Exercises at the Theatre.Dr. Dame's Prayer—Mr. White presents the orator.
The exercises at the Theatre began a few minutes after 2 o'clock. The lower part of the building was occupied by the Howitzer Association, Lee and Pickett Camps of Confederate Veterans, and the present Howitzer Battery. The galleries were thrown open to the general public, and in the throng that gathered in them were many ladies.  On the stage, in addition to Mr. J. Blythe Moore, president of the Howitzer Association, Rev. Dr. Dame, who offered the prayer; Mr. W. L. White, who introduced the orator, and Mr. Robinson, the orator, were Bishop Randolph, Mr. W. L. Sheppard, Hon. J. Taylor Ellyson, F. D. Hill, James T. Gray, Thomas Booker, J. M. Fourqurean, Judge George L. Christian, Carlton McCarthy, Rev. J. Calvin Stewart, Colonel W. E. Cutshaw, Major Henry C. Carter, E. D. Starke, D. S. McCarthy, Colonel G. Percy Hawes, Captain Beaureguard Lorraine, Captain E. J. Bosher, and others. The banner of the veteran Howitzers was borne by Mr. Thomas Booker, Rev. Dr. Dame holding the right and Mr. James T. Gray the left cord. The music was furnished by the Howitzer Band.
Prayer by Dr. Dame.Mr. J. Blythe Moore called the assemblage to order and introduced Rev. Dr. W. M. Dame, who, he said, would open the exercises with prayer. Before commencing his prayer, Dr. Dame requested the audience to join with him in reciting the Apostles' Creed, the creed of all Christian faiths; after which he offered a fervent invocation of the Divine blessing. After imploring the help of God in our daily troubles, he said: ‘We thank Thee, O God, that at the call of duty our people were ready to do and to suffer for the cause of righteousness, freedom and truth. We thank Thee for the deeds of sacrifice that gemmed the story of our struggle for liberty.’ The minister then alluded to the many brave comrades who had fallen in battle. Some, he said, were blessed with the Spirit of God, who in calling them away was simply taking His own unto Himself. But there were others to whom the grace of the Lord had not been revealed. For these he asked forgiveness. Dr. Dame then referred to his comrades who had survived the great struggle of days gone by, and who, despite many vicissitudes, had been able to restore their country to the prosperity which it now enjoys. He prayed earnestly for those who had fallen and were now degraded. In concluding his prayer Dr. Dame asked God to continue to show us the way of righteousness and to keep us ever ready to respond to every just and noble cause. The audience then united with Dr. Dame in repeating the Lord's Prayer. This was deeply impressive, as was the repeating of the Apostles' Creed at the opening of the prayer.
The orator introduced.Mr. W. L. White then introduced the orator of the occasion, Mr. Leigh Robinson, of Washington, and in so doing said: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: Proud of the distinguished honor conferred upon me by the Association, I present to you with pleasure and satisfaction the silvery-tongued orator of the Howitzer battalion, as brave and chivalrous in war as he has become renowned in peace. At the battle of Bethel, the first land engagement of the war it will be remembered, the Howitzers received their first baptism of fire. There the Confederates successfully met and defeated the Federals against odds of from three to four to one, driving them panic-stricken back to the guns of Fortress Monroe, and causing them to leave their dead and wounded upon the field from which they were driven as ‘leaves upon the strand.’ Among the prominent men killed were Lieutenant Grebble, commanding the artillery, and Major Winthrop, of Boston, a volunteer commander of the famous Billy Wilson Zouaves, and I may be pardoned for saying here, a braver man never drew sword in defence of any cause. The next day a flag of truce was sent for his body, with the inquiry from General Butler, ‘What artillery was that which did such magnificent firing and execution?’ General McGruder smiled and said: ‘Why, sir, it was nothing more than a parcel of school-boys, with primers in their pockets.’ And true it was, for but few had reached the age of manhood. It is of these boys and their heroism, from Bethel to Appomattox, that our distinguished orator will speak to you this afternoon, and while one of the battalion survives to recite and recall the daring deeds of the Confederate dead and living, it can never be said of the honored dead: Out of the world's way, out of its light,
Out of the ages of worldy weather—
Made one with death, filled full of the night,
Forgotten as the world's first dead are forgotten.
We have read of the valor of the heroes of Marathon, Thermopylae, and ancient Macedonia, but, Mr. President, I have the honor to present to this audience this afternoon not only a gifted orator,  but a ‘Virginian’ (to the manner born), a Howitzer, and a hero of one of the grandest armies that was ever marshalled upon a field of battle. To this large and cultivated audience he needs no further introduction, and I present to you Mr. Leigh Robinson, an adopted citizen of Washington City.
Mr. Robinson's Oration. He Defends the South and tells of the Howitzers' deeds.As Mr. Robinson walked down the stage he was warmly received. He has a clear, musical voice and enunciated with a distinctness which made every word he uttered heard in all parts of the building. He said: My Friends and Fellow-Howitzers I cannot better introduce what I have to say than by the words of a legend of the East: ‘When the lofty and barren mountain was first upheaved into the sky, and from its elevation looked down on the plains below and saw the valley and less elevated hills covered with verdant and fruitful trees, it sent up to Brahma something like a murmur of complaint: “Why thus barren? Why these scarred and naked sides exposed to the eye of man?” And Brahma answered: “The very light shall clothe thee, and the shadow of the passing cloud shall be as a royal mantle. More verdure would be less light. Thou shalt share in the azure of heaven, and the youngest and whitest cloud of a summer's sky shall nestle in thy bosom. Thou belongest half to us.” ’ ‘So was the mountain dowered, and so, too,’ adds the legend, ‘have the loftiest minds of men been in all ages dowered. To lower elevations have been given the pleasant verdure, the vine, and the olive. Light, light alone—and the deep shadow of the passing cloud—these are the gifts of the prophets of the race.’ And so, I will add, so is it with the eminence of self-sacrifice. Out of convulsive wrestle are they lifted. The winds and the rains contemn them. The hail strips them bare. The lightning by which they are torn is their only sceptre. The tents of the tempest are pitched on all their summits of endeavor, and the deep scar of the tempest signed upon their brow is their diadem. And yet as the mountains are the backbone of the earth, and put their own chains on the continents which anchor to them, making our earth an earth of mountains, so  from age to age the true heart rallies to the moral eminences of which I speak. All that is soundest in us clings with a voluntary homage to the suffering heights. Consciously or unconsciously, the high instinct of mankind receives their lofty yoke. Heaven and earth mingle on their summits. Over the wide landscape of humanity falls the eloquence of their light and their shadow. Infinitely true is it ‘to bear is to conquer.’
Their constancy perfect and pure.Never was constancy so perfect and so pure as that of the people of the South to their warriors. For once gratitude to the past is not inspired by the hope of favors to come. The mercenary motive is curiously absent. The knee which bends, the heart which throbs, is the welcome of respect to the intrinsically worthy—the unbought homage never truly known safe by virtue in misfortune when, like a queen, but like a queen in exile, she counts the number of her suitors by the poverty of her rewards. This is the proud pathos of defeat with honor. Thus heroes conquer even in their fall. So reign their ashes ‘dead but sceptred.’ It were sad indeed if no word could be spoken in behalf of that ‘story's purity,’ the justification whereof is now removed from the forum of arms to the bar of history and the scales of time and truth. The story of anti-slavery agitation to-day is written for the world by the enemies of the South, and truth is not always the weapon of their choice. We are the camp of slaves; they are the camp of freedom. The victor is wont to have his own pleasant version of the cause, which has been accepted by stoic fate, if not by Cato's justice. That in the middle of the nineteenth century there were many men opposed to slavery is certainly no matter for surprise and as little for condemnation. It may seem, indeed, a slight inconsistency that every one of the colonies which joined in the Declaration of Independence was at the time a slave-holding colony. Nevertheless, it is the fact that each shared a common responsibility therefor which differed in degree with the differing utility thereof.
Slavery not the real issue.The issue between the North and the South was not so much an issue between freedom and slavery as the issue whether those who had formed a Federal compact with slave-holding States upon an  agreement not to interfere with their slaves had any greater right to do so than they had in the case of Cuba and Brazil, with whom they had no such compact. The supreme issue was whether the government of the United States was one of such unlimited authority that it could do what it pleased by giving fine names to usurpation, as when the guest at a hotel complains that the brand he wants has not been brought, the waiter, before his eyes, rubs off the undesired label and puts on the desired one. The real issue was whether, under the fine name of ‘general welfare,’ the whole power of the government could be perverted to private welfare; and whether, in keeping with the Federal compact, under the fine name of freedom, Commonwealths could be extinguished. So far as slavery was concerned, a century hence history will chiefly discover a race betwen the very lightly and very heavily encumbered, and the great self-applause of the former that they were the first to reach the goal. It is not so exact to say that slavery in the South was the cause of the war, as to say that it afforded the opportunity for the war. It is proper to bear in mind the abrupt revolution of society which was demanded by those who would be themselves unaffected by the revolution. The first book of Justinian, which gives us our definition of justice— Juslitia est constans et perpetua voluntas jus suum cuique tribuendi— gives also the derivation of slavery: Servi antem ex eoappellati sunt, quod imperatores captivas vendere, aeperhoe servare non occidere solent; qui etiam mancipia dicti suni, quod abhostibus manu cafiuntur. A strong man has his antagonist at his mercy, is able to take the life of him; rather than suffer him to live antagonist will do so. In humanity's great internecine war, wherein survival is conquered by exterminating hostility, root and branch, the conqueror leads back the captive of his spear. Their relations are those of victor and victim.
The First redeeming side.The fact of supremacy has been settled, and by the rule of primitive war one life is forfeit to the other. When, then, the victor did not slay, but spared the victim—suffered him to live; not as rival, to be sure, but as subject; to retributively serve in return for the life which had been donated, and was gratuity—it was the very charity of a redeeming gospel, breaking through the crust of ‘Old Dispensations’ of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; tempering with the hand of mercy the iron hand. It is not extravagant to say that  this was the first redeeming sign in the storm and terrible joy of war. The stronger included the weaker; the two were cooperant— social, not dissocial. Their blows, no longer rival, rang in unison, each sending the other farther. It was a large concession to humanity when Caesar at the battle of Pharsalia granted permission to every man in his army to save one enemy. Only the nomad life existed until servitude existed. The ‘mighty hunter’ had no accumulated spoil wherewith to feed dependents. Outside of his limited and mutable camp his hand was against every man and every man's against him. No civilization could ripen in the saddle of the Bedouin or under his restless tents. He neither plants nor builds. That which to-day were the incurable evil of society—that it be stationary—in the beginning was the one anchor of hope; that the human group should stay in one place long enough to catch the contagion of humanity. Property in the soil arose with property in man. All progress, all empire, all the law, and all the piety of the ancient time grew up around this centre. Competition, as a motive force, is about coeval with the impulses thrown into the great world scales by the voyage of Columbus. Voluntary co-operation has just begun. There was no permanent property until there was permanent force, nor continuous production until there was servitude. This was the inexorable necessity of civilized life. Prior to it man cannot be said to have even lived by bread. But by it man planted himself behind the stone wall on which has grown the moss of ages, and ceased himself to be the rolling stone which gathers no increase. He stood upon the ancient ways and boundaries and said to the predatory nomad without, ‘Thus far and no farther.’
How agriculture became stable.The stability of agriculture came for the first time when men could be fastened to the soil and forced to work it; when unanimity of labor had been acquired. The army of labor, like the army of battle, was first victorious when it poured its sinew and its fire from the iron energy of a single will. It was the slave-holder, and only the slaveholder who could take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt and store it against the years of famine. It was from agriculture that the city sprang, after which man was no longer dependent, like the wild beast, upon the lair of nature. The first great stride of progress which carried man to civilized permanence was borne upon the  back of slaves. However rude, however violent this origin, the substance of it was the protection by strength of weakness, which could not save itself, and the unconditional service of that weakness to its only saviour. Slavery meant salvation. On this agricultural basis and organized social strength all ancient civilization was reared, and on this same organization modern Europe had been formed. For six thousand years slavery had been the customary law of the civilized world. Undoubtedly the elements existed of another structure of society, which may be considered to have been prophesied from the beginning by the very nature of a being organized to communicate, and still more certainly included in the realization of the era, which displaced Caesar's tribute. This is the movement, much retarded, oft reversed, but inevitable, and on the whole invincible movement toward the reign of commerce. But the retirement and disappearance of the old supremacy has been a very slow retreat—inch by inch stubbornly contested. Not until the memory of men now living did the sceptre decisively pass from the agricultural dominion, and slavery was not doubtful until that sceptre began to waver. In 1713 the twelve judges of England, headed by Chief-Justice Holt, replied to the crown: ‘In pursuance of his Majesty's order in council, hereunto annexed, we do humbly certify your opinion to be that negroes are merchandise.’ During the whole of the eighteenth century England reserved to herself by the treaty of Utrecht the monopoly of importing negroes to all the Spanish colonies—that is to say, to nearly all South America. The fact is noted by the annotator of Talleyrand's Memoirs that when the English colonies had a proportion of twenty blacks to one white it occurred to them to be indignant at the immorality of the traffic. The declaration that the slave-trade was repugnant to universal morals was signed by the European powers for the first time at the Congress of Vienna, and not then by Portugal or Spain.
Slavery forced upon Virginia.But—such is the irony of fate!—there was one country of the world, and that a purely agricultural dominion, which in the eighteenth century opposed itself to slavery with all the power it could wield. That country was Virginia, the patriarch of the colonies. Slavery had been forced upon Virginia, and in the teeth of her remonstrance, by the arbitrary power of Great Britain. Twentythree  statutes were passed by the House of Burgesses to prevent the importation of slaves, and all were negatived by the British King. She was the first State not only to prohibit the slave-trade, but to make it punishable with death. In the midst of the Revolution, as early as October, 1778, her law went forth that thereafter no slave should be imported by sea or land into the jurisdiction of her Commonwealth. One of her first acts when she had shaken from her the power of the throne was to write that edict of emancipation for territory of her own which she ever denied it was in the power of any one to write for her. She wrote it for the territory which her enterprise and valor had wrested from the grasp of France. Whatever she might choose to do herself, it were hard to conceive a more arrogant claim than that the North could deprive her of an equal right in the territory of her own donation. Even in respect to this territory the agreement of Virginia was without any equivalent whatever, and the ordinary principle of nudum paclum might have been applied to it. The treaty of independence with Great Britain in 1783 carefully stipulated that the British should not carry away ‘any negroes or other property of the American inhabitants,’ as afterwards the treaty of Ghent, in 1814, spoke of ‘slaves or other private property.’ At the former period certainly no authoritative expression of the thirteen colonies would have denied that there was property in man. It is true that in those States where negro labor was unfriended by the climate, and therefore unprofitable to the master, the slaves were few, and at the date of the Constitution had virtually worn out in Massachusetts. This influence of soil and climate following in the tow of the sutler and deeper force, now swiftly growing to man's estate—the rising force—one might say the rising world of commerce—these potent persuasions were already combining to force the issue between the former and the latter reign.
