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[316]

Slaveholding Virtues.

Southern statists have asserted negro-owning to be the nurse of public virtues, just as Southern theologians have found in it an abiding stimulus of personal piety. In the Free States it has been claimed by these polished Patriarchs that we have secured Liberty only at the expense of good manners or good morals. New York is a sink of iniquity. Philadelphia is the mother of mobs. Boston is the centre of free-thinking and general licentiousness. Yankee treasurers are always defaulters. Yankee merchants are always absconding. Yankee women are strangers to virtue, and Yankee men to honesty. We are not duellists; we are not street-assassins; we do not carry pistols in our pockets and bowie-knives at our backs; we do not lynch, summarily, those with whom we may happen to disagree; but every Northern mob and Northern murder is paraded in the Southern newspapers, as a proof of that social dissolution, which is always here impending. The Southern idea of a thorough Yankee is like Sir John Vanbrugh's idea of a Puritan,--“a fellow with flat, plod shoes, greasy hair and a dirty face — a friend to nobody, loving nothing but his altar and himself; a debauchee in piety and as quarrelsome in his religion as other people are in their drink.” But our principal wickedness is our love of money. We do any thing for dollars. We think more of a shilling than of our own souls. Virtus post nummos, is written upon our heart of hearts. [317]

The cosmopolitan moralist who admires honesty wherever it may exist will be painfully agitated to learn, that living in the actual centre of sweet and persuasive slaveholding influences, the respectable E. Hunter Taliaferro, first doorkeeper of the Confederate Senate of Virginia, by which we understand the front doorkeeper, has drawn forged warrants upon the State Treasury, to the melancholy tune of fourteen thousand dollars, and what is worse, has bagged the money, or those rags which are supposed to represent the money. The Richmond papers which report this backsliding of the wretched Taliaferro do not say that he has any Yankee blood in his felonious heart, but we suppose it will be eventually discovered that he has a great aunt living somewhere in New England, who is a church-member and an Abolitionist. Nothing less can account for his profound iniquity. He must certainly be of the old Puritan stock. Who but one purely of that strain could rob impecunious, starving, ragged Virginia? Surely it can not be one of her own children who has thus pilfered from an insolvent old mother, who has seen better days. Why, 't would be like filching coppers from the dead eyes of one's grandam. O Hunter Taliaferro! What a bad example you have set to the ingenuous youth of Virginia!

So, too, we lament to record that in New Orleans, Gen. Butler has not found that pure Arcadian simplicity of character which should have been engendered and cherished by auction-blocks and barracoons. It turns out that in this city of primeval innocence, [318] there are Secessionists upon whom all classes have united in conferring the gentle name of “Thugs.” We suppose that most of our readers know what a Thug is. He is a gentleman of Eastern origin who finds his principal pleasure in playing such scurvy tricks upon travelers as murder and robbery. What does he do in the West when he should serve his lord and master, the devil, in the East? Why is he not operating in New England? We do n't know. We only know that he is said to be fearfully lively in New Orleans just now. Particularly is mentioned a certain “Red Bill” (or William Rufus, we suppose,) who for many years in this Crescent City has performed a crescendo of crime, murdering, whenever and whomsoever he pleased, with artistic enthusiasm, and finally closing his career of glorious guilt by flinging a loyal person into the river to be drowned.

Hitherto William the Red has pursued enthusiastically his brilliant career with no let or hindrance. How many people he has drowned, how many bushels of brains he has scattered, how many hearts the ball from his friendly pistol has perforated, into whose bowels his bowie-knife has found a sudden and unwelcome entrance, we shall know when we read his Last Dying Speech and Confession; for, we are happy to say that Gen. Butler, appreciating the merits of this sanguinary chevalier, and believing that his career should be poetically rounded, had concluded at the last advices to hang him, and doubtless, before this, has hanged him, to the uncommon satisfaction [319] of the spectators. But what astonishes us is, that this rose-colored gentleman owned black-colored property, and should, therefore, by all established rules, have been also a person of the most altitudinous virtue. Instead of roaming about with a barker in one hand and an acute, persuading bowie-knife in the other, instead of giving himself up to the somewhat coarse dissipation of throwing inoffensive people into the river; the Rosy William should have remained at home, seated in his own tabernacle, perusing the Holy Scriptures, or under the shade of his own fig-tree he should have read and expounded them to his henchmen and handmaidens, making plain to their simple understandings, the profound commentaries of Doctor Lord or of Doctor Fuller.

But he does not appear to have been at all the sort of person to whom St. Paul would have been in a hurry to send back an absconding church-member. It is stated that his death will give great delight to his personal friends, as well as a calmer satisfaction to his enemies; and as we have every reason to believe, from Gen. Butler's well-known celerity in such matters, that William is now no more, we conclude our notice of him by expressing our mild regret that he ever existed at all.

The slaveholding theory is indeed charming. We have a benevolent old master, wearing his life out in the service of his own serfs and racking his amiable brains for inventions, of kindness and caretaking. We have a society so perfectly ordered, and so utterly under the sway of even-handed justice, that wrongs [320] are not only unknown, but impossible. We have an aristocracy of Roman dignity, and a peasantry perfectly happy and measurelessly contented. We have the State always serene and the Church forever in blossom. Such is the theory-but when we come to the practice — ah! that is quite another matter!

December, 11, 1862.

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