And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the year of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.
Thus spoke a prince who had won from his elder brother both birthright and blessing; who had seen “the angels of God ascending and descending” ; was able to say, “With my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands” ; who had seen God face to face, and still lived; to whom was pledged the Divine promise, “I will make of thee a great nation, in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” ; whose ears had just drunk in the glad tidings of his favorite son, “Joseph is yet alive; he is governor over all the land of Egypt
Thus timid and disconsolate gray hairs bewail their own times.
To most men, the golden age is one long past.
But Nature is ever growing.
Science tells us every change is improvement.
This globe, once a mass of molten granite, now blooms almost a paradise.
So in man's life and history.
One may not see it in his own short day. You must stand afar off to judge St. Peter
's. The shadow on the dial seems motionless, but it touches
noon at last.
Place the ages side by side, and see how they differ.
Three quarters of the early king of France
died poor and in prison, by the dagger or poison of their rivals.
stole large fortunes and half the thrones of Europe
, yet all died natural deaths in their beds, and though discrowned, kept their enormous wealth.
When the English
marched from Boston
, they fired into half the Whig
dwellings they passed.
, pursuing Missouri
ruffians, he sent men ahead to put a guard at every border-ruffian's door, to save inmate and goods from harm.
that “a heart buried in a dungeon is as precious as that seated on a throne,” there were one hundred and sixty-nine crimes punished with death.
Now not only England
, but every land governed by the English
race, is marked by the mildness of its penal code, only one, two, or three classes of offenders being now murdered by law.
It is not yet fifteen years since the first Woman's Rights Convention was held.
The first call for one in Massachusetts
, a dozen years ago, bore a name heard often in manful protest against popular sins,--that of Waldo Emerson
But in that short fifteen years, a dozen States have changed their laws.
One New York statute, a year old, securing to married women control of their wages, will do more to save New York City from being grog-shop and brothel than a thousand pulpits could do. When Kansas
went to Topeka
to frame a Constitution, one third of the Convention
were in favor of giving women the right to vote.
Truly, the day breaks.
If time served, I could find a score of familiar instances.
It is enough to state the general principle
, that civilization produces wants.
Wants awaken intellect.
To gratify them disciplines intellect.
The keener the want, the lustier the growth.
The power to use new truths in
science, new ideas in morals or art, obliterates rank, and makes the lowest man useful or necessary to the state.
Popes and kings no longer mark the ages; but Luther and Raphael, Fulton
A Massachusetts mechanic, Eli Whitney
, made cotton king; a Massachusetts printer, William Lloyd Garrison
, has undermined its throne.
Thus civilization insures equality.
Types are the fathers of democrats.
It is not always, however, ideas or moral principles that push the world forward.
Selfish interests play a large part in the work.
Our Revolution of 1776 succeeded because trade and wealth joined hands with principle and enthusiasm,--a union rare in the history of revolutions.
Northern merchants fretted at England
's refusal to allow them direct trade with Holland
and the West Indies
planters, heavily mortgaged, welcomed anything which would postpone payment of their debts,--a motive that doubtless avails largely among Secessionists now. So merchant and planter joined heartily with hot-headed Sam Adams
, and reckless Joseph Warren
, penniless John Adams
, that brilliant adventurer Alexander Hamilton
, and that young scapegrace Aaron Burr
, to get independence.
[Laughter.] To merchant, independence meant only direct trade,--to planter, cheating his creditors.
Present conflict of interests is another instrument of progress.
Religious persecution planted these States; commercial persecution brought about the Revolution; John Bull
's perseverance in a seven-years war fused us into one nation; his narrow and ill-tempered effort to govern us by stealth, even after the peace of 1783, drove us to the Constitution
I think it was Coleridge
who said, if he were a clergyman in Cornwall
, he should preach fifty-two sermons a year against wreckers.
In the same spirit, I shall find the best illustration of our progress in the history of the slave question.
Some men sit sad and trembling for the future, because the knell of this Union has sounded.
But the heavens are almost all bright; and if some sable clouds linger on the horizon, they have turned their silver linings almost wholly to our sight.
Every man who possesses his soul in patience sees that disunion is gain, disunion is peace
, disunion is virtue.
said: “It is unfortunate that the efforts of mankind to recover the freedom of which they have been deprived should be accompanied with violence, with errors, and even with crime.
But while we weep over the means, we must pray for the end.”
We may see our future in the glass of our past history.
The whole connection of Massachusetts
Colony with England
was as much disgrace as honor to both sides.
On the part of England
, it was an attempt to stretch principles which were common sense and justice applied to an island, but absurd and tyrannical applied across the ocean.
It was power without right, masked in form.
On the side of the Colony, it was petty shifts, quibbles, equivocations, cunning dodges, white lies, ever the resource of weakness.
was bulldog, Massachusetts
was fox. Whoever cannot take his right openly by force, steals what he can by fraud.
slave was a liar, as all slaves are. Tocqueville
says, “Men are not corrupted by the exercise of power, nor debased by submission; but by the exercise of power they think illegal, and submission to a rule they consider oppressive.”
That sentence is a key to our whole colonial history.
When we grew strong enough to dare to be frank, we broke with England
Timid men wept; but now we see how such disunion was gain, peace, and virtue.
Indeed, seeming disunion was real union.
We were then two snarling hounds, leashed together; we are now one in a true marriage, one in blood, trade, thought, religion, history, in mutual love and
respect; where one then filched silver from the other, each now pours gold into the other's lap; our only rivalry, which shall do most honor to the blood of Shakespeare
, of Franklin
In that glass we see the story of North and South since 1787, and I doubt not for all coming time.
The people of the States between the Gulf
and the great Lakes, yes, between the Gulf
and the Pole, are essentially one.
We are one in blood, trade, thought, religion, history; nothing can long divide us. If we had let our Constitution grow, as the English
did, as oaks do, we had never passed through such scenes as the present.
The only thing that divides us now, is the artificial attempt, in 1787, to force as into an unripe union.
Some lawyers got together and wrote out a constitution.
The people and great interests of the land, wealth, thought, fashion, and creed, immediately laid it upon the shelf, and proceeded to grow
one for themselves.
The treaty power sufficed to annex a continent, and change the whole nature of the government.
The war power builds railroads to the Pacific
Right to regulate commerce builds observatories and dredges out lakes.
Right to tax protects manufactures; and had we wanted a king, some ingenious Yankee would have found the right to have one clearly stated in the provision for a well-regulated militia.
[Laughter.] All that is valuable in the United States Constitution
is a thousand years old. What is good is not new, and what is new is not good.
That vaunted statesmanship which concocts constitutions never has amounted to anything.
The English Constitution, always found equal to any crisis, is an old mansion, often repaired, with quaint additions, and seven gables, each of different pattern.
Our Constitution is a new clapboard house, so square and sharp it almost cuts you to look at it, staring with white paint and green blinds, as if dropped in the landscape, or come out to spend an afternoon* [Laughter.]
The trouble now is, that, in regard to the most turbulent question of the age, our politicians and a knot of privileged slaveholders are trying to keep the people in. side of this parchment band.
, they would mould the people to fit the Constitution
, instead of cutting the Constitution
to fit the people.
said, “If you plant an oak in a flower-vase, one of two things will happen,--the oak will die, or the vase break.”
Our acorn swelled; the tiny leaves showed themselves under the calm eye of Washington
, and he laid down in hope.
By and by the roots enlarged, and men trembled.
Of late, Webster
, have been anxiously clasping the vase, but the roots have burst abroad at last, and the porcelain is in pieces.
[Sensation.] All ye who love oaks, thank God for so much!
That Union of 1787 was one of fear; we were driven into it by poverty and the commercial hostility of England
As cold masses up all things,--sticks, earth, stones, and water into dirty ice,--heat first makes separation, and then unites those of the same nature.
The heat of sixty years agitation has severed the heterogeneous mass; wait awhile, it will fuse together all that is really one.
Let me show you why I think the present so bright, and why I believe that disunion is gain, peace, and honor.
Why is the present hour sunshine?
Because, for the first time in our history, we have a North.
That event which Mr. Webster
anticipated and prophesied has come to pass.
In a real, true sense, we have a North.
By which I do not mean that the North
rules; though, politically speaking, the crowned and sceptred North does, indeed, take her seat in that council where she has thus far been only a tool.
But I mean that freemen, honest labor, makes itself heard in our State.
ceases to be fox or spaniel, and puts on the lion.
She asserts and claims.
She no longer begs, cheats, or buys.
Understand me. In 1787, slave property, worth, perhaps, two hundred million of dollars, strengthened by the sympathy of all other capital, was a mighty power.
It was the Rothschild of the state.
The Constitution, by its three-fifths slave basis
, made slaveholders an order of nobles.
It was the house of Hapsburg joining hands with the house of Rothschild
Prejudice of race was the third strand of the cable, bitter and potent as Catholic ever bore Huguenot
, or Hungary
ever spit on Moslem.
