The South and the slave trade.
In these days of all sorts of newspaper rumors and reports, it is somewhat difficult to arrive at the real facts of the case upon controverted points.
On no subject do we find more contradictory statements than with reference to the intention of South Carolina
, and other Cotton States, to re-open the African slave trade.
During a visit to South Carolina
last spring, the writer made particular inquiries with reference to the subject of cargoes of African
slaves, which it was alleged had been landed in the South
, but could find no evidence that more than one cargo had ever been landed, and saw no disposition in any quarter to renew the traffic.
On the contrary, the impression left on our mind after conversation with the most influential persons, was that South Carolina
had about as much intention of reviving the African slave trade as Virginia
Nor do we believe now that any one in the whole United States
has any desire for such revival except those ship owners in New York, Boston
, and other cities of the free States, who are the only persons now actually engaged in that illicit traffic.
It should never be forgotten that whilst the Gulf
States are denounced in advance on account of an alleged intention of reviving the slave trade, that trade is now carried on exclusively by those who bring the charge, and that the State
in which it excites more concern than any other is Massachusetts
, a State which would not enter into the Union
except upon the condition that the slave trade should not be abolished till 1808, and not satisfied with that, insisted upon a guarantee that no amendment of the Constitution
should affect that provision.
, who are actively prosecuting the business of kidnapping and selling unfortunate Coolies, men of their own color and similar sensibilities and aspirations, into the most miserable slavery, also assume that it is the purpose of the South
to re-open the slave trade.
This idea is derived, like all their other opinions of Southern affairs, from prejudiced Republican sources.
A South Carolina
correspondent of the Petersburg Express
forwards to that paper the following recent editorial (Dec. 15,) of the Southern Presbyterian,
an able organ of the Presbyterians of South Carolina
, published in Columbia
, which is the seat of one of the largest theological seminaries of that Church in the Union
, and at which point some of their ablest divines (among them Dr. Thorn
well, the first clergyman of that denomination in this country,) are congregated.
The correspondent of the Express
says that the sentiments it utters in relation to the African slave trade express the public opinion of the South on the subject.
--It seems to us that the testimony of such intelligent and good men, living on the spot, and not controlled by partisan influences' ought to be conclusive:
"We have just read, what we ought to have done a week ago, with special care, the editorial in the 'secular department' of the New York Observer
, under the title 'Progress and Prospects of Disunion.' The manifest tendency of it, if not its insidious and treacherous design and purpose,
is to produce jealousy and dissention between different parts of the South
, in order to cripple and defeat the Southern
movements in defence of Southern Rights.
We will not waste our time in a discussion of its various suggestions, and confine our remarks on it to the following extract: The Observer says: 'From South Carolina
, already, we have the most contemptuous language addressed to Virginia
, who is distinctly informed that she is not wanted in the new republic of the South
The reason for this repulse of any advances from Virginia
is easy to be understood.--The leaders of the Cotton States
are expected to re-open the slave trade, as soon as they get the control of a Southern Government.' The Observer
then refers to the opposition of the Northern
slaveholding States to this project, and says: 'But the men below, who intend to revive the traffic, are fearful of the influence of Maryland
, and Tennessee
, and would rather keep them out than have them in, when the new empire is set up in the South
"We find it difficult, we confess, to restrain the feelings of indignation with which we quote these passages, but we will try to speak of them calmly.
We not do less however, than pronounce them in and effect grievous misrepresentations may be that some foolish person in South Carolina
has used 'contemptuous language' in reference to Virginia
; but the Observer,
which is constantly telling the South
that the North
ought not to be held responsible for the wild ravings of Northern fanatics, ought to be ashamed of noticing such ebullitions of Southern extravagance.
And we unhesitatingly assert that nothing could be more false and unjust than to insinuate that the people of the Cotton States
, or their 'leaders,' do not desire the 'Northern slaveholding States' to be united with them in the Southern Republic
, unless it is the intimation that they desire and intend to re-open the African slave trade.
The heart of South Carolina
beats in warm, loyal, loving regard for Virginia
She has proved it in trying times.
It was that more than anything else that decided her to yield in the purpose of nullification, when Virginia
sent a Commissioner to ask her to stay her earnest resolution.
After John Brown
's invasion, she sent a Commissioner herself to Virginia
to convey her desire and determination to act with the "Old Dominion" in whatever course the latter might judge to be best; and when Virginia
said she desired nothing more to be done, South Carolina
acquiesced; and now, if constrained by a sense of overpowering necessity, she takes action alone and of herself, one universal shout of joy and congratulation would echo from the seaboard to the mountains, if Virginia
and the other border States would proclaim their purpose to unite their destiny with hers.
And we hope the misrepresentations of the Observer
will meet in Virginia
with the contempt they deserve, as apparently designed to awaken jealousy and discord between the Southern States
It is time that Southern readers ceased to listen to the suggestions of those who do not and cannot understand our interests, or our relations to one another.
"As to the re-opening of the slave trade, we shall content ourselves with affirming again that there is not the slightest danger of it. The Southern people are not going to do anything so foolish and wicked us to engage in that.