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[133]

Thomas Carlyle on the slave question.

[1846.]

A late number of Fraser's Magazine contains an article bearing the unmistakable impress of the Anglo-German peculiarities of Thomas Carlyle, entitled, An Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question, which would be interesting as a literary curiosity were it not in spirit and tendency so unspeakably wicked as to excite in every right-minded reader a feeling of amazement and disgust. With a hard, brutal audacity, a blasphemous irreverence, and a sneering mockery which would do honor to the devil of Faust, it takes issue with the moral sense of mankind and the precepts of Christianity. Having ascertained that the exports of sugar and spices from the West Indies have diminished since emancipation,—and that the negroes, having worked, as they believed, quite long enough without wages, now refuse to work for the planters without higher pay than the latter, with the thriftless and evil habits of slavery still clinging to them, can afford to give,—the author considers himself justified in denouncing negro emancipation as one of the ‘shams’ which he was specially sent into this world to belabor. Had he confined himself to simple abuse and caricature of the selfdenying

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