irresistible influences at work in a large part of the slave States tending toward the abolition of slavery within these boundaries.”
We can well believe it. The world is working its way toward liberty, and the blacks will not be left behind in the onward march.
Since the adoption of the American Constitution
seven States have voluntarily abolished slavery.
When that Constitution was proclaimed there was scarcely a free black in the country.
According to the last census, the free blacks amount to 418,173, and of these 233,691 are blacks of the South
, liberated by their owners, and not by the force of law. We cannot shut our eyes to these facts.
Neither can we deny that, desirable as negro emancipation may be in the United States
, abolition must be the result of growth, not of revolution; must be patiently wrought out by means of the American Constitution
, and not in bitter spite of it. America cannot for any time resist the enlightened spirit of our age, and it is manifestly her interest to adapt her institutions to its temper.
That she will eventually do so if she be not a divided household—if the South
be not goaded to illiberality by the North
—if public writers deal with the matter in the spirit of conciliation, justice, charity and truth, we will not permit ourselves to doubt.
That she is alive to the necessities of the age is manifest from the circumstances that, for the last four years, she has been very busy preparing the way for emancipation by a method that has not failed in older countries to remove national trouble almost as intolerable as that of slavery itself.