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1 The laissez-faire method of dealing with slavery which was commonly recommended by those who discussed the subject—whether ministers, journalists, or politicians—has already been illustrated by an abstract of Caleb Cushing's article in the Newburyport Herald (ante, p. 45), and is still more strikingly shown in the reply of Hezekiah Niles to an Eastern friend who had sent him an essay for his Register, in favor of emancipation without compensation: ‘But the great question then presents itself, Would the public good be promoted by an emancipation of the slaves without some efficient and costly provisions for essential changes in their location or condition? Our own experience would give a resolute negative to this question—much as we are, and always have been, opposed to the principle and practice of slavery. . . . We cannot entertain the idea that negro slavery is to go on, and on, and on, in the United States without limit— but how to arrest it, we have not yet been able to discover, with benefit to the slaves or safety to ourselves. The subject is beset with difficulties on every side—and when not knowing what to do, the most prudent way, generally, is to stand still. But on the other hand, if discussions and investigations are avoided, then what should be done, or might be done, to relieve an alarming and rapidly increasing evil, will never be ascertained’ (Niles' Register, 47.4, Sept. 6, 1834). Mr. Niles had apparently failed to discover that standing still necessitated keeping still, and stifling all investigation and discussion.
2 Hist. of the Slave Trade, p. 496.
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