previous next


"after that the Deluge."

Perhaps no idea has had more influence in keeping the Conservatives of the North up to the war than the notion that the interests of the North are vitally involved in the suppression of the rebellion, and that internal peace and stability will follow the re-establishment of the old Government.

If there ever was a time when the first of these propositions was true, that time has gone by forever. Have not these Conservative classes always contended that slave labor was essential to the cultivation of those Southern staples upon which Northern commerce and manufactures depended? Have they not over and over again referred to the examples of Jamaica, St. Domingo and other West India islands, as evidences of the ruin which slave emancipation brings upon the agricultural and industrial interests of a country? Slavery is now abolished by their own Government throughout the United States, and we would like the Northern Conservatives to tell us why the results of such a measure, if it could be carried out, would be different in the Southern States from the West India islands? They must now perceive, if they are not willfully blind, that whilst, before the late abolition legislation of Congress, the re-establishment of the old Government was of vital importance to Northern commercial interests, its re-establishment now could only have the effect upon those interests that the abolition of negro slavery has produced in all other parts of the world. Cotton, rice and sugar cannot be cultivated except by negro labor, and negro labor, especially the labor of suddenly emancipated slaves, set free in a paroxysm of national philanthropy, and unaccustomed to habits of self-reliance and self-government, is a phenomenon which the world has not yet witnessed. The commercial interests of the North have now more to expect from the success than the defeat of the Confederate cause. With our independence, slavery will still exist to produce the great staples of commerce, and the North, with the restoration of peace and commercial relations, could reap advantages from it which no other nation is in a position to obtain. With our overthrow, the cornerstone of their own industrial interests goes down, never to be restored. We submit that the late legislation of the Federal Congress has withdrawn from the so called Conservative classes of the North the principal reason for their support of the war, and furnished them a powerful motive in behalf of peace.

Equally illusory, it seems to us, is the conceit that internal stability and quiet will follow the overthrow of Southern Independence. There is no reliable foundation for concord and security in any country except liberty and justice. Where a people are, or conceive themselves to be, deprived of both, they will never give up the hope of reclaiming them till they cease to exist. Here the extermination theory comes in as an infallible panacea for the recovery of quiet and order. But even if it were practicable, it could not reach the causes of sectional agitation, which must be looked for, not in the South, but in the class and sectional legislation of the North. If the South should prove worth having under the new order of things, New England must cease to be New England if it does not seek to burthen the new proprietors with tariff and tribute, just as it did the old, and the new population will resent the infliction, and resist it, first by argument, and then by the sword, just as the South has done. But there are causes of disorganization in the very constitution of a democracy which always have, and always will, render it the most unstable of governments. To universal suffrage we may trace, in a considerable degree, the evils we are now suffering, and what must be its power for mischief when it is extended not only to the ignorant foreign mercenaries of the United States army, but to the millions of suddenly emancipated African slaves? If these last are emancipated, without the rights of citizenship, will they be likely to remain quiet and content? It ought to be remembered that they will then be accustomed to the use of arms, and their numbers be no longer contemptible from ignorance of military affairs. If they are endowed with the right of suffrage, what a boundless field for demagogues of the lowest and vilest type! It will be putting firebrands in the hands of madmen. We address these reflections only to that class of Northern men which has really believed the interests of American society involved in Northern success. The truth is, when the Federal Government drew the sword at the beginning of this war is introduced an era of internal convulsions which have now no hope even of alleviation except in Southern Independence.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New England (United States) (2)
West Indies (1)
United States (United States) (1)
Jamaica (Jamaica) (1)
Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic) (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: