws that he Instead of exhorting servants to obey their masters as did the great Apostle, they excite him to rebellion and disobedience. Paul returned the slave to the master, but these modern fanatics seek to steal him away.

The violation of these, and many other of the plainest precepts of christianity, are so gross and palpable that there is no ground left whereupon the most ignorant can excuse themselves, and those who are guilty of such practices stand convicted before both God and man, of unmitigated crime.

We exhort such as have attached themselves to the anti-slave party from pure motives, (and we doubt not, but there are many such) to examine this subject carefully and without prejudice, both as citizens and christians, and if they find that the prominent leaders in this agitating subject are violating the laws of the country, as well as the most obvious precepts of christianity, then let them withdraw from all fellowship and communion with them.

Let none be deceived by that most dangerous of all doctrines, that the end justifies the means; this doctrine is reversed in the christian philosophy, which teaches that the means alone can justify the end.

If it should be objected that the period of emancipation which we have endeavored to foreshadow, is altogether too remote and improbable to satisfy the ardent zeal of the philanthropist, let it be remembered that the destiny of nations is controlled by certain irrevocable laws; such as we have endeavored to illustrate, and which are usually denominated “divine providence,” and that these laws must ultimately prevail against all human obstruction, and that obedience to these laws constitutes the highest wisdom of man, and resistance his greatest folly. If these laws should be appreciated and observed by our people, we must rule the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »