Zzz Missing head
Look upon this picture, and on this.
Considering that we have a slave population of nearly three millions, and that in one half of the states of the Republic
it is more hazardous to act upon the presumption that ‘all men are created free and equal’ than it would be in Austria
, the lavish expression of sympathy and extravagant jubilation with which, as a people, we are accustomed to greet movements in favor of freedom abroad are not a little remarkable.
We almost went into ecstasies over the first French revolution; we filled our papers with the speeches of orator Hunt
and the English
radicals; we fraternized with the United Irishmen; we hailed as brothers in the cause of freedom the very Mexicans
whom we have since wasted with fire and sword; our orators, North and South, grew eloquent and classic over the Greek and Polish revolutions.
In short, long ere this, if the walls of kingcraft and despotism had been, like those of Jericho
, destined to be overthrown by sound
, our Fourth of July cannon-shootings and bell-ringings, together with our fierce, grandiloquent speech-makings in and out of Congress, on the occasions referred to, would have left no stone upon another.
It is true that an exception must be made in the
case of Hayti.
We fired no guns, drank no toasts, made no speeches in favor of the establishment of that new republic in our neighborhood.
The very mention of the possibility that Haytien delegates might ask admittance to the congress of the free republics of the New World at Panama
‘frightened from their propriety’ the eager propagan.
dists of republicanism in the Senate, and gave a death-blow to their philanthropic projects.
But as Hayti is a republic of blacks who, having revolted from their masters as well as from the mother country, have placed themselves entirely without the pale of Anglo-Saxon
sympathy by their impertinent interference with the monopoly of white liberty, this exception by no means disproves the general fact, that in the matter of powder-burning, bell-jangling, speech-making, toast-drinking admiration of freedom afar off and in the abstract we have no rivals.
The caricature of our ‘general sympathizers’ in Martin Chuzzlewit
is by no means a fancy sketch.
The news of the revolution of the three days in Paris
, and the triumph of the French
people over Charles X. and his ministers, as a matter of course acted with great effect upon our national susceptibility.
We all threw up our hats in excessive joy at the spectacle of a king dashed down headlong from his throne and chased out of his kingdom by his long-suffering and oppressed subjects.
We took half the credit of the performance to ourselves, inasmuch as Lafayette
was a principal actor in it. Our editors, from Passamaquoddy to the Sabine
, indited paragraphs for a thousand and
one newspapers, congratulating the Parisian patriots, and prophesying all manner of evil to holy alliances, kings, and aristocracies.
The National Intelligencer
for September 27, 1830, contains a full account of the public rejoicings of the good people of Washington
on the occasion.
Bells were rung in all the steeples, guns were fired, and a grand procession was formed, including the President
of the United States
, the heads of departments, and other public functionaries.
Decorated with tricolored ribbons, and with tricolored flags mingling with the stripes and stars over their heads, and gazed down upon by bright eyes from window and balcony, the ‘general sympathizers’moved slowly and majestically through the broad avenue towards the Capitol
to celebrate the revival of French liberty in a manner becoming the chosen rulers of a free people.
What a spectacle was this for the representatives of European
kingcraft at our seat of government!
How the titled agents of Metternich and Nicholas
must have trembled, in view of this imposing demonstration, for the safety of their ‘peculiar institutions’
Unluckily, however, the moral effect of this grand spectacle was marred somewhat by the appearance of another procession, moving in a contrary direction.
It was a gang of slaves!
Handcuffed in pairs, with the sullen sadness of despair in their faces, they marched wearily onward to the music of the driver's whip and the clanking iron on their limbs.
Think of it!
Shouts of triumph, rejoicing bells, gay banners, and glittering cavalcades,
in honor of Liberty, in immediate contrast with men and women chained and driven like cattle to market!
The editor of the American Spectator
, a paper published at Washington
at that time, speaking of this black procession of slavery, describes it as ‘driven along by what had the appearance
of a man on horseback.’
The miserable wretches who composed it were doubtless consigned to a slave-jail to await their purchase and transportation to the South or Southwest; and perhaps formed a part of that drove of human beings which the same editor states that he saw on the Saturday
following, ‘males and females chained.
in couples, starting from Robey
's tavern, on foot, for Alexandria
, to embark on board a slave-ship.’
At a Virginia camp-meeting, many years ago, one of the brethren, attempting an exhortation, stammered, faltered, and finally came to a dead stand.
‘Sit down, brother,’ said old Father Kyle
, the one-eyed abolition preacher; ‘it's no use to try; you can't preach with twenty negroes sticking in your throat!’
It strikes us that our country is very much in the condition of the poor confused preacher at the camp-meeting.
Slavery sticks in its throat, and spoils its finest performances, political and ecclesiastical; confuses the tongues of its evangelical alliances; makes a farce of its Fourth of July celebrations; and, as in the case of the grand Washington
procession of 1830, sadly mars the effect of its rejoicings in view of the progress of liberty abroad.
There is a stammer in all our exhortations; our moral and political homilies are sure to run into confusions and
contradictions; and the response which comes to us from the nations is not unlike that of Father Kyle
to the planter's attempt at sermonizing: ‘It's no use, brother Jonathan; you can't preach liberty with three millions of slaves in your throat!’
A chapter of history.
The theory which a grave and learned Northern senator has recently announced in Congress, that slavery, like the cotton-plant, is confined by natural laws to certain parallels of latitude, beyond which it can by no possibility exist, however it may have satisfied its author and its auditors, has unfortunately no verification in the facts of the case.
