previous next

[361] pauper labor from abroad to supply their places, and more abundant from industrial dissolutions at the North, and the one race must increase as the other is diminished — it is to be feared that there the slave must ultimately fail, and that, this great State must lose the institution, and bend her proud spirit to the yoke of another democratic triumph. In Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, and even Tennessee and North Carolina, the same facts exist with chances of the like result.

And even in this State [South Carolina] the ultimate result is not determined. The slave condition here would seem to be established. There is here an excess of one hundred and twenty thousand slaves, and here is fairly exhibited the normal nature of the institution. The officers of the State are slave-owners, and the representatives of slave-owners. In their public acts they exhibit the consciousness of a superior position. Without unusual individual ability, they exhibit the elevation of tone and composure of public sentiment proper to a master class. There is no appeal to the mass, for there is no mass to appeal to; there are no demagogues, for there is no populace to breed them; judges are not forced upon the stump; governors are not dragged before the people; and when there is cause to act upon the fortunes of our social institution, there is perhaps an unusual readiness to meet it. The large majority of our people are in legitimate connection with the institution — in legitimate dependence on the slave; and it were to be supposed that here at least the system of slave society would be permanent and pure. But even here the process of disintegration has commenced. In our larger towns it just begins to be apparent. Within ten years past as many as ten thousand slaves have been drawn away from Charleston by the attractive prices of the West, and laborers from abroad have come to take their places. These laborers have every disposition to work above the slave, and if there were opportunity would be glad to do so; but without such opportunity they come to competition with him; they are necessarily resistive to the contact. Already there is the disposition to exclude him; from the trades, from public works, from drays, and the tables of hotels, he is even now excluded to a great extent. And when enterprises at the North are broken up; when more laborers are thrown from employment; when they shall come in greater numbers to the South, they will still more increase the tendency to exclusion; they will question the right of masters to employ their slaves in any works that they may wish for; they will invoke the aid of legislation ; they will use the elective franchise to that end; they may acquire the power to determine municipal elections; they will inexorably use it; and thus this town of Charleston, at the very heart of slavery, may become a fortress of democratic power against it. As it is in Charleston, so also is it to a less extent in the interior towns.

Nor is it only in the towns the tendency appears. The slaves, from lighter lands within the State, have been drawn away for years for higher prices in the West. They are now being drawn away from rice culture. Thousands are sold from rice fields every year. None are brought to them. They have already been drawn from the culture of indigo and all manufacturing employments. They are yet retained by cotton and the culture incident to cotton; but as almost every negro offered in our markets is bid for by the West the drain is likely to continue. It is probable that more abundant pauper labor may pour in, and it is to be feared that even in this State, the purest in its slave condition, Democracy may gain a foothold, and that here also the contest for existence may be waged between them.

It thus appears that the contest is not ended with a dissolution of the Union, and that the agents of that contest still exist within the limits of the Southern States. The causes that have contributed to the defeat of slavery still occur; our slaves are still drawn off by higher prices to the West. There is still foreign pauper labor ready to supply their place. Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, possibly Tennessee and North Carolina, may lose their slaves, as New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have. In that condition they must recommence the contest. There is no avoiding that necessity. The systems cannot mix; and thus it is that slavery, like the Thracian horse returning from the field of victory, still bears a master on his back; and, having achieved one revolution to escape Democracy at the North, it must still achieve another to escape it at the South. That it will ultimately triumph none can doubt. It will become redeemed and vindicated, and the only question now to be determined is, shall there be another revolution to that end? It is not necessary. Slavery within the seceding States at least is now emancipated, if men put forward as its agents have intrepidity to realize the fact and act upon it. It is free to choose its constitution and its policy, and you and others are now elected to the high office of that determination. If you shall elect slavery avow it and affirm it; not as an existing fact, but as a living principle of social order, and assert its right, not to toleration only, but to extension and to political recognition among the nations of the earth. If, in short, you shall own slavery as the source of your authority, and act for it, and erect, as you are commissioned to erect, not only a Southern, but a Slave Republic, the work will be accomplished. Those States intending to espouse and perpetuate the institution will enter your Confederacy; those that do not, will not. Your Republic will not require the pruning process of another revolution; but, poised upon its institutions, will move on to a career of greatness and of glory unapproached by any other nation in the world.

But if you shall not; if you shall commence by ignoring slavery, or shall be content to edge

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: