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[501] Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and (in fact) nearly every Free State, would have been far heavier than that actually returned; so it will be but fair to estimate the pro-Slavery voters of the entire Union as preponderating in just about the proportion of Three Millions to Two. In other words, three-fifths of the entire American People (the Blacks being then of little more account, politically, than so many cattle) sympathized with the Rebellion in so far as its animating purpose was the fortification, diffusion, and aggrandizement of Slavery.

And this explains that exaggeration of the importance as well as of the beneficence of human chattelhood which is seen to pervade all the earlier harangues, manifestoes, and State papers, circulated or uttered in the interest of Disunion. He would underrate the sagacity of the conspirators, and impute to them a blind fanaticism which they never felt, who should fail to take into account the state of antecedent opinion where — on these were designed to operate. Let him but consider that, throughout thirteen of the fifteen Slave States, no journal of any note or influence had for many years been issued which was not an ardent champion and eulogist of Slavery — that no man could be chosen to Congress from any district in those thirteen States, and none from more than two districts of the entire fifteen, who was not a facile and eager instrument of the Slave Power, even though (as in West Virginia) their inhabitants well understood that Slavery was to them a blight and a curse — that every prominent and powerful religious organization throughout the South was sternly pro-Slavery, its preachers making more account in their prelections of Ham and Onesimus than of Isaiah and John the Baptist — and he will be certain to render a judgment less hasty and more just. There were probably not a hundred white churches south of the Potomac and Ohio which would have received an avowed Abolitionist into their communion, though he had been a Jonathan Edwards in Orthodoxy, a Wesley in piety, or a Bunyan in religious zeal. The Industry, Commerce, and Politics of the South were not more squarely based on Slavery than was its Religion. Every great national religious organization had either been rendered pliant and subservient to the behests of Slavery or had been shivered by its resistance thereto. And no sooner had Secession been inaugurated in the South than the great Protestant denominations which had not already broken their connection with the North proceeded unanimously and with emphasis to do so — the Protestant Episcopalians, who had never received a word of reproof for slaveholding from their Northern brethren, unanimously taking the lead, followed by the still more numerous Baptists. And even the Southern Press, incendiary and violent as it was, was outstripped by the Southern pulpit in the unanimity and vehemence of its fulminations in behalf of Secession.1

1 Of the sermons with which the South was carpeted--“thick as Autumnal leaves that strew the brooks in Vallombrosa” --between November, 1860, and May, 1861, that entitled “Slavery a Divine trust,” by Rev. B. M. Palmer, of New-Orleans, was perhaps the most forcible and note-worthy. In it, Mr. Palmer says:

In determining our duty in this emergency, it is necessary that we should first ascertain the nature of the trust providentially committed to us. * * The particular trust assigned to such a people becomes the pledge of Divine protection; and their fidelity to it determines the fate by which it is overtaken. * * *

If, then, the South is such a people, what, at this juncture, is their providential trust? I answer, that it is to conserve and perpetuate the institution of domestic Slavery as now existing. * * For us, as now situated, the duty is plain, of conserving and transmitting the system of Slavery, with the freest scope for its natural development and extension. * * *

This duty is bounden upon us again, as the constituted guardians of the slaves themselves. Our lot is not more implicated in theirs than is their lot in ours; in our mutual relations, we survive or we perish together. The worst foes of the black race are those who have intermeddled in their behalf. We know, better than others, that every attribute of their character fits them for dependence and servitude.

By nature, the most affectionate and loyal of all races beneath the sun, they are also the most helpless; and no calamity can befall them greater than the loss of that protection they enjoy under this patriarchal system. * * *

Last of all, in this great struggle, we defend the cause of God and of religion. The Abolition spirit is undeniably atheistic. * * It is nowhere denied that the first article in the creed of the dominant party is the restriction of Slavery within its present limits. * * *

This argument, then, which sweeps over the entire circle of our relations, touches the four cardinal points of duty to ourselves, to our slaves, to the world, and to Almighty God. It establishes the nature and solemnity of our present trusts to preserve and transmit our existing system of domestic servitude, with the right, unchanged by man, to go and root itself wherever Providence and nature may carry it. This trust we will discharge, in the face of the worst possible peril. Though war be the aggregation of all evils, yet, should the madness of the hour appeal to the arbitration of the sword, we will not shrink, even from the baptism of fire. If modern crusaders stand in serried ranks upon some plain of Esdraelon, there shall we be in defense of our trust. Not till the last man has fallen behind the last rampart, shall it drop from our hands.

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