This fearful trinity won to its side that mysterious omnipotence called Fashion,--a
power which, without concerted action, without either thought, law, or religion on its side, seems stronger than all of them, and fears no foe but wealth.
Such was slavery.
In its presence the North
always knelt and whispered.
When slavery could not bully, it bubbled its victim.
In the convention that framed the Constitution
men said, as Charles Francis Adams
says now, “What matters a pitiful three-fifths slave basis, and guaranty against insurrection, to an institution on its death-bed,--gasping for its last breath?
It may conciliate
only a shadow,--nothing more,--why stand on words?
So they shut their eyes, as he does, on realities, and chopped excellent logic on forms.”
But at that moment, the Devil hovered over Charleston
, with a handful of cotton-seed.
[Applause.] Dropped into sea-island soil, and touched by the magic of Massachusetts
brains, it poisoned the atmosphere of thirty States.
That cotton fibre was a rod of empire such as Caesar
It fattened into obedience pulpit and rostrum, court, market-place, and college, and leashed New York and Chicago
to its chair of state.
Beware, Mr. Adams
, “he needs a long spoon who sups with the Devil.”
In the kaleidoscope of the future, no statesman eye can foresee the forms.
God gives manhood but one
clew to success,--utter and exact justice: that he guarantees shall be always expediency.
Deviate one hair's-breadth,--grant but a dozen slaves,--only the tiniest seed of concession,--you know not how “many and tall branches of mischief shall grow therefrom.”
That handful of cotton-seed has perpetuated a system which, as Emerson
says, “impoverishes the soil, depopulates the country, demoralizes the master, curses the victim, enrages the bystander, poisons the atmosphere, and hinders civilization.”
I need not go over the subsequent compromises in detail.
They are always of the same kind: mere words, Northern men assured us,--barren concessions.
“Physical geography and Asiatic scenery” hindered any harm.
But the South
was always specially anxious to have these barren “words,” and marvellously glad when she got them.
Northern politicians, in each case, were either bullied or cheated, or feigned to be bullied, as they are about to do now. And the people were glad to have it so. I do not know that the politicians are
a whit better now than then.
I should not be willing to assert that Seward
are any more honest than Webster
, and certainly they have just as much spaniel II their make.
But the gain to-day is, we have a people
. Under their vigilant eyes, mindful of their sturdy purpose, sustained by their determination, many of our politicians act
And out of this popular heart is growing
a Constitution which will wholly supersede that of 1787.
A few years ago, while Pierce
, the Republican party dared to refuse the appropriations for support of government,--the most daring act ever ventured in a land that holds Bunker Hill
They dared to persevere some twenty or thirty days. It seems a trifle; but it is a very significant straw.
Then for weeks
was elected, and a year ago, again, the whole government was checked till the Republicans put their Speaker in the chair.
Now the North
elects her President
, the South
I suppose we shall be bargained away into compromise.
I know the strength and virtue of the farming West
It is one of the bright spots that our sceptre tends there, rather than to the seaboard.
Four or eight years hence, when this earthquake will repeat itself, the West
may be omnipotent, and we shall see brave things.
It is not the opinion of the absolute majority which rules, but that amount of public opinion which can be brought to bear on a particular point at a given time.
Therefore the compact, energetic, organized Seaboard, with the press in its hand, rules, spite of the wide-spread, inert, unorganized West.
While the agricultural frigate is getting its broadside ready, the commercial clipper has half finished its slave voyage.
In spite of Lincoln
's wishes, therefore, I fear he will never be able to stand against Seward
, half the Republican
wire-pullers, and the Seaboard.
But even now, if Seward
and the rest had stood firm, as Lincoln
, and Lovejoy
, and the Tribune have hitherto done, I believe you might have polled the North
, and had a response, three to one: “Let the Union
go to pieces, rather than yield one inch.”
I know no sublimer hour in history.
The sight of these two months is compensation for a life of toil.
Never let Europe
taunt us again that our blood is wholly cankered by gold.
Our people stood, willing their idolized government should go to pieces for an idea.
True, other nations have done so. England
in 1791,--our colonies in 1775.
Those were proud moments.
But to-day touches a nobler height.
Their idea was their own freedom.
Today, the idea, loyal to which our people willingly see their Union wrecked, is largely the hope of justice to a dependent,
helpless, hated race.
Revolutions never go back.
ward. The live force of a human pulse-beat can rive the dead lumber of government to pieces.
Chain the Hellespont, Mr. Xerxes
, before you dream of balking the Northern
heart of its purpose,--freedom to the slave!
The old sea never laughed at Persian chains more haughtily than we do at Congress promises.
I reverently thank God that he has given me to see such a day as this.
Remember the measureless love of the North
for the Union
,--its undoubting faith that disunion is ruin,--and then value as you ought this last three months. If Wilberforce
could say on his death-bed, after fifty years toil, “Thank God, I have lived to see the day that England
is willing to give twenty million sterling for the abolition of slavery,” what ought our gratitude to be for such a sight as this?
Twenty millions of people willing, would only their leaders permit, to barter their government for the hope of justice to the negro!
And this result has come in defiance of the pulpit, spite of the half omnipotence of commerce, with all the so-called leaders of public opinion against us,--literature, fashion, prejudice of race, and present interest.
It is the uprising of common sense, the protest of common conscience, the untaught, instinctive loyalty of the people to justice and right.
But you will tell me of dark clouds, mobs in every Northern city.
Grant it, and more.
was shot at Alton, Illinois
, while defending his press, and his friends were refused the use of Faneuil Hall, William Ellery Channing
, William Sturgis
, and George Bond
, the saints and merchants of Boston
, rallied to the defence of free speech.
Now we hold meetings only when and how the Mayor
permits [hisses and great applause], yet no merchant prince, no pulpit hero, rallies to our side.
But raise your eyes from the disgraced pavements of Boston
look out broader.
That same soil which drank the blood of Lovejoy
now sends his brother to lead Congress in its fiercest hour; that same prairie lifts his soul's son to crush the Union
as he steps into the Presidential chair.
Sleep in peace, martyr of Alton
, good has come out of Nazareth
The shot which turned back our Star of the West from the waters of Charleston
, and tolled the knell of the Union
, was the rebound of the bullet that pierced your heart.
died, men used to ask, tauntingly, what good has the antislavery cause done?
what changes has it wrought?
As well stand over the cradle, and ask what use is a baby?
He will be a man some time,--the antislavery cause is now twenty-one years old.
This hour is bright from another cause.
Since 1800, our government has been only a tool of the Slave Power
The stronghold of antislavery has been the sentiment of the people.
We have always prophesied that our government would be found too weak to bear so radical an agitation as this of slavery.
It has proved so; the government is a wreck.
But the people have shown themselves able to deal with it,--able to shake this sin from their lap as easily as the lion does dew-drops from his mane.
Mark another thing.
No Northern man will allow you to charge him with a willingness to extend slavery.
No matter what his plan, he is anxious to show you it is not a compromise!
and will not extend slavery one inch! Mr. Dana
is eloquent on this point, Mr. Adams
positive, Mr. Seward
cunning, Thurlow Weed
[Laughter.] Virtue is not wholly discrowned, while hypocrisy is the homage laid at her feet.
With such progress, why should we compromise?
Everybody allows--North and South--that any compromise will only be temporary relief.
The South knows it is a lie, meant to tide over a shallow spot.
knows it, too. The startled North
, in fact, now says
“Yes, I'll continue to serve you till my hair be grown, then I'll bring down the very temple itself.”
That is what a compromise really means.
The progress is seen in this.
The South always has said: “Yes, give me so much; I will not keep my part of the bargain, but hold you to yours, and get more the moment I can.”
Hitherto, the North
has said yes, and her courage consisted in skulking.
to support the Constitution
, but not keep the oath.
I use his name to illustrate my idea.
But it is always with the extremest reluctance I bring myself to see a spot on the fame of that man, who, at his own cost, by severe toil, braving fierce odium, saved our civilization from the murder of the idiot Freeman
But you may also ask, if compromise be even a temporary relief, why not make it?
Because it is wrong.
Because it is suicidal.
Secession, appeased by compromise, is only emboldened to secede again to-morrow, and thus get larger concessions.
The cowardice that yields to threats invites them.
Because it delays emancipation.
, horror-struck `,at her five million operatives who live on cotton should depend on States rushing into anarchy, is ransacking the world for a supply.
Leave her to toil under that lash, and in five years, South Carolina
will be starved into virtue.
One thousand slaves are born each day. Hurry emancipation three years, and you raise a million human beings into freeborn men.
Compromise demoralizes both parties.
Mark I the North
, notwithstanding all its progress, does not now quit the South
In the great religious bodies and the state, it is the sinners who kick the virtuous out of the covenant with death!
, in his recent speech, does not secede because unwilling to commit the three constitutional sins.
The South secedes from him because he will not commit one more.
which freedom can enter.
Let universal suffrage have free sway, and the ballot supersedes the bullet.
But let an arrogant and besotted minority curb the majority by tricks like these, and when you have compromised away Lincoln
, you revive John Brown
On this point of insurrection, let me say a word.
Strictly speaking, I repudiate the term “insurrection.”
The slaves are not a herd of vassals.
They are a nation, four millions strong; having the same right of revolution that Hungary
I acknowledge the right of two million and a half of white people in the seven seceding States to organize their government as they choose.
Just as freely I acknowledge the right of four million of black people to organize their
government, and to vindicate that right by arms.
Men talk of the peace of the South
under our present government.
It is no real peace.
With the whites, it is only that bastard peace which the lazy Roman
loved,--ut se apricaret
,--that he might sun himself.
It is only safe idleness, sure breeder of mischief.
With the slave, it is only war in disguise.
Under that mask is hid a war keener in its pains, and deadlier in its effects, than any open fight.
As the Latin
adage runs,--mars gravior sub pace latet
bitterer for its disguise.
Thirty years devoted to earnest use of moral means show how sincere our wish that this question should have a peaceful solution.
If your idols — your Websters, Clays, Calhouns, Sewards, Adamses — had done their duty, so it would have been.
Not ours the guilt of this storm, or of the future, however bloody.
But I hesitate not to say, that I prefer an insurrection which frees the slave in ten years to slavery for a century.
A slave I pity.
A rebellious slave I respect.
I say now, as I said ten years ago, I do not shrink from the toast with which
flavored his Oxford Port, “Success to the first insurrection of the blacks in Jamaica
I do not shrink from the sentiment of Southey
, in a letter to Duppa: “There are scenes of tremendous horror which I could smile at by Mercy's side.
An insurrection which should make the negroes masters of the West Indies
I believe both these sentiments are dictated by the highest humanity.
I know what anarchy is. I know what civil war is. I can imagine the scenes of blood through which a rebellious slave population must march to their rights.
They are dreadful.
And yet, I do not know, that, to an enlightened mind, a scene of civil war is any more sickening than the thought of a hundred and fifty years of slavery.
Take the broken hearts; the bereaved mothers; the infant, wrung from the hands of its parents; the husband and wife torn asunder; every right trodden under foot; the blighted hopes, the imbruted souls, the darkened and degraded millions, sunk below the level of intellectual life, melted in sensuality, herded with beasts, who have walked over the burning marl of Southern slavery to their graves; and where is the battle-field, however ghastly, that is not white,--white as an angel's wing,--compared with the blackness of that darkness which has brooded over the Carolinas for two hundred years? Do you love mercy?
Weigh out the fifty thousand hearts that have beaten their last pulse amid agonies of thought and suffering fancy faints to think of; and the fifty thousand mothers, who, with sickening senses, watch for footsteps which are not wont to tarry long in their coming, and soon find themselves left to tread the pathway of life alone; add all the horrors of cities sacked and lands laid waste,--that is war; weigh it now against some trembling young girl sent to the auction-block, some man, like that taken from our court-house and carried back into Georgia
; multiply this individual agony into four nulions;
multiply that into centuries; and that into all the relations of father and child, husband and wife; heap on all the deep, moral degradation, both of the oppressor and the oppressed, and tell me if Waterloo
can claim one tear from the eye even of the tenderest spirit of mercy, compared with this daily system of hell amid the most civilized and Christian people on the face of the earth!
No, I confess I am not a non-resistant.
The reason why I have advised the slave to be guided by a policy of peace is because he has had, hitherto, no chance.
If he had one, if he had as good a chance as those who went up to Lexington
years ago, I should call him the basest recreant that ever deserted wife and child, if he did not vindicate his liberty by his own right hand.
Mr. Richard H. Dana, Jr.
, says, in such a contest his sympathies would be with his own race.3
Mine would be
with the right.
“The Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in such a contest,” says Jefferson
, speaking of a struggle in which the black race “is to go up,” and his own, the white race, is “to go down.”
Let me advise Mr. Dana
to learn Christianity of this infidel, and Justice of this slaveholder.
I feel bound to add my doubt whether a slave insurrection would be a bloody one.
In all revolutions, except the French
, the people have always shown themselves merciful.
, St. Domingo
Tyranny sours more than suffering.
The Conservative hates the Abolitionist more than we do him. The South hates the North
The master speaks ten bitter words of the slave, where the slave speaks five of the master.
Refuse, then, all compromise,--send the Slave States
out to face the danger of which they are fully aware,--announce frankly that we welcome the black race to liberty, won in battle, as cordially as we have done Kossuth
, and probably there will never be an insurrection.
Prudent and masterly statesmanship will avert it by just concession.
Thus Disunion is Peace, as well as Liberty and Justice.
But I was speaking of compromise.
Compromise degrades us, and puts back freedom in Europe
If the North
manfully accepts the Potomac
for her barrier, avows her gladness to get rid of tyrants, her willingness and her ability to stand alone, she can borrow as much money in Europe
as before, and will be more respected.
Free institutions are then proved breeders of men. If, instead of this, the North
belittles herself by confessing her fears, her weakness, her preference for peace at any
price, what capitalist will trust a rope of sand,--a people which the conspiracy of Buchanan
's Cabinet could not disgust, nor the guns of Carolina
Will compromise eliminate all our Puritan
blood, make the census add up against us, and in favor of the South
,--write a new Bible,--blot John Brown
from history,--make Connecticut
suck its idle thumbs like a baby, and South Carolina
invent and save like a Yankee?
If it will, it will succeed.
If it will not, Carolina don't want it, any more than Jerrold
's duck wants you to hold an umbrella over him in a hard shower.
Carolina wants separation,--wants, like the jealous son, her portion, and must waste it in riotous madness before she return a repentant prodigal.
Why do I think disunion gain, peace, and virtue?
The Union, even if it be advantageous to all the States, is surely indispensable only to the South
Let us rise to the height of our position.
This is revolution, not rebellion.
Suppose we welcome disunion, manfully avow our real sentiment, “liberty and equality,” and draw the line at the Potomac
We do not want the Border States
Let them go, be welcome to the forts, take the Capital
[Applause and hisses.] What to us is a hot-house city, empty streets, and useless marble?
sits is the head of the table.
Active brains, free lips, and cunning hands make empires.
Paper capitals are vain.
Of course, we must assume a right to buy out Maryland
Then, by running our line at the Potomac
, we close the irrepressible conflict, and have homogeneous institutions.
Then we part friends.
The Union thus ended, the South
no longer hates the North
Cuba she cannot have.
, and ourselves forbid.
If she spread over Central America
, that will bring no cause of war to a Northern confederacy.
are no filibusters.
Her nearness to us there cannot harm us. Let Kansas
witness that while Union fettered her, and our national banner clung to the flagstaff heavy with blood, we still made good George Canning
's boast, “Where that banner is planted, foreign dominion shall not come.”
With a government heartily on his side, and that flag floating in the blessings of twenty million of freemen, the loneliest settler in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains
will sleep fearless.
Why, then, should there not be peace between two such confederacies?
There must be. Let me show you why:--
Th. laws of trade will bind us together, as they now do all other lands.
This side of the ocean, at least, we are not living in feudal times, when princes make war for ambition.
We live in days when men of common sense go about their daily business, while frightened kings are flying along the highways.
Leave neighborhood and trade alone to work their usual results, and we shall be at peace.
Observe, only Northerners are lynched at the South
now. Spaniards, French
, Scotch are safe.
When English Captain Vaughan
is tarred and feathered, the Mayor
offers a reward, and the grand jury indict.
After a fair, sensible disunion, such as I have described, a Boston man will be as well off as Captain Vaughan
Fair treaties are better security than sham constitutions.
At any rate, disunion could not make the two sections any more at war than they are now. Any change in this respect would be an improvement.
If the North
had touched boundaries, would they ever have quarrelled?
Nothing but Southern filibusterism, which can never point North
, ever embroiled us with Mexico
To us in future the South
will be another Mexico
; we shall not wish to attack her; she will be too weak, too intent on her own broils, to attack us.
Even if the Border States
do not secede, let us, for the slave's sake, welcome the schism between them and the Gulf
States, which that very difference of conduct will be sure to cause.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Only twenty-three out of every hundred inhabitants are slaves in the Border States
,--twenty-three slaves to seventy-seven freemen.
A worn-out soil, fear of loss by fugitives, dread of danger to a hated institution, thus weak in proportion to Northern enemies, will urge slaveholders to push their slaves southward.
Another census may find the Border States
with only ten or fifteen slaves out of one hundred inhabitants,--ten slaves to ninety freemen.
Reduced to such compass, slavery is manageable; we shall soon see plans of emancipation, compensation, and freedom.
On the contrary, the Gulf
States now have forty-six slaves in every hundred inhabitants,--forty-six slaves to fifty-four freemen.
Strengthened by this tendency of the slave population southward, and the opening of the slave-trade, we may soon see the black race a majority, and either as a nation of mixed races, or as black republics, the Gulf
States will gravitate back to us free
The South cannot make war on any one.
