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Mr. Mitchel's Desires.

A mysterious philosopher of Massachusetts somewhere has remarked, that “consistency is the vice of little minds.” If this aphorism is to be accepted, then we may suppose Mr. John Mitchel's intellect to be of gigantic proportions, and his brain by several ounces heavier than that of Webster or of Cuvier was found to be. For of all the erratic men of a race notoriously erratic, Patriot Mitchel has turned the most bewildering flip-flaps. As a political artist, he may be said, like some celebrated painters, to have changed his manner: and his last manner is precisely the opposite of his first.

The denouncer of English tyranny; the champion of Irish liberty; the persecuted for freedom's sake; the man who nearly thrust his neck into a hempen cravat in his eagerness to emancipate Ireland; this man is about to start a newspaper somewhere at the South, solely devoted to apologies for oppression, to vindications of absolutism, to eulogiums of Slavery. [21] New light has broken upon the soul of John. He has been permitted, by a benignant Providence, to behold the errors of his early career, and to recognize the exceeding beauty of broad plantations well-stocked with broad-backed “niggers.” Since his conversion, John has grown in Pro-Slavery grace with a rapidity really marvelous. Since he made his first startling confession of his yearning for one plantation and one gang of fat field hands, John has advanced his pretensions, and now expresses a desire for two plantations and two gangs of adipose chattels.

This is all very well. While one is wishing, it is just as cheap, and a great deal more fascinating, to wish largely, and moderation in this atmospheric architecture has never been a Milesian characteristic. At the same time, we advise the neighbors of this aspiring patriot to be on the alert. One of George the First's Dutch mistresses, being hustled by a London mob, called out from her carriage: “Do n't hurt us, good peoples; we come for all your goots!” “Yes, d — n you, and for all our chattels, too,” was the reply. Mr. Mitchel may succeed in convincing the Slaveholders, who are sadly in need of smart champions, that he has come for their good; but if he continues to exhibit such an overweening propensity for “all their chattels, too,” they may not only consider him too expensive to be indulged in, but they may also harbor a suspicion of his disinterestedness which would be painful. They may insist upon the rule that “half's fair.”

Mr. Mitchel, if we may judge by his prospectus, [22] has entered upon his new duties with commendable spirit. It is always pleasant to witness the fresh zeal of these novices. It is seldom that they stick at anything. They do not simply go the whole hog, but a whole herd of whole hogs. Slaveholders, born and bred in the midst of Slavery, and who have heretofore suffered themselves to be pretty enthusiastic advocates of the institution, stand aghast at their own moderation when they listen to men who come among them, and who volunteer to assist them. When the visual orbs of such are purged of any remaining film of free notions, and the John Mitchels see Slavery (as they say) for themselves, they always discover more beautiful things in it than were ever dreamed of by the Slaveholder. To tell the truth, they generally overdo the matter, and are more rapturous than is absolutely necessary. When they say, as John does, that Slavery is the finest institution in the world; that it is vastly more promotive, than Freedom, of the prosperity of a State; that it is the best thing for the master and the best thing for the slave, why they talk hyperbolical nonsense, and are regarded by Southern men who hear them with profound contempt.

Those who have had the best and most extended opportunities of studying the institution know that such talk is mere babble. The man who is listened to with the greatest respect is he who, while he sees no remedy for the evil, admits that an evil it is. Therefore, we conjure Patriot John, by all his hopes of a seat in Congress, by his love of many plantations, [23] by his peculiar passion for corpulent negroes — by all these we conjure him, to moderate his raptures. Otherwise, people will be apt to call him an old humbug.

In pursuance of our advice, we think that Mr. Mitchel had better say nothing more of the reopening of the African Slave-Trade. If one people are to go to Africa for slaves, why may not another people go to Ireland for the same commodity? We hope we shall not offend Mr. Mitchel's Hibernian sensibilities by the question, but how would he like it if a French ship should carry off from the coast of Ireland, and into Slavery, a select assortment of his aunts, uncles and cousins; in fact, the cream of the Mitchel family? But the Africans are black, and the Irishmen are white — when they are not very dirty. True enough; but color has not heretofore saved the Irish people from the most terrible oppression.

We suppose that a certain town-major Sirr--John may have hard of him — flogged white backs with as much gusto as John will flog black ones, should he come to own them. But the Africans are shiftless and degraded. Well, we have heard it just intimated that some Irishmen are not, after all, models of smartness and prudence. But then, Africans cannot help themselves. We should like to know how well the Irishmen have helped themselves for many centuries. We have no desire to speak with the slightest disrespect of the many noble efforts of that people to throw off the yoke; but when an [24] Irish patriot, as Mitchel professes to have been, argues that the black man is not fit for freedom because he is not free, it is perfectly proper for us to ask this Irishman why the rule is not applicable to the condition of his own countrymen. But, out of our respect for an unhappy land, we will not pursue the subject. Many and grievous have been the burthens of Ireland; she has now another to bear in the apostasy of a man whom she once delighted to honor.

September 9, 1857.

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