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A federation of the world.

If the day ever comes ‘when the war-drum shall throb no longer’ it will be ushered in, not by the empire, not by the imperial consolidation, but by ‘the federation of the world.’ The mighty import of this heaving and throbbing time is that by its constitutions, rearrangements and resources by the grace of its swift light and ready movement, for man's coerced and driven obedience, there may now be inaugurated his spontaneous energies in willing union. It was for the exalted idea of self governed freedom, which Virginia had been foremost to proclaim, that she now took up arms and suffered martyrdom.

But if a hostile criticism urge, ‘Your own involuntary servitude at home was at war with all this fine preachment of willing union,’ the answer is:

1. It was the condition with which you deliberately made your bargain and received your redundant consideration, which was and still is redundantly retained.

2. The institution of slavery was fastened upon us by others, and very largely by those who seized it as a pretext for war against us. It is not for them to revile us for not solving in a day the tremendous problem which, on a scale so diminutive, consumed more than half a century of their own time. Slavery was the flail in their hand wherewith to beat down freedom. It was constitutional government and the rights of the States; it was the reality of a Federal Union, which they sought ‘to put in course of ultimate extinction.’

They were guilty of what Jefferson called ‘treason against human hope.’ Slavery was our mode of dealing with a problem, for whose [289] presence in our midst our accusers in old England and New England were responsible.

3. Had emancipation been the only thing desired, the economic reasons which had been so successful at the North would not have been wholly idle at the South. The forces which put an end to slavery in Russia and Brazil were not obliged to lose their cunning elsewhere—those irresistible forces of the brain of commerce, out of whose ceaseless throb is nurtured the opinion, which rules at last the world and all the brave empire thereof. By the side of this Titan the Abolitionist was a puny arm which could only misdirect the mightier one and make it mischevious—‘dashing with his oar to hasten the cataract, waving with his fan to give speed to the winds.’ Our accusers dealt with their own problem at their own convenience. What right had they to force us to do otherwise?1

Undoubtedly we were not prepared to exchange the freedom of the white race for the slavery of the black. Undoubtedly we were not prepared for an emancipation which meant the enthronement of the negro.

4. Never was there a great trust so nobly fulfilled as that incurred by the South for the institution of slavery, imposed upon her from the same magnanimous source whence her crucifixion for it also proceeded. If any labor in any land ever more convincingly proclaimed that it was subject to a more enlightened supremacy than force I do not recall it. For four years of war all force was withdrawn from the negro, but his affection, his obedience and his fidelity did not withdraw. A beneficial subordination and no other could have stood this test.

1 ‘There exists a disposition to escape from our own proper duties to undertake the duties of somebody or anybody else. There exists a disposition not to do as our good old catechism teaches us to do—to fulfill our duty in that station to which it has pleased God to call us. No, sir, it is obsolete and worm-eaten. We must insist upon going to take upon ourselves the situation and office of some one else to which it has not pleased God to call us—of the Hindoos and the Otaheitan; of anybody or anything but our own proper business and families.’—Speech of John Randolph in United States Senate.

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