Suppose the fifteen States hang together a year,--which is almost an impossibility,--
They have given bonds in two thousand millions of dollars — the value of their slaves — to keep the peace.
They will have enough to do to attend to the irrepressible conflict at home.
, will be their Massachusetts
; Winter Davis
, and Cassius Clay
, their Seward
States will monopolize all the offices.
A man must have Gulf
principles to belong to a healthy party.
Under such a lead, disfranchised Virginia
, in opposition, will not have much heart to attack Pennsylvania
The census shows that the Border States
are pushing their slaves South.
Fear of their free Northern neighbors will quicken the process, and so widen the breach between Gulf
and Border States by making one constantly more and the other less Slave States.
Free trade in sugar bankrupts Louisiana
Free trade in men bankrupts Virginia
Free trade generally lets two thirds of the direct taxation rest on the numerous, richer, and more comfortable whites of the Border States
; hence further conflict.
Such a despotism, with every third man black and a foe, will make no wars.
Why should it attack us?
We are not a cannon thundering at its gates.
We are not an avalanche overhanging its sunny vales.
Our influence, that of freedom, is only the air, penetrating everywhere; like heat, permeating all space.
The South cannot stand isolated on a glass cricket.
The sun will heat her, and electricity convulse.
She must outwit ideas before she can get rid of them.
A fevered child in July might as well strike at the sun, as the South
attack us for that, the only annoyance we can give her,--the sight and influence of our nobler civilization.
Disunion is gain.
I venture the assertion, in the face of State Street, that of any five Northern men engaged in Southern trade, exclusively, four will end in bankruptcy.
If disunion sifts such commerce, the North
will lose nothing.
I venture the assertion, that seven at least of the Southern States
receive from the government more than they contribute to it. So far, their place will be more profitable than their company.
The whole matter of the Southern
trade has been grossly exaggerated, as well as the importance of the Mississippi River
Freedom makes her own rivers of iron.
Facts show that for one dollar the West
sends or brings by the
river, she sends and brings four to and from the East
by wagon and rail.
If, then, Mississippi
bar the river with forts, they will graciously be allowed to pay for them, while Northern railroads grow rich carrying behind steam that portion of wheat, bacon, silk, or tea, which would otherwise float lazily up and down that yellow stream.
The Cincinnati Press
, which has treated the subject with rare ability, asserts that, excepting provisions which the South
must, in any event, buy of the West
, the trade of Cincinnati
with Southern Indiana
alone is thrice her trade with the whole South
As our benevolent societies get about one dollar in seven south of Mason
's line, so our traders sell there only about one dollar in five.
Such trade, if cut off, would ruin nobody.
In fact, the South
buys little of us, and pays only for about half she buys.
[Laughter and hisses.]
Now we build Southern roads, pay Southern patrol, carry Southern letters, support, out of the nation's treasures, an army of Southern office-holders, waste more money at Norfolk
in building ships which will not float, than is spent in protecting the five Great Lakes
, which bear up millions of commerce.
These vast pensions come back to us in shape of Southern traders, paying on the average one half their debts.
Dissolve the Union
, and we shall save this outgo, and probably not sell without a prospect of being paid.
While the laws of trade guarantee that even if there be two nations, we shall have their carrying-trade and manufacture for them just so long as we carry and manufacture cheaper than other men.
Southern trade is a lottery, to which the Union
gives all the prizes.
Put it on a sound basis by disunion, and the North
If we part without anger, the South
buys, as every one does, of the cheapest seller.
We get her honest business, without being called to fill up the gap of
bankruptcy which the wasteful system of slave-labor must occasion.
In this generation, no Slave State in the Union
has made the year's ends meet.
In counting the wealth of the Union
, such States are a minus
Should the Gulf
States, however, return, I have no doubt the United States treasury will be called on to pay all these secession debts.
Disunion is honor.
I will not point to the equivocating hypocrisy of all our Northern leaders.
I will not count up all the bankrupt statesmen,--blighted names,--skeletons marking the sad path of the caravan over our desert of seventy years,--they are too familiar.
As years roll on, history metes out justice.
But take the last instance, --take Mr. Richard H. Dana, Jr.
, as example, a name historic for generations, a scholar of world-wide fame.
He finds in the Constitution
the duty of returning fugitive slaves, all alike, “the old and the ignorant, the young and the beautiful,” to be surrendered to the master, whether he be man or brute.
avows his full readiness to perform this legal duty.
All honor at least to the shameless effrontery with which he avows his willingness.
i lost of our public men, like the English Tories
of 1689, are “ashamed to name what they are not ashamed to do.”
