state of “slave society” the number of the slaves should at least be equal to the number of the freemen; for where the latter are in excess, he holds that the conditions of an “irrepressible conflict” and of the consequent subordination of slavery are inevitable.
It being indispensable, according to Mr. Spratt
, that every form of handicraft labor in the true Slave States
should be performed by slaves, he deprecates the introduction of white mechanics into Charleston
as a calamity threatening the peace of the city.
At present he thinks that South Carolina
more nearly than any other State--much more so than Virginia
— is in a condition to illustrate the conservative tendency of slavery, as to-day there is in South Carolina
no “appeal to the mass, because there is no mass to appeal to; there are no demagogues, because there is no populace to breed them.”
But this happy state of things may be broken up if slavery be not promptly strengthened by the reopening of the slave trade, as it is foreseen that white laborers will come in to fill up the gap left by a paucity of slaves; and such white laborers, adds Mr. Spratt
, “will question the right of masters to employ their slaves in any work that they may wish for; they will use the elective franchise to that end; they may acquire the power to determine our municipal elections, and they will inexorably use it; and thus this town of Charleston
, at the very heart of slavery, may become the fortress of democratic power against it.”
With such theories lying at the basis of the agitation which has culminated in a dissolution of the Union
, it was but natural that its originators should exclaim, in the presence of the temporary prohibitions laid on the foreign slave trade by the Congress
, that if this interdict “be carried into the permanent Government our whole movement is defeated
. It will abolitionize the Border States
--it will brand our institution.
Slavery cannot share a Government with democracy; it cannot bear a brand upon it; thence another revolution.
It may be painful, but we must make it
. The Constitution cannot be changed without it. It is doubtful if another movement will be so peaceful; but no matter;
no power but the Convention
can avert the necessity.”
To similar purport Mr. Spratt
proclaims in another part of his letter, “that slavery, as sent forth by the Southern Congress, like the Thracian horse returning from the field of victory, still bears a master on his back, and, having achieved one revolution to escape democracy at the North
, it must still achieve another to escape it at the South
And it will be seen that more than once he very significantly intimates a doubt whether this latter victory, if a contest is made necessary by a prohibition laid on the slave trade, will be as peaceful as that which has been only partially won over the remoter enemy at the North
In a word, if the revival of the slave trade be not now peacefully conceded, the members of the Southern Confederacy have in reserve for their people another revolution in which the combatants on both sides shall be of their own household.
And the man who prefigures this conflict is one whose warning should not pass unheeded, because he is one who knows how revolutions are made, because knowing from what source the pending revolution has derived its motive power, and the attainment of what ends it has sought under the conduct of its originators.
These, if balked of their purpose for the present, will, he assures us, only have to begin at once a new agitation, destined to endure until at last slavery shall “stand serene, erect, aloft, unquestioned as to its rights or its integrity, at some point within the present limits of the Southern States
“And such being the case,” adds Mr. Spratt
, “it is only for the present actors to determine whether they will contribute or be crushed to
Who can wonder that the people of the Border Slaveholding States
, with their wellknown repugnance to the revival of the slave trade, should look with other than feelings of distrust and misgiving on a movement which, in its rudiments, was known to have been so largely controlled by men of like ideas with Mr. Spratt
, and whose ultimate, inevitable tendencies are now only the more clearly expressed because of a temporary check which it is feared that movement has received within its own circle of revolution?--National Intelligencer
, February 19.