Slavery is singularly cosmopolitan in its habits.
The offspring of pride, and lust, and avarice, it is indigenous to the world.
Rooted in the human heart, it defies the rigors of winter in the steppes of Tartary and the fierce sun of the tropics.
It has the universal acclimation of sin.
The first account we have of negro slaves in New England
is from the pen of John Josselyn
Nineteen years after the landing at Plymouth
, this interesting traveller was for some time the guest of Samuel Maverick
, who then dwelt, like a feudal baron, in his fortalice on Noddle's Island
, surrounded by retainers and servants, bidding defiance to his Indian neighbors behind his strong walls, with ‘four great guns’ mounted thereon, and ‘giving entertainment to all new-comers gratis.’
‘On the 2d of October, 1639, about nine o'clock
in the morning, Mr. Maverick
's negro woman
,’ says Josselyn
, ‘came to my chamber, and in her own country language and tune sang very loud and shrill.
Going out to her, she used a great deal of respect towards me, and would willingly have expressed her grief in English had she been able to speak the language; but I apprehended it by her countenance and deportment.
Whereupon I repaired to my host to learn of him the cause, and resolved to entreat him in her behalf; for I had understood that she was a queen in her own country, and observed a very dutiful and humble garb used towards her by another negro, who was her maid.
was desirous to have a breed of negroes; and therefore, seeing she would not yield by persuasions to company with a negro young man he had in his house, he commanded him, willed she, nilled she, to go to her bed, which was no sooner done than she thrust him out again.
This she took in high disdain beyond her slavery; and this was the cause of her grief.’
That the peculiar domestic arrangements and unfastidious economy of this slave-breeding settler were not countenanced by the Puritans of that early time we have sufficient evidence.
It is but fair to suppose, from the silence of all other writers of the time with respect to negroes and slaves, that this case was a marked exception to the general habits and usage of the Colonists.
At an early period a traffic was commenced between the New England
Colonies and that of Barbadoes
; and it is not improbable that slaves were brought to Boston
from that island.
The laws, however, discouraged
their introduction and purchase, giving freedom to all held to service at the close of seven years.
In 1641, two years after Josselyn
's adventure on Noddle's Island
, the code of laws known by the name of the Body of Liberties was adopted by the Colony.
It was drawn up by Nathaniel Ward
, the learned and ingenious author of the Simple Cobbler
, the earliest poetical satire of New England
. One of its provisions was as follows:—
‘There shall be never any bond slaverie, villainage, or captivitie amongst us, unless it be lawfull captives taken in just warres and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold to us. And these shall have all the liberties and Christian usages which the law of God established in Israel
doth morally require.’
In 1646, Captain Smith
, a Boston churchmem-ber, in connection with one Keeser
, brought home two negroes whom he obtained by the surprise and burning of a negro village in Africa
and the massacre of many of its inhabitants.
Sir Richard Saltonstall
, one of the assistants, presented a petition to the General Court, stating the outrage thereby committed as threefold in its nature, namely murder, man-stealing, and Sabbath-breaking; inasmuch as the offence of ‘chasing the negers, as aforesayde, upon the Sabbath day (being a servile work, and such as cannot be considered under any other head) is expressly capital by the law of God;’ for which reason he prays that the offenders may be brought to justice, ‘soe that the sin they have committed may be upon their own heads and not upon ourselves.’
Upon this petition the General Court passed the following order, eminently worthy of men professing to rule in the fear and according to the law of God,—--a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well:—
‘The General Court, conceiving themselves bound by the first opportunity to bear witness against the heinous and crying sin of man-stealing, as also to prescribe such timely redress for what has passed, and such a law for the future as may sufficiently deter all others belonging to us to have to do in such vile and odious courses, justly abhorred of all good and just men, do order that the negro interpreter, and others unlawfully taken, be by the first opportunity, at the charge of the country for the present, sent to his native country, Guinea
, and a letter with him of the indignation of the Court
thereabout, and justice thereof, desiring our honored Governor would please put this order in execution.’
There is, so far as we know, no historical record of the actual return of these stolen men to their home.
A letter is extant, however, addressed in behalf of the General Court to a Mr. Williams
on the Piscataqua
, by whom one of the negroes had been purchased, requesting him to send the man forthwith to Boston
, that he may be sent home, ‘which this Court do resolve to send back without delay.’
Three years after, in 1649, the following law was placed upon the statute-book of the Massachusetts Colony
‘If any man stealeth a man, or mankind, he shall surely be put to death.’
It will thus be seen that these early attempts to introduce slavery into New England
were opposed by severe laws and by that strong popular sentiment in favor of human liberty which characterized the Christian
radicals who laid the foundations of the Colonies.
It was not the rigor of her Northern winter, nor the unkindly soil of Massachusetts
, which discouraged the introduction of slavery in the first half-century of her existence as a colony.
It was the Puritan
's recognition of the brotherhood of man in sin, suffering, and redemption, his estimate of the awful responsibilities and eternal destinies of humanity, his hatred of wrong and tyranny, and his stern sense of justice, which led him to impose upon the African slave-trader the terrible penalty of the Mosaic code.
But that brave old generation passed away.
The civil contentions in the mother country drove across the seas multitudes of restless adventurers and speculators.
The Indian wars unsettled and demoralized the people.
Habits of luxury and the greed of gain took the place of the severe self-denial and rigid virtues of the fathers.
Hence we are not surprised to find that