cannot work, together. They have no thought of abandoning their slaves that they may get white labor; and they want slaves, therefore, and they will have them--from the Seaboard States, if the slave trade be not opened, and they cannot heartily embrace a policy which, while it will tend to degrade the Seaboard States to the condition of a democracy, will compel them to pay double and treble prices for their labor. It may be said in this connection that, though the Cotton States might tolerate the slave trade, it would overstock the country and induce a kind of social suffocation. It is one of the most grievous evils of the time that men have persisted in legislating on domestic slavery with what would seem to be an industrious misapprehension of its requisites. It is assumed that it is ready to explode while it is in an ordinary state of martial law, as perfect as that which, in times of popular outbreak, is the last and surest provision for security and order. It is assumed that the negro is unfit for mechanical employments, when he exhibits an imitative power of manipulation unsurpassed by any other creature in the world; and when, as a matter of fact, we see him daily in the successful prosecution of the trades, and are forced to know that he is not more generally employed for reason of the higher prices offered for him by our fields of cotton. It is assumed that he cannot endure the cold of Northern States, when he dies not more readily in Canada than Domingo, and when the finest specimens of negro character and negro form to be met with in the world are on the northern borders of Maryland and Missouri. It is assumed that whenever he comes in contact with free society he must quail before it, when it is evident that the question which shall prevail is dependent on the question which can work the cheapest; and when it is evident that with slaves at starvation prices — slaves at prices to which they will be reduced by the question whether we shall give them up or feed them — at prices to which they will be reduced when the question comes whether they shall starve the hireling or the hireling the slave, the system of domestic slavery, guided always by its best intelligence, directed always by the strictest economy, with few invalids and few inefficients, can underwork the world. And it is assumed that, hemmed in as we will be, but a slight addition to our slaves will induce disastrous consequences. But it is demonstrable that negroes are more easily held to slavery than white men; and that more in proportion, therefore, can be held in subjection by the same masters; and yet in the Republic of Athens of white slaves there were four to one; and in portions of the Roman Empire the proportion was greater still; and upon this ratio the slaves might be increased to forty millions, without a corresponding increase among the whites, and yet occur no disaster; but on our rice lands, isolated to a great extent, where negroes are employed in thousands, there is often not one white man to one hundred slaves. Nor is there greater danger of an over-crowded population. Slaves may be held to greater density than freemen; order will be greater, and the economy of resources will be greater. Athens had seven hundred to the square mile, while Belgium, the most densely populated State of modern Europe, has but about three hundred and eighty-eight to the square mile; and with a population only as dense as Belgium, South Carolina could hold the population of the Southern States, and Texas three times the present population of the Union. Is it that foreign nations will require it? As a matter of taste they might perhaps. There is a mode upon the subject of human rights at present, and England, France, and other States that are leaders of the mode, might be pleased to see the South comply with the standard of requirement, and, provided only no serious inconvenience or injury resulted, would be pleased see the South suppress not only the slave trade, but slavery itself. But will our failure to do so make any greater difference in our relations with those States? Men may assume it if they will, but it argues a pitiable want of intelligence and independence, an abject want of political spirit, to suppose it. France and England trade in coolies, and neither will have the hardihood to affirm that between that and the slave trade there is an essential difference, and practising the one they cannot war with us for practising the other. Nor, in fact, do they wage war upon the slave trade. Spain prevents the trade in Cuba, though she acknowledges the mode by professing to prohibit it. Portugal and Turkey do not even so much. Even England lends her ships to keep the slave trade open in the Black Sea; and almost every slave bought in Africa is paid for in English fabrics, to the profit of the English merchant, and with the knowledge of the British Government. In view of these facts, it were simple to suppose that European States will practise sentiment at the expense of interest. And have they interest in the suppression of the slave trade? Three years ago, in my report to the Commercial Convention at Montgomery, I said that European States are hostile to the Union. Perhaps “they see in it a threatening rival in every branch of art, and they see that rival armed with one of the most potent productive institutions the world has ever seen; they would crush India and Algeria to make an equal supply of cotton with the North; and, failing in this, they would crush slavery to bring the North to a footing with them, but to slavery without the North they have no repugnance; on the contrary, if it were to stand out for itself, free from the control of any other Power, and were to offer to European States, upon fair terms, a full supply of its commodities, it would not only not be warred upon, but the South would be singularly favored — crowns would bend before her; kingdoms and empires would ”
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
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