He paints the hell of slavery in words that make the blood cold, and then boasts, this Massachusetts
scholar,gentleman, his friends would call him,--boasts that no man can charge him with having ever said one word against the surrender of fugitive slaves!
Counsel in all the Boston
slave-cases, he “never suffered himself to utter one word which any poor fugitive negro, or any friend of his, could construe into an assertion that a fugitive slave should not be restored” !
He unblushingly claims merit for himself and Massachusetts
,--I doubt if, in the scornful South
, he will have “his claim allowed,” --that he and Massachusetts
constantly executed laws which “offended their sense of honor, and ran counter to their moral sentiments,” which he considers a “painful duty
To be sure, Mr. Dana
has discovered, in his wide travels and extensive voyages, a “peculiar” class of people, narrow-minded, very little read in Greek
, who think, poor simpletons, that this slave-hunting is a sin. But then, Aristotle did not look at things in this light.
He took broader views, and proves conclusively that three virtues and one sin exactly make a saint, and Mr. Dana
is too good a churchman to dispute with Aristotle.
He sees no reason why, notwithstanding this clause, as to forcing our fellow-men back into hell, “a conscientious man” should not swear to obey the Constitution
, and actually obey it. Now Mr. Seward
and Mr. Joel Parker
, who both believe in the fugitive-slave clause, and willingly swear
to enforce it, have each given public notice they will not enforce it. Mr. Dana
will swear, and perform too. They will swear, but not perform.
Their guilt is perjury; his is man-stealing.
On the whole, I should rather be Seward
; for perjury is the more gentlemanly vice, to my thinking.
Perjury only filches your neighbor's rights.
Man-stealing takes rights and neighbor too.
After all this, Mr. Dana
objects to the Crittenden compromise.
Something short of that he can allow, because he does not call these other offers, Adams
's and such like, “compromises” It seems he objects more to the word than the thing.
But the Crittenden proposal he is set against, for a reason which may strike you singular in a man willing to return slaves; but then we are bundles of inconsistencies, all of us. But this slave-hunter cannot abide Crittenden
, because, listen!
because he thinks “an investment in dishonor is a bad investment!
An investment in infidelity to the principles of liberty is a bad investment!”
Yes, it is a duty.
Give some territory to slavery, and peril the Republican party
Never, it is a “bad investment” ! De Quincey
says: “If once a man indulges in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; from robbing he comes next to drinking, and from that to ill manners and procrastination.
Once enter this downward path, and you know not where you'll stop.”
has, however, taken warning, and stops at man-stealing.
Some of you will call this personality.
I will tell you some time, when the hour serves, why I use personality.
Enough now to remind you his clients are wealth, culture, power, and white blood.
Mine are four million of human beings, standing dumb suppliants on the threshold of Christianity and civilization, and hundreds of fugitives trembling at every motion of the door-latch.
Whoever perils their safety, or holds back the day of their redemption by ingenious sophistry, base word, or base act, shall always find in me a critic.
Let no man call me harsh; I only repeat
with emphasis words such men are not ashamed to speak
. Southern Legrees can plead, if not an excuse, yet some extenuation.
But when a Massachusetts Republican, a Massachusetts lawyer, a Massachusetts scholar, avows such sentiments, he puts himself below the Legrees.
Blame not this plainness of speech.
I have a hundred friends, as brave souls as God ever made, whose hearths are not as safe after honored men make such speeches.
Faneuil Hall, too, kneels patient for its burden, and by its President
that meeting says to the South
,--Only name your terms, that is all we will trouble you to do. Like Luther's priest, who, when Catholics
told him to pray one way and Protestants another, ended by repeating the alphabet, and begging God to frame a prayer agreeable to himself, so our Boston
orator offers the South carte blanche
the whole bundle of compromises,--Will she only condescend to indicate her preference?
is a man above the temptations of politics.
The President of the Faneuil Hall meeting has no political aspirations, an independent merchant.
Such speeches show how wide the gangrene of the Union
's speech was made, he says, in the shadow of Bunker's Hill
, in sight of the spot where Washington
first drew his sword.
The other speech was borne to the roof of Faneuil Hall by the plaudits of a thousand merchants.
Surely, such were not the messages Cambridge
and our old Hall
used to exchange!
Can you not hear Warren
crying to their recreant representatives: “Sons, scorn to be slaves!
Believe, for our sakes, we did not fight for such a government.
Trample it under foot.
You cannot be poorer than we were.
It cannot cost you more than our seven years of war. Do it, if only to show that we have not lived in vain” ?