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What, then, you will say,—nay, you do say it in your letter,what is to be done? I answer, wait. For, first, it is right in itself to. do so. Slave labor can never, in the long run, come into successful competition with free labor, and in time slaves, therefore, will everywhere cease to be valuable as property. . . . .

In the next place I would wait, because I cannot help myself, I can do nothing. Legislation, I fear, can do nothing. It is an affair of two millions and a half of human beings, all slaves, and all in a most remarkable state of equality of condition in other respects It is beyond the reach of legislation; too big for it. It will be disposed of by its own gravity, not by any instruments of human invention.

Finally, I would wait, as a Northern man, because it is for my interest. The South is growing weak, we are growing strong. The Southern States are not only losing their relative consequence in the Union, but, from the inherent and manifold mischiefs of slavery, they are positively growing poor. They are falling back in refinement, civilization, and power. Every year puts the advantage more on our side, and prepares us better to meet the contest, which will be gentler and more humane the longer it is postponed, but which can never be other than formidable and disastrous.

I do not, however, deprecate the struggle as doubting the result, or fearing inconvenience or suffering for the North. There can be but one result. Slavery will be abolished; if soon, probably with much blood; if later, I hope with none. But in either event, what is to become of the millions of poor slaves? I foresee no milder fate for them than that of the Indians, and I fear one much more cruel. The eager, active, encroaching race, to which we belong, will never endure those gentle, inefficient tribes to cumber the earth about them, after they themselves begin to feel that they want it and can profitably use it.

But do not misunderstand me; indeed, I know you will not. Foreseeing all these consequences, I am still for keeping on in the straightforward course, to abolish all slavery throughout the world. Great mischiefs, I know, will come of it. Let them. The thing is right, and will succeed;, and greater good will at last result from it. But let us do it by the wisest, which in such cases are always the gentlest means; that so humanity may least suffer from what is, after all, too old a disease to be eradicated without the use of remedies that may sometimes make us, in our short-sightedness, grieve to have it back again.

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