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[300]

The Slaveholding Utopia.

it is related that when the Utopia of Sir Thomas more was first published, “the learned Budaeus and others took it for a genuine history; and considered it as highly expedient that missionaries should be sent thither, in order to convert so wise a nation to Christianity.” Should the political dreamers of the South, by any stroke of fortune, be left to their abominable devices, and thus be enabled to try before the world an experiment of promoting the genuine prosperity of the few by reducing the many to the lowest pitch of moral and physical squalor, it is possible that missionaries might be sent from the North.to South Carolina, as they are now sent to Central Africa and that some new Livingston might win the noblest of laurels, at the risk of his life, by carrying Christian civilization to Alabama or Mississippi. For it is very certain that whatever perfection the South might attain in the art of civil government, it must still want the very elements of religion.

Indeed, if we understand at all this little extract from The Richmond Whig, which is now before us, it is the avowed purpose of a portion, at least, of the Rebels, to be rid, in the very beginning of the new Empire, of all musty notions of the equality of even white men before their Creator, which is the essence of Christian brotherhood.

The Whig complains that, in the tempest and torrent of the Rebellion, men are plotting for the establishment [301] of something like a monarchy, and for an aristocracy founded upon wealth. The Whig in an exceedingly bilious way, reprehends these schemes against Democracy and Human White Equality, because it fears, as we fancy, that in the good time coming Editors will hardly be made Royal Dukes, and Printers hardly Baronets. The titles to this new nobility will be found in bills of the sale of Slaves; we may have Count Cuffee, or Sir Benjamin Barracoon, Prince Cotton-Pod, or the Marquis of Fine-Cut; but although these great people may condescend to take The Whig, and although a few of them may very punctually pay their yearly bills, and be highly gratified by reading his effusions, it will be hard for the Editor, in the new arrangement, to achieve so much as the simple Squirehood. He does well to protest in advance against a scheme which will just as much fix him in a lower social status as it will fix the Black. His vision is already, to a certain extent, purged; and he will see clearly by and by, that the aristocrat cares nothing for color, and would just as soon, if the law permitted, enslave a white as a black man.

We have not the satisfaction of knowing with just how colorless a cuticle Providence has endowed this ready writer; but if he be whiter than many a poor fellow who, maugre his aristocratic grandfathers, has been sold for a price, then our Editor must have what we venture to call a corpse-colored countenance. No; it is not the tint of the epidermis that my Lord of the Lash will care for when he has brought the Middle [302] Ages back to Virginia; for then he will throw overboard the Book of Genesis, and all the other Books, and if he can catch and sell the Editor of The Whig, he will catch and sell him — and so we tell that unhappy and apprehensive gentleman.

Slavery is Power--it is Might fancying itself right — it is Laziness loving to eat, but disdaining to work — it is Covetousness of other men's houses, and wives, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and oxen, and asses, and all else that is other men's. A pretty time the Poor White Men will have of it in the new Kingdom! It will be charming to live in it as a prince, but will it be charming to live in it as a printer or a peasant? How nicely the yoke of military and aristocratic tyranny will fit the necks of wretched Caucasians, bright-colored but niggerless! Who knows but we may see revived there the feudal times — maiden-right, wardship, baronial robberies, the seizure of white children for the market, military service, and all the hardships of that villanage which men have fondly deemed forever abolished by advancing Christianity!

It may be thought by those who have given an insufficient attention to the subject, that we are speaking somewhat extravagantly; but if we are deceived, then the best thinkers in the world, since the promulgation of Christianity, have been deceived also. This we are aware is not the place for voluminous or elaborate citation; but we venture to refer to a writer so well known, and so little likely to be carried away by his emotions, as Dr. Paley, who says, [303] “Christianity has triumphed over Slavery established in the Roman Empire, and I trust will one day prevail against the worse Slavery of the West Indies.” So, too, Dr. Priestly: “Christianity has bettered the state of the world in a civil and political respect, giving men a just idea of their mutual relations, and thereby gradually abolishing Slavery with the servile ideas which introduced it, and also many cruel and barbarous customs.” So, too, Dr. Robertson: “It is not the authority of any single, detached precept in the Gospel, but the spirit and genius of the Christian religion, more powerful than any particular command, which will abolish Slavery throughout the world.” So, too, Fortescue, hard and dry old lawyer as he was: “God Almighty has declared himself the God of Liberty.” But we must not venture to multiply authorities, and in spite of temptation we abstain, simply referring the curious reader to Bodin's “Six Books of a Commonweale,” (Lib. I., Cap. 5,) in which he will find the whole case of Christianity against Slavery summed up with masterly erudition.

To return to our original subject, we say that as Slavery is hostile to Christianity, it follows that it is hostile to Democracy. The Constitution guaranties to every white man, at least, in the Rebel States, a Republican form of government, which can never be maintained with social institutions based upon the worst practices of an outworn Heathenism. It is not only for territorial power; it is not only in defence of social order and the majesty of law, that we are contending, but for the conservation of civilization [304] and the security of personal rights; it is that we may not, in our progress toward a higher greatness and more equitable social forms be neighbored by a nation lapsing into the rudeness and barbarism of the Middle Ages.

“America!” sang Goethe, long ago--

America! thou hast it better
Than our ancient hemisphere!
Thine is no frowning castle,
No basalt as here!
Good luck wait on thy glorious Spring,
And when in time thy poets sing,
May some good genius guard them all
From baron, robber-knight, and ghost traditional.

October 6, 1862.

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