previous next

[411] 'T was the saddest week I ever passed. Men talked of the good we might expect for the cause, but I could not think then of the general cause, so mournful and sad rose ever before me the pleading eyes of the poor victim, when he sat and cast1 his case on our consciences, and placed his fate in our hands. I could not forget the man in the idea. Time has passed since, and I begin to think more of the 3,000,000 and less of the individual. The effect of his surrender under this infamous law has been, like “Uncle Tom” and all such spasms, far less deep and general than thoughtless folks anticipated. We always gain at such times a few hundred and the old friends are strengthened, but the mass settle down very little different from before.

Indeed, the Government has fallen into the hands of the Slave Power completely. So far as national politics are concerned, we are beaten—there's no hope. We shall have Cuba in a year or two, Mexico in five; and I should not wonder if efforts were made to revive the slave trade, though perhaps unsuccessfully, as the Northern slave States, which live by the export of slaves, would help us in opposing that. Events hurry forward with amazing rapidity: we live fast here. The future seems to unfold a vast slave empire united with Brazil, and darkening the whole west. I hope I may be a false prophet, but the sky was never so dark. Our Union, all confess, must sever finally on this question. It is now with nine-tenths only a question of time.2

1 Lib. 26.19.

2 These pessimistic forebodings had a solid substratum in the signs of the times. Never was the Slave Power more insolent in its consciousness of strength, or wilder in its delirium of empire. See, for the undisguised purpose of President Pierce's Administration to annex Cuba, Lib. 24: 85, 127, 130, 189, 194; and, for the ancillary intrigue to acquire Samana Bay in San Domingo—a menace also to the independence and liberty of Hayti— Lib. 24: 157, 159; 25: 1, 61. Lieut. Herndon's exploration of the Amazon in 1851, by direction of the Navy Department, had distinct reference to a pro-slavery colonization with an ultimate view to annexation (Lib. 24: 62). On the other hand, see the numerous expressions of the Southern press looking to a restoration of the slave trade (Lib. 24: 149, 173), and in particular Henry A. Wise's letter to the Rev. Nehemiah Adams, D. D. (Lib. 24: 150). ‘I would,’ said the Virginian, ‘recommend the repeal of every act to suppress the slave trade.’ In November, 1856, the Governor of South Carolina sent a message to the Legislature advising the re-opening of that traffic (Lib. 26: 193, 194). The unparalleled rise in the price of slaves lay at the bottom of this villany. At the date just mentioned, according to the Richmond Enquirer, male negroes were worth ‘seven hundred dollars around’ (Lib. 27.1. Compare 27: 58, 63, 72, 79, 87, 175, 183, 186; 28.11, 191, 198; 29: 17, 139; 30: 75, 77, 143).

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 Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. L. G. Lib (8)
Henry A. Wise (1)
Frank Pierce (1)
William H. Herndon (1)
Nehemiah Adams (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November, 1856 AD (1)
1851 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: