Many, if not most, of the more intelligent and cultivated class belonged to it, and strangers of like breeding were freely invited to its weekly or bi-weekly meetings.
It was its rule to select, at each gathering, some subject for conversational discussion at the next.
At one of these meetings, the economic results of Slavery were incidentally brought into view; when the few remarks dropped from one and another developed a decided difference of opinion — the native Carolinians
expressing a conviction that “the institution” was profitable; while two or three members or guests of Northern birth indicated a contrary impression.
Hereupon, some one asked, “Why not select this as the topic for our next meeting?”
was the unbroken response; and the point was settled.
It was distinctly stipulated that no ethical, ethnological, religious, or other aspect of the main problem, should be considered — nothing but the simple, naked question--“Is it economically advantageous to a community to hold slaves?”
Hereupon, the assemblage quietly dissolved.
At the evening designated for the next regular meeting, the “Yankee” members of the club were duly on hand, prepared and eager for the expected discussion; but not a Carolinian was present!
Some old head had determined that no such discussion should take place — at least, in Charleston
— and had given a hint which had operated as a command.
Though the interest in the subject had seemed general at the last meeting, and the disposition to discuss it mutual and cordial, not a man now appeared to speak for Slavery.
The ‘Yankees’ enjoyed or endured each other's society throughout the evening, sipped their coffee with due decorum, and dispersed at the proper hour, without an opportunity for discussion, leaving the proposed debate to stand adjourned over to the opening of the bombardment of Fort Sumter
, in the year of grace 1861.
“Why can't you let Slavery alone?”
was imperiously or querulously demanded at the North
, throughout the long struggle preceding that bombardment, by men who should have seen, but would not, that Slavery never let the North
alone, nor thought of so doing.
said the slaveholders.
Next: “Violate your treaties with the Creeks
and Cherokees; expel those tribes from the lands they have held from time immemorial, so as to let us expand our plantations.”
“So said, so done.”
“Now for Texas
“You have it.”
“Next, a third more of Mexico
“Yours it is.”
“Now, break the Missouri Compact
, and let Slavery wrestle with Free Labor for the vast region consecrated by that Compact to Freedom!”
“Buy us Cuba
, for One Hundred to One Hundred and Fifty Millions.”
“We have tried; but Spain
refuses to sell it.”
“Then wrest it from her at all hazards!”
And all this time, while Slavery was using the Union
as her catspaw — dragging the Republic
into iniquitous wars and enormous expenditures, and grasping empire after empire thereby--Northern men (or, more accurately, men at the North
) were constantly asking why people living in the Free States
could not let Slavery alone, mind their own