The Constitution a distinct bargain.The Constitution of the United States was therefore a distinct bargain between the North and the South for the security of slave property, for which a redundant consideration was received by the former in the control and regulation of commerce by a simple majority instead of a two-thirds vote. From Virginia came the chief opposition to the continuance of the slave-trade. That trade was continued for twenty years; not by the vote of the solid South,  but of a solid New England. ‘Twenty years,’ exclaimed Madison, ‘will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves;’ and George Mason rebuked the melancholy choice of Mammon, for that ‘some of our eastern brethren had from a lust of gain engaged in this nefarious traffic.’ With a prophet's majesty he implored the South to reject the provision extorted as the price of this concession—the provision to pass commercial laws by simple majorities. ‘This,’ he said, ‘would be to deliver the South, bound hand and foot, to the eastern States, and enable them to say, in the words of Cromwell on a certain occasion, “The Lord hath delivered them into our hands.” ’ Public opinion had as yet experienced no violent displacement as to the merchantable quality of negroes; for the very States in which slavery itself had ceased, or was ceasing to exist, were those most actively engaged in the traffic in slaves.1
The King denounced by Jefferson.In the original draft of the Declaration, Jefferson had denounced the King for warring against human nature. ‘Determined to keep an open market, where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable traffic. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them.’ This denunciation was stricken out partly in deference to South Carolina and Georgia. ‘But,’ adds Jefferson, ‘our Northern, brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under these censures; for, though their people had few slaves  themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.’ The importation of slaves into the South was continued by Northern merchants and Northern ships until it was prohibited by the spontaneous action of the Southern States themselves, which preceded, or was contemporaneous with, the legislation of Congress in 1807. Antecedent to the adoption of the Constitution, South Carolina passed an act prohibiting, under severe penalties, the importation of negroes from Africa. In 1803 this act was repealed for the reason, assigned in Congress by Mr. Lowndes, that it was impossible, without aid from the general government, ‘to prevent our Eastern brethren from introducing them into the country.’ ‘Had we received,’ he said, ‘the necessary aid from Congress, the repeal would never, in my opinion, have taken place. * * I wish the time had arrived when Congress could legislate conclusively on the subject.’
Favored as long as profitable.I fail to find the evidence that property in man was an obnoxious doctrine at the North until property in man wholly ceased there to be lucrative. Small as the number of slaves necessarily was to the north of Maryland, in several of them slavery existed for more than fifty years after the adoption of the Constitution. Where the interest was so limited and the emancipation so gradual, no great shock to society could well occur, especially as in the bulk of cases the emancipator, with no qualms of conscious whatever, received the full value of his slaves from those who bought them. The historian Bancroft is authority for the statement that more slaves were emancipated by last will and testament in Virginia than were ever set free in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. Moreover, emancipation in the North, when it came, was accompanied by no recognition of equality. Prior to 1861 no negro in Massachusetts had ever been a member of its Legislature, or served upon the jury, or in the militia, or been appointed to any office beyond one of menial grade. This was freedom, with the recognition and opportunity of freedom severely omitted—‘the name of freedom graven on a heavier chain’—heavier because it was the expression of a more invincible barrier than that of law, and breathed a more superlative scorn. In the second volume of his Commentaries, Chancellor Kent thus describes the relation of the races: ‘The African race are essentially a degraded caste of inferior rank and condition in society. Marriages are forbidden  between them and the whites in some of the States, and when not absolutely contrary to law, they are revolting and regarded as an offence against public decorum. By the Revised Statutes of Illinois, published in 1829, marriages between whites and negroes or mulattoes are declared void, and the persons so married are liable to be whipped, fined, and imprisoned. By an old statute of Massachusetts, of 1705, such marriages were declared void, and are so still.’ [This summary was cited and corroborated by the Chief-Justice of Connecticut as late as 1834.] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania decided in 1837 that a negro or mulatto was not entitled to exercise the right of suffrage. It was not until July 4, 1827, that New York was ranked among the free States, and when the Constitution of 1846 was adopted negro suffrage was negatived by a vote of four to one. As late, certainly, as the date of the Dred Scott decision the Constitution of New Jersey restricted the right of suffrage to all white persons. This course of legislation in the North illustrated the recognized discrepancy of the races. Statute did not confer it, and statute could not take it away. Slavery in the South rested upon the natural supremacy of the white race over the black, and the total and inevitable disqualification of the latter for an equal struggle with the former.
Those subjected not our equals.Slavery in the South, unlike Oriental bondage, Roman servitude, and feudal villainage, was not the subjection of equals, differing only in opportunity, but the subordination of one extreme of humanity to the other; of the most abject to the most enlightened. The real inequality of the races had made subordination prescriptive. No higher encomium could possibly be pronounced upon the practical beneficence of Southern institutions, than the one tacitly sanctioned by the last amendment—viz.: that they had been sufficient to educate the lowest of earth's savages to take his place among the highest of earth's freemen. As population increases it becomes cheaper to hire labor than to buy or own it; or, borrowing the phrase of Carlyle, to hire for years rather than for life. The labor of slavery ceases to be worth the capital involved in its support. The coercion of authority is replaced by the coercion of want, and the obligation to protect by the liberty to oppress. Nothing could be truer or wiser than that which was said by John Randolph in the Senate of the United States: ‘The natural  death of slavery is the unprofitableness of its most expensive labor. * * The moment the labor of the slave ceases to be profitable to the master—or very soon after it has reached that stage—if the slave will not run away from the master the master will run away from the slave; and this is the history of the passage from slavery to freedom of the villainage of England.’ The reasons of geography and worldly gain, which created such divergence of destiny North and South, are given by Judge McLean in his dissenting opinion in the Dred Scott case. ‘Many of the States on the adoption of the Constitution, or shortly afterwards, took measures to abolish slavery within their respective jurisdictions, and it is a well-known fact that a belief was cherished by the leading men South, as well as North, that the institution of slavery would gradually decline until it would become extinct. The increased value of slave labor in the culture of cotton and sugar prevented the realization of their expectations. Like all other communities and States, the South were influenced by what they considered their own interests.’ The peculiarity of the situation was that while the people of the South were acting ‘like all other communities and States,’ they were abused and accused as though none other had ever been so wicked, and as though their abusers and accusers had ever lived void of offence before God and man. The accusers, who had so comfortably purged themselves of their own sins, suffered such a very brief interval to elapse, before arraying themselves in their white raiment for the excommunication of others who, it is true, had moved more slowly, but who had so very much more difficulty to overcome and expediency to resist.
They were sold to us.One cannot but recall that which is narrated of Zachary Macaulay, the father of Thomas Babingham, who made a fortune in the slave trade, and when that was done joined the anti-slavery people, and secured some handsome appointments by attacking the aforesaid business. It was well said on the floor of the Virginia Legislature by John Thompson Brown in answer to English invective: ‘They sold us these slaves—they assumed a vendor's responsibility—and it is not for them to question the validity of our title.’ And it was equally relevant to say to some others: ‘Your position involves the right of a grantor to revoke a grant without the consent of the  grantee for value and the right of one party to a compact to retain the whole consideration moving to him while repudiating every other.’ A scheme of gradual emancipation had been proposed by Jefferson as early as 1776 and the general scheme of it approved by the convention which framed Virginia's Constitution in that year, but no action was taken, because ‘the public mind would not bear it.’ ‘Nothing,’ wrote Jefferson, ‘is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free, nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion, have drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.’ Here plainly was a difficult air for statesmanship to breathe, a problem which might well vex the noblest. By what bond, other than the one existing, could darkest Africa and free America, the antipodes in race as in geography, dwell side by side in useful co-operation? Whatever might be written in the book of fate, when its was equally legible that the two races, equally free, could not live in the same government, what was the solution? This, on a very different scale from anything which ever existed in the North, was the problem which confronted the South—springing from no choice or voice of her own, but against her choice and against her voice. In 1830 there were movements in Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia for the gradual emancipation of their slaves, and in Virginia the movement had nearly succeeded. It was the aggression of the Abolitionists which arrested the movement in all these States.
The problem at the North.Connecticut will serve to illustrate the simplicity of the problem encountered at the North. In 1784 a scheme of gradual emancipation was enacted for the slaves, some three thousand in number, then in the State. It was not until 1848 that the emancipation of this small number was completed. Down to 1848 by the law of the State slaves were chattels, which could be sold by legal process, and which were assets in the hands of an executor. Gradual as this emancipation was, the preamble to the act of 1784 declares that it was, as soon as it could be done ‘consistent with the rights of individuals and the public safety.’ What ‘individual right,’ what ‘public safety’ was ever cared for by the inimical commonwealths which banded with such zeal for the reproof and edification of the  South? Having no longer any sins of their own to repent of, there was nothing left for them to do but to repent day and night of the wickedness of the South. There were allevations to this kind of repentence, which reduce its heroic dimensions. It was a vicarious transaction, which eluded altogether the crown of thorns for the angels of repentence, and plaited it exclusively for the brows of those whose sins they ransomed. They repented proudly. One might speculate, as to what might have been the effect upon their trivial task, had Canada possessed the power and disposition to play their part (with the unrestricted right to do so, which resided no longer in the North); had every wind from that further North borne the poisioned arrow of a hate which never slept. Is it the rule for men to be convinced by execration and imprecation? It were a severe tax upon credulity to be expected to believe that the benevolence which referred to slave-holders as ‘blood-hounds,’ and to their community as the ‘small-pox’ seriously desired to convert the sinners so approached. If missionaries thus approach the heathen, their rate of progress is accounted for. This was not the frame of mind wherewith to convert opinion, but was the frame of mind wherewith to persecute opinion.
Clay's plaintive reply.There is something almost plaintive in the reply of Henry Clay to Mr. Mendenhall. It was as meek as an imperious spirit knew how to be. ‘Without any knowledge of the relations in which I stand to my slaves or their individual condition, you, Mr. Mendenhall, and your associates, who have been active in getting up this petition, call upon me forthwith to liberate the whole of them. Now, let me tell you that some half dozen of them from age decrepitude, or infirmity are wholly unable to gain a livelihood for themselves and are a heavy charge upon me. Do you think that I should conform to the dictates of humanity by ridding myself of that charge and sending them forth into the world with the boon of liberty to end a wretched existence in starvation? * * I own about fifty who are probably worth $15,000. To turn them loose upon society without any means of subsistence or support would be an act of cruelty. Are you willing to raise and secure the payment of $15,000 for their benefit if I should be induced to free them? The security of that sum would materially lessen the obstacle in the way of their emancipation.’  But even when such security was provided by the slave-holder himself the way was far from smooth. One instance occurs to me with which was associated a revered relative of my own—John Randolph; and I can never mention the name of this transcendent flame of genius without recalling the incalculable debt which Virginia owes to his singleness of heart and purity of service. John Randolph, by a will executed in the presence of Mark Alexander and Nathaniel Macon, had made Judge William Leigh, the residuary devisee and legatee of his valuable estate, subject to certain specific legacies and provisions. The most important of these provisions was that of the means to enable the executor of the will to transport the slaves of the estate (set free by a previous clause) and settle them in some other State or territory. He appointed Judge Leigh his executor. The will was contested on the ground of the mental unsoundness of the testator. Judge Leigh, well aware that the emancipation of these slaves had been the undeviating purpose of Randolph's life, relinguished his absorbing interest under the will that he might become a witness in support of it and so at least accomplish the particular intent to which I have referred. To this extent the will was, in effect, sustained, and Judge Leigh was appointed commissioner to transport and settle the negroes as provided therein. The State selected for the settlement was Ohio; but when the commissioner landed, his first interview was with a mob formed to resist and repel the negro settlement. The clearest glimpse of the State of feeling is derived from the newspapers of the time.
