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[431] laws they complain of have nowhere prevented the return of their fugitive slaves. . . . . Moreover, they can be in no immediate danger. . . . . But all this avails nothing. The cry is, that the South is in danger, because the South is in the minority, and is weak; and they had better go out of the Union before they become weaker and more feeble by the constantly increasing power of the free States. . . . .

Meanwhile, the very suggestion has thrown the finances of the country into confusion. There was a panic last week, worse in many respects than the formidable one of 1857 . . . . It was foreseen by nobody, and is a proof not only of the importance of the political questions at issue, but of the peculiar sensitiveness of men in a government which is so purely a matter of opinion, and which has so few traditions and precedents to rest upon. Where it will end, no man can tell. With greater real wealth than we ever had before; with enormous crops, which are so much wanted in Europe that they are sure to be turned into ready money at once; and with exchanges in our favor, so that gold is coming in daily, one would think that it should end at once. But if we are going to quarrel at home, we have an element in our reckoning that was never there before, and the value and import of which none are wise enough to estimate. . . . . If any country in all the world were governed according to the well-understood demands of its material interests, the people of that country would be better off than the people of any other country on the face of the earth. But passions and personal interests rule more or less everywhere. Plectuntur Achivi is as true now as it was eighteen hundred or three thousand years ago. . . . .

One thing, however, is certain. There will be more real profitable, substantial thinking upon political subjects done in the United States during the next six months, than has been done during the last ten years . . . . In no event will there be any attempt at coercion until we are much further ahead in our troubles and exasperation. . . . . If it comes to fighting, we of the North of course shall beat. We have the moral and physical power, the wealth, and all the other means needful to carry through the contest successfully. But it will be such a contest as the civilized world has not seen for a long time; much like one of the old contests between the Greek republics, and at the end, when, if it ever happens, we must have three, or four, or five millions of uneducated slaves on our hands, what shall we do with them? Anna—the younger—asked this question of Count Cavour, in his opera-box, one night, 1 after he had shown us that he


1 In 1857. See ante, p. 352.

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