Newspapers on the situation. [from the National Intelligencer, July 15, 1846.]‘The Cincinnati (Ohio) Chronicle of the 9th instant says that the emancipated slaves of John Randolph, who recently passed up the Miami Canal to their settlement in Mercer county, Ohio, met with a warm reception at Bremen. The citizens of Mercer county turned out en masse and called a meeting, or rather formed themselves into one immediately, and passed resolutions to the effect that said slaves should leave in twenty-four hours, which they did, in other boats than the ones which conveyed them there. They came back some twenty three miles, at which place they encamped, not knowing what to do.’  [From the National Intelligencer, July 24, 1846.] ‘The Sidney (Ohio) Aurora of the 11th says these negroes (the Randolph negroes) remain on Colonel Johnson's farm, near Piqua. That paper condemns in decided terms the conduct of the citizens in Mercer in the late outbreak, and insists that they should have made their objections known before the land was purchased, and not waited until they had drawn the last cent they would expect out of the blacks (some $32,000), and then raised an armed force and refuse to let them take possession of their property, as they have done. We look upon the whole proceeding as outrageous in the extreme, and the participants should be severely punished. What makes the thing worse is the fact that a number of those who were fiercest in their opposition to the blacks, and loudest in their threats to shoot, &c., were the very persons who sold them land, received wages for constructing the buildings, and actually pocketed a large amount of money for provisions not two weeks before the arrival of the poor creatures whom they have so unjustly treated.’
The Randolph negroes. [National Intelligencer, August 10, 1846.]‘The last Piqua (Ohio) Register says: “These unfortunate creatures have again been driven from lands selected for them. As we noticed last week an effort, which it was thought would be successful, was made to settle them in Shelby county, but, like the previous attempt in Mercer, it has failed. They were driven away by threats of violence. About one-third of them, we understand, remained at Sidney, intending to scatter and find homes wherever they can. The rest of them came down here to-day, and are now at the wharf in boats. The present intention is to leave them wherever place can be found for them. We presume, therefore, they will remain in the State, as it is probable they will find situations for the whole of them between this and Cincinnati.” ’ [National Intelligencer, August 15, 1846.] ‘It is said that these unfortunate creatures have been again driven away by threats of violence from the lands which had been secured for them in Ohio, and that Judge Leigh, despairing of being able to colonize them in a free State, has concluded to send them to Liberia.’
The response was violence and scorn.The negroes were finally allowed to occupy the land for which they had paid, but what a very invigorating sympathy did these two emancipators excite in this free State! Here was one Virginian who had emancipated by will numerous slaves, and here was another who had relinquished a large estate to secure the fulfillment of this part of the will. The response to them from the North was mob violence and contumelious scorn. What was a poor belated Virginian to do? If his slaves went North with his consent, stones and curses were good enough for them; they were only welcome when they went without it. In effect it was said, ‘Your negroes are intolerable to us; we are not willing to accept the companionship of a very small number, even on the terms of no cost to ourselves and all their expenses paid; but we will not cease to weary you with our importunity to set free and provide for your millions,’ and to do it, as Mr. Mendenhall said, ‘forthwith.’ Crusaders are not unapt to be a trifle derelict in magnetism when their solicitude is to convert everyone except themselves. That which the North demanded of the South, as their expository supplement has shown, involved the admission of the improvised freedman to all those privileges which in the land of the crusaders had been so curiously overlooked, including that which at the North could not possibly exist — the power at the polls to exchange the barbarism of Africa for the civilization of the United States. Mr. Freeman, in his ‘Impressions of the United States,’ with the judicial calm which tempers all his writings,2 has stated the problem as it was and is presented to the South. ‘There is, I allow difficulty and danger in the position of a class enjoying civil but not political rights, placed under the protection of the law, but having no share in making the law or in choosing its makers. But surely there is still greater difficulty and danger, in the existence of a class of citizens who at the polling-booth are equal to other citizens, but who are not their equals anywhere else. We are told that education has done and is doing much for the once-enslaved race. But education cannot wipe out the eternal distinction that has been drawn by the hand  of nature. No teaching can turn a black man into a white one. The question which in days of controversy the North heard with such wrath from the mouth of the South, “Would you like your daughter to marry a nigger?” lies at the root of the matter.3 Where the closest of human connections is in any lawful form looked on as impossible there is no real fellowship. The artificial tie of citizenship is in such cases a mockery.’
What emancipation meant.The sequel has shown that the emancipation which descended from the North meant a reconstruction of society, which could only be made effective by force. It carried in its wake the expulsion of a State legislature from its proper hall by the bayonets of the United States. It meant—the emancipators themselves being judge—that government of force which is indispensable when nature is superseded. It meant that which for eight years we had—a government of the bayonet, by the bayonet, and for the bayonet. One who has gained his title to popular applause by meriting the title of ‘Czar,’ very lately renewed his adhesion to this peculiar type of popular government. ‘They said,’ he exclaimed, ‘we could not coerce a State. We coerced eleven. I wish our Republicans had more courage, and we should coerce them until liberty prevails all over this land.’ In one sense the speech is logical. It is the reasoning of logicians who, ‘false to freedom, sought to quell the free.’ Only by force bills is the argument of the South refuted. And yet it is a droll idea of liberty which seeks to instill its blessings at the point of the sword. The distinction between freedom and despotism grows so alarmingly indistinct. No better proof could be given of the extent to which the movement, vainly resisted by the South, has revolutionized free institutions, than that such a compulsory freedom should have been the serious thought and purposed order of the day. ‘What is all the noise in the street?’ said a gentleman in conscription time in New York. ‘Oh, nothing, sir,’ said Pat, ‘they are only forcing a man to turn volunteer.’ Such would be the comedy of the new logic if its serious adoption does not turn it into tragedy.  Nevertheless in the same year in which Virginia emancipation was receiving such cold comfort in Ohio, on all other questions—financial, economic, and constructive — the mind of Thomas Jefferson had become the governing mind of the country. The principle of ‘justice to all and special privileges to none’ became in this year the unmistakable choice of the States and of the people, and was dethroned only by the civil war. The tariff of this year had restored the revenue standard, which four years earlier had been displaced. It was soon made manifest that this tariff could only be criticised as being too high, and that the welfare of the country called for still further reduction, which in 1857 was ended.
Massachusetts with Virginia.Upon this, the only important financial issue of the time, Massachusetts was seen side by side with Virginia — the State of the Adamses with the State of Jefferson. The country was thriving, and the one problem was to guide the natural flow of prosperity within natural bounds. The type of government which bases its appeal for support upon governmental aids to special interests, and alliance, if not partnership with them; upon bounties to favored classes and the influence purchased by such favor; had received a complete, and, had it not been for the passions of the anti-slavery agitation, there is every reason to believe a final defeat. From the time of the decisive overthrow of this class legislation in 1846, and because of such overthrow the country had prospered.4 No party appeared in any force from 1846 to 1860 to dispute the salutary tendency of this legislation. It was ‘a condition and not a theory,’ which was thus impregnable. The just reward of the general industry did not stagger under burdens imposed for the creation of excessive dividends to a few. On every legitimate subject of debate the State's-rights administration of affair had extorted the acquiescence if not the welcome of traditional foes. Government was honestly administered and not honeycombed by the corruption which is to-day referred to as the necessity of politics. There was  prosperity without bounties; trade without subsidies; a character which could stand alone, and implore no staff for either infancy or old age. The winds of onward movement filled every sail. The gallant masts did not bend as the goodly timbers sped forward with the goodly freight.
Only Alaska exceptedAlaska alone excepted (and in some sense this, too, is no exception) all the additions to Federal territory have been made under Southern administrations; and now, as the result of the war with Mexico, there was another not inferior to that of 1803, but which was, nevertheless, in the language of the South's great statesman, ‘the forbidden fruit.’ At the time of the Missouri compromise the prophetic mind of this New World had read the result of that much-vaunted business in the foundations on which it rested. The notes of alarm fell upon his ear like a ‘fire-bell in the night,’ and with a patriot's fire he translated to his countrymen the significance of those feet, ‘part of iron and part of clay.’ ‘The leaders of Federalism, defeated in their schemes of obtaining power by rallying partisans to the principles of monarchism — a principle of personal, not of local division — have changed their tack, and thrown out another barrel to the whale. They are taking advantage of the virtuous feeling of the people to effect a division of parties by a geographical line; they expect this will insure them on local principles the majority they could never obtain on principles of Federalism. * * Are our slaves to be presented with freedom and a dagger?’ This was what Jefferson termed ‘treason against human hope.’ Never was truer sentence written than one which has been often, but cannot be too often, quoted: ‘A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men will never be obliterated, and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper.’
Kept by the South.But never was the power of persistent misstatement so signally exhibited as in the accepted belief that this compromise, reluctantly assented to by the South as one in derogation of her rights, was by the South broken and by the North kept. The opposition to the compromise came invariably from the North, whenever the South was the beneficiary of it. It was the South which proposed the  extension of the line to the Pacific and the North which rejected it. The settlement of 1820 had been already dishonored by denial, and by denial from the North, when, in 1850, it was ignored and annulled on both sides of the line. This was the exceeding wickedness of the South—to think that the name should correspond with the reality; to think that when the reality had ceased to exist the utility of the name was not excessive; that when the practical operation of the compromise had been repudiated by the North, with every expression of scorn and contempt, the dead letter need cumber the statute-book no longer. And, after all, what was the practical effect of such a settlement, as derived from actual experience? It had been witnessed in the case of New Mexico (the most important of the Territories), which had been organized for more than ten years, which was open to slavery by the settlement of 1850, whose climate was suitable, which adjoined Texas. It had an area of two million square miles, and at the end of ten years there were upon its soil only twenty-two slaves, and of these only ten were domiciled. Did it injure the negro? Did it augment slavery?
Jefferson the author of freedom.If there was one man who more than any other was the author of freedom in this Western Hemisphere, that man was Thomas Jefferson. He was not seeking to augment or prolong slavery when he wrote to Mr. Holmes, of Massachusetts, who agreed with him: ‘Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one State to another would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier and proportionately facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation by dividing the burthen on a greater number of coadjutors.’ This was the great iniquity which caused the whole western reserve of Ohio in a single day to turn from the Whig to Republican.5  It was not the South which arrayed itself against the only sovereignty known to this country—the sovereignty of law. The constitutional position of the South received the sanction of the only umpire known to the Constitution. The final sanction, known as the Dred Scott decision, was the inevitable sequel to prior adjudications, and could have been no other than it was; and those prior adjudications, like the votes of the two Houses in 1838, had been too reasonable to awaken agitation or serious comment. The adjudication was that the Territories secured to the States by the common blood and treasure (and, it might have been added, more largely secured by the blood and treasure of the South, if the donations to the general government be considered)—that these Territories were secured equally to all the States, and not unequally to any, and that it was to deprive the citizen of his property without due process of law — to take his slave from him merely because the latter was found in the common territory of the United States. The adjudication was that the Federal Union rested on the basis of Federal equality. At least the school of construction, which proclaimed the judgment of this tribunal to be the ultimate reason, when it was planted on the side of the Bank of the United States, should have been estopped to denounce their own canonized authority.
Wanted the slave law nullified.Fourteen Northern States passed laws to practically nullify the fugitive slave law, but in doing so they not only violated the compromise and the compact of the Constitution, but the law as their own courts expounded it. The highest courts of these States (including that of Massachusetts, speaking through Chief-Justice Shaw), whenever the occasion arose to pass upon this law, uniformly supported it. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin did give a hasty opinion against it, but quickly retracted it. The lawless legislation was not South, but North, as tried by the exclusive jurisprudence of the latter. Never were people more completely covered by all the planopy of law—even the law of vindictive Commonwealths—than the people of the South. It was in this state of the law of the land, as expounded by the highest Federal tribunal, that a party arose which sought no suffer-age, offered no candidates, and excluded recognition in all that portion of the country which is called the South. It was a declara  tion of war against fifteen of the States of the Union and against the Federal compact upon which they stood. It was an appeal to one portion of the country, and that the most powerful portion, to know no rest until they had destroyed the other. It had no other reason of existence than to slit the North from the South by one clean cut, and then to mass the former against the latter. It had one memorable predecessor in the convention of Northern States (from which every Southern State was excluded), which met at Harrisburg in 1828 to frame the tariff known to history as ‘The Bill of Abominations.’ The ‘abominations’ of that bill had been driven from the field in demoralized route and disorder. By their own intrinsic force they could make no further stand. Only on the back of this new agitation could they again ride into power. The States which could no longer be banded under the invocation of an imaginary interest were at last and permanently banded under the banner of a real enmity.6 This opinion may be reinforced by that of a cool, dispassionate, Free-Soil Democrat—the ablest Northern statesman of his time and surpassed by none of any time. It was the opinion of Samuel J. Tilden that if the Republican party should be successful the Federal government in the Southern States ‘would cease to be self-government, and would become a government by one people over another distinct people—a thing impossible with our race except as a consequence of successful war, and even then incompatible with our democratic institutions.’7 This was what the statesmen of the South foresaw and looked courageously in the face. The success of the party ranged against them meant the government of the South by the North and for the North—the relation of victor and victim. Lincoln was the representative of opinions and interests confined to one-half of the country and pledged to an irrepressible conflict with the other. The tariff which sprang from the first throes of the convulsion gave audible warning, that one of the spoils which belonged to the victor was the taxing power of the government, to be used to throw the  substance of one-half of the States into the lap of the other; the supplies of the South to be intercepted by the receipt of customs, which would divert the profits of her industry into the pocket of the North.
Virginia came forward.Nevertheless, when every right of property and every right of government was at stake, Virginia took counsel, not of her fears, but of her patriotic love for the Union, which she had done so much to enlarge; for which she had stripped herself of the whole northwest territory. She had given not principalities, but empires to the general government. What those who now condemned her had sacrificed for the Union was far less legible. Her voice was raised for peace. She pointed out that every practical issue which could possibly arise on the slavery question had been settled by the inexorable logic of events; that Kansas had already prohibited slaves, and it might be added negroes; that no territory north of Kansas could possibly be expected to do otherwise, but to allay apprehension she reiterated the proffer of the South to stipulate against admission on such terms. The relation to this subject of the territory south of Kansas was fixed by the compromise of 1850, and it was not the South which desired to disturb it. Virginia said to the North: ‘The only thing left open to possible agitation the South will stipulate in your favor.’ The North claimed all the territories for their citizens and their institutions. The South was content to ask no more than the right of ingress into a part or one-half of the territories for her citizens and their property. The South said: ‘You blame us for effacing from the statute-book the dead letter of the Missouri compromise. Very well, then; we will restore that letter in form which you have so invariably repudiated in fact. Lawless as we deem it, for the sake of the Union we will seek to make it lawful by consent;’ and the offer was disdained. The answer to the Peace Conference was the fleet of war despatched to Charleston; the proclamation of the 15th of April, 1851, the transfer of the construction of the Constitution from the bench to the bayonet; the silence of the laws by the arms of the United States. Not until the compact of the Constitution was shattered beyond the reach of surgery by the summons of the North to armed war against the South did Virginia declare that an order of things ‘outside the Constitution’ was